Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Looking Back at Our Summer

I started this post months ago when our daughter and her family drove from Boulder to visit us. I got as far as adding photos from their visit. 

In August I added more photos and changed the title from "Summer Family Visit" to "Our Summer So Far" then stopped.

In September when we drove to Boulder to visit our daughter and her family, I intended to add more photos from our trip and change the title to "Our Summer" as summer was pretty much over by then.  

I changed the title then stopped. It takes time to sort through photos deciding which ones to include then adding words to make a story ... more time and focus than I could manage until now. 

Over the holidays I finally sorted through our summer photos changing the title one more time. I love refreshing my memories "Looking Back at Our Summer". It helps take my mind off dreary wet winter weather this week.

This post covers our daughter's visit at the beginning of July, our trip to Boulder in September plus birthdays, anniversaries and a few other things. I wrote this one for our family to help make our memories last. 
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Our hot tub died last winter. We arranged to have it hauled away before our daughter and family arrived. My husband removed all the valuable bits (cover, pumps, control panel) to sell on Kijiji which almost recouped the $452 cost of removal. 
Before their visit my daughter asked if we could maybe get them a bench similar to one I had ordered a few years ago made out of reclaimed wood only smaller to be used as a piano bench. It was ready the weekend before they arrived. We picked it up at Thoroughly Painted Quarters in Thamesville on our way to a Pow Wow in Sarnia. 
Our daughter sent us photos en route. Driving from Boulder to London with three kids is challenging. They did it in a Tesla making regular stops to charge and stretch their legs arriving Friday afternoon of the July long weekend just 46 hours after leaving home.
July was hot. Our grandchildren spent many happy hours in the pool.
We rescued one baby mouse clinging to the pool rope all shivery and wet. Our granddaughter was worried so we put the mouse on a cloth in the sun where it rested comfortably before disappearing into the garden. 
Canada Day fell on a Sunday this year. We joined my Mom's neighbourhood party where everybody is encouraged to wear red. Each family contributes money towards fireworks and meat for the barbecue plus brings a side dish or dessert. We have participated for the past four years. It's a fabulous neighbourhood party. 
Our son's birthday is the day after Canada Day. This year he opened his gifts at home then we packed up his birthday barbecue and headed to Lasting Memories Cottage to celebrate with the rest of the family. Thanks to my husband's brother for inviting us to join them there.
My Mom brought the cake ... white chocolate mousse ... perfect choice. Our granddaughter was not happy when her Uncle threatened to eat the whole thing. As always, we thoroughly enjoyed our day at the cottage.
Bed time stories at the end of a busy day or any day really are fun.
Cuddles with our youngest grandson ... never get enough.
A walk to the Sifton Bog where we saw lily pads, frogs, colourful dragon flies and a big hungry snapping turtle at the pond.
The kids had fun catching and releasing tadpoles with the new nets we bought ... much better than strainers taped to poles like last year.
Back at the house we cooled off in the pool before dinner.
Grilled pork tenderloin, baby potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and salad.
For dessert we had carrot cake. I had planned to buy cake for our son's birthday, so added it to our grocery list. When my Mom offered to get the cake, I told my husband. My husband forgot and bought a cake when he was out buying everything else for the party. When he came home with a carrot cake ... one of the few cakes our son does NOT like at all ... it went straight to the basement. I figured we could serve it after our son's birthday once he had gone home since the rest of us love carrot cake.

We added candles and sang "Happy Birthday Bob". If you look closely you can see the icing is smeared. Apparently the cake decorator at the store misheard my husband and wrote "Bob" instead of "Paul". Rather than waste a perfectly good cake, my husband suggested he just scrape off Bob. We had a good laugh over this story. Our daughter thinks we should celebrate with a "Happy Birthday Bob" carrot cake every July 4th.
Barbecue ribs ... a tasty dinner the night before they headed home.
 
Even our youngest grandson loved the ribs ... although I suspect it was the sauce he liked.
Last day snuggles ...
Then over to visit Aunt Kathy and Uncle Bill ...
 
Another baby cuddle ... truly can't get enough.
We say our 'good-byes' then they're off ... heading for home.
Our daughter sent us photos en route including one of the kids swimming in the pool at their hotel. Swimming is a good way to burn off energy after hours on the road. 

Meanwhile we headed to Port Stanley for dinner, but couldn't find a single restaurant serving 'vegan' options. In the end, we drove to Bella Jacks in St. Thomas where we enjoyed a delicious Mexican meal plus toured a vintage car show which just happened to be in town. I stopped to admire Beauty and the Beast ... thought our grandkids might be impressed.
The following weekend we headed to Burlington to visit friends. We went to pick up their old mountain bikes generously donated for us to take to Cuba in February. We also enjoyed a trail hike not far from their home. I was surprised to see a family of swans with four babies. Back at their house our friends introduced us to an English drink called Pimms ... perfect for a hot afternoon in July.


My birthday July 13 - My husband, Mom and I celebrated over dinner at the Root Cellar with cake back at our house.

My Mom's Birthday July 23 - We invited a couple close friends for dinner. The "Happy Birthday Grandma" cake caused tears. Our daughter wanted to buy the cake since my Dad is no longer here to do it. We miss my Dad always. Celebrations like this make us feel his absence even more.

The following Saturday, we were invited to the cottage to celebrate Mark and Lynn's 30th Anniversary. Since my Mom was invited too, we made a day of it starting with lunch on the patio at the Black Dog in Bayfield.

After lunch we strolled along Main Street checking out the shops until it was time to head to the cottage for the party ... such a beautiful place to celebrate 30 years together as husband and wife with family and friends. 

Happy Anniversary to one of the sweetest and most loving couples I know - Lynn and Mark (my husband's brother). 

August flew by. I spent many hours pulling weeds, trimming bushes, walking the dog, biking to work and cooling off in the pool. My husband finally talked me into joining the London Cycling Club. We went on our first club ride August 11 - 85 km to Ailsa Craig. The following weekend, we rode from Komoka to Strathroy (55 km). The weekend after that 105 km to St. Mary's. I gained confidence riding with a steady group of cyclists. It felt good to be "back in the saddle" so to speak.

I fueled my morning rides with a healthy breakfast usually consisting of oatmeal, chia seeds, berries and banana plus a green matcha tea almond milk latte on the side. I love a simple wholesome breakfast like this. 
August 24 - My husband and I celebrated our 33rd Anniversary with dinner at Plant Matter Bistro. It was delicious. 

We left work at noon on Friday of Labour Day weekend to drive to Boulder to visit our daughter and her family. We had booked hotels en route in Minooka, Illinois and North Platte, Nebraska. We drove with only short stops to refuel and stretch our legs arriving at our hotels in time for a late dinner before heading to bed for some much needed sleep each night. 

This year we stopped at The Archway in Kearney, Nebraska. We would have loved to spend more time as there was so much to see and do, but we had to keep moving to make it to Boulder by noon on Sunday.   






We were happy our daughter waited until we arrived to celebrate our youngest grandson's first birthday. Homemade chocolate cake, candles, cards and gifts ... he loved it all.



On one of our evening walks, we passed this community garden visited by deer near their house.
We look forward to walking along Pearl Street every time we visit ... bears, rocks, trees, water ... always interesting.

Our oldest Grandson's school was at the end of Iris Avenue. The first day we slept in and missed walking him to school, but we met him after school and let him play a bit before heading for home.
We headed out one day after dinner for a bike ride. To save time we drove to the base of a mountain outside of town then rode our bikes until I was tired and ready to turn around after about 12 km of climbing. The ride back down to the car was a lot easier and faster.
 
 
After our ride, I bought some inexpensive cool looking sunglasses at a local bike shop and my husband posted a flyer for the Celia Sanchez Cuba Bike Tour at a local bike cafe.
The second day we were up in time to walk our grandson to school. We enjoyed our time alone with him each morning. He was happy to show us his classroom and introduce us to a couple of his friends.

 
 
Our littlest grandson back at the house ... so cuddly.
Our daughter took us to Nederland a small picturesque mountain town. My husband posted another flyer on the covered walking bridge.
 

We loved seeing the town, but the real reason for our visit was the "Carousel of Happiness". Kids and adults alike cannot help but be happy on such a fun carousel beautifully hand-carved by a local sculptor. At $1 per person per ride, we rode twice. Once at the beginning of our visit and again after lunch.








Lunch from The Train Car was yummy.
We stopped by the lake and play park in town before heading back down the mountain.

On the way back we stopped at Boulder Falls ... very cool to see.


The next time we walked our grandson to school, he complained about us taking pictures. Pictures are embarrassing ... so no more photos of our school run after these few were taken.
 

Another day, we hiked with our daughter, granddaughter and littlest grandson. We always love hiking around Boulder. The views are spectacular.



Our daughter has a chalkboard sign hanging on their front door where she likes to write funny messages. 
All too soon our visit was over. We left early Saturday morning ... only our daughter was up to say good-bye. We stopped in Moline, Illinois for the night. The hotel was new with lots of great restaurants just a walk away. 
The drive home seems longer because we do it in two days plus we lose time as we head East ... two hours over two days. We made it home in time for dinner on Sunday. 

The following weekend we picked up a new bike my husband had ordered online -  a Ridley gravel bike for me. I didn't think I really needed another bike, but my husband assured me I would like it. 


We assembled my new bike, changed into cycling gear and test rode it on a nearby rail trail. My husband was right. It's a sweet bike and I like it. 

Looking Back at Our Summer I realized we managed to fit in a lot of fun stuff. It's good to look back and remember the good times. 

Looking Back at Our Summer, I also realized 2018 was a special year for double digit celebrations in our family. Our son turned 22, my husband and I both turned 55 and we were married 33 years. How cool is that?

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