Hi Guys! Happy Saturday!
First off, I know this post is a day late. But its not my fault. Really.
This tardy post is brought to you courtesy of my concrete contractor who decided to take out our Internet and television cables. We’ve been without Internet since Thursday morning. And since I like to write these updates in real time I didn’t have this post queued and ready to go ahead of time. I am fighting a cold and after spending yesterday traipsing around in the woods trying to avoid rattlesnakes, I didn’t have the time or energy to pop in someplace to borrow some Internet.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. . .
Rather than digress into all the things that have gone wrong this week, I think I’ll just jump right into the September edition of what’s been going with us.
I’m going to start with the patio project from you know where . . . . We are currently starting week 7 of a 12-day project. And this is how the patio looks today. Sigh.
The contractor finally poured the concrete for the patio last week while Mike and I were away. Unfortunately, when they stamped the pattern they failed to properly lay it out. So at the end of the day we had a block pattern that was misaligned with both the house and the existing patio pad. I’m not sure if you can tell from this picture, but it looked terrible! As though that weren’t bad enough, they also didn’t grade the patio properly, so all the water was pooling in the corner nearest the house. I know this because after we decided the only course of action was to rip out the freshly poured patio and start over it took them over 5 days to come back and resume the job. Although several of those days were lovely, we did get rain in the evenings and watched the puddles form in the corner.
Oh well, I suppose in the scheme of things it’s not that big a deal. It’s just a patio after all. I mean we haven’t had any outdoor space all summer. What’s a few more weeks?
We do have an updated and improved fire pit though. They added this pretty retaining wall and stamped the existing concrete pad to match the patio pattern. So there’s that. And one day, if and when the heavy machinery and tools are removed from our backyard, we can venture down there and actually use it.
The kids went back to school. I can’t believe that that is still “current” news. It feels like forever ago. But when I last posted an update it was still summer vacation. Kevin is in 10th grade, Kelly is in 7th and Kyle is in 4th. We are already about 6 weeks into the year and I’d say everybody is back into the swing of things. I wrote a separate post on back to school, and so much has already transpired this school year I’ve got at least 3 more posts swirling around my brain in pre-draft stage. As an educator I know I have strong feelings about the day to day decisions, assignments, curriculum and challenges my children deal with. But, as a parent, I think it’s my right to be informed, and if I desire, involved in my children’s education.
Back to school also means back to Friday Night Football games. Kevin plays the drums in marching band, so luckily we can leave after halftime. Our football team is 1-4 this year, so I’m glad my primary interest on Friday nights is the halftime entertainment.
And also back to flag football and fall ball.
And dance. But due to an overwhelming amount of dance drama this month I don’t have any good dance pictures.
The most exciting thing to happen in the last month was our whirlwind trip to Ireland. It was too short and our hotel was a little too far from civilization for my liking, but we did see some amazing sights. We toured an Irish Paint company, which was fascinating, visited the Guinness Faculty, a complete tourist trap and toured the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, an excellent tour where we were personally welcomed by the Teeling family (and given lots of whiskey to sample). We also enjoyed a pint or two in some of Ireland’s famous pubs, tasted some delicious soups, visited the seaside town of Bray, hiked along the river behind our hotel, visited Kilkenny Castle and explored an old Viking tower.
I wish there had been more time to truly the learn the history of Ireland and see medieval relics, but it was a fun trip that I will always remember. And I can’t wait to go back with the kids.
I’ve been working on some furniture and room makeovers. So far, I have completed a little console table for the dining room and a desk for Kelly’s room (full reveal is coming soon). I also bought some new bookshelves and am in the middle of a room redo for Kyle. I’ll post more pics when it’s finished. I’ve also got plans for an old dresser and some bookshelves that have been gathering dust (literally) in the basement.
Kyle has really taken to running. He loves to run with me, and by himself. He’s logging about 3 miles 3 times a week, which is not too shabby for a 9 year old.
And finally, I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath to hear about those snakes . . .
Yesterday I accompanied Kyle’s class on a field trip to a local environmental center. It was, without a doubt, one of the worst field trips I’ve ever been on. As a teacher and a parent chaperone I’ve been on my share of great field trips – PNC Park (even in the rain), the Butler Museum of Art, Apple Castle and Wallop’s Island (I know it’s probably not even fair to include this 4-day trip with the others, but it as an amazing field trip) are a few that stick out in my mind as being terrific, horrible field trips – Villa Maria (also in the rain), Harold and the Purple Crayon, and the roller rink (don’t even ask), and lots of mediocre field trips over the last twenty-five years. But yesterday’s was hands down the worst.
Of course, it’s possible that this is not true. It could be that the recency bias is simply making me think that yesterday’s trip was the worst. Over time, the details from other field trips have weakened and become hazy and therefore less intense, so they no longer seem as bad. But all the unpleasantness of yesterday’s trip is still forefront in my mind making it seem like the worst of all.
Then again, I have never spent another field trip scanning the landscape for poisonous snakes before. So, I’m thinking, it’s probably true that yesterday’s was the worst. Between the bus ride, the 10 to 1 student/adult ratio in the wilderness (or 32/1 ratio if you only count the adults who were actually qualified to lead a nature hunt in the woods), the complete lack of structure to the activities – the only planned activity (and I use that term loosely) was to give the kids some binoculars, magnifying glasses and specimen jars and tell them to look for interesting things, and at the risk of sounding hypocritical the absurdly short amount of time we actually spent outside (a definite plus given the lack of structure but overall a disappointment to the kids), plus the bazillions (perhaps a slight of exaggeration) of bees, the terror of several children who are allergic to bees, and the remote yet very real possibility of encountering a rattlesnake in the prairie – the day left me with an enormous headache. I mean seriously, who takes a bunch of 9 year olds into a field populated with poisonous snakes!?!
Luckily, we made it home safely. No one was stung or bitten. And at least the weather was beautiful. So, it could have been worse.
And in happier news – I just pre-ordered my Beautycounter Holiday Collection. I can’t share any details yet. But you’ve got to trust me when I tell you these holiday offerings are spectacular! Every year Beautycounter puts together an amazing, limited collection of customer favorites and new products, perfectly packaged for holiday gift-giving. I can’t wait to host my unboxing party and share the details with my very best clients in about week. And I’m especially excited to share all of these beautiful, luxurious, safe gift options with all of you.
Okay, I think that’s about it for now. I’ll be back in October with another update. Until then, enjoy the beautiful fall weather!