In Which I am Auntie Steph

Last week Jen called and invited me to her cottage.  Now, I’m a big cottage fan, and this summer has been light in the vacation department (unless you call riding your bike to Montreal a vacation, and personally, I have trouble sliding it into that department) so when she invited me, I set aside the feeling that it was ridiculous to take off when I had so much to do, and I did it anyway.   I left Thursday at noon, and a few hours later, I had myself in a lake – where I stayed as much as it was reasonable to do so.

Jen’s cottage has a lot of perks.  There’s the lake, and the woods, and a big rock to swim to, and climb up on, and a boat and a canoe, and her charming mum and dad, but mostly what it has going for it is Jen and the kids.  The whole thing is perfect, because for 48 hours, I got to rock and walk the baby to sleep, play Auntie Steph with Fenner, read and knit –

and all that makes me ridiculously happy and grateful to Jen, which seems to have turned out to be delightfully ironic, since rocking the baby and playing with Fenner appear to make Jen grateful to me.  It’s a wonderfully symbiotic relationship – and one that I totally didn’t have figured out until "See you next time" turned into "Can’t you stay another day" and "Why don’t you come back Tuesday?"

Turns out that a cottage guest who likes to cook, tidy up, amuse children and is a strong swimmer who brings beer is a cottage guest who gets invited back.  (Note to self. Bring more beer.)

All of that is a nice way of saying that if I can finish a whole weeks worth of work today, tomorrow I’ll get in the car and go back, and hunt for toads and swim and look for wildflowers and read stories and canoe until Thursday, when I’ll load myself back to Toronto, then wash, pack and leave for the Twist Festival de la Fibre in Saint-André-Avellin, Quebec bright and early Friday morning.  It’s more time in the car than I can honestly say I’m keen on, but my love of lake swimming and damp, sun warmed children might be worth it. 

As a knitter, I should mention that my motives weren’t entirely lake based.  I could try Marlowe’s Birthday dress on here as I knit, and I can happily report that the little bodice fits…

and the skirt is underway.

Also, I wove a scarf, but let’s talk about that tomorrow, before I go. With beer.

65 thoughts on “In Which I am Auntie Steph

  1. The whole thing sounds heavenly. Good incentive to get your work done so you can go back. The dress is looking divine!

  2. I’m happy to see you got some time off, and I’m sure Jen would have invited you back even if you’d done nothing but brought beer!

  3. “Damp, sun-warmed children”–what could be better? They do seem unreasonably adorable.
    The Twist festival looks awesome. Are you teaching in French?

  4. I am sure that there are a lot of Mums out there who will be issuing you an invitation to come and stay with them and their children for the price of a six-pack!
    Especially those within easy driving distance…

  5. Long time back Garrison Keillor said “Nothing you do for a child is ever wasted.” Especially at the cottage.

  6. You look so happy… Marlowe’s dress looks to be a very special gown when complete… Speaking of Marlowe, what a beautiful baby!

  7. That does sound heavenly. Attention everyone! I have beer to share! Bring me your damp, sun-warmed children to play with and cuddle.

  8. My parents have a cottage in Maine. Guests who clean up, cook, and bring beer are always welcome here too! Amusing children is a bonus we will happily take.

  9. Oh my goodness she looks so cute trying that on. Is she really that sweet all the time? Unreal. I can’t wait to see the finished dress. And I love your line about damp, sun-warmed children. It makes me even happier to be a mom. I remember reading somewhere (it may very well have been another briliant line from you) about little boys smelling like dirt and sunshine. Both ring so true and I think of that every time we come back from a Sunday morning at the park. And once the cooler weather arrives I can still look forward to red cheeks and hot chocolate. 🙂

  10. So lovely, I was in cottage country the weekend before last and it rained the entire time. Never even got to dip my toes in Georgian Bay, something I’d been dreaming about for weeks. It didn’t help that everyone told me that it had been beautiful right up to the day I arrived! You must go back and enjoy as often as you can, summer is way too short!

  11. Yep I am with you sister. That baby hugging and child playing is just the best job ever. I am gainfully employed at least once a week doing the same and secretly I would pay my son and daughter-in-law to let me do it but they seemed pleased as punch in the arrangement. The children you got to hang out with are seriously cute and the cabin sounds heavenly. So glad you went. Makes the rest of lifes craziness worthwhile.

  12. Summertime with children is a great opportunity…
    I love the frock! and go for it. Life is too short!

  13. GO! I have this theory (from my Nana and my mom), that is is NOTHING that a little time at the lake can’t fix. So, go already! I’m supremely jealous b/c looking for meaningful employment is not something I can do by the lake… but i’ll be there soon.
    Beer, knitting, babies, lake. Sounds like heaven to me.

  14. Your picture of Jen with a smiling, swimming delightful babe should be motivation enough to get a week’s worth of work done in a day. That’s precious.

  15. I had one of those cottage weeks, without the wee ones though. And I too brought beer, and was invited back next year. Making enough apple crisp for a crowd, despite the heat, was a bit hit too. Enjoy. Summer doesn’t last near long enough here in Ontario.

  16. this sounds amazing. i had my vacation early in the summer and am already in need of another? bah on greediness – who doesn’t want more beer, knitting, reading, lobster (we were in maine), dog frolicking on the beach?!

  17. Thank you for giving us a peek at the dress. It’s lovely, and so is Marlowe. (oh my, those cheeks.) Isn’t cottage time great? I always return from mine renewed, refreshed and invigorated (for a few days, anyway.) And it’s the best place to knit.

  18. I was in Cottage Country Ontario in July and it was…perfect. I knit socks (portability) and fed the ducks off the deck every morning, the (teen) kids swam and fished, and it was heaven. Even cooking and doing the dishes is no trouble when every day is heavenly and begins with knitting in the cool pale dawn on a deck with a lake 15 feet away. Cottaging ROCKS, and we even had beer!

  19. I, too, love the smell on sunshine on my children. Even though they are grown, if they’ve been outside for any length of time when I hug them, I can tell. “you smell of sunshine”. Even my 6’2″ – 21 yr old smiles when I say that to him.

  20. A very symbiotic relationship!
    I can remember being so grateful to hand over babies to other loving people and now I get to do the other side and cuddle them, myself.

  21. Who cares if you get all your chores done? You have a dress to knit and babies to hug. Get thee back to the lake and have some more fun.

  22. I love those cheeks! Who cares about housework? The summer is short, children grow up so fast, the housework will always be there. Enjoy the lake!

  23. “Summer is short. It’s almost over. Screw the house and job hunting.” The reasons I escaped for two hours to a friend’s pool today.

  24. Sounds like udder bliss. The dress is looking so sweet already! I can’t wait to see it finished and on the babe herself.

  25. I’m a big cottage fan too, and friends like you are more than welcome! 🙂
    I can’t wait to meet you Saturday at Twist Festival! I was so happy when I saw you were giving a class!

  26. It’s been the most lovely August in B.C. as well. We spent the weekend swimming and drying off in the sun without a towel, and then in again. Absolutely perfect. And there was beer as well 🙂 I hope you get back out and catch a few more days of summer!

  27. So much the way summer should be! Lucky Jen and family and lucky you for being a wonderful Aunt. Can’t wait to see the little flower dress. Marlowe is beyond cute. Eve from Carlisle

  28. It seems like you had the best time and I was happy to read about it. The photos are so cute and I especially love the one with Marlowe asleep on your chest, probably listening to your heart beat and deriving the greatest comfort. Time flies by so fast. You deserve all the time off you can take to be with your oved ones.

  29. That has to be the most gorgeous, sweet, adorable baby and what a smile!!!! Can’t wait to see that little dress on her!! Some of us recognize real fun when we see it!!

  30. Have fun! It’s becoming Fall here in the north– today high of 65, and I’ve seen leaves changing colors… only a couple of weeks and that weather will be in your area 🙂

  31. That sounds so delightful. I often say that I miss my babies, who somehow have turned into 6 foot 20-somethings. I still love them, but miss their smaller selves.

  32. I am very glad you have a place with big rocks and water and babies and good friends. Good for you. The silk looks so soft…

  33. That is one stinkin’ cute baby. I would have spent the whole weekend cuddling that adorable little one.

  34. I spent 3 weeks at our place in the Adirondacks, with two very uncooperative knitting projects! So I hit this great yarn shop in Lake Placid and got something else to do –
    Cottages with water are the most peaceful places to be, especially with kids to play with. So glad you grabbed the chance! It’s the best way to renew your spirit there is.

  35. What a sweet post and that baby Marlowe is just as precious as can be!!! I want to kiss those chubby cheeks! Sounds like you all had a wonderfully delightful time and I hope you get to go back tomorrow.

  36. What a nice post. I love cottages. There’s something magical about a cottage this time of year when you live in a place where winter has such a long and strong grip on everything. I think we tend to be more appreciative of the times when we can swim, canoe, and catch toads and frogs. Oh and sun warmed babies, we can’t forget them! I’m always aware this time of year that the warm weather will soon be gone so I try to appreciate it and enjoy it as much as possible. I hope that you get to go back and enjoy the cottage and being an Aunt. I just love being an Aunt. It’s simply the best. That little dress is adorable and so are Marlow’s cheeks. Those chubby cheeks are just irresistible! Thanks for the great post. It reminds me of the times when I was growing up that we spent at cottages on the St. Lawrence, Lake Ontario and lots of other places.

  37. I love the way you cantry stuff on babies and totally not ruin the surprise.
    Sounds like an wesome time at the cottage!

  38. See the babies. See the lake. See the smiles. Don’t see the beer….
    *ignore presbytera. A friend with a good memory is no friend a’tall.

  39. Oh I want to go with you! Lake swimming, knitting, and BEER! Canadian Beer at that! Yummm! I will be sitting on a Massachusetts beach albeit with out beer in just a little while. Cheers!

  40. I truly understand that riding your bike to Montreal doesn’t count as a vacation. I also know that anyone who comes to visit me and brings beer will ALWAYS get invited back. LOL Have fun and safe travels!

  41. You *like* to cook and tidy up? Can you come stay at my house for a while? There are no children or lakes, but there are sometimes toads. There’s a garden. And a LOT of yarn! 🙂

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