Sunday, August 25, 2019

Wrapping up Summer Part 1

Two weeks ago, if you had asked me if I were ready for school to start I would have said no and meant it. Things changed drastically. The girls were super excited for school this year as they are really looking forward to their fourth grade teachers. But on the home-front, tempers were wearing thin, the togetherness was getting old and they were really just O.V.E.R. I.T. A.L.L.

The weather keeps hinting at the fall weather to come, first with rainy and chilly weather followed by the humidity and stickiness that should be prevalent in August. I think Mother Nature is menopausal. All of that rain and heat had caused an algae bloom in the lake which kept the beach closed so we had to find other means of entertainment.

We had several opportunities for Chinese language/culture enrichment at a local retirement home that has a nearly 90% Asian community.
To write with a calligraphy brush, you must hold it perfectly vertical.

I love that the retirees are participating with our kids. There is much to be learned by each generation from the other.

It's harder than it looks.
Later in August there was a Chinese painting class. First they practiced on paper.

Then they picked out the pattern they liked on a canvas bag, gathered their colors and started painting.

The final class of the year was a Chinese chanting and singing class. All of the material was written in Chinese characters so they had to learn the words first, writing what they didn't know out in pinyin, then had a lesson the proper tones to use which is so crucial when learning the language.

Then they moved on to the singing, learning the rhythm with shakers.

When it wasn't raining, chilly, or when the beach wasn't closed due to an algae bloom, we tried our best to spend time there. It wasn't nearly as often as the past few years as the girls seem to have more interests as they get older and life gets busier. But we did have a few days like this which make me relish long summer days spent doing nothing much.
The lifeguards are always up for playing games when the lake is less busy.
Kai was a favorite lifeguard this year, especially with Lucy. He's a high school wrestler and can do a standing backflip so that was all Lucy needed to see to be totally smitten.
When we couldn't go to the beach, we would meet friends at pools. We met Lamar and Emme at a nearby city pool.

We met up with George and Spencer at their country club pool/lake on another day.

In order to go to the dock in the lake, they had to pass a swim test. Not a problem for my little fishies.
4 laps later and a 2 minute treading of water and they were good to go. Their friend Keaton showed up to play as well and although she had already passed her swim test, she treaded (trod?) water next to them.
Free to swim in the deep end of the lake!

On a trip into the city for a dental appointment, we decided to spend the remaining time in our old neighborhood for lunch and visiting with old friends. We stopped at Sun Wah for duck.
I couldn't get the picture snapped fast enough...Lucy's fingers are edging in to grab some duck!
Kate got the 鸭屁股, aka, duck butt. An acquired taste...

Soup made from the duck bones is amazing. Lucy and I couldn't get enough.
Our bellies full, we walked down our old street to see if Mrs. Lucy and Brandon were home. Hard to believe I used to have to hold their hands for balance on these boards.
Brandon is now 13 and the age difference seems much vaster than it did a few years ago.

They spent the afternoon riding bikes in our old alley. Brandon ended up giving his old bike to Lucy which was very sweet. Here they are at 13 and 9 years old...
And here they are at 10 and 6 years old...
On the dog front, Brinkley has been a much calmer dog since we had him neutered at the beginning of July. He seems to be fully house trained which is a relief but he's still completely untrustworthy around cat food and has a tendency to chew books or other inappropriate material. He's a work in progress...

He loves to be outside and when he's finished with his walks, this is one of his favorite spots.
I love this pose of his when he is waiting for me to pay some attention to him.
Tennis wrapped up the first week in August with a pizza party. Unfortunately, most people were traveling so the party was super small and we had tons of pizza left over. Kate and Lucy took some down to the beach to feed the lifeguards.

Since Len started his new job we decided to take an afternoon to visit his office and take him to lunch.
Lucy was in love with all the toys her Dad has!

All of his jobs, NASA, Boeing and Caterpillar, all have good toys!
Kate managed to get a cold that, once again, settled into her chest. Dr. Ettner prescribed inhalers as it appears that she has asthma that comes on after a cold that devolves into coughing fits. She had to use two inhalers several times a day for quite some time before it finally cleared up.
She was not a happy camper.
Fortunately it cleared up in time for her to go to 6 Flags with her friends. The school had a reading challenge last spring for a free admission ticket. Kate was all about it and finished it within a week. Lucy, even though she had 2 months to complete the task, decided not to do it. I think she figured I would give in when the time came so she wouldn't feel left out. Lucy, much to her dismay, found out that I was serious when I told her that if she didn't earn her ticket then I wouldn't be paying for her to go. Something tells me that next year she will be doing the reading because she was so upset to realize that I wasn't kidding.

Both girls have gotten industrious and started up their own businesses this summer. They each made flyers advertising their businesses and then put them in mailboxes of people we knew in the neighborhood. Lucy has a dog walking/grooming business and picked up two clients.

One has her come weekly to groom their dog and another has her come three times per week to walk their dog. Rain or sun, there she is!
Kate started a watering business for people who go on vacation and need their outdoor plants watered.
She has gotten at least 10 houses in the past month and waters up to 4 houses per day! We've had to stop for the school year though as the jobs were plentiful and have left little after-school time for their other activities.

With all of their money, both girls bought themselves rollerblades and Lucy bought herself a chin-up bar for her room.

And that's a wrap on Part 1 of our summer. More tomorrow!


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