What a summer! It’s been awesome in every way! Teaching allows me to be a stay-at-home-mom a third of the year, and I absolutely love it (and, I love going back to school, too!). This is the first summer in a long time that I’ve been able to fully enjoy. I had my glorious summer days in college of teaching English in Thailand, traveling around the southeastern U.S. doing student ministry with an Asbury team at churches and camps, and facilitating mission trips on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Montana and in a small poverty-stricken town in southwestern Colorado. Post-college, I spent five summers leading a summer day camp at a Boys and Girls Club (very fun but very stressful and taxing!). And then the past two summers, I’ve been job-hunting and transitioning to a new job (first at Millcreek and last summer to PCA). It’s been SO nice not to have the stress of looking for a job! I’ve just been able to ENJOY the summer! So, here’s a little recap.
- We went to Day Out with Thomas in June with my parents. While the day was out, Carter LOVED getting to “meet” and ride on Thomas!
- We spent a quick weekend in Cincinnati. The original plan was to go to the zoo sometime and the children’s museum sometime, so we decided to spend the night and make it into a weekend. We ended up staying with Gerald and Ann, which was SO great, and it turns out, we didn’t go to the zoo or the children’s museum. Every activity was tailored around Carter’s interests, so the theme became “Trains and Bridges.” In the car, he announces every time we go over or under a bridge. “And another bridge. We go under. Here we go. Un-der!” First, we went to Totter’s Otterville, a place to play in different themed rooms; Carter spent most of his time with the train tables, of course. Then we walked across the Purple People Bridge, a pedestrian bridge connecting Cincinnati, OH and Newport, KY across the river. At Gerald and Ann’s, we read train books, and Carter walked over the “bridge”, which was the upstairs hallway overlooking the living room. In the morning, we went to the “Craigslist Thomas store,” where a man’s garage has become a place to sell used Thomas stuff. We bought a Toby, Clarabel, Butch, shark car, and bridge. Then we went to Ikea to spend a gift card I had. Finally, we went to EnterTRAINment Junction. I’m SO glad I found this place, because it’s all about trains! It has the world’s largest indoor train display (90 trains!) and a fantastic train area for kids, including a couple little rides. Carter’s souvenir? A book called Thomas and the Big, Big Bridge.
- Lucas and I lived it up at EDGE Camp while Calvin was with MiPa and Carter was at Camp Mamawpapaw. Lucas was a counselor for 4th grade boys in the Kilimanjaro village. Since I was going to have to pump every couple hours, I couldn’t be a counselor, but as rec leader (aka fun-bringer), I got to do all the best parts of being a counselor while taking out my least favorite parts (24/7 with the same kids and the “herding cats” feeling). I carried around Floyd the Flamingo, hid objects like a gnome and moose that kids could find for prizes, taught/led tons of songs, facilitated low ropes initiatives, led all-camp games (water stations and a scavenger hunt), led craft time, and learned all the kids’ names. EDGE Camp really is a sweet spot for Lucas and me.
- We joined Lucas’ parents and brother’s family for a vacation at Lake Cumberland. We shared a cabin with Dan and Megan (and Abby and Claire) and spent a lot of time over at the “RV bus” with Mamaw and Papaw. We collected souvenir prizes at bingo night, swam in the indoor pool, played games, took walks, ate yummy meals, visited the Wolf Creek Dam and fish hatchery, and took a boat ride. And, Carter played trains on the floor of the RV (surprise, surprise).
- We spent a long weekend in Henderson, and I took the boys for a week in New Castle so Lucas could get caught up on magazine stuff. In NC, I went to two painting classes, we had a picnic with Rachel and Sam Cory, and we played on lots of playgrounds.
- The boys and I got into a great routine in June of M- toddler storytime at Eagle Creek library, T- baby storytime at Beaumont library, W- playgroup with Megan and Megan, and Th- Joseph-Beth storytimes.
- I finished another grad class, copied more of my CDs to the computer (to transfer to my iPod that is currently missing), organized the laundry room, re-purposed our coat closet to be an activity closet, and potty-trained Carter! Those were some of my major goals. I also started giving guitar lessons to one of my PCA students.
- I dove headfirst into “activities” for Carter (hence, the activity closet). After talking with sister Megan about busy bag ideas on Pinterest, I decided to host a busy bag swap! I enlisted 11 friends to each make 12 busy bags, one for themselves and the rest to share, and then we all met at a park one evening to get 12 unique bags of activities! For mine, I made my first-ever sewing project (beyond Home Ec) with my sewing machine that I had gotten at Christmas. I made ABC I-Spy bags. I did spend a lot of time on Pinterest, but I also spent a lot of time DOING things I saw on Pinterest.
- We played lots of trains. It doesn’t matter if Carter is alone or with others, in his room or on the back deck or in the play room making “snow plows”, the boy loves his trains.
- Calvin has been so sweet — grabbing things, vocalizing, smiling (a lot), and happily joining us for whatever we’re doing. He’ll be 6 months old tomorrow, so I’ll write more later about him.
That’s just a smattering of what we’ve been up to. Again, SO good. Tomorrow is my first teacher day back at work, and I’m excited to get back into that mode. This year, Carter will be going with me 3 days a week AND I’ll get to be his teacher since I’m taking on preschool music. Excited for him to be in “school” (he even had a little supply list) and to spend more time with him in the car (he already talks my ear off).