Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sunday, July 17, 2016

more family time

A week or so after my mother went home, we welcomed my in-laws for a visit with them. It had been several years since they came to visit our city. Their visit also managed to work out for Shane's other brothers who took some vacation time to be here as well. The last several summers we have met up somewhere in New Brunswick, but this time it was here. Shane couldn't take much time off, so you see his twin brother in several of the photos who brought his young daughter to hang out every day. My brother-in-law took my son and my father-in-law canoeing on the waterways in the city, while I spent some time with my mother-in-law, niece and my girls of course. The days were filled outside with games of croquet and washer toss, an afternoon on a river beach, eating together and general mayhem.

My father-in-law loves books and always makes a point to read to our kids whenever we are together. He gets up early so often he read with them once everyone had some breakfast. He also brought several wonderful copies of books for us to use for this coming academic year as well as a few to leave for-good with the kids.

My oldest brother-in-law has a stepdaughter who loves Kate and who is always such a great help in taking care of Kate both in and out of water. She chased after her throughout Ikea and played with her constantly. She also enjoyed some games and hanging out with Seth. She really is the best.

On our last night hanging out, the girls and I headed home while Shane and Seth stayed to watch some baseball with the other guys. We followed the setting sun and stopped the admire it as we went by the airport. Less than a minute later, I heard a loud whirring helicopter sound and watched this large military style helicopter come right over us. There are often cars pulled off when we go past the airport, so watching airport activity is still something people do.

The garden harvest is starting to come in starting with the lettuce, peas, garlic, yellow beans and some of the celery. Some of the pickling cucumbers are also just about ready to pick, along with a golden zucchini. The radishes were duds. They were all leafy tops and no radish bulb. This is my first time growing them, so I need to read up on what went wrong. I already had planted some more, so we'll see if they grow any better.
We've had some good rainstorms so I have not needed to water as much in this last week.

A week ago, during a Saturday night, a small tree in our courtyard came down. As my husband found out when he went to remove the downed tree, it was infested with ants, presumably carpenter ants. He spent a morning with help from his dad and younger brother using his chainsaw to cut up the limbs and pieces of trunk into logs; just another perk of serving as condo president. Or maybe the only perk.

Friday, July 15, 2016

summer activities

We finished off my mom's visit with a belated birthday dinner and dessert which coincided with the final Mom's study group before Summer Break. I quickly made a bunting out of floral paper flowers bought in jars of several different colors years ago on a clearance shelf at Michael's Craft store. I have used them many times for different projects, but this was the first for a bunting. I went with red, white and blue since my mom is very patriotic and loves to decorate with those colors. I didn't measure how long it should be so the swag was quite lower than I would have preferred, but very-very-last minute ideas do not enjoy any tweaking, especially ones made in secret. I had made an unbaked cheesecake(cream cheese, sugar, cool whip and sour cream) with graham cracker crust and this homemade blueberry pie filling recipe. It was good even several days later.

Kate's therapy has helped her to be able to chew crackers, watermelon, cooked carrots and apple slices in small pieces placed on her molars where she can chew it well before swallowing. Under direct supervision she can feed herself bite sized pieces while she is reminded to place it correctly and chew well. It's a stage of toddler finger-foods-eating that she was never able to do. And her therapist is so encouraged by her progress that we are meeting more often to practice and help her try new steps in her eating abilities. She loves the watermelon.

Laura also has reached a milestone by teaching herself to ride her bike without her training wheels. I started out back with her on the grass by the river on a very hot and sticky morning. It became evident that she did not need me, just needed some time to work out the whole process. She went out several times that day and finally nailed it. The next morning was cool and windy, she headed back out and within minutes was riding it. We thought it was time to come out to the front to ride on the paved path that encircles the courtyard formed by our twenty townhouse/condo homes. Sure enough, she was ready, just needing practice at making the turns around each corner. Her efforts and skill rewarded her quickly and by later that afternoon she confidently riding with the other bikers. She has now been on bike rides with Seth and has done very well.

We have had several times of thunderstorm and rainstorm weather which has helped to keep the vegetation green and growing. It also has provided for some spectacular sky scenes.

Before my mom left she helped me plan and sew some curtain scraps into viable kitchen curtains, the last windows that needed treatments when we took down the venetian blinds we had been using since we lived here. She finished the seams and I made pockets for the curtain rod to slip through. I then cut two pieces of ribbon, attached velcro and applied anti-fray to the ribbon ends. There are four panels instead of two (leftover from the four Ikea curtain panels I altered) which looks a bit untidy when we untie them for the night, but it allowed me to use up fabric and not have to trudge around the shops for something else.