Cherish the Moments: Summer 2017 

As I sit outside on a breezy, calm sunny afternoon, I feel happy and grateful to begin the summer. A summer that will be spent outdoors having backyard picnics, sinking our toes into dewy grass, reading books & pointing out patterns in the clouds. A summer that will be full of  visits to parks, playgrounds, & pools – running, jumping, swimming & playing hide & seek with friends. A summer that will be both wonderful and exhausting, long and hot — but by its end will seem as if we blinked and it was gone.

Of course, like any parent with a smartphone – there are always pictures – but not every moment in the sun (or the pool) can be photographed. Some moments are meant, I think, only to be experienced and enjoyed at the very moment they happen – and it’s up to us to catalog them in our brains and hold them fast in our hearts, remembering the feelings they gave us. Remembering the joy that a summer spent soaking in the sun with our children, families & friends brought us. Cherishing it. And being grateful that we had it.

1st Day of Summer

This morning, my children dragged a blanket out into the grass, along with a pile of books, shells, snacks and their brand new fidget spinners. We spent a delightful couple of hours taking turns reading to each other, pouring over their shell collection, teaching each other tricks with the spinners, and lying on the blanket finding cloud-shapes. My daughter surprised me by launching into narrative – making up her own story aloud in-the-moment, something I had never heard her do before. As she spun a tale of animals on a quest to touch a life-giving gem in a magical forest and her brother and I sat and listened, I felt it was one of those moments – the kind you want to wrap into your memory and hold forever, but also the kind you know you will never experience the same way again.

Soon after she finished her story, she & her brother ran to swing, jump & play – their next summer adventure already begun. Still sitting on the blanket in the warm sunlight, I picked up my book and turned the pages, my gaze moving slowing from the words to the cloud shapes moving above, listening to their voices & laughter mixed with the summer breeze.

Summer 2017 Book List from this Video: 

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Captain Underpants (#12) by Dav Pilkey

Dogman Unleashed by Dav Pilkey

Lego City – Fire Team Adventures 

Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

Stella and the Night Sprites by Sam Hay

Princess and the Page by Christina Farley

Summer Reading 2017

After our beautiful first morning in the sun, the kids & visited our local library and they picked out their first summer book haul & got officially signed up for the summer reading program. In addition to reading logs, they both received their first reading patch, a bookmark & a calendar of free activities they can attend. Beginning June 19th, kids can turn in their completed reading log to earn this years big reward – a creative tool belt! We usually complete and turn in our logs in late July, as I think stretching out the program and then getting a reward late in the summer helps boost them through the remaining days before school begins again.

Thank you for reading, watching – and for visiting Space to Dream. I hope your summer has had as sweet a beginning as ours, and that you and the kids in your life are making time to read! Happy Summer! -Stacie

Summer Rainstorm

The poem I’m sharing today I wrote last night, after a day of quick summer rainstorms that ended in a bit of light before the day’s end. Below is a painting that I adore titled “Summer Rain.” Visit the artist’s website to find many more inspiring and beautiful paintings.

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Summer Rain by Leonid Afremov 
Summer Rainstorm 
The rain fell in thick, expansive sheets
pelting the windows hard, sky darkening to blue-black
thunder booming, lightening streaking across
the fabric of heaven, as if in warning
clouds moving fast, low
ominously through the noon sky
making it look like night.
Heat that had lingered before
now vanished, replaced with cool
fast blowing wind
the tree branches thrashing wildly
in its wake.
Then, as quick as it came
the storm passes
loud pounding rain lifting, clouds releasing
to silent blue sky, sun peeking out
heat slowly rising off the wet pavement.
Frogs croak gently in the ditches
newly filled with water, turning dirt to mud
the children coming out to play
in their rainboots with smiles of delight
as they jump in fresh puddles
on a June afternoon.
Copyright June 3 2016 Stacie Eirich 

Travelogue: Catalina Island

To kick off summer, I travelled to Catalina Island off the coast of sunny southern California. Leaving the laptop at home, not checking email or updating facebook or writing blog posts was part of the goal — to leave it all behind, just for a few days, and let the slowness of island life sink into my skin on the sand.
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Most moments were lazing moments, gazing out at the sea, clear green-blue water brimming with orange garibaldi fish and tiger-striped bass – reading a paperback and drinking in the cool wind off the water, the warm sun. Others were spent hiking and biking up hills, then flying back down them again, heart pumping and eyes wide, exhilarated. Kicking back with a glass of wine at happy hours, watching the light glimmer and change over the waves, the boats rocking in the harbor, and the people walking on the beach. Listening to the quiet chatter in spanish, english, and japanese around me, the hissing & hushing sibiliants mixing with the constant sound of the waves lapping on the rocks.

It was a few days of freedom, a few days of paradise on an island that is home to a little over 4,000 and a day trip for many who live in mainland California. Others, like myself, travel to its sunny shores from farther off lands — reveling in its slower pace and unadorned beauty.

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Should you visit, you’ll want to try the fish tacos at Mama Roses, grace happy hour at at least three different restaurants on the beach (Bluewaters was my favorite) and rent a bike (mountain, electric or a golf cart) to explore the inner parts of the island.

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In the 1920s and 30s, Wrigley brought the Chicago Cubs to the island for spring training, which was where he made his summer home. The Wrigley home is now a bed and breakfast, and where it sits high up on the rocks, it boasts arguably the best view of the island. At happy hour one day, a waiter told me that Wrigley positioned his home there because it offers the most sunlight -making it the first home to be painted with sunlight at dawn, and the last to lose its rays at dusk. The windows always remained free of any curtains, allowing the sunlight to penetrate through the entire home.c196385eff82222b316b89d69b7036b9

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You’ll find the Wrigley Memorial building at the top of the botanical gardens, with many exotic looking desert plants and paths to explore. If you are drawn to the sea, take a glass bottom boat ride or view the fish from inside a semi-submersible submarine. If you like adventure, ride a zip line or take an eco-tour to see the 150 bison that roam the island. The bison were brought in to the island by a film crew in the 1920s, and have flourished – at one point numbering over 400 on the island, but over half were relocated to an indian reservation in North Dakota because they were eating too much of the island’s vegetation. The island spends a lot of time and money on conservation, and a visit to the nature center is worth the stop to learn about the varied plants and animals on the island as well as the challenges they face. See this link for more info: https://www.catalinaconservancy.org/

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Catalina Island is a place for lovers, families, singles – a place for outdoor enthusiasts and beach bums, a place where you can choose to do absolutely nothing or many things. It’s a place rich with beauty, history and languages. It’s people will flow and change with the tide, and eventually, even the island itself may recede into the sea with the passing of time. But for now it remains a place of sunny respite from the pace of city life, where you can relax and enjoy a glass of wine as you watch the boats bobbing slowly, up and down in the waves.Here are some online resources for Catalina Island:

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I’ve had a lovely start to my summer, and hope that you have as well. It’s hot here at home in Louisiana, which means many days spent pool side and others seeking an air-conditioned respite from 100 degree temperatures. I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day holiday — posts to come this week will be book reviews, and, with a little time to write, a new poem. Happy Summer!
http://www.catalinachamber.com/
http://www.visitcatalinaisland.com/
http://www.visitcatalina.org/
http://ecatalina.com/