July Ordinary Days

I am going to try to pick up where I left off in June, but honestly I have waited too long and July was a blur of fun and busyness and combined with my terrible memory I will just have to do my best.

The above pics were left off last post from June but are from the fishing derby the boys participated in and I wanted to make sure I got them up on the blog. 

I have not one picture from the 4th of July.  We went swimming out at Grandma's and Janey and I decided to stay home for the fire work shows this year-we will stay up late next year I am sure. Of course the boys loved them.

We had an old-fashioned parade in our little town that we rode our bikes to:
I loved these tap dancing ladies.

The kids loved these dogs.  I can't even imagine the fur flying around the house.  I always tell the kids they can get whatever dog they want when they grow up, but Sammy is my first dog, and my last dog.

Janey's little friend covering up her ears for her when the fire trucks went by. So cute.

Grampy at 78 working on the hay wagons on a steaming hot summer day.  I think he still does work that makes twenty year old guys cry.  Typical farm boy + Marine.

Janey helping me choose new shower doors.  We redid our old master bath-well not "redid" but just tiled the floor and fixed some drywall issues and painted and cleaned it up here and there.

Farmer's market.

Riding home from farmer's market.  Popcorn and sunflowers are our old standbys.

What our grocery cart always looks like.  I think the grocery store should give me a permanent discount for the amount of money I spend weekly. 

Isaac is home!  He had such a great time and it was fun hearing about all his travels.  He went to Dublin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Rome, Florence, Barcelona.
He did half hostels, half Airbnb, always felt safe, and everyone was friendly and helpful to them.  We would get random texts here and there to let us know he was ok, most of them were pictures of "the best food I ever ate" which made us laugh. The back pack made it through, as good as ever (I think I should send that story to Land's End-Abbey looked at the picture I posted of him while reading the blog and said, "Hey, that's my 4th grade backpack, what the heck?")  He bought postcards as souvenirs and a new pair of tennis shoes and that's all.  What a great experience.

A certain teenager signed up to earn extra money washing all the windows in the house, but when it wasn't finished by mid-July I took the task on myself because I couldn't stand it anymore, and I decided this is a job that is going to be completed every May because what a DIFFERENCE clean windows make of course.  Half the windows are such a huge pain-storm screens and up and down and up and down and broken nails and climbing through scratchy bushes to get to the windows but so worth it.  I still have the old upstairs windows to get to, but that will have to wait a week or two.

Patrick has wanted to ride a horse so badly.  I called up Jeff's cousin and Jeff took the kids out to see her and her horses and Patrick was thrilled. Thanks Joy!

Andrew loved it also.

Swim team!  Both boys had a great season.

Andrew received the Coach's Award and Patrick received the Hardest Worker Award or maybe it was vice versa but we were so so proud of them. I loved hearing that they asked how to improve and then put in the work every practice.  

Patrick with his coach.

Andrew with his coach.

The coaches at this little club are just amazing-mostly college students, and so good with the kids and well-spoken and self-assured.  I know there is so much talk of these "Millennials" (or maybe they are too young for that generation, I don't know what they are called today?) but I can attest that I have met some pretty darn amazing kids.  The bad eggs get all the media news today, but there are many that are just outstanding people as young as they are with really bright futures.

I have deemed this summer "The Summer of Andrew".  Going into 7th grade, and having the time of his life.   He bikes with his friends all over town, to play basketball and tennis at the park, or to visit Abbey at the ice cream shop.  He has done a few fun camps.  He has been invited to friend's cottages on some weekends, went to Chicago with me, is presently in HAWAII!!! with a friend's family, goes to his 6th grade reunion sleepover camp coming up.  He has had an absolute blast this summer.  Every day he wakes up with a plan of attack.  He has been the most helpful child this summer also, always saying yes to "Hey, Andrew can you do me a favor?" which I say every day. 
Andrew and I took our "mom and kid" trip to Chicago.  He has been waiting awhile for this and it was so so fun. I loved spending time one-on-one, something that never really happens here that much.  I loved seeing his reaction to the city and listening to him tell me what he thinks about it. (It's ok for a day or two, but he'll pass on living in one, he wants lots of land. :)

I said, "Let's take a selfie" and he jokingly said, "I don't know if you are really my mom."

Nike store where we spent lots and lots and lots of time. 

We saw this Pokemon trainer and Andrew about died that I took a picture of him, but I just had to. It's so funny to me!  I love the Pokemon Go rage by the way, it cracks me up how many people are out and about at parks and downtown riding and walking around.  Isaac and Abbey loved their little Pokemon figures and the cards and the movies when they were little so maybe it's a bit nostalgic for me also. 

We walked and walked and walked and walked.  Miles.  Even at our hotel we took the stairs and we were on the 18th floor.  (The elevator was painfully slow.)

Trying the deep dish, which I loved but he just said it would be a good once a year thing,not more than that.

They took the big Lego store out I guess?  We found this little one, but he didn't know the difference and still loved it.  I couldn't help saying yes to a small set when he asked for one, because heck, I that this is all he wanted to do when he was little.

I just had to spend five minutes in the AG store.  I have one more crack at it, thank the Lord. I sent the pics to Abbey, knowing she would appreciate it.

It was HOT.  On our long walk to the museum he cooled off for a little while.

  He really liked the hands-on displays at the Field Museum and there were some young museum educators in the middle of the museum with animal bones that he talked to for a long time-such impressive kids who really knew their stuff.  He had studied the Terracotta Warriors this year in Social Studies so it was fitting that it was their special display.  We were both ready to go at the same time-we walked all the way to the Ferris wheel!  It looked a lot closer than it actually was and we were both regretting it about halfway through.  (And then the Ferris wheel closed right when we got in line darn!)

We split Cheesecake Factory twice.  (He ordered, I ate the leftovers.)  We chose a cheesecake the last time and then saved half for Abbey because he knew "she would love it."  That's Andrew for you.

I did manage to eat a LARGE bag of Garrett's caramel corn all by myself.  It rained the night we stayed but not till we were ready to retire anyways-it was fun to go back to a dry cozy hotel room and relax. 

Cottage fun.

Saying goodbye, SO excited about his first plane ride (and yay, no motion sickness!)
I can't wait to hear from him.

August is busier than ever.  Jeff turns 50, I have kids coming and going but then having to be ready for school/college within days of arriving home, Andrew turns 13, Janey turns four the next day,  My notebook has lists galore, and I am so far so good staying ahead of it all. It is so fun.  Even when it's not, it's fun if that makes sense.  I get sick thinking about my empty house in 3 weeks, and how quiet it will be, and also a little excited at the thought of cleaning it from top to bottom.  We will have soccer and college visits, and cross country and it will be so busy but three mornings a week for a two hours I will be alone!  The last time this happened I was pregnant with Patrick in December, and Andrew had started preschool September so I had three months of four mornings to myself.  Something about preparing for another baby makes that time seem different than now.  :(

I will end July with this gorgeous picture of the docks down by the river on a bike ride a few of us went on one evening.  Every time I take my bike out in the summer here I come back filled with gratitude for this little place I live and my house I love, and this lovely life I lead.  I wouldn't change a thing for the world. 


  1. I feel so peaceful and happy after reading this, thank you.

  2. I love this. I am a mom of 11 out in Montana and your feelings about your home and family and ordinary days are so much like mine. Thank you.

  3. I love your blog... Your a much smarter Mom than In was!
    Keep doing what your doing!

  4. Beautiful post. "I don't know if you are really my mom." hahaha... Good job, Mom. Keep 'em guessing.

  5. You have the best teen advice. What do u do about teens who never go to bed??!! I have an 18 year old. He wants to come and go at all hours! And the adults need to get up early. How do u get him to show respect by being quiet? How about locking the door behind himself? What do u do about irresponsibility? I don't know what to do! I'm So Tired of being a NAG and besides it doesn't work anyway!

    1. Also a 15 year old who thinks she needs to stay up all hours too! School is kn 2 wks and I'm so not ready, but I will be ready for her to go to bed before midnight!

    2. Grrrrr...my pet peeve for sure! In fact I just printed out some info I read about sleep/brain function etc. (along with some other things) for a special family meeting we will be having soon.
      Is he in college? I have the rule about no electronics upstairs in bedrooms but don't enforce after college (but I don't know why not?) and that helps for sure. The curfew thing-heck yes enforce that-it's being decent and respectful and sometimes they have to learn the hard way, if they don't just learn by asking (I'm saying this from experience just so you know.) I would come up with hard and fast rules and if they break them they don't go anywhere for awhile. Adults getting up early and working and needing their sleep take much more precedence over someone going out.
      Honestly I think the solution is work-a job (or sport or class?) that makes them get up all summer really early and works them hard so they are tired and then they have to repeat it.
      I have also invented in my head a whole house electrical/wi-fi switch that makes everything go dark and non functioning but my fan and the alarm clocks and maybe the fridge/freezer at a set time. Just flip the switch and go to bed. Maybe locks the doors too, in and out? :)
      I get your struggle, it is mine also.

    3. While they haven't made a whole house electrical switch to my knowledge, they do have a wi-fi app to make all things with a screen disconnect from the internet. My wireless router has an app so that I can see who is connected to the internet and then shut down the connection as a whole or by the device- that includes cable boxes, xbox, cell phones, lap tops, iPads, etc. You can also allow devices to only connect between certain times. It has been life changing for me. No arguing over when it's time to get off. I just shut it down!

  6. Such a lovely post. I just loved it and went back and read it again to soak it all in. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Hugs and blessings!!

  7. I have been wanting to take my teenage girls to Chicago but I am not that familiar with the area and what I would do there. I am not a traveler so it gives me anxiety and then I opt to stay home.

    1. Andrea, I am also-I was very nervous about till the day we went and tried to convince him of a smaller city. :) But this is the third time so I have sort of a routine down-find a hotel on the Magnificent Mile (we stayed at Hampton Inn this time), and then we eat lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, go up the Hancock Center right there (Water Tower Place). This year we bought the pass right at the tower that allows 3 attractions and it saves us money-the Hancock Center Observatory, the Field Museum and the Ferris wheel. Then we go out shopping on the strip, eat deep dish pizza at Gino's for dinner, etc---with two of them we went to plays, this time we just got caramel corn and did the Lego store and went back to the hotel. Sunday morning we wake up and start walking to the museum-pass the bean and the fountains, and get to the museum. With Abbey we took the boat ferry right outside the museum to the Ferris wheel which I would suggest as the walk is too long. Then eat a late lunch and head home before I have to drive in the dark.
      I NEVER felt unsafe staying in these areas. Tons of tourists and families.

    2. Good tips! I think if I just have to drive to the hotel and we can get around by foot I'd be fine. A friend suggested uber and the thought made me nervous. I know people will laugh but I am happy at home doing my thing. I could never leave and be happy as a clam but I want my kids to experience life, new places, things. I try not to let my introvertedness burden them.

    3. Andrea, just had to put my two cents in! Chicago is one of the easiest and friendliest cities to navigate! I live in Chicago and it is very tourist friendly and easy to walk. It's laid out like a grid so it's easier to keep track of where you are (Sears tower is south, Hancock is north and Lake Michigan is east). Most people who don't like big cities come to Chicago and end up loving it... It doesn't feel too big, it's pretty manageable. Come and visit, you'll be glad you did:)

    4. Thanks Danielle! I have a couple friends that live in Chicago so I have been twice but was sort of lead around, lol. It's a great city and I only live 3.5 hours away so I really need to make the trip.

  8. Your family is so lovely! And busy! My eldest is starting kindergarten at the Catholic school this fall so I know our days of busy schedules are just beginning-- I'm glad to read about how well your kids are doing with it all!

  9. You have such a beautiful family ♥


  10. I want to be Andrew!! I always love reading your posts!!

  11. Totally off topic, but I just started to watch Downtown Abbey and I had to think of you actually, 'cause you've written about it before and I'm not sure if you'd find a comment on a really, really old blog post...

    The reason I started to watch it now, is because I got another British series on DVD from a friend, Mr. Selfridge. Even though you're not that much into television, you might enjoy that one too. I like the entrepreneurship in it and the Britishness (is that a word?) The costumes are great to watch too and also the evolution of those in between the seasons. Because of the male main character and the entrepreneurship I also got my husband to watch it with me, kinda like that as well. :)

    Otherwise I love reading your blogs, thanks for sharing them with us. :)

  12. Lovely little look at your July! Loved the AG doll pics, my 9 year old daughter wants to visit SO MUCH and since she is my one and only girl I'm tempted. Wish I had a Andrew around here who would always say yes! Hope that stage lasts....

  13. I found it! I used to read your blog when Patrick was a baby and then I don't know. Life. I have been searching for it and I couldn't remember the name. I was so inspired by so many things you wrote! So glad to hear that your family is well. I am writing from the other part of the country. Seattle. I will be reading again!! Angie