I think we've actually been doing more running around this summer than we ever do during the school year. For the most part it's been fun stuff, but many, many miles have been put on my poor old van. Most of this update will be in picture form, I guess. When did I actually post last? Oh dear. July 2nd. Well, here goes.
Our vacation to Kill Devil Hills, NC was wonderful! For months I worried and planned and fretted over whether the whole thing would actually happen (this is what I do) and it all went amazingly well! The only snag in the whole thing happened on the night we left. It was 9:00 PM and the kids and the luggage were all packed into the van. We slammed shut the trunk (hatch? whatever it's called on a van) and it didn't shut. We rearranged the STUFF and it still wouldn't shut. It was somehow stuck in the locked position and the little thingy that needed to move aside to catch on the other little thingy that keeps it shut wouldn't budge. Our guess is that while it was open, one of the kids hit the automatic locks and when we slammed it shut we jammed the mechanism. (Blame it on the kids.) Anyhow, after an hour of pulling and prying and pacing and crying (that would be me) we got the hatch shut with the help of our dear neighbor, Mr. Smith. A quick peck on the cheek and we were off.
The drive through the night went very well, though the time through Virginia seemed endless. Keith and I took turns and the kids slept for almost the whole trip. We arrived in North Carolina around 7:00 AM. By 8:00 or 8:30 we were in the Outer Banks. This may be the first picture from vacation...Me and Claire at Stack 'em High Pancake House.
We actually ran into my dear friend, Kathy while we were driving around waiting to check in! They live in Punxsutawney, PA. She had our condo the week before us and she referred us to the owner in the first place. We spent about 20 minutes together at the beach before they headed North. Check out the slide show for other great beach pictures!
We went to Jockey's Ridge in the middle of the week and walked on the giant sand dunes there. Now that's a workout! We didn't try hang gliding, but took our kites and let the kids run up and down the dunes. It's a very cool place!
(No McIlwains were harmed in the filming of this video)
So, yes, vacation was wonderful! The kids enjoyed the water itself a lot more than I expected and played in the ocean quite a bit. Keith and I were able to relax. We saw some historical sites including Roanoke Island and the Wright Brothers Memorial. I have tons of pictures, but particularly liked this one of Claire at the Flight Memorial...
I spent a day at Kennywood with my friend Angela and her family. Angela's dad turned 70 on June 29 and the whole Battaglia family was gathered to celebrate. I've known Angela since we were 12 and she holds a very dear place in my heart. Her dad doesn't look a day over 50! He's in remarkable shape and is still just a jovial and, frankly, clueless as he was when we were in high school. No wonder he looks so good! Keith came out later in the day and we celebrated our anniversary at Kennywood Park. Our anniversary is July 6 and Angela's and Stephen's is July 4. It was a fun day. Here's a picture of me and Angela.
We celebrated the Fourth of July and watched fireworks at Kennywood...
Kate went to Strings Camp at Heinz Hall with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony. Uber cool! I was so proud of her and even enjoyed the mornings that I had to drive her into Pittsburgh at 7 AM. I am not, repeat, NOT, a morning person, but it was very invigorating to be out and about so early. The city was like Richard Scarry's Busy Town. On Thursday she even treated me to Starbucks. Here is a picture from her concert at Heinz Hall on Thursday afternoon. Kate is the pretty one.
And now the kids are beginning their annual camp experience. Elliot just returned from Jumonville where he spent part of the week with John and Michelle Shaver at Mini Camp. He did very well, had a couple of bouts of homesickness, but had a great time. We found this picture of him walking to the cross. He's on the far right.
I took Claire shopping for camp...
So. That covers most of it. Now all of you loyal readers that have let me know about my lazy blogging skills can get off my back!! I guess I should be glad that someone out there is paying attention.
Oh! For those of you expecting knitting content...
I got this yarn at the ocean. It's 100% bamboo. Cool. Now that I know where the knitting store is I'll be sure to stop at the beginning of vacation next year!
Oh! How could I forget! I finished the seventh Harry Potter book last night! I'm so sad that it's all over...no new books. It was a wonderful ride! I started reading the first book to Claire and Elliot and was just gleeful re-reading Chapter One, "The Boy Who Lived". I commend these books to you. I know there is controversy and concern about them, particularly in Christian circles, but perhaps it would be a good idea to read at least the first one and see what it's all about! I saw the new Harry Potter movie a couple of weeks ago and now I'm just waiting for it all to wrap up. Don't believe any of the rumors! Read Book Seven for yourself!