Reflections on Summer

School starts next Wednesday for my son. He is going to be in full day Kindergarten, the only option at his school. It has been an action packed, fun filled, busy summer, but in all honesty I’m not sad that it’s over. I have always loved the beginning of a school year. It signifies a new beginning, the excitement of change and the start of fall, my favorite season. Life is about to change dramatically for us. I will soon have many hours in the day to do, well, whatever the heck I want! Realistically though, those hours are likely to fly by filled with mundane things like errands, cleaning, running, cooking and the occasional lunch with a friend. One thing I’m most excited about is that I will finally be able to blog a bit more regularly and a little more about running.

Before I get into my new routine I want to reflect on this summer. Traditionally I have always loathed summer. It meant less clothing, bathing suits, more focus on my body, pesky sunshine, crazy hair under full command of the humidity level and roughly 3 months of feeling more uncomfortable than usual in my skin. This summer was different in so many ways and was the first summer I can honestly say I loved.

  • Many a day was spent at one of my favorite local beaches, Lake Wyola. We discovered it when Carlos was a baby and have been going ever since. It’s about a 40 minute, traffic-free drive from my house. The beach is small, but staffed with 4 lifeguards. The water and beach area are super clean. We typically go with kids from Carlos’ school and their moms. It’s fun for the kids and usually really relaxing for us.

8 month old Carlos at Lake Wyola in 2007

Carlos at Lake Wyola in 2012

  • I signed Carlos up for a few different local half day camps. Most met from 8-12 and allowed me just enough time to go for a run and take a shower or run an errand. He spent two weeks in an activities camp at a local park. They did arts & crafts, sports, short hikes, and played games. He did two different soccer camps each a week long. There was also a week of tennis camp at Mount Holyoke College. My thoughts on the camps: Carlos had a great time. The tennis camp was a bit unorganized and pretty much anyone could have picked up my child. I spent the entire week running around the pond just below the tennis courts and the campus so I could keep an eye on Carlos. I liked that the camps were only half day because I was not ready to have my baby boy gone all day! Honestly though I felt like I did more driving around and preparing for the camps that in the end they didn’t actually provide me with an adequate amount of time to do all I had hoped.

Tennis Camp

  • 3 summers ago I started Carlos in swimming lessons through our town. This summer he was learning to dive, do the crawl stroke and survival floating (treading water). Thoughts: There is a sense of relief that comes from knowing your child can swim. I love the style in which these lessons are taught. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon from 3pm-4pm is a commitment on both of our parts. Carlos never complained.  The air inside this indoor swimming pool is really hot and steamy. I complained a few times!
  • Carlos and I went to Florida to visit my Dad for a long weekend. My thoughts on these quick trips with a 5 year old: Awesome! Seriously my son and I have it down to a routine now. We both love the whole airport/airplane experience. Our time in Florida does not follow a schedule or agenda and truly allows us quality time spent lounging at the beach or in the pool with my Dad.

Water Park in Florida

  • I spent a fair amount of this summer in a bathing suit and didn’t really mind it. For more on that read this post.
  • We had visits from old friends and visited dear friends.
  • Nearly every weekend was booked solid.
  • We love day trips and there were a few great ones this summer like a visit to Mystic Aquarium with friends, a family day at Second Beach in Newport, RI and an afternoon at the Children’s Museum in Albany with my Peace Corps site mate/dear friend and her adorable baby boy.

Penguins at Mystic Aquarium

Enjoying a Del’s Frozen Lemonade at Second Beach in Newport, RI

Albany Children’s Museum with our favorite new friend

  • Hiking: we did more hiking in the beginning of the summer and not as much as I had hoped. There’s still time! Running: marred with minor injuries in early summer that took a little time to heal. Still I managed to run three races including the Color Me Rad 5K with Carlos. I am in the midst marathon training. Swimming: Carlos swam almost every day this summer. I dipped my toes too and even got my head wet on occasion.

The Navigator checking the map of Mt. Tobey

Color Me Rad 5K

A sunny swim

  • Other experiences we enjoyed this summer were blueberry picking, a drive in movie, the live How to Train Your Dragon show, birthday parties, homemade popsicles, play dates and ice cream – lots and lots of ice cream!

Overall pros of this summer:

  • tons of outdoor activities
  • Carlos had ample opportunity to play with other children
  • new adventures and experiences
  • quality family time
  • great summer weather almost all summer
  • after a few years of winter layoffs my husband has been working mandatory overtime every Saturday for months now
  • not being preoccupied with my body and feeling the most comfortable I have ever felt during the summer in bathing suits, summer clothing and new environments

A few cons of this summer:

  • a few things had to go by the wayside, namely blogging and home projects
  • never enough hours in the day
  • lack of structure and routine
  • busy but not truly relaxing
  • pulled hamstring and pulled Achilles
  • my husband has had to work mandatory overtime every Saturday which meant less family time
  • too much ice cream!

Seeing all of this in writing makes me sigh and smile. We did a lot. In many ways this was the best summer of my life. I have tears in my eyes when I think of how much more of life I’ve experienced since Carlos was born. As I close the summer with a birthday next week I am excited about what lies ahead for me. I feel better now at almost 39 than I did in all of years leading up to this birthday.

Thank you for the memories Summer 2012. After a whirlwind few months I’m ready to wind down and return to a routine. Let this not be goodbye just see you next year!

6 thoughts on “Reflections on Summer

  1. I think you had an awesome summer! My daughter loved sports camp when she was little, but since I worked full time it was all day. The morning was more crafty/indoor stuff, while the afternoons were spent at the pool.

    I told them when I first dropped her off – “Hannah can’t swim, so make sure she stays in the shallow end.” A month into the camp and they had a family open house/bbq at the pool. I watched my then 5 year old head to the diving board, walk towards the edge, jump in and swim beautifully to the side of the pool. I was shocked! She learned to swim in a month, and she’s been a fish ever since!

  2. Aimee…
    What a great summer reflection post…it sure sounds like you and Carlos had lots of fun…which is what summer should be all about!!
    And I’m so glad that you are feeling more happy/relaxed about your body…you are a beautiful person, inside and out!
    I wish I could say that I did as much as you did this summer, but without a child, I would say it is hard to motivate yourself to do stuff outside when it is so hot and humid 😦 But I was able to get to the beach at least once (and got a good burn!), ate my fair share of ice cream (always a good experience in my mind!), and planted flowers, tended my garden, weeded (not consistently!).
    But I am like you…I love fall and can’t wait for the change in weather. Izzy and I NEED to get back to our daily walks and I’ll be able to do some yard work without feeling like I’m dying 🙂
    So glad that you’ll be able to blog more…I love peeking into other’s lives via the Internet!

  3. I am jealous of your summer. It looks like you and Carlos had a blast. He is adorable and so happy in every picture. The Color Me Rad 5km looked like so much fun.

  4. You had such an active summer! It looks like you guys had so much fun, and if it meant fewer blog posts, your readers understand. (Although I’m glad to know that you’re going to be able to blog more now that school (and routines) are back in session.

  5. Hi Aimee! I just wrote a blog post about my son and me! It sounds like a great summer, but I also like when kids get back to school. Love that baby picture of Carlos.

    🙂 Marion

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