We've reached the last week of summer break. Actually, it's just a partial week because school starts on Thursday. These last few days will be spent getting ready for the first days of school, including meetings with the teachers for me on Wednesday. The small Bears have had haircuts, everyone's shoes fit, backpacks have been loaded with labeled folders and notebooks, school lunch-making supplies have been laid in.
It was a good summer, but also a weird one. It felt like June was the only real "break" month we had, due to the LB's surgery in early July, and subsequent recovery. He is doing much better now, basically back to normal but still on restricted activity until his surgical stents are removed sometime in September. I've struggled a bit with the whole thing, as you've probably noticed. I hated seeing him in pain, and limited in his activities, and being at home together for weeks was trying too. I love to be at home, never want to be anywhere else, really. But I've never done well with long stretches of idle, unorganized time (which is what summer break has felt like to me since I was a child myself), and the medical situation really enhanced my difficulties this summer. I understood that it was what he needed, and I am grateful for the time and opportunity to provide it for him. I didn't have to get back to a job and I didn't need to secure childcare or in-home medical help. I was able to care for him all by myself, and I had the time to do it. I am thankful. I am also relieved to be moving past it and back into the structure of normal life.
Over the past couple of weeks, with the LB doing better and needing less from me, I've tried to be busier at home and it has felt better. I've been making and doing more again and it feels good.
I made these appliqued aprons, birthday gifts for two of my nieces, who live in New York. The aprons are pre-made ones from Hobby Lobby; I used Heat N Bond fusible fabric to affix the letters and hearts to the aprons, then did some simple embroidery around the shapes. The letters have vertical stitches all around them, the hearts have tiny X's. I also sent them a children's cookbook. I so enjoy making things for children.
Homeschool work has continued through the summer, as health has allowed. We try to incorporate art and music as much as possible, in addition to more academic work. Here, I'd been supervising the small Bears in drawing and painting a box of peaches we had on the kitchen counter.
The monsoon continues. We've had some very good storms and lots of rain. Sometimes the storms are downright scary, with heavy rain, loud thunder and startlingly bright lightning. My backyard planter has become a wild jungle.
Ah, but I never tire of the drama of a serious thunderstorm.
During stormy days, and on some of the really intensely hot, sunny ones too, the small Bears have been playing in a fort they built from boxes and blankets. We've had it sitting in the family room for weeks, as they make improvements and change the configurations.
Very little in life makes them happier than a good play fort.
I've been cooking All The Things lately, both by myself and with help.
We made granola as a family, using a recipe from Alton Brown. Oh my goodness, this granola is awesome. I was eating it by the handful; it didn't last long.
I made what I think was my best lasagna yet. It was loaded with spinach, zucchini and carrots, with fresh basil on top. I'm still using that basil plant I bought about three months ago. I can't believe I've kept it alive this long. I've used basil in virtually everything this summer.
Last Friday, we had a load of firewood delivered. This is a half-cord of mixed woods - cedar, juniper and pinon. This load should last us a couple of winters, since we don't have fires all that frequently. Between the Bear and I, we got it all moved to the side yard and stacked in about 45 minutes. We worked like machines. We were so hot and dirty. But those fires will be well worth it.
The Bear and I went out for dinner by ourselves this weekend, just to Flying Star Cafe, a local diner, nothing too fancy. But it was our first meal out, alone, in more than two months (the Bear's parents stayed with the children). After our hard summer, it was just perfect. I was so happy to be out with him. We had dinner (grilled veggie panini for me, fish tacos for him, shared order of onion rings) and dessert (two slices of cake to share) with coffee. We stayed out until 8:30, people. It was terrific.
I'll leave you with this sobering reminder that autumn is just around the corner. These are pyracantha berries in our backyard. They're just starting to get an orange tinge here and there. Right now they're in the early stages of their transition from green to orange. By October, they'll look like a constellation of tiny persimmons.
I know summer break is still in full swing in a lot of places, even though it's just about over where we are; I hope you're having a nice time. I'd also like to say thanks, again. I'm very thankful for your supportive and encouraging comments, and surprises in the mail (I'm looking at you, Gillian and Ingrid) over the past few weeks. I appreciate knowing you're out there thinking about us, and that you enjoy coming back here to see what we've been doing. Have a good week, friends.