Monday, July 15, 2013

A midsummer's day.

It's Monday. It's freakishly hot. I have a ridiculously busy week ahead. But we had a wonderful weekend and today it's relatively quiet around here - and blessedly air-conditioned - so it's all good.

Steve was home for the weekend. It's always good to have him here.We visited with family and friends, but there never seems to be enough time to get around to everybody, or do all the things we'd like to do as a family. I don't really bother asking him to do any projects around the house anymore ... time is just too precious to not be making memories.

Speaking of memories, I finally bought myself a new camera after more than a year without one (because a certain female offspring dropped mine on the pavement while visiting Washington DC last year). I was looking forward to getting a fancy-schmancy setup that I could really sink my teeth into and challenge myself with. I ended up going for something less fancy, but a step above the pocket-sized point-and-shoot I used to have. I've been playing around with it when I can pry it out of Rachel's hands. (Yeah, I sprang for the extended warranty.)

My doggies make good test subjects.

Don't you just love Gunnar's expressive face?
I had him at the vet last week. He's 103 lbs. of pure, exuberant puppy.

And Ladybug. Old grey face. Still smiley.
I will need to pull together all these Mom-and-Rach self portraits when she graduates from high school. We're kind of obnoxious with these.
I can never get enough of this guy, though.

We spent part of the weekend in a sweltering gymnasium watching Rachel play basketball in a tournament. Her team got their butts handed to 'em in four of their five games. They lost the last game, too, but at least they were a little better matched with that team. It was definitely a learning experience, and I was so proud of the girls for playing their hearts out long after the point other teams would have given up.

 Here's Rachey sinking a free throw.
 And sweatin' her tail off. She played hard!

Now Sam is off to another week of summer camp, Steve is traveling back to W. Virginia today to be back to work tomorrow, and Rach and I have the week to do some girly stuff. She promptly made plans to go spend the night at a friend's house. Hmph. Fine by me. I've got plenty to do.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Of mornings and memories.

 Independence Day sunset on the farm.

Try as I might, I have never been a morning person. My body screams to stay in bed where it's comfortable and quiet, even on the most beautiful of mornings. I am coming around, though. I longed for the days when my children would sleep in so I could get a few more winks, but these days rather than snuggling back in after taking my four-legged alarm clocks outside, I make a cup of coffee and enjoy watching and listening to the world wake up.

I am blessed. As I drifted off to sleep last night after our annual 4th of July get-together at our friends' farm, I had that feeling of blissful contentedness. Happy. The only thing that could have made it better was if Steve had been here to share it with us. But I know he misses being here as much as we miss having him, and I appreciate the sacrifices he makes to provide for all of us. He will be home for a couple days next weekend and I can't wait to see him again.

On that note, here are some photos from when the kids and I visited Steve in Virginia a couple weeks ago.

Our trailer, and the morning view.


One day we went to see the arboretum and botanical gardens at James Madison University. Sam said, "We have trees and flowers at home, why do we have to come here to look at them?"
Well. He did have a point. But I was inspired by the landscape, and it is a beautiful place.

 This little lake was pretty cool - lots of water fowl, turtles and fish.


 Rachel took the time to walk the entire labyrinth.
 Sam ... was not interested in walking the labyrinth.

 My girl. Always willing to take a picture with mama.

 The swinging bridge.

We missed the peak season for rhododendrons, but a few were still in bloom.

Tiered gardens. There were lots of roses here.

Lilies! So pretty.

Back at the campground, the Shenandoah River (or a branch of it).

 Kids deciding which lures will catch those trout.

 Fishin' from the riverbank.

 Fishin' from the river. 
Bless Sam's heart, he rolled up his jeans and borrowed Rachel's pink Crocs to wade out and untangle my line from some rocks.

Great memories.