2019 Summer Week 3

Day 18 Fight & Make Up

Today was the reset day.  The plan was to unpack from our camping trip, clean a little, pack again, and head to Grandma’s house for a few days in Richmond.  I knew I needed help, so I did what any desperate mom would do….I hit both kids with a great bribe.  They each had a list of chores to do, all afternoon and evening to do them, and a trip to MayLynn’s for ice cream waiting on the other side.  Well, Chica bit, but Bubba not so much.  Here’s an accurate summary of how it went down:









Exasperated, I asked Chica if she had any suggestions.  And she did.  She said I should extend the deadline by 30 minutes and let him know that we were going to Grandma’s tonight, instead of tomorrow.  Whadayaknow?!?  It worked, the chores got done, apologies were said, and they stuffed themselves with ice cream before setting out for two more hours on the road.



Day 19 Pocahontas State Park







When we were camping last week, Becky encouraged me to check out Pocahontas State Park.  I realized just how close it was to Grandma’s house, so I talked her into taking us there on our first day in RVA.  The kids played by/in the water while I ran a few miles.  (What’s with that muddy trails sign, BTW??)  I made a firm plan to come back with my bike the following week when I would be in town again for a meeting.  They have the most well-maintained and marked bike trails I have ever seen…which I fully realize might not be saying too much because this (early) mid-life crisis hobby of mine is still fairly new.






Day 20 Kings Dominion

Keeping with our summer tradition, we visited KD today and did all the things.  We were waiting in line for the Avalanche, and Bubba looks over and asks, “Is that my cousin?”  Sure enough, their cousin was in line too!  What a fantastic surprise.


I was able to talk Bubba into a few more rides this time.  We rode the Racer 75 (also known as the Rebel Yell to old people), Grizzly, and Flight of Fear.  Right before the FoF took off he asked, “Does this go upside down?”  I honestly replied, “I don’t think so…”, then BOOM!  We flew out of the start and immediately went upside down.  LOL.  As soon as the ride was over, I started apologizing:  “Bubba, I’m so sorry!  I didn’t know it went upside down.”  He replied with a funny “Wait…what?”  That kid had kept his eyes closed the entire time, and he had no idea we had even gone upside down.  We ended up riding it 2 or 3 more times until he could keep his eyes open long enough to see the whole thing.  Fingers crossed for Anaconda and Twisted Timbers with him next year!

Day 21 Dressing Room Selfies

I don’t go shopping often, but losing a few pounds and attending a friend’s wedding definitely call for something new.  Jay and I were not only guests, but Lori asked him to take her photos, and I was planning to help as his second shooter.  I was feeling pretty particular about what I wanted, including nothing that needed a new bra, something other than black, and a high enough neckline and long enough hemline that I could bend and squat without flashing anybody.  After trying on lots of things and admitting just how embarrassingly bad I am at mirror selfies, I finally settled on a navy & white polka-dotted jump suit.  Thanks to Rachel’s suggestions, I followed that up with flip flops from Old Navy and a clearance rack necklace from Kohl’s.  Looking at these pics again now, I still wish I bought that one with the orange top, but the jump suit was definitely the best choice for working a wedding.






Day 22 Wedding!

Here are just a few of my favorite shots, but you can see many more on Jay’s site.  It was a beautiful and joy-filled day.

Day 23 VT






Jay and I spent the morning walking around Tech before we met Justine for breakfast at Gillie’s.  I feel sad thinking about this day because it’s probably the last time I’ll see her for a long while.  She and Kyle are moving to Charlotte where she’s taken a new teaching job.  Working as her partner this past year was such a privilege.  She’s smart, funny, caring, organized, and flexible…all the things you could want when working with somebody.  I’m going miss her like crazy, but I’ll attempt to keep up with her life in NC through her dog & cat Insta posts.  Also…why the heck didn’t we take a picture at breakfast?  This picture of them from the night before will have to do!


Summer Fun in a Tub

Hi.  My name is Tracy.  I’m a Pinterest addict.

There, I said it.  Admitting you have a problem is half the battle, right?  Maybe I should look on Pinterest for ways to fight addiction.  Oh.  Wait.

So I spend several hours a day nursing sweet Bubba with a laptop balancing on my knees.  He is very easily distracted, so I usually have to sequester myself away from anything noisy (i.e. Chica).  After weeks of poking around on Pinterest during this time, I decided to finally get my own account yesterday.  (Gees….was that only yesterday?)  There were way too many ideas floating around in my head for fun things to do this summer with my little kiddos.   If only there was a way to keep track of all those ingenious blog post ideas.  Ha.  I finally get it.

Temperatures in the ‘Burg are expected to reach triple digits in the next week, so I’ve got my pins all ready for engaging indoor experiments and cool-yourself-off outside water play.  My list of things to pick up from the store to pull off all of these ideas was getting longer and longer, so I decided to make yet another “project” out of the shopping itself.  I made Chica her own shopping list that we would take to the Dollar Tree, complete with words, pictures, and a place to check off the items we found.   I told myself that this idea would be a great way to practice using picture clues to sound out new words.  Truth is that shopping with Chica is usually torture for me.  The last time we ventured out together, I turned around to see her feeling up a mannequin.  No joke.  This shopping list was really my attempt to reign her in a bit so that I wouldn’t jump ship before we found what we needed.

I told Chica ahead of time that we were on a mission to find the items pictured, and we sounded the words out together.  I also explained that after perusing the whole store, we would walk back through and each pick two additional items that might be fun to add to our Summer Fun Tub.  Okay, so I ended up with three, but luckily she didn’t figure it out.

We ended up spending $19 on the following:

  • Two spray bottles and four sponge balls for outdoor water fun
  • Magnetic Numbers for cookie sheet practice
  • Tweezers for fine motor skills
  • A dustpan and handheld broom for cleaning up the messes we will make
  • Butterfly shaped flyswatters for an outdoor painting project
  • Sea creatures for freezing in ice blocks
  • Measuring spoons and cups for experimenting with capacity
  • A calculator for practicing reading digital numbers
  • My three freebies were a 500 piece puzzle for myself, masking tape for creating Hot Wheel-sized roadways on the floor, and mini popsicle molds
  • Below are Chica’s extra two choices.  I have no comment.  Jay’s comment was, “What did you expect when telling a four year old she can pick what she wants at the store?

Jay just returned from Wally World with Round 2 for the tub.  He spent about $16 on these items:

  • Plaster of Paris for a craft I’ve always wanted to try
  • Funnels and a sprinkler for more water play
  • Marbles for making homemade butter and a pool noodle race track
  • Glycerin and straws for making bubbles
  • Markers to replace the ones we’re always losing

Tomorrow I’m hoping to finish my collection with tempra paint, pool noodles, squeeze bottles, and a few more odds and ends.  I have also added a few things from around the house that I already had….food coloring, ice trays, sidewalk chalk, cupcake liners, pipe cleaners, etc. My goal is to create a go-to box that will last us all summer for under $75.

Our first two pin-inspired projects today were successes.  We have a family of sea creatures captured in ice blocks in the freezer waiting to be set free by a squirt bottle tomorrow.  We also experimented with food coloring and pouring while discussing phase change in four year old language.

One final thought….I could fill my tub with tools, my boards with pins, and my calendar with events, but nothing is as inspiring as everyday objects in the hands of a curious and creative child.  Tonight Bubba sat on the edge of a blanket and explored the grass for nearly 20 minutes.  While he played, Chica gathered all the sticks in the yard and built two pretend campfires on which she roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.  No advance planning, materials, or prompting from Mommy needed.  Take that, Pinterest!