Saturday, June 27, 2020

A Week of Progress and Celebration

Life was wonderful on the home front this week. We got so much accomplished. This week marked another corona birthday in our family. Only two more to go in 2020, and it looks like they will also be influenced by this pandemic. As the outside world becomes more alarming, keeping the home fires bright and peaceful becomes more and more important to me. We are back in a higher level of  lockdown within our family as our state is one of the top five fastest increasing states for Covid-19. I am really glad that the governor decided to keep us in phase 2 and not move on this week. That would have been disastrous.

What's for Dinner ~ I remembered to write down what we ate this week:
  • Homemade pesto pizza
  • Pesto tortellini
  • Chicken and veggie fajitas 
  • Breakfast for dinner (cranberry bread, eggs and fruit bowls)
  • Fruit and cheese tea for my birthday
  • Chicken patties with baked potatoes, green beans and corn on the cob
Anne started her online classical ballet dance intensive with the University of North Carolina School of Dance. It is going very well. She battled a small stomach virus at the beginning of the week, but that didn't stop her from attending every class. She is delighted to be consistently dancing again...even if it is in a small bedroom. She has a bit more than the required 6 foot by 6 foot space and she is getting used to the space. She loves all of her teachers and most of the classes. She is not a fan of Pilates, ahem!

I celebrated my birthday this week. We had a wonderful tea party with fruit and cheese for dinner. I loved bringing out all the crystal and having all the fruit that I wanted. We had a socially distant picnic in the front yard with Grandma and opened presents. I got so many lovely things this year. I should be set for awhile with all things lotion and bath salts. My Mom also got me a lovely patio table. My front porch is so cute now. I got sun glasses for driving and lots of china to add to my set from my husband and mother in law. Timothy gave me a pointed hoe. I did not have one and it sure is coming in handy while weeding my vegetable garden. I really was spoiled by my family. We wrapped up the evening with ice cream cones at a local soft custard place.

Our house also got blessed this week. We had an arborist come out a few months ago to assess the trees on our property. He agreed that a huge tree behind the dance shed needed to come down. We decided to pay for four men and eight hours of labor from a tree removal company to bring down that tree and prune as many of the other "landscaping" trees on the property as possible. The day finally arrived this week for the men to come out and do the work. It really felt like the cavalry had arrived when they pulled up with a cherry picker, a ditch witch, wood chipper and more chainsaws and manual saws than I have ever seen in one place. Unfortunately, they were not able to bring down the dangerous tree behind the dance shed. On further inspection, they decided that they needed a very special piece of equipment that would dramatically reduce the risk to life and property. They held back a few hours of our contract to come back and do that piece of the work at the end of July. Their safety is paramount, so we will wait for the equipment to come back from where it was loaned out. They did manage to trim 10 trees on our property. It was fascinating to watch them work, and our property looks so much better. Some of the trees were really a mess, especially our huge Siberian Elms and a Pin Oak that are right next to the house. It feels good to know that the trees are well maintained and have been trimmed to increase their health, so that they will safely shade our home for many years to come. 

Elijah Dean had a good week too. He managed to avoid my camera all week -- the little devil. He went to Vocational Rehab for career testing this week. The results should be in next week. The lady who conducted the tests said, "He has glorious academic skills and was a delight to work with. There will be lots of job opportunities for him." He also went off of all sleep aids this week and is doing very well. He says it takes him longer to get to sleep but that his sleep is good once he is asleep. I will accept that as good enough for now. He has been on Unisom and Melatonin for almost a year. It was time to change.

I only did one painting job this week. I painted the patio chairs a fresh green to complement my new table. Otherwise, my week was consumed with weeding, trying to get a new Fly Lady routine down for my home, and catching up on paperwork.

In my downtime I am reading Sold On Monday and The Quiet Rebels. I am also watching Chateau Diaries on YouTube. I love summer, even in the midst of a pandemic. Really, the hardest thing about the pandemic for our family has been the inability to travel and our kids' loss of out-of-the-home classes. We are greatly blessed to only have those complaints! So many are suffering so much more.

Blessings, Dawn

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Painting Days of Summer

I am deep into the world of paint. I decided to make this the summer of paint jobs around the house. So far, we have painted the stairs and railing. This particular job has been on my list for many years. I love the white railings. It is a vast improvement! The painting on the wall is one of my Mother's abstracts.

We were all so happy with the results that we decided to continue on with the guest bedroom.  We needed to change the guest bedroom into a dance studio for the next few weeks. Anne was accepted to the North Carolina School of the Dance Ballet Summer Intensive. It is online this year and they modified all of the classes to only need a 6 foot by 6 foot space. We realized that she was going to need a space with power and air conditioning, since she will be doing ballet for about seven hours every day for two weeks. (It is just too hot to be out in the dance shed all day long, since there is no electricity there to even have a fan.) Since we had to empty the room, we decided to paint the walls and ceiling while it was empty. We also made a dance floor out of a shower curtain liner (it is safer than the slippery wooden floor), bought her a Marley dance dot which is safer for turning on pointe and installed a ballet barre (per the school's request). She is ready to start the intensive on Monday. I really appreciate our efforts to get rid of as much stuff as possible over the last year. It makes a huge difference to be able to re-purpose a room in a matter of hours. The painting on the wall of the ballerina was given to her by her driving teacher.

Grandma helped her stretch the canvas onto stretchers and we will frame it someday.
Of course, Rosie (cat) thinks that the new dance room is her yoga room and she loves to roll around on the shower curtain floor.

Elijah Dean made several accomplishments in the life skills department this week. He wrote his first "real" deposit slip and deposited some of his graduation money. He did a bit of shopping by himself and learned how to order take out through an app and pick up the food. He even went back in to the restaurant when there was an issue with the order and fixed it on his own! I am pleased with the progress he is making. I know they are small steps, but many small steps make giant strides. Next week he has career testing with Vocational Rehabilitation. We just need to keep up the momentum.

We spent lots of time outside this week. Grandma gave us a large outdoor dice game. We played Yard Yatzee one day. It was lots of fun.

Anne tried on my wedding dress this week. She wanted to see if it was too heavy for an outdoor dance the dance studio's Adult Company is planning. I was sure it was too heavy, but she tried it on anyway. It fit her very well. She loved it and wants to wear it someday, but it will not work for the dance they are planning. I am a bit relieved. I really didn't want it to get dirty or worse. 

Here is a picture of her trying on the dress eight years ago. The poor kid couldn't walk or hardly move!

My beautiful girl is growing up so fast.
We also had a lovely socially distant walk around downtown and visited one art gallery with our adult daughter, Katie. It is delightful to be in this season where we are having a peaceful relationship with her. She struggles a great deal with the mask and really doesn't take the virus seriously. However, she wore a mask and made the effort to keep her distance because she really wanted to visit with us. Given the history, I don't know how long this peaceful, pleasant relationship will continue, but I am enjoying it while it lasts. Her current residential placement is good for her, yet I can hear it in the voices and statements of the staff that she wears them out. I hope this placement continues to be positive for her.

Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Elijah Dean's Graduation 2020!

I really wanted to make Elijah Dean's graduation special despite the circumstances of COVID 19. We knew that we would not be able to do any kind of in-person party, and he really didn't want a drive-thru party because it seemed "weird" to him. He acted like he really didn't care if we did anything. Ha, that is not the way I run! We worked so hard to get to this point, and I was having a celebration one way or another, darn it! I ordered his diploma from our state's homeschool organization and told him to pick a color for his cap and gown. He chose forest green which is actually our state's homeschool organization's color and what his older brother graduated in so many years ago.

On the day of his graduation, we created a room on Facebook (per two of his friends' requests) and some of his friends joined to congratulate him and talk for a little while. I wish I had planned that part a little bit better, because many of the people who may have joined didn't have enough warning or are not on Facebook. However, the rest of the day was great!

We enjoyed a lovely cake from Whole Foods. It was very, very rich. Elijah Dean really enjoyed the design.

We took many, many photos! Elijah hates having his photo taken, so this was by far not his favorite part. The first picture represents his thoughts on the whole thing. My Mom bought him a sign for the front yard. Most of the public school graduates in our area have them in their front yards, so we thought it would be fun to have one, too.

I really racked my brain to think of a unique way to have his friends, family and important adults in his life involved. I finally remembered an idea I had seen months ago to have a unique guest book at your party. Buy a Jenga game and have everyone sign their name on a block. I decided to go with that idea but upgrade to a large yard-size Jenga game, so people could have their own block and have lots of room to decorate. I secretly drove all over the county, dropping off blocks and retrieving them later. Elijah never suspected a thing. We still have more blocks for out-of-town people to decorate. So this will be an evolving project, but we had lots of lovely blocks to give him on his special day. Everyone was so eager to be part of his day and they did a wonderful job. It was a perfect gift for Elijah. He loves them.

Lastly, we presented him with his diploma. Congrats, Elijah! We are so proud of you.
No photo description available.

Blessings, Dawn

Friday, June 5, 2020

A Tale of Two Worlds

What a very hard season our Nation is going through. My heart breaks for all who are oppressed and mistreated by those who are more powerful. Our country feels like it is being ripped at the seams. I was raised demonstrating in the Washington, D.C. area and I know what it is to be tear gassed when you are peacefully demonstrating. I have witnessed my mother being arrested while peacefully demonstrating against apartheid in South Africa. I was raised in a Quaker Meeting that was a stop on the modern Underground Railroad, shepherding Cambodian refugees to Canada. Our Quaker Meeting was and still is in the shadow of the CIA. It was a turbulent time. Here we still are. There is so much injustice in the world it weighs heavy on my heart. In no way do I feel that the rioting, which is a small part of what is going on, is the way to change. I truly feel that the rioting is from opportunists who are taking advantage of the terrible pain and unrest our country is experiencing. Our city was holding its own for a few days. There were peaceful demonstrations and everything was safe. But in the last few days riots have started and we are now under curfew at night. There is a rumor that bus loads of agitators are being brought in from Georgia. Two people I know saw one of the bus loads being dropped off. We have been blessed with no looting. There have been many windows broken. Our city is boarded up. We are in turmoil. I pray for people to learn to love each other as Jesus loves all of us and to walk in each other's shoes so that we can find a common ground to go forward in love and peace.

As usual our city impresses me so much. Yes, the store owners have boarded up their windows. However, they have decorated their boards with love and support. I took photos as I drove through downtown, and there were many store owners on ladders painting pictures on the boards. It is an amazing sight. I hope to get back down today or tomorrow and take more pictures. One store painted "LOVE IS NOT CANCELLED" on their wall.

In what seems like another world, we finished our last week of school. Anne is done with 11th grade and Dean is graduating from high school today. I will be posting all the fun we plan to have for his graduation in a few days. We went on a marvelous end of the year field trip to Grandfather's Mountain. What a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively! We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed lunch at Split Rock. 

Dean climbed to the top of Split Rock.

We then moved on to their tiny zoo. It was filled with local animals who are injured in some way and can't live in the wild any longer.

Lastly, we climbed (by car) to the top of Grandfather's Mountain and walked across the mile high swinging bridge. It was about 15 degrees colder at the top and the wind was blowing like crazy. The bridge scared Tim and Anne to death, but they made it across both ways. I personally loved the bridge and drove my kids crazy standing on it enjoying the panoramic views.

It was truly a blessing to get away for the day, even if we only got two counties away. It was the farthest we have been from home since the quarantine started.

Blessings, Dawn