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Summer and New Beginnings

September 3, 2014

Man. I will tell you for free that back around the beginning of June the prospect of summer – with four kids at home – pretty much scared the ever loving crap out of me.

Mama_Ani

Let’s be clear here. As a season I am down with summer. Particularly after that long winter. But…….I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there are a LOT of kids in here. Not as many as some families, true. But…yes. I am soundly outnumbered.

allthekids

I was nervous about it – very nervous actually, because I really didn’t want to just survive the summer….I wanted it to be really fun for everyone. I’m still feeling a little guilty about last summer – it was such a gong show of moving and babies, and NICU and just…stuff that meant there was very little focus on the big kids. Understandable but you know. I really wanted this summer to be different for all of us.

 

onwaytocottage

The day before school started Anika prayed for us before we had dinner….and one of the things she said was “Thank you Lord for one of the best summers EVER.”

ani_seal

Mission accomplished. GO TEAM!

There were Canada Day festivities.Anika_canadaday

Sam_CanadaDay

There was dance camp (Of course there was dance camp).

 

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There were swimming lessons for Sam.

Sam_Swimminglessons

(He started out refusing to get in the pool with the fun lady who wanted to teach him to swim…and by the end of five days was jumping off the diving board unassisted, picking up diving sticks off the bottom of the pool. Amazing.)

Sam_swimminglessons2

There were visits to Gran & Papa’s….along with PLENTY of swimming in their pool!

 

Momanddadpool

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There were MORE swimming lessons for both kids, and there are emphatically no pictures of that because a) the lessons were at 8am, b) I had all four kids with me, and c)…actually, I don’t need a C. Just picture it. Me, two babies (WHO CAN NOW MOVE AROUND WITH THE BEST OF THEM BY THE WAY), trying to feed everyone breakfast while one kid swam and keeping the babies from crawling into the pool.

I ended up buying one of these playpens….something that totally would have fallen on my high maintenance, “nice to have” list with one baby but with two? Forget it. Best investment of the summer, hands down. I used that thing three times a day easy. It only weighs about 12lbs so I could actually carry it on my shoulder while carrying both babies…pretty awesome.

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Anyway – yes. Swimming lessons. We went, we had fun, we survived. We took up a lot of room on the pool deck but NO ONE DROWNED so we will call it a win.

There was also camping! But only for Brandon and the big kids. I am secure enough in my parenting and camping ability to know that while I CAN camp with babies, I don’t actually want to. It’s not that much fun for anyone.

bigs_camping

But the big kids had fun so that was great.

We did playdates with friends…..

Anika_Maliah

….and we went to the bike park a lot.

Sam_bikepark

The babies learned to hang in their playpen at the bike park while the older two rode around – it was pretty awesome actually. I am very lucky that they are so easy going in that respect.

Anika_BikePark

We had a really fun weekend in Syracuse – stayed in a great hotel and did some back to school shopping.

carousel

The mall was really cool because in addition to having stores (duh), there were a lot of fun things to do. Brandon and Anika spent a happy hour or so on a ropes course up at the top of the mall. It’s fair to say that Anika *probably* has more grace and style but they both had a blast.

ropes

Sam and the babies and I had less of a blast waiting for them….but we got to hang out in the Crocs store where NOTHING CAN BE BROKEN so you know.

We also spent a lovely week at a cottage. Friends of my parents’ own that cottage and live in the one next door, so my mom and dad came with us and stayed with their friends. It was INCREDIBLY generous of them to have us up, and it was great fun, and a great help to have my parents there (right up until the point where my mom broke her foot playing catch with Anika – amazing. Also, whoops.)

Talia_cottage

Really lovely.

Anika_horse

Yes, yes that is Anika on a horse. Funny story. One evening this guy came out of the trees on a horse. He was super friendly and chatty and let Anika ride the horse which was really cool. Of course the nice man also scared the LIVING DAYLIGHTS out of me for two reasons. First, he had a bug mask on despite the fact that it wasn’t all that buggy….and he didn’t take it off the whole time we were talking so no one could really see his face very well. Second, he had a 20″ machete hanging down his leg. Now, I guess maybe he needed it? For something? I don’t know? He really was perfectly pleasant and easy to talk to, but doesn’t it sound a liiiiittle bit like the beginning of a horror movie?? I’m sure he was just fine. But also AEEIII BIG KNIFE BIG KNIFE.

We capped off the summer with a week visiting Brandon’s dad which is always a fun adventure! We did some fun stuff – including a trip to Storybook Gardens with a great bouncy….pod thing.

JumpingLondon

It even had an end that the babies could go on with Brandon and my sister in law, so that was awesome too.

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Anika got better at climbing than she was last time…

AnikaClimbs

….Lucy, on the other hand, has a ways to go.

LucyClimbsKindof

(No, neither of the babies is actually walking yet – she just likes to try to crawl with her feet.)

I think overall it was a really great summer.

brothers

You know what there was not this summer? Much at ALL in the way of sewing or knitting or anything fun like that. You know why? Because I chose – very deliberately – to use the two months to just invest in my kids as much as I could. Be with them; play with them; focus on what excites them and challenges them. Was it completely successful? No. Of course not. Investing heavily in one area of life almost always results in compromises in other areas. My house is not as tidy and organized as I want it to be – not by a long shot. I can cook, and I like to cook, but I didn’t cook all that much this summer, preferring to land on standbys and easy things in order to get us outside and doing stuff more. Brandon and I didn’t get any dates I don’t think. And I definitely didn’t get to focus on things that challenge and motivate me much – whether it’s sewing or running or reading.

But I think it was worth it anyway. It was only 8 weeks after all. And now it’s September and summer vacation is over.

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Anika started school on Tuesday. She’s in Grade 3 and has an AWESOME teacher. I….actually I know nothing about her really but she’s super friendly and has a wicked sense of humour which automatically makes her my people. I think Anika is happy with the situation too.

Anika_girls

She was SO excited to go this year….it was really neat to see, and it was really great to see her fit so nicely in with a great group of friends. One of her closest friends from last year isn’t in her class (waaah) but neither of them seems too fazed by it (“we’ll see each other at recess MOM.”) and another close friend is in her class. So that’s great. She’s happy so good enough for me!!

Anika_school

And Sammo….oh Sam. That boy just about kills me. He can be SUCH a punk about trying new things. He fights hard against doing even the MOST fun things if they are an unknown. It’s so brutal. I was geared up for such a battle about starting JK. We had his interview on Tuesday where he met his teacher, saw his class, and received his special school bus construction paper hat (which is used to identify the JK kids on the playground so he can get taken to his class okay). I thought there was no way he’d wear the hat. I was wrong.

SamsFirstDay

He has to wear his epipen on a belt at school, and I thought that there was no way he’d do that either – I was ready for a fight. I was wrong about that too.

Sam_epipen

“Mrs. Button is allergic to fish and shrimp,” he tells me. “She has to wear an epipen too.”

I thought when I dropped him off on his first day (Wednesday) he would have a meltdown and I’d have to just walk out, leaving him throwing the tantrum. (I’ve done that a lot and I’m good with it – I know that he’s fine approximately thirty seconds after I leave. But even so it’s not a fun way to leave.)

I was TOTALLY wrong about that too.

Sam_firstday

He walked into his class, to his cubby, and put his backpack down. I made eye contact with the ECE and indicated that I was going to slip out while the slipping was good. I took two steps down the hall and thought to myself “This is no good. I need to take a phone picture or something.” I snuck back to the door and when I started to try to take a picture he turned around and ran over to me. “OH crap,” I thought. “Now I’ve done it. Cue meltdown.”

But he just gave me a big goofy smile, grabbed my hand and kissed it, and then turned around and ran back into the classroom.

And then my heart shattered into a million pieces, the end.

Sammo

(Actually not the end. I went to find him at the end of the day – full day JK here – and when I finally tracked him down outside he looked at me very seriously with his big brown eyes and said “Mom. I do NOT take the bus.” True story son. True story.)

 

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2014 10:13 pm

    I have precisely ZERO extra room in my heart right now because it is just so full of ALL THE FEELS after reading this post. What a fantastic summer… I’m just so, so happy for all of you. I miss you guys so much. Soon, soon… xo

  2. Hubby permalink
    October 5, 2014 3:19 pm

    Sigh… I love it. Where would I be without you to document our life with pictures and funny/witty blurbs?

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