Saturday, July 6, 2013

Independence Week In Review

What a fantastic week! Not just was it the 150th Anniversary of Gettysburg, but it was also the week of Canada Day and Independence Day.

Monday was Canada Day and I finally hosted a small celebration of our northern neighbors' birthday. This is something I hinted at doing for years, but finally nerved up the will to do. It was impromptu, shabbily planned, but still fun. I invited my brother on over as well as several dads of my son's friends . . . I guess who you would call my Lansdale friends. We enjoyed Canadian macrobrew and Canadian whiskey. I re-learned the ugly consequences of mixing beer and liquor and resolve that I will not again follow a beer with a whiskey with a beer, or at least I won't until next Canada Day.

I spent significant portions of Monday and Wednesday reading about the Battle of Gettysburg. Foolishly, I spent much of Tuesday nursing too much of a headache to read about the battle. As it stands now, Saturday, I've only read Guelzo's account of the first two days of the battle. I'm learning to skim the sections talking about which regiment did which, and invest more time in Guelzo's summation of what leaders made the right and wrong moves as well as on his passages about he nature of combat in the mid-19th century. I'm still finding it to be a very engrossing book.

Caroline and Sam had swim lessons all this week, and I took time on our pool visits to get pictures of what they are up to. These photos come from a long pool visit Saturday (Sherry and I were with the kids for three hours there . . . good way to spend the hottest day of the week). Swim lessons went well, more so for Sam than Caroline. Sam is starting to get into a groove, understanding the whole breathe-as-you-swim thing. As kids get older and more advanced, swim lessons get earlier in the morning. When the next session starts July 15, Sam's lessons will commence at 8:20 in the morning. Caroline's will be at 9:10. Though this means the one-hour dad break will come to an end, I might have a good chance at some one-on-one time with each kid while the sibling is being put through their paces.

Whites Road Pool might be the best thing about our neighborhood. It's four blocks away and the lifeguards know our kids well, calling them by name when they visit in the afternoons. That being said, we had a fun pool visit on Wednesday at the pool across town, Fourth Street.

Sherry's brother and his family visited Tuesday and Wednesday. It was fun to have our little house as a hub for four adults and four kids, ages 1, 3, 5, and 7. The highlight of the visit was likely our trip to Fourth Street Pool. The lifeguards at Fourth Street do something pretty neat by setting out pool toys and letting kids play for the first hour of business each weekday. Actually, they let the kids play with noodles, rings, and balls for the first two hours. Fourth Street also has a pretty shallow end, where even our three-year-old nephew could easily walk.

My band played a concert Tuesday night at Dock Woods, a retirement home nearby.

We harvested our first crops from the garden.

Thursday brought us to Glenside's Fourth of July celebration. We improvised a lunch with six kids under the age of eight at the McDonald's in Abington, which was no small feat. I had a good chance to read more of my book while waiting for the parade while Sherry took kids out back to play in the small pool. We were at the parade along Easton Ave. for about three hours in a spot Sherry's younger brother secured with a canopy tent, which was a good call. I tried to use the video camera to make record of the parade, but I think my success with that was uneven. At some point I'll get around to posting what is worthwhile from that video. 

Friday gave us a chance to visit the parents of our sister-in-law. Sam, especially, enjoyed the water play out back, which was enhanced by the use of water pistols given out as party favors earlier in the day. This gave us a good opportunity to spend time with the family of Sherry's other brother. Altogether, we had three days in which we could enjoy seeing siblings, nephews and nieces, and grandparents, and those opportunities don't happen too often given the ages and distances involved. But as kids get older, those opportunities get easier, I think. 
Saturday ended up being a day of recuperation, which was good. I enjoyed having Sherry home with us for all these days, which was a nice break from our normal summer routine. Unfortunately work calls, and Sherry and I both see a week coming up filled with work responsibilities that will poke and prod at our schedule, which made this holiday week all the more nice. 

July 4 fell on a Thursday, which made it more special. Driving back from Glenside Thursday night, I felt a little bit like I often do on the way home from Sherry's folks on Christmas night. That's a good thing. December 26 is normally a day off and bereft of the stress that can characterize the lead up to the holiday itself. Similarly, we have the gift of three days of time following the holiday. 

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