Sunday, September 27, 2015

More of August 2015 (iPhone photos only)


Near the beginning of August I was able to start moving in to my classroom! All the stuff on the wall here is from the teacher who taught first grade in that room previously…she moved down the hall so that all the Kindergarten rooms would be near each other. But, I was able to start bringing stuff in and start cleaning.


Those boxes over there are holding all my colorful stools that the kiddos sit on around the tables.


I don’t use a teacher desk…I just use that little corner desk area for my computer and holding my teacher manuals, etc. It gives us more space in the room, which I need since I have my reading loft in my room as well. Sometime during this stage some of my awesome friends came and helped me wash out cabinets and scrub the sticky tape residue off the cupboard doors, etc. They are awesome. I was so blown away by their awesomeness that I didn’t even take a picture, apparently.

Ed & I also celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary! I love the water and I love walking by the water, so we headed out to Birch Bay to eat at my new favorite restaurant out there and walk along the beach at sunset. It was the perfect “us” celebration.




It was a really hot summer, too hot even to eat dinner out on the patio since we didn’t have an umbrella. Most umbrellas are so expensive and I couldn’t stomach spending $200+ on an umbrella that will just blow over anyway. Even the most expensive umbrellas don’t get good reviews online because if you forget even once to close them and the wind picks up even for a moment, the umbrella is toast. Plus, the gigantic base takes up so much room and they’re just ugly. Ed & I walk around the neighborhood every evening and we had seen a patio umbrella in a flower pot and to me that seemed genius. It’s cute, requires only an inexpensive umbrella, and doesn’t take up too much space. Oh a whim one day, I decided to give it a try…after looking up instructions on Pinterest, of course.


Problem A: I didn’t use enough cement.

Problem B: I didn’t let the cement dry properly.

Problem C: I piled the cement up around the pole…when it needed to be flat across so that the pot could hold it in place instead of letting the pile of cement shift around.


After putting a bunch of rocks & then potting soil on top of the cement, the PVC pipe that was supposed to stay in the cement and into which I would insert the umbrella pole just lifted straight up. It also fell over instead of standing up when it was in the pot. Pinterest Fail. Or Julie Fail. Not sure which…

Anyway, I went to the lumberyard so my dad could save the day. He said, let’s do three 60 lb. bags. Let it dry good.



Ta-Da! Yes, that worked. Fill the pot almost completely with cement. Let it dry completely. Then it will hold. I did put potting soil on top of the cement, but I never put flowers in it this summer because it was so hot and I still need to re-spray paint that cement covered PVC pipe so that it’s just a black pole all the way down. Now that it’s fall, the umbrella is down and in the garage, so next spring when I get it all set up with pretty flowers I’ll post the final picture. For now, Pinterest Win! No, it’s a Dad Win!


I had some pretty amazing dahlias in my yard this year…until the windstorm the end of August took them all down. We were without power for almost 24 hours…some people were without power for 3 or 4 days, and so very tragically, a couple from our church passed away in their home during that time due to a generator that was too close to an open cellar window and they were poisoned by the carbon monoxide exhaust. So losing my dahlias paled in comparison. I will just enjoy the photos.



The rest of August included Skyping, more classroom work (finishing my loft & bookshelf my dad built!), a great garden harvest, Ball-girls-only-back-to-school-shopping, the fair, fun with dear “old” friends, and silly ice cream photo poses…


























Aaahhh. Summer. It’s the best.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Orcas Day 2015

I’ve been wanting to do a ferry ride to the islands with the family, but summer just flew by. We finally set a date and were able to get the ferry reservations we wanted, so we were off! Unfortunately, the beautiful summer decided to deteriorate on us for that one day, but we were so thankful whenever we got a break from the heat that we didn’t care that much. We didn’t get wet, and since we were hiking most of the time, we weren’t really cold either – in fact, the girls had their sweatshirts off most of the day!


We walked around the water’s edge near the ferry dock as we waited for the ferry. It was a foggy morning!




First we headed to the opposite side of the island from the ferry dock to Obstruction Pass State Park. We found a trail that led to a beach and we did some beach combing and rock climbing.




Then we headed up to Mt. Constitution…the original plan was for Sarah to run up Mt. Constitution while we drove…but we were already doing a fair amount of hiking and she decided it wasn’t the right workout for her that day. It was cloudy, but we could still see a fair bit from up there!


There’s a big tower with lots of steps you can climb up to get an even better view.





We did some more hikes in Moran State Park – the goal of the day was to create a “Lord of the Rings” experience – and the foggy weather definitely helped with the mood! All the mossy trails and rolling hills with roads named things like Enchanted Forest Road and Elderberry Lane, complete with the Gandolf-tower on Mt. Constitution, surrounded by evergreen trees…if you use your imagination the forests even feel magical! So on our next hike we were attempting to find a hobbit-like shelter, a troll-like stump, and some caves to remind us of the Mines of Moria.



Those two weren’t as enchanted by the fantasy experience, but we had fun!



We found the hobbit-like shelter AND the troll-like stump that someone carved a face in…but the directions for scrambling up the side to find the caves left us bewildered…


We sat and waited while Ed & the big girls went cave hunting, but they were unsuccessful.


We went on another hike that was supposed to have 4 waterfalls and we were going to assign each girl a waterfall, but we only ever found 3…so 2 girls had to share.





When we got back to Eastsound, which is the main town on the island, there was a white Episcopal Church that had a labyrinth walk we all wanted to do.


You’re supposed to pray & meditate…but we just ran around it being goofy.


After ice cream for dinner, we drove through some more island-rolling-fantasy-evoking hills, parked at the ferry dock (then had our real dinner of sandwiches, fruit, & chips from the cooler in the back of the van) and waited for our hour ferry ride back to the mainland. After that it was a 75 minute drive home…so we got back late and were tired, but it was a fun family day!