The Apple Didn’t Fall Far…

Hello Friends,

Well the new school year brings all sorts of new adventures, eh? Our last four weeks have been interesting, yeah, interesting. But that’s another post. Instead I want to focus on Sweetie’s new look.

Second Grade is going well for her so far. She enjoys school, loves her teacher, and is happy being around her friends again. She started the school year with a new accessory, though, one that we have been expecting.

Wife and I both have prescriptions; mine stronger than hers. I too, got my first pair of glasses in the Second Grade. So, with Sweetie, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. That’s a good thing too, because without these new glasses, she couldn’t see it if it did.

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In the Books

Hello Friends,

After a whirlwind two weeks, we can officially say our Summer 2019 is “in the books” (hence the post title). But I return to you as we celebrate our first day back to St. Viator Elementary School for the 2019-2020 school year.

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You may be thinking, “Wait, is the Cricket in a uniform?” And the answer is yes, she is. She is starting Kindergarten and that means uniforms, no naps, and the beginning of her permanent record.

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She was very excited, even though today was just a one hour welcoming day. Tomorrow is her real first day, but she dressed up just the same (and we don’t really buy into the permanent record thing).

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Sweetie was excited too…no, really. She didn’t show it the entire morning, but she was glad to get back to her friends. If only I would stop making her pose with these signs all over the house, and stairs, and outside, and in the school yard. Well, that’s not going to happen.

And so, as I stated, our summer is in the books. But I invoke the spirit of Dad jokes to say that our girls are also in the books. Gosh, that was way more funny in my head. Anyway, we’re back at school now. Best to you and yours as they head back, here’s hoping it’s a smooth and positive end of your summer.

Sometimes Filters Work

Hello Friends,

We are NOT at Lollapalooza this weekend. In fact, we are far enough northwest of the park that I would not even claim to be “adjacent”. But thinking about “Lolla” made me think about social media, which, in turn, made me think about filters. I don’t use them often, but one day the girls found me my phone, turned them on, and took roughly 143 photos of themselves, their cousins, and their uncle. Many have been deleted, but one shot in particular catches my attention whenever I scroll through my photo gallery.

I like it. And in this case, I think the filter works. I think it works because it is simple, and there is just something about the Cricket’s expression. So for me, in this instance, the filter works.

Again, not too profound, so that’s it from me, friends. If you are at Lollapalooza, enjoy, stay hydrated, and stay safe. If not, well, have a good weekend.

Funny Twist

Hello Friends,

Every so often some life happens to us, seemingly as a response to one of my posts. Today was one such instant. Cricket picked out her clothes today and I had to laugh…mainly at myself. For it was just yesterday that I typed, “we just don’t have that much team gear”.

To be clear, today Cricket is at “Dad Camp”, and the theme of the day is “errands”. It just goes to show me a couple things. Mainly, 1.) My daughters will continue to surprise me, and that may even be in complete contradiction to something I say/write/do; and 2.) Who knows what clothes lurk in the closets of small children?

So, clearly nothing profound today, friends. This just made me smile after yesterday’s post. Today in Chicago it’s high 70’s and sunny, perfect for those aforementioned errands. I hope your day is just as beautiful.

Theme Days

Hello Friends,

One of my favorite parts of summer camp was the theme days. The girls are steadily warming up to these intentional dress-up days as well.

Earlier in the summer it was crazy hat day for the “play camp”, and crazy hair day for the “day camp”.

You know we are always up for wild hair, or interesting headwear, so these were easy sells. The sports days are a bit harder, cause we just don’t have a lot of team gear. Not even t-shirts! Today’s theme for the play camp was a particular household favorite:

Yup, Star Wars day! Cricket was going to end up as either Leia or Rey, as we haven’t made a Rose outfit yet. Today’s hot and humid forecast didn’t go well with the collar-to-ankle polyester robe, so Jakku scavenger it was!

Even though she is the second child, and has watched me style Sweetie’s hair like this, the Cricket coached me through this entire ‘do. That’s how badly she wanted to nail this theme. You might be wondering, “What, no staff, no lightsaber?” Uh, no, not for Cricket (yet). It would be rogue Jedi justice all over the household galaxy.

The park district is great about their theme days. They change it up and keep it fun. I like that the girls participate in the group activity, and enjoy watching them get into it. And it’s pretty great seeing the $6.00 clearance Halloween costume get used for the third (or maybe fourth) time.

I’m guessing your Monday didn’t have a theme, but I do hope it was good overall. Keep in mind the simple joy that kids get out of a theme day-it could save a rainy afternoon! We’ll see you out there, friends!

Keep ‘Em Cool

Hello Friends,

Camps are a big part of our summer days, but because of Cricket’s age, they are not all of our days. I am still on the detour, just a bit less than before. I fill this “down time” with projects, laundry (always), vehicle maintenance, grocery shopping, and cooking-you know, “home-making”. I recently did some home maintenance, specifically air conditioning maintenance, that struck me and I thought I would share.

The brief back story is that in June a heating and air conditioning technician gave our a/c condenser a once over. He actually passed his hand over the top once to feel the air and laid his hand once on the ductwork to see if it was cold (full disclosure-that’s all I was paying him for). He did peek between the louvers of the unit and suggest I hose it down. When I tried, I couldn’t really get the spray at the correct angle, so I removed the cover and found this:

Yikes, right?!? This unit was installed when Sweetie was born and I never had it seviced. Ugh. So with just hose pressure, no fancy pressure washing or compressed air, we started.

This ill-ness washed away easily enough, so I did the three sides that face the yard. Within 15 minutes all was washed and the panels reinstalled.

In the moment, I felt dumb that I never washed our unit. The takeaway is that, even after ten years of homeownership, I have more to learn. I don’t know for sure that this helps our unit, but I think it has to. And I will check our electric bill to see if there’s a difference. So take my oversight and ignorance and make it your benefit. We’ve had some heat here in Chicago, and the end of the summer is when it can get hot, humid and ugly. Having clean fins on the a/c compressor should help the unit breathe easy, which in turn should help it keep the house cool without undue stress.

Been awhile since you’ve serviced your a/c? Again, learn from my mistake and hose that unit off-gotta keep those kiddos cool in the heat!

Garden Update

Hello Friends,

Well, summer goes and the garden grows. Here’s where we’re at this week:

The wildflowers are thriving in the Fairy Garden, and look like they’ll bloom this week. We’ve been watching butterflies, moths, and bees flying among the cucumbers, but hopefully that pollinator garden will bring even more.

The tomatoes are coming in well. We chose Roma tomatoes, and these are just about to size. A little vine ripening and we should be set!

The jalepenos are longer than my middle finger, so we’ll have to start watching those. They should also be ready for picking soon!

The girls have been helpful with the watering, especially during last week’s hot spell. Weeding falls on Wife and I, and we’re keeping up reasonably well. I know we have passed the halfway point of our summer break-from here, I feel like the vegetables will ripen quickly. We’ll keep you updated on the progress, hopefully with some zucchini to share! Inch by inch, row by row, right? I hope your gardens and summer are going well, we’ll see you out there, friends!