Monday, August 30, 2021

summer round up

I was browsing photos from the last few months and realized I had some cute ones that I never shared! They actually paint a pretty good picture of how we spent our summer. At the beginning of the summer, we visited my family for a weekend so we could celebrate Oliver's birthday and Mom's birthday. We even enjoyed a tasty lunch all together!
It's been hot recently, but that hasn't kept us from the outdoors! We've made a couple trips to the farmer's market for fresh pasta and tomatoes. Colin and Mae like playing with the sidewalk chalk and then washing their hands (and feet) off in the fountain.
We've spent many afternoons in the front yard, playing in the sprinkler and decorating the sidewalk with chalk. Mae likes being traced and then coloring in her outline to match her outfit.
Colin watched her do this a couple times and then grabbed his own piece of chalk, walked (yes he walks now!) over to the sidewalk, and laid down on his back to be traced! (I drew a diaper on his outline.) He also likes terrorizing Mae by sitting right on top of her freshly chalked art.
Mae was finally able to finish the swim lessons that were cancelled because of COVID. She did 5 private lessons with her instructor and then a couple of group lessons at our public pool. She's made so much progress being comfortable in the water! While Colin likes being in the pool, his favorite part is the splash pad. He is fearless and barely flinches even when he gets a face full of water!
With Colin still taking two naps, it was harder to fit in play dates this summer. Fortunately, we did manage a picnic and playground visit with Anna and Grant!
The day before Mae started school, we took a trip to the zoo with Grandma, Christopher, Emily, Oliver, Archie, and Lillian. The kids had so much fun running around and visiting all the animals. It was a great finale to summer vacation!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

mae goes to school

Mae's is officially a kindergartener! It feels like we spent all summer getting ready for this moment, and it's finally here! Last week on Monday, we went to a snow cone social at school and she got to peek into her classroom and meet her teacher. Thursday morning, we loaded her up with her new backpack, new water bottle, new mask, new light-up shoes, and new raincoat, and we all walked over to drop her off at school. Even the pouring rain couldn't put a damper on the excitement. No tears were shed (by Mae or by me), so I'd call it a success!
We picked Mae up at the end of the day, and she had lots to tell us about her first day at school. They explored the school to find all the important locations (cafeteria, art room, library, gym, etc). They sang songs, did a couple worksheets, and had art class! She had a turkey sandwich and cookie for lunch, and the rain cleared up in time for outdoor recess.

After school, we went to a small festival at the park. Mae got her face painted and jumped around in the bounce house for a long time.
The house was so quiet on Friday with Colin napping, Dan working, and Mae at school. I took Colin to the grocery store for the first time, and he was enthralled. Colin and I are going to have to come up with some more fun activities for our Wednesdays and Fridays!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

lake time

After two years away from my grandparents, I was so excited to visit them at Lake George! Even though we were constantly busy with kids, we had lots of time to visit and relax throughout the week. We played lots of cards, did a few puzzles, and ate almost every meal together out on the porch!
We spent much of the week at the little beach. The kids kept themselves entertained with just buckets, shovels, and trucks! With plenty of sunshine and relatively warm water, they didn't get cold even after hours splashing around in the lake looking for snail shells and pinecones.
Christopher and Oliver built an elaborate canal with pools and sand dams and filled it with water from the lake. Colin loved splashing in the little pools... and in the big buckets!
Kelsey and I shaped mermaid tails for Mae, Oliver, and Archie. This might be Mae's favorite beach activity.
Our sandbox and our trip to Brigantine beach this summer prepped Colin well for a lake vacation. He loved playing in the sand, and seemed to have gotten over the impulse to eat it. He was very clingy and scared when we took him down to the water on the first day, but he quickly adapted to the gentle lake waves.
Kelsey, Christopher, Dan, and I took turns on the paddleboards. The older kids had fun going for short rides in the shallow area of the lake and then hopping off and swimming back to shore in their puddle jumpers. Even Colin and Lillian tried it out for a second!
Mae had fun practicing casting with her fishing pole. After she lured the fish close to the dock with her red bobber, Mom and Oliver had fun feeding them with bits of leftover salami.
When Colin wasn't at the beach, he was playing with this hose reel. I'm not sure why he was so obsessed with this thing, but we could not keep him away from it!
While Colin napped in the afternoon, Dan and I had time to visit, play cards, and do puzzles. I could sit and play ten-to-one all day. We even had time to read! Real books!
Of course, we did have a few rainy afternoons. During one downpour, we went outside for a good, old-fashioned puddle stomp. We stayed outside until everyone was soaked through. I think Colin lasted the longest. He was having the time of his life chasing the little popsicle stick boats around in the water. He toddled around in the water more than he's ever walked before!
Our visit wouldn't be complete without a trip to Pirate's Cove. All the kids enjoyed their first attempt at mini golf. They also loved all the pirate-themed displays, especially seeing the treasure inside the cave behind the waterfall. (Colin's face in the stocks is cracking me up.)
I think I will remember this visit as "the one where I woke up really early," but not in a bad way. With Colin getting up sometime in the 6 o'clock hour almost every day, I spent my mornings taking quiet walks with him in the front carrier as we waited for the rest of the house to wake up for the day. The mornings are so pretty and peaceful, and I love how chilly and dewy everything gets overnight. Even though our visits now are fairly different to the camping trips we took there as kids, the feeling in the morning always brings back such vivid memories. I'm climbing out of my sleeping bag, pulling on my windsuit to shield me from the brisk air, and wandering out of the tent to hunt down some cinnamon pop tarts warmed up on the propane toaster. Even at home, we refer to those rare, cool summer mornings as "Lake George weather."

I'm glad I was able to find a few peaceful moments during this vacation! Thanks for a wonderful time, Gramma and Grampa!