Saturday, August 2, 2014

Gathering Seashells

We took the boys to the beach for the first time this summer, just a day after Hurricane Arthur made landfall in North Carolina. They'd been swimming in lakes and pools before, so it's not like they'd never seen lots of water in one place. But the ocean is just so very immense, and so very loud. Nick spent the first few minutes with his fingers in his ears, and was highly suspicious of the waves in general throughout the trip. So on the first day, we went for a walk and looked for shells.

Here we are, pre-shell-hunt. It was very windy!
He really wanted to find a snail shell. We found a bunch of other shells. Small shells, mostly. Every one was fascinating to him.

There were many piles of shells like this one. We spent quite a while poring over them, looking at the different textures and colors. 

We came away with a nice pile of shells. To our eyes, they were magnificent treasures. 

And we did find that snail shell.

Summer Thoughts

Ah, summer. For the first time in 3.5 years, I am almost beginning to remember what summer should feel like. Until now, summer has meant more work than the school year, in some ways—more logistics, more exhaustion, more efforts to be patient. Moving last summer surely didn't help. But now here we are, in a place with real summer. Thunderstorms. Cicadas during the day. Crickets and treefrogs at night. Fireflies. Katydids. And mosquitos.

Three-and-a-half is not an easy age: nobody *wants* to take a nap anymore, no matter how tired he is. An increased ability to explain one's emotions in words means tantrums have been mostly supplanted by whining, a far more difficult thing to endure. But is easier so far than two-and-a-half.

Besides, we've discovered the swimming pool.

We swim almost every day. Here's what's so great about the pool: I love swimming and always have. So when I'm in the water with my boys, I am totally happy. They are also totally happy. Never mind the chaos of getting from pool to home. The hour or so we are at the pool in the water is total bliss.

This summer, as they (mostly) play together happily, and as I'm (mostly) able to let go of the idea that naps will happen daily, we (mostly) have fun.

Sometimes, we actually go places and do things.

But not often. It's too hot for the park, and too crowded at most of the indoor places we like to go—even the library is packed. One nice side effect of still feeling new to a place is the luxury of just staying home.

Sometimes fun means lining up crayons in the couch cushions (only permissible on the junky old couch).

Sometimes we check out what the back porch brings us.

Sometimes fun means painting. Sometimes the paint doesn't stay on the paper.

Sometimes we venture far afield. That's gotten much easier, too.

This summer has been so lovely. But part of its loveliness is where summer falls in the rhythm of the year—it is so lovely because it is so fleeting. I wish it were longer. I am loving this time with my boys. And I'm looking forward to seeing what this fall brings.