Last year as Madalynn was winding down at preschool, I began to realize that the summer of 2009 would be our last summer before she would start school and before my life and hers was forever changed. Not to say school is bad, but every mom knows that once they start to school, everything is different. They have new friends, new surroundings, come into contact with outside influences like never before and someone else spends most of 5 days a week with them instead of mama. Madalynn (and Jack too for that matter) loves people. While I taught elementary school for years before we had kids, I don't think homeschooling could be for us. She needs the "people" aspect of it.
Anyway, last summer I decided to take the kids to Dollywood theme park down in East Tennessee by myself. I was scared to death of venturing 3 hours from home with two kids alone. At the time Jack was 2 and Madalynn was 5. I have a friend down that way that I taught with and she has two boys of her own. She met up with me at Dollywood and we had a great time! I was so glad I had done it and we really hated to pack up and head home after 4 days.
Well, last year went so well I decided to make it an annual event. This would be our way of celebrating the year of school they had just completed and the beginning of summer. Of course, Jeremy will never be able to participate in this tradition with us, since breeding season is still going strong.
We went again this year and it was just as much fun. Although one day we got drenched during a brief episode of rain, even that worked in our favor. Many people had stayed away from the park because the sky looked like rain, but there wasn't any lightening, so rides never really stopped. The lines were short and it wasn't really hot. Perfect! Most rides we either got right on or had very short wait times. Plus it is always nice to see my friend and her boys. The kids and I spent time in the pool and got to eat out two or three meals. I even did a little shopping on the way home.
Dollywood was just one of the things I put on my list of things I wanted to do with the kids this summer. Youth is fleeting and one day not only will they not want to spend time with mom, but will have other activities pulling them this way and that. So while they are mostly mine, I want to savor every moment.
Here is the rest of my list. So far we are having a great time and I am not ready for it to end!
Treasure Hunt- done We started too late and the route was too long, but enjoyable...I guess?!
Ice cream for dinner- done twice (Last time it was Wednesday night before church at Coldstone Creamery. I had coffee ice cream with snickers! Yum, but the small was way too much!)
Summer Reading Program- done
Swimming lessons- in the process of finishing. Mady took one level of lessons at the beginning of the summer and is now on her second. Jack is taking his now since they couldn't get him in any earlier.
Visit West Tennessee- done. Got to see Uncle Ben and Aunt Jenna's house they are building, saw Granny and Paw and the cousins, even saw Uncle Floyd at church and Granny Jean for a short visit. Got to swim at Aunt Lona's pool!
Playdate with Emma- done We picked Emma up the Wednesday before swim lessons began again and took her to the free movie (Robots- YUCK) and then to Steak N' Shake for lunch. We got to stay at Emma's house and visit for a few minutes afterward.
*We also ended up getting a playdate for Nico and Jack. My friend called and asked if I could relieve her husband for a few hours. He was doing child care all week...alone. I said sure and Jack and Nico had a great time!
Now the undone list...
Tie Dye T-shirts
Get Jeremy to make a tire swing for the kids (we have the perfect branch)
Go to the aquatic center a few more times
Go on vacation
Go on a picnic
Go on more bike rides
Let Mady help me bake cookies one or two more times
Only two and a half weeks left before school starts back! Got to get busy!!!