Summer Life

Society assumes that Moms hate the day school gets out.  That may be true for others, but I love the end of the school year.  It means I don’t have to watch the clock, make sure homework gets done, check the school website (you get lightly reprimanded if you don’t check the grade books often enough), and all that goes with school.

I enjoy having one less lunch to pack and sleeping in an extra half hour.  I enjoy watching my kids read stacks and stacks of books – I have a stack too, but have to go slower to also get other work done.  I was very purposeful in raising readers.

I enjoy our vacations.  Some are bigger than others, some have scary weather, some have annoying things happen, but we always find the joke and a way to laugh at any misfortunes and have a grand time together.  One parent at church once observed that everything fun her kids had done had been with other people.  (Our church has a very active youth group with frequent outings, a yearly youth conference, and every other year a missions trip to Peru where a friend of our youth pastor runs a children’s home.)  We had children to enjoy our time with them, and summer is a great time to enjoy our kids.

For Father’s Day weekend we went bowling and did an escape room.  Our oldest was working, but the rest of us still had a great time together.

DH and I waited up for DD1 for the first time on Saturday night.  She asked to get out of work early to attend a party with college friends – an hour and a half away – utilizing a busy and crazy highway – getting home late.  DH asked her to leave by 9:30, which is early but because of the reasons listed above.  She got home about 45 minutes later than she ought to have.  She walked in to find us, commented that we were up late, then I went to bed.  DH soon followed.  She’s actually been pleasant since then.  She even gave me her schedule for the week without an eye roll or groan.  (We share a car, so I need to know, but it’s also a courtesy.)  We didn’t even say anything to her about coming home late – just waited up unexpectedly.  I would love to have her remain her old self the rest of the summer without any big discussion.

This morning I went out to trim up the property line to one side of us.  It’s the neighbor’s weeds, but they never bother about it.  I trim up to a foot past the line, but in doing so I cut the brushy trees at a point that’s healthier for the tree.  They’ve never said anything to us about the yearly clean up.  They may just be happy to get free yard work.

I’m trying to stay on top of house and yard work, but am barely treading water.  The kids help as they can, but I want them to enjoy their time off as well.  What I really need is to dedicate a couple of days to sewing.  I got a few things done in recent weeks, but there are many projects to do.  I have to keep pushing myself in all of the tasks, and some days all I want to do is sit with an ice pack on my knee and a book in my lap.  Some days that scenario wins, if only for a few hours.

The local walking program started up at the beginning of June and runs through July.  It’s beating us up, especially my pesky knee.  I’ve been a ball of pain (feet, knees, you name it), but it’s good for me.  This is our fourth year participating, and for the first time, my name was drawn last night for the give away.  They’ve given out t-shirts in the past, and this year it’s a cooling towel, drawing after each walk.  It’s always fun to win, especially when you don’t expect to.

Tonight the walk takes place around a small, man-made lake, and the kids are most likely to go along.  They are so happy to be old enough to choose for themselves.  Dinner is a bit difficult as the walk starts at six and DD2 cannot eat first or she gets nasty cramps.  I’ve been working on getting as much prepared before we leave as possible, and if kids are staying home, trying to plan something that can just sit in the oven while we’re gone.  I really need to get back to menu planning.  One more thing for the to-do list.



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Good and Bad

My son is in his first week of summer vacation and he has been cleaning like a whirlwind.  He’s been promising to clean ‘when school gets out’ for weeks, but we didn’t know if he’d follow through or not.  His room is looking awesome!  He’s happy with his clean room, and the cats are happy to be allowed in to hang with him.  There is more work to be done, mainly the surfaces.  He started with floor space, which is always best.  I hope he keeps going and then makes a point of putting things away as he’s finished with this or that so he can keep his neat room.

It’s an absolute joy to watch this boy growing into manhood.  He’s been maturing as a student, which was confirmed by one of his teachers who had him for both freshman and sophomore years.  He told me that he’s been ready to practice driving since the snow melted but forgot to tell me.  He was nervous about driving, so that’s a big deal.  Now, he’s hopefully maturing in personal responsibility.

DH started working on his master’s degree in January and it takes most of his evenings. The grass is now growing and many things outside need to be tended to, but it’s become apparent that this help-meet is going to need to take charge of outdoor care for awhile.  Tuesday I grabbed my two youngest and we got to work.  They picked up sticks, I mowed, DS weed whacked, DD2 swept millions of maple seeds off of the deck, DS and I trimmed trees and got the branches stacked for waste pick up.  Much more needs to be done, but we were all whooped.  DH noted that I hadn’t asked DD1 to help.  She’s working at least 35 hours a week and as stated in a previous post, is in a state of perpetual annoyance this summer.

DD1 was making comments about dreading work before she left this morning (fast food) and I observed that she felt much the same way last summer (clothing retail).  She replied that it’s more a thing of not being at college.  I think this girl turned sixteen instead of twenty.  College age kids today are in near daily contact with all of their friends.  In my day, we wrote letters to the closest friends, and once in a while paid our parents for a phone call, keeping an eye on how many minutes we were on the phone.  It’s something to stop and think about the days when calls were charged by the minute and it mattered what time of day the call was placed.  It feels eons in the past, although it’s within the life of my marriage.

DD1 wants a car of her own, and it would make life easier for DH and I.  I don’t enjoy giving up my car to her work schedule, but it’s only for a few months.  Reliable used cars are pricey.  She doesn’t have oodles of cash for a car and neither do we.  Even if we could afford to buy the car for her, we wouldn’t.  She needs to sweat about where the money will come from.  She needs to take a good look at her finances and figure out where insurance premiums and gas money will come from.  She needs to think about having some cash in reserve for repairs.

We took DD1 to a couple of used car lots recently.  Her budget is out of touch (too small) and she needed a wake up call.  Those don’t come from parents.  Her college is an hour and a half away and most of the trip is on busy highway that I don’t always feel comfortable driving.  Drivers tend to go up to twenty miles an hour over the speed limit.  She needs a car that isn’t on its last legs and that isn’t a tin can in build (she’d be a pancake in an accident).

Last night DD1 was looking for ideas on how to earn more money.  She knows, but isn’t ready to admit, that she really needs to wait one more year before taking on a car.  DH asked her to list her reasons for wanting a car now.  Not one of those reasons was a real need.  It was all social, and tears were flowing.  I’ve seen more tears out that girl over this car issue than all of her previous nineteen years of life.

In the same conversation, she mentioned that she feels like she loses independence and steps back in a child role when she comes home.  Yeah, that’s what happens.  Any of us who went away to college had that feeling to some degree.  But those tears she’s shedding…well, I don’t think she’s ready to hear that grown ups don’t generally cry because they have to delay purchasing a ‘want’.

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Oh, What a Day!

My dryer decided that it no longer wants to blow hot air.  Okay.  I pulled out the drying racks and put them wherever they would fit (my daughter’s room is the place of choice, but she’s home for the summer).

The first day available for repair is Monday, and DD1 was already whining that she has laundry to do tonight.  I pointed out that she could wash it, hang it overnight, then finish drying it at a laundromat in the morning before work.  That suggestion was met with annoyed silence.  As if I’m thrilled to not have a functioning dryer.  She’s been annoyed to varying to degrees since she came home.  We may have to deal with that soon.

My son’s high school decided to cancel seventh hour due to graduation (why Wednesday?)- only they didn’t tell the parents.  They told the students….yesterday.  My son forgot to tell me.  The main drive, where I normally pick up my son, was blocked off and my son was waiting somewhere completely off the grid.

Our school system is horrible when it comes to communicating with parents.  They sent an e-mail out today about the grad’s schedules and that the drive would be blocked, but didn’t bother to mention the early dismissal.  I want to rake them over the coals, but am instead venting here first.  After all, my son has two more years.

There are things about the school that are really good, and others that irritate me no end.  Two more years.

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Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

DH left this morning for a one day photo trip, returning tomorrow morning (sunset and sunrise pictures).  He often comments about how much stuff we take on vacations.  I think that mystery was solved this morning.

It took DH four trips to his car to load everything he was taking – for his one day/night excursion.

I don’t ever want to hear again how much stuff goes with us when we travel.

This is not the first solo photography trip he’s taken.  The rest of us are quite happy not to tag along.  If you’ve never stood on a beach for two hours waiting for the light to be just right while you have to pee and it’s not tourist season so there isn’t even an outhouse open and three teens pace with boredom nearby and your knee would love for you to sit down but there is no bench and you won’t be able to stand back up if you sit on the ground and you have a two hour drive to get home, you don’t understand what I’m talking about but you may have the picture now.

I’m thinking that before summer is over, DD1’s work schedule permitting me to take the car, I’m going to have to take an overnight “photography” trip of my own.

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More Progress!

This week I finished the scrap blanket for DD and then made curtains for DH’s office and three travel pillow cases.  (We like our pillows.)  The curtains and pillow cases all came from an old flat sheet which lost it’s fitted companion due to a crumbling of elastic.  There’s enough material to make one more pillow cover.  The curtains were small – just for two basement windows.

DD2 helped me in the garden Monday afternoon, and my knee still hasn’t forgiven me.  (arthritis)  This garden has been overrun with violets for years now.  The past two years I skipped adding plants and worked on getting the violets out.  Still working on those stupid things.  My daughter worked on weeds while I dug out plants to move to sunnier areas.  This garden used to be full sun and is now mostly shade in full summer.  Once I’d moved a bunch of plants I worked on weeds.  I also put down a large amount of cardboard to attempt a mass, non-chemical kill of weeds.  We’ll see how it works.

The goal is to pull out as many plants as are worth saving, then re-work the garden adding landscape fabric in a lot of it to help prevent weeds.  I want to propagate my hydrangea and plant several in this area, then divide out other plants which do well in lower light and bring them to this area.  The plan is for lower maintenance and plants which will thrive.

DH has an itch to go somewhere this weekend.  When I asked him where he was thinking of going, the only thing he had was a trip to the other side of the state to take pictures.  Photography has been his hobby for a few years now and I am supportive of it, but for sanity’s sake I had to point out that a family outing involves doing something that everyone will enjoy.  I did not add that I positively do not plan on spending six hours in the car so I can sit with bored children while he takes pictures.  He decided he’ll take tomorrow off from work and do the pictures on his own, then we’ll do something together on the weekend.  Much better plan.  When I told the girls, my eldest half yelled, “Thank you!

I’m concerned for my mom and can’t do much about it.  Last fall she got a puppy, having been without a dog for over twenty five years.  She got a German Shepard, which we had in days past and love.  She had hoped to adopt an older dog, but simply wasn’t finding the dog she wanted.  Her puppy has been a handful, but absolutely changed things for Mom for the better.  She found a dog trainer who has come to her home twice a week and worked on specific issues with them for the past several months, helping with the exuberance of a puppy.

Now, this dog needs to be re-homed.  Mom is torn up about it, but after being jumped on, with teeth, multiple times, medical reasons ruled out by the vet, it’s time to find her a new owner.  I’m glad that Mom isn’t going to take a chance with her dog accidentally hurting her seriously.  I’m glad that the dog will go to a new owner before she reaches the point that a new home isn’t an option – I know that euthanasia becomes mandatory at some point.  Mom (and I) are hoping that the vet can find a younger owner with a larger stature and firmer nature.  My concern is for Mom’s mental state with this loss.  Hopefully God will show me ways to support Mom without overstepping.

Now I just need to keep the momentum going on the project list and the garden.



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A Conglomeration of Thoughts

I’ve actually gotten some sewing done!  Last week got a pair of pajamas made for my son as well as pillow covers for the living room.  The cardinals finally got to retire.  Today I started another baby blanket from pajama scraps.  Most of the pieces are cut.  Once I sew two of the strips I’ll know where I want to break the two long strips I have.

When I make these blankets, I begin by laying out the largest scrap(s) that I have.  The layout spins off from there.  Basically, I want to make the most of what I have.  The whole point here is to be mindful of using leftover material as completely as possible while making keepsakes for my kiddos.  I don’t think any of these blankets have turned out the exact same size as another.

My oldest, home from college for the summer, is a bit of a challenge.  She’s not partying or staying out until the wee hours of the morning, but boy is she touchy.  My middle child, with her Sensory Processing Disorder and all of the challenges it brings, used to be the most touchy of my three children, but the girls seem to have switched positions.

When I revealed plans to go to my mom’s for an overnight stay on Mother’s Day weekend (oh the horrors! *gasp*), my eldest teared up because her friends had an outing planned.  She can’t forgo an outing two weeks after school is out to visit her grandmother?  I should have left her home.  All she did was sleep while we were there.  She barely spoke and acted as if she weren’t listening at meals.  My mom is in good health, but she’s 78 and I don’t think it’s asking too much for a nineteen year old to suck it up and be pleasant for twenty four hours.

She gets huffy pretty quickly.  Maybe working will keep her too tired to react.  Then again…

Mother’s Day was a bust for me as usual.  It’s good that I’ve come to have low expectations.  My girls didn’t even wish me a happy day.  I don’t look for cards, I know that dining out is impossible on Saturday or Sunday, but it would be nice to have some kind of acknowledgement.  I already have plans for Father’s Day.  Nothing splashy, just plans that will let DH know I appreciate him.  I guess I’ll go shopping for myself and have a meal out for one.

Sorry about the pity party.  I’m really good at throwing them.

My blueberry bushes and strawberry plants are in their containers and beginning to leaf out!  The flowers I had ordered earlier haven’t done anything.  They came when we still had snow on the ground and had to live in the garage for a month.  I think I need to stop using that company as I’ve run into this issue before.  They just ship way too early.

I have concluded that one of my flower garden areas needs a massive killing off of weeds.  I’m going to grab a bunch of cardboard boxes from the grocery store – I shop early and they don’t care if you take the broken down boxes.  Those will be spread all over the garden and weighted down.  I’ve been told that this kills things effectively and I’ve used enough chemicals in the past.  It’s time to take it back to the minimum and start again.

I’m going to work to propagate my hydrangea bush and bring the cuttings to fill in the garden.  The cuttings will have to be carefully baby-sat, as a past attempt taught me, but it’s worth trying.

Here’s hoping I can stay on track!

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Happy Easter

Our oldest is in the middle of exam week.  The first day of exams was Thursday, putting Easter right in the middle of it all.  We couldn’t take our daughter away from school for the entire weekend, so we went down Saturday and stayed overnight.

The kids have always hunted eggs on Easter morning, but they each found 8 real eggs hidden around the first floor.  Being away from home for the first Easter the kids have had, I wanted to do something big.  We already had several plastic eggs, but I bought 8 dozen more in preparation for a huge outdoor hunt.

Saturday brought tons of rain, so we went to the middle of campus and hid the eggs around the campus bell tower where there’s a lot of cement on the ground.  DH got tired of hiding eggs before they were all placed, so I went with what we had.  The remaining eggs will go into a basket for anyone to take from, which we’ve traditionally done anyway.

It was fun, though my son wouldn’t touch the dozen glitter eggs I’d bought, but he would show them to the girls.  I put way too much chocolate out there, but boy was it fun!

Tensions were high between my girls, as usual.  My oldest has always behaved as a second mother to her sister, though there are only fifteen months between them.  My middle has matured greatly over the years, but something about visiting DD1 brings old behaviors/reactions out and DD1 has less than zero patience for it.

DD2 is on a different timeline and path than her sister.  Sensory Processing Disorder ‘gifted’ DD2 with anxiety, which takes more work to learn to live with and work through, which DD1 just doesn’t understand.  Anxiety is a monster to live with, but DD2 didn’t choose to have it.  She took a gap year after graduating from high school, and I think it was absolutely the right decision for her.  I’ve seen a lot of growth, and honestly she’s still had a course of study this year.  We found a couple of books written for SPD based anxiety in late teens and adults.  That was in the fall.  Since then, she’s been studying languages and linguistics all on her own.  For someone who took a year off of school, she’s learned a lot this year.

I spoke with DD2 today, not for the first time, about being assertive and confident in herself.  I don’t want to pit her against her sister, I just want her to understand that she has a voice, can make her own choices, and that DD1 isn’t in charge.

We’ll have to talk to DD1 on the ride home from school next weekend.

On a lighter note, I was able to get the yearly chocolate haul for next year’s Easter baskets this morning.  Too many people have figured out the ‘day after’ shopping strategy, and I’m not always able to get the items I’m going for anymore.

Strawberries and pineapple were on super specials last week and I got them in the freezer for fruit smoothies.  My son and I have been enjoying making those lately and I’d rather do a little work and make my own bags of ready-to-go fruit (for a third of the price or less!)

Winter coats, hats, and gloves got washed today!  70 degrees and sunny!  Time to go enjoy the weather.


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