Disclaimer #1: Even though some items/events appear on this list, it does not mean that these items/events will cease just because my vacation is over. The duration, frequency and dates of these events as I witness or partake in them will change.
Disclaimer #2: These events are not ranked in any particular order other than when they popped into my mind.
- The Boys Waking Up in the Morning- This is by far the time of the day when W and S are at their cutest. S is usually the first to wake up. Oftentimes C and I hear S singing in his bed through the monitor. He songs of choice are "Go, Cubs, Go," "Tomorrow," "Who Let the Dogs Out?" and "Castle on the Hill." These few minutes are beyond adorable. C and I always take a few seconds to figure out what S is singing, and when we are able to interpret what he's crooning, we both look at each other and smile. W doesn't necessarily make it as well known that he's awake like his brother does. Oh, occasionally we hear strange noises from his room or his feet kicking the wall. What he's been doing lately, though, is, once he knows I'm outside his door, open his bedroom door about 1/5 of the way and throw his owl buddies out of his room one at a time. Every now and then Pete the Cat comes flying out towards me. Once he comes into our room, W has recently been greeting C and I with hugs. How is that not the best way to start the day??? (Well, there is another way. See a previous post) Now that I'm about to go back to work, I have to leave the house between 6:30-6:45. That means that most days at least one of the boys will still be asleep when I leave. Welcoming in the new day with middle schoolers isn't nearly as pleasant as doing so with W and S.
- Our Bedtime Routine- Ok, I'll still be around for 99.99% of these. But there are seven nights during the school year when I usually miss putting the boys to bed. W hasn't lost his interest in books and S likes stories, even though he doesn't have quite the attention span to sit and listen to a book from start to finish. But when they cuddle up next to C and I when we begin reading, it is the cutest thing ever. As we read, W will ask his thousand questions and S, even if he's already moved to the other side of the room, will randomly repeat, with emphasis, a word either C or I have just read. And S being C's toothbrush helper... and W saying good night and hugging me... and S saying good night to W, then to C and giving her a hug... it might be a struggle to get them into their jammies sometimes, but when it's time to actually go to sleep, no matter how crappy the day might have been, everything at this moment is perfect.
- Top Secret Missions- These started years ago, but I don't quite remember exactly how. The gist of it is the boys and I going on a Starbucks run with the occasional Dunkin Donuts stop thrown in there as well. As for why it's "top secret" I don't exactly remember why. I must have snuck out of the house one morning with W to surprise C with Starbucks (that sounds like a thing that I would do). Over the last few summers, Top Secret Missions have been executed on Friday mornings since C usually works from home those days. The boys always want to help bring something inside the house once we successfully complete our mission, so W brings in the bag of bagels and S brings in the four straws. Now that school is back in session, our Summer Friday Top Secret Missions have come to an end. I guess we'll still have Labor Day and an occasional Saturday morning mission. But the end of Top Secret Mission season is a bit melancholic.
- Garbage Day- Speaking of Fridays... our garbage pickup day is Friday. As I think I have mentioned in previous posts, and I know for sure C has mentioned it, our boys are obsessed with all things garbage. So it goes without saying that Friday is their favorite day of the week (Fridays are also Pizza Fridays!!!). The boys wait outside on the driveway with great anticipation as Willie the Recycling Man drives his truck in our direction. They are armed with Gatorade and chips as Willie approaches. Once he gets in front of our house, Willie dumps all of the recycling into the back of his truck just for the boys to see and then empties our recycling can. At this point, I have to nudge the boys a bit to go give their hero his treats. W then brings up the empty recycling can while S runs back into the garage out of shyness. Not only will I miss this weekly event, Willie is moving to Texas. Who knows if our new recycling man will be this accommodating and entertaining to the boys than Willie has been?
- McDonald's Monday- This is more of a recent ritual. I think it began during the previous school year when Nani picked W up from school and they would stop at McDonald's to pick up lunch. But over the summer this event was officially dubbed McDonald's Monday. In reality, I'm going to miss this because I miss out on McDonald's! Plus, if the boys have McDonald's on Monday, that means they can't have it on Saturday and Sunday, which means I can't have it Saturday or Sunday!!! My para-pro and I started Filet O'Fish Friday at school during Lent and continued it through the end of the school year. Hopefully we keep that up.
- Text Messages from C- I mentioned in my first post (Inblogeral) that C's text messages have been the highlight of my summer days. They get me through the days with W and S. Well, now that I'll be back at work, I won't always have the time to reply. And worse, she also emails me, and I hardly ever have the time to reply. C- PLEASE keep texting and emailing me!!!!! Even though I might not always reply, they continue to help get me through school days. And God knows I need as much help to get through those days as possible!
- W and S Singing in the Backseat- I am a radio flipper. At least when I'm not listening to sports talk. So when I find a song that I like, I leave it on. Because of this, W and S have learned some songs this summer. Not just songs that I like, but songs that C likes too. So whenever I hear a song that we've listened to alot, I'll take a peak into the backseat to see if the boys recognize the song, and if so, check to see if they've started singing it. Most times though, they'll beat me to it. So, when "Castle on the Hill" comes on, usually S, sometimes W, will yell, "Daddy's song!" When "My House" or "Despacito" starts playing, one of the boys yells, "Mommy's song!" And when they start singing, it's the cutest thing ever. The funniest thing ever was when S's song, "I Can Make Your Hands Clap," came on, and out of the blue S just yelled, "HANDS CLAP!!!!!" at the appropriate time and started clapping. Hilarious!
- Doing My Vest During the Day- It didn't get to happen all that often, except during vacation, but man do I love it when I get the opportunity to do my vest during the day. I usually had to wait until S napped, but with him napping less and less often, finding time during the morning or afternoon to do my vest became more difficult. The best though was a 2-3 day stretch a couple weeks ago where I was able to do my vest while S was still awake. He came down to the basement with me and sat right next to me for a good portion of the time. S is a very sweet little boy. I hope he never loses his kind heart.
- Cubs Day Games- So ever since the Cubs won the World Series last year, I kind of realized that I don't need to stay up late to watch all of a Cubs night game (ugh... except for the Sunday night game against the Yankees that went 17 or 18 innings. I think I went to bed around 1:00 am that night. Or I guess morning...). But I do try to catch most, if not all, of their day games. They're my team. They've always been my team. They will always be my team. Up until last year, my teaching schedule was such that I had off from basically 12:30 until the end of the day (2:00). So, I could put the game on the radio and listen until I was allowed to go home. But, when my schedule changed last year, I now teach from 12:30-2:00. So no Cubs game on the radio. Don't these people know I bleed Cubbie blue!!!
- Lunch Dates with C- These are such a welcome relief during the summer. When the boys tag along, they're still good. But when it's just C and I, they're sooooo much better. No one (cough, cough, W!) climbing, tugging or laying on C. No multiple trips to the "you-know-what." No loading/unloading children to and from the car. Cheaper meals. Quieter atmosphere. Adult conversations. From anywhere between 45-60 minutes, it's like we're C and A again, not solely Mommy and Daddy. Despite bills, jobs, and responsibilities in general, it's good to be an adult every now and then.
- Vacations- OK, in this case, I intentionally saved the best for last. Belgium, Amsterdam and Paris. The east coast and Chesapeake Bay area. I could write pages and pages about our trips, but I'll keep it simple. C and I were long overdue for a no-kids vacation. And what better place for this to occur than summertime in Europe? A big "thank you" is in order for Nani, Papa and Grandma for watching W and S while we were on "holiday." And C and I both enjoy, and believe it's incredibly important, to show W and S as much of the world as possible (except Europe. For now.). So family vacations are a must... even if we want to kill each other at various points of the excursions.
- Everything From Yesterday's List (What I Will Not Miss From Summer Vacation)
- Tantrums- Because the calm after the storm is very serene. And this is the opportunity for W and S to learn from their mistakes.
- Doors- Because I want the boys to learn than when life closes one door, it opens up another one.
- Potty Walks- Because there will come a time when W and S don't want to hang out with me, let alone admit that they're related to me. And Addie isn't getting any younger.
- The Sun- No. I still hate the sun.
- S Getting into His Carseat- Because this little guy's desire for independence is admirable. His ability to try and take risks (though sometimes unintentionally hilarious) is something to behold.
- Ramen- Nah. I still hate this too.
- W Questioning Every Driving Decision I Make- Because his curiosity and inquisitive nature are going to take him very far in this world. I'm not quite sure where, but I know he's beginning his journey in the right place.
- The Flight To/From Europe- Because I couldn't have the best summer ever if I never got there.
- Weekends that Felt Like Weekdays- Because it displays and reinforces the unconditional love between a parent and child.
- Fireworks Not on the Fourth of July- Damn!!! OK, I guess not everything on the list because I still hate this too!
- The Over-Worked, Under-Appreciated, Stressed-Out Mom Memes- Because moms are super-important. Because I would not be where I am today without my mom. And I sure as hell wouldn't be as happy as I am today without C, the mother of our children. And women live a difficult, double-standard laden life, that for pretty much all of humanity's time on earth, has been embarrassingly unfair to them.