Dear family:

I was so pleased with myself for finally writing a letter last week, and here it is, over a week later, and I did not get it copied and mailed out! That process always takes a surprising amount of time. Itís much like thinking that one has finished grocery shopping only to realize that all the groceries have yet to be put away.

So I think Iíll add a P.S. kind of letter and that will carry me through to next week. The summer always has so many comings and goings that it is hard to keep any sense of routine. At this very moment the house is quiet. Christopher left for counselor training at French Creek, and Peter went along for the ride. No sooner did that vanload leave than Daniel called to say he was on his way up here from Baltimore, planning to arrive around dinner. Don Houck also arrived in town and is popping in and out. Ben and Stephen are up in the office, being given the deluxe treat of using Davidís computer while he is out running errands. Joseph Plowman is with them, so itís not as if the house is empty, but it sure feels that way.

In anticipation of Danielís visit I made chocolate chip cookies in my new oven. The old one was on a slow and steady decline, and it was with great excitement that we purchased a replacement Ė only it was too hot to try it out for the first week! Last week was the worst kind of weather, hot and humid, but this week has been delightful. I got on a roll and made a blueberry pie as well.

Christopher complained loud and long about the special attention given to Daniel, so I decided to take him and his brothers out to a farewell breakfast this morning at a favorite spot of theirs, Dartoís. This is a greasy spoon kind of place, which serves only breakfast and lunch, but they love it and the fare is very reasonable.

Ben has not missed nursery school as much as I expected since he has discovered Katie (a little girl almost exactly his age) down the street. They run back and forth between the houses and get along quite well. It is cute to see them talking face to face. They have their quarrels, but get over them quickly because they need each other! When she is not available, Ben wanders around asking one of us to "play chest" (chess) with him. We are working on helping him to be a good loser. His current game strategy is telling his opponent what moves they can and cannot make.

Last week when it was so hot we went to the pool a number of times. After initial hesitation, Ben has loved it. He was so happily occupied that I actually got to read a magazine while at the pool Ė one of my ultimate fantasies that for years has never materialized because I was required to watch all the time.

Although I have some serious books on my "to do" list, I have enjoyed reading some books for fun. Isnít that what summer is for? Mom left some books about life in a retirement home that are funny and pleasant. Then last night I read a spy novel that gave me wild dreams, involving me being Mel Gibsonís partner on a mission.

Mondays and Wednesdays we go to Peterís soccer games. The season has only one more game, and Peterís team is undefeated, so they will go into the playoffs. Peter has been goalie up until this last game, when the regular goalie returned. Peter even had his first shut-out! A sprained ankle has handicapped him, though, so he might not get much field time for the exciting finale. His soccer team is supposed to be lifting weights together on Friday mornings; however, attendance has dropped each week and this morning, Peter was the only team member there. The others may be busy with summer jobs. Although Peter has applied a number of places, none have called him in. David has set up a number of projects for him here at home. The really biggie one is cleaning out the garage. A contractor is coming Monday to restore it to plumb and put siding on. First, though, it needs to be cleaned out so he has room to work. The city will not let us put a dumpster in the alley, so this is a difficult project.

I donít have much to write about Stephen because he is rarely home. Multiple invitations to sleep-overs keep him busy. The rest of us get annoyed because his cadre of friends are ringing the doorbell all day long. He did deign to come with David and me up to Quiet Valley for a picnic, where he was impressed with the boys who made fire from flint and steel. (My brothers will be interested to hear that Nate is getting married at the end of this month.) If the commuting werenít such a hassle, I would love for Stephen to be a part of Q.V.ís apprentice program. Maybe next year. David is keeping fit and getting Stephen ready for soccer season by running with him in the afternoons.

I wonít bore you with an account of all our activities. I think you get the picture. Tomorrow our French student arrives, so I should do some more house cleaning. The group has planned a number of day trips which the families are invited to join, so we will be headed to New York and Philadelphia in the coming weeks.


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