Saturday, July 25, 2009

[day 206 ... july 25]

After five years of suffering through sweltering summer afternoons in our family room, month after month, waiting for an "attractive" window treatment - inside or out - that would keep out the heat, I finally just went to Home Depot and bought an inexpensive pull-down shade like the one the boys have had up in their bedrooms (same West-facing windows) for years. Tynor hung it in the window today, and this afternoon for the first time I sat on the couch out there on a hot day and folded laundry. Hooray!

Sometimes it's mind-boggling to look back and realize how long you put off doing something, anything, to fix a problem so you can enjoy your living space more in the present. You just can't - shouldn't! - hold off until "the best solution" gets figured out and installed sometimes. Wish I'd done this in the summer of '04, I'll tell ya.

[day 205 ... july 24]

Cory made this set of keys the other day to go with a key ring intended to hold photos in plastic frames. He's had his eye on this plastic key ring for ages, and I finally agreed to take the photo frames off of it so he could implement his grand plan. I was really amazed at how he thought through how to make the keys from paper, tape, and staples, with holes so he could fit them onto the key ring. He's very happy with his creation, coming to fruition at last after Mom's long holdout. The silly things we resist sometimes...

[day 204 ... july 23]

For a change of pace, Niall is in a half-day computer camp this week (and next) and is really enjoying it. They spend the first half hour (camp starts at 8 a.m.!) playing card games and just enjoying some fun time together before they head over to the laptops and learn cool computer stuff. Throughout the day they take breaks to jump on the equipment (it's held at a local jumpy place, Pump It Up) so they aren't just sitting and working all the time. It seems like a great combination. Kudos to whoever thought this up!

The only downside is that it costs an arm and a leg. But since besides these weeks, Niall is in Skyhawks camps the rest of the summer, it balances out ok. I just really wanted to give him a treat and introduce him to a variety of fun stuff you can do on computers, besides play Club Penguin and find things on Wikipedia. You would think I could just teach him stuff myself doesn't work out that way.

He could probably teach me a lot after this week! :-) With the help of camp counselors Spidey, DJ (shown in the photo), and Radifier, he's learned about creating Flash games, editing photos with PhotoShop, and other fun stuff. Next week he'll be digging into Robotics with the latest Lego Mindstorms system. He can't wait!

[day 203 ... july 22]

I swung by Barnes and Noble today to browse the "last chance" (aka cheap!) books, as I occasionally do. Mostly I look for books about history, science, politics, etc. that I think Niall might find intriguing or browsable. Always trying to keep enough fodder around for the boy. These are a few of the titles I found today.

Of course, I also just like browsing through the books myself, imagining that I actually have time to read anything these days LOL. There's a Starbucks inside the store, too, so it makes for a nice half hour break in my day all around. Get my grande no-whip hot chocolate and thumb through whatever books I've found - a smidgen of relaxation in my crazy day.

[day 202 ... july 21]

I've taken Cory out of swim lessons for awhile. He didn't seem like he was really ready and he had completely dug his heels in with his teacher so not going to keep fighting that battle - no reason to. So Niall and I head off to lessons together on Tuesday nights now and leave the C-man home with Tynor. Cory is much relieved. And Niall continues to love his lessons, so it's a win all-around.

Niall is actually getting a half-hour private lesson for three weeks now because I didn't realize I needed to give 30 days' notice to cancel Cory's spot. So lucky Niall, he gets a LOT of practice time and instructor attention. He is one tired boy after all that swimming, though - whew. Very good for him. :-)

[day 201 ... july 20]

Cory and his dessert-of-choice 99% of the time (unless we have brownies available :-): Trader Joe's semi-sweet chocolate chips. They're dairy-free (hooray!) and (as I can personally testify) very tasty. Cory likes to stick them together by twos, as you can see, and then scarf them down. (I'm saving you the "after" picture of him with chocolate all over his face and hands - trust me on this one!) One very happy boy. :-)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

[day 200 ... july 19]

I awoke at 2 a.m. to the quiet of night sharply broken by a prolonged, deafening crash outside. I knew what it was: the dead tree in front, that had just attacked my car in December to the tune of thousands of dollars of damage, had finally given up waiting for me to have it taken down by professionals. Yikes! Nothing I could do about it then so I went back to sleep, hoping that the damage would be minimal.

THANKFULLY, the tree had the grace to fall in an amazingly good direction. It didn't take out any other trees and didn't hit the tent trailer, nor did it block the driveway. Yay!

It did break off some branches from a nearby maple tree and bent some already-suffering hedge bushes (the winter snows were ruthless on those weak limbs). But I moved branches around a bit and now all is well.

Not sure if we'll leave the already-near-rotting tree to turn into a nurse log (that would be fascinating, as Keturah suggested), or rent a chain saw and carve it up. I'm actually leaning more toward just leaving it there, now that it's finally down. Definitely a relief not to have the imminent threat hanging over the driveway anymore.