Sevens of Summer {wrapping it all up neatly}

Posted By on September 1, 2014

September. How on earth has it gotten to be the beginning of September already? I’m convinced this summer flew by faster than any other before, long days running on overtime. There’s so much to catch up on, so I’m going to do my best to shove it all into one condensed little bit and move on to pretending to embrace being back to the grind of schedules and school days.

The Summer of Fun (or something like that) . . .

As school wound down last year, I looked to the weeks ahead with determination. We were going to learn. And grow. And have mandatory fun. Dammit. Summer bridge workbooks were ordered, craft bins were stocked and a list of outings was made. This was going to be the best summer yet.

By the second week, the craft bin was a jumbled mess of glitter and pipe cleaners. The workbooks were shoved off to a corner, discarded after the third or fourth temper tantrum over missing one question (problems in raising perfectionist children). And we lost count of how many days in a row it was that we never left the driveway.

Turns out, it was indeed the best summer yet. The yard was full of endless games of make-believe and we all perfected the art of blanket forts during the hot afternoons. Hardly a day went by that wasn’t ended with dirty feet being hosed off on the patio, or sticky popsicle smudges on chins. We went through three jumbo packs of chalk, a million gallons of bubbles and only a half package of bandaides.

The Summer of LearningĀ  . . .

Spring brought Miss E a new found determination when it came to taking the training wheels off her bike. Something about all the other kids riding to and from school lit a fire under her and, before long, she was off and pedaling like a pro. A trip to my mom’s house with grassy hills and a steep gravel driveway gave her confidence and a few stunt master skills. We all watched and said that surely MJ wouldn’t be far behind, wanting desperately to do what big sister was doing.

Sure enough, on a ridiculously hot afternoon, we ended up in the school parking lot. It was full of puddles and MJ’s bike was without the training wheels. She started off by coasting down a tiny hill to splash through a puddle and ended the day pedaling gleefully through every puddle she could find. The ease at which she figured it out was well worth the solid coating of mud we left with.

Overly excited with her progress, we rushed out to replace her far too small bike with one that she would grow with a little better. Unfortunately, the size difference completely threw off her confidence and we’re back to a bit of a wobbly ride. I’m just waiting for another rainy afternoon to tackle those puddles again.

The Summer of Amusement . . .

In addition to it being the summer of fun, we made it a point add a little extra in. A little over the top fun. After experiencing Busch Gardens for the first time back in the spring, we schemed about going back when it would be warm enough to take advantage of the splash pads and water parts of the park. On the ridiculously hot August day that we went, it did not disappoint. In between roller coasters and kiddie rides, the kids spent hours splashing and laughing as they jumped through the splash pads.

Miss E was thrilled to have the chance to go on all the roller coasters again, adding a few new ones to her list. She rode everything she possibly could and left dreaming of the bigger ones she’ll be allowed on next year. Tater surprised us by being the most daring and voicing the injustices of being short. He’s also banking on being quite a bit taller next year so that he can also ride all those roller coasters. We haven’t had the heart to break it to him that it’s going to be a while on those. MJ held steady on being our girl who loves all things spinning, grinning from ear to ear as she spun around in the teacups or tilt-a-whirl.

The Summer of (just a smidge of) Jealousy . . .

For quite a while, we had been anticipating the husband beginning a rotation for work that would take him to Singapore on a regular basis. Towards the end of summer (and conveniently right before school started) he rushed off to gallivant on the other side of the world in the name of business. Hours after we dropped him at the airport, I came down with a *thankfully* short run of the flu and muddled through preparations for school. Despite being thrilled on his behalf for all he gets to do with work, there is nothing like barely standing upright, packing lunches and backpacks, while getting emailed pictures (like below) of beautiful sights from far away. Little compares to scraping smashed Cheerios off the tile floor while hearing of awesome cuisine and an amazing city.

So yes. Jealousy. Just a smidge of turning green.

The Summer of Travels . . .

Alright, so maybe they weren’t the most exotic (see above *ahem*) or extensive travels, but we did still manage to cram six trips of some sort into our ridiculously short summer. After hitting the beach and Ohio early on, we kept planning and looking for adventures to get into. There were a few overnights to Shenandoah National Park which, despite being right in our backyard, remains a fun getaway. After that, we headed down to the Great Smoky Mountain National park for some more camping (about which I have lots to say, so that gets its own entire post later). And then, we just got back tonight from a trip back up to Ohio for one last hurrah at the county fair.

Summer may be over, but I’m still eying the empty weekends on the calendar and dreaming about where else we can go.

The Summer of Back to School . . .

The girls started school again last week after what seems like the shortest summer break ever. Miss E went in to Second Grade beaming with happiness, ready to use all the words that she had been saving up. She came home complaining that lunch was too short and they had hardly any time, which definitely means she put those words to good use during that half hour. MJ skipped into the building on her first day of kindergarten, barely looking over her shoulder as she requested me to stay outside and let E walk her in to class. So far, the only final report on how kindergarten is going is that it is SO! FUN! and she is making tons of new friends.

And, Oh Yeah, That Pregnancy Thing . . .

I’mĀ  . . . 30 weeks now.

(I had to go count and figure that out. How sad is that, poor fourth, neglected pregnancy).

Things are moving along as they should be in all their third trimester glory. The expected heartburn, the aches and pains, the miserable nights flopping back and forth in a nest of pillows, it’s all there. My usual, debilitating, lower back, omg-I-can’t-walk fun hasn’t quite hit in full force yet though, so there is that to be thankful for. But . . . at the same time, I’ve discovered that I literally am allergic to being pregnant. Which is absolutely no fun, as my arms, legs and stomach are covered in bumps that itch worse than chicken pox and there isn’t a thing that will cure it . . . aside from half a bottle of Benadryl and a solid night of drooling on my pillow. Which I rarely come by.

So. There’s all that. The summer of everything in seven quick bits. Now . . . onward to fall and countdowns and cramming in one or two last trips while keeping steady to school and holding that jealousy at bay when the next time comes . . .


Posted By on July 29, 2014

Coming Home {can be such a drag}

Posted By on July 18, 2014

We’ve been home from our hometown vacation for two days and already the kids have been mourning the loss of their freedom to roam all over Grammie’s huge backyard. Apparently our measly lot doesn’t lend well to exploring and adventuring and they’re ready to just pack up and move to Ohio if it means the same level of completely unsupervised play that they went and got used to. I don’t really blame them for holding the place so dear in their hearts. After all, we crammed a lot into those two weeks and coming home is always a bit of a let down.

I’ve heard a million times about all the things they miss . . .

Cousins. All the cousins they could possibly wish for.

Holding the littlest cousin. Miss E would still be over there holding him and poor Tater couldn’t understand why we couldn’t bring him home.

Partying hard. Especially with glow necklaces and balloons.

Zip lines in grandparent’s backyards. Which also goes along hand in hand with partying hard.

Their fancy new room at Grammie’s.
(Before & After, our room on top, kids room on bottom. Still works in progress but so nice to come “home” to.)

Taking naps in the new bunk beds.

Playing with all of Papa’s awesome toys, and earning those naps.

Eating out a million times more than we do at home.

Trying all sorts of new food brought home from a morning at the most wonderful market.
(Cleveland’s West Side Market. Makes me miss Russian markets, and hate Charlottesville markets at the same time.)

Playing on the newly redone tire swing at Grammie’s. Over and over and over again.
(I’d put this at the top of the list of things they miss, since I’ve heard about how we need a tire swing eleventy million times already today.)

I haven’t told them exactly how long it will be before we head back up there. If I had, they’d be swarming the calendar and counting down for the next six weeks.


The Fourth {and the fifth}

Posted By on July 5, 2014

Yesterday, we had the obligatory burger cookout, put on our patriotic colors and stayed up way too late watching a bunch of these . . .

Happy Fourth of July from the holiday grinch that only celebrates things anymore to make sure the kids have those happy childhood memories.

Then came today. As most of the nation continued making things go boom, we found out who the biggest kid in the bunch is.

Spoiler, it’s Papa.

As early evening fireworks sounded throughout the neighborhood, we all got in the spirit when he pulled out an old toy cannon.

Here’s to the Fourth and the Fifth. May you all make it through the entire weekend with nary a burn and all ten fingers still attached.

The Annual Clean Out

Posted By on June 28, 2014

The husband and I are sprawled, near dead from exhaustion, on our respective couches tonight. Moving even so much as to grab the remote seems like a task too much to bother with. My feet are killing me, there’s a nice sunburn smoldering on my shoulders and I should really hobble upstairs and take a shower.

Yep. It was garage sale day today.

We’ve held a garage sale nearly every summer since starting a family. After moving to the Little Blue House, we found out how much of a pain holding a garage sale is when you don’t actually have a garage. For at least a week, our dining room, already tiny in the first place, turns into a holding area for boxes and bins and random pieces of furniture. This time, we spent quite a few nights eating our family dinners around the craft table in the playroom.

Bright and early, it all has to get hauled outside through the front door. With each heavy tote, I long for the days we’d just set up ahead of time and roll up the garage door in the morning. Instead, I stand on the driveway with things scattered around me at 6am and work furiously to put it all out. Despite the advertised start time of 8am, there are still people pulling up at 6:30am. The husband chastises me every time I hiss at them under my breath, but really? Really? Each year I start earlier and earlier, waiting to put our signs out until the very last minute, but the vultures are always there. Maybe it’s the early hour, or the frustration with the lack of respect, but I really have to try hard not to deck the ones that huff and puff as they step around me while I set up for something that isn’t supposed to start for an hour and a half.

Other than the beginning, today went above and beyond our expectations. After starting with a driveway completely full (I swear the things that live in our attic multiply like bunnies over the course of a year), we ended the day with just a stroller, a bike trailer and two tote bins of leftovers to deal with. Not bad at all. The girls ran their lemonade stand and bake sale, selling out before the morning was over and raking in the cash. We had people that remembered stopping by in years past, neighbors we only see once or twice a year wondering if we were moving, new residents filling their houses and old friends coming to say hi. Not a single was tear shed over toys leaving, only a few cups of lemonade spilled and we managed to all end the day smiling.

And I have my dining room back.

Total success.