Monday, September 16, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Summer

School has been back in session for over three weeks now, but the weather finally started to feel like summer just when it began.  It's only now we're getting ready to change our long summer days of adventures over to cool weekends of making messes in the basement while we watch Browns games and eat chicken wings.

I think it's worth noting now what a great summer it was before we move on to the new adventures a year with two school age kids and one I'm not quite ready to give up to a school routine will bring.

This summer, we were on the go even more than usual it seems.  We didn't take as many road trips, but we found ways to squeeze the fun out of every day we were home.

This was the summer I made a conscious effort not to over-schedule us with camps and week-long commitments, but still felt like we were always trying to find a a crack in our days to meet up with all the friends we wanted to see and the family with whom we wanted to spend time.

This was the summer all the kids had fun hanging out on the top bunk at the cottage, and two of them even slept up there, rather than piling on top of me on the lower bunk.  At least not all of the time.

It was a time of painting rocks, catching crayfish and tadpoles and minnows and frogs and looking for dead things in the woods.

We had a beach vacation with the extended family, with historic lighthouse and snake sightings along the way to a new beach house further south along the island of the Outer Banks.

We celebrated July Fourth in our matching cousin shirts again of course.
We tried to get decent pictures of all three kids and our whole family, and only sometimes succeeded.

This was the summer we toured the zoo with our friends and our cousins like the experts on the zoo's terrain and wildlife we are.
We shifted from the family that can only hang in Snoopy Land with one kid in the stroller riding nothing once a summer, to the family that has three kids with three different colored wristbands and season passes to Kings Island.  One adult with a kid riding the Beast and the Vortex, the other trying to make the one who has to wait to ride Surf Dog happy riding the swings.  We spent a lot of time soaking wet fully clothed because the Log Flume is one of the few rides we can all do together.
We talked J. into using some of his extra vacation days on a week in the midst of the summer and actually stayed home for once.  Our staycation ended up being more pricey than a trip, probably, but allowed us to really enjoy our city, and sleep in our own beds.  We really do love Cincinnati.

O. continued to work on his Tae Kwon Do skills, attended Reptile Roundup nature camp, and perfected his flip off the diving board.  He became fondly attached to Animal Planet, watching marathons of "My Cat From Hell" and "Call of the Wildman" and "Gator Boys."  He was into hatching new breeds of dragon on the iPad via Dragon City, and hadn't quite learned about Minecraft.  Yet.

It was a summer of constructing ever more elaborate hideouts in our front woods, with buckets and pulleys and swings and chairs and nerf guns hula hoops and every other toy they could drag out of bins in our garage and then pile up in the middle of the garage floor when they were done.  There were obstacle courses and lemonade stands and races on scooters down the driveway.  There was often more than one child that did not belong to me in my yard, or one of my own missing into someone else's yard. It was the summer I sat mostly on the edge of the lawn in a chair, and sometimes didn't even come out of the house at all to supervise for stretches of time.  It was the summer there was a big difference between my 'big kids' and my baby, and one of the first times he looked like this when he couldn't go in the woods with his brother and sister:
L. got himself potty trained, swam all over the pool in his puddle jumper (but wouldn't get his head wet on purpose), and learned to shoot water guns like a champ.  His favorite pasttimes in the driveway were filling watering cans and playing with pla-doh.  He watched Fireman Sam, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Dora and Diego, and lots and lots of Mickey Mouse.  He continues to be a pro with the iPad.
Sweet N. wore those dangly earrings and my sunglasses every chance she got. She played with makeup and nail polish, but also with dolls and stuffed animals.  She dyed her hair with chalks that she got as a prize for undergoing allergy blood work.  We found out she's not outgrowing any of her nut allergies, and in fact is even more dangerously allergic to some than we thought.  She didn't go to camp this summer because she did not feel safe enough to do so.  I grieve her future opportunities a little each day, but know that if there's anyone that can cause change due to sheer infectious love and joy, it's this girl.  She got a little moodier, a little more headstrong, a little more of her own person, and while I'm not enjoying this glimpse of her pre-teen self, I admire her spirit and know it will serve her well.  She watched hours and hours of Jessie and Good Luck Charlie, discovered the Full House gang, and has most of the song lyrics to Teen Beach Movie memorized.
These two are friends, enjoy playing babies and animal doctor together, and I could watch them ride this ride all summer.
I saw more of O.'s smile this summer, and it made my heart sing.
We welcomed our new pet, Spike into our house exactly one year after we adopted our sweet Hazel.  I'm not convinced we will love the bearded dragon quite as well as we do our dog, but time will tell.  He is pretty darn cool.

In the space of a month, N. went from a kid who was terrified of riding her bike even with training wheels to a hot rod who rides far ahead of me on two wheels only when we go for walks.
This was the summer we switched from apple juice in sippy cups lined up on the counter every morning to downing orange juice by the gallon.  We shifted from almost all baths to nearly all showers.

We gave up playing with a lot of toys, though we're not quite ready for them to leave the house.  We gave up diapers during the day, the double stroller, and booster seats at restaurants.

We wore jeans in the evening and looked for ways to entertain ourselves in the rain.  We ate lots and lots of meals at restaurants because we were too lazy to cook even the gorgeous produce from our CSA.

There was fighting over who would sit in which seat in the car, whether the windows should be up or down, and what movie should play in the DVD player in the van.  Until most of the DVD's got scratched or coated with gum, and we just watched Alvin and the Chipmunks every day for a month.

It was a summer I reminded myself often that the days are long but the years are short, and for once actually found myself finding solace in the thought.

I miss summer already, but am ready for what's next.  How about you?  What treasures did summer bring your way?


Stacia said...

I heart rock painting. Sigh. And we, too, ditched the stroller, the sippies, the crib, and the daytime diapers this summer. Not our training wheels yet, though.

I'd also like to take a moment to thank Dora and Curious George for helping me make it through the summer with my sanity (mostly) intact. =>

mep said...

Best parts of the summer? Swimming, traveling, hot pretzels for dinner, taking off training wheels, fishing, cousins and more cousins, Kings Island (that ride is truly the greatest), Cedar Point, brother's wedding, the feeling of not wanting it to end

Worst parts of summer? All Disney Jr. "tween" programming, not seeing you and yours, applying sunscreen,

Lovely summer, lovely post, very lovely life! Miss you, dear friend!

Anonymous said...

Been missing these...Thanks....J