I want to sit here and say that our summer was a fun-filled breeze but it wasn't. While it actually was a lot of fun, it was also very challenging. Neither of my children is potty-trained yet (I know, clearly I'm at the top of the list for Mother Of The Year) so there were lots of diaper changes, which Patrick still loves to physically fight me on for some strange reason. Also, he still tosses poop diapers around if he yanks it away from me in time, joy. Neither of them can dress or undress themselves (though we made some progress in this area over the summer and maybe Patrick fights me slightly less when I dress him?). Neither can do their shoes or bring me their snack or drink cups to refill, or look for lost snack or drink cups for that matter. And they don't eat meals I make them - just a minimum of a dozen snacks a day. Patrick has gotten better about walking but still prefers to be carried - and he's 41 pounds. Neither likes to cooperate while I put on sunscreen so they cry and Patrick flails around and runs away from me as if he were on fire. There's been rivalry, hair pulling, hitting and shoving. There have been tantrums and meltdowns. Screaming. Crying. Fighting. Literal holes in the wall. Messes and stains galore. Days where my hardwood floors appeared to actually be carpet as they were covered in Cheerios and Ritz cracker dust. Bodily injuries. A stomach bug. And I feel like I've heard "Mom! Mom! MAAMAA!" whined or shouted at least a hundred thousand times.
This was a summer I didn't see coming. At the end of last summer I thought, "well next summer they'll be older and listening to directions." Past Page, your idealistic vision of the future failed me. I learned the joys of two kids (not listening) running opposite directions, and I learned the harsh reality that I can no longer carry them both. I learned that these ages are a challenging combination. They are still very reliant on me for almost everything yet they are now old enough to assert themselves with one another and with me.
With all of that said, I'm very proud of myself. As this summer winds to a close, I have to give myself a gigantic pat on the back. I did so much for them this summer. I tried to make it as fun-filled as possible, and I genuinely believe during this challenge level of parenting, that I did. There's nothing on the summer bucket list that we didn't do!
At the beginning of summer my goal was that I was going to make sure that a minimum of three days a week I did something fun with them. Either play dates or field trips but that I planned to take them somewhere fun or to play with friends. I blew this goal out of the water. We ended up having very few days where we were at home all day. If we did it was usually a rain day or a scorcher. Obviously we did fun things at home when we weren't on an outing but I didn't want to spend the whole summer cooped up inside, and we definitely didn't. And to anyone reading who thinks taking them out of the house is hardly an accomplishment, you are totally welcome to borrow my children to take on as many outings as you like ;)
Ok, a laundry list of summer 2017!
We went to the beach for a week (best week ever). We went to the pool. We visited a Children's Museum. The kids rode bumper boats for the first time. We frequented the petting zoo, various parks and playgrounds, and the splash pad. We hosted and attended our MOMS Club playgroup. We did lots of play dates. We did lots of deck time: eating Popsicles, playing with the water table, sand table, baby pool and bubble machine. We did our red neck pool parties with our inflatable pool an running through the sprinkler. We did wagon rides and trail walks. We were in and watched a Fourth of July parade. The kids went to a Japanese hibachi restaurant for the first time. We went to the mall play place and rode the carousel on a rainy day. Hartley got her first haircut (and Patrick got his fourth!). We went to Udvar Hazy (the Air & Space museum). We went to Theatre In The Woods at Wolf Trap to see Pinkalicuous and Wilhelmina the Opera. We threw Patrick a 2nd birthday party with friends and family. We took the kids to the Baltimore Aquarium. We got to see a Rocknosceros concert at Burke Lake Park. The kids got to go have fun-filled days playing at Nana & Poppy's house or splashing around in their neighborhood pool. On my low key days with the kids, we did art time inside - coloring or painting. We played with toys. Patrick's favorite toy this summer was his trains and train tracks so we designed lots of fun track set ups. Hartley's favorite toys to play with were ones where she could do pretend play, so playing with figurines (Peppa ones, calico critters) in her Little People dollhouse. She also loved attempting to play House with Patrick. We read books and baked. And jumped on the bed a million times! We took a lot of just for fun baths in mama's tub, and we snuggled and watched movies in our jammies.
I learned to be picky with the places I took the kids by myself. We obviously jumped at play date invites since I can easily take them to other people's houses. When we were solo I would either do the petting zoo, small less-crowded playgrounds or ones with fences, and a small less-crowded splashpad near our house. Unfortunately nothing is walkable from our house and that's why a lot of outings are productions for us. Last summer Patrick wasn't walking so we did way more variety, and this summer I just had to be pickier. The wagon was my people mover of choice this year but for quick gym or errand runs I used my double stroller. I only think I went out once by myself without a stroller or wagon (which I learned was a mistake). I learned backpacks are gold. I use to think a backpack diaper bag looked dorky but this summer I needed both hands, and my new backpack saved my life. Just my two cents if anyone else out there finds themselves juggling a 2 & 3 year old!
I'm so very ready for school to start but now that that finish line is in sight, I actually do plan to soak up what is left of our summer break. Having Hartley in school five mornings a week is so wonderful for her and it gives us so much structure, but I do know I'll miss her once we get back into the swing of things. Motherhood is such a bizarre, tricky thing: so many moments this summer I just wanted it to be school time, yet I know I will miss her when she's back at school. Patrick will be in school only two mornings a week so that absence feels much more welcome ;) It will be our first time spending regular time apart, and I think/hope it'll be good for us both.
Anyway, I actually have more to say and write but this was a lot. And I'm living on borrowed nap time so it's for another day.
Hope everyone gets to soak up the last bits of summer before the most wonderful time of the year starts ;)
Some photo favorites: