Collaging Summer

For some reason, I was under the delusion that I would have oodles more time to blog once school was out for the summer. I figured I’d be able to get 4 really good posts up per week. The reality? Two posts per week is average, and one post happens more frequently than I’d like to admit. Gah! 

Obviously, deluding myself is a hobby of mine.

I don’t know where the time goes each day! The only logical explanation is that somehow I’m getting shorted about 5 hours/day compared to the rest of the world. I’m convinced that it’s a Truman Show-like Conspiracy to see how long I can go without sitting down each day. Or brushing my hair. Or keeping up with the mountains of laundry.  For my boys, Commando is the new Underwear.

Here’s a little SOOC (straight out of the camera) evidence en collage of the goings on around here:

We’ve had two Boy Birthdays within a month of each other. For some reason, I ended up making 6 cakes during this time frame. S-I-X! That’s excessive, even for me! We’ll be chatting more about the Thomas Cake that my now *three* year old Baby decided that he needed about 8 days before his birthday.  He’s been telling everyone who would listen that he was going to have a “Monster Cookie” (Cookie Monster) cake for the better part of a year. Then, a week before his birthday, he changed his mind. Preschoolers can be fickle.

Wah! My Baby is a Preschooler, and I officially have a Tween!!! Double wah! Hold me. Or send chocolate.

Image courtesy of

Wait! Jeanne did send chocolate, and none to soon! You should really try her Dark Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies. They rocked my neurotic My-Babies-Are-Going-to-Grow-Up-and-Leave-Me-Someday world.

The Slip & Slide has been getting a work out. Best $10 I’ve spent all summer. If you’re ever wondering where all the kids are in a neighborhood, just set up a Slip & Slide in your yard. They Will Come.

We’ve been regular Park-Hoppers. Daisy frequently tags along to make sure the parks are up to her exacting doggie standards. So far, we’ve discovered that Daisy has a fiercely strong prey drive, and will think nothing of running out an open door to chase down vermin. These outings come with bonus amnesia, as the dog forgets her name or the fact that she’s ever seen her family before–she’s too busy running with her nose on the ground following a scent. I’m thinking her microchip tracking system was a wise investment.

Also noted about my new fur-daughter is that I have to practically drag her when taking her running because she is positive that Running Is Not For Her. Yet when we had her on a tie-out next to a field where we were playing kickball, she enthusiastically ran alongside me when I was running for first base. Until her 40 foot lead ran out and yanked her backwards. (Poor thing! I felt like a colossal jerk.)

It wouldn’t be summertime Up North if we didn’t have company for at least half of it. Preferably for a month straight. The More the Merrier! This was our Cousins and Chaos weekend in which my cousin and her family were here. There was much frolicking, piñatas, cut-throat Cornhole Tournaments, and two more birthdays thrown in just for fun.

This year the National Cherry Festival brought us flying dogs, games of chance, a Weinermobile, and of course, lots of local sweet cherries! I was so happy to see local cherries at the festival because our local farmers’ cherry crop was hit hard this year due to the week of 80°F temps in March. Our region’s farmers averaged between 80-100% dead-loss from the freakishly warm “winter” weather.

The problem started with that hot week, which confused the trees into blooming early. Then, once the blossoms were on the trees, we didn’t have any bees to pollinate them because it was March and the bees were still basking in the southern sun with the other Snow Birds. Many farmers scrambled to have bees shipped north to pollinate, but once here, the bees wouldn’t come out of their hives–because it was March! Chase that with many weeks of below freezing temps in the evenings, and you’ve got a Perfect Storm that can only result in a Cherry Disaster.

When I was buying frozen cherries from my favorite cherry farmers, they said that most of their trees were lucky to have four cherries on them. (The average number of cherries per tart cherry tree is 7000.) Apples and peaches will also be significantly affected this year. So do our US fruit farmers a big favor? Be kind and buy local fruit without complaining about the increased price. :)

Of course no Cherry Festival would be complete (in my boys eyes) without the Classic Car (and other vehicle) Show.

Something about things with engines is magnetically attractive to my guys. Son #1 lamented that “cars today have no style at all.” He vowed to “bring back the Retro Car” when he grows up. So look for 1930’s-1960’s vehicle stylings ten to fifteen years from now.

Wait. My first baby could be designing cars in only ten years?! Ack! I’m gonna need more butter with my chocolate.

Our annual Yard Reclamation Project is also underway. So far we’ve managed to get grass to grow on one side of our front yard. I’ve abandoned the back hill and just threw down perennial wildflower seeds to see if they would grow–a.k.a. the annual Throw-Crud-at-the-Hill-and-Hope-That-it-Sticks exercise in futility. We’ve also planted a small vegetable garden, of which I will comment no further on for fear that the deer might hear me and devour its contents, along with my cautious optimism, overnight. Deer are devious like that.

After nearly 7 years in this house, we thought that it might be time to liberate the bedrooms of their Contractor White walls. Because when the majority of sleeping areas are inhabited by young boys, Contractor White quickly becomes the Scuff and Dent Motif of which I’m not a big fan. We allowed the boys to choose the colors for their rooms on their own. Well, mostly. Surprisingly, the Exuberant Sons 3 & 4 chose the “nice blue” while the More Mature Sons 1 & 2 boys chose the “fun orange.” Orange!

By the way, Bacon Slayer was all for the orange. Encouraged it, even!

Now I’m not afraid of a little color, but never in a million years did I ever think that I would paint a room orange. I also never anticipated the magnitude of the negotiations required for me to talk the men down from “Day Glo” to “Orange Zest.”  This is my penance for not taking the pink-heart wallpaper border down in their room before now.

The upside is I guess I can cross off Paint a Room Orange from the long list of Things I Said I’d Never Do as a teenager.

I’ll spare you the myriad of summer sport-related photos. Mostly because I’m too lazy to look for the USB cable necessary to download them from my phone. Suffice it to say that we survived dozens of games in the Majors and T-ball without incident. We had a blissful, sport-free month before Soccer conditioning began this week. The soccer season will take us all over our state, and to Indiana this fall. Should be fun!

I hope.

We’re praying for Fun & not Frazzled. 😉

Lots of friends, lots of family, lots of fun has been happening this summer. Much chai and regular doses of cake have been fueling my days. There are worse things.

So what have you guys been up to this summer? Anything fun?

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  1. says

    Love this post! Made me laugh (multiple times), and I loved seeing all the pictures. We bought a slip and slide last summer and wore out our grass after some heavy use. Agreed though, it was the best $10 we’ve spent in a while. If you seriously made that entire Thomas cake, you must post on it. It’s gorgeous, and unlike most store cakes, if you made it that means it actually tastes good too. So sorry to hear about the farmers; I was wondering how the weather would affect things. Finally, you are my hero for allowing the paint colors. I’d love to see pictures of the completed rooms someday. :)

  2. says

    Nothing says ‘SUMMER’ like a Slip & Slide and a fruit festival. Loved the photos, Kirsten. And I’m so happy the chocolate cherry pecan cookies came at the right time. I farmed so many of them out, we only had about 10 left here at the house. Those were gone the weekend the kids came to visit. Now I’m left thinking about making another batch. :) I hate to hear about this year’s cherry crops. Your Michigan cherries have quickly become one of my all-time favorite things. I hope they’re able to recover next year. In fact, I’m wishing them a bumper crop. We need more Daisy, now that you’ve gotten to know her better. She’s a cutie. And (of course) we’ll need to see those orange & blue walls once they’re finished. Sounds like you’re having a great summer. Busy, but wonderful. Happy birthday hugs to your boys!

    • says

      I admire your willpower to save even 10 of those cookies for your grandbabies. That’s a skill. I’m hoping the farmers have a banner year next year, too. Lucky for them, we’re already hooked on the dried cherries no matter the price. 😉

  3. Dorothy says

    You have plenty going on that you shouldn’t worry about blogging! I loooove the room colors! I’m a color girl…..I got rid of all the white walls years ago. We have red, burnt orange, blue/grey, tangerine, cranberry, purple and a mellow yellow :-) Just go with it!

    I will be up your way next week……family stuff in the Cheboygan area. Hope you keep the weather nice for me :-)

  4. Not Inadequate says

    I love orange! I painted my entry room orange and I loved it. It was cheerful.

    The Commando boys though… wow, I got nothin’ for that. Except … less laundry? maybe?

    • says

      After painting the blue room, and a bathroom “Lemon Pound Cake” yellow, I’m kind of looking forward to the orange. I’m all for cheery colors since we don’t get a lot of natural light because of all of the trees.

  5. says

    Seriously, Kirsten. That Thomas Cake is an outright masterpiece. You get The Baking Award Of The Summer for that one.

    All I can say about July is that I still don’t really know what happened this month but that I have been trying my hardest to hold on and enjoy the ride. I think that’s all that anyone has been able to accomplish this go-round!


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