So! What has everyone been up to lately? For us, last week was the end of the school year, with all its attending busy business. The weather was oddly chilly, and I felt bad that poor Nico and his classmates had their outdoor water fun day on a morning where it never topped 60 degrees. He still came home in his swim trunks and T-shirt, even though I sent him with pants in his backpack, so I guess he didn't get too cold. His school doesn't do a full-on graduation, which I am a-okay with, but they did have an end-of-year program on Thursday. The kids did a little processional and everything, which was ridiculously adorable. Some of them were hamming it up, some were super happy, and some were obviously nervous. Nico saw me watching him from the front and completely forgot he was supposed to be walking slowly and solemnly. The entrance music was "Let Them Be Little," and COME ON. Does there exist any other song so perfectly engineered to make the parents of small children ugly cry in public? (I nearly lost it at "let them sleep in the middle.") I made it through with only a few dignified tears, though it was a near thing. I think it will be much harder when Elliott finishes preschool, because when he's done we'll be leaving entirely and I really love the school and the teachers. Nico has really blossomed there and I have always felt like we lucked into a perfect fit for him. I hope that Elliott has a similarly-great experience, though I have already warned the teachers that they might as well throw out all their notes and start over because child two is a completely different animal.
I made the obligatory first day of school / last day of school pairing to post on facebook:
Then I saw someone else post a first day of preschool / last day of preschool comparison and went to look. My itty bitty dude!
The evening of his program day, Nico and I went to a paper lantern release. I was possibly still feeling sentimental from the morning, but it seemed like a fitting way to start our last summer before he begins all day school and the inevitable journey toward being a big kid.
My dad stayed all last week at a state park an hour and a half away while he volunteered at a nearby event. He didn't have a volunteer shift Friday, so I cashed in a vacation day and took the boys up to meet him. We had such a nice time and I'm so glad that we went. We had a little picnic lunch, looked at things in the tiny visitor center, and went on two hikes. The first trail was overgrown and closed in and the second one was so poorly marked we eventually tried to turn back and then briefly got actually lost, but it all turned out fine. The kids had fun and it was nice hanging out with my dad and having a little adventure together.
Saturday I cleaned a little and went to the grocery and took Nico to his first planetarium show. I worked on the garden in the late afternoon / evening while the boys played in the yard. Elliott let himself out of the gate and went for a walk and I didn't even know he was gone until the neighbors brought him back. They were super nice about it and told me how their kids had done the same thing ages ago, but dude. DUDE. I have since tied all the gates shut with little bungee cords. Mere minutes before the rescuers arrived with Elliott, I had asked Nico and the kid from next door where he was. The neighbor kid straight up lied to me and told me he saw E go into the house with MB. Then about thirty minutes after Elliott's escape and capture, the neighbor kid threw sand all over Nico. And I mean all over. In his hair, his mouth, his clothes. I firmly told the kid it was time to take his things and go home. He was already on my not-quite-trusted list, but now I've totally got my eye on him.
On Sunday we met up with friends to pick strawberries. The kids were only sort of interested, but it was a nice way to spend a sunny morning outdoors. I remember picking strawberries with my mom as a kid, and it's something I've always wanted to do with my own children.
There's no telling what they'll remember about this summer, especially Elliott since he's still so small, but I hope their memories of childhood include sunshine and big skies and dirt and fireflies and somewhere in there, me following behind as they run through the grass on their way to the next adventure and waiting to catch them at the bottom of the slide, but only if they really need me.