Cherries!

We are having a great cherry harvest season here in Wilder! Eve picked them a few times and today she baked not one, but TWO loaves of cherry bread. What’s cherry bread, you ask? Well, I don’t know exactly, but she found a recipe and it’s delicious. It’s sweet and dense and the burst of tart flavor and bright color from the cherries is pure perfection. 🍒

Graduation weekend

We had another graduation celebration last weekend. This time for the middle kid. Family from all sides and places came. It was a little anxiety laden IMHO before the weekend, but all went very well and we now have two high school graduates in the house. Three, if you include me. :)

Friday was rainy off and on. Graduation was scheduled to be outside, but it was touch-and-go to the last minute. They made the final call to be outdoors, which is what I was hoping for. Indoors meant limited tickets to different areas (gym, auditorium, café) and a hot, sweaty event. Outdoors is wide open with unlimited attendance. We packed camping chairs, towels, umbrella’s, and water into the wagon, parked at a friends house, and walked over to the field.

The rain held off for most of the ceremony, with only a quick downpour while the valedictorian gave his speech. Poor guy. We all just put up the umbrellas and got through it. By the time they were handing out diplomas, the rain had passed, leaving a rainbow and fiery red/orange sky in it’s wake.

After graduation, River spent the evening with his bio-siblings while we the rest of us went back to my house for an exciting evening of hanging out. :) The next day we took a little “hike” on the Appalachian Trail (about 100 yards, but long enough for me to step in dog poop 🤢😡), visited a nearby waterfall, accidentally harassed a homeless person at the park, and then went to check out Mema and Tom’s tiny house lakefront rental. We enjoyed the day and delicious, lake-side dinner at the Baited Hook.

It was a really nice weekend full of family, love, and celebration.

Lex’s birthday weekend

We celebrated Lex’s 19th birthday this weekend!!

The thought snuck into my mind that this might be his last summer living at home for his birthday, but I had to quash that thought real fast! I’ll take every summer I can get with this kiddo. 💕

Friday was a hot one, as was the whole weekend, so after work and school three of us went out for ice cream! (the 4th didn’t want to come) The kids played on the play structure a bit and we all enjoyed the treat.

Saturday, Lex woke up before me so I didn’t have a chance to get the birthday table done first! Eeek! LOL. He said his birthday was just as good even though he didn’t see his birthday table until after he went upstairs to brush his teeth… for a good long time. :) He is so responsible these days that he sets a 9am alarm every day. He said (rightfully so) that the schedule and routine is easier for his sleep cycle. I got that table set up though and he did a wonderful job of acting surprised to humor me. LOL. He’s a good kid.

The kids had DND plans in the afternoon, so we did presents and ate birthday cookies before they left. I packaged up a bunch of birthday cookies for him to share with the group, but apparently other people don’t think oatmeal raisin cookies are the greatest and so he came home with many cookies still left. We have been munching on them all weekend.

Then the kids went off to play DND. I went off to bicker with the owner of a new car wash that scratched up my car (🤬) and get a mani/pedi (💅🏻). One obviously was much more fun and productive than the other.

At bedtime my responsible 19yr old reminded me to measure him on the way. I got out the step stool, which resulted in some silliness. In terms of height, Lex has only grown a touch since he was 17, but it feels to me like he keeps growing! Maybe I’m shrinking.

On Sunday we picked up the birthday squad and headed to an escape room! Alan met us there and together we solved puzzles and rescued Dr. Jones! Go team! We celebrated our success and hunger at a tasty pizza place in town.

Today we are enjoying our bonus weekend day. The kids were going to play DND again, but one of them is sick and a few others are sick of the group (Saturday’s game was rough) so they are taking a break from it instead. Everyone is quite and enjoying some down time on this rainy Memorial Day Monday. Living our best lives for those who gave theirs.

Last concert

River had his last concert last week. Lex and I went to watch. It occurred to me part way through that this might be my last concert at HHS. I mean, I know I can go to any of them, but it might be the last time I have a kid in the show. It was a weird realization.

It was a good concert though. The photo above is of the jazz band. For full band River sits right in the middle and you can’t see him at all. :) It was fun to have Lex by my side, instead of onstage. He had comments on the performance that I never would have thought of on my own. At the post-concert ice cream social he was a minor celebrity, with lots of band kids happy to have him back. I think River is happy to be done with it for now. One more thing checked off the list on the slow march to graduation!

Prom 2024

Eve decided to attend prom this year with a group of friends. She rented a partial tux (vest, shirt, pants, shoes) and added her own flair. We all met for photos by a lovely river, then the kids went to Panera Bread for dinner and the moms went to a much nicer place. 😂

The kids had a great time at prom. Afterwards they all went to Simon’s house, built a huge pillow/blanket fort, and watched movies all night. I think a good time was had by all.

Backyard upgrade

Ever since we built the house we’ve been talking about making in a fenced in backyard for the doggo. This summer Eve worked out the plan, mostly, and talked me in to taking action! Last weekend we bought creeping thyme ground cover and ordered some easy-install wire fencing. The plan was to buy fencing local and do the work last weekend, but we couldn’t find any so we had to order online and wait. So far only one box has arrived, so we put that up and planted ten thyme plants, along with some morning glories that Eve started indoors last month.

The goal is to have a 6′ x 30′-ish fenced in area with low-grow ground covering that’s native and doesn’t need to be mowed. I hope it works out!!

Once the other fencing arrives we’ll put that up. I think we are going to do the ground covering in stages and not tear up the whole back yard right away. In theory the creeping thyme will overpower the grass and spread. We’ll see how that goes!

Mother’s Day and other episodes

For some reason Friends has been on my mind (probably because social media REALLY wants it to be on my mind for some reason), so here are a few life updates, in episode format.

The One With the College Boy

Lex is home! Have I mentioned that already?! He came home last weekend after completely rocking his freshman year of college. He made friends, he aced his classes, he joined five different bands, he joined (briefly) a karate club, and he has plans to room with six friends next year in a college apartment! When he got home he set up a LinkedIn account and applied for a few summer jobs. He’s waiting to hear back from them. He also cleaned his room and cleared off his desk (which we haven’t see the surface of in years!) so he could have the dual-monitor setup he had in the dorm. One of his friends also set up a Minecraft server, so he’s been in his room most of the time, playing Minecraft online with his friends. I can’t even complain about it, though sometimes we do forget that he’s home. :)

The One With the Flowers

George is in full bloom! It’s funny because the branches are still short and the tree is barely taller than me, but it’s blooming like crazy! The garden in front of the house is full of tulips, with hostas starting to fill in the gaps. I did some weeding and pruning of the little rose bush and it’s looking way less dead now. I hope it thrives! Eve and I also have a plan for the backyard to fence it in, plant native ground cover, and grow some morning glories. We bought everything last weekend, but couldn’t find appropriate fencing locally so now we’re just waiting on the Amazon order to deliver the fence, then the planting will begin.

The One Where They Kidnapped a Cat (Briefly)

There is a beautiful Siamese cat that is free range in our neighborhood. It is very friendly, love pets, and will follow you home and try to come inside. Last summer we thought maybe it was homeless (though it doesn’t look scraggy or unkempt), but after asking around for a bit the general consensus was that it had a home. Most people thought it lived “at the house at the end of Davis, you know, the one with the rabbits.” I don’t actually know, but people seemed certain so that was enough for me.

Last week I saw this LOST CAT sign and immediately realized we hadn’t seen the cat in awhile. A few days later it ran through our yard! I sent Eve out to track it down, which wasn’t hard since it’s such a friendly cat. I took a quick drive down the street to get the phone number off the sign while Lex and Eve captured the cat in the garage.

We texted and called the number, from both my phone and Eve’s. We set up a lawn chair in the garage and took turns sitting with the cat. It loved the cat treats we bought for Jazzy awhile ago that the refuses to eat. The cat is adventurous, but also has no respect for personal space. If it’s on your lap, it’s on your chest and in your face too. I started to worry about what to do if we didn’t hear from the people. Fortunately, after an hour or so, they texted back and said it wasn’t their cat!!! Apparently other people in our neighborhood had also reported seeing this cat and thinking it was theirs. They said “we probably should just take the signs down.” They hadn’t found their cat yet though. :(

So we released the cat. It zipped right out of the garage when we opened the door, but then when I opened the garage door to pull the car back into the garage, the cat ran back in for more cuddles with Eve. Silly cat. Imagine if it went home and was able to tell it’s owners about it’s adventures. LOL.

The One Where They Went Geocaching

This weekend was Mother’s Day weekend. Saturday was beautiful and Alan was in town (before his big trip to Texas and Belize this week!), so I decided to drag everyone outside for a little sunshine and fresh air. Alan and the cooperative kids came along and we explored a local watering hole. I wanted to do a Geocache because we haven’t done one in awhile and because a colleague and I are making one at work. I thought it would be fun to get out there and try it again. I found one at a place I’ve heard of before but never knew where it was. It’s one of those places that always comes up in conversation about swimming holes, so I’m happy to now know where it is. And it’s beautiful!

It was a short little hike, punctuated with views of the falls and some rock climbing, then an fairly easy cache find.

Then the boys went home while Eve and I went grocery shopping. Can’t change the Saturday routine too much!

That evening we all played Catan. Eve and I teamed up and still got our butts kicked. Alan went home the champion, but we all had a great day.

The One With No Pretty Sky Lights

The other big thing this weekend was a huge solar storm the resulted in Aurora Borealis sightings as far south as Florida! All weekend the skies were full of color for some people, and clouds for others! Alan got some good photos in Montpelier, but we had solid cloud coverage all weekend. Every night I went out to check (and also walk the dog) and every night I got this:

Boring clouds. No colors. I (and probably everyone else) did learn that the lights look better in photos than in real life. Apparently the camera can see the depth of colors better at night, so those amazing photos you see probably didn’t actually look that amazing IRL. I still wanted to see them anyway. I enjoyed the discussions and the memes, even if I didn’t get to see them in person. I also reminded myself that we got a beautiful view of a full solar eclipse this year, so really I can’t expect too much of the New England skies in spring!

The One With Back Pain

My back and sciatic pain has been pretty minimal lately. My gym plans fell apart though, and I haven’t been doing much of any exercise lately. I’ve been thinking about exercising a lot, which really should count for something, but sadly it does not. After having such a nice day on Saturday, I decided to do some light stretching. Thinking maybe I’d ease myself back into a fitness routine. Slow and steady, right. Wrong!! Somehow, by doing light stretching for like 5 minutes, stretches I’ve done plenty of times in the past, I reactivated the back pain!! I’m soo mad! And sad. And in pain. I didn’t feel an immediate pain, but as the evening progressed it started to feel tight. Then by Sunday evening it was so painful and by Monday I was back to that awkward walk, hurts to stand and sit, and I’m miserable. I was hoping it would get better overnight and with ice, but nope. Today I emailed the physical therapist that I saw last year. Maybe he can squeeze me in for a quick appt. Maybe this will be the final straw to motivate me to make changes. Maybe not. We’ll see. First, I have to get rid of the pain again. Sigh. 😭

The One Where They Celebrate Mom

Sunday was supposed to be rainy and the kids had plans to play D&D, but all that didn’t happen, so instead we ended up with a lovely Mother’s Day with no plans. One might think we’d go out and enjoy the day, but instead we just hung out at home. Simon came over to visit for a few hours and that was fun. Eve made blueberry muffins and the cutest card in the world. I made a photo collage for my mom. LOL. I also made a delicious dinner of spring veggies sautéed with mini cheese tortellini. Sounds weird, I guess, but it was tasty.

Life has it’s ups and downs, but overall I can’t complain. Some days you get eclipses and beautiful handmade cards, other days you get clouds and back pain. Overall though, life is good.

💖

Hypermobility?

Another quick post about Eve, for documentation purposes.

For years she has been complaining of joint pain, and random other stuff. We (me, Alan, school nurse, doctors, etc.) told her it was probably growing pains. Last summer she had some blood work drawn that showed she had low iron and B12, so she started taking supplements. She didn’t notice any difference in the joint pain, or anything else really. This spring we went back to the doctor, then a different doctor, who started her on a low-dose anti-anxiety medication, unrelated to the joint pain, but something she feels she needs. She has been experimenting with different anti-anxiety meds, plus various hormones to help regulate her cycle, but still the joint pain continues. Finally the doctor referred her to a rheumatologist, whom we saw this week. After about two minutes, the rheumatologist diagnosed her with hypermobility, based on the way she was sitting cross-legged on the examination table. While this might seem like a good thing, or at least a diagnosis to move forward with, I have two reservations. First, the doctor said right near the beginning of the appointment that there are very high rates of hypermobility in “this area” (not sure what that means exactly), especially among teenagers, and that she and some colleagues were conducting research on it. It felt very much like the old adage, “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” My other reservation is that we have Googled hypermobility in the past and Eve really don’t meet very many of the criteria. The doctor even gave her a printout to read over, and Eve didn’t find anything, except joint pain, that matched her situation. The doctor said one hip wasn’t as mobile as the other and was concerned, so she sent Eve for a hip x-ray and more bloodwork. I checked the hospital portal yesterday and the x-ray had come back normal, as did most of the blood work. Some things looked a little low, so I’m waiting to hear back from the doctor on that. Or Dr. Rosy if I get around to texting her. :)

I think Eve is pretty flexible, but I’m not sure hypermobility is the answer to her problems. We’ll keep thinking.

Eve’s college tour continues to continue

LOL. I think this will be our last tour. Unless another friend (or aunt) of hers tells her about the *perfect* college that she should check out. :)

Today we dropped my car off for service at the new Tesla dealership, and met Alan for a drive to SUNY Plattsburgh, “Set in one of the world’s most spectacular regions — the Champlain Valley.” (according to their website) It was a beautiful sunshiney day. The trip to Plattsburgh requires a 15 minute ferry ride, which is fun on a beautiful sunny day. Not sure what the experience would be in December though. 😬

We had a great tour around the Plattsburgh campus, despite the high winds! (My co-worker, who also attended SUNY Plattsburgh, said that wind is par for the course and he has “visceral memories” of the wind during his time there!) The campus is large (about 300 acres) but it is all within a narrow triangle shape and has several really nice green spaces mixed in. There was a beautiful fountain, some old buildings, some new buildings, and a great library!


Eve liked the campus and the tour, but didn’t get the same vibe she got from Farmington. She’s decided that Farmington is (currently) her number one, with Plattsburgh and New Paltz coming in a tied second. She’s going to apply to all three this fall, plus J&W, then see who takes her (everyone, I’m sure!) and what the costs are. She’s got a whole spreadsheet going and was texting with Lex on the car ride home about creating a decision matrix. LOL. Glad to see she’s taking this decision seriously!

Eve’s college tour continues

Yesterday we hit the road before the sun even woke up, and headed into the sunrise to visit the 4th college on Eve’s list. Fourth in order of visiting, first in order of preference. It was in the top two, but after spending the day there I think it has jumped to #1 in all categories.

University of Maine at Farmington (NOT Framingham, as I keep accidentally saying) is a “premier teacher education and liberal arts college for the state of Maine.” (according to their website) It’s a very small college with a tight connection to the local town, Farmington. Eve loved everything about it.

We were there for a “Junior Visit” day with a group of maybe 2-3 dozen other kids and their parents. They had a few sessions, lunch in the dining hall, a campus tour, and a resource fair (that was too crowded and loud so we went to the bookstore instead!). All of the student ambassadors were really friendly and outgoing. Eve brought King Gerald, who happens to be a great conversation starter! I’m trying hard not to take over that King Gerald Instagram account. I would have fun with it. LOL.

I have a few reservations about the size of the college and academic rigor, only because of the amount of time she spend complaining about the people and academic rigor at her high school. I think this college is only a small step up from high school. The graphic design program there is also very new, which could be good (she could be part of the cohort building the program) or bad (if they don’t really grow the program).

In a funny little trivia session I won a prize by knowing what the name of the mascot. Can you guess what I won?

We have one more college visit scheduled for next week. Then it’s time for a vacation from college campuses for a few weeks! (Unless I’m the one picking Lex up in early May, still TBD).