Monday, August 25, 2014

...And We're Off!

Both girls are at their respective schools.  The dogs and I are home alone...the first of 180 days like this!

Tonight is my monthly Library Board Meeting.  Tomorrow is the girls' first soccer practice.  Wednesday is soccer, L counseling, and J allergy shots.

Next week we add in Piano Lessons, and perhaps Guitar Lessons

Let's roll!

Sunday, August 24, 2014


We are now down to fewer than 24 hours before the girls will head off to their first days of school.  J was awakened by a bad dream in the wee hours this morning, so she and I snuggled downstairs and talked for a good 30-45 minutes about school.   I think she is feeling somewhat less anxious about things today.  Her biggest fear:  getting lost.  I told her to follow people and don't be afraid to ask for directions...she'll get the hang of it quickly!

We continued to fill the week with fun activities.  Thursday was a rainy day, so we played board games and hung out together.  After work on Friday, we all raced home and jumped into the swimming pool!  Yesterday, JP mowed for hours and hours, and after J and I baked a peach pie and got 2 trays of chicken enchiladas ready to pop into the oven, we got in the pool again.  It is so convenient to have it just out the side door!

L decided last night that she wanted to have a hair cut!

This is the shortest it has ever been, and she says that she is happy with it!

Today we made a quick trip to Walmart to pick up last minute school supplies.  (One idea that J and I came up with last night was to put a small pencil pocket in her binder so that she didn't have to either carry around loose pencils or a bulky pencil box.)  When we arrived home, JP found the archery target, and we all took turns trying out the new compound practice bow.  It was pretty fun!  Now we are waiting for friends to arrive to play in the pool again!


I honestly could not tell you what we did this summer, besides our fun trip out West in June.  The entire time flew by.  At the end of every Summer Vacation, I have regrets that I did not spend enough time hanging out with the girls, and this year is no different.  I know we had lots of lazy afternoons, where we all laid around reading together, and there were definitely days that I could not wait for school to start back because the bickering was seemingly endless.

So with the many good times, and the few not-so-good ones, we are wrapping it up.  Next week we head into school and soccer.  The following week we add in music lessons as well. 

What a ride!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

T Minus 4 Days, and Counting...

As much as I hate to admit it, summer is quickly drawing to a close.  JP took off 3 days this week so that we could do a few things together as a family while we still have these long, unscheduled days.

Last Thursday, the girls and I headed to an amusement park with some friends.  This is the first summer that we didn't visit our favorite amusement park, Idlewild, so I was a little sad about that.  We had a good time, but the girls did not enthuse about heading back next year.  I did not enjoy driving through the big city to get there either.  I guess that time will tell whether this will end up being our new yearly activity.

The following afternoon, we had a bunch of friends out for a pool party.  Unfortunately, rain and cool weather for the first part of the week dropped the water temperature to about 79 or 80 degrees...brrrr!

On Monday, we took another rafting trip down a nearby river.  This time, we seemed to have a lot of hang-ups on rocks in shallow water, and we were weary by the end of the trip (and that was BEFORE JP and I had to carry our raft up the hill to the truck!)  At one point, L got bounced out of the raft as we were going through a spot of white water, and JP and I had to haul her back in by her life jacket.  J was able to retrieve her floating oar.

Tuesday morning, we drove down South to our old stomping grounds in WV.  We visited the little zoo there, which has had an exhibit of animatronic dinosaurs all summer that L has been eager to visit.  I remember strolling by myself through this zoo while JP was on eternal call as a resident, but it has improved significantly in the past 12 years!  The dinos were ok, but we enjoyed watching the 3 African Wild Dog puppies cavorting even more, and the Lorikeets were a bit hit.  We were able to offer them a small cup of nectar, which would entice them down to our arms or shoulders.  One little guy flew down to JP's shoulder and licked his neck incessantly!

That afternoon, we ate at one of our favorite restaraunts - a tiny Italian dive, where they make all their own pasta.  Delicious!

Today was a lazy day at home.  JP managed to get the new faucet installed at the kitchen sink (the old one broke a few days ago, and we've been having to turn the water on and off under the sink!), and we both went through a few stacks of accumulating papers.  Of course, we made use of the pool out back at every possible opportunity.

Tomorrow we are on a quest for peaches.  I hope we aren't too late!

I head back to work on Friday, and that only leaves the weekend before the girls head to 2 different schools.

Sigh.  Where did the summer go?

Sunday, August 17, 2014


JP and I celebrated our 23rd Anniversary last weekend.  We had the chance this weekend to take a night away in the big city (thanks Mom & Dad!)

We had dinner at a fancy-schmancy restaraunt (no kid's menu here, folks!)

We spent the night downtown, where we caught this sunset reflected off of the glass buildings.

I told L this afternoon that our Silver Anniversary is coming up in 2 years, and usually the kids send the parents on a nice trip, like to Tahiti.  "I can't do that!"  she said, "I'm saving up for something American Girl Doll!"

Thanks for the great date JP, the love of my life and my best friend!

Monday, August 11, 2014

This Morning, From My Garden...

This morning, J and I went out early to the garden while L was still snoozing.  We brought in multiple pounds of produce, including:  4 dozen ears of corn, half a dozen tomatoes plus a couple of handfuls of tiny ones, several onions, 2 cucumbers, 4 squash of various varieties, and we harvested one of the beds of Horticulture Beans.

The house has been picked up, the dishwasher is running, the girls are playing together nicely (albeit NOT quietly - I think that perhaps they are "at a concert") downstairs, and it is raining outside.  What better time than now to hit the books again?

Sunday, August 10, 2014


At last I got the chemicals right, and things sparkling clean enough in the pool for a full Family Swim today!

Here's proof that we are FINALLY using our "new" pool...nearly a year after it was installed!

Saturday, August 9, 2014


We have had a very full week!  The Pool Man came out on Thursday and hooked up our pump and filter, then the Water Guy brought out an additional 5,400 gallons of water.  I estimate that I have spent about 12-15 hours over the past 4 days working on the pool:  skimming out leaves that blew in when the cover blew off in a storm in November, cleaning, adding chemicals, cleaning, adding chemicals, cleaning, and installing the ladder/stairs.  The girls and I went in for a bit yesterday, but the chlorine levels are too high for playing in today.  Bummer.  I'm hoping that once things get regulated, it will be much less upkeep, because I don't have the time or desire right now to keep this up!

We also spent a morning at Mingo Creek catching and identifying butterflies.

And it is Fair Week, so we spent our requesite evening there, seeing the animals, enjoying the petting zoo, eating walking tacos and ice cream, and riding the rides.  (The rides were pretty lame this year!)
L rode on the Monster Truck!
J made friends with the Pygmy Goats.
We are heading to the amusement park next week, so we should get our fill of rides there anyway!
It is way too hot to work outside today, so I am hitting the books.  Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, August 4, 2014


J, in her great 11 year old profundity, announced yesterday morning, "Tiramisu is the best thing ever invented...after Pop Tarts!" 

Our lives have been a bit like a breakfast of Pop Tarts lately:  light and sweet, but gone all too soon.  The days are hurtling by at lightning speed.  Most days, I feel like I barely have time for a breather before the next thing starts.  For the most part, it has been lots of fun, but as Fall approaches, so does the deadline for my Board Exams, which I am not nearly ready for. 

This past week, I got a good amount of studying in, but it was difficult not to do other things that need attention, like weeding the garden, or mulching, or picking beans...the list goes on and on.  We also did some extra things, which were a lot of fun, like eating dinner-on-a-stick at Rain Day, shopping for back to school clothes, spending the day at our favorite park while L was at Wilderness Survival Camp, having a friend over to spend the night, and going out to dinner (sans kiddos) with our friends.

The things that did NOT get done include the pool being ready to use.  I'm getting really frustrated!

Several weeks ago, JP found a list of 55 movies your kids should see by the time they are 13.  Since that time, we have been trying to attend to the girls' movie-cation (although they have already seen over half of the movies on this list.)

What better thing to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon, than work on your movie-cation?  We watched "Edward Scissorhands" and the original Muppet Movie yesterday, and crossed 2 more movies off the essential 55 list!

The rain is great for the garden, and there is now a swath of bright green grass down the hill where there had been a ditch for almost 2 years!

Here's to another week of Summer.  Live it to the fullest, people!