August was a fun month - we were all in the swing of our summer routine, and we enjoyed lots of fun time together. For the first two weeks of August, Evan and I took Seth every weekday morning to "big boy" swimming lessons. Two of Seth's best buddies were taking swimming lessons at the town country club, and even though we are not members there, we found out that non-members could take lessons if there was room. These were the first swimming lessons Seth had taken where he didn't need a parent in the water with him. There was one instructor, and the children sat on the wall of the pool (no floaties or anything) and took turns having one-on-one instruction from the teacher. Evan and I hung out on the pool deck and watched.
It was fun to see Seth enjoying the lessons and gaining skill in the pool. Seth was in the Level 1 class both weeks; the first week there were five kids in the class, and the second week, it was just Seth and his two buddies. It was the best week-long playdate he could have asked for! They practiced kicking and going "fishing" with pool noodles. Seth was certainly exuberant with his kicking, to say the least, and needed to hear "red light" more than once. :) They took turns kicking on a kickboard, swimming with a noodle, "scooping" the water, floating on their backs like a starfish, and putting their faces in the water and blowing bubbles. It was fun to see all the skills he gained, and we bought him his own kickboard and pool noodle so he could show off his skills to us in the academy pool. We even got Evan in the pool one day in his little wet suit.
Seth and I had some fun times in the back yard having snack on his little picnic table in the shade and playing in his sandbox. We would bring his art supplies outside, too, and we started a tradition of doing "sticker stories." I made this up on the fly - we take turns picking out stickers and putting them on a little piece of paper to tell a story. Something so simple brings so much fun and imagination! We would also sit out on the front porch and have snack, do art, play with the sand and water table, watch the mailwoman deliver mail. Simple summer pleasures!
Evan has gotten much more lively and social; interested in what's going on around him. He loves to be nearby and watch what we are doing. Seth is really able to elicit happy responses from Evan now, and we watch closely to ensure big brother is being "gentle." It is fun to see the two of them interacting - they have the same laugh when they both get to giggling!
We went miniature golfing with Grams near home. We also had a fun tour of the Suffield fire station from one of our friends here at school who is a volunteer firefighter. Seth enjoyed seeing the different trucks and getting to sit in them with Daddy and turn on the lights. Evan thought it was funny to try on the plastic fireman's hat that Seth was given as a gift.
We saw Geema, and wished her well on the trip to California to visit with Uncle Brian. We went to dinner with Auntie Carolyn, and discovered that there is a train table for Seth to play with at Barnes and Noble. BIG excitement. We went with Carolyn and Grams took Seth there another day; he is content to play and play with the trains for hours on end. Seth and I had eye exams from Michael (all is well!) and went to Grams' house for dinner. Seth had a blast playing hide and seek in all the different hiding places around the house. We drew with chalk on the driveway, and had to guess what the other person was drawing, humoring Seth and running to the end of the driveway to hide our eyes while the other person was drawing. We went in the sprinkler and pretended to wash our hair. We saw Auntie Kara. We brought a picnic to Daddy's work and had to picnic inside the computer lab at the last minute due to an unexpected rainstorm. The boys take it all in stride! We saw our friends Meredith, Greg, and Michaela for dinner, and played on the tennis courts with Geema. We had our friends from the academy over for pizza, and we had a sandbox playdate with a friend from music class. Daddy played silly games with Seth and Evan and made them laugh.
We had several fun weekend visits and trips. First, Chris, Cathy, baby Eleanor, and Chuck, Jenn, Katie, and Sam all came to Suffield for a visit. It was the first time all five children had been together, and we got some hilarious shots of all the kids on the couch. It was so much fun to have them all together and catch up with our friends.
We went to Papa's to spend another weekend. We love being up there, and Seth always relishes running around the big green lawn, playing on Papa's swing, having fun inside the house, and jumping in the hay in Papa's barn. Seth went on an outing with Papa to Shelburne Falls to get the paper and donuts. It is fun that Seth is old enough now to go on solo outings with his grandparents. It is fun for him, and for them! Papa hosted a barbeque and invited Grams, Geema, Michael, Kate, and Meg. Seth made pipe cleaner flowers and homemade placecards for the occasion, and Evan worked on getting his first teeth and rolling back and forth, two new milestones he had just accomplished. We all had a great evening, and enjoyed a nice, relaxing weekend together.
Finally, we spent another weekend in Boston visiting Chuck and Jenn. On the way in, we spent some time with my friend Julie, who used to be my boss back in 2000-2002 when I was a grad student at Tufts. I was in the school psychology program, and I worked part-time in the Philosophy Department to make some money. I hadn't seen Julie since the first year we left Boston, and it was so much fun to introduce her to my children. We've stayed in touch all these years, and she is always so sweet to remember my birthday and send an e-card. I'll never forget when I was starting grad school and trying to find a job, wandering around to all of the departments to see if they were hiring. I found Julie and explained that I needed a job, and she gave me one right on the spot. I'll always be grateful for the trust she placed in me - it was a great job! Seth enjoyed meeting her and Evan was in fine, flirty, smiley form.
After our outing, we headed on into Dorchester to spend the weekend with Chuck, Jenn, Katie, and Sam. The kids had a blast together as always, and we enjoyed our time with Chuck and Jenn. Sunday on the way home, we went to the Boston Children's Museum together. It was a blast - Seth and Katie had so much fun together in the museum (Sam stayed home with Jenn as it was his naptime). They played in the ball room, the construction room, the city block display, the Wizard of Oz room, and had a ton of fun in the interactive play room with the train table and oversized ducks and pond display. Evan was content to nap in the carrier and nurse when he woke up. Chuck took us to a yummy bakery nearby called Flour - so good!
Hurricane Irene was an unexpected way to end our August weekends. We prepped the house and yard, and we decided to spend the weekend in the library auditorium, since there was a generator there, and we were a bit worried about our old house with all the windows and trees. We told Seth we were going "camping," and he ended up having a blast. We set up inflatable beds and watched Cars and Dinosaur Train Big City on the big screen in the auditorium. We had book parties and played with trains. Evan was a good sport and slept in his playpen. We were very fortunate in that by Sunday afternoon, Irene had mostly passed by, leaving Suffield unscathed for the most part. We didn't lose power, and didn't have any damage to our house. We felt very fortunate, and feel very badly for all those who did not escape the effects of the hurricane. We wish everyone a quick and speedy return to normalcy, especially Jason's dad and aunt and uncle who have had a rough go of it in our beloved Charlemont/Shelburne Falls. The Deerfield River spilled over its banks and caused lots of damage to the Western Mass area, and our thoughts are with them as they piece everything back together. Everyone is safe, but repairs are slow-going.
As Irene blew away, it ushered in September - back to school, back to work, starting pre-school for Seth, and starting daycare for Evan. More to come!