Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Escaping the Heat July 5, 2012

We went to bed about 10:00 last Friday night, but almost immediately we got back up again to view the thunderstorm passing over us. A derecho, we learned later, is a straight line of thunderstorms moving quickly and dangerously. It knocked out our power about 11:00 Friday night, and we’re not sure when it came back on because we bolted out of town on Saturday. We walked to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning to get some staples and we were looking for coffee, but there was none to be had because every place was out of power! We saw some huge trees down in Falls Church, and after talking it over for a few seconds, Patrick and I decided to get out of dodge. I’m glad we did, as the news stories coming out of here were sounding worse and worse. 104 degree heat with no a/c was enough to make us pack up our coolers and go to Patrick’s mom’s place in Charlottesville. Luckily, they had power, we had a half tank of gas, and we got out before tempers and temperatures really heated up here.

We had a great weekend at Lake Monticello for the Fourth of July. However, the only inconvenience was that the Comcast internet was out and our cell phones get lousy reception at the lake, so we’ve been binging on internet since we returned home today to find power restored and a relatively clean house. So if you haven’t heard from me and you’ve been wondering why, now you know..we have been without communication devices. It was nice, but not.

Highlights from Seamus:

  1. Learning how to work a pull-back-and-release ambulance. This was big and he played independently with it for a long time, or until Gilbert stole it from him.
  2. Going to see Uncle George’s cats. He enjoys talking about cats a lot; I know we’re going to get one in the next few years, but I don’t mind, because I like cats too.
  3. Swimming in the lake without his floaties. He used a noodle a little, but mostly he just got comfortable splashing himself around. He also had a blast with my friend’s kids, making sandballs (like snowballs), finding shells, looking at fish, and so much more.
  4. The fountain spraying park. A great story. We had played and played and Seamus had just been so well-behaved. We were getting back in the car and asked if he wanted to go back to Nana’s to have lunch, and Seamus responded, “I want to go eat at a restaurant and have milk and grilled cheese, please.” How could we say no to that? So we went out and had our nicest family meal (just the four of us) to date.
  5. Seamus ate an enormous amount of food. I hope he’s going through a growth spurt, because we are in trouble if this is becoming the new normal.
  6. New phrase that is both sweet and maddening, “What does it need to be like this fooor?” Basically his way of asking “Why?”
  7. Asking if he could have another piece of apple pie, when told no, he totally accepted that, until Gilbert didn’t eat his and Seamus grabbed it, looked at us for permission and vacuumed Gilbert’s piece up.
  8. When asked by Nana if he wanted to do something without Gilbert all by himself, Seamus respond, “No, he’s my brother. I don’t like to do anything without my brother.”

Highlights from Gilbert:

  1. Saying “O-tay!” whenever you tell him he’s not allowed to do something, or request him to do something.
  2. Playing with this Little Tykes kitchen we found on the side of the road and Pop Pop collected for him. He likes to cook rocks and pretend to wash his hands.
  3. Racing for the bathroom every time he needed to wash his hands. Figuring out who the person most likely to oblige him was.
  4. On a walk holding Seamus’s hand and then grabbing an adult’s pants going “Hold Mama’s pants! Hold Mama’s Pants!” over and over. He’s developed a super cute chant.
  5. Calling a potty need while he was in a swim suit.
  6. The Gilbert grin. So funny every time.
  7. Co-opting every thing Seamus was enjoying playing with–the ambulance, the booster seat, even Seamus’s quesadilla  when Seamus wasn’t looking.
  8. Jumping on the hay bale at Carter’s orchard and chowing down on the nectarines and peaches.

A weekend that could have been a disaster ended up being really fun. We’re back now and are figuring out our freezer situation and water situation, but we’re happy and the boys are so glad to have travelled and now be home. A further highlight for me was spending the day at the beach (and I’m not a big beach person) with an old friend and her three very sweet, funny, active kids. They are 11, 9, and 8–and while I love where we are now with ours, I have hope that it just keeps getting better.


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