Summer Week 9

Day 59 New/Old Job

This picture is not from today.  It’s from the first week of school six years ago.  I’m excited to share that I’ll be returning to this classroom next week after two years as our school’s STREAM Lab teacher.  My year of math specialist courses has left me wishing in a big way that I was teaching math again.  So when this position unexpectedly came open the week before, I asked if I could make the move.  I have learned so many new things in my VCU classes that I need to try out before I try to coach someone else to do them.  I’m going to miss working with students and teachers all over the building, but I’m looking forward to building deep relationships with the 50ish kids that I will teach.

Day 60 Melt Down

I finished my morning run today by reflecting to Ruth about my kids’ recent growth.  I told her about them playing outside the day before.  Twice Bubba came in upset.  He flopped down on the sofa and announced some injustice inflicted on him by his sister or neighbor friend.  But this day was slightly different than the days and weeks before.  First, he hadn’t said the words I have been trying to erase from his vocabulary:  I’m going to tell.  Jay and I have been preaching to him that those words never result in anything good.  Finally it appeared that this message go through to him, and he just came inside when he needed help instead of extending the problem with those four fighting words.  This day was also different because he accepted help.  He calmed down quickly, and we rehearsed how he would communicate what he needed to Chica and his friend.  He went back outside quickly, said his piece, and kept on playing.  This is progress, people.

Well, nothing like an hour-long meltdown the following day to keep you humble in your parenting skills.  We got through it, but it wasn’t pretty.  Here’s a screenshot of a text conversation I had with Ruth in the middle of that mess.  Every mom needs a friend who is a few years ahead on the journey to remind her that she will one day see the other side of the hard parts.

 

 

 

Day 61 Sewing Class

 

 

 

 

Rachel invited Chica to join her daughter for a sewing class at Sew Simple.  They had a fabulous time and each sewed a tiny cover for a pouch of tissues.  She came home anxious to try something else, so I talked her into working on a stuffed animal pattern I gave her probably two years ago.  She didn’t at all follow the directions, but her finished product is super cute nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

Day 62 Birthday

 

 

 

My birthday started off great with math nerd gifts from my family.  There was no avoiding homework on my birthday, but friends and a cake pop at the Y made it better.

I spent my birthday evening here with 25 of my closest online grad school friends.  At one point I messaged them something like, “Yikes.  Bad storm here.  My ceiling is leaking.  BRB.”  I rounded up a bunch of trashcans (after calling our custodian in a slight panic….I overreacted) and carried on with class.  Little did I know at that point, however, that there was major flooding happening all over our city.  I had to go the long, long way home because of blocked roads, but I realize that inconvenience is nothing compared to what many people faced.

Day 63 Game Night

It took me over two years to follow my friend’s advice, but I finally made an appointment for a real haircut at a real salon.  I took this super awkward picture on my way home.  Isn’t that what you do when you get a good haircut!?!

What I really wish I had a picture of was game night with our sweet friends from church.  We parent leveled up that night.  Chica entertained their youngest, pretending that she was the babysitter.  The four boys got along beautifully in the basement doing who knows what, and we enjoyed playing games with almost no kid refereeing.  It was glorious.

Day 64 Fun Day

I started the day with 11 soggy, sweaty miles with Ruth.  I promise we weren’t twinning on purpose.  This just seems to be everyone’s favorite tank these days.

 

 

Earlier in the week I made a deal with my kids that I was sure they weren’t going to keep.  Except they did, so I had to follow through and take them to FunQuest.  Misery loves company, so I was thankful that Alicia was willing to bring her kids to tag along.  Guess what….it wasn’t all that bad.  Chica actually thanked me without prompting on the way out the door.  Bubba often gets angry when we have to leave something fun and complains with his “worst-day-ever-I-didn’t-have-any-fun” refrain.  This time, instead, he walked out holding my hand, telling me how much fun he had.  My mom heart was happy.

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Summer Week 8

Not every summer week can be awesome.  Some have to be ordinary.

Day 52 Sink  

I washed the dishes today y’all.
Small victories.

 

 

 

Day 53  Free Paid For Childcare

Moms and dads:  In case you need permission for some reason, I want you to know that in my humble opinion, it’s perfectly fine to use your gym membership for childcare.  Drop those kids off, grab a table and a friend, and get some work done.  Or read a book.  Or stare into space for two quiet hours….whatever the heck you want to do.  You’ve already paid for it, and the kids are getting exercise.  No guilt necessary.  I lost track of how many times Rachel and I met for work dates at the gym this week.  I’m so thankful for the Kidz Gym at our local Y.

Day 54  PLC

For my non teacher friends, PLC stands for Professional Learning Community.  Usually PLCs are groups of teachers that meet together weekly to analyze assessment data, learn together, plan, etc.  Ruth and I joke that we are each other’s PLC.  Monday through Thursday we run and mostly talk math.  On this day, Emily joined us and wasn’t lost as we talked closed and open sets of numbers and integer operations.  This screenshot shows how we add items to our daily PLC agenda.

 

Day 55  Algebra

I’ve started my second class of the summer.  By looking through the pictures on my phone from this day, it appears homework is all I did.  Here’s a model I drew that I thought was particularly cool.  I used it to demonstrate this generalization:  If the number being subtracted is reduced by a certain amount, the difference will be greater by that same amount. (If a–b=c, then a–(b-x)=c+x OR a-(b-x)=(a-b)+x)

Day 56 Daughters & Sons

After book club the kids easily talked us into eating dinner out.  We checked out Daughters & Sons on Fifth St. for the first time.  The price was very reasonable, we got popcorn while we waited, and the pizza was yummy.  Oh, and ice cream sandwiches.  We’ll definitely be back.

Day 57 Girls Night

These people are my tribe.  Or at least part of my tribe.  Every once in a while, the stars align and we get to hang out….without kids.  And it’s wonderful.  This night’s fun included all the junk food we could collectively round up from our houses, conversations that remind each of us that we’re not alone, and a slow game of Ticket to Ride.  I’m thankful for them.

Day 58  Fishing

 

 

 

 

 

After church we had a birthday lunch with Papa, then he took the kids fishing.  Papa put the worms on the hooks, and then Jay took the fish they caught off the hooks. Nana and I were the encouragers.  Both kids caught 2 or 3 fish, and then Chica pulled up the biggest surprise….a turtle!

Tonight we also bribed the kids with Mr. Goodies to clean their rooms.  I wanted to go anyway, but I might as well get some work out of it, amiright?

Summer Week 7

Day 45 Happy Birthday

 

 

 

 

 

The great thing about Jay having a summer birthday is that we often get to visit him at work on his special day.  After I picked up Bubba from Bible School, we headed to the Dollar Store for balloons.  Bubba was also sure that his daddy needed Gatorade, Juicy Fruit gum, and some water guns.  Then we went across town to get an OMG from the Muse, and back to U of L (can’t get used to that!) to deliver everything.

Inside I kinda laughed at the choice of water guns, but it turns out they came in handy.  That afternoon it unexpectedly poured, and the top was down on the Jeep.  Womp womp.  Jay and Bubba ended up using the water guns to suck a bunch of the water out of the floorboards.  Win.

Day 46 Summer Pizza

Bubba has strong feelings about pizza these days.  His pizza of choice has sauce, pepperonis, and bacon….no cheese.  This is what he ordered Monday night at Rivermont Pizza, and like always, he didn’t eat it all.  So check out what I did with his leftovers the next day at lunch!  I added cheese, tomatoes from Nana’s garden, and basil from ours.  This was a welcomed, yummy break from my geometry test.

Day 47 Math & Treats

 

 

 

 

 

A college friend brought two of her three girls to town for a visit.  After a while of talking math and building together, we went to Mrs. Joy’s for some treats.  This time Bubba and I got a powdered doughnut and a slice of Nutella cheesecake.  I noticed that his little personality was a little different without the shadow of big sister…maybe a bit more joyful and brave.  He was especially fun this day.

Day 48 Camp Pickup

 

 

 

 

It was so good to see Chica after a week at camp.  She spotted us coming down the hill and waved and smiled like she was so excited to see us.  It was fun watching her interact with her new camp friends.  Each camper was given an award by her counselors, and they chose the wisdom award for her.  Her cabin also won the spirit award, and she got an extra snack and drink from the snack bar.  Do you know what that girl did?  She gave the candy she got to Bubba and the drink to Jay.  I think their camp theme of “God, Others, Me” sunk in!

Day 49 VBS

Bubba enjoyed his few hours at VBS each day this week.  One of the teachers for his class was his papa’s college roommate.  So Bubba decided to call up Papa and invite him to the end of the week VBS celebration so they could see each other.  Once we knew Papa was coming, I reminded Bubba that this now meant he would have to sing and do the motions when he was on stage….you can’t invite people to watch and then just stand there.

So he did it!  This most terrible, far away picture will be enough to remind me of his goofiness.  Every time there was a little bit of an instrumental break in the song, he broke out in the Floss, much to the amusement of those around him.

I forgot to take pictures, but we also got invited to a friend’s house to swim in her pool that afternoon.  Moms of littles: the pool situation gets so much better as your kids get older.  Promise.

Day 50 Angie Thomas

Last week’s Saturday morning run was awful, but this week totally made up for it.  I finished almost 9 miles, didn’t get stung by anything, and didn’t see any skunks…only got a whiff of one!  My route took me to the top of the monogram…a view that just never gets old for me.

 

Photo Credit: Jess Hensley Harshbarger

After a trip to Riverside Runners and an afternoon nap, I headed to Richmond for a Chesterfield County Library event to hear Angie Thomas talk about her book and the influence of hip hop music.  She was real, funny, inspiring, and challenging.  Now I’m really looking forward to The Hate U Give movie coming out soon, and also her second novel.  I think my biggest takeaway from her talk was to focus on the what, not the how.  She talked about how people get so caught up in the way in which rappers deliver their message, not stopping to hear the actual message they are trying to communicate.  It’s the same with students.  I want to learn to focus on their what and not so much on the how.  

Oh…and I got to enjoy ice cream with Mom before heading home.  Yay!

Day 51 Fishtail & Reset

I learned a new thing!  NO part of me wants long hair.  Most parts of me don’t even want Chica to have long hair because she doesn’t want to take care of it.  But she’s determined to keep letting it grow, and I must admit I’m enjoying trying new things these days.

I was excited to go to church this morning.  Most Sundays this summer I’ve either been teaching in the two year old class or out of town, so it has been a while since I’ve sat with my kids in the service.  Well, they were a hot mess today, arguing with each other and me from the moment we sat down.  I pulled a teacher move on them: hard reset.  As the music was starting, we left our stuff on our seats, and I marched their grumpy butts all the way out the door and into the parking lot.  I reminded them that we’re not actually here for them to practice your bulletin origami or airplanes, we’re here to worship.  In retrospect I probably wasn’t as calm and loving as I could have been, but it mostly worked I guess.  Take-two in the sanctuary at least didn’t involve any fighting.

Since this morning I’ve been reflecting on how I need a reset too.  I’ve decided to take some time off from serving in the twos class to help get us all back into the habit of worshiping together joyfully.  I’ll miss seeing my little people regularly, but I’m feeling peace about taking a break for my family.

Summer Week 6

We had four days in a row of classes this week to make up for last week’s holiday.  I had to be creative in order to post about something other than homework….it feels like that’s all I did!

Day 38 Dog Sitting

Most of my friends know that I’m anti-pet, but I make an exception for this one.  Bailey’s mom went out of town for the day, and I was happy to take him out while she was gone.  Bubba was thrilled to get a few snuggles in with his best bud.

Day 39  Team Shirts

This week the kids are both attending basketball camp at LCA.  Wednesday is team spirit day, so they were encouraged to wear their team colors and whatever else they had to represent their team.  I had class until 7:00 and more work to do after that, so they were completely on their own to make it happen.  I came home to this.  Chica had finished her Kentucky Wildcats logo and was working on a UNC design for Bubba.  We have a fair amount of sibling grumbling in our house, but sometimes they are just so stinkin’ sweet to each other.

Day 40  Embarrassed

I struggle to think of a time that Chica has ever expressed feeling embarrassed.  She’s too much in her own world to worry about how others perceive her.  But that Bubba is a different story.  Even in Pre-K he would refuse to wear shorts to school because he was “embarrassed”.  They couldn’t be at more opposite ends of the spectrum in this way.  Well, I should have seen it coming, but Bubba was “embarrassed” to wear his homemade paper logo to basketball camp.  I struggled to get him to walk in the building, but he finally did with his lunchbox covering up her artwork.  I didn’t want to let him take it off because Chica had worked so hard on it, but I could tell he was legit fearful of what might happen if he wore it into the gym.  I let him take it off but warned him he was on his own to deal with the wrath of his disappointed sister.  She turned out to be pretty gracious.

I didn’t think to snap a picture of them in their jerseys before we left the house.  Every single picture on my phone from this day is some sort of math problem.  But since I’ve made it this far in the summer with a picture every day, here’s a screenshot of my favorite problem I solved.  We had to work out the surface area of this trunk using what we know about cylinders and rectangular prisms.

Day 41 Camp Champs

 

 

 

 

 

I took the afternoon off and enjoyed a slow lunch at Food Truck Thursday with Patsy.  If you haven’t tried Calle Cruz Miami, you’re missing out!  I was so relaxed after our afternoon of chatting in the shade that I almost forgot I was supposed to go early to basketball for their awards ceremony.  Bubba’s team ended up winning Camp Champs for his division, and he hasn’t stopped talking about it yet.  While the basketballs they got were cool, I was most impressed with the personal notes that both kids got from their student coaches.  Chica was especially pleased at the positive things her coaches pointed out about her week.  I was worried about this whole experience for my never played basketball, hates to lose, avoids all competition kid.  However, she ended up thoroughly enjoying it, and I think the students working with them deserve the credit.

Day 42 Triangles

 

 

 

 

 

This was by far my favorite book club meeting yet.  I wrote all about it in this thread, and then the author replied, so just go read it!  And if you’re not on Twitter and you’re a teacher, this is my not-so-sneaky attempt at getting you to join.  You need teacher Twitter in your life.

Day 43 Birthday & Sleepover

 

 

 

 

We knew we wouldn’t be able to all celebrate Jay’s birthday on his actual day this coming week because of everyone’s schedules.  So we (and by we I mean mostly Nana & Papa) planned a Saturday morning breakfast to celebrate.  Be jealous of this menu:  biscuits, sausage gravy, chipped beef gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, watermelon, mimosas, and red velvet cupcakes.

We then hurried home and spent a frantic hour as a family trying to recover our house from about three weeks of neglect.  Nothing like a friend coming over to get butts moving.  Chica didn’t know until she arrived that her friend was joining her next week at camp.  Her mom usually keeps her kids in the dark about plans so she doesn’t get 1,000,001 questions, so I didn’t tell Chica ahead of time for fear of it slipping out too soon.  What a fun surprise!

Day 44 Camp & Flat Tire

   

 

 

 

I dropped Chica off this afternoon for her second year of overnight camp.  Last year I was a mess.  This year there were no tears.  Both girls were instantly at ease, and “stone-cold-Tracy” had no worries or sadness….just excitement for the awesome week I know they will have.

Being the little brother has its perks on days like this.  He got invited to spend the night at Nana & Papa’s, and he finally got to go fishing.  Look at that face!

Jay and I spent our kid-free night on the trail.  Things were going great until the 2 mile mark when his back tire went completely flat and he had to walk his bike the whole way back.  We ended up redeeming the night by taking the super long way home with the top down in the Jeep.  Ahhhhh, summer.

Summer Week 5

I’m way behind, y’all.  I gave up on daily chores for the kids after 6 days in, but I’m still not giving up on my pic-a-day idea.  So here’s what I can remember from the last week and a half!

Day 29 Homework

 

 

 

I spent the morning riding the trails at New London again.  It’s sort of refreshing to be so new at something that you experience noticeable growth every time you try again.  Most days I feel like I’m stuck at the same speed when I run, but it’s obvious that I’m getting faster on the bike.  I’m guessing most of that, though, is from the fear subsiding and not really from gaining much fitness.  I’ll take it anyways.

I spent the rest of the day working on homework.  I chose these pictures to remind myself that I really do enjoy the work that I’m doing.  Sure, a few more days at the pool with no deadlines would be great, but I know all of this will be worth it when I eventually step into a full-time role helping teachers teach math better.

Day 30 Carcassonne
After the morning teaching two year old Sunday School, the kids and I headed to Richmond for our yearly staycation at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Chica snapped this picture when we were teaching them how to play Carcassonne.  Bubba pouted through this first game because Grandpa stole his great big ol’ city, but he came back to beat us by one point in the rematch.

Day 31  Bike Riding
On Monday morning Grandma, Bubba, and I left the other two sleeping while we went to Rockwood Park.  They played Pokemon while I ran….and I also happened upon a bunch of RVA rocks.

Later we rode bikes around Grandma’s lake in order to check out the July 4th parade route.   I still pinch myself every time we go out on a bike ride now.  No baby seat, no buggy, no trailer, no training wheels, (almost) no fighting….it’s pretty great.

 

Day 32  Bowling

 

 

 

 

It was crazy hot in Richmond in the beginning of the week, so bowling was at the top of our list of indoor fun things to do.

I chose the second and third pictures here to remind me of Chica’s growth lately.  At one point she got upset during bowling thanks to a brief argument with Bubba and being pretty far behind in points.  She pouted for a short while and then articulated, “I don’t want you to cheer for me unless I look excited”.  In other words, our attempt to encourage her even when she had a mediocre turn was just annoying to her.  That seemed like reasonable request, so we honored it.  And guess what?  She recovered.  Almost instantly.  There was so much joy in the moment I snapped that second picture.  Can you see that Bubba was doing a celebration dance?  🙂  I’m so proud of her for figuring out what she needed and communicating that to us so clearly.  #progress

She nearly lost it again trying to spend her arcade tickets at the junk counter.  Mom-math-teacher was expecting her to do her own mental subtraction to see how much she had left, but she was feeling frantic and refused to think through it.  I tried really hard to stay calm and remind her there was no rush, and she eventually got there….without the phone or paper & pencil.  On another day her overly emotional response would have escalated to the point of me choosing to throw the tickets away and making her walk out without anything.  This time we recovered together, and it didn’t have to come to that.  *Mental note….we need to work on thinking about adding up for subtraction!

Day 33  Independence Day

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve decided it’s more fun to be in a parade than to watch one.  In preparation for my parents’ neighborhood parade, we went to the Dollar Tree and bought every tacky red-white-&-blue decoration imaginable for Jay’s Jeep.  I think the results were pretty awesome.  

I spent the afternoon trying to convince everyone that going to watch fireworks at the fairgrounds would be worth enduring the mobs of people, traffic, and heat.  I was right.  Also, I haven’t figured out any good way to photograph fireworks with an iPhone, but glow sticks look pretty cool!

Day 34 Rock Climbing

In case you missed it, a few months ago I wrote about the disaster that was rock climbing on Chica’s overnight field trip.  She has asked repeatedly since then if we could give it another try, and our RVA Stay-cay seemed like a good time to go.  As anticipated, she got a little weepy when both Bubba and I got higher than her, but she so held it together.  I’m proud of her for trying again!  Bubba actually got stuck at the top and had to be “rescued” on his last climb.  We had lunch at Bottom’s Up after climbing, and Grandma wowed the kids with stories about the time the restaurant was flooded.


Day 35  Bonus Beach Day

 

 

 

 

 

The plan was to go to Kings Dominion on Friday, but the weather forecast just stunk, so we postponed it one day.  Instead we visited Yorktown Beach, a place Grandma had taken them before, but I had never been.  Sand and water without the fear of kids getting swept away by the ocean current is my jam, as Chica would say.

Day 36  Kings Dominion

 

 

 

 

 

Our annual trip to Kings Dominion is easily the most anticipated day of the summer.  However, this trip was super extra special because the kids got to spend the day with their cousin who we haven’t seen in a long time.  They picked up right where they left off and had all the fun.  We were there when the park opened and didn’t leave until it closed!

Day 37 Back to Reality

The transition back to Mom’s rules after a week of Grandma’s rules was a little hard for Bubba this time.  He was convinced I should let him eat the melty Peppermint Patty he found in my van at 10:00 am on the way home, but I was determined that was a no-go.  He preceded to moan and whine like he might die of starvation, even after having two other snacks.  So in desperation (and with quite a bit of sarcasm), I handed him an entire English cucumber that Grandma sent home with us.  “Here.  If you’re really starving, chew on this.”  And he did.  He ate the entire thing, and we’ve been laughing about it ever since.

That night we drove to Nana’s house for dinner with the top down.  Yep….I’m that person wearing a hoodie in the middle of the summer.

We had a great time in Richmond, but man, it was also good to be home!

 

Camping at James River State Park

When Jay and I were dating, we went camping in Florida over winter break.  Most of the details of that trip are gone from my memory, but I do remember one pretty clearly.  We had just finished a really yummy dinner and he asked me, “If we get married, can we keep going camping like this?”  Um….YES!  Six weeks later, he put a ring on it.  Fourteen years and two kids later, we still love camping together.

Friday

Friday we left for our trip to James River State Park.  For dinner that night we had chicken & veggies cooked in foil packs, the same meal that I’m pretty sure convinced Jay he was ready to start talking about marriage 14 years ago.

Saturday

I’ve been counting down the years until Bubba would turn 6, the minimum age for tubing, canoeing, or kayaking at the park.  I ended up deciding to take the kids tubing Saturday morning because I remember enjoying that as a kid.  I just had a whole paragraph typed out about Bubba’s bad attitude during this trip, but I’ve decided I’m not going to let that define my memory.  Instead I’ll choose to remember the rapids that felt big from the water but look tiny from the bank, the magic of watching the bottom of the river zip by you in the shallow parts, and our stop on a sandy island to poke around.  Tubing was just as fun as I had remembered it.

I know Gerry Brooks would not approve of this photo, but I couldn’t help myself.   In the afternoon I took the kids to the Discover Area, a natural playground of sorts.  They played, and I prepared for my upcoming book club in the shade.  I love these slow moments.

 

Saturday night we took a wagon trip to the Tye River Overlook with a park ranger.  (Jay took this shot of us on the ride, and I happen to love it!)  The ranger had an electronic owl call to attract screech owls.  On our third or fourth stop, right about the point that Bubba fell asleep in my lap, we finally got one to respond!  It talked to us from a nearby tree for several minutes, but we never spotted it.  On our last stop we heard both the whinny and bounce calls, and two owls called back and forth to each other.  We joked that we had just helped to make an owl love connection.

Sunday

This day started out the best way…with a run.  I took the Cabell trail, and in keeping with tradition, got slightly lost.  The trail map and markings are great at the park….about 95% of the time.  But when there’s an arrow pointing left and no real trail going left, you just have to make your best guess.

 

The night before, Bubba asked to join me on the morning run, but we all knew that would be fun for like the first 5 minutes.  So I promised him a short run together when I got back.  He turned out to be a much better running partner than expected.  We took the Cabell trail in the opposite direction from what I had just run and figured out where I went off course.  I’m still sticking with the fact that it was a signage error….not mine. 🙂

Later that morning we went to two programs led by the rangers.  We watched Cobb, the corn snake, eat his weekly meal of a tiny thawed out mouse, then both kids held him.  We also learned lots of interesting ways to start a fire, and Chica got to try it out with a magnifying glass.  When I asked the kids at lunch today what their three favorite parts of the weekend were, both of these were mentioned.  I was slightly underwhelmed, but they were enthralled.  Doesn’t it often work that way??

If I’m being honest, I feel like I have a hard time connecting with this one these days.  I’ve written about that a bit, but that feeling keeps nagging at me.  So when she expressed interest in kayaking, I jumped on the opportunity to spend some time just with her.  We rented two boats after lunch on Sunday, and it was everything I hoped it would be.  She was (is) brave and strong and chatty and positive and encouraging.  We docked our boats twice and explored.  At lunch today both of us voted kayaking as our favorite part of the trip.

As if we hadn’t already packed enough into this day, I ended up sending the kids on a scavenger hunt before dinner.  I hid some Dollar Tree toys around the campground with clues, and they rode their bikes to find them.  The hunt was followed by a few (mostly drama free) hours of playing together.

Monday

I was feeling brave this morning, so I decided on a morning bike ride instead of run.  I’m still so green at riding trails.  I picked the longest, easiest trail in the park, the River Trail.  Most of it was a really wide, grassy path, but the end had several super steep downhill sections.  I’ve been reading about taking risks in my math teacher book, and I know risks are how we learn.  So…..I leveled my pedals, stood up, stuck my elbows out and butt back, cried out “Jesus! Jesus!” a few times, and went for it.  I lived to tell about it, y’all.  It was kinda fun.

The rest of the day was just packing up and hot.  Real hot.  The most exciting thing that happened was that we found a black widow spider building an egg sac on the top of our tent, under the rain fly.  I snapped this picture and took a short video before Jay killed it.

 

And finally, a few more pictures just for fun!  I asked Jay to send me a few of his best photos from the weekend.  Apparently he either really likes funny face photos, or that’s all we ever do when he pulls out the camera.

   

 

 

 

Summer Week 1

My typical back to school conversation goes like this:

Friend:  How was your summer?
Me: Great!
Friend:  Did you do anything fun?
Me:  Yes!  We went camping.  We visited my parents in Richmond and went to Kings Dominion.  We swam at the Y.  I took classes.  It went by too fast.

Yes, camping and Kings Dominion are highlights for me, and much of my time will be taken up with grad school, but each summer has so many other small moments worth remembering.  Moments like eating ice cream for dinner and baseball games and bike rides.

So I’ve decided to try to post at least one photo and memory each day this summer.  This way I can look back on August 7th and remember that the summer was more than our two trips and studying.  I fully realize that this plan might go the way of summer chore lists and never make it past the first week, but it can’t hurt to try, right?  So here goes….

Day 1  Last Day of School

The hours and hours of work I put into the end of year video certainly felt worth it when I watched students sing along:

This lovely lady will be a senior next year, and we ran into her at the GO Center picnic.  Michelle taught her in third grade, and I taught her the next year in fourth.  She made such an impression on both of us.  I’ve always known she will accomplish big things in life!  I had another favorite student stop by the day before with her mom, and two more on Friday.  It’s such a gift to watch our students grow up and become the amazing humans that they are.

 

And I got this letter from a current student.  Day made.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 Code Girls

As soon as my semester at VCU ended, I decided to tackle my summer reading list.  Up first was Code Girls because I wanted to hear Dorothy Braden Bruce speak during the Randolph College Reunion.  At 98, she was witty, charming, and fascinating.  My favorite moment was when the interviewer asked her if she was scared to head to Washington to do a job that she knew nothing about.  In a very matter of fact way, she said, “No.”  She felt fully prepared for whatever she might face because of the education she had received at R-MWC.  I certainly knew that feeling, and I think so many of the other women in the room did too.

As an added bonus, I ran into two class of ’03 friends who where enjoying their 15th year reunion.  What a great surprise!

Day 3  Conquer the Cove 25K

 

I spent the first 8 miles with Ruth and Rhonda.  Their company made the miles pass quickly and put me in a good mood.  I didn’t really mean to, but I pulled ahead of Ruth when we hit the long, uphill fire road.  I’ve decided, for now, that I like fire road climbs better than single track climbs.  I think that the hilly downtown run that (the other) Ruth and I do a few mornings each week paid off!  I ate lots of pickles, saw one tiny turtle, tried to run with gratitude, and stayed mostly dry and clean-ish until the last 5 minutes.  Maddy coming up from behind motivated me to keep pushing all the way to the finish.  Being kid-free after the race allowed Jay and I to hang around, cheer for our friends finishing the marathon, and take the long way home.  It was a perfect day.

Day 4 Small Victories

I accomplished something this morning that I’ve been wanting to do for months….I cleaned off our porch.  It had accumulated an unruly collection of toys, tools, and broken junk, and there were weeds climbing up from both sides.  Tonight Jay and I enjoyed the first of many hours of summer porch sitting.

We spent an hour at the YMCA pool this afternoon.  The last time we went, Bubba got up the nerve to try the swim test, but he didn’t pass.  He tried again today and earned the red band, granting him access to their super cool slide!  I’m proud of that kid!!

Day 5 Enchiladas

During the school year I forget how much I like to cook.  We get stuck in a rut of Chic-fil-A, pizza, hamburgers, and waaaay too many Lunchables.  At least for now, while I’m not taking classes, I’m enjoying cooking again.  Last night Chica helped me make chicken piccata, and tonight Bubba helped me with enchiladas.  Neither of them was really a fan of what we cooked, but they’re not a fan of much when it comes to food.

 

 

Day 6 Gifts

This morning when I returned from my morning run, I found some out-of-the-blue gifts in my chair on the porch.  That Jay Proffitt is one smart dude.  He knows I like practical gifts, hence the work gloves and shovels.  He also knows that my enthusiasm for weeding our flowerbeds might last longer if I have the right tools to use.  And finally, he knows I lose stuff….hence the triple pack of gloves.  Love.  For the last few mornings he’s enjoyed his coffee on the porch while I pull weeds.  I think he’s always wanted to keep me company like this when I cook, but I have to concentrate way too much.  Weeding is mindless, so we’ve enjoyed those few cool minutes just chatting before the sun comes up and over the house.

After dinner tonight we went for a one mile walk on the Creekside Trail starting at the Farm Basket.  I think Bubba’s the only one that’s not afraid of the swinging bridge, but he was not so sure about the big sinkhole right before the steps.  I was so thankful that Jay put his video editing work on hold for an evening and came with us!

Day 7 Home

 

 

 

 

This was the first day we didn’t go to the pool at the Y.  I had great intentions of cleaning up and planning for the summer camp sessions I’m leading next week, but it just didn’t happen.  I read a bunch and played Carcassonne with Bubba while Chica played Minecraft.  In the afternoon we invited friends over to play in the sprinkler, and after dinner we rode up to New Covenant to let Chica learn how to get on and off her new to her (and almost too tall) bike.  We got it earlier this week from a Facebook Marketplace post.  She fell that day while trying to stop and scraped up her knees, so she was pretty hesitant to get back on it.  But as you can see in the picture, she got over that today and was thrilled with herself for learning how to stop and work the gears.  Watching them both finally ride confidently makes me so excited for our trip to Damascus in the fall.  It will be our first go at the Creeper Trail with no one being pulled in a buggy!

The kids are spending the night with Nana and Papa, so Jay and I enjoyed the best kind of date at Mr. Goodies.  I didn’t snap a picture, but we both commented like 17 times about how good it was.  I’m pretty sure it tastes even better than normal when you are kid-free. 🙂