Saturday, August 30, 2014

The End

Well, that's over. By that, I mean the summer. By that, I mean this blog, at least for 2014.

Summer 2014 was almost precisely two months this year, a little bit shorter than normal. Storms created a school year that ended unusually late (June 25 was my last day) and Labor Day falls on September 1, which creates a new school year that ends as early as it can in my district. As of Tuesday, I'm back doing work that I love with 11th and 12th graders. Also it means Sam and Caroline return to York Avenue, and I'm optimistic it will be a good year for them. I was impressed at Caroline's willingness to attack works when she learned to read last year, and I'm eager to see how she does in the bigger setting of first grade. Sam is entering third grade, and I remember that my third grade year marked the beginning of a lot of great things for me.

Aside from brevity, adventures far away also characterized the summer of 2014. Sherry traveled to Australia for two weeks. The four of us traveled to Ontario and Michigan for another two weeks. Given that the summer was only about eight weeks long, one or more members of the household were on the go for more than half the summer. Was it too much travel? Perhaps. But I'll look back on this year as one filled with seeing some extraordinary places.

The place we visited that no photo can truly capture: Sleeping Bear Dunes. 

I'll also remember it for the trips not as far away that were just as meaningful. The kids and I got camping three different times, each of those times with friends or family. And after the big adventure in July to Hickory Run, it might be hard to convince them that it's cool to go camping with just Mom and Dad. We got a chance to visit Philadelphia, New York, and Washington again. By the way, we did that New York trip right into Manhattan with a 1:2 parent:child ratio.

Sam, Caroline, and I at Tenement Museum.
I can't help but chuckle when I think of the places where members of this family slept this summer.

Alexandria, VA: 3
Hickory Run State Park: 4
Promised Land State Park: 1
In our tent at Promised Land, July 2014
Over the Pacific Ocean: 2
Melbourne, Victoria: 14
Centre Hall, PA: 3
Ottawa, ON: 4
Sudbury, ON: 1
Mackinaw City: 2
Mackinac Island: 3
Traverse City: 1
Dearborn, MI; 2

I tried not to turn down any invitations or opportunities this summer, and for that I'm glad. I didn't get into school once this summer, which is good. Work intruded into this summer less than it did any other. I might reconsider how good that is on Tuesday when I have to teach again.

I wish I had seen the kids' grandparents more than I did. That is the greatest casualty of a summer filled with some pretty neat adventures. Also, the timing of our big trip was a bit awkward, and when we returned to Lansdale it seemed as if our neighborhood had returned to school year mode.

The final thing I consider as I look back on this summer is how much my daughter seems to have grown. She was the only girl in the house for much of the summer. And when we were on the go during Sherry's Australia trip, I normally had to trust her to go into women's public bathrooms by herself and she had to put up with a motor-mouth dad and a talkative big brother. Through that I see that she's grown into quite a young lady. Heck of a swimmer, too. So I'd like to conclude this blog with one of my favorite photos of the summer. It is of Caroline putting on a fashion show for a friend and I while we sat on the porch sipping beers as boys played inside with Legos.

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