Monday, June 28, 2010

scenes from summer part deux

Things are in full bloom and looking pretty good around here. Mother Nature has blessed our region with plenty of rain, and only occasionally do I ever need to water the garden by sprinkler. Of course, all the rain means lots of weeds and killer mosqitoes. I have more bites than the last two years combined.
We finally have a flower on our Lily! This plant has been in the pond for 2 years and this is the first flower we've gotten. There are about 30 lily pads right alongside of it.
another view of the pond. In the lower pond are the cattails, which are taller than I am! The lovely orange flower is on my favorite tropical plant that I bought this year, a Bengal Tiger Canna. What you can't see are the tadpoles with their tiny legs and our new Koi.
Hey, who gave this kid sharp shears?
I bought this hanging plant last weekend while shopping for Father's Day. It's in a huge iron frame lined with a cocoa mat, 6 or 7 plants, and it was $40. A total steal. Of course it weighs more than I do and requires 2 watering cans a day , but still a steal.
Our major project for the weekend was trimming the birch tree. The lower branches were touching the top of the tallest plantings, so Bart decided to take off at least two layers. I can't believe the difference! Before it was almost like being under a willow tree. Now it's very open and sunny. We'll see how the shady plants like the change.
Happy Monday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

scenes from summer

This pic makes it painfully clear that I have an almost teenager in the house! Never in a million years would she wear this suit anywhere other than at home (nor would her father let her!). In the last week she has been obsessed with 'being tan'. I overheard a conversation between Em & her brother about what boys in middle school like (tans, blondes, big boobs) and I have to wonder if it is fueling her desire to be tan. Funny in an ironic way. She usually does get very tan over the summer, as we spend quite a bit of time in the pool, but she never payed any attention to it before.
ps. Yes, she is wearing sunscreen

Monday, June 21, 2010

a summer day with the Torm's

Today the three of us went to visit my friend Sharyn and her kids. In all the times I've gone to hang out with them, the kids have never gone with me (Em went once for a super quick visit but didn't meet all the kids). I thought they would enjoy meeting new faces and the change of pace at the Torm's.
They had a great time! Evan & Alan were fast friends, promptly bonding over basketball, unicycles, and sister tormenting.
Wendy & Emma chatted the afternoon away.
Both kids enjoyed the tree swing, the car wash, and climbing trees.
And water balloons.

Brian catching big air in the moon shoes

Al had Evan spinning so was hilarious

not quite steady on the unicycle! He needs another week :)

Did I mention water baloons? Al & Evan ganged up against Em, Wendy, Mark & Brian. Mark defeccted to the boys team while the girls picked up a neighbor friend. The balloons were flying. Sharyn & I managed to not get wet (I don't know why they never thought to gang up on us, but they didn't).
A fun time was had by all! I had to practically drag Evan out of there, and he didn't want to go in the first place!
Thanks Torms!

Friday, June 18, 2010

sweet strawberry goodness

This morning we got up and went to pick berries before the heat set in. Just in time...right now the AC is humming and it's at least 83 out there.
The berries were on the small side this year, and early as well. All the spring rain. Didn't stop us from filling up the car (and our bellies) with sweet strawberry goodness. Mmmmmmm...

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

soccer tryouts

Anyone with kids who try out for travel soccer teams know how stressful the whole tryout weekend can be. No exception here. I did think this year was going to go pretty smoothly, with both kids on established teams. Last Wednesday, Emma's new coach offered all the girls a spot on the team adn I thought they were all going to stay. That was the plan.

Things rarely go according to plan.
Evan's group had 30 kids tryout for the 2 existing teams of 11 or 12 kids. Last year they barely had enough for the 2 teams! The directors decided to add a third team. They are looking to next year when they want to transition the boys to 11v.11 and will need a 16 person roster. What I didn't count on was that they were looking to shake up the teams, which is exactly what they did. 3 boys were brought up from the swoosh team, so 2 boys had to go down as a result. It's sad to lose your players, your friends. Luckily, Evan was offered a spot on the Nike team. Now he will just have to work hard to prove that he wants to be there.
Unfortunately, the drama didn't end there.
Many girls decided at the last minute to go to other clubs and other teams, so our guaranteed team all of the sudden only had 7 girls. Things were looking bleak until Monday, when our coach decided to combine our girls with the U15 girls (who were experiencing the same thing) and make one team. What this means is that Emma (who was playing up already) will be playing up again, against 15 year old girls. And we may not play at all in the spring, when high schoolers are trying out for their high school teams.
Some of the 15 yr. olds didn't want to play with 13's, so many of them left. As of right now, I have no idea how many are on the team. I will find out in about an hour, at registration.

Because I am the co-manager.
Insane. Wish me lots of luck, cause I'm gonna need it!
ps. Congrats to my kids. You guys are awesome!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

5th grade graduation & celebration

Friday was the 5th grade graduation & celebration for Evan's class. Totally bittersweet...I can't believe that he's old enough to be going to middle school next year with his sister. And yet, he's ready. In the fall I wasn't sure he'd get himself organized enough but he pulled it together and had a great year.

Ev is on the end in the blue Tigers' shirt, standing next to the principal after receiving his awards. He was awarded the President's award (for grades higher than 85% I believe), Battle of the Books award, Safety award, NPS Health Fitness Award, & President's Physical Fitness Award. And promotion to 6th grade.
With a few of his buddies...
...and his teacher, Mrs. Iwanicki. She is tough, but I think Evan would agree that she helped prepare him for middle school better than any other teacher could have. She's retiring this year. Luckily, both my kids had her for 5th grade.
And another one of his buddies, Noah. Evan & Noah have been friends since Kindergarten and have hardly been in class together since. I'm glad they have remained friends!
Hard to believe this kid, my baby, is done with elementary!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

so far June has been a crazy month!

This past weekend was nothing short of a blur. It's a good thing that there isn't going to be a quiz on the activities...I would surely fail!
Both kids wrapped up their soccer seasons. Actually, Evan still has a game on Thursday. I must be in denial- I keep saying he's done. Emma's is finished anyway...with a hard loss. Barely enough girls to play and no subs. The girls moved like they were underwater. Nothing fun or sporting about any of it. I hate those kind of games.
Evan played on Friday night and lost to a realy good, fast, skilled team. On Saturday they revved up the action and won. One more goal in the column for Ev.
Friday night a fast and furious storm blew through Northville, leaving a lot of downed trees, power lines, & debris. Oddly enough, I missed all of it. Right at the end of Ev's game, we got a call from my BIL to let us know that my SIL was in labor, and would I mind going up to the hospital and hang out with her while Greg went back to their house to get her hospital bag & whatnot. So Em & I went to keep Tracey company. It's a good thing we did, because the rest of the night was a comedy of errors!
Greg got home and started back (remember, there is a huge storm raging) when his truck died. Dead. Bart & Evan had just arrived at the hospital (completely in the opposite direction), but went to rescue Greg. What they didn't know before they left was that the expressway would be flooded and nobody was moving at all. What should have been an hour and a half trip max (both ways), turned into a nearly 5 hour clusterf*ck. Luckily, labor was progressing slowly, so there was no chance that Greg would miss the birth of his son!
And here he is!
Maxwell Gregory Johnston
7.3 lbs
20 in.
11:02 am on 6/5/2010

He's such a content baby! Hardly made any fuss at all during our visits. I can't believe he's finally here! We have been very anxious for his arrival.
This week brings end of the year school activities for Evan just about every day, soccer practices 3 days, one last game, team dinner for Emma, and tryouts on the weekend. And the forecast is calling for lots more rain. Oh joy!
Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

citywide track meet

Today was the citywide elementary track meet for 4th & 5th graders. Last year was rained out, so this year I was happy that Evan got to participate! His first event was the 200 meter dash. Evan is in the middle in the black & white shirt...

pulling ahead...
it was down to these two guys...
..and the other kid won by .001. It was a great race though! The funny thing was that many of Ev's teammates ran this race (on other legs) and they all came in second, just one hundreds of a second apart. Kismet!
Second event was the 55 meter hurdles...

Ev came in third, after one of his old football teammates!
After seeing how well he did, Evan might want to try out for track now, which is a good thing! The kid is fast, and track would help his endurance for soccer.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hello, June!

It's June and I must finally face the realization that school is out in 16 days! Yikes! I am not ready to have both kids home 24/7.
We had a beautiful Memorial weekend. It was hot, but we didn't let that slow us down any! Bart & I spent many hours working in the yard/garden, and I must say it's looking pretty good right now! I still have a few things to plant, and some space to fill up, but for today I am content with our efforts.
Here is a shot looking from the back corner of our yard up toward the patio. Under the Magnolia tree are the tomatoes...
and we have our very own bird family in the yellow bird house too! I was hearing a new bird song, and saw this cute little bird with twigs in her beak fly in and out of the house. Em researched it, and they are kinglets. They have been a lot of fun to watch.
Here's a closer shot with the pond. In the lower pond are cattails that are taller than I am, and we had a second tadpole event. Now the water is filled with tadpolios of 2 sizes...we are going to have a thousand toads!
This is the left side of the patio looking toward the birch tree and where the hammock resides. I spent 2 relaxing hours there yesterday, just reading, dozing, and swinging with Lola. It was wonderful.
A shot of my potting bench. The blue canopy isn't usually here...we had it up for planting and company over the weekend, and haven't taken it down yet.
And here is a view from the hammock across the back of the house. It's the shadiest part of the yard. I am learning to find interesting plants for this area that aren't the usual hostas and impatiens. I also learned that now is the perfect time to get covered in birch seeds if you sit here for very long!
Of course there is still a bunch more work to do, but the hotter it gets, the less I want to do. I still need to clear out the area under the bay window to plant my scraggly, overgrown cukes. Tomorrow is another day!