When my husband and I do date night, we have a tendency to do the same thing over and over (namely, go out to dinner). We both like to eat in nice restaurants, so that makes sense. But sometimes it’s fun to do something different. Longwood Gardens (a botanical garden about 45 minutes from our house) has been running a nightly light show/art installation called “Nightscape.” They also run a beer garden on summer evenings, so we decided to combine the two last Thursday (when there was live music in the beer garden). I got my tickets well ahead of time, and off we went.
The weather was wonderful — clear, but not too hot. There was even a full moon, rising red above the evergreens. Summer seasonal beers from Victory Brewing Company are the perfect thing to drink outside. The light shows on the trees and flowers were mesmerizing. We got back somewhat late (around 10:45 p.m.) but the baby didn’t get up the next morning until 7. While the wake-ups are usually more of a 5:40/6 a.m. sort of thing, we’ve had a few closer to 7, and it is giving me hope we are about to turn a corner. In any case, getting a full night of sleep was the perfect end to this much anticipated evening.
The Longwood trip was on my Summer Fun List that I posted here in early June. If June is the Friday night of summer, mid-August is like Sunday evening. While summer is not yet over (Labor Day is still 2 weeks away!) I’ve pretty much done what I’m going to do on the list, so here is my final update.
Go strawberry picking. Yep, in early June. It was fun! I would have gone more than once, but it didn’t quite pan out (early June was a full time of year — it always is — so I am happy we got to go at all). On a different strawberry note, I got to meet the artist who painted my strawberry paintings when I visited her studio at the Torpedo Factory in August.
Do “Mommy Days” with the big 3 kids. I went to Hershey Park separately with the 4-year-old and 6-year-old, and went to Washington D.C. with the 9-year-old. These were all great days for the most part, and I loved being able to spend some extended time with each kid individually, doing whatever he or she wanted. There is no fighting when there’s just one kid, and very little whining! I hope to make this an annual tradition. My husband may be starting a tradition of bringing one kid each year to a Texas A&M football game, starting with the 9-year-old this fall.
Visit Ocean Grove, NJ. We’ve made it there several times. My trip with the big kids in July was good. We took some trips as a family on weekends, and those were a bit trying. Herding four kids is just hard. We went this past weekend, and the toddler ran away while we were packing the car (after the 6-year-old stayed on the towel the whole time, asking to leave). I pretty close to panicked as we were about 40 yards from a river, and we were on a street. My 6-year-old spotted the little guy (redeeming himself); he’d climbed the steps up to someone’s second floor entrance in a duplex. We did enjoy our ice cream, though. And I made one solo trip this year.
Do Longwood Gardens at night. See above. Done!
See fireworks. We saw a great show out on Long Island while visiting friends over the Fourth of July.
Do some “tri” days. Well, I did one. The family biked around Valley Forge, I ran, and swam some laps in the pool. While it was fun, biking is such a production with 6 of us, involving 2 cars, that it’s hard to get motivated to do it much. I need to figure out how to load my own bike on my car and just do a solo trip sometime.
Run the ODDyssey Half Marathon. I did this in early June. It was so painful I did not sign up for any races this fall. Running in 84 degree heat is just not pleasant. Oh well. I did run past some fragrant honeysuckle during the race, and I’d mentioned wanting to run on a trail with honeysuckle in June. Given the heat, I’ve started spending some more time on the treadmill, doing speed work.
Read Pride and Prejudice. Sort of. I made it through most of the book. I did not make it through either of the non-fiction books I thought about reading either (The Wright Brothers and Getting Things Done). However, I did read some other interesting books, so the summer wasn’t a total reading loss.
Sing in the Mozart Requiem with my old choir. I did this in early June and enjoyed it. I have thought about joining a choir again, but I’m just not sure I want to make the commitment right now. So it was good to have an opportunity to sing.
This has not been the easiest summer. There were a lot of middle of the night wake-ups and early wake-ups. Even getting the toddler down at night is a trial. We’ve taken to letting him cry it out, and he now passes out each night in front of the door (we put a child-proof cover on the door knob). So part of the evening routine is waiting until the screaming stops, and then going in and moving him back to his crib (we took off the back rail as he was throwing himself over the edge). The other kids have perhaps been around each other a bit much, with the corresponding battles. There has been some soul-sucking insubordination, particularly around the dinner table. I will perhaps write more later about the drama called The Night The Children Were Forced To Eat Shrimp. Professionally, I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. I’m doing a lot, but not really getting done what I want to get done.
So, in light of all that, I am happy I made the summer fun list, and I am happy I did what was on it. There were some other good things too — the unexpected Maine trip, my leader board appearance on that arcade game in Rehoboth Beach, a Phillies game, and an upcoming excursion to Cape May I am looking forward to. When the day-to-day gets a little rough, at least it’s good to feel like I am doing the things that will make it feel, in retrospect, like a good summer. The remembering self tends to be stronger than the experiencing self. The present is fleeting. Eventually memories are all we have. Probably best to make them.
How are you doing on your summer fun list?