Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

The Summer Halfway Point

We have reached the summer halfway point.  Specifically, today is the second day of the second half of The Cub’s summer break.  I lost track of blogging.  So here is an update.

The Cub finished Kindergarten with a very good report card.  The only issue noted was that he had started to act sillier as the year came to a close.  But his reading is now at an L/M level, which is beginning 3rd grade level.  Oof.  We bought two summer workbooks for him, one a 1st grade prep and one a 2nd grade prep.  We aren’t pushing him to work in them, or drilling him on anything, just trying to work pages into a couple of days a week and to continue to work math and reading into everyday life.  He’s almost done with the 1st grade prep one, so we should be working on the 2nd grade prep on for most of August.  And he’ll sit down with the book without us asking him too, at times, as something to do.  We relocated the one bookshelf and he’s made that little nook into a reading spot.

He spent the first full week of his summer break in NC at Camp NanaPa.  They ended their 4 week tour of the upper midwest at our house on the 2nd to last day of school.  We had some family gatherings that week-end, including my youngest cousin’s HS graduation party.  Then they packed up and headed for NC on Monday.  I miss him when he is gone, but it is good for him and for us.

While The Cub was in NC M’Lord and I worked for most of the week.  But we finally took a trip out to Longwood Gardens.  I’ve wanted to go their for many years, but didn’t think that The Cub would enjoy it, especially now that I have my good camera and was stopping to take multiple shots of the same flower with different settings.  He’d like the Children’s Garden and the treehouses.  We had a lovely, though hot, day wandering the gardens and the Conservatory.  I’d love to go back for the Christmas trees.

We also attended the local wedding reception of a wonderful friend who was married in FL in March.  On my niece’s birthday.  Easy to remember.  It was held at the NY Botanical Gardens.  The camera came to that venue, too.  We arrived about 1 hour early as we were concerned about rush hour traffic on a Friday evening.  So I took some time to wander and photograph the flowers, call The Cub to say goodnight, and talk with friends who had also arrived early for the same reason. The food, friends, music, and dancing were wonderful and I got to dance with the Groom.  He’s a competitive West Coast Swing dancer and also an well known DJ for dance competition week-ends.  So getting to do a WCS with him was an honor.

The following Monday, my Aunt and I drove down into VA to meet up with my parents and my mom’s cousin for lunch and to pick up the Cub from them.  I had my boy back.

4th of July was quiet.  We had s’mores and sparklers in the back yard with friends.

The Cub had Space, Infinity and Beyond science camp in the mornings for the next week.  He came home with all sorts of flying things, including a rocket.  He also began his weekly swim lesson.

The last two weeks have been some swimming at the local pool or a friend’s local pool, splashing in his own little pool in the back yard, trips to the library, lots of reading, some bike rides with his Dad, game playing, playing in general, and surviving the heat.

I am not a summer person.  So, while wishing time away is a waste of time, I am ready for October weather and clothing and baking.


A Slayer of Socks

I am hard on socks.

I like socks.  Especially in cooler months.

I don’t like to wear shoes or sneakers without socks.  Sandals are fine, but I can’t stand flipflops.

I have lots of socks.

I have to have lots of socks…

…because I kill socks.

Size 6 1/2 is not a big foot.  So I don’t stretch them out or need larger, longer socks.  In fact, the heels of many socks end up farther up the back of my heel and ankle then actually on my heel.  And, though it happens, heel holes rarely happen in my socks.

The feeling of a sharp nail edge rubbing on a toe, a sock, or sheets, is very annoying, so nail trimming is a regular occurrence.  So no holes in the toes.

Occasionally the elastic at the top will dry out, rendering the socks useless unless you like them bunched around the ankles.

No holes in the toes.  Few holes in the heels.  No stretched out socks.  What is left?

I wear out the area under the balls of my feet.  White cotton crew socks, hiking socks, cute cotton socks with cats or Kermit or snowflakes on them, argyle knee socks…I wear out the area under the ball of my foot.  Not just a small hole but a large worn and thin area.  And this happens fairly frequently.  And not evenly between the two matching socks.

So frequently that M’Lord gave me about a dozen new pairs of cute cotton socks for Christmas.  Which is good because about that many pairs ended up in the trash this winter.  One more wearing and today’s pair will probably be heading for the trash, too.

Those aren’t flour spots.  They are areas where you can see right through to my skin.  This is an odd one in that the heel is wearing through, too.

We don’t darn socks anymore.  Socks are inexpensive and colorful.  Keeping all of the colors to match all of the sock colors would be impossible.  Darning was much more practical, and necessary, when stockings and socks were black, brown, or white, and each person only had a few pairs.  And they were thicker.  The repair seam would not bother the bottom of the foot.  One of the family heirlooms that I’ve been given is a double darning egg, used to shape the heel or toe when repairing those few pairs of stockings.

But the holes that appear in my socks are too big for darning.  They require a good sized patch.

White crew socks, bought by the multipack, can be paired up with other white crew socks who have lost their mates to death by my feet.  But unless I buy two matching pairs of cute socks, I end up with a drawer full of odd, though cute, cotton socks.  The Cub needs only so many sock puppets.

But I need more socks.

Happy Halloween

Halloween is over.  The door is shut.  The outside lights are off.  The candle is out.  The Cub is tucked in.  Tomorrow the Halloween specific decor will be put away.  It was a long day.

Yesterday we (he designed the face, I carved it and fished all of the seeds out for roasting) carved a jack-o-lantern.  The glow is from the sun coming through the kitchen window.

There was no school today as they hadn’t finished returning power to the area and there were still roads closed due to tree limbs and traffic signals still not fixed when they had to make the decision last night.  However, the township did not postpone Halloween as some have done.  By this morning the signals were fixed and a small minority of area was still in the dark.

So we went trick or treating this afternoon while a chicken roasted in the oven.  I keep the route short as a 5 year old does not need that much candy.  And we gave him a new Cars 2 car, so he’s very happy.

The Cub chose to be a ghost this year.  One $5 white sheet from W-Mart and about an hour of cutting and sewing and some consulting with M’Lord about the basic pattern and we had a ghost costume.  I didn’t want the whole sheet over his head, so I went with a pullover hoodie sort of thing.  I used brown eye shadow around his eyes to make him look haunted.

The Cub was happy.  That is what counts.

The Skull Riders (a local group of riders who do a car and bike show on Halloween and ride through the township, all to raise money for kids with medical issued in our area) came by just as M’Lord and The Cub were settling in to read, so we threw shoes on and headed out to the corner to watch the motorcycle parade go by.  I didn’t think that we were on the route based on what was published, but they came by us. Then it was back to reading and bedtime.  It was a long day, but a good day.

Happy Halloween!

Zinnias and a Sprinkler

Irene is on her way.  The track keeps shifting from east to west to east, so we keep moving in and out of the second band of wind speeds.  So…I moved everything in the yard into the sheds or the house this afternoon.  The Cub wanted me to set the pool up.  I was not doing this for one afternoon and then taking it down again, so I told him that he could play in the sprinkler.  We haven’t ever done this with him.  He jumped at the chance.

And through the sprinkler

Lots of times.

With his goggles on so that he could see better.

Then we moved the sprinkler closer to the swingset so that he could slide down the wet slide.

Then closer so he could swing in and out of the water as it moved.   He had a blast while I moved everything and locked it all up.

Then I cut the only blooming zinnias before they get beaten to a pulp.  The garden didn’t yield much this year because of the late start, but we are still getting string beans and I have some pretty flowers.

Can you see the top of the stem in this shot? (If you click on the photo you should get a jumbo sized one.)

It’s curled.  The flower is on the other side at a right angle to the plant.

How odd.

I love the candy cane colored ones.

My backyard looks like it is ready for winter.  We’ll see what survives Irene other than the zinnias.

Mommy and the Legos

Aha!  I knew that there was a shot of me and the Cub working on the Hogwarts Castle build.  Though Pa and Daddy did most of the bags/sets with him, I did do one of them.  I like playing with Legos and remember having a space rocket set, a hospital set, and various other pieces when I was a girl, along with Bristle Blocks, Lincoln Logs, wood blocks, and Tinker Toys.  That might be part of why I ended up in the construction industry, hmmm.  There are times when Liam will want to create something and all three of us end up on the floor, going through the bins looking for pieces, and creating the whatever it is together.

He has quite a collection, including Fire and Police sets.  He likes to make Wall-Es and Eves in all colors, and vehicles of all shapes and sizes.  The cocktail umbrellas are beach umbrellas for the various figures.  The existence of a Lego Store in the mall near M’Lord’s office does not help to keep the quantity down at all.  It’s a dangerous store.  Yes, it is.  My sister found 4 gallon bags of miscellaneous pieces at a yard sale for 50 cents each and sent them up to add to the collection, too.  Most of what is in the bins is a random collection of odd parts and pieces.  All the more interesting to use and create with.

About once a week we get all of the pieces that aren’t parts of some construction into their bins so that I can vacuum without sucking up any Legos.  Today was not that day. The table top on the trunk was originally for Thomas tracks.  It’s become the Lego table and is at the perfect height for The Cub to work at while playing on the floor.

Anyway, here we are finishing up whichever tower it was that we worked on together.

On to the next project/build we go.

Water Fun

The Cub, for a couple of years, didn’t like spraying water – showers, spray parks, sprinklers, etc.  So when the MOMs held playdates at the local spray park we skipped it.

This year, though, I gave it a shot again.  And The Cub loved it.  He spent the better part of 2 hours in and out of the sprays, with a couple of trips over to the playground for breaks.  These two are from my cell phone as I forgot my camera.

He stood under the dumping buckets…

And controlled the spray guns…

…and ran through all of the ground fountains.

Yesterday we went up to a friend’s house for a babysitting/play date.  Once my friend and her oldest returned home the Slip and Slide was set up on the slope in their back yard.  At the bottom they placed a partially filled inflatable round pool to create a bigger landing zone because it’s running down the hill in their back yard.  After the first slide down, through the sprinkling water that wets the slide, The Cub just kept running up the slope and sliding down.

He came down on his tush…

…his stomach…

…backwards on his stomach…

…many times around…

They even added a small child slide to the top for a little while, adding to the length and speed.  He loved that too.

My boy who disliked spraying water has become a spray water lover.  Yay!

More Legos – for the Man and the Boy

Thursday night M’Lord and I were going out for dinner as The Cub was still away.  After hearing our destination, a friend suggested that we go early and stop at the nearby Borders to see what was left.  We took her suggestion.  What an expensive suggestion it was.  While wandering around the games area M’Lord found the Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts set sitting on the floor.  It still had the theft binding on it, and it could be had for 25% off the original price.  M’Lord couldn’t leave it there.  Nope.  Not my geek.  After picking up two Cars 2 Lego sets for The Cub (that we put away for Christmas), along with a copy of Baking Illustrated that I’ve wanted for 4 years or so, and a few other books, we headed to the checkout and paid for our pile.  Ouch.  Later that night I started to mark up the receipt for budget recording purposes and realized that the Hogwarts set was not on the receipt, but an odd book was.  The cashier had punched in the wrong number for the set and charged us only for a book.  As honesty is the best policy, and the difference in cost was too much to ignore, M’Lord took a photo, with his phone, of the price tag, and headed to work the next day.  He called Borders and ended up talking to the manager.  He explained what had happened, was thanked for his honesty, and asked to come back in to the store with the receipt.  The shift manager then fixed the mistake, and, for his honesty, gave M’Lord a 40% discount instead of the original 25%.  So, while it was still an expensive trip, the fun toy part of it came down a bit.

On Saturday morning, The Cub, who is now home again, found the box and had a lot of trouble waiting for M’Lord to get up so that they could start to build this 1260 piece thing.  There were 10 bags of pieces in the box.  For a 5 year old The Cub did very well with following the directions and putting the “sets” together considering that the age range on the box is 8 to 14 years .  Yes, M’Lord was doing very well with it too, considering he’s way beyond the age range ;).  On Saturday we (M’Lord, My Dad, and I) helped with the first 7 bags.

First they assembled the characters.

Then the first tower.

Then The Cub and I assembled the bottom half of the second tower.

The The Cub and my Dad assembled the top half of the second tower.

Then The Cub and M’Lord started the Dining Room section until it was The Cub’s bedtime.

The rest would wait for Sunday.

Meanwhile, M’Lord started to clean up the top shelf area in the Family Room in order to have a place to put the finished castle.

On Sunday morning, The Cub woke M’Lord up enough to ask if he could put the pieces from Bag 8 together with Pa.  The answer was Yes.  This one included the parts to complete the Dining Hall roof.

Once M’Lord was up and about, he and The Cub took care of Bag 9.

After lunch they completed the project with Bag 10, which included a tiny green Lego frog.

The critters in this set are great.  There are 3 owls, a cat, a large rat, a spider, a frog, and a bat.

The finished build is pretty neat.

And The Cub is happy!