In the meantime, let me catch you up on what we've been doing the last couple of weeks. The weather has been intermittently beautiful, so we've been taking advantage of it do some work around the house and garden. The kids love working in the garden nearly as much as I do.
One of the first things I did -- right after buying a lawn mower and putting it to use -- was setting up the infamous mother-in-law-maiming hammock. It's really quite gentle as long as you don't let the kids talk you into playing Pirate Ship in the Stormy Seas. I've been spending hours contemplating the beauty of the forest from this position. So nice.
How did I get so much time to enjoy the hammock? By setting up an outdoor art center for the kids:
And a splash pool:
And a swing (it was actually there already but I did put some padding down, which means I have to leap out of the hammock less often to kiss injuries):
And a sandbox. Probably the kids' favorite thing ever.
The sandbox was already there too but it was pretty gross. We had to evict a family of frogs and scoop out a few dead lizards before the kids could play in it. And put in fresh sand, of course. I then rigged up a cover to keep out the neighbors' cats and all the creepy crawlies.
It worked great till the first big rain. Then all the water pooled on the top and made the cover fall in. So then I built this:
It's basically a simple frame with screen stapled to it. This way water can go through and evaporate so it doesn't get moldy but cats and other critters (I hope) won't be able to get in. It's also light enough that the kids can put it off and on by themselves. We'll see how it works!
I also finally put up my clothesline.
Nothing says summer like clothes dried in the sunshine!
Unless maybe it's eating dinner outside while enjoying the views of the forest.
We've also been enjoying all the wildlife around (except the bats. I don't think anyone enjoys bats. But, again, that's another story). One day, the kids and I were lying in the hammock, with me telling stories from my childhood -- their favorite thing ever...
...when this adorable little baby bird fluttered down and landed on the hammock right next to us!
He just sat there, completely fearless, cheeping and opening his mouth as if he wanted us to feed him. A few seconds later, he fluttered off. We watched for a while and saw another little baby bird hopping around. Just then, the mother bird swooped down with something in her mouth, fed the little babies and flew away! They must have just left the nest. I had no idea mother birds would follow their babies around for a while and feed them! So cute...