May 27, 2007
Today was a perfect summer day in every way. Third day of our long weekend and what has turned into a mini family vacation.
Recap of the weekend so far. Thursday night Serona and I kicked off the weekend with a late night viewing of the new Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Friday was spent planting trees, doing yard work and catching up on housework, the evening held a family movie night to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars. Saturday was spent enjoying our home and yard. Rhiannon and I played a long game of Rummy 500 and the kids entertained us with dances they created. We went for a 3 mile hike at the arboretum and enjoyed all the new flowers and shrubs in bloom. The evening held a kids movie while mom and dad had some time to play games on our own.
Today we slept in, Serona and Ciaran made a wonderful pancake breakfast with some fresh fruit on the side. We took our time enjoying breakfast and relaxing a bit afterwards. Today was a perfect temperature day with not a cloud in the sky and a gentle breeze but no real wind to speak of. We knew we wanted to spend the day outdoors but doing what we were not sure. We left the choice to Sirah who decided on a family bike ride. Serona pulled her in the trailer and the rest of us were on our own bikes. We started down a trail and just kept going until we arrived at a point that would be difficult to navigate without trail or sidewalk and two young bikers. It was perfect timing as Ciaran was starting to tire and we needed to go back the way we had already come. Everyone encouraged and supported each other on the way home and we arrived home with a feeling of accomplishment for what we knew was a good trek.
We got in our car to measure the distance we had travelled and discovered that round trip we had taken a 7.5 mile bike ride! The kids did great and we were proud of them. It was also our first long family bike ride of the year, so we will see how we all feel tomorrow. Everyone commented on how much shorter it seemed than our 8 mile hike of a few weeks ago. We decided to reward the kids with a treat. We headed to a local grocery store and each child got to pick one item to share with the family from the fresh produce aisle. We have very little restrictions, basically you have to be able to eat it as is (so no watermelon, pineapple, etc) but otherwise it is fair game. Ciaran chose cherries, Rhiannon blueberries, and Sirah grapes. We paid for the items and headed to a lake to enjoy our snack watching the boats and people go by.
It was a perfect location, perfect temperature, perfect food and perfect company. Everyone was in a great mood and getting along well. The snacks were enjoyed until they were gone and everyone was sufficiently serensified. We walked along the shoreline, climbed the rocks, talked about the boats, ran in the grass, pet dogs, rolled down hills and just enjoyed the abundant sunshine.
We arrived at a beach and watched the kids take off their shoes and roll up their pant legs to wade in the water. Serona and I exchanged looks and discussed the possibility of them actually jumping into the water. We quietly decided it was fine either way. We were not going to encourage it but if it happened that they decided to swim in their clothes we were not going to say no. I think Serona was secretly hoping they would decide to swim.
They slowly got braver and braver and had more and more fun exploring the water and just before we were getting ready to leave Ciaran said "I am going to get my whole body wet!" and he looked at us and we did not say anything. He did not ask, if he had we would have said ok but he was clearly waiting and looking for us to say no (expecting it really) when he did not get what he was expecting he looked mischievous and headed in, looking back one last time before getting his shirt wet then running out cold and encouraging Rhiannon to join him. She looked at us to make sure it was okay and headed in. She made it about halfway as far as him and headed back to shore. Ciaran however decided it was all or nothing and he sunk down to his shoulders than just started swimming in a long sleeve shirt and 3/4 shorts. Rhiannon decided it was fun and joined him in her full length pants and long sleeve shirt. They had a blast! Sirah waded by the shore careful not to get her own dress wet and content to make sand pies. After letting them enjoy the water some we headed back to the car with dripping but very happy kids in tow - clearly the beginning of summer for us. It really was a perfect fit to a perfect day.
We arrived home for an informal lunch, playtime in the yard for the kids and an afternoon of playing games for Serona and I. The kids chose to watch a movie and then we shared a dinner that Serona also cooked (yummy Sesame Udon Noodles) and then we read from our current family read aloud - a Bobbsey Twins book. We ended the evening with another short family walk, with the older two taking turns on Ciarans scooter and Sirah riding on Serona's back, and swinging her arms walking with us. Ciaran and Serona had a catch in the yard while Rhia rode her bike up and down the neighborhood as Sirah and I played house - she was the mom driving to bible study and getting me a babysitter because she had to take a two day airplane ride. It was a perfect cap to a perfect day. We headed inside right as the sun was setting and the mosquitoes were heading out. We ended with a call to my brother to sing Happy Birthday and a family prayer praising God for all the wonderful things we did today.
As we tucked the kids in tonight both Serona and I were overcome by how blessed we are and how great our family really is. We have great kids who love one another and encourage each other (course they can fight just as well when they want), a peace in our home and we enjoy spending time together. Tonight we talked about inviting others over and decided we just wanted to enjoy our family - that is what we have been doing all weekend and we did not even have to go away to do so - we have been enjoying each other here at our home and at some of our favorite places - a perfect way to start the summer. Days filled with being outdoors together, biking, walking, oreos, potato chips, ice cream, lemonade, grilling, yummy berries, sunshine and all the special things that set summer aside for us.
Summer is a time of "Yes!" for us, a time of enjoying the extras and the little special things. A time of drawing together and exploring God's creation, of being more athletic in all we do, of late bedtimes, flexibility and fun. If this weekend sets the tone for our summer I can say it will be a great one! Hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend as much as we are!