Summer is here, but the slower pace that I had hoped for is not. Just when it looks like we have a little down time, our calendar is full again. I considered a weekly wrap-up or a random thoughts on Friday post, but the new week started before I could gather my thoughts. I didn't even complete this on Monday, so the "Monday Musings" title had to be condensed. So, a glimpse of our summer so far and a little peek at our upcoming plans:

Grandma and Grandpa (my in-laws) left Monday morning and headed north. They visit between us and my brother-in-law for a few months each spring, with their camper. Their visits early in our marriage meant late late night games around the table. Now we are more likely to watch a movie together till one or more of us falls asleep, but the late nights continue.

Looking back, in the past two weeks we have done a lot. My oldest daughter added "100 dresses" to our summer bucket list. We delivered the first 17 right before my mom's friend returned to Nicaragua. She assured us she could fit them into her suitcase and even offered to take pictures after she shares them. We are so thankful for family and friends who have donated fabric and notions for more dresses. We are also working on creating a functional, inviting, and organized sewing room. 

My son got new frames for his glasses. I was delighted to learn the warranty covered them completely. That same day we went to the library. The summer reading program has started, and the kids are spending much of their free time reading. 

My husband surprised us with a new ice cream maker! So far we have tried three kinds: vanilla as instructed in the manual that came with it (too creamy), vanilla with milk and just one cup of cream (perfect!), and orange sherbet (better the next day.)

Tragedy struck the farm Saturday right alongside a delightful family visit. Our great niece and her parents spent the day. We introduced her to our dogs that were almost bigger than her then went inside because it is already too hot to stay out very long. Maybe Bingo was jealous, or maybe he wanted to show off for our pint sized guest. Either way, we were disappointed to discover him eating one of our nine pet ducks, the same ducks that have been sleeping on our porch right beside the dogs for almost a month.  We name all of the animals on the farm, and that duck was Gerinimo, the one my husband named. Jewel, named by Emily, has been missing since then, too, and we fear the worst. Now we have seven. As if that wasn't enough, when we later introduced our little one year old guest to our horse, Mittens the kitten followed us and walked right between the horse's front hooves. Mittens was stepped on twice, and my daughter's grief as I held her and she held that kitten was almost unbearable. Miraculously, Mittens has now survived three more nights. Maybe it does have nine lives. 

I encourage the kids to take turns cooking. For Father's Day, the girls woke up early and made my husband's favorite pancakes (Aunt Jeminma box mix, not homemade fresh ground wheat.) Our son slept late that day but woke up early enough this morning to scramble eggs for his daddy. My aunt shared zucchini from her garden, and when Heather made lasagna she also made a small pan with peeled sliced zucchini instead of noodles. It was even better! How have I not tried that before? Next year we will include zucchini in our garden plans. We have added yellow squash to the deep freezer already, and the squash in the garden I'd doing great. Not the tomatos. Though the ground is watered, the leaves on every tomato plant have shriveled. The sun is hot, maybe that is all. We have eaten a few that ripened, and they are incredibly delicious right off the vine. Blueberries are always ripe on Powpow's bushes (I guess I'll call the fruit trees and bushes that he planted "his" forever) before the ones at my parent's house. A friend and her kids visited yesterday and we all picked almost two gallons of blueberries then made jam. Soon we will be harvesting a lot more blueberries, and pears will quickly be ready to pick. 

Both of my girls fell asleep on the couch beside me. Our hectic pace is catching up with all of us. Joseph has been playing quietly with Legos. 

We got another preview of Dolphin Tale2, this time the complete preview of Hope's story (with Harry Connick Jr!) We have watched a few good movies this summer. My parents took all of us to see God's Not Dead at the theater. If you haven't seen it yet, add it to your list to watch. We all enjoyed Frozen, but not so much Maleficent. On Netflix, we are still enjoying oldies. MacGyver and The Incredible Hulk have been the latest ones we have introduced the kids to. Special effects mixed with my husband's commentary make us all laugh. The Brady Bunch is our current vintage tv evening viewing choice.

Too tired to share more; I'll finish catching up later.

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