comments: 44


















I'm having a lazy day. Andy and Amelia are at the zoo with friends and the house here is quiet and calm. The sky is overcast, the air cool. All of this, every single thing, is so different from how it's been around here lately, how it's been around here usually (hot, loud, chaotic, bright, messy, frantic). I'm looking outside and there's not even a breeze to ruffle the leaves. That's how quiet it is, and how still.

We finished swimming lessons for the summer yesterday. I get very, very nostalgic as each thing finishes lately. Last year swimming lessons seemed to go on forever. This year, July flew. Is that how everything's going to be now? Fraught with flight? Swimming lessons, by their nature, go too fast. There's so much preparation: getting the kid to stop doing whatever she's doing to go potty/put on bathing suit/put on sunscreen/fill up water bottle, then hustling out to car with swim basket in tow (clothes, underpants, towels, goggles, sunscreen, etc.), then driving twenty minutes up to the lesson. Then going to the half-hour lesson. Sitting on the lawn chair, watching, I remark to anyone within earshot that I wish the lesson lasted three hours. I would like to sit there on the lawn chair with my feet up in the shade, listening to the pool sounds, watching people play in the water, watching people play with my child, for three full hours. That would be a good start. But before I know it, it's over. Amelia, dripping, beaming, comes toward me. I hold the towel open and gather her into it and she climbs on top of me and lays her wet head on my chest. We lay like that for as long as I can get her to stay, just resting. But then she wants to take her shower so it's up and to the locker room where the girls stand there, trance-like under the running water. We try to get them to share the space, to rinse off, to wash their hair, to rinse out the shampoo, but they're zombified by the warmth and the spray. We moms fuss, wringing out wet suits, collecting goggles, looking for brushes in bags, encouraging our daughters to make room for incomers, and perhaps even move along. The girls stand and stare into space. Finally, one of us: "Okey dokey, let's go, ladies." Reluctantly they come, shuffling out. Again, towels. Peeling off suits, dropping dry clothes onto the sopping floor, picking them up, stuffing damp arms into dry sleeves, all in slow motion. Getting dressed literally takes a forty-five minutes. The half-hour swim lesson, which goes by at lightning-speed, winds up actually taking half a day, when all is said and done.

Nevertheless, I will miss it all. But it's August, already and finally August, and now we get to be lazy. There's nowhere to be every morning at 10:40 a.m. anymore. I couldn't care less what time it is. I let Amelia take an entire bag of tortillas into the studio and eat four of them along with half a bag of frozen blueberries in front of the computer, watching Tumble Leaf for three hours. The weather last week was so relentlessly scorching hot that I literally felt cooked. Deep fried. One night the air conditioner stop working and I bleated in panic, and thought about dumping a glass of freshly poured ice water straight over my head. July was just so busy, and so hot. I feel like I'm in recovery from it, somehow, and just want to lay in front of the open windows, drinking iced tea straight from the pitcher while surfing pictures of unicorn cakes on Pinterest. That feels like plenty to do now. A good day's work. 


We've has a busy summer too. Our 3 youngest granddaughters spent 3 days here last week, 7, 5 and 2 1/2. I must say I am tired! but it was lovely and we finished up yesterday with a big pool as the middle child turned 5. so many laughs, so many jumps into the pool, so much Marco Polo with their cousins. Now we get ready for a long end of summer, knew replacement for my DH. Neither one of us is looking forward to the surgery and rHhab but we both are looking forward to him having a tpainfree time and the ability to do things better! happy August dear ones. oh and I LOVE my lotion bars!

Speaking of unicorn cakes ... have you seen the videos of the tiny meals prepared in tiny kitchens? There’s one of a unicorn cake on YouTube - - I had my tonsils out last Wednesday so I’ve been doing a lot of looking at the internet under the influence of pain meds. These tiny kitchen videos are so amusing!

Thank you so much for all the joy your blog has given me over the years xx

My own little swimming babies are 17 and 21 now...still enjoying them as much as ever.

Here in the uk we are having an astounding summer, although we are all rather hot and bothered due to the lack of air con and the fact that we’re not really used to it! The last time we had a spell like this was 1976....

It’s evening now and I’m sitting out on my deck with a glass of wine and a sock I’m knitting for my oldest boy.

Sending love to you and your sweet family xx

Yes!! I hear you on swim lessons... they take up a lot of time! We spent half the day getting ready fro swim lessons, going to swim lessons, and then home to bathe and change clothes after swim lessons. Kinda glad they are over until next summer! My daughter loved it, though, and I loved watching her make wonderful progress each week. It was worth it!

Hmmmm...I loved wrapping the wet child in a hot, dry towel. So, so sweet. Your pool routine sounded very familiar...and we attached going to Taco Time after swim lessons because it was lunchtime AND we were hungry. We would talk about all the swimming pool drama (so and so took cuts in line...) After eating their tacos, my children would take turns taking a dollar up to the counter to place an order for crustos "on their own". Over the course of the summer, they developed good eye contact and confidence to speak to the person at the counter. I loved that season.

Ah, I relate so much every time you mention the heat. The pacific northwest just is not built for heat. We have enjoyed our hot summer days, but with no central air conditioning to retreat to it really wears you down. We have not started swim lessons (maybe next summer? or the following), but this parallels so many outings with small children with all the preparation and all the cleanup - the small things fill a whole day right up.

I miss swimming so much. Growing up we had, or family/friends had swimming pools and I would spend hours just being in the water. Now I only have a blow up plunge pool that I spent about 4 hours in yesterday trying to stay cool. The UK are having a heat wave which I'm calling summer, and I'm missing having a proper pool.
Love the cardigan! Would you mind sharing the pattern please. xx

Such a great description of August! Embrace the lazy days and do remind yourself how fast time flies. I'm in the last two weeks before I pack up my one and only to head off to college three hours away and though that's clearly the case (I have the pile of college supplies and the tuition bill to prove it), I feel like it was just yesterday when I was taking him to summer swimming lessons.

Elizabeth says: August 06, 2018 at 12:51 PM

Your desire for a 3 hour lesson brought me back to swimming lessons growing up. The pool was converted (mostly) from a lake - enormous, the size of a football field with a shallow end completely encased in concrete freshly painted blue every May, and housing the entrance of icy spring water which fed the pool, rendering this shallow portion forever freezing no matter how hot the day. The other 2/3 was left as is with a gravel bottom and a rough concrete apron around the other edge of the pool - dark brown from the reflected gravel at the bottom and 18 feet deep in the middle. About half of the pool was surrounded by the road that ran through the park, but one end butted against the big playground. And on that grassy end, rows and rows of mothers and grandmothers lined their lawn chairs up to watch swimming lessons in the shade provided by the early morning and the massive hill behind the pool. The mothers with bulging, mismatched bags packed for the entire day at the pool: lunches, drinks, towels of indeterminate color and age, inflatable toys, goggles. The grandmothers with a single straw tote holding the week's needlepoint and one colorful striped towel in pristine folds. Lessons lasted an hour each session, with two sessions every morning. As soon as the lessons ended a whistle was blown and the mothers began the massive haul down to the brick walkway to set up low pool chairs in the icy, shallow, blue portion of the pool - so closely packed in and lined up we had to paint a two foot no-parking portion so that we could get into the pool should someone require saving. The grandmothers quickly swathed the visiting grandchild in the new towel, shooing them towards the car with promises to return in the evening.

I laughed out loud at the goggle photo. I relate to that so much--my eyes were/are very sensitive to chlorine, so I wore goggles from a young age. And then was a competitive swimmer, which I would recommend to anyone, even someone like me who was ultimately not very fast. She's close to the age where you CAN sit in the shade with your feet up for three hours and listen to the pool sounds and applaud when asked while she plays in the pool with a friend she brings or new friends she makes, and it'll be glorious. Maybe you'll occasionally toss those rings that sink for the kids to retrieve from the bottom of the pool, or if you don't have those, some quarters you found in the corner of the pool bag. That was my mom's MO. :)

Oh you got it spot on about the swimming lessons. The lesson is fine- I love watching my kids become great swimmers- it’s the never ending time in the locker room that kills me. The frozen kids in the shower! The damp bodies struggling out of wet suits, then struggling into dry clothes! The fact that I’m fully dressed and sweating in the 80 degree locker room, and my kids are moving in slow motion! Bitvtoday st our community pool I watched my 12 year swim a gorgeous freestyle lap across the pool, and thought, “all those years of lessons have paid off.”

her hair has gotten so blonde! what a beautiful girl. i love your descriptions here! takes me right back to swim lessons. i still have two young ones that need to finish their lessons (and two older ones who did finish their lessons). we took a break this year though. i needed a break from everything with a schedule this summer. it has been amazing. i just put the registration and back to school dates on the calendar and i can't believe how fast they are sneaking up.

Can't wait to find out what that sleeve you're knitting belongs to. I've taken the summer off of knitting and I'm feeling ready for a new project! Also, my 8 year old joined the swim team at the community center this summer and we have spent our mornings at the pool 7-8am, five days a week. It is a dream come true, since I too have always longed for much longer swim classes for my kids. Fingers crossed that my 5 1/2 year old son is ready to join next summer...

i could read your words all day. so grateful you blog!

All of it, just like the way you described it. I remember coming home after swimming lessons (I brought mine home in damp suits), putting clean dry underpants on them and shepherding them in to the air conditioned den where the TV was and the shades were drawn against the heat. They'd wrap up in fleece "wobes", and eat PBJ sandwiches while watching taped Sesame Street and Fred Rogers until naptime. Summer bliss! Once I came in to check on them and found the lady from across the street sitting on the floor eating my son's Cheetos watching Fred with them. She had Alzheimers and I guess she wanted to be nurtured in my home for the day so she let herself in the back door and settled in.

I have been eating frozen blueberries ever since you posted this.....Yummo!

I used to read your blog years ago and loved it, but in the end I moved on to vegetable growing and earthy-type things so I culled my blog list.
From memory, Clover was a puppy and you'd just adopted your daughter.
An Aussie simple living blog mentioned your softie kits, so I popped back to catch up on what you've been doing.
So happy to see your beautiful girl and your thriving business.
Nothing profound or significant to say, just wanted to give you a wave from a reader from the past. :)

Even hot and tired you are so gently, encouragingly inspiring. You make me want to nest. With fabric! Swimming lessons are a very different phenomenon here in the Frozen North!

Yes! To all of it. It's been unbearably hot for the past few weeks on Cape Cod. While it does cool down a bit in the evenings, the house is so hot, has heated so much, that it's still unbearable. I'm up to five cold showers a day, and I have no clothes, because they are so sweaty and gross and I don't have the energy to run the wash. I've secluded myself in our office for the evening because I'm so desperate for some ac. I'm grouchy, and lazy, and uninspired. I need dry air, and some clouds, but no humidity, god help us all.
That said, I'm reading The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies by Jason Fagone and I can't put it down. I felt the same about the Goldfinch, so I hope Luminaries turns out well.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.