But it's time. Time to catch up and make note of some of the fabulous moments that we have had together. I figure there's no better time to do that than now, while we are knocking on the door of Fall's beginning. And the place to start that is our Summer Bucket List. But a warning: this could be long one!
1. Sleep under the stars
For a summer with relatively little camping, we still managed to spend many nights out under the stars. Max, in particular discovered a love of sleeping outside, and spent some of the last nights of summer vacation sleeping alone on our back deck. We also managed a backyard campout, and several nights on the deck at Mema and Papa's house. We have another camping trip coming in a couple of weeks, and are finally at the stage where sleeping out with the boys is much easier than it had been in the past.
2. Ride the motorcycle (Dan only!)
There's never enough time for all the riding that Dan would like to do, but most weekends Dan has managed to get out for at least a short ride out in the country. With so many rain-free days, it has been easy to just hop on and go, although he's very conscious about not taking too much time away from family time. He did have one opportunity to ride over to Central Oregon, and enjoyed that, as always.
3. Build a sand castle
Sand castles were built both river-side and ocean-side. There were also fortresses, sand sculptures, and giant pits. As in previous years, the sand and water have a very calming effect on us all, so we gravitate to those areas when we need a break from the hustle of the rest of life. We also had a chance to build in the
sand with Aunt Carrie, and loved the new sand toys that Max received for his birthday.
4. Play in the river
Ah, the river. This summer, we played on the shores of both the Sandy and Willamette, with friends and
alone. Lots of time just relaxing and enjoying each other. We were there often enough that the shovels and buckets never left the trunk of the car, and we perfected our 5 minute picnic packing routine.
5. Splash in the wading pool
Alas, the wading pool only came out once this summer - on the day before Max's birthday. But we may bring it out today - the warm temperatures we are having still make it possible, an we aren't giving up quite yet!
6. Hang out at the water park
The number one reason we didn't spend more time with the wading pool this summer was the water park at my gym. This was the best surprise highlight of the summer. Both boys absolutely fell in love with being in the big pool - swimming, splashing, sliding. It took us a while to get there - a cool June and early July weren't helpful. But since then, we have been there often and for several hours each time. Max learned to swim across the width of the shallow end by himself, and both boys found a comfort and joy in the water that neither had ever had. Dan joined us on a few weekends, and we even brought Mema and Papa along for the last trip of the summer (Friday after Max got out of school).
7. Eat watermelon
Yup. We did. We kept trying to convince Max that the rind was not for eating, but he seemed to revel in proving us wrong.
8. Read. Read a lot.
With an average of 45 books out from the library all summer, and completion of the summer reading program in near-record time, this was not a challenge at all. Both boys continue to love books and devour them constantly, with Max currently loving graphic novels, and Luke really starting to read on his own. Dan and I each had time to read also, as the boys continue to be more independent. Next summer we'll have to keep a tally of just how many books we read - I think the number would surprise us!
9. Try camps (vacation bible school for both boys, Lego camp for Max, and basketball camp for Luke)
Camps were a mixed bag for us this summer. Both boys enjoyed Vacation Bible School more than they expected, and I really enjoyed having some time at the beginning of summer alone to get projects done. Lego camp was a huge hit with Max, and several kids from his school were there, helping him to build more friendships. Basketball camp was not such a hit with Luke. The height of the hoop was very discouraging, the small size (only 4 kids) led to little energy, and overall it was not his favorite summer experience.
10. Roast marshmallows
For the first time in my life, we had enough opportunities to roast marshmallows that we actually finished a WHOLE bag - none leftover to go stale and remind us of missed opportunities. One of our best purchases of the summer was a small fire pit for the backyard, and we enjoyed the time just sitting around together. Sometimes there was music (guitar played by Dan or Luke, or a "Rockstar" dance party), sometimes silly jokes, always chances to talk. And plenty of marshmallows.
11. Swim in a lake
We had the chance to swim in two lakes this summer - Walton Lake when we went up to the cabin, and Lake Billy Chinook during the family reunion. Max also used the ski trainer again, and rode with Papa in the inner tube.
12. Learn to kayak
Dan and I took a beginning kayaking class with Alder Creek Kayaks. I had wanted to do this for years, and then purchased the class at Luke's school auction in February. With Grandpa and Grandma willing to watch the boys, we were finally able to make it happen. I loved it, and would like to do it again!
13. Have a sleepover with the grandparents
Our lucky kiddos have amazing grandparents. They both got to have one-on-one sleepovers, as well as spend overnight time with them this summer. The boys loved it, the grandparents loved it (we think), and Dan and I loved getting to have a little time alone.
14. Make ice cream and popsicles
This was another one of those things that didn't happen as much as we thought. I did make Dan his favorite - Salted Caramel Ice Cream - for his birthday, and we had popsicles on a few occasions. So, mission accomplished, but not to our satisfaction.
15. Enjoy playdates with friends
We had a great time playing with lots of our friends this summer. From planned outings to spur of the moment park visits, we all got to spend time with people we enjoy.
16. Take a nap in a hammock
It only happened once (during our cabin visit), but it was SOOOO worth it.
17. Dine outdoors
We finally got a picnic table for the back deck, and since then we have had many of our lunches and dinners outside. We also enjoyed many barbeques, picnics, and farmer's market meals. Food outside just tastes better.
18. Tackle home projects - the boys' bathroom and the deck are the main priorities
Both are done! We have a beautiful new deck and a nice new bathroom floor. We also had a small garden, cleaned out the house with a successful garage sale, and reorganized the playroom.
19. Cuddle. Cuddle a lot.
Check! Slower mornings led to cuddling on the couch with books, vacation time led to cuddling in a hammock, later evenings led to more bedtime stories and songs. Good stuff.
20. Spend time strengthening relationships - with each other, our families, and our friends
And a final, happy, satisfied yes. Old friendships were rekindled, time was spent with family we hadn't seen in years, and we focused on doing things together as a family. We loved our time with our "village" and feel so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in our lives.
It's been amazing. And that there were so many great things that happened that weren't on our list. I may highlight a few of these soon. But for now, that was our summer.
Bucket list 2012? Check!