June and a bit of July

In June we started to get into the swing of things here. I got my second Mother’s Day!

We celebrated Daniel’s first (ok, second) birthday in the USA. We had some adventures with the Robinson family canoeing down the Root River (no pics of the actual canoeing as I haven’t yet figured out how to download from the waterproof camera – but here are some of Lanesboro)… We experienced truly awesome thunderstorms and I took photos of the sky almost daily. We loved the heat and invested in a paddling pool and invited ourselves to our friends’ house A LOT – as they live by a lake! Daniel was awarded a commendation for his achievement at the end of Kindergarten. Esther had her school performance – on the theme of American Pride! Whistle stop tour of US history. She played a pilgrim! We attended our first baseball game – to see the town team – the Rochester Honkers. Fun and games on the sidelines.

The school holidays began in the first week of June and it was a blur after that! Esther and Dan did 2 summer camps – one at Camp Victory – a fantastic rural centre with loads of outdoor fun (including river tubing which I may not have let them do if I’d seen photos beforehand!!!). Daniel’s favourite activities were archery and B.B. guns. Ho hum. The other was at Quarry Hill nature centre. Loads of catching bugs and getting up close to nature. They had a blast at both and we are still singing the songs from Camp Victory. We went to the library frequently, went to free movies, went bowling for free… Home Depot (like Homebase) does free kids crafts the first Saturday of each month so the kids get to use a hammer! Rochester has many fun offerings for families over this looong vacation.

We went on adventures to state parks. Carley was memorable as the trails had not been maintained so we had to cross the river twice with no bridges! And slash stinging nettles down! At Chester Woods we enjoyed fishing and swimming. we We did a housewarming tea party for our neighbours and had fun preparing for that. We got hungry for a few home comforts and found the ‘British Aisle’ at a grocery store. We yearned for Brummie curry but sourcing the ingredients was laborious and expensive until someone told me about Rice ‘n’ Spice. Thank you, Priya! Now, though, I have everything Indian spice-wise I could possibly need, having seen my sister Sarah in the summer – so no excuses now!

Spotting registration plates from other states became a family pastime in the car. You should hear Lois yelling North Dakota! Iowa! Wisconsin!

We were entrusted with some Monarch butterfly caterpillars to raise and it was one of the most satisfying and incredible things I have done in a long time. We also did some pet sitting of budgies (parakeets) and gerbils. Finally, seeing fireflies was a magical herald to the start of summer and we were all mesmerized by them. I did take some video but it is just not the same! The kids got good at catching them in jars to observe at close quarters.

Tie dye fun – summer rite of passage.

The girl Lois is adorable and infuriating in equal measure and this is a picture of just some of the books that got sent to book hospital in the summer months. She has also helped herself to my makeup on numerous occasions. Foundation in the carpet. Leg wax strips on the tile floor. My google searches become ever weirder. “How to remove leg wax strip from tile floor?” Turns out you put kitchen towel over it then iron. Hey presto.

We were invited to share the 4th of July with colleagues of Andy’s and had great fun in their backyard before heading downtown to see the big display. Weird watching fireworks in summery clothes when it’s not even quite dark! (More on that in November….)