Last Days of Summer

We had just a teeny bit more fun to squeeze in before all the kids started back to school and I started to work on my sabbatical project in earnest. One of those fun things the kids had been promised was a trip to visit my parents in Kentucky. We’d been planning to go in July, but our travel schedule was a bit exhausting, so we pushed the trip back. The other thing they’d been promised was a trip to the water park. We have an annual tradition of going with my colleagues, but we’d almost missed the window this year. We managed to squeak just past the deadline with a trip there. It definitely had the makings of the last days of summer feel, as much of the area south of us was already back at school when we went, so the waterslides and baby pool and one snack bar were closed for lack of staffing. The wave pool needed a new motor as the waves even seemed lackluster, but we had fun with friends and lamented the end of another fun season.

Don’t they have to look of a far off memory of the glory of summer here?

I’m not too sad that the timing is turning toward fall, although, I kind of wish it didn’t mean so much rain. (How did I survive all those years in Oregon?) We did our very last summer trip to Lake Monticello near Charlottesville. It was hot and rainy, but we did manage to eek out some entertainment. We headed up to Carter Mountain Orchard in search of apples and peaches. We thought we might be right on the shoulder season of both, and indeed the apples were a lot tastier than the peaches. The highlight there was the mist hanging over the valley, but we were far above it on the mountain.

He’s liking to pose these days.

I’d wanted to take Seamus and Gilbert to Monticello, but honestly, I just didn’t have it in me to do all the work of preparing them for the place. Their elementary school is named for Jefferson, and you know, maybe we should just change all the names of all the schools to things like Binoculars Elementary or Blueberry Middle School. Common nouns are just more fun. Anyway. We did have a fun morning at the beach with all the blow up rafts one could handle. Porter will probably start swimming next year, and Harlan finally wears his floaties with some regularity. Patrick and I were so tired–he from his week with the school teaching, me from a last week with the children at home–that we crashed out for naps while the younger kids were napping.

Friday before Labor Day, I’d done three meet the teacher times, plus three playdates for the kids, one of which was a swimming playdate. That one was really fun, but again, you could see that summer was winding down as there were very few families at the pool and nobody seemed very ready to leave it behind. The baby pool was great for Harlan, and Porter swam around with his buddy the whole time. Seamus and Gilbert joined a gaggle of big kids in the deep end, where they did sharks and minnows play, a diving contest with judging, and general high jinks. I was impressed with how the game shifted and molded depending on what they were doing. At the end though, Gilbert managed to throw Seamus’s goggles (which were actually my goggles) into the pool right at break time. I was afraid I was going to have to dive in and get them, ruining my haircut (Wednesday at a fancy place and it was still looking fresh on Friday!), and sacrificing my dignity in front of these other put together moms. Luckily, a tween volunteered for the job if we could convince the lifeguard to let him in during adult swim! Whew! Saved.

And the true marker of fall is green chile season. This week, I had to take Porter for his four year old shots, and while I was there it was one of the more embarrassing moments of my week of juggling the kids and this schedule (let’s just say the appointment took forever, and I needed to pick Harlan up but we still hadn’t had shots yet, so I made myself look like a frazzled lunatic on both ends, at the doctor and at the preschool). But! I managed to make appointments for flu shots for Seamus and Harlan for the next day. Unfortunately, I feel like with Patrick working, and our main helper out of town, our lives are just sort of hanging on a precarious balance of timing. Let’s start again! I went to do grocery shopping for Saturday. It was going to rain, so I took Seamus and Harlan with me, with the idea we’d shop, pick up green chile, get shots, and come home with plenty of time to spare before we needed to have a green chile roast. Instead, we shopped, went to get the chile, and there were people and chile there, but no scales or bags. So we waited until we couldn’t anymore, and went to get shots, then we went home, because we had milk and other perishables to drop off. Patrick, Gilbert, and Porter were setting off for a rainy walk to the farmers market. We went back out to get the chile, I locked the house. We came back to find that I’d locked the other three out. Sigh. The chile is delicious, and we were able to roast and peel with friends, so all’s well that ends well, right?

Yum! Chile!

I guess you could say that while I’ve loved summer and lots of time on vacation with the kids, now that it’s time to work, I’m ready to get to it!

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