What I did on my summer vacation
I got to spend a lot of time with the boys, plus I was able to knock out a lot of projects around the home. I've already described the construction of "Shed-zilla". I put in new gutter guards on the house and installed gutters on the new shed. I also got some practice in drywall patching in fixing our dining room ceiling as well as pulling out some old-timey radiant heaters (toasters in the walls -- unsightly safety hazards when little boys are around) from our bedrooms. I installed another solar tube, this time in the kitchen (I put one in our master bathroom about a year and a half ago -- I love these things). Once the solar tube was in, Mere and I tackled the (it turns out) major job of resurfacing the kitchen ceiling. YouTube videos make the removal of textured ceilings look so easy (just spray with water and scrape). Not so with ours -- scrape, sand and kick up a tremendous amount of dust, then spread joint compound over the whole thing and try to spread as smoothly as possible . . . it was a bear of a project (good thing Little Elvis was already back in school by the time we tackled this one).
As far as travel, we took several family trips -- to Memphis to visit the zoo and the Pink Palace museum, the 2 older boys and I made our first (outside of our own backyard) camping trip, a Chattanooga trip where we rode a train and visited the aquarium and science museum, as well as weekend trips to my in-laws' cabin. I also made a solo trip to attend an astronomy conference in San Jose which, despite an ear infection and bad case of bronchitis, was tremendously beneficial. In addition to our own travels, my dad again made the pilgrimage from Harrisburg, PA to spend a week that was capped off by "Cow Appreciation Day" at Chik-Fil-A.
The moral of this whole story -- children spell love "T-I-M-E" and I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with mine this summer. The highlights were innumerable but possibly best encapsulated in this little vignette. About two weeks ago, we were all working in the yard, putting some new plants in the flowerbeds. Baby Plum (our natural helper, but not-so-natural hugger) was standing next to me as I knelt down to fill up a bucket of water. Without any prompting, he put his arm around me and said, "You're my best friend." A moment, and a summer, that I'll never forget.