Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blessed Bucket List

In exactly one day, I'll tidy up my office, organize my school supplies, open up new packages of markers and crayons, sharpen pencils, and create fresh bulletin boards (my absolute least favorite thing about the teaching profession).  And while there are few things I love more than brand new school supplies, I'm so so so sad to see this summer end. It just can't be happening yet.  It's too soon.

I'm always in a little denial about school starting but this year I think I'll keep my blinders on right up until the minute I actually walk through the school doors.  The month of June was freezing cold and rained for days and days.  The month of July was consumed by tears and grief and doctors appointments.  It was spent asking the Universe the hard questions and not being given any answers.  It was spent waking up,  slowing down, taking deep breaths, and healing.  That left us with a little sliver of August, which has been spent exhaling a little bit and enjoying what few summer days remained.

It's so easy to complain that summer went too fast, but it always does, doesn't it?  I wonder if part of the reason summer is so sweet is because it's so brief.  We just start to settle into it, just start to take the early sunrise and late sunsets and warm, humid, evenings for granted.  Then one day we realize that the birds are waking later and the sun is setting earlier.  The evenings are getting cooler, the humidity has lessened.  Autumn is knocking at the door, folks-- and I'm definitely not ready to let it in.

I have exactly one day of summer vacation left-- and while a part of me wants nothing more than to bemoan this fact, another larger part is focusing on the smiles and laughter and adventures we've experienced in the blip of the last 72 days.

2103 Summer Bucket List:
(items in blue have been completed)

*  St. Louis trip

*  Play at Parkersburg Park

*  Picnics

*  Play in baby pool

*  Roadtrip to Ames to check out Sister's new house

*  Farmers' Market

*  Bare feet mud play

*  Chicago (Cub's game, boat ride, horse-carriage ride)

*  Dairy Queen in jammies (in Spencer, of course)

*  Waverly Wooden Park

*  Felix Grundy Parade

*  I-cubs game

*  Grundy Co. Fair

*  State Fair

*  Fourth of July Celebration

*  Waterloo Bucks Game

*  Star gaze after bedtime

*  Eat outside on the deck

*  Pool/ Swimming Lessons

*  Family Golf

*  Hartman Reserve Nature Center

*  Flea Markets

*  Go Camping

*  Find a new park

*  Catch lightning bugs

*  Go for a boat ride/ swim in a lake.  (pee in a lake for the 1st time)

*  Cottage

Wow.  Just looking at that list brings back memories that are only a few weeks old.  I'm feeling a deep sense of gratitude-- we've done so much in such a little span of time, we've had so many opportunities to do big and small things and spend time with loved ones.  We're hoping to head up to the cottage and I'm trying to convince Mason to test out camping in a few weeks.  So, there's a good chance we'll actually cross off the remaining items.

As I sit here and reminisce about the summer, I feel so thankful to have had the opportunity and resources to make this list happen.  And not only did Charlie and I have numerous adventures, but I also made a point to spend a bit of the summer wrapped up in frivolous 'me-projects'.  C played at daycare a few mornings during the week which allowed me time to scrapbook, up-cycle random pieces of furniture, get back on my road bike, and attempt to organize the basement.  Of course, I actually finished very little, but still feel productive for taking a little better care of myself.  And right now, at this exact moment in time, I'm feeling rested and ready for the new school year.  And while sometimes I think we overuse the word blessed, as I look at the above list, I can hardly feel anything but.     

This is the Iowa State Fair

Yesterday, Charlie and I road-tripped down to the Iowa State Fair.  He-was-thrilled.  

Last night, I asked him what his favorite part of the fair was.  Here's the conversation: 

Me:  Charlie, did you have fun at the Fair?  

C:  Yes.  Soooo much fun! 

Me:  What was your favorite part?  

C:  The boats!  With the real water! And I bumped into people! 

Me:  Oooh yes, those were really fun!  But I thought you liked the farming part.  

C:  Oooooh yes!  I loved that.  That was my favorite part.  And then I got muffins for a treat. 

Me:  But I thought that the sky glider was your favorite part. 

C:  The big way-high-in-the-sky thing?  Oh yeah.  THAT was my favorite! 

Me:  Oh wait, I thought the giant slide was your favorite. 

C:  Ooooh yes!  I LOVED that!  And is zoomed us down so fast and I laughed at all the bumps! 

Me:  That slide was fun, but what about that horse show? I thought that was your favorite. 

C:  Oooh!  I loved those horsies.  But they were huge and one scared me when I got close to it. 

Me:  I loved the horse show.  Oh, but I loved the trains.  Did you like the trains? 

C:  Oooh!  The trains were my favorite! And there was a tunnel and a bridge and all the trains zoomed along the track.  And there was an orange engine! 

Me: I'm pretty sure you could have watched those trains all day.  You didn't want to leave, did you. 

C:  No. I cried.

Me:  But I think you had some fun with Vincent, right?
C:  (nods) We made silly faces.

Me: It was a pretty fun day.  I think I liked the food.  Did you?  

C:  I liked the donuts!  And the footlong! 

Me:  I think it was a good day, wasn't it? 

C:  Mm-hmmm.  I was crying when we left.
Me: I know sweetie.  But we'll go back again someday.  I promise.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Growing up on the Green

Although this summer has definitely had some bumps in the road, one of the high points has been the time we've spent on the golf course as a family.  I'm not going to claim to be a great golfer, but the game runs deep in my DNA. I remember putting golf balls into coffee mugs placed around our living room and chipping into hula-hoops placed in the back yard.  I remember playing around on the driving range with my paternal grandparents, and spending evenings on the local municipal course with my parents.  Golf has, it seems, naturally remained a part of my adult life as well.  It helps that Mason also enjoys the game and it gives us something 'productive' to do together.  

Because golf is something we value, it only makes sense that we would introduce it to Charlie.  It's never to early to learn the game and the etiquette, right?  He's been on the golf since he was about 18 months old, but this year things really seemed to click.  His attention span is longer, his interest in the game has increased, and he's taking direction a teeny tiny bit better.  Typically, he plays from the fringe, and puts back and forth across the green.  Occasionally, when very few people are out, we'll have time to let him hit from the tee box or the middle of the fairway, which is extra exciting to him.  He's such a good little guy, riding around in the golf cart and waiting his turn-- we've even been able to play nine holes a few times-- with no whining or complaining!

Last weekend, we had the chance to take the grandparents out on the course.  I'm not sure who had more fun.

Ama has the coolest putter 'sucker-upper'-- someone was thrilled


I love this hobby.  And all it takes is a calm summer evening, a favorite Jimmy Buffet song, some bright orange golf clubs, one orange golf ball, one pink ball, and maybe an adult beverage or two, and you've got yourself a recipe for perfection on the links.