Friday, July 31, 2009

"Good fences make good neighbours" ...

... or so said Robert Frost. But sometimes good neighbours are just great people, fences or not. That's the case with our dear friends Jonathan and Heather, who have lived in the house behind ours for the past five years and have been a very special part of our family's life. This morning they headed out in their moving truck to Guelph to begin the next stage in their lives. We will miss them!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

author reading (la-di-da)

Yesterday I performed my first-ever "author reading". As I've said on this blog before, I'm in a writers' group (5 women) that has been meeting since May 08. Recently a group member commented that it would be nice to hear each other's completed pieces because each week we just read 3-4 page excerpts. So we decided that every couple of months we would devote a meeting to one of our members reading her work. Yesterday we had our first of those special meetings, and I was the featured writer. We invited a couple of other writer friends to join us, and seven women met on the deck at my house for wine and cheese and stories. I read 4 stories that I have written. What is really most amazing to me is that since May 08 I have actually written 4 stories! (In fact there are 2 I didn't read as well.) It was a great afternoon and I look forward to next time, when I can just sit back and be a listener.

Incidentally, Allison and I are reading the same book series this summer: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Allison has finished book 10 of the 13, and I've finished book 9. I am loving these books! Even though they are about 3 children who have lost their parents in a terrible fire (the first of many "unfortunate events") they're laugh-out-loud funny, page-turningly suspenseful, and totally original. Check them out!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July marches on

Today I'm enjoying another quiet day in which I have not had a conversation with another person except a cashier. I love it!

This morning I dropped Allison off at her day camp and then Jonathan at his. Then I went to Value Village (second trip in a week -- when do you call something an addiction?) and picked up some T-shirts for Allison. (She is growing like crazy this summer. Everything is getting too short for her, especially shirts!) Then I bought gas and groceries. I came home, put away the groceries, threw in a load of laundry (despite the ominous gray sky), and made myself some coffee. Then I checked email and finished marking the assignments on my desk. I love days like this! With both kids' camps running from 9am-4pm, I have more time even than I did when school was in, since Jonathan came home for lunch every day.

The camps are going great for the kids. Allison is attending Quintilian Camp for the second week in a row and having a good time. A girl she met at Friendship Skills Day Camp two years ago is attending the same camp this summer, so they are hanging out together. Also this week a former classmate of Allison's, a boy she got along very well with but who transferred to another school 2 years ago, is attending. So it's neat to see her reconnecting with people.

Jonathan is enjoying his days as well. This is his third week at Extend-a-Family camp; he'll have next week off and then go one more week at the end of July. He has gone to the swimming pool and the beach, to the Buskers Festival, on a canoe trip ... lots of new adventures. He is happiest when his days are full and interesting -- and take it from me: when Jonathan's happy, everyone's happy!

As for me, this summer I've had the experience of leading a worship team at our church. I did lots of this in the past, but not at Bethel; they have lots of excellent musicians and leaders and I was happy just to participate in a team without taking on any leadership. But this summer, with one leader sick and another having just had a baby, I was asked to lead a couple of times. This mainly involves selecting songs, assembling a team of musicians/singers, working with the pastor to put the service together, and of course leading the congregation in singing during the actual worship service. This is something I really enjoy and feel gifted in, so it was a great experience to lead once in June and once in July. I have to say, it is wonderful to be part of a church where people really do work as a team and there are no ego trips or protecting of turf.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

future Harlem Globetrotter??

We recently bought a full-size basketball net for Jonathan and set it up yesterday. He was thrilled when he got home from camp and saw it in the driveway. Here he is trying out his first shots. In spite of the height contrast it is not at all difficult for him to put a lightweight ball through the basket. Note the wrist action!

Now he just has to decide if he is going to be a garbage collector or a basketball player when he grows up. Or maybe both.

Friday, July 03, 2009

the long, quiet days of summer

This has been a really nice, quiet week -- punctuated in the middle with a beautiful Canada Day holiday.

We had hoped to enroll Jonathan in the same program he went to last July, a Summer School offered by the public and Catholic school boards. But we found out less than two weeks ago that the program is now restricted to children in Grade Six and above, so Jonathan would not be able to go.

We decided to contact Extend-a-Family, a local organization we've had some involvement with, which offers summer day camps (as well as year-round activities) for special needs children and adults and their families. Although applications are supposed to be in by the end of May, they still had a couple of openings for three of their camp weeks, so we booked Jonathan for this week, next week, and the last week of July. The camp is held at St. Lawrence College (about a 5-min drive from here) and they do lots of out-trips to the park, swimming pool, beach, etc.

Jonathan has been having a great time at camp! There are about a half-dozen kids in his little group and they have a classroom set up with toys, books, and puzzles (Jonathan is right into puzzles now so that was a great way to get him to settle the first day). He went swimming in a pool for the first time on Tuesday; and yesterday, in keeping with this week's medieval theme, they had a princess come to visit their class -- Cinderella, I believe it was.

So where do the "long, quiet days" come in? Well, that's what we're experiencing here at home. Jonathan is gone from 9-4 and there's no lunch break at home like during the school year, so it's very peaceful. Today Allison and I dropped him off, went to the library and then did a little shopping, and we've just been spending the rest of the day at home. I enjoy the quiet, and it's great knowing that Jonathan is having fun and that there is some structure and sociability to his day. And when 4:00 approaches I can't wait to go and pick him up and find out how he got along.

Next week Allison will also go to a camp offered by Quintilian School, a local private school that offers summer camps; many of their students and campers are children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and there are several girls around Allison's age going next week so it will be a great opportunity for her.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Canada Day then and now

The picture above was taken on Canada Day 2008 in Waterloo. The one below was taken today in our front yard. I can't believe how much Allison has grown! It's just a matter of time until I am the shortest one in the family.

Happy Canada Day!