Tag Archives: summertime

What do you mean summer is over?

13 Aug

It’s still hot as the dickens out there. It’s only mid August. I’m just getting into the summer swing of things… and yet school has started all over Atlanta and apparently summer is over? I’m not ready! I thought summer was at least supposed to be three months long!

Luckily we decided to homeschool Walter this year, so we can really do whatever we want. Since we moved and many of his friends just posted their “back-to-school” photos, it’s a new ballgame (thank goodness baseball isn’t over yet). We’ve got to find a new groove. I signed us up for Atlanta History Center’s first Homeschool Day of the year on Monday in hopes of not just learning a bit about Georgia’s history, but finding some new friends we can play with during the week and who can teach us a bit more about what homeschool looks like in GA.

Meanwhile, we have lots of fun on our own and with the friends that aren’t quite school age yet or are not in daycare. Despite the hole in W’s tongue, this week we went to LegoLand, swimming at Mimi and Pops, and on two big hikes.

IMG_20160810_144304466This kid was so happy and excited to be at Legoland, it really warmed my mommy heart.

IMG_20160812_140654603We finally tried out Lullwater Park and after getting lost for a bit in very hot weather, we found the waterfall. We took off our shoes to climb around in the water but I was a bit dismayed at all the broken beer bottle glass Emory students leave behind.

IMG_20160813_125431888Sope Creek, my new favorite place in Atlanta, especially since we’ve gotten the hiking bug. There were several other people there swimming and playing in the creek, and some guys had trapped a bright orange snake under some rocks. David freed him even though we couldn’t figure out if he was poisonous or not. And then we left!

IMG_20160813_134332750After a short hike to the creek, the Paper Mill ruins are quite a climb but so cool to explore. If you know to avoid the poison ivy, which is everywhere.

IMG_20160813_134523670_HDRSo. Much. Love

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Summer Shenanigans

14 Jul

We’ve been having some fun this summer! It’s all Walter, all the time… as it should be!

IMG_20160618_181933Walter’s first movie theatre experience: Finding Dory. He liked it so much he says he wants to go see it every day. He’s not one for moderation yet.

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Learning to throw water balloons with daddy in our new backyard. I love that you can’t see any other houses in this photo.

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Lunch dates with mommy and the chips of course. Don’t be fooled, they tasted stale.

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Doing art projects like learning to work with “paper ma-clay”.

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Enjoying the new exhibits at the Atlanta History Center, especially the architectural model of Atlanta. He wants to build an exact replica at home.

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July 4th sparklers! Our neighbors were shooting rockets off all night. Definitely going to join them next year.

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Getting our swimming legs at a neighborhood pool with friends!

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Having a great time with cousins visiting from Miami! I had to bribe him with M&Ms to get him to sit down for the picture.

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This picture makes me laugh because he had a blast at the Botanical Gardens, especially going through the scary jungles with Nini.

Jolly July

22 Jul

Because of the stair refinishing at our house, we’ve been at my in-laws for a week. It is kind of like a vacation because they have a very nice house with a pool. We’ve never stayed this long with them before, as we live in the same city, so it was a treat to be with family for an extended period of time. And the house was full! Walt’s great-granny and cousin were also with us for most of the time.

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Amazing woman.

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They love their Mimi!

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Lego peace treaty negotiations.

All of a sudden, everyone left. Granny and the cousin went back home, and Walt’s grandparents went up to their annual airshow in Oshkosh (Mimi is a pilot). But we haven’t been too sad. Last night Dave got home early so we all went swimming in the spa, which brought back my early memories of learning to swim in my parents’ spa in California when I was three. The night before, as the sun was setting and a summer storm was brewing in the distance, we played catch with the dog amid fireflies. And luckily they get their yard sprayed so there were no mosquitoes to contend with. Both were beautiful moments in time. And the boys have been playing the piano every night, which I love. I am becoming more aware that Walter’s first memories could happen any day now, and I want them to be good!

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He told us he wanted to sing the song by himself. I love his independence.

Longboat Key

12 Aug

It has been a welcome whirlwind of vacations this past month. And now back to reality. But a different kind of reality. Walter started preschool for the first time this week, and he loved, loved, loved it! And mama loves having this time for herself too! Last week,  however, we got to enjoy the beach all week long. A whole, glorious week of eating, napping, and playing in the sun.

Walter didn’t always enjoy car rides. When he was an itty bitty thing, he would scream like he was being tortured every second he was in the car. It made it hard to leave the house. Switch to 2014 Walter, and he doesn’t make an 8 1/2 hour drive worse than an 8 1/2 hour drive already is.

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We’ll keep his seat turned around as long as he’ll let us.

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One day that will be an iPad.

We’re extremely lucky that’s Dave’s parents have a [super nice] beach house and that they want us to use it. I invited my parents to join us; my mom drove down the same day we did, and my dad flew in the next day. Having my mom there really helped it feel like a vacation since she would get up with Walter in the mornings and change his diaper and other awesome things like that.

IMG_20140803_115231929Walt and his Nini

Jan and Frank gave us several restaurant recommendations, and we tried as many as we could. The first night we went to the Dry Dock Grill. It had a beautiful view and the best fish tacos and black beans I’ve ever had. If you have a boat, you can pull right up to the restaurant to park.

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The beach started out unbearably hot, and I was afraid we had gone too far south to have any fun. The sand was scorching, the sun melting, and the ocean felt like a steamy bath. We only stayed out there a couple minutes before I wanted to go back in. But the next day it was cooler, and the day after that cloudy, and we could really enjoy ourselves.

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Beach babes.

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He knows how to relax like a champion.

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And play in the sand.

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David started digging to Australia, and Walt liked that.

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He loved being buried after we filled the hole back in so we didn’t kill any beach walkers or sea turtles.

The second night we went to Owen’s Fish Camp in Sarasota, where the bourbon pecan pie was gone in seconds (oh yeah, the fish was good too). And dad found a new best friend. The atmosphere was very fun.

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There is nothing like a vacation where you are also puzzling. Jan got this one for me for Christmas several years ago, and it ended up being really fun to put together. I have a new favorite brand now. I admit, I am a puzzle snob, because if the quality isn’t good, it’s not very fun putting pieces together if you’re not sure they actually go together. So I usually go Ravensburger or Suns Out (which can be spotty). But Pomegranate Puzzles have very fun pictures, and my mom even spilled a bottle of water over most of the pieces, and they didn’t fall apart. Now that’s sturdy.

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My parents had dinner one night with my dad’s business friend who lives in Sarasota, and he and his wife kindly set it up for us to visit the Ritz Carlton on Lido Key on their membership. For many years, due to a family friend who worked for the Ritz, we were able, when I was growing up, to spend several Florida vacations at various Ritz locations (and once in Barcelona too). Not only is it extremely nice there, but it made me nostalgic for my teenage summers spent with my friend Kate on the beach. It reminded me just how nice I had it and continue to have it!

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It was a salt water pool, which tastes weird if you’re used to chlorine.

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Walt feels at home wherever he is.

We’ve had Walter in pools before, but it was at the Ritz that Walt, Dave, and I had our first real fun time in a pool. I had just ordered Walt some water wings, and it was fun to get Walt used to swimming by himself. Walt didn’t really like being let go in the ocean, but he had a blast floating around the pool, and we even dunked him a few times. He took to the water like a fish. We swam a lot after that since the beach house also has a pool!

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Kicking and all!

We had a great time, and I was sad to have to come back home. We did manage to avoid an extra hour’s worth of traffic on 75 by taking a detour on what looked like the road in the movie Jurassic Park.

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Our smart phones knew where to take us but Garmin wasn’t sure we were even on roads.

After Bartow, Nashville, my birthday, and Longboat Key, it’s been an eventful month!

Walt’s first picnic

5 Sep

Being a first-time parent as well as a scrapbooker I love keeping track of all of Walt’s “firsts.” I am running out of room in his baby book to list all these fun and amazing things he’s doing! The first time he turned over, the first time he said “mama,” his first time on an airplane, the first time he ate pizza… so many indications of him growing into this active little boy with a mind of his own. I am still amazed that I get to experience this with two of the most amazing people I know on this planet.

Yesterday was a great day of firsts. I hurried around all morning getting Walt breakfast (man is he a slow eater!) and prepping a picnic lunch for David’s birthday. A good friend of mine met us at Piedmont Park for some exercise and chatting. It was wonderful since I hadn’t seen her in almost a year. I am always wanting to hang out with more friends yet somehow I am so busy all the time I don’t see people for a year. The fact that we live 30 minutes apart shouldn’t be such a barrier to play dates. I like getting together with this particular friend because she is a stay at home mom like myself, involved in her church, and fun to talk to. It’s hard when you are either the first of your friends to have kids or most of the other young moms you know work all week to really connect with others.

Walt had never been to Piedmont Park and we enjoyed walking around. The two months of rain have really made me appreciate sunny summer days. After our walk Dave met us for a quick picnic. Chicken salad sandwiches, homegrown watermelon, and a happy little boy made it a great first picnic for all of us. I usually don’t like eating outside, but we sat in the shade and they must spray for bugs at the Park, so it was really pleasant. Walt enjoyed putting the lid back on the watermelon container, taking it off, eating one piece, then starting the whole process again. It’s funny how watching something so simple can bring such joy to me and Dave.  All too soon Dave had to go back to work — when are they going to make a law that no one should have to work on their birthday? — and W. and I headed home for the land of nap time and mommy-can-now-get-stuff-done time.

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At Lake Rabun for a day

21 Aug

This weekend my husband surprised us with a mini road trip to visit the lake house his parents had while he was growing up. I have seen many home videos of a young David being a silly, sweet, and crazy little boy there. It’s not a long drive up to Lake Rabun, but on the way there we encountered many big wrecks and it looked like this outside (I was a little apprehensive about our hiking intentions):

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I think David learned a lot about life spending his summers there (and choice cold weather occasions too) and began his appreciation for the outdoors. Maybe his adventurous nature gave birth there. It was very fun to see him so animated talking about the different things he and his siblings and friends used to do there and to see it all in person.

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Of course it was clear at the Lake until we started our hike up to Minihana. I had to take off my glasses so I could see in the rain. Then I forgot I couldn’t see with my glasses off either.

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He loved it… until mama dipped his hand in the water!

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I would love to be able to spend time in the mountains by a lake and a waterfall as my children grow up. It’s one of my goals to be able to have that for our family. The way this weather is going, maybe a new lake will form in the city. Now, how to get the mountains to come to us too?

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Their old dock and playground.

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Walter was such a trooper. Love that boy!

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On the way home we passed the school bus graveyard on 85. This is only the first line, there are hundreds of them with cars piled on top too!

A Pilgrimage

16 Aug

after softball

Back in 2008 I went on what could only be called a pilgrimage. Inspired by Eat, Pray, Love and some opportunities that presented themselves, I traveled for three weeks to New York. At that time I hated to fly. Over the years I missed several flights due to my extreme fear. So when my best friend at the time needed to take his car to Syracuse to get his emissions tested, I rode with him. I stayed a week with him and his family in upstate New York at the very beginning of summer, playing by the lake, picking strawberries, steaming oysters, and visiting the Oneida Community that I had studied in one of my history classes.

I then spent a week at Sarah Lawrence College studying poetry with a hundred other writers. We stayed up late drinking and woke up early to write, read, edit, and play softball. My father grew up in Bronxville, so it was lovely to be able to spend time in his hometown.

At that time in my life I used to go to New York City every year with my father to take in a couple Broadway shows and eat at fantastic restaurants. He flew up to meet me and I took the train into the city like his father used to do every day for work. Several of my new friends and some others that I knew from Georgia Tech also stayed in the City after our poetry week and we had a grand time together.

Before I took the train home to Atlanta, I went up to an Ashram for three nights, eating vegan and taking several yoga classes a day. I had never done yoga before except earlier in my trip in Syracuse, and because of this trip yoga ended up becoming a central part of my life for at least a year.

It was a very memorable adventure for me to experience so many different things in such a beautiful state as New York. I put myself out there and found so many beautiful people and places. I found myself in so many different ways.

While walking around Brooklyn one morning with one of my new poetry friends, we were looking at brownstones and walking around the Bridge when we saw a piece of paper floating in the breeze. It was such a powerful journal entry.

This guy told me to wait he’d be right back. I was suppose to help him move, make a few dollars. Wasted an hour and half waiting before I decided to come back to the Bridge. Glad I did, one of the locals gave me a buck. Made me feel pretty good. Some guys just walked by w/ oars and paddles. I would love a couple hours of canoeing. Maybe I’ll walk down to the water later and check it out. Maybe they rent them out by the hour. You never know, the Renter might be a Veteran and cut me a break. People are throwing the money if the light is green and they are unable to stop! I know that they mean well, so I don’t feel degrated or anything, because they throw it! She must write philosophy books, you never know? She seemed to have had the two women she was with convinced of something. They didn’t donate! People from India sure wear some colorful clothes. People seem very apprehensive about asking me for direction. That’s their lose. Let them get frustrated, confused, lost, etc.. All they have to do is ask! 1 hr 45 min. have $5 dollars so far. Another Veteran pulled over after the light. Insect repellent that Pete gave me seems to be working pretty good.

I love finding letters and notes that weren’t meant for me. It usually reveals an honest glimpse into someone’s life that you never would have seen before. It reminds me of Post Secret, which I could read for hours, crying over the things people need to express.

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Palm Sunday in the land of palm trees

27 Mar

This weekend was an incredibly successful travel adventure to Florida. Perfectly timed to avoid the snowy cold climate only 440 miles north in our hometown (well, what Atlantans pretend is snow).

Friday I prepped the house for departure. This included eating leftovers, getting some cleaning done, and wondering if we would be able to fit all the baby gear we would need into the car. One task that had been hovering on my to-do list for weeks finally was accomplished. The back deck had sticks and debris all over it from the squirrels Dave said sat up in the trees laughing and throwing down the clutter. I used our trusty garage broom to help in my efforts, but it ended up leaving more bristles than ever. Even though we’re wallet conscious, I’m pretty sure that we need to spring for a new one. At this point, what is left is probably the smaller half.

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The drive to Orlando was epic. With only three long stops, we made it in 8 1/2 hours. The baby was mostly happy but there were long bouts of crying, namely when a thunderstorm from Tifton to Ocala woke him up from his nap and kept his awake. Needless to say, he didn’t sleep much that day. We arrived and put him to bed immediately, beginning our weekend of delicious food with Asian chicken that Jenna and Jacob had prepared for us. We were very happy that our friends wanted to host us and a baby for the weekend. As I’ve said before, friendship dynamics certainly change after you have a baby, and it’s great when friends make the effort to keep up with you.

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Pit stop on the way there.

And Walter couldn’t have acted like a better baby in reward for their bravery. We almost left him there since Orlando Walter rarely cried and always took his naps and slept well at night. I don’t know if it was the pack ‘n play or the salt water fish tank Jacob had in his office, the humidity or the heat, but I’m pretty sure we convinced them that we’re the perfect parents with the perfect baby.

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It was glorious to feel the oncoming summer heat when you stepped outside even though it rained a lot on Sunday. At one point it was storming so hard you couldn’t see the tree in their front yard ten feet away, the cable went out, and our phones were alerting us to take shelter in the path of the oncoming tornado. I was ready to pull Walter up from his nap and hide in the inner bathroom, but nothing came of the storm, thank goodness.

After a night of wine and the Walking Dead board game, which Jacob won even though he was the only one of us to get eaten by zombies, we went to our yearly Spring Training game. I love spring training games. The Disney stadium is small, decorated like it’s at the beach, and close enough to make you think you’re at a little league game when really you’re watching grown men lazily play ball, warming up for the season. The weather was a breezy and sunny 73 degrees; perfection. And the best part was it was Walter’s first baseball game out of my uterus. He was of course outfitted in his Braves onesie.

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Mama, why am I wearing your hat?

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Jenna and I have been friends since 7th grade.

At one point Dave and I are standing above the bleachers, Walter napping on Dave’s shoulder, no cloud in sight, watching America’s past-time, drinking a beer, anticipating all summer will offer, and thinking to ourselves it can’t get better than this.

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We drove home that night, leaving at Walt’s bedtime, hoping that he would sleep the entire car ride, saving us from the emotional trauma of listening to our son cry all day and not be able to do anything about it. It worked and we got home in record time. Definitely a parenting travel tip to keep in our back pocket. I really appreciated Dave’s willingness to drive into the night to make this happen!

Life is not just a collection of weekends

1 Mar

I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend. Last weekend was a beautifully busy weekend. Dave and I made breakfast for dinner Friday night. Saturday we headed to Anniston, Alabama to spend time with his aunt and uncle and cousins and their children. I absolutely love his Alabama family. It’s like a great big bear hug of love every time we go. We have fun. We all have little boys that will eventually do devilish things together as they grow up.

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Look at all those bright, mischievous eyes!
Walt (6 months), Ridge (14 months), Buddy (2 1/2 years)

We got home in time to put Walt to bed and get to bed ourselves. I had to host Fellowship Hour at church the next morning (part of my deacon duties; next time everyone is getting donuts and orange juice a la my Catholic upbringing). I then went out to grab a beer with the Young Adults before I headed home to my boys.  For dinner Dave and I met up with my friend Anais (we met working in a psych lab together at Georgia State; she’s now getting her PhD at Emory and I think we both marvel at each others’ busy schedules!) at this awesome pizza restaurant in Decatur called Sapori di Napoli. I want to go there again and again and again. It appears Dave and I have become pros at taking Walter out to eat with us. I’m glad he’s such a good sport.

This weekend? I wanted to take a walk with a friend in Piedmont Park tomorrow, but it’s cold and dreary here in Atlanta. I think this constant, cloudy twilight is making my eyesight worse. I am excited for the summer sun and heat! I never used to really like the hot, muggy Atlanta summers. But year after year I am getting more used to them and am actually enjoying them. I have visions of swimming with Walt in various family and friends’ pools, going out for walks without blankets bundled around little boy, and him learning to crawl and walk outside in the grass. We’ll visit a park or something to find that grass! The only thing I’ll miss are nights by the fire.

I love every Friday, anticipating Dave’s return home from work even more than usual (except maybe this week when I was sick and wished he was home hours before he could actually leave his office), and the knowledge that we’ll get to hang out as a family all weekend long. But then all too quickly it’s Sunday night again and Monday brings a week of wishing for Friday… and I don’t want to wish away that much of our lives. Even though I truly do love every minute of every day, it’s just better when we’re all together.