Sunday, July 16, 2017

Wrapping Up June

I started writing this at the beginning of July and then got side-tracked, and the window got closed, and I forgot that I hadn't finished it so now it's the middle of July, oh well . . .
How is it July already? It seems like June just started! We started our summer by going to Lititz (a nearby town) to visit our favorite book store, go to the farmers market, feed the ducks (if you look close at the picture you'll see the baby ducks in the grass), and eat ice cream :)
I snapped the picture of Joy on Little Bit's loft one night at bedtime. He often sleeps up there with her, and sometimes goes and wakes her up in the morning. One morning she said he wouldn't let her get to the ladder, so "trapped" her up there with him for awhile. 
And while we're sharing cute pictures of Little Bit and our critters. Both Tracy (pictured) and Mi'Lady (the other black cat). Like to lick Little Bit's face. Maybe she should wash it better after lunch LOL. Or maybe they just think she's a kitten who needs to be groomed :) Tracy is a sweet, friendly, cat, but ever since she had kittens last summer (and maybe before? I don't remember when it started, I know I was hoping that getting her spayed (after kittens) would solve it) she's insisted on peeing everywhere BUT the litter box. She likes to pee on fabric . . . so any clothes on the floor, the bathroom bath mat, etc. . . also shoes apparently are close enough, because the last straw was when she started repeatedly peeing on our shoes by the back door URGH!!! And then, we were leaving for a week for campmeeting. I told the girls that Tracy was going to HAVE to live outside, at least while we were gone. Rodney wouldn't be home enough to notice, or clean up, any cat pee and I didn't want to come home to week-old cat pee who knows where. . . So we put her outside with food & water for her on the porch. And headed to Campmeeting.

Lexie and Ashlyn divided their time between their class (which included tubing, and attempting to waterski at the lake, listening to mission stories from Papua New Guinea, and playing games) and helping in Kindergarten (age 4-6) and the craft tent for ages 7-12. Little Bit was disappointed that most of her afternoon activities were off-site, and I wasn't comfortable with allowing her to go off-site with the supervision and organization I had observed, but I think it worked out, even with skipping most of the afternoon activities, she was pretty exhausted by the end of the week. We have always put a priority on keeping downtime in our schedule, so our kids don't handle the constant stimulation that is the norm for many families in our current culture. Being able to just hang out with me and read stories, or paint or draw, gave her some downtime between the morning activities and the evening meetings. I remember observing the same thing with Lexie and Ashlyn at this age. It's just too much . . . even though they aren't actually getting to bed much, if any, later than they normally do, we normally start "winding down" by 8pm, and have a nice long storytime each evening. When they get back from meeting at close to 9pm, they're wound up and we don't have that nice, gradual, wind down to our day. Anyway . . . I didn't take any pictures during campmeeting, but linked to a couple pictures from Facebook that have my kids in them :) 

Also during campmeeting, my Dad helped us replace one of our garage doors. The bottom was rotting, so it needed to be replaced. So now we have one green door (old one) and one white door, but at least critters can't get in through the hole in the bottom of the door :) At some point we'll replace the other one so they match again :)

I figured, with the garage wide open while we were installing the new garage door, that Tracy would sneak back in. But apparently she's accepted her fate as an outdoor cat. She looked like she was considering coming in a few times, but never did (and certainly COULD have snuck in easily enough). And, since we've come home, while she's happy to have us come out and love on her (the morning that the weather was nice enough that I drank my coffee on the front porch, she happily came and rubbed around under and on my feet the whole time I was out there), and sometimes looks longingly in the door when we come out or go in, she hasn't even tried to sneak in. I think, since we have another extended trip planned this fall, we'll just stick with her being an outdoor cat at least until after that trip, and then may try again and see how she does, so she's not stuck outside in the cold this winter. . .

Ever since Lexie and Ashlyn turned 13, we've talked about getting them their own checking accounts (our bank offers a teen account) so they would have a debit card available when they go places without us. So, the money they received for helping at campmeeting was the incentive we needed to finally do that. While we were at the bank, there was a tornado warning, which freaked Little Bit out, but since it didn't even look stormy where we were, we just kept a close eye on the radar maps, and finished what we were doing, then headed home. The tornado warning had expired by the time we got home (and we still had blue skies), but we did get some good thunderstorms later that afternoon.

Lexie and Ashlyn "graduated" from 8th grade this fall. When I asked if they wanted a graduation or party or something, they had no interest but when I asked if they wanted to go out to eat to celebrate, they thought that sounded like a good idea. After much discussion, they had narrowed it down to The Melting Pot and Cheesecake Factory. We decided that, since if they weren't twins, they'd each get their own graduation meal, we should do two graduation meals this year. I'm pretty sure Little Bit is too young to enjoy the "experience" of The Melting Pot so arranged for her to have a playdate with a friend while we took the big girls. Got there, sat down, ordered, and . . . they came and said they had smoke pouring out of a vent in the back and were going to have to evacuate the restaurant. Sigh . . . We decided to wait and see if they re-opened after the firetrucks came to see what was wrong (and as it turned out, the firetruck blocked our car in, so we were stuck even if we hadn't been planning to stay), but they determined that the storms earlier in the day (the same ones that scared Little Bit at the bank, but apparently they were worse in Harrisburg) had messed up their electrical system, so they didn't re-open and we had to go to Qdoba for supper instead. I tried to convince the girls that it still counted, since there was cheese to dip the chips in, but they are insisting that we still "owe" them a trip to The Melting Pot LOL.

Apparently we are becoming more "known" as the dog watcher family. When one of Rodney's coworkers needed to make a last minute trip, he remembered hearing that our girls like to watch dogs, so called Rodney and asked if, by any chance, we could watch their dog.  She's TINY which Little Bit liked, because she could handle her on the leash to take her out by herself. And she's a cuddle bug, so we all enjoyed cuddling her.

As usual, our cats stayed out of sight, though a few times Moccasin poked his head out, and Tara growled at him and he ran way. Which I found amusing since Moc is probably twice her size LOL. Figured it was just as well that he was afraid of her, rather than thinking she might be "prey" :)

One of the things Lexie and Ashlyn love about church is helping in the 0-6 year old class and getting to steal help out by snuggling the babies. When I saw them both holding babies after church one week, I had to snap a picture, even though the babies were both fussy (that's why B looks like Lexie's squeezing him too tightly LOL.

Ever since mid May, we've been trying to figure out and visit our friends Tom and Charity and meet their sweet new baby girl! But campmeeting and such got in the way, and then I had a cold . . . but FINALLY we got over there! A dog, a baby, and a toddler (who didn't make the picture)! What more can you ask for?!
They are also hosting a 13 yr old from the Ukraine for the summer. She doesn't speak English (Google Translate is a very useful thing!), but that didn't keep all 4 girls from having fun playing Uno. No need to speak the same language :) (bonus, since all the girls were busy playing their game, *I* actually got to snuggle the baby for a little while, woo-hoo!)
Once the Uno games were over, we all headed to Oley Turnpike Dairy's petting zoo! As a fun bonus, since it's only a few miles from our old house (and loading an 8 yr old and two 14 yr olds into a car is much faster than loading a baby, a toddler, and a teenager, so we left ahead of them), the girls and I detoured by our old house. . . they removed the gazebo :( If I'd known they weren't going to keep it, I'd have taken the (in better repair than the one we have) porch swing for our porch now, sigh! Ashlyn was excited to see a big dog pen in the back yard, and was wishing we still lived nearby to go meet their dogs LOL.  
The petting zoo was fun. It's been awhile since we've been there, and now they sell bags of dog food (or something similar) to feed the animals instead of crackers. At first V wasn't sure what she was supposed to do with the pet food, but by the end she figured it out and all three teenagers had fun feeding the baby goats :) 
I'll finish off my June Wrap-up with a picture of Ashlyn with one of "her dogs". We went to visit Maggie and her family. I'm not sure who was happier to see who, Maggie to see Ashlyn or Ashlyn to see Maggie :) 

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