Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Fun

Dear Ian,

Believe it or not, our summer time at home is swiftly coming to an end.  As I type this, we are rounding off the first week in July, and that means we have next week together, the week after that, and then Mommy has to teach the twirlers during band camp week in Cairo.  Sadly, that week marks our last week of summer for just the two of us.  During my band camp week, you will continue to have fun with Grandma Brooks, and then the week after that, we both go to Advent Summer Camp for two weeks.  I will be teaching, and you will be having a blast getting yourself re-acclimated to the whole going-to-school thing.  Then it's a week of pre-planning for me for the school year, and then we're back to school.  The whole summer has felt like it's gone by in the blink of an eye.   But then I look back on all the fun things we have done this summer, and I realize that we have crammed a lot of fun in the past few weeks.

Here, in pictures and in stories, are some of the fun things we've done so far...

 To kick off the summer, we headed to the beach on Memorial Day weekend with Uncle Gary, Aunt Megan and cousins Payton and Taylor.  The two of you had a blast playing in the waves and digging in the sand, but I think the highlight of the whole trip for you was seeing cars get stuck in the deep sand in the parking lot.  Car after car kept driving over a deep section of sand and getting stuck.  You were transfixed; watching them spin their wheels as they tried to get out fascinated you.  And you asked about it over and over in the car on the way home.  We capped the day off with a yummy dinner at Posey's, complete with delicious fried seafood and tasty margaritas.  You and Pay even shared a non-alcoholic strawberry daquari!

You at the planetarium, watching the skies
   Next, you and I decided to explore our home town.  There's so much to do in Tallahassee, and you are finally old enough to start enjoying some of the stuff there is to offer.  On this day, you and I, accompanied by Issa, Lorelei and Miss Patty, headed downtown to the Planetarium at the Challenger Learning Center.  They show short movies specially designed for school groups and young kids, and I thought this would be great for you, and it was!  We saw "The Little Star that Could," a short film about a star that was searching for planets to orbit around him.  The star ended up being our sun, and throughout the film, you learned some neat facts like how the hottest stars are the blue-white ones, and the coolest stars are the red ones.  Surprisingly enough, you actually remember these facts!  Before the movie started, the man running the program first showed a presentation about the night sky over Tallahassee, and if truth be told, I think you enjoyed this as much as the movie.  When we finished at the planetarium, Miss Patty and I figured that since we were paying for parking at Kleman Plaza, we might as well get our money out of it, and so we took the two of you to the top of the Capitol.  While you were impressed with the elevator ride, being on the observation deck only held your attention as a large space to run laps, so that didn't go as well as we would have hoped.  Next time...

Our next adventure was just a random trip to the library.  You love to look at books, and since we had read most of the books we have at home at least 100 times, we set off to find some new ones!  You picked your own books, six of them in all, and we ventured back home to read.
Here's a picture of you in your car seat on the way home with one of your library selections.  We have to return them soon, so we'll get to head back to the library again.  Maybe we'll get a few more books.  After this trip to the library, we got to stop by Daddy's work and give him a surprise visit.  You love to go to Daddy's office.  You like to look at all the computers and see all the people.  Best of all, you like to sit in Daddy's lap in his big office chair.  During this visit, I introduced you to Daddy's white board and dry erase markers.  You really got into that, and I foresee quite a few more drawings on Daddy's board.

Let's see...  We've done a fair bit of traveling this summer, too.  From Cohocton to Destin, you've logged a good number of miles between June and now.  Our trip to New York was great, and it was so nice to spend some of the hot summer in a place where we actually had to wear jackets at night.  The weekend after we returned from New York, we packed up and were off again, this time to Destin to spend Father's Day weekend at the beach and the Army Recreation Facilities with Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa Brooks, the Mackies and your Aunts and Uncles on the Brooks side.  Once again, you got to have a super time!  They had a great water park at the rec center, so we spent a good amount of time there, but we also hit up a little-used beach right around the corner.  It was really just us there.  It was awesome.  We went to dinner at McGuire's the the Back Porch, and we had a lot of fun on the boat out in the bay.  The water was so clear it looked like we were swimming in a saltwater pool.  Awesome. 

Since I didn't really get to post about that trip, here are a few more pictures from our Destin weekend:
 Here's a picture of you at the splash park at the Army Rec Center.  The splash park is a new addition to the center as of this year, and can I just say that they timed THAT perfectly?!  Last year you might have been just a little too young, but this year is was fabulous!  You had an amazing time running around and getting wet.

The next picture is another one from the boat ride in the bay.  We took the boat out to a shallow area where a bunch of other boats had anchored and people were swimming and  having fun.  Of course, we jumped in too, as evidenced by the picture above, and it was so nice.  The water was perfectly clear and not too cold.  You swam a bit, but then got out to warm up and have a treat with Daddy.  There was a man selling ice cream treats off a boat, and your Daddy got you this ice cream sandwich to share.  You really seemed to enjoy it! 

Finally, on our last day in Destin, we went to our "Secret Beach" that no one else was using for a little sand and surf. You splashed around like a fish and had a great time catching hermit crabs.  It was the perfect way to end our weekend.

 So then we finally were back to just hanging out around the house.  Tropical Storm Debby did a number on us, as we were stuck inside as she soaked all of Tallahassee, but if you will remember from a few blog posts back, we made do and entertained ourselves inside by turning the living room into the world's biggest sheet fort.  We are still using this little activity to fill times where it is too blasted hot to go outside, and thankfully the thrill hasn't worn off yet. 

We are still going out quite a bit, though.  We do tricycle rides, play in our garden sprinkler (while watering the plants; killing two birds with one stone and all) and when it is cooler in the evenings we bust out the sidewalk chalk.  Mommy is also trying to teach lessons this summer as well, so I've had to be creative to find ways to amuse you without baking you in the sun or parking you in front of the tv in the air conditioning.  Thank goodness for Pinterest, because it gave me the idea you see here.  I used a tin lasagna plate that I filled with water, and then I submerged some dollar store plastic animals in it and froze it.  At the beginning of my lesson, I took it outside and separated it from the tin pan and gave you a hammer.  Your job was to hammer the little animals out of the ice, and you really got into it.  Since I first did this project, you have done it about three more times, so it seems to be a hit, if you'll pardon the pun. 

Our sprinkle cookies!
Finally we are up to this past few days of fun and our Fourth of July Celebration.  Continuing with tradition, we once again packed our suitcases (which I think we have been living out of them for a while now) and headed to The Lake.  Yes, capital letters for that are necessary.  Before we left, however, you and I made cookies just for this holiday.  We used sugar cookie dough, rolled it into balls and then you rolled the dough balls in sprinkles.  When they baked, they flattened out and the sprinkles spread out into the cookie.  They turned out great!
Driving with Papa

But back to the festivities... Tuesday evening, Seminole State Park did their fireworks show, and like usual, we headed over to watch on the boat.  This year, instead of having the Bayliner boat, we traveled in the lap of luxury on the new pontoon boat.  Due to the massive influx of grandchildren, they decided, like in Jaws, that we needed a bigger boat, so they traded in the old boat and purchased the floating playpen.  It is AWESOME!  Like riding on your couch on the water.  But anyhoo...  The fireworks at the park were great, and when we got home, you got to experience your first fun with fire: sparklers.  Again, Pinterest came through with the great idea to stick the sparkler through the bottom of a plastic cup to keep your hand from getting "sparklered."  Despite looking like Captain Hook, you really seemed to like doing the sparklers.  On the actual 4th of July, we loaded up the boat again and headed to the Flint River in Bainbridge to watch the fireworks on the river.  We made sandwiches on the boat, and you, Payton and Uncle Gary and Aunt Megan all swam in the river.  The fireworks were great, and although you were getting a little grumpy from being up late two nights in a row, it was a really fun night. 

And now, here we are.  Summer's coming to a close, but we still have a lot of time left to play.  I'm even having trouble deciding what to do next.  It's been a great few weeks, just the two of us, and it's been even better when Daddy's been able to join in.  I know that I'll be glad when you are back in school having fun with your friends, and I will have all of these summer memories to look back on and make me smile.  I hope that one day you will be able to recall them and smile, too. 

I'll end this post with a picture of all of us on the boat on the 4th of July.  Summer time has been family time, and that has meant the world to me.

Thanks for a summer of great memories, Little Man!

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