Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Changing Season

The season of summer vacation is slowly coming to a close.  As I type, the kids and their Dad are sleeping (or at least attempting to sleep) in the tent out in the backyard.  The soles of their feet are covered with dirt from a long day of play and though they are tired, the fun of sleeping under the stars has them chattering and giggling. 

We’ve enjoyed so much this summer.  Our days have been busy and by the end of the day I muster all the energy I can to put away the clean dishes and crawl into bed.  We’ve done a lot.  We’ve marked a bunch of things off of our summer bucket list.  A few big events, but many more small things that I will take away saying to myself “Job well done.”  We’ve eaten three meals a day out on the deck whenever possible and we’ve brought blankets under shady trees whenever we checked out new books at the library.  We’ve swam at Sandy Lake until our toes and fingers were prunes.  We’ve harvested, and eaten almost daily, from our garden for the last several weeks. We’ve visited a few new parks around town and the girls have gotten lost in imaginative play after breakfast almost every single day…And I am reporting, happily, that I am ready for the change that school will bring. I am exhausted.  These kids have been home for 12 weeks.  We have done lots, but not tons, which was my intent.  We have talked about how finding things to keep busy is part of the deal when it comes to summer vacation.  They’ve learned to calm squabbles between each other.  They’ve played really well together, and for the most part, have had a great time. 

Today was no exception to the fun and the exhaustion.  Wanting to end the summer with a bang I decided to take the kids and our fabulous neighbor Debbie on an adventure.  We headed out this morning bound for the Light Rail.  From their we planned on heading to Minnehaha Falls for a picnic lunch.  We’ve never been to the Falls before so we had no idea what to expect.  We were not disappointed and the day turned out to be one of my favorites of the entire summer.  The train ride was just about 15 minutes long, which was just enough for the kids.  By the the time we reached our destination we were excited that we were going to come back on the train at the end of the day.  We explored the park on foot at first.  We found the waterfall by a few twisting paths and lots of steep steps.  We could hear it first and when it came into sight Mallory was in awe.  I made sure to watch her eyes as watching through her lense gives a whole new perspective.  When our feet got tired and our tummy’s were getting hungry we decided to rent a Surry Bike and take the next part of the tour on wheels.  Powered by Debbie and I, and steered solely by Debbie, we made our way around the entire park.  The trip was estimated to take about 40 minutes which gave us 20 minutes to stop for lunch along the route.  With just one wrong turn (we are blaming it on the map) and one slight misjudgment on how wide our Surry Bike was (How were to know they wanted us to not take the bike path and drive down the center of the road?) we made it back in just under our 1 hour time limit. 

Waiting with their tickets and the first sighting of the Train!
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Yes, her hand is down her pants.  It seems to bring comfort when she doesn’t have her rag.  We must work on this before preschool starts in 2 weeks…    
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Mikayla’s favorite part, “When the choo choo train went FAST and under the ground!”
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Our Bike!  The kids loved the front seat view and the matching helmets—seriously. 
Pulled over onto the grass, perfect spot under a tree for our picnic lunch.
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One of the best parts of the day was how many times Mallory said Thank You to me.  As we ended our journey and were walking back to the car after taking the Light Rail, she said to me “Thank you so much for this fun day Mom!”  It’s days like today that I receive the “bonus check” for those other days when I worked so hard just to survive. Summer of TwoTweleve. Our first real summer vacation and I think we did it well… 

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