Two sacred rules guide these summer days:

#1 H&G sleep as late as they want. H takes her meds at 7:30 and I wish the few days that she sleeps that late, she could go back to sleep, but that usually never happens.

#2 H&G get to do pretty much just what they want. They filled a jar with fun activities on slips of paper and I always have a lot of ideas too, but my childhood was really about having lots of freedom and I want H&G to have that too.

Now for the photos:

One of the biggest changes this summer is Harper’s love of reading, and one morning she joined me on the balcony to just read by herself.

We met up with friends at the MN Zoo and saw lots, of course, but highlights were the outdoor bird show, which we had never seen—very well done, riveting really. And in the butterfly house, Gus got into identifying as many butterflies as he could.

Wednesday was Como pool day. That little Gus surprised me (and, I think, himself) by trying out the deep pool. H always loves it but this time it didn’t take Gus long before he was doing cannonballs with H, hiding my hat at the bottom of the pool then diving down to get it, swimming through my legs, and dunking me. Of course, even the pool is a place the kids want Grandma to read when they’re taking a break.

And I just have to say that I had the brilliant idea to borrow a card table and chairs (from our floor’s borrow room) to have a picnic-for-four out on our balcony. It was a hit! Easy for Karen and fun for the rest of us.

Gus proudly sported his MN Science Museum camp t-shirt from his Lego Amusement Park experience (he asked me to send the photo to his cousin Soren in San Francisco.)

Harper threw herself into learning how to iron. One day she ironed for over an hour.

She also seems to have a natural flair for photo editing—she took the photo of Grandma and her making pork “tenderline” (as Gus calls it) sandwiches and cropped it, rotated it, and decided it looked better as a black and white.

I finally got to watch Gus’s soccer practice. EEK let me fill in when the coach asked for an adult to come out and play defense. Gus says he scored over 20 goals against me.

Grandma lost a bet to H (about which book the characters referenced Parcheesi), so she had to treat us all to ice cream.

One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing
And you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky
But ’til that morning, there ain’t nothin can harm you
With Daddy and Mammy standin’ by.