Summer's been winding down, these last few weeks, and I'm sad to see it go. I don't remember being a summer person before the little kids, but--when she's contending with the buck wild energies of more than one small person--a mama learns quickly that calm, shallow waters are a godsend. Children entertain themselves in the water. Children wear themselves out in the water and sleep like rocks. The right sort of water belongs to summer. (Don't leave me, Summer!)
We went to Jellystone to celebrate Charleigh's birthday again, this year, but this time we went a bit early so as not to conflict with band camp. Also, this time (for the first time), we camped at the Luray location as opposed to the Natural Bridge one.
We went no frills (as in no bathroom or kitchen in our cabin), but I think I enjoyed myself more than ever. Our friends the Huffs were at the campground, too, and we appreciated our time with them. Jim's and my little kids all fell asleep easily at bedtime, so Jim and I were able to play spades with the big kids (Cade and our friend Sam) every night. The girls, having taken swimming lessons earlier in the summer, were able to enjoy the pool so much more than last year.
To my surprise, both girls were tall enough to ride the 30' tall, 400' long water slide. After we learned we had to go down one at a time, I didn't think there was any way in the world the girls would do it, but they did! We had a strategy: I went down first and caught Charleigh; Sam came down and caught Clementine; and Cade came down last to make sure none of us was stuck on the slide somewhere. Then right back up the kids went, Sam catching both girls, this time, before Cade came down last.
Then Jim's brother Terry, his wife Jill, and their little Adalynn Grace came to visit for a couple days. I don't think we ever left the house: we just sort of vegged, watched the entire season of Alone, and hung out in the back yard. It was so good, though. Jim and I have been in the middle of a bit of a (job-related) crap storm, so it was comforting to be with family. I took exactly one photo (of my battle-weary baby) while Terry, Jill, and Adalynn were here, but I'm going to cheat and post some previously unblogged photos of us, all from the last year.
Finally, just this week, the little kids and I spent a couple days with my sister-cousin Andrea. She had bought a book--Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky--to read to the kids and had invited us to experience Old Towne Petersburg, also Pocahontas Island: the first predominately free black settlement in Virginia, which includes two surviving houses linked to the Underground Railroad.
This turned out to be a rich experience for my little kids, who were introduced to the concept of slavery for the first time. Clementine had a blister between her toes, so we drove around as opposed to walking. I didn't take field-trip photos from Andrea's Jeep, but here are some other photos from our time in Petersburg.
|My Great-Niece Haven Mae|
|Josie (Andrea's Boyfriend "Uncle" Barry's Daughter) Playing Volleyball|
|The chaos that was Uncle Barry's playing with the kids. Miracle that everyone survived. You think I'm kidding.|
|Andrea's Reading to the Kids|
What a great summer! Cade and the girls start back to school, Tuesday; my goal is to, before then, write Charleigh's birthday post and share a bit about the past year of homeschooling. We'll see.