This is essentially "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" without the sad parts and with many photos. Here we go:
I did post about our trip to the cottage already. Ian and the kids (including my niece) got to return there for a week in August as well. I love that the cottage is a summer tradition for our family.
Early in the summer I finally got the appropriate archery equipment for the girls to share. There are several public ranges in the park system in Milwaukee, and sometimes we'll picnic there when we go out to shoot.
Quinn's still too small to handle the bow yet, so he acts as a human quiver and also retrieves arrows. The girls are improving quickly and we've been having a lot of fun. Next summer I plan to get a third bow so they don't have to take turns.
|Gathered at the violin store before heading to the Air Show by the lake|
|Me and Ian, dressed up!|
Amazing Race on Bikes, so I'm never in the courtyard where I don't feel like I should be making a catapult.)
|How can anyone not want to eat here?|
There was a lot of reading this summer. We've been going through the Golden Compass series together. Quinn made a library out of his upper bunk a few years ago and we organized it a little so he could get back to reading up there again. (I love that he tapes letters he receives in the mail on his wall.)
My dad also did his last drawings while in the hospital and I was glad I got to watch him sketch.
My friend, Lauren Fox, had a new novel come out! It's called Days of Awe and it's excellent and you should all read it. She happened to do a book reading in Ann Arbor the week after my dad died, so it was good to have something positive to focus on right around then. My mom and brothers and best friend came along, too.
My brother, Barrett, got a beautiful trailer hitch. Let us all admire it.
new trampoline was definitely a good investment. Mona in particular spends a lot of time on it, sometimes just lying on her back and looking up at the leaves in the evening. Ellora managed to convince my mom to try it at one point, and she admitted it was harder than it looked.
|Chipper, all big head and tiny toes|
The biggest development for us as parents with Chill on the Hill was that the kids are old enough to get themselves to and from the park on their own. Often Aden would stay until dark with her friends, long after the rest of us were ready to leave, and that was fine. The other kids, as long as they stayed together, were allowed to go off to the playground by themselves while we listened to music. It's such a far cry from having to keep an eye on everyone every minute. I miss many things about when my kids were little, but I don't miss that.
I was swamped with work after being away from the violin store for so many weeks, but when the kids would visit from time to time I didn't have to miss them so much.
|Luthier's eye view|
|Mona on the range|
|Mona and Quinn, ready to hand out the last of the cans|
the Safe House. We brought the girls there once a very long time ago, so this will be the first visit there they remember. The Safe House is a spy themed restaurant downtown and it's awesome. You need a password to get in, otherwise you wind up performing a bunch of silly tasks for the person at the door that everyone can watch on monitors at the bar inside. I knew the password, and did give the kids the option of my simply telling it to them or going through the rite of passage that is performing in the lobby of the restaurant. They all chose to just suffer the silly antics and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them on the TV inside. There are too many fun things inside the Safe House to even attempt to list here, but suffice it to say I've decided the next time we go I will order the sandwich that arrives via pneumatic tube. In order to get out of the restaurant you need to put a quarter into a pay phone that then opens a secret door to a corridor you follow until it spits you out into the alley. The kids loved it. (Didn't hurt that they all ordered the most chocolaty chocolate dessert I've ever seen.)
|Kids at the false entrance to the Safe House|
|Escape out the secret passage!|
Ian and I got in a little more biking with Ellora while our kids were in school. She's lovely to have around. We're so lucky to have her as part of our summers.
Mom came to Milwaukee as part of a plan to reunite Ellora with her dog, Pepper, and to deliver both of them to Chicago to meet up with Arno and get all of that family on a plane back to New York. I loved having all of them around.
|Mom, Ellora, and Pepper at the violin store|
Doors Open Milwaukee again. Nothing grand, but we did finally see the inside of the printing shop two blocks from us that I've always been curious about, and we got to see the Fire Museum which is only open four hours a month so we've never been in it. (Lots of old fire equipment and a timeline of all the big fires that have happened in the city--some interesting history.) I put in a request to see if the violin store could be on the Doors Open tour next year, so we'll see! Could be fun.
|Axe sharpening wheel on the back of a truck!|
|The tarantula table!|
|Howard handing Mona a millipede|
|Quinn checking out aquatic bugs|
Our life is mostly the land of projects, though. The dining room table is busy place, covered in puff balls and jewels and pipe cleaners, and the hot glue gun is usually on. Aden is working on her portfolio for applying to the High School of the Arts, and now I know it's never too early to make Valentines. I need to post this and start clearing room for the Halloween costumes.