This week brought us the interesting combination of the beginning of school and a heatwave. The combination meant the first day became a half-day and the kids were encouraged to wear their gym uniforms. Has cooled enough today that they were able to wear their normal summer uniform for the opening the school year Mass.
Preparing for school took on a different path this year when as incentive for Lisbeth to clean her desk we decided to get her a fancy new desk light; and thinking about desks that it was time to get Liam a desk for his room ~ and so in addition to copybooks, crayons, and glue sticks; we have bought and assembled a desk, and two chairs.
We celebrated Labor Day by heading to the pool for one last swim. The kids had so much fun swimming this summer and I was impressed by the improvements I saw in their swimming skills. Afterwards we headed to Rita's for some water ice.
As I've been meeting up with people in the school yard again and we've been catching up on everyones summer I've been laughing to myself because I keep describing it as a good summer; (the kids really enjoyed their camps, did their summer work without complaint and we all had fun at the pool) and then I wonder if Dr Daddy would agree given the broken jaw. It is a real testament to him that this didn't become a bigger issue but rather an opportunity to try out different smoothie recipes.
Linking up again with Carolyn to share what I've been reading and as I've recently been on vacation there are a few.
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street continued my journey to read all things Hanff having discovered a couple of years ago that the movie I've loved for many years was based on a book and she wrote many others. The Duchess takes Hanff (and us) to London; 84 Charing Cross is being released in England and the publishers gift she with a trip to London for the release. Luck for us she kept a journal and that journal became a book with lots of lovely tidbits of the people she met and her impression of a city she had dreamed of visiting for so long.
The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer was a bit too much caper and not enough romance for me ~ and left me wanting to have a serious sit down with our heroine Horatia who lucked into a wonderful husband and lacks the good sense to trust him. While I don't regret reading this the book ~ it did make me want to reread one of my favorites of her's soonest!
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan was a fun fast read with a bit too much angst but very good characterization about three generations of a Massachusetts family as summer begins and they head up to the Maine beach house won in a bet fifty years earlier.
The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is in contention for the best book I have read this year. It is the story of Ada who due to her clubbed foot has been kept a shut-in by her mother, so when the children from her neighborhood are evacuated to the country she makes her escape. Written about a 10 year old for 10 year old readers issues of abuse and trust are handled gently but honestly.
Another Maine vacation is in the books! As is our usual; we left later than we had hoped and hit more traffic than we would have liked. On the positive we were able to pick up our niece along the way and made it Maine without stopping for the night.
Weather was definitely more challenging this year with rain showers forecasted almost everyday. Watching the sky we headed to the pool as often as possible. Fun was had by all, Caitie using and not her water wings. One day everyone already wet we stayed and just decided to swim through the rainstorm, ironically having to pull everyone out as the weather cleared because of thunder.
The beach was definitely the highlight both in its sunny and stormy moods. The waves often cooperated for perfect boogie boarding sessions for the older kids. Caitlin did try on several occasions but ultimately decided 'not yet'.
Trying something new we went to a Food Truck park that has set-up in G-ma's town for the summer. A good variety of options we tried beans & rice, fancy fries, fried dough, soft tacos, and gelato. Likely if the trucks are back next summer we will visit again. We also took time to visit our favorite ice cream place several times. Unfortunately our favorite clam shack closed but we found a decent if more expensive alternative. Lisbeth and I hunted blackberries for pancakes and as usual Dr Daddy was the brunch master!
Re-entry was made a bit bumpier by us waking our first morning back to discover that our power meter had overheated and the power company had cut us back to half power. This luckily kept the refrigerator working and most lights on but for warm food and wifi we needed to look elsewhere. Panera to the rescue!!
As of yesterday we have a new meter and full power so today will consist of doing a lot of laundry and cutting the grass that grew high while we were gone ~ and the kids catching up on some screen time.
With school year a week and half away starting to focus on finding all necessary pieces of uniforms and double checking supply list needs ~ while not letting the panic set in but rather soaking up the last lazy mornings of summer.
Last Friday I headed south with the kids to visit family in Richmond. We made a stop along the way to visit Mount Vernon the historic home of George Washington. Having lived in the area for many years during my childhood, now having the chance to visit the Mansion and see my kids play on the banks of the Potomac meant a lot.
In addition to the Mansion we also walked through the lower garden and some of the outbuildings including the kitchen where we learned that President Washington's favorite summer dessert was strawberry ice cream!
We then drove by my high school and parish before braving Friday rush hour as we completed our trip south.
After a wonderful dinner and a good night sleep we were ready for some more adventuring and with my mom, sister and kids we headed to the Metro Richmond Zoo.
A great zoo where we had an amazing time seeing tons of animals. Highlights include feeding and petting giraffes, the bird house, and a sky ride that allowed us to travel above many habitats and get a 'birds-eye view' of many more animals.
We ended the day with a delicious dinner at my sister's where I got to enjoy some quality sister time and my kids enjoyed more time with their cousins. Living far away I really cherish those times when we get a chance to just talk and catch-up particularly with my older niece and nephew as they begin to think about college and the future.
And now many photos!! Please have a wonderful weekend!!
The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick is the beginning of her trilogy on the life of Eleanor of the Aquitaine. This book tells the story of Alienor's (how she was known at that time) betrothal and first marriage to King Louis VII of France in 1137 and follows her on crusade and as challenges cause both of them to seek annulment. Beautifully written, this is my favorite type of historical fiction with enough detail to expand my understanding while telling an interesting story. The story moves quickly, with conversations and interactions which feel realistic. I've already hunted down the sequel to read at some point.
Another example of wonderful historical fiction is Helena by Evelyn Waugh, telling the story of Saint Helena from when she meets and marries Constanine and continues as she follows him, and later her son, from military post to post. Personally this book was a bit too light on facts about the saint but an interesting overview of life during the 4th Century Roman Empire. Even if this leans more fiction than history the writing is wonderful, particularly as she searches for the True Cross and seeks the intercession of the Magi.
How is your summer going? Ours is going well and if things like lawnmowers and jaws would stop breaking I might even say great. Update on last week's post the lawnmower has been replaced and we'll find out next week how the jaw is healing.
Swim lessons wrapped up earlier this week. Both L1 and L2 made progress in learning freestyle (specially how to periodically breath without stopping), and Caitlin made progress with her 'doggie' paddle and gained enough confidence that she no longer asks for her swim vest at the pool.
In other camp news Liam had a blast with soccer camp last week and is looking forward to playing with a local league this fall. Currently Lisbeth is enjoying Art Camp. She completed an ocean themed colored pencil sketch this week and next week apparently moves on to paints.
We actually had a break in the humidity the last couple of days allowing for some porch reading; finished this (wonderful ~ definitely reading the sequel) and starting this. What are you reading these days?
Had fun watching all of the Prime Day posts go by; decided to hold off a bit longer before getting the kids their own Kindles so in the end I only got colored pencils and highlighters. Did look at the school supply list and then decide I just wasn't ready to get in school mode yet. Except teaching Liam to tie his shoes ~ must get on that!!
Bonnie of A Knotted Life has brought back the Sheenazing Awards and is taking nominations!!
A mixed bag weekend coming up as there is a lot of yard work to catch-up on but in celebration of National Belgium Day tomorrow a beer and plenty of chocolate after the work is done.
iCloud apparently needs to work on its sharing skills ~ so no pictures :(