Summer vacation is here! And with gusto! We “plan” for whatever sounds good that day. Friday we explored the new tree house collection at the Arboretum (days before Gus said with all the intensity of a 7-year-old: “Don’t tell me if we can go in them, I want to be surprised!) The houses were scattered along the 3-mile drive, which we’ve driven countless times. But Karen and I have never gotten out and wandered the grounds in this way—it was magnificent.

At lunch, the kids brought their new books; Gus wanted to work on his addition?!

H&G are very interested in mechanical stuff. Harper finds our condo roof fascinating and loves to go up there if I have any work to do or to meet a vendor. Last week she became a pro at cleaning cottonwood seeds out of the AC condenser. I got a kick out of how she wanted to know where our condo was under her while on the roof. She walked the distance from the elevator shaft to our condo door and transferred those measurements to the roof.

We also had a picnic-and-splash-pad day with bubble makers. It all was great fun and the irridencent bubbles looked all the better for the dark, stormy clouds that were overhead. The kids found fun everywhere, running bases, balancing on walls, plus, plus, plus.

Gus is now playing twice-weekly soccer, with sharp uniforms, and a significantly higher level of play. When I took him to practice one night, H tagged along to keep me company and she wanted to try shooting with my 35mm camera. Of course, we both had a blast. To get Gus’s action I was using a long lens so she had to learn to hold the heavy camera steady; she did a great job. The visit to the nearby ice cream truck was the cherry on that night.

“Decorating” has been a theme these last few weeks. We decorated the condo driveway for Flag Day, H&G appropriated a big box and spent the morning decorating it, and then they decided to decorate me!