I used to work in the yard-a lot-when our first two kids were young and even when the third was little.  Then I was sick for more than a decade with lyme disease and avoided any place a tick could be-tall grass, brush, etc.  Enough of that!  Today I am the proud owner of my very own chain saw.  I checked them all out and this was the lightest one they had, perfect for someone between 4'10" and 4'11" tall.  So it came home with me and tomorrow I'll go back to work "revealing" the stone wall and getting rid of some of the shade currently surrounding the blueberries and tomato plants.
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Oh, and if that isn't exciting enough-my husband is a painter and he all but destroyed my porcelain bathroom sinks by cleaning his brushes.  Then he moved on to my porcelain kitchen sinks-enough was enough!  We now have a paint sink in the basement where you step down from the garage and he can use his wire brush to his heart's content!
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I was with my sister when her daughter was born.  She has always been a special girl.  In high school I had her in both economics and AP US history class as a student.  Sometimes we would ride to school together.  Recently she graduated from college and this fall she will be married.  Sunday her brothers' wives threw her a bridal shower.  Here are a few pictures of Angela (who I call Angie-babe) at her big event:
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The good for you side of the food tables
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Being greeted by her college friend from New York
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Her high school friends (the first three were my students as well)
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Youngest female at the party-CB, our granddaughter
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Digging in.  This was an adorable basket from her friends where all of the gifts were numbered and had to be opened in order.  They had things like gas relief, earplugs for snoring, etc.
Contest to dress the best bride with toilet paper.  Our group won when we dressed my sister-above-though the desert look on Emmeline was good and Savannah added big balls to her bosom-outrageous!
 
 
We have had some pretty warm (hot) days lately, and I've tried to make the most of them.  I asked the boys last week if they wanted to go to the beach after their field trip, but they wanted instead to go to the gravel pit and play while I picked raspberries.
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I told the boys that every other Friday (I get paid every other week) we could do something special so on Friday we went here:
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....but it was just okay to them.  What did they REALLY get excited about?  That I was going to take them to McDonald's-not because of the food-but because I was going to take them to the PlayPlace and actually let them use it!

On the next day, my husband and I took Aidan to three special places.  The first was one of our state fish hatcheries where you can buy 25 cents worth of fish food from bubble gum type dispensers and throw it into the ponds.  We had a lot of fun with that.  If you've never been to New Hampshire, please check out this link to the NH Fish and Game:  http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/

We have a beautiful state and I just read a novel this weekend by an author that I really like but she had a sentence or two in the novel about her characters passing through NH into Maine and I was so disappointed in her description that I wrote to her.  I said that anyone who had ever spent time in Portsmouth, Hampton or Rye would NOT remember them for lottery tickets and liquor stores.  She wrote back and said she had never been here; she was relying on a friend's description of what he remembered of billboards from the Interstate as he passed through on his way to Maine (the "Massachusetts corridor").  So I have to advertise its beauty.

We left the fish hatchery and went to see the rocket in Warren.  16,000 pounds brought here by a NH resident in the military who thought that the rocket would interest kids in our part of the country in the space program and make it "real" to them.  Aidan thought it was pretty cool. (This is a winter picture, but you get the idea)
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Pretty Baby and I took all three boys shopping on Saturday for back to school layaways.  That was actually quite stressful.  But Sunday was wonderful, because we had a picnic after church and it was too hot to eat outside so we actually enjoyed a meal inside the parsonage dining room and it was just....restful.

P.S.  Today is our 30th wedding anniversary
 
 
Last week I made a list of things still needed for Eva's homecoming and sorted her clothes into those most likely to fit, those that might still fit, and those that will fit at a later date.  I'm pretty much at a loss when it comes to shoes (we have one pair of slip-on sandals) but now have most of what was missing.
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The backpack isn't new, I bought it for $5 last November, but some of the contents are new-clothes for the Barbie dolls inside and the one she has received, and toiletry items.

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A fuzzy pillow, new sheets, a snuggly nap blanket, and her own towel with matching wash cloths-I couldn't find any girly sets of the latter, so I just got bright colors that matched.

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Something to swim in at the hotel pool, a rain jacket, and a summer weight nightie (she has a swimsuit and plenty of summer pjs already).

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Cool shades, bracelets, barrettes, comb and brush, and hair bands (almost all of the hair items are from Pretty Baby, our first daughter).

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We have a Chinese exchange teacher every year at my school so, in addition to translating Eva's family photo book about us and her upcoming adoption, he offered to translate communication cards for me.  I'll be laminating them and putting them on a ring to use while in China.  I tried to keep things simple for both of us.

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We also bought this translator from Amazon.  It converts common phrases (they are preprogrammed) into a few different languages, including Chinese.  It can translate from Chinese to English as well.  The reason I went with this one is because it is really small and because it "says" the phrases aloud as well as displaying them in the other language-pinyin in the case of the Chinese.

 
 
Today we got the National Visa Center letter saying that our case has been forwarded to Guangzhou.  Moving right along!

For those of you not in the adoption world, this document allows our agency to start the process of arranging appointments for us in China, and our new window of time before travel is about eight weeks.
 
 
We finally got the Internet problem solved-it was a drop line issue and the point of disconnect was under the porch-not checked on the first or second tech visits so it was fixed today with three techs and about 3-1/2 hours of work by them.

Our first grandson is going to kindergarten in the fall.  Since he has sensory processing disorder, our daughter is sending him to the five weeks of summer school offered at our elementary school.  He just loves it!  Here he is getting off the bus on that first day:
Then, I interviewed him about his day so that our daughter could see his very first comments about it:
Did you hear all the kids in the first video, calling out greetings to Aidan?  It made him decide to go to summer school as well.  Today was his first day.  He was very nervous even though this is his school and he knows the kids and staff; he said that his belly hurt and he was cold-the kind of cold that comes with a belly ache.  Tomorrow is his first field trip-they have one each Thursday.  He is very nervous about that.  He asked me if I could chaperone but I already made an appointment for the youngest dog to get his second Lepto shot while Aidan was away because he hates to go with me if that dog is going to be hurt-he doesn't care about the other two.  So we'll see how tomorrow goes.

I told the boys that when they got home from the field trip shortly after lunch we could go to the beach, but they would rather go to my brother's gravel pit, so there we'll be.
 
 
We do have a new modem but the modem was fine.  There is a lot of noise on the line every afternoon and evening.  The tech who was here can't climb the telephone pole because the pole is marked condemned-to be replaced-so no one can climb it.  He is sending the line tech to check it out to see how much spillage he can detect and what else they can do.  So I'm not spending much time online-sorry to those I follow for my sporadic posts.

I'll keep my posts short and limited since I have a bunch of pictures to share of recent happenings but too many for one post.  Here are some lake shots from yesterday:
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I didn't get any shots of our first grandson in the water since I was in the water with him, but his transformation from a year ago has been amazing!  Last year he screamed, cried, bucked, and totally broke down at the thought of water.  After a year of occupational therapy for his sensory processing disorder, he has discovered a love a water!  (I've added a July 4 picture of him at the bottom to show just how much he loves it now.)
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The Internet at home continues to be problematic.  We had the tech here about 1-1/2 weeks ago and this Thursday he will be back, this time to replace our modem.  So my posts will be scarce and the photos probably scarcer.

In today's mail we got the Provisional Approval.  Estimated time between LOA and this is two weeks; in our case it was three.  So I re-projected upcoming dates using the longest estimate given and this would probably still mean travel in September (right around the equinox), just a little bit later.  That's okay.

P.S.  Eva received her care package.  So now I'm going to arrange the sending of our family booklet-photos, names, etc.
 
 
Our first grandson graduated from preschool!  A big deal because he has gone to this daycare/preschool since he was six weeks old.  This summer he will attend five weeks of half day summer school at our local elementary school and get off the busy at our house to spend the rest of the day with me and Aidan.  Here he is with his best friend (they have both been together since they were infants) and then making some of the goofy and sweet faces that he has a talent for.
We had a birthday party on my mother's porch for her, even though she is gone.  She would have been 83 years old.  The eight of us living nearby gathered with her best friend and my cousin who is like a sibling.  Here is her cake, the view from her porch, and my two younger sisters.
Today my oldest kids and Aidan and the grandkids went to Storyland (Little Baby was working).  Here are some shots from our outing.