Thursday, June 23, 2011

First Day of Summer

Tuesday was the first offical day of summer!

The kids are finally done with school.  We had been informed that the last day of school would be Friday, June 17th (following some post-haste adjustments to in-service and mini-days), but as I stood in the kitchen reading the notice--on April Fools Day while we were all home for yet another snow day--I knew it was an unintentional joke. The real last day of school ended up being on a Monday, and a half day at that. I am not aware of anything other than end-of-school-year parties taking place that day. Frankly, I applaud the teachers just for showing up. Especially the two who are retiring. Oh wait: one of them left for space camp last week. Oh well, good for him!

I had a day off as well. I will end up working four weekend days this month--very unusual for me--and so I find myself needing to take some time off.   For someone who is usually scrimping and saving (take a long lunch to attend a school event--work late; leave early for choir--work through lunch; etc) and often ends up using little bits of vacation time anyway, having the potential to be OVER time for the month is very unusual. The best part is that two of those weekend days "worked" were at a conference on Cape Cod.   Rough life, eh? [Actually, while I did have fun, I was pretty exhausted after that trip so I do feel like I deserve the time off.] 

Here's what we did:

We all slept in (or rather, awoke and arose of our own accord as opposed to being jolted awake by alarm clocks or cranky parents), had Mac's for breakfast [sorry Clean Food Challenge participants: I am not like you. But more on that later.], lounged around on the deck feeling sticky and getting caffeinated, and watched the chickadees squabbling and gorging at our new birdfeeder.

I made lists: groceries, what James needs to take on his youth group mission trip, what the kids need for clothing, shoes, etc for summer, etc. I love lists.

Alan stayed home to work--discussion groups to manage, papers to grade, comments to be commented upon, comparisons to make between the UMaine campus and the neighborhood where Jack the Ripper wrought havoc...just the usual stuff of online teaching.

The kids and I made sandwiches and packed them in a plastic tub along with crackers and cheese and M&Ms, filled our water bottles and went shopping.

First stop: Goodwill

We blitzed the place. At one point I had a kid each in 3 of the 4 changing rooms with conversations like this taking place:

a kid: "uhhhhh... Mom?" 
me: "Doesn't fit? Take it off.  Next item!"
a kid: "Iloveit, Iloveit, Iloveit..."
me: "Great! Take it off. Next item!"

They each picked a reusable tote and we filled them with summer pants, tee shirts, and a fleece for James. Shirts, skorts, fleece and flip flops for Madeline. Shorts, shirts, pants, fleece and camouflage faux-crocs for Jeremy. A folding step stool for me. 

Here they are (annoyed with me for doing the mom-with-the-camera thing, and look at that, James is tormenting his brother) just moments after the actual equinox.
Aaaaaah summer...

Second stop: Hands of Hope Thrift Store

Didn't buy anything but I think the kids sat on every couch and comfy chair in the store.  .

Third stop: next door to K-Mart

We were just going to get water bottles... but then we saw bathing suits, and we needed flip flops, and we ended up spending a while in there. The boys were a bit antsy while Mad tried on suits (with no luck) and we were all near faint from hunger but we survived, used the restrooms and escaped retail mediocrity soon enough.

Fourth stop: Bangor City Forest

By now it was after 3pm and we were starving! We sat at the picnic table, swatted flies, and watched a bird who seemed very interested in us (and may be the inhabitant of the nest under the picnic shelter).  Somewhere between Goodwill and the forest the kids had all managed to don at least one new article of clothing. James had on a giant Fred Flintstone tee shirt. Madeline had a new pink top. Jeremy had on his new "crocs".

  Armed with our water and the camera we embarked on a short walk.   We saw a frog.  

I got a phone call from Alan on his new cell phone.   I think he did little to no work following the arrival of the T-Mobile delivery.   We had a brief conversation which ended with me saying something like "I'm in a bog. I'm going to enjoy nature now. G'bye." And suddenly we were truly IN a bog! We had turned onto the Bog Trail while I was on the phone, not one of us ever considering that the name might be an intentional indicator of what to expect along the way. Duh. James pioneered the way across the first (and ultimately, the most daunting) obstacle. This involved me standing on a floating log to steady it while each in turn made their way across a series of logs, a teetery plank, and some smaller logs more aptly called sticks, while grabbing onto me, some tree branches, and James in turn.   Jeremy lost his balance and stepped one foot right in the little body of water almost up to his shorts!   He quickly pulled his foot out but the croc stayed behind! "My croc! It's LO-O-OST!" He valiantly reached in to try to find it, but didn't right away and seemed reluctant to try again. I was dreading reaching into the murky water myself but thankfully there was a "bloop" sound and up it popped like a surfacing whale. Yay! Crocs float! 
our water crossing

survivor Jeremy

sometimes the path was clear

sometimes not so much

There was some nervousness about not know what lay ahead and we were greatly relieved to make it back to the road. 

Jeremy said he never wants to do the Bog Trail again!  But he does want to go back to Bangor City Forest.  Well, duh!

Fifth Stop: HOME!

Jeremy got a much needed foot bath and we all relaxed for a while.  I don't even know what the kids did, really, because Alan and I spent the next hour+ playing with our new phones.  Oooooh technology is cooooool.  I don't think I made an actual phone call on it until Wednesday. 

I did drink LOTS of water all afternoon and evening.  Emilie's doing a cleanse (see Clean Food Challenge 2 if you're interested).  I explained it this way to a friend recently:  can you imagine me eating no bread, no chocolate and no cheese?!?  The answer is No, not even for just a week.  I think it's a great concept.  For people who are not me.  I did decide that I could do the drink-a-gallon-of-water-a-day part, though.  I used to drink lots of ice water at work all day and have sort of gotten out of the habit, so I figured I'd ride Emilie's wake a little and do that part and since her cleanse week started Tuesday the timing was perfect.  I managed about 120 oz the first day and the full gallon yesterday.  But the straw on my EMMC water jug disintegrated [let's see, the last time I was in the hospital I was having a baby and my youngest child is 7...yeah, time for a new water bottle!] so Alan bought me a new one last night.  Now I just have to chug two of these bad boys a day. 
purple of course!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy, says Jeremy who has comandeered the old jug and is doing his best to keep up (ooh lemon! good idea buddy!).

Alan and I wrapped up the first day of summer watching a DVRed movie, the end of which failed to record.  Ahhg!  That's okay, though, because I was a little distracted by frequent pee breaks.

I also re-started my 100 crunches a day goal and officially registered for the Flamingo Four-Miler on July 17th (anyone want to join me?).  Also, I am home today (and blogging) because I have a summer cold, so Yes, summer is here and summer is welome (although I could do without the hacking cough)!

The New Face of Nana Lois

My mom has been legally blind all my life.  If she is conscious, she is wearing glasses.  Thick ones. 

If you ask her a queston while she is lying in bed, her first response is "wait a minute, let me put my glasses on" as if she cannot process information or formulate a response without them. 

Every Soule family cat learned early on (first, to bug Dad, because he's the morning person, but in his absence) the way to get Mum up in the morning is to bat her glasses off the night stand. 

She wears them on the boat, at the beach, in the pool and even on the Matterhorn ride at Disney which was a huge mistake because they were immediately flung from her face and smashed to bits.  We know because they were mailed to her later by the lost and found department.  But that's another story entirely.

But all that has changed.

My mom recently had cataract surgery on both eyes (one week apart) which had the bonus advantage of a dramatic reduction in her nearsightedness.  We came home from Cape Cod a few weeks ago to find my mother sitting on the couch knitting...with no glasses on.

I find this to be very strange.  Mum, without glasses, not looking comatose.  Weird.

Here she is (with Dad, naturally) enjoying dessert on Father's Day: