Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer fun

It's been a long time since I've updated the blog - almost a month!  We've been having lots of fun and enjoying the summer.  Jeff was down in Ashland, Oregon for about three weeks finishing up classes for his master's degree from American Band College, affiliated with Sam Houston State University.  This is his third summer of the program, but he didn't go last year because we had just adopted TongJie and we thought it would have been hard for TongJie's attachment and bonding to have Daddy suddenly gone for three weeks.  Jeff had an official graduation ceremony in Ashland, and we got to see it because TongJie and I, along with my parents and my sister and her kiddos, took a road trip down to Ashland for a couple of days.  We even got to see Ashland's annual 4th of July parade!  So it's a pretty big accomplishment that Jeff has almost finished.  I say almost because, even though there was a graduation ceremony, he still had more coursework to finish after getting home.  He's been working hard on his projects and getting close to being completely finished - we're proud of him!
Jeff receiving his graduation plaque

Ashland 4th of July parade - Jeff is conducting the band on the truck

TongJie blowing bubbles at the parade in Ashland
Evening concert put on by the American Band College wind band - Jeff is playing alto clarinet and is in the 3rd row back, about 7th from the left

Cousins on the 4th of July

Cousins showing their big muscles

During the couple of weeks that Jeff was gone, TongJie and I got to skype with him and talk to him on the phone every day.  TongJie had a hard time at bedtime and he would say "see Daddy?" and "miss Daddy" when I was tucking him in at night.  We tried to keep busy with doing lots of fun stuff though.  We rode on the little train at Riverfront Park, and TongJie loved it.  He was in awe and pretty expressionless the whole time, but after we got off he kept saying "fun train."
On the train at Riverfront Park

TongJie is showing which car we rode on

TongJie and I also went to the Mid-Columbia Challenge 5k, which is for PUD employees and their families.  Since my Dad works for the Douglas County PUD, we got to participate.  TongJie has been great about riding in the stroller when I go running, especially since he gets a little snack every time, and this particular 5k was no exception.  The morning of the 5k before we left, he saw me putting my running shoes on and he said "Mama, running.  You, snack."  He still calls himself "You," so he was pointing out to me that I was going running and that he would get a snack!  As it turned out, TongJie won 1st place in the stroller division and got a cool little trophy.
At the Mid-Columbia Challenge 5k

Crossing the finish line

Since Jeff's return home, he's been quite busy with finishing up his projects - it's a lot of work, and he's definitely been working hard!  I've been trying to keep TongJie busy and out of Jeff's way while he's trying to work.  We went to Smallwood's the other day:

We've been going for lots of walks and spending lots of time in our backyard playing in the sprinklers and with TongJie's water table.  Our poor dog, Albert, had to go to the vet because his paw got infected.  We thought a cheat grass seed had embedded itself in one of his paw pads, since this happened more than once to Albert last summer.  As it turned out, Albert apparently had stepped in chewing gum that worked its way between his pads and caused an irritation and infection.  So the vet cut it away the best he could, and Albert had to be on antibiotics for the infection.  I've never heard of any other dog having as many problems with getting things stuck in their feet as poor Albert.  We decided to order some doggie boots for Albert to protect his feet while going for walks.  They're also nice for keeping his feet from burning on the hot asphalt, and I'm sure they will be nice in the winter to protect against snow and ice.  Albert doesn't hate his boots as much as I thought he would, and he seemed to get used to them pretty fast.  He still walks a little differently while wearing them, but he's just as eager as ever to go for walks.
Albert sporting his new boots

TongJie going for a walk with his ever-present "Pastor Pat truck" in his hand

That's all for now . . . TongJie just woke up from his nap and it's time to go enjoy the hot summer weather.

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