Saturday, August 13, 2011's been all summer since I've has been an amazingly busy summer. Stretch, Squirrel and I had a good trip north to visit family. We left on Saturday a week after school got out and drove straight through to get there. Stretch did a fair bit of the driving which meant I was not so exhausted. We spent Saturday night through Wednesday morning with my brother N and his wife I in the city. It was really neat to see Mom able to attend church - yes in a wheelchair and not really able to communicate but there. By Tuesday she correctly identified both me and the boys...that had to be a highlight of the visit without any help. Wednesday after Mom's physio therapy we left and headed out of the city to visit my sister K and her family. We had a very nice, far too short visit there. Did a lot of walking around town - got to take a fair number of of which received an Honorable Mention in our local 4H fair. That was very exciting to me as I'd never entered a photo anywhere before. We took the trip home in 2 stages stopping overnight about halfway. That seemed to work much better as I was not totally exhausted when I got home and had a much better attitude as I dealt with catching up on what didn't get done while we were gone.

While we were away on our trip Hubby and Dipstick stayed home to work in the shop. Just a couple days before we arrived home the crew arrived to put up the frame of the building. That was done in a week - was rather amazing to watch. This crew started at 7 am and usually left by 4. The rafters were set in just 2 hours. After the outside was done the boys started working on the inside under the supervision of a good friend of Hubby's. They prepared the floor and pit area to have concrete poured then installed insulation and inside tin through out. A garage has been built with a loft over head, ceiling installed, several doors installed...It has been a HUGE job and very difficult at times for the boys. But I think overall it's also been an excellent learning opportunity. We are to the point now where there will soon be a crew coming in to install insulation in the ceiling and the electrical is being done. I will be extremely thankful when this project is completely finished and things can settle back into a more normal state.

In addition to the shop addition Squirrel and Dipstick spent a week at church camp. Overall I think they had an excellent time - having them both gone made for a very quiet house. Shortly after they arrived back from camp my brother N and wife I arrived for a week long visit. Their last visit down was when Hubby and I got married so it wasn't much of a visit. This time we had time to talk and do stuff together. N spent most days helping Hubby out in the shop - doing hands on mechanic stuff. During that week I got back on a bike for the first time in over 20 years. What a riot...could stay upright but could definitely NOT ride in a straight line. The boys did several bike rides with their aunt and sometimes their uncle. A couple were quite long.

One of the most fun things we did was an experiment using powdered sugar blown over an open flame. If one did it just right one got quite a flame. N also showed Squirrel how to use his soldering tool. Hopefully that is something he will get some good use out of.

August 1st Squirrel officially started cross country practice again. That's meant that I'm up by 6:15 or so to take him to practice at the high school. Usually I found a friend to hang out with and have breakfast. The friend time has been great...the getting up and out of the house early not so much. However guess it's good practice for back to school. School starts again for Squirrel and I this coming Wednesday. Dipstick starts Tuesday. Stretch heads off to college Sept 2. It will be nice to have basically the same route I did last year - means the students already know me and my expectations. But I'm not really ready to start back yet. Summer has been far too short.

This past week has been busy and mostly fun. Thursday morning I had my back to school driver my route and all that information. Then I left while the rest of the drivers had to stay and do their summer safety training - I had done mine on Wednesday. Instead I went to S's home to meet Stretch, Squirrel and a group of other teenagers. We took off from there to go to a waterpark in OH. We spent the evening playing and riding rides there then headed back to our campsite in a beautiful state park for a late supper and eventually bed. We had some very persistent raccoons haunting the camp well as a smallish skunk. Thankfully the skunk did not spray. People wandered off to bed as they got tired. I did end up sitting up with some of the kids as one girl was dealing with some major anxiety and I've done that in the past. (Still do...especially when I have to attend events at Dipstick's school!) We got back last night about 5:30. Squirrel and Stretch left immediately to go join Hubby and Dipstick at the Father/Son camp-out and canoe trip while I came home.

Today has been a quiet day at home...I've cleaned and organized some, did plenty of laundry and caught up on emails and blogging.