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Friday, July 31, 2015

Cassie's Journal - July 30, 2015



Happy 10th Anniversary, Liz and Philip!

They have apparently had a really amazing mini-holiday, but I overheard more details than I needed to hear; and won’t be writing about any of it in this journal.  Look elsewhere in the archives if you really must get that info – or just use your imagination and move on.

I’ll get to that part of the update shortly; but let’s cover the earlier news first.

Tai Chi by the river was the only quiet time I’ve had between then and now.  Breakfast was busy with all of the work and running around on both sides of the meal; and then I was off to work – in the back yard.  With everything else we have on the go this weekend; yard work on Saturday isn’t an option.  I mowed the lawn and weeded the gardens in near-record time while Dawn and Jillian worked with their four junior helpers to do some of the lighter chores – like sweeping the porches and cleaning the windows and doors.  They did not get that work done in record time; but they did have a lot of fun playing together while still actually getting most of that work finished by lunchtime too.

My lunch break was more of an eat-and-run deal; and then I was on the go again – and spending the afternoon helping Rebecca and Michael with work around their house and yard to get ready for their weekend guests.  While Jacob and Miranda had a lot of that work done on Monday and Tuesday; we still had a long list of chores to do that kept us busy through until Rebecca and Michael needed to get back to the Inn and help with the dinner rush.  While I was busy with that work, Dawn and Jillian spent the afternoon hanging out with some of their friends; Ethan, Ehlana, Naomi, and Aiden were dropped off at KidZone for a few hours; and Mom did her normal Friday shopping a day early because she’ll be busy tomorrow too.

When I was finished at Michael’s house, I had time to come home, grab a shower, and get changed before heading over to the Ayres’ house.  I’d expected to be put to work in the kitchen; but Dawn, Jillian, and I were instead put on kid-control duty.  We took Ethan, Ehlana, Naomi, Aiden, Leah, Eli, and Zack to the park for some playground action; followed that up with more fun and games in the back yard; and then dealt with getting them fed when we eventually sat down for dinner around the tables in the back yard.  There were more kids and teens there by then, including Rowen and Tim; so that was a fairly wild hour or so of busy – especially since some of the kids were a bit too fired up and they were bouncing off the walls.

That’s quite a feat at an outdoor event! ;^)

The dinner party had been a surprise for Liz and Philip, and they had fun; but I didn’t even talk to them much while I was there and busy with the kids.  Since Eli and Zack were two of the most-tightly wound kids; I’m sure they appreciated what I was doing more than they missed getting to spend any time with me.  While their anniversary was the big family event of the day, the bigger story was actually that their party would be the last big event that Liz’s parents would host in the family home.  It’ll officially be Uncle Nick and Aunt Deborah’s home by sometime next week; and there’s also a very good chance that the dinner tonight will be the last big family and friends party that Grandma and Grandpa Ayres will host.  As with Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne; it’ll be Uncle Nick and Aunt Deborah’s job now.

Moving this along, my day was not nearly over after dinner.  I was set free from kid control duty, but helped with the clean-up before moving on to the Inn.  Jacob and Miranda hosted a late dinner party for Jake, Stephanie, their wedding party, and the grandparents and parents of the bride and groom.  That party didn’t start until the Inn was closed for the night, and while I wasn’t expected to help out with anything; I was early-enough to help with closing the Inn and getting the mini-buffet set up and ready by the time all of the guests arrived.

The only real difference between that dinner and the wedding party party last night was that the parents and grandparents were in charge of the roast for Jake and Stephanie.  They kept all of us entertained for an hour and a half; Michael, Rebecca, Lucas, and I took care of the post-dinner clean-up while everyone else headed for home; and then Michael walked me home while Lucas went home with Rebecca – and he’s spending the next two or three nights there.  I’d have liked to keep Michael with me tonight too, but he’s going to be working the breakfast shift at the Inn; and we’re both going to have a very long, too-busy day that would just be harder to get through on no sleep.

I really need to get to that down time now, but before I do that; there are a few bits of news I need to include.

First up, it’s quieter here tonight because Naomi and Aiden have both returned to their homes.  Aiden stayed every night that Naomi was here, and his parents were okay with that; but didn’t give him the option of another sleepover tonight – even though Mom and Dad wouldn’t have had a problem if he had stayed another night.  If Liz and Philip were offered another kid-free night, I didn’t hear about it; but then I didn’t get to do a nightly recap with Mom or Dad because they were already in bed by the time I got home.

I’m not going to be able to spend much time with Dawn and Jillian for the rest of their visit here, and neither will Violet and Dillon; so I hope they’ll manage to have fun without me.  The weather is forecast to be great; so they will at least be able to do whatever they want to do outdoors while I’m busy with all of the wedding action.  Their two weeks here has seemed to blast by, and I’m going to miss them when they head back to Woodvale; but this will also be one time that I’m going to be ready for a break in the action after weeks of too busy.

Rowen and I both ended up missing our baseball practice tonight, and I wish that I could have been there for it; but I could say that about everything else I missed out on tonight too.  I also missed Michael and Tim’s football workout again this morning while doing the yard work.  That’ll be the last one for the week, and while Tim had a better turnout today; there still aren’t nearly as many guys joining in as he’d hoped there would be.  We’ll see if that gets better the closer they get to the start of the official training camp with Coach Robinson.

Okay, I was going to take a look ahead to the plans for tomorrow, since I’m thinking about them anyway, but you can flip a digital page to get that info anyway, and I really need all of the sleep I can get; so let’s just skip that and I’ll call it a night now.

Until next time...

...May the Magi Force be with you!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cassie's Journal - July 29, 2015



It’s taken staying up too late again, but I do have enough family business work finished that I’ll be able to take the rest of the week off from it – except for the usual daily work that pops up through my email.  I’m glad that it’s out of the way; but I am so going to need a vacation by next week!

That isn’t going to happen; so let’s just move this along so that I can at least have a nap before getting my Thursday going.

We had rain in town this morning.  That meant exercising indoors; Michael stayed for breakfast; and then he was off and running to go home and get ready to head out for his football practice with Tim.  Yes, it was still raining then; which is why Rowen, Dawn, Jillian, and I were not interested in going to the park to watch the workout.  I didn’t find out until later, but most of the other guys felt the same way; and Tim was annoyed that only Michael and one other guy showed up for the training.  Michael wasn’t annoyed at all, but he does have some concerns already about the attitudes of the guys he’s expecting to be team mates with this year have about getting ready to play – and defend their two-time championship titles.

While Michael was first getting wet and playing football, and then moving on to the Inn to help out there for the rest of the day; I spent my morning at home.  Mom was happy to get some help with the chores; Dawn, Jillian, and I all spent some time playing with Ethan, Ehlana, Naomi, and Aiden; and then we had lunch at noon before heading out to play for the afternoon.  The rain had ended by then, and while most of the trails at the park were too wet to ride on; we biked around town; did a bit of window shopping; had an ice cream break at the falls; and then played at the park while Michael was on his afternoon break.  The playground time was followed by a long swim before Michael needed to go back to the Inn.

By the way, since that has me thinking about the Inn expansion; Mr. Ayres has basically been having a sale at his store all summer.  I haven’t paid much attention to that, and we didn’t visit the Haberdashery today either; but I did notice the signs while going past the store this morning and it reminded me that the Stones and Ayres have a lot going on this summer that goes way beyond weddings and house moves.  For Uncle Nick’s father, the sales are all about making the move to his new store in September as easy as possible – along with down-sizing a bit to a store that is a bit smaller – though that’s mostly from the storage room side of the place.  The good news for the Ayres is that they’ll be done with all of the crazy by the end of September or early October.  Michael and his family will be busy with the Inn expansion for the next couple of years – and longer; once they have all of that extra room for customers and guests!

I am so not going to let Stephanie read this update until after they’re home to stay – or she might get scared and decide to keep Jake in Europe! ;^)

Getting back to the news of the day again, after Michael left for the Inn; Dawn and Jillian kept my brother, sister, and their friends entertained while I went to help Mom with some more work in the house that included making dinner for nine – with a menu that didn’t include any grilling at all for a change.  Violet and Dillon were with his family for dinner because they needed to be there to get ready for the party they threw for Jake and Stephanie after the Inn closed.  I went over there to help them after dinner while everyone else at my house headed for the park and the co-ed baseball practice.

Our dinner break was fun; the four younger kids took charge of entertaining Mom and Dad; and I stayed to help with the clean-up before heading over to the Jacobs’ house.  With the weather cooperating, having the party outdoors was an option; so we set up a few tables in the back yard – even though it was dark out by the time the party started at around nine-thirty.  This event was only for Jake, Stephanie, and the members of their wedding party.  Dillon’s parents, Isabelle, and Andrew helped out with some of the work too; but they also mostly left us alone when we sat down to enjoy a couple of hours of fun that included the obligatory roasting for Jake and Stephanie.

Michael, Rebecca, and I didn’t participate in the roasting nearly as much as everyone else did; but then Jake could have easily roasted himself for as often as he helped his buddies out with their stories.  For me, the most entertaining stories were the ones that I hadn’t heard before.  That’s saying a lot in our little town where everybody hears everything about everyone!  Dillon and Mitch had some stories about their childhood and teens years that weren’t too wild; but definitely the kinds of activities that boys would not want their parents finding out about at the time.  I won’t repeat those stories here, but Michael, Rebecca, and I did appreciate a few good ideas that we might think about trying out over the next few years to see if we can get away with them too!

Just kidding, Mom – or not! ;^)

Taking another little side-trip on that thought; you might be wondering whether my journal actually is open to Mom; since she is, after all, a computer genius.  The answer to that is yes and no.  I don’t have a problem with Mom reading anything I write if she chooses to; though she hasn’t asked to do that since turning my journals over to me to continue on my own after years of writing most of them herself when I was younger.  The ‘no’ part of that is because we do all have our little corners of the archives password protected.  They’re kept on systems and software that Mom created, but even though she could eventually crack any password, even using her Magi gifts; it’d take months or years to do that with my password choice.  I definitely don’t want to bore you with those details; and just thought that you might be interested to know that Mom does allow all of us assured privacy for our personal journals if we want to have that.

While most of us have to work on Thursday, we still stayed and talked until after midnight; Jake and Stephanie were sent on their way; and the rest of us took care of the clean-up before heading home too.  It was one-thirty by the time Michael kissed me goodnight on my front porch and then walked the rest of the way home; everyone in the house was sleeping by then; and I came straight up to my room and hopped into bed with Mandy and my computer as soon as I finished getting changed and ready for bed.  Violet and Dillon got back then after having a late-night chat with Isabelle and Andrew; but they went straight to their room and didn’t stop in to chat with me.

I am so proud of myself – I called it ‘their’ room instead of Violet’s room!  That change in thinking took me a while; and maybe it’s taken the change of having them stay here while any members of Violet’s family are here for me to make that transition.

If I keep getting side-tracked; I’ll still be doing this update when it’s time to get up for Tai Chi; so let’s just wrap this up quickly and I’ll get started on my nap.

I got right to work once I was in bed; put a lot of effort and Magi power into the job; and blasted through everything I wanted to get finished before taking time off from work to focus on the wedding – and everything else we have going on over the next four or five days.  Getting such a late start meant taking a few chances and using some Magi power to speed that work up; but nobody woke up at all while I was working and I’m really glad that I won’t need to finish up tomorrow night.

Maybe I’ll even manage to get to sleep before four o’clock tomorrow night too!  That would be nice, but I’ll have to settle for that nap and a self-heal tonight.  I’m going to get right to the first part of that now; so, until next time...

...May the Magi Force be with you!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cassie's Journal - July 28, 2015



This has been a really great day, but also too long and exhausting; so I’m going to keep this short and then get a couple of hours of nap time before I’ll need to get up and going again at dawn.

Tai Chi and breakfast was followed by another football workout at the park that Rowen, Dawn, Jillian, and I had fun with – and took Ethan, Ehlana, Naomi, and Aiden too as well before getting to have the rest of the day off from kid control duties.  The highlight of the play part of our day was another bike ride out to Quarry Lake, and while we just had the six of us doing the biking; there were other teens and friends that got rides out there for the day too – including some of Dawn and Jillian’s local friends.

We were at Quarry Lake by eleven; had a picnic lunch with us; and had a total blast there until we needed to start biking home again by four-thirty.  As usual now, the rock climbing, zip line, and all water-related action were the fun highlights; though I really enjoy the longer bike rides each way too.  Michael and I were at my house for dinner; we went over to his house for the evening; and spent that time doing some wedding-related work – pretty much all of the bits and pieces that needed to be finished before we move into the mostly-celebratory parts of the week.

The next five days are certainly not going to be all play and no work; but we’ll have a lot of fun activities every evening starting tomorrow night.  I’ll skip the look ahead for all of that, since you can just flip the digital pages in my future to find out all about my life for the rest of the week anyway and I’m too tired to add that in for this update.  The work session at Michael’s house ended at ten; he and I had another bedtime swim; and then I came home so that I could get started on my nightly computing and extra family business work – which I got started on by shortly before midnight by the time I was changed and in bed with Mandy.  Dawn and Jillian had still been up when I got home, but we only had a short girl chat that Violet joined us for on her way to bed before they decided to turn in for the night instead of watching another movie in the lounge.

My enthusiasm for working on the family business tonight wasn’t very high, but I need to get more done now so that I can take the extra time off over the weekend – and preferably by Thursday if I can swing that.  Four hours and change of computing has definitely been too much for me, and some self-healing is going to be required ahead of Tai Chi, but even if the work wasn’t fun; the rest of the fun and excitement of the day was worth the lack-of-sleep trade-off.

That does cover the highlights of the day even though I am skipping a lot of the little details that went into making this such a really great day, and I really need to get started on that nap time now; so, until next time...

...May the Magi Force be with you!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cassie's Journal - July 27, 2015



Before I get to the news from my day; let’s being this update with the top gossip topic around here.

Liz and Philip left this morning for a three-night, four-day tenth anniversary mini-holiday.  Speculation about their three kid-free nights is keeping the women at the top gossip hang-outs entertained, and while I do not want to either join in on the speculation or hear any details after they get back; I do hope that Naomi’s parents have a fun trip and break from both the work and family responsibilities.  Naomi is staying with Ehlana while they’re away, and Eli will split his time between Uncle Nic and Aunt Deborah and Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne – part two of his entertainment schedule set up so that he can hang out with his best friend, Zack.

Moving on, my day started out with Tai Chi by the river; a quiet breakfast; and then a visit to the park with Rowen, Dawn, and Jillian to watch and join in for parts of Tim’s first unofficial football training workouts.  He’s leading that, and starting it this week because football season starts early this year because of a late Labor Day weekend; and because none of the senior players on the team this year haven’t set up anything yet – and apparently don’t plan on any early training.  Tim doesn’t want to wait until training camp opens to start getting ready; and Michael is there for his best friend – even if the extra work is a bit inconvenient with Jake and Stephanie’s wedding now just a handful of days away.  While they’ve talked to some of the other guys about joining them; they only had three join them today – mostly because everyone else was either busy with farm work or other summer jobs.

Since they didn’t have a big group to work with, Rowen and I did some of the running drills with them.  Tim used our participation to goad on the other guys because we were faster than they were.  Yes, we were spotted ten or twenty yards depending on the drill, but don’t forget that Rowen and I really like to win; and we won by more than that ten or twenty yards against everyone except Michael and Tim – and they didn’t manage to catch us today either.

I guess that all of that running around with my younger cousins last week paid off! ;^)

Dawn and Jillian were happy to watch those drills even though none of the boys involved were ‘available’; and they had fun playing the guys against the girls scrimmage with us – and the other girls.  We had a slight number advantage; cheated outrageously with hugs and kisses interference with our respective boyfriends where applicable; and won the short match three touchdowns to one.  For some reason, none of the boys were especially disappointed over the loss.

Michael had some chores to get to at home after their workout, so Dawn, Jillian, and I took the twins, Naomi, and Aiden out to play for the rest of the morning.  We rode bikes; played at the park; and went for a long swim back at home before having lunch with Mom out by the river.  The back yard was play central for the rest of the day.  It’s been really hot out; and we – the teens – decided to just hang out; swim; relax; and not do anything more strenuous than tossing around a Frisbee, football, or baseball.  ‘We’ included Michael, Tim, Rowen, Dawn, Jillian, and me; but we had other teens stopping by to hang out with us too and four junior playmates for most of the time between lunch and dinner.

We didn’t have a gang for dinner, but then Michael and I weren’t at my house for that meal anyway – we were at his place; and the dinner there was followed by a wedding meeting with the parents and members of the wedding party.  The dinner was awesome, and while we had fun at the meeting; there wasn’t really any new information or changes to the plans – just a review of everything that’s already done and a chat about everything we’ll each be doing between now and Sunday night – including the post-wedding day family plans on Sunday.  There was some fairly interesting girl chat time that was about wedding nights and the merits of European honeymoons; but I don’t think the details of that conversation needs to be included here.

Stephanie keeps a Magi journal now too; and maybe I’ll be old enough to read all about her adventures in Europe whenever she releases it for other Magi to read.  Then again, she will be writing those honeymoon stories about my primary little-girl crush; so maybe not! ;^)

Once the meeting and work was out of the way for the night, Michael and I went for a swim while everyone else either went home; on to other places; or wound down in the living room for a while before heading to bed.  I won’t suggest that we did that just to get some alone time, but it was after dark; we had ‘our’ section of the river to ourselves; and some quiet, wet, and moderately hot, underwater make-out fun was an option – though that also required being quiet too; considering how well sound carries along the river.  We played for nearly an hour; had some cuddle time on the dock after that; and then it was past-time for me to get home for the night.

Dawn and Jillian were already sleeping in their rooms by then; Ehlana and Naomi were having a sofa sleepover in the lounge; and Mom and Dad packed up and headed for bed too after having a little update chat with me.  Violet and Dillon were still busy with Jake and Stephanie then; but they’re home and in bed now as I’m writing this report.

I had a fair bit of family business work to get done tonight after a weekend of mostly slacking off from all but the must-do work; so I’ve been on my computer for the past few hours.  I know it’s been too much tonight because Mandy got tired of the noise and went to cuddle with Ehlana and Naomi instead of with me about an hour ago – though she always at least checks up on anyone in the lounge on a regular basis whenever the sofa’s being used for a sleepover.  Without boring you with the details, my work tonight included some fairly satisfying projects in Europe and Africa that will help a lot of people; with my favorite being a work, school, and housing initiative that will directly help people being hurt by a Hathorne Industries company – and hopefully also seriously mess up their business when they suddenly find themselves without nearly enough near-slave labor for their sweat shop.

I’d apologize to them for that, except I’m not sorry; and they don’t need to know about my involvement in that business and charity.

Michael has one more day off before it’ll be back to work at the Inn and also the big push to the wedding.  We’re doing another teen trip to Quarry Lake; so I should wrap this up and get what sleep I can to be ready for what will be our last free play day of July.  While this hasn’t exactly been a best-ever fun kind of day, it has been a really good one; and I’m sure that the rest of our week is just going to keep getting better!

With that thought a fairly nice one to take into dreamland, I’m out of here; and, until next time...

...May the Magi Force be with you!