Monday, August 10, 2015

The tail end


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.

35 comments:

  1. A great post! I'm glad LB is well improved especially as it gives you more free time. All your food looks so delicious. It's great you and your husband were able to get out for dinner together. I smiled when you said you were back by 8:30! We rarely stay out late and we don't have small children to come back to. Love the aprons you embellished.

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  2. What a lovely post. I love having the children around, so the the tail end of the holidays are always tinged for me. We're about half way now. When I make granola, I can't resist taking a bit to sample. And then a bit more. It is yummy. Love the aprons. I'm sure they will love them.

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  3. Hi, Can't believe your summer holidays are nearly over!, ours are half way, and seem to be going fast. Glad LB is on the mend and things are getting back to normal. enjoy your weekx

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  4. The time has flown by, the end of the holidays already. I think they are about half way through over here. The wood reminded me I must start to get organized for the Autumn and get mine ordered and stacked. Loved the aprons, such great gifts.

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  5. Great thoughts and photos, indeed the break has come to an end. Best wishes in the new term.

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  6. Love those aprons, so (sew?) sweet :)
    Summer must have been very frustrating for you. I'm glad your sons recovery is continuing well, how brave he has been and such a lucky boy to have such a fab, warm, caring, understanding Mum.
    Jillxo

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  7. So happy to hear LB is on the mend, and doing better. Forts, my little man loves them too! He and his little friend are forever making them, adding to them, changing them...so fun! A date night, how lovely. So happy you guys got out.

    Have a wonderful week, and good luck to your kiddos on their return to school.

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  8. That is one serious heap of firewood and good to have a mixture of wood as I believe they burn differently. You make some lovely things for your family and make time for one another too..You are an excellent example to us all.

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  9. I am happy to hear that LB is doing well! My daughter starts school next week - hard to believe summer is almost over. Your lasagna looks delicious! My basil didn't make the move with us, and I am missing it. Your date night out sounds just perfect to me. Your panini looks yummy, and so does that slice of chocolate cake. Our daughter spent the night with her grandmother last night, and it was so nice to have a quiet, much needed, evening at home to relax. Hope you have a great week!

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  10. The schools around here start up again next week. It seems no time at all that they were all excited to be getting out and now they're going back!

    I had to laugh when you said you were back from your dinner out by 8.30pm. We're the same when we go out. I'd rather go early and be back here as soon as I can! No night owls around these parts any more! LOL

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  11. Jennifer, you should be so proud of yourself, you've done an amazing job of holding it all together over the summer. I know how much you love home, but I can well understand that when it's enforced it can be hard. I'm glad LB is doing well now, I hope he settles back into school okay. I'm envying you your fantastic thunderstorms, I love the drama of a good storm too. Enjoy the last few days of your holidays. CJ xx

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  12. just wanted to say hey, and that I love your planter - overgrown and all. glad you soon is doing well and glad you are feeling good. have a great week. :)

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  13. Looks like the summer break was good family time and now school is around the corner x

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  14. Maybe I 'm getting old, but the summer breaks just seem to be getting shorter and shorter. The schools here start back next Monday, but we won't begin lessons here at home until September. This will be my last year homeschooling and really I don't do much now, I'm just here to help if needed.
    Glad you had a date night, it sounds perfect to me, and so important for a marriage.

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  15. I love your aprons... I've been thinking about making them for my grandchildren and yours sure are an inspiration! We are waiting for our wood to arrive so we can begin stacking. We heat primarily with wood, using our furnace only on the coldest days and nights. I agree with Tracey... the summers do seem to be getting shorter and shorter!

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  16. Those aprons are so cute and what a nice gift!
    I can't believe summer is so close to being done, and I have to admit that makes me a little sad.
    LB looks great, glad he's almost back to normal.
    Your lasagne looks just marvelous!

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  17. WOW! 8:30! That's late Jennifer. You sound like Dennis and me. I'm so glad you had that time together. I think it's very important for couples to do that. The aprons are darling and I know your nieces will love them. What a thoughtful gift. I'm impressed at all that you do as a stay at home Mom. Homeschooling, nursing, and your cooking is so impressive. Way to go!
    Blessings always,
    Betsy

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  18. I'm glad LB is getting back to normal after his surgery. You're lucky to have rain. I never thought I'd say this but we need some. I hope it doesn't start while we're at camp the next two weeks! We have one more day of shopping, getting fresh veggies for the 2 weeks. Then on Wed we're off! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  19. Lovely post Jennifer. Your description of everyone being ready for school [everyone's shoes fit] made me smile. You've been busy (lovely aprons) and I'm sure you're ready for a little rest! It's great that your son is on the mend and I love those pics of your two in their den. I used to love doing that with my kids. It's good to see you making time to spend with your husband. (Note to self: do that too!) We have four more weeks of holiday to fill... Sam x

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  20. "Everyone's shoes fit".... how back to school is that, brilliant Jennifer! :)
    I'm so glad your son is much better and ready for the new term.
    Good too that you and you lovely man got some time to yourselves.

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  21. I'm glad to hear that Lb is recovering well Jennifer and is almost back to his normal self. Love the aprons and the lasagne looks yummy. It's good that you and hubby managed to go out by yourselves the meal sounds lovely. :) xx

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  22. Enjoy these last few days before they're back at school, I always used to hate the end of the holidays when mine were little but they couldn't wait to get back to school. I'm so pleased to hear that your son is doing well, not only have these holidays been different from usual for you but you've also had all the worry to contend with too. The little aprons are so pretty, I'm sure your niece's will be thrilled with them. Your lasagne looks delicious.

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  23. You don't need to apologise for finding this summer hard, I think you've held up incredibly well actually, given all you've had to contend with. I'd be a nervous wreck by now if it were me. I'm a bit jealous of your thunderstorms. We get lots of wet, drizzly, overcast days here but not the storm/sunshine/storm type weather you do. Your date night dinner sounded delicious I have to say and it's nice that you were able to do that. Enjoy the last couple of days of the holidays. xx

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  24. Oh how I miss a good old thunderstorm. It just doesn't happen in Scotland. I have thinking for a while how well you are dealing with a stressful time Jennifer. Your calmness is inspiring. My kids go back to school on Thursday, too. We still have one pair of gym shoes to buy.... Enjoy the last two day of your holiday. x

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  25. I'm thoroughly looking forward to autumn it's my very favourite season & I can't believe it's so close. Your lasagne looks glorious, it's only me who likes veggie lasagne here so it'snot on the menu often. It's great news that your son is well on the road to recovery x

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  26. Sounds like you had a wonderful past week. Your veggie lasagna looks terrific! Did you follow a recipe? Would love to have that one. Your dinner out with the hubs sounds really nice. Hope your coming week is just as perfect!

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  27. I'm glad to hear your son is much much better and that he and his sister are all set for the new school year. It's also lovely that you and your husband had a great evening out. Hope you all have a lovely week!

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  28. Nonono I don't want to hear it, autumn is nót around the corner, it is still summer and will be for a long time (or at least, I hope so...) ;-)))
    That load of firewood you had delivered, which you say will get you through a couple of winters, would be just enough for a month here in winter... Good thing we have our own forest for our wood...
    Won't it be difficult for LB, starting school still with those stents ? Poor thing... well, on the positive side, he is going back to school, everything turned out good with his surgery, so those stents will also soon be history & forgotten...
    Xxx

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    1. Hi Ingrid, he should be okay to go to school, but he can't be picking up the chairs (the teacher has them put the chairs on the table at the end of the day), moving tables/desks, picking up boxes or heavy books, etc. She knows about his situation so she said he'd get other jobs to do, like wiping the tables. :)

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  29. The aprons are gorgeous! We are about halfway through our summer break here in the UK and are enjoying camps, baking and also lots of thunderstorms! It thundered last night and it has been rumbling around here all morning. We are expecting a months rain in two days! Hubby is off as part of his holiday so it is probably a trip to the swimming pool this afternoon! I hope the new school year goes well for you all. It always seems no time at all until Christmas once they go back! hugs. x

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  30. I feel as you do Jennifer,more summer holiday is almost done,the boys return to school on Monday. I have very mixed feelings about that- the mixture being I don't want them to go back so soon, to, I really really don't want them to go back so soon. When the boys are on holiday, and we are all together (apart from my husband being at work of course) it just feels right, like it should be like his all the time. I always struggle a bit when they go back after the holidays.
    Hope your little boy manages ok at school, it's a along haul getting back to normal after surgery and very hard to watch an adored child struggle X

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  31. Hi Jennifer,

    So glad to learn, after a two month absence from the 'hood, that LB's surgery went well, and that he is recovering nicely. Your garden looks so lush and lovely, and your lasagna delicious. I love the drama of thunderstorms, and the opportunity to get cozy during the summer, simply to listen to real 'surround sound' and take in that fabulous 'light show'!

    Happy weekend!

    Poppy

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  32. Hey Jennifer,
    What a lovely Mum you are. I sometimes feel very lacking in the patience department during our ling summer holiday. I crave time for myself, and space to breathe. It can make me very crabby. You seem to be able hold these feelings, and then get on with the Jo un hand so well. And you let the LBs fort remain standing for weeks on end! I'd of cleared it away by now. I couldn't cope. I'm glad to here that the small bear's recovery is progressing well. It must have been quite stressful. For both of you.
    Sending you all lots of love,
    Leanne xx

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  33. Sounds like a nice way to end the holidays! And I for one am looking forward to Autumn, it's my favourite season and being pregnant in the heat is, i'm sure you know, no fun! x

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