Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Summer Summary (Summery)

My blogging has been scarce this summer. I apologize to my faithful reader for the inconsistency. It’s been nice taking a break, but I also miss it. I’m going to attempt to recap things in order to give everyone (ie. my children in the future) the impression that we have non-stop fun around here in the summers.

The week after we got back from the lake, it was Day Camp week at our church. We were jolted back to reality by having to get up very early every day. Spencer, Chloe and I volunteered and Neve was a happy camper. Kristin, Corinna and I worked in the kitchen making snacks and lunch for the pre-school age kids. We had some good fun while cooking up gourmet lunches like Kraft dinner and pancakes.

On the Friday of that week, Chloe left for her second major trip of the summer. She went on a school trip (in collaboration with a U.S. school) to Churchill for almost two weeks. Her group of 15 students and a couple of leaders and scientists did research on the permafrost level, plants, and Arctic foxes.  For part of the time, they stayed in an isolated tundra research station in a national park a half hour helicopter ride from Churchill. It was an amazing opportunity and she had some pretty cool experiences. I’ll try to get her to blog about it, but I said that about her Jacksonville trip too and it never happened. My parenting has gotten soft lately; I need to re-introduce bribes and threats to motivate the children.   

Chloe is the ringleader of her siblings, so the dynamic is weird when she’s gone. Spencer and Neve got along better than I thought they would, but certain things (like the beach) are just not as fun without her.  We were going to go to Tinkertown one day but Neve refused to go without Chloe. Neve insists she’s never been to Tinkertown in her life (CFS is obviously not doing their job) so despite her strong desire to go, her desire to share it with Chloe was stronger.

We still managed to do some things without Chloe including:

the zoo (with my niece Sarah):

the Rosenort festival (with my nieces Bailey & Tia),

Folklorama (once to watch my nieces Bella & Lexie dance, and once to watch Neve’s student teacher dance)

My niece from Florida was here exactly during the time Chloe was away; the unfortunate timing couldn’t be avoided based on both girls’ schedules. They saw each other for only a few hours before Chloe left, but happily, Sarah stayed on a little longer so that she could come camping with us right after Chloe got back. Dale left for Rushing River around noon with the younger two kids, and I stuck around until the next morning since Chloe got home late that evening. We billeted a couple of girls and a leader overnight (whom we welcomed to Winnipeg by making her sleep in our musty, damp basement and use our hideous, disgusting basement bathroom). Chloe and the billet girls were on an adrenaline high or very overtired so they made cookies at midnight and stayed up until all hours before meeting the whole group at the airport for breakfast first thing the next morning. And then Sarah, Chloe and I headed to Rushing River for a couple of nights.

The weather was beautiful except for some silly rain on Friday evening. I believe that was the first evening in five years’ worth of Rushing River camping trips that we couldn’t have a campfire. And since Chloe, Sarah, and I were there one less night than usual, it went by way too fast. Luckily it didn’t rain hard enough to get our bedding wet, but camping in a tent is zero fun in the rain. My goal for next year is to buy or rent a pop-up trailer. THEN my life would be perfect. At least until I decide I need a hard trailer (there’s probably a more official name than that) with slide-outs and hardwood floors and a powerful generator.

Three days after we got back from camping, Neve and I went back to the Kenora area to visit a friend at her cottage. Chloe was tired of being away from home by this point, and Spencer couldn’t resist the lure of no adult supervision and two whole days of no one nagging him to go outside. That boy’s summer could be completely summed up in four words: Doctor Who, books, Minecraft. If I suggest (he would use the word “force”) that he go for a walk or a bike ride, he chooses the library as his destination.  I guess there are worse problems in the world.  Anyway, Neve and I had a lovely relaxing time and I even fit in a Happy Hour at my neighbour Karen’s nearby cottage.

This past weekend was our annual family weekend at my parents’ house. It was different than other years for several reasons. The weather wasn’t great so we spent a lot of time inside; my niece Bailey and my brother Dan couldn’t make it; and most of all, the sadness of my sister-in-law Joan’s absence hung over us all. It’s hard not to compare it to last year’s family weekend when she was with us, healthy and well. I don’t feel I’m at the point yet where I can look back and take comfort in remembering happy moments; it still feels too fresh and wrong that she’s not here. I feel even sadder for her immediate family and the hole she’s left. But I’m proud of everyone for making it through the weekend as well as we did, and even having a fair amount of fun. There were the usual mini-bikes and other motorized vehicles, zipline, food, fireworks, and new this year was a brand new teeter-totter that my dad built and an archery range.

Jan brought a bead craft that you have to iron … the kids spent hours doing this and claimed to love it, but I'm pretty sure Satan had a hand in inventing this.  I lost count of how many times the kids carefully placed beads were destroyed before it got to the ironing stage.  It didn't help that the iron was in the furthest room of the house.

This arrow hit the bulls eye! 

And now we’re nearing the end of summer holidays, trying to squeeze out the last bit of fun. The weather was very cool the past two days, so we stayed inside and cleaned and got organized. I finally got around to sorting through the kids’ school papers from last year, just in time before the papers start pouring in again. Today is a beautiful day so I dragged the kids out for a bike ride, which was awesome even though I had to endure a lot of complaining. That’s okay though - when they’re sitting in a stuffy classroom in a week from today, they’ll thank me.

Just now as I was typing this, I got a text from Siobhan asking if I'm still alive. Darla texted me the other day as well to say she missed the blogging.  Aw, you girls make me feel so special and loved that I'm going to blog again tomorrow just for you. Here's a sneak peek at tomorrow's topic.

(Neve took this picture)


Anonymous said...

Yay!! Blog!! And I'm in it!! (That was a weird coincidence, hey??)

What a great August!! Although I can imagine how hard it was to be at the annual reunion without Joan. It's so true that when people pass, they leave such a void. I am so glad that everyone still smiled and had some fun.

So, when you say Chloe and Spencey had no adult supervision, was Dale gone too?? Or just all day...And only curious. I do not have CFS on speed dial (although I just may have to report that you are denying Neve a proper childhood. But cookies will keep me silent).

Great photos as always! And what adventures Chloe has been having!! Good for her! I love hearing about "my babies" being so grown up!

xo Sio

Anonymous said...

ps - WHAT is going on in that last photo???? (did I ask that already? my other comment has disappeared into "moderation" so I can't check!!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ellen! That was very exciting to check in .... and find a new blog!


Daniel said...

Wow, that last picture looks very intriguing! Can't wait to hear about it.

Nice to see all the photos of the family weekend, and I'm sad to have missed being there.

Great shot of the arrow in flight!

Anonymous said...

Hooray! August has been missing something without your blogs. :)