Summer’s over boo hoo hoo. Oh yes, school’s started and we’re back to the grind… 7 AM wake-up, breakfast, pack lunch, out the door by 8 AM only to return at 7:30 – 8:00 PM after school, work, daycare and classes.
This year the return to school has been even more difficult simply because we had such a phenomenal summer. Summer vacations so far have meant either my parents visiting or DD going off to various camps. Of the 2 the former option’s more preferable since DD gets to spend time with her grandparents, she sleeps in, goes out for bike rides with my dad. They play Wii, my mother tells her stories, teaches her bhajans etc. The camp version though fun for her generally involves getting her out the door at 8:00 AM and bringing her back home by 6:00 PM.
This year my parents begged off from visiting us due to ill-health. We weren’t too keen on DD going to camps since we planned to make some short trips and honestly getting DD out the door at 8:00 AM during summer seemed a little cruel. So the DH and I worked out a schedule whereby one of us would go to work early and come back by lunch time while the other one would go to work post lunch. It worked perfectly. DD slept in on most days and lazed around. She had enough time to catch up on all her reading. We made regular visits to the library, we went to book stores, she found a couple of new authors (they’re new to me, too) and went on to read a number of their books. She discovered some of my old Enid Blytons and immersed herself in the world of St Clare’s and Mallory Towers. She played with the neighborhood kids.
Every weekend was a whirlwind of activity. One of the first weekends in summer, we made a trip to the beach. A friend of ours knows someone who has a beach house. He routinely rents this house to people he knows for 2-3 days. We took advantage of his niceness and 4 families descended on the house one fine Friday night. The house is set on an elevation and is merely steps away from the ocean. All night long we heard the waves crash. The kids ate breakfast on Saturday morning and made their way to the water and we didn’t see them for the next 5 hours. They built sand castles, played in the water, splashed around. One of us kept an eye on them through the big French windows. Soon, the water got too much to resist, so we made our way to the beach too. We played like kids and got completely soaked. The Pacific Ocean is perpetually cold. To stand in water for more than 10 minutes is to invite hypothermia. The surprising thing about this weekend was, the water was bearably cold meaning none of the kids fell sick after the trip. There was mountains of food, lots of singing. There were long walks along the beach where us girls had heart to heart conversations. I have to tell you, talking to friends can give you insight and put things in perspective. We all came back more relaxed and more able to handle life’s little annoyances. The night before we left, we capped off the trip with a lovely campfire. There was raucous laughter, some ghoulish stories and long-lasting memories were created.
This summer was also a summer of birthdays. In the month of July alone, we celebrated 3 birthdays and each one was completely different. We took one friend out to lunch and shopping for hers and ended the evening at our house with cake, candles and Thai dinner.
DH’s birthday, we celebrated with home-made bhel puri, pani puri, aloo chaat. Never mind that DH was on a conference call throughout his birthday. What’s important is we all celebrated for him. We finally cut his birthday cake 5 minutes before his birthday was officially over
Another dear’s friend’s birthday was celebrated per her request at a local park. On a beautiful summer evening, with the kids biking and playing at the play structure, we grooved to Hindi songs, crammed our mouths with yummy food and in turn were chewed out by mosquitoes. Once night fell, we sent a couple of friends to the local store to get old-fashioned lanterns and kachhua chaap macchhar agarbatti. What unfolded was cake cutting in a bucolic gaanv (village) like setting.
In the month of July, we also made a day trip to the local safari in Winston. We fed deer, giraffes, saw an elephant paint and 2 four-month cheetah cubs rough house with each other. The perfect outing for animal crazy DD. After 6 hours at the safari we carried a tired, sleeping DD to bed.
I have to do this post in 2 parts. Watch out for the second part, coming soon.