Too Soon Over

>> Monday, August 31, 2015

I can't believe today is the last day of August.

The girls still have another eight days of summer holidays yet, since they never start till after the Labour Day weekend and that happens so late this year, but still,
summer is practically over.

This coming week will be about preparing for school and the return to routine.
(Thankfully, we're all looking forward to that this year!)
And I know there are still (likely) many beautiful days ahead ~ that delicious warmth so devoid of summer's frequent humidity; the crisp, clear sunlight; the vivid colours; the cool breeze through the windows at night...

But August 31st somehow always carries an air of finality to it.
A hint of sadness.

We had a good summer this year, definitely more eventful than last.
We spent a few days in The Big City right at the beginning of summer and celebrated my dad's 70th birthday;
we camped for several days with The Man's family;
the girls each enjoyed a week at Bible camp;
we went camping for a couple of (rainy) days by ourselves;
we spent a beautiful day at the lake on my cousin's boat;
the girls helped out with our church's 3-day VBS program;
we spent a not-so-beautiful-but-fun-nonetheless weekend at the lake with my large, extended family for our annual reunion;
I turned 43;
and the girls and I spent last week in The Big City again visiting grandparents and cousins, doing some fun things, and getting all our school supply shopping done.
And, of course, there have been a few coffee dates, get-togethers, and sleepovers thrown in the mix.

So it's been full.
For us, anyway.

There's still another little overnight trip planned for the coming week yet, too.
And bedroom purging and tidying.
And picking tomatoes.
And much overdue lawn-mowing.
And forcing ourselves to wake up a little earlier each day.

This next week will fly.

And before I know it, another summer will be over.

Butterfly watching


Beating the Sunrise

>> Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I did that today.
And I made sure I had proof.

I know it's easier to do that now already than it would have been two months ago, but this is the earliest I've gotten up since the girls' last day of school.  They're helping out with our church's VBS program this week and so I have to have them at church by 8:30, which means leaving the house by about 10-after.

Which means they have to get up by 7:10.

Which means I have to get up at 6 if I want to get in my morning workout and devotions before that.

Especially if I include a walk out to the back of our yard to take pictures.

In The Pool 


On the Water

>> Monday, August 17, 2015

Friday was an exceptional day.  It was in The Man's stretch of four days off and the forecast was for 34°C/93F ~ a temperature rarely seen in the forecast.  Not that temps never get that high; it's just that it's rarely the actual forecast temperature.  It was supposed to be quite humid as well.

I'd already been thinking to myself that we should try to make a point of spending the day at one of the local lakes if it was nice, especially since our little camp-out the previous week had been rather dismal.  The Man was instantly on board with the idea.  We planned to just head out to the same lake (there are 2-3 others in the area that are about the same distance, but this one has the nicest beach area), and spend the day in the sand and water.

But then, in exchange for a bit of help drywalling on Thursday, my cousin, The Farmer, told The Man we should take their boat up with us.  Well, we weren't about to turn down that offer!  Their boat looks very much like a pontoon boat, but it has a normal hull and a large motor, which means that while it's good for relaxing and fishing and taking leisurely tours around the lake with a large group of people, it's also strong and fast enough to pull The Man out of the water on a slalom ski.  So we stopped in there around noon to pick it up and headed off to enjoy the lake.

We could seriously not have had a better day.  I'm not sure it got quite as hot as they said it would, but it didn't matter ~ we could jump off the boat into the water to cool off whenever we wanted.  I'm not sure it was as humid either, but that also wasn't felt much as we whipped around the lake, back and forth, for hours, with the girls on the couch tube thingy.  We'd packed hotdogs for grilling at one of the picnic sites along the beach, but we didn't bother with that... we just ate them cold along with fresh garden cucumbers (from The Farmer's Wife) and chips, parked in the middle of a perfectly still and glassy bay off the main lake.

When we returned to the larger lake body for more tubing fun, it had become as smooth as glass as well as the wind died down in the late afternoon.  We pulled the girls a bit longer and then, knowing hubby would really like a chance on his ski, I offered to try and drive so he could.  I took a couple of practice spins around the lake and then I was ready. Ish.  He got out of the water on the second try (in his defense, not only am I a very inexperienced driver, but he only gets one or two chances a summer to water-ski!) and I pulled him across the lake and started back, but by then, his arms were done.

I'd made the rookie mistake of thinking a wide, sweeping curve would be better for him as a skier, but apparently, that just wears a skier out because they can't really do anything but wait out the turn.  He told me afterwards that a short, tight turn in which he can briefly rest, followed by a nice long straight-away is much better for skiing.  Duly noted!  Unfortunately, there are no pictures of me driving or him skiing.  I'm not sure why I didn't get one of the girls to snap a few.  Oh well.  There is, however, a somewhat unflattering photo of me performing my test run that ended up on The Man's Instagram feed...

We pulled the girls on the "couch" one more time and The Man finally managed to unseat them ~ TWICE.  I think until it happened the first time, they'd been under the illusion it couldn't happen on this particular device.  It was definitely more difficult than it would have been if they'd been on standard tubes, so The Man felt pretty victorious, but the girls were decidedly less relaxed-looking after that and the second spill was a lot less fun than the first one had been.

It was a good time to quit.  We had only about an hour of sunlight left anyway and we wanted to fill the boat gas tank and put a bit more air into one of the trailer tires at the campground store/gas station before dropping the boat off at the Bible camp where we'll be meeting for my annual extended family reunion this weekend before the bugs got too annoying.

We were all very ready for bed by the time we arrived home again around 10pm!

But what a wonderful day.

Water Skier 


Practicing Gratitude [08.13]

>> Thursday, August 13, 2015

Honestly, I have great intentions of posting a weekly Thankful Thursday blog, but here it is, three weeks since the last one...

And it's not that I haven't been grateful, or that I haven't recorded anything either!  Every morning as part of my devotional quiet time, I list a few things in my journal that I'm thankful for.  Some days, it feels like I have to think harder to think of them, and some days, it's the simple everyday things I list. (like a programmable coffeemaker that ensures fresh, hot coffee the moment I wake up!)  Some days there are specific, and/or significant things I'm especially thankful for, and some days, I'm just thankful for my life in general, that I was given the gift of another morning.

But somehow, these things just don't necessarily make it onto the blog.  Maybe it's because I sometimes wonder why this is something I would put online for others to read anyway, since it's kinda just between me and God.  But then I remind myself that I want to LIVE OUT my gratitude and so putting it out there for others to read ~ some of whom know me in real life ~ kind of also helps me remember that my thankfulness needs to be visible not just in the words I say or type, but in how I live my life.  It's a bit of accountability, I guess.

My friends and family need to hear my gratitude when I talk about how the business is going (not great) or how I'm handling having two bored middle school girls at home.  (I can't believe there's still four weeks of holidays left!)  They need to see my gratitude in my willingness to help others or make time for visiting when I had something else planned.  (which, as everyone knows ~ whether you know me in real life or only online ~ is NOT my strong suit!)  They need to see my gratitude in how I serve my church, how I submit to leadership, and how I handle interpersonal conflict. (all works in progress...)

Having just written that last paragraph, you just have NO idea how tempting it is to scrap the whole idea and never say anything!!

But I also want to encourage any and all who happen to stop in here to find reasons to be thankful, even when they think there isn't anything; that gratitude doesn't only happen when things are going the way we want them to.  That no matter how unimpressed with life we might be, there are still always things to be thankful for.

Things like:
  • getting the lawn mowed before the really hot, humid weather hit
  • discovering we can survive and even still enjoy each other's company for two rainy days in our camper
  • our house is old, small, drafty, and will never be photographed for a style magazine, but it sure is nice to come home to after the aforementioned camping trip!!
  • Sunday morning messages that make me think and prompt me to pray differently
  • the honour of having The Man's aunt and uncle from three provinces away come for an overnight visit
  • amazing skies
  • fresh garden tomatoes
  • the girls being old enough and tall enough to use the tractor to mow our huge lawn so The Man doesn't
    always have to do it anymore.  And also them being strong enough to share some of the push-mowing responsibilities with me, too!
  • air conditioning
  • indoor plumbing
You know, stuff like that.

What are YOU thankful for?

Hammock 1


The Weekender

>> Saturday, August 8, 2015

It wasn't really a weekend, but it felt like it. Because of The Man's 4-on/4-off work schedule, we don't necessarily get weekends together anymore, and so we went camping Tuesday to Thursday this past week.  The first day was nice ~ not hot, but sunny and warm enough that we were in shorts till later in the evening.

Mmmm, marinated steaks and baked potatoes cooked over the open fire! (with Caesar salad)

The rest of the "weekend" wasn't quite so nice. Fortunately, we didn't have to spend the ENTIRE time inside ~ the precipitation never really left the "mist-to-drizzle" range ~ but it was pretty damp.  We're going to make sure we have a tarp in the camper from now on, so that when this situation arises again in the future (you know it will!), we can hang it next to the fire pit and still easily spend time around the fire in dry lawnchairs. (our old camper's awning isn't waterproof anymore, so in a long and/or heavy rain, it's tough to keep everything dry)

You can't see it in the picture, but the drizzle during Wednesday's brunch prep made for a lot of grease splatters!

...while The Man safely cooked waffles INSIDE.

But it was a very tasty team effort!
While the weather didn't cooperate for a weekend of funnin' and sunnin' at the beach, it was still nice to get away for a bit and just hang out together.

 And to see that we could actually spend that much time together in our camper without beginning to loathe each other. ;)

Now you see it (the other side of the bay)...

Now you don't.  (Just a few minutes later.)

AJ and I enjoyed watching the mist come down in sheets against the dark forest on one of  our walks.

Thankfully, it let up enough to enjoy another evening by the fire and to cook our tin foil suppers.

Thursday morning looked much the same as Wednesday had, so no one was very sorry to have to pack up and head home.  It was fun, but just not quite the same as if we'd been able to spend the afternoons at the beach and in the water.  We basically just cooked and ate our Bacon 'n' Egger pie irons, packed up, and drove away, though since we'd all slept in pretty thoroughly that morning, it was still almost check-out time anyway before we left.

We joked that probably as soon as we'd start coming out of the hills, we'd be out of the clouds and it would be sunny and hot down in the valley...

But it wasn't.  It was actually darker and wetter than it had been at the campground.
And since it drizzled the rest of that day and then poured all day the next, we were glad we weren't still up at the campground!

Rain Cloud


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