The beginning of summer was busy with work; the middle of summer was messed up with the hubby’s injury; and now we’re in summer’s home stretch. I feel like we’re trying to cram in every last ounce of summer before Daddy heads back to work and the big kids go to school. Meetings and work days have already started for my teacher hubby, and he gets his middle school kids next week. But my kids don’t start until after Labor Day, so I feel like we have at least a few more opportunities to do the fun stuff before the school year schedule sets in. Gracie will be headed to first grade, and Max will go to preschool four afternoons a week. If I can get the younger two to nap while the big kids are gone, I feel like I might actually get caught up on things around here, which is probably why I’m more focused on enjoying our last little bit of summer than getting the house in order. That boring stuff can wait!
In the past few weeks, we’ve been camping and boating, hanging out with friends, swimming at least once a week, and spending four nights a week at soccer practice (two nights each for the oldest two). We’ve been squeezing in one last play date with each group of friends. We used our coupons to the “Bouncy Place” (with the big, inflatable slides & obstacle courses), went to the movies, played at the park, and took test drives around our land on the new tractor. I feel like we’ve barely had time to sit still, and it’s probably accurate. I always seem to have a summer fun-stuff agenda, and so much of it had to wait until mid-August or later to get checked off. So we’re partying hardy and playing hard until reality sets in after Labor Day and we adjust to yet another “new normal.”
It’s been fun having 9 1/2-month-old Zachary along for the ride with all of our adventures. He loves riding on the boat, and like a true boy has discovered the joy of the steering wheel. I took some great pictures of him sitting on his daddy’s lap, chubby cheeks resting on top of his life jacket and grinning ear-to-ear as he “drove” the boat. He also had a great time swimming and splashing in the pool (although this interest in pool water coincided with his interest in splashing in the toilet, so I’m not sure that’s actually a positive). Zach is hilarious in a swing; squealing with laughter as he gets pushed higher and higher. He also loves playing in the sand box with his big brothers and sister, and finally seems to be learning that sand is not supposed to be eaten.
Thankfully, Zach’s daddy has also been able to participate in most of our adventures, too. After a few weeks on crutches for his torn Achilles tendon, he was able to graduate to hobbling around in the walking boot without crutches. He still isn’t 100% and can’t move as fast as he used to, but at least he can get around and carry things when he needs to. He can’t carry our chunky baby for long distances or stand with him for a long time, but being able to hand the baby off for those short stints of time has been a huge help. We seem to be over the worst of things, and I’m thankful.
Things have improved so much that I was able to go with four of my friends for an amazing, long-overdue girls’ getaway overnight. The five of us have 13 kids, ages six and under, between us. Finding a weekend that we were all available (and one that worked for all our husbands to take the kids) was a huge challenge. We managed to work out all the details and jumped at the opportunity to take a little road trip to Columbus and do some shopping, go out for a nice dinner, and stay overnight in a hotel. We haven’t done anything like this since we started having kids, but we decided it might have to become a yearly event. It’s not even like we did anything super extravagant; but for me, especially with the past six weeks of caring for my husband’s injury in addition to all four kids, 36 hours of worrying about no one but myself was the ultimate in luxury. It doesn’t take much, a Starbucks to sip on the road (with no little people begging for sips), several meals in a row of not cutting four plates of food, and most importantly: an uninterrupted night of sleep. Of course, by the time I’d dropped off all the girls on Sunday evening, I missed the family like crazy and couldn’t wait to get home. I definitely felt blessed to have the best of both worlds!