Day 71 and 72: Sillybandz, Nemo, and Mosqitoes!

Marlin and Dory encounter Bruce the shark - "fish are friends, not food."

The purpose of this blog was to chronicle what I was doing to make the days count. It is a philosophy that I have used with my students at the end of the year. I challenge them with the statement; “We can all count the days, but can we make the days count?” Hence, why I named the blog: Making the Days Count: A Summer Well Spent. In some ways, I have answered the call. I have reported what we have done as a family, what I have done individually, but I have failed, in some cases, to connect the dots to why it counts. With the days dwindling a summer has been well spent and the school year will soon be upon me.

Olivia and Ivy were awake before me Saturday morning and I got a slow start to the day. I made coffee and Ivy and I walked. I finished my post, uploaded, and got a start on Saturday. With William gone camping it was just Olivia and I in the morning. Beth gets to sleep in Saturday mornings or at least most Saturday mornings. During the school year, weekends have a routine and with the days until school start almost in the single digits it is time to start thinking about getting back in the groove. Saturday is usually time for errands and yard work with Sunday reserved for schoolwork and other household chores. Of course, there are always sports for the kids that take place on the weekend. William is skipping football this year and playing lacrosse and Olivia will play soccer. This Saturday I had errands: the cleaners, the bookstore, and Petco for a new walking harness for Ivy. We stopped at Border’s to get two new books: Spaceheadz by John Scieszka (Shes-ka), the guy who wrote Knucklehead, and Rules for School by Alec Greven. Greven’s first rule is a good one, forget about summer, put it in the past. That is good advice even for me, more on that one in the future. While we were at Border’s, we learned of an event that was perfect for Olivia – a SillyBandz swapping event in the afternoon. We also learned of a book signing by a local author. The author, a former firefighter, had written a book for kids called Krittercreep and would be signing his book before the SillyBandz swap, so I made a mental note to come back for both.

Ivy got her new walking harness – she had outgrown the first one and Olivia discovered a new toy – a squeaky unstuffed sock like shaped like a rabbit. Hopefully, she will get to chasing the real rabbits in our backyard. She has already picked up their scent, but has not actually connected the scent to them, yet. I pity the rabbit when it happens.

While we were gone, a neighbor had mowed the grass and had done a good job. But, it had been at least a week since it had been mowed, and it was Saturday. I finished mowing and then attacked the weeds on the path. They had grown unchecked while we were gone and Olivia came out to help me. She and I worked well together and accomplished quite a bit of weeding before I called it quitting time. It was hot and muggy with hardly any wind making the work sweaty. The forecast for the coming week was more of the same, so I had something to look forward to in the coming days.

I cleaned up and Olivia and I headed to Border’s for the SillyBandz swapping event. Sillybandz are the kind of thing that drives a teacher crazy. Shortly after school let out, NPR broadcast a story about SillyBandz and it is linked if you want to listen.  We were one of the first there and Olivia set about organizing her SillyBandz, into shapes, colors, favorites, and other piles. She decided what she would keep and what she would trade. More kids arrived and soon there about a dozen kids – mostly girls except for one boy who came along with his older sister. It was a fun event and Olivia had a great time.

To finish our night we went swimming; not just swimming, but swimming and a movie at the pool. The movie was Finding Nemo; the perfect movie to watch at the pool, much better than Jaws. The movie was set to start after the pool closed at eight and we arrived for swimming after seven; just enough swimming to have fun, but not get exhausted. It was Olivia’s first time in the water since her accident and she could not wait. She loves the water and I have nicknamed her ‘my little dolphin’ dating back to her time when she would take a bath and play in the water. Now, it is a struggle to get her to take a bath, or even a shower. We climbed out of the water and changed to get ready for the movie. We settled in lying on our towels munching popcorn. It was not long before we were getting munched – by mosquitoes. Olivia was a great sport; she covered her head with her hood of her sweatshirt and endured silently. Families around us were packing up and leaving, but we kept watching and swatting. After almost thirty minutes I leaned over to her and said, “Olivia, let’s go home. We can watch ‘Nemo’ at home.” She did not say a word, but just started to gather her things and we headed home. We ran into Beth who had come to join us. We told Beth our plan and returned home. We finished watching Finding Nemo in the comfort of our own home and without mosquitoes!

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Just keep swimming, a perfect theme for Olivia!

I tucked Olivia into bed. I reminded her that tomorrow would be a busy day with church, chores, and a drive back to Michigan. Saturday was over and complete. William would be back after church and then Beth and the kids would drive back to Michigan to make sure the downstairs bathroom at the cottage would be finished.

As usual, it was Ivy and I alone to start the day. We were going to church and I woke Beth and then Olivia. Olivia dressed quickly and was ready for church before Beth or me. It was a ploy to avoid a shower and it worked. After church, we came home and Beth and Olivia packed, or re-packed to go back to the cottage. Beth needed to be there for the tile workers to finish the master bathroom. She did not plan to be long at the cottage possibly a week. Ivy and I would stay home – I would get ready for school to start making a visit to my classrooms, making plans to get started, and get back in the groove. Rule number one: put summer behind you.

I picked William up at the church when he came home from the campout and soon Beth, William, and Olivia were off, back to Michigan.

Ivy and I took the night off and rested. It was the first NFL football game of the season – Dallas vs. Cincinnati in the Hall of Fame game from Akron, Ohio. I watched what I could before I fell asleep on the couch with Ivy on the carpet beside me. I woke and tucked Ivy into the kitchen and crawled upstairs and into bed.

Day seventy-two done, ten more to come; Making the days count, one day at a time.

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