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My Favorite Things

August 17, 2015

IMG_4427This has been a wonderful summer.  You’ve heard about why I love road trips, about taking a break church, and that I am reading again.  More than that, this summer my children are 6, 8, and 10 years old and, as I always suspected, I absolutely love this age.

You know how when you first have that baby it gets a little confusing about what is age appropriate?  For at least the first five years of my children’s lives (especially the first born’s) we bought a lot of toys that were too advanced for them.  We signed them up for activities they we maybe should have waited a year or two to do.  We wanted to take them to things they just couldn’t sit through or appreciate.  In short, we wanted them to be 6, 8, and 10 from about the time they were two.

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This summer, though.  Wow.  This summer, friends, has been fabulous.  My kids are finally old enough to do so many of those things I’ve wanted to do with them for years.  It has been worth the wait and self-restraint.

This summer:

Madeleine and I went to a book signing by a local author (who happened to have her previous book win a Newbery Honor).  We listened to her talk about being an author and read from her new book.  Afterwords, we hung out at the downtown bookstore a while and perused the children’s section.  I loved sharing this with her.

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Also, I was able to share a bit of foodie times with Madeleine as well.  We went out for lunch at Hillside Farmacy and had a great time (and loved the food).IMG_4337

With all the kids, we explored Austin.  We didn’t do a ton of Austin things with my kids when they were younger.  I would have liked to have done more, but I just couldn’t find things they all wanted to do other than parks, swimming pools and the children’s museum.  This summer we explored new neighborhoods in our fine city.  We learned about Moontowers, explored creeks and bridges, returned to parks we went to when the kids were little, but don’t remember, and found some new to us places.  I used geocaching as a way to get us moving around.  I would look in areas where we wanted to go to see if there were caches.  Many times, there was background information in the geocache description that shared history with us.  While at times, the kids got annoyed at this, they enjoyed it as well, especially when there was SWAG in the geocache to trade (for more information, check out geocaching.com).IMG_4413

We started reading the Harry Potter series this summer.  We had tried and suggested Harry Potter earlier, but Madeleine was totally disinterested and John found the first chapter too scary.  This summer we tried again and Madeleine and John were hooked!  The first three books we read aloud, listening to parts of all three of them on our road trip (yay to getting books on CD from the public library!!).  We are currently taking a break from Harry for John.  Madeleine is reading Book 4 independently, and then she will take a break.  We found that the books take a bit of jump in the last three books with more Harry angst.  We would like both kids to enjoy and understand the deeper meanings (not just the words), so we’re waiting a year to continue.

Additionally, we are slowly introducing some of those movies we loved as kids.  This summer, we watched the Princess Bride as a family for the very first time.  While the boys were understandably scared about parts, other parts they loved.  Madeleine proceeded to load it on her iPad for our road trip and I believe she has the “Marriage is what brings us, together, today, memorized.  She and a friend were quoting it at Vacation Bible School later in the summer.  Passing the torch is fun.

Madeleine has been old enough this summer to arrange meeting friends at the pool and getting herself there.  She had her first long telephone conversation this summer as well.  Her burgeoning independence is fun to watch.  Both she and I have been a bit giddy about her organizing her summer schedule.   Once again, it makes me so thankful for the wonderful neighborhood we live in.

It’s been a wonderful summer.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been the normal summer issues…sibling fighting, occasionally losing a kid (really, not a big deal), and constantly needing to keep the kids fed (although, I am happy to have totally given up responsibility of snacks and breakfast.  They’re old enough to manage those things themselves).  I’m sad to see it go this week.  Next summer will be different–my kids won’t ever be this age again.  But I am sure, that next summer, the kids will have new interests for us to explore and there will be more things we can do together for the very first time.IMG_4343

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