To celebrate the start of summer, Mike and I had a date night (sushi and The Grand Budapest Hotel) and stayed overnight at a nearby Hyatt. Our moms bought us a night there at my MoMs club's auction last fall and offered to sleep over with the kids when we finally cashed it in. It was a fantastic way to kick off this season, going on a mini-vacation right here at home.
The view from our hotel room looked convincingly like a real vacation.
Since the hotel had a pool, we had my mom run Michael and Sophie to us in the morning so they could swim with us. They have not been big fans of their swim lessons lately, so swimming more for fun is in order. We had the pool pretty much to ourselves and played until lunchtime, having a great time and wearing ourselves out beautifully for an afternoon nap.
There was a big festival nearby over the weekend, but with our overnight adventure and preparing to have our families over for Father's Day on Sunday, we skipped it for the most part. We did decide to keep the kids up late and see the festival fireworks Saturday night, their first.
We got Michael and Sophie into their jammies about an hour later than normal, loaded them in the car, and had them all geeked up for a surprise. I enjoy their guesses whenever we do this kind of thing. Guesses tend to include ice cream, grocery shopping, Grandma's house, and the Mackinaw Bridge. Their expectations are pretty broad. We told them we were going to see fireworks, but having never seen them before, they were still pretty curious what was up. Even so, both kids were incredibly patient as we sat on and under blankets for about an hour waiting for dusk. Once the fireworks did begin, they loved them, especially watching for twinkly ones (Mommy's favorite), circle and star ones (Daddy's favorite), purple ones (for Sophie), and blue ones (for Michael).
Michael explained as we watched that there is also a grand finale in Clifford at the Circus. He's been making a lot of connections like that lately. One morning he told me he got up to go potty in the "middle of the night" and then explained that it was like Madeline, that Miss Clavel wakes up to find Madeline crying about her appendix "in the middle of one night." English teacher moms get a big kick out of literary connections. He and Sophie really pick up on the words and phrases in the books we read and often catch us if we switch words around or (gasp) skip parts, even after just a couple of readings. It's kind of impressive, I swear.
The real life grand finale did not disappoint, and Mike and I considered making midnight the kids' bedtime from now on as it was the smoothest one ever. Since they were still up promptly at 6 A.M. the next day, Mike and I scratched that plan.
We enjoyed having our parents and my brother over for a Father's Day barbecue on Sunday afternoon. Whenever I question buying this big house, I remind myself how easy it is to entertain here. With memories from our a housewarming party, Christmas day, a sign-painting party, the kids' birthday party, my mom's retirement party, and some extra family dinners along the way, I know this house has kept up its end of that deal in these short eight months.
This was the most laidback day of the week, which was ideal for the first "real" day of summer vacation. However, I did take the kids on an adventure to mommy's work (I left a flash drive there) and to get a haircut for Michael in the morning. The rest of the day was spent in chillout and play mode.
We enjoyed our first outdoor kids' concert of the season at Tunes on Tuesday. I had never heard Gemini play live before, but their music was a staple at the child care center I worked at in Ann Arbor nearly 20 years ago. While I sometimes (always) wish that I was raising Michael and Sophie in A2, listening to Gemini sing about Zingerman's Deli with one of the guys in a t-shirt for The Ark, I was reminded that we are not so far away.
We started morning gymnastics this week at a gym closer to our new house than where we went previously. This place also has classes just for boys when/if Michael wants them down the road. Sophie and Michael came out of this lesson excited to be doing it all again, hardly phased by the new teacher and relatively unfamiliar environment (we did one sample class and one playdate there in the past). Sophie hated the balance beam and the rope when gymnastics ended at the previous gym last summer and would come crying to me whenever they were part of the class. They didn't do either of those activities on Wednesday. I'm hopeful that she'll be brave and give them another shot this summer. Cross fingers!
Michael and Sophie will start soccer on Wednesday afternoons in a couple of weeks. While I want summer to be relaxing for all of us, getting to lessons like these is so much easier when I'm not balancing my work schedule as well. I want to give them a taste of a team sport and look forward to seeing how they like it, even if it does mean two classes to chauffeur them to in one day.
We joined some twin friends for some strawberry picking on Thursday morning, another summer first for Michael and Sophie. It amazes me how many things we still haven't tried when we are constantly juggling day-to-day activities and family adventures. I have to remind myself that Michael and Sophie don't have to have every experience before they reach kindergarten, but mommy-guilt can be relentless. I'm typically confident and proud of our parenting and the decisions Mike and I make for our family, but I can still fall victim to the worry. Are we doing enough? Have they done all they should? Am I holding them back, pushing too hard, or finding the balance (there's that word again)? Relentless. It gets me good when I'm on breaks from work.
Speaking of grand finales, our trip to Kalahari was certainly just that for our first week of summer vacation. I owe a lot of thanks to my MoMs club and my friends in it for arranging so many playdates and parties and grown-up gatherings for my family to enjoy. We hit the road on Friday morning and joined a few other families for a night away at this waterpark--yes, another first--and had a ball! Although Michael and Sophie were too little for a lot what the park offers, the wave pool, lazy river, kiddie pool areas, climbing gym, and time with our friends provided plenty of fun for us.
The kids were so worn out by Friday afternoon that even a hotel nap was a piece of cake.
Again, as fun and satisfying as this week was, I am looking forward to some long, lazy days this week!