There are infinite moments from this summer I wish I could put in a box and open up when I needed a sweet memory of my children. They have stolen my heart--usually in the quiet moments, or the little one-on-one conversations that somehow slip into the day's cracks, and every now and then, the wild crazy moments that take up so much of the day. I want to remember this summer like a deep aching in my heart. It's been beautiful.
Jackson and Allie discovered each other as playmates this summer. It was amazing for them... and the rest of us. They have played together for a number of years, but it usually took a lot of adult influence to get it going. This summer however, they independently built worlds of make believe, with conversations like "how 'bout dis horsey is allergic to water" (says Allie), and Jackson responds with a "Ya, and she has to always have an umbrella over her." The world would melt away if I started talking, so I kept quiet and enjoyed from afar. Most of the time it had to be without the added influence of Porter--though he even was able to get a membership card to many of their games.
It was the first time in my life, I understood homeschool, and could see it working. If my own children actually played together without needing adult influence or a park's play structure--I could see why it would be worth giving up any semblance of kid-free time. Work in the morning, play and learn from each other in the afternoon. We are far from doing homeschool--in fact, we feel super blessed to be able to send them to a fantastic school with great teachers and peers--but I get it. And I sigh in relief to understand it.
We schooled a lot this summer--in the unschooled, carefree delightful sort of way.
Here are some of those moments:
We schooled ourselves on how to enjoy that solar eclipse [and goodness I was floored by how cool the glasses make it. Thank you to our awesome neighbor who let us borrow hers!]
We learned how to swim, and played in water all Summer long!
We read lots of books, and had the arduous task of writing 50 of them down for our summer reading challenge (whew!)
And we have learned how to make this little baby one smiley, happy guy. Apparently, he should not be consuming dairy, soy or wheat (and who knows what else). We'll see how long his cow can maintain that diet. Eeek!
Ethan [EESAN PEETAH BWOWN!! as Porter calls him while twisting his head a centimeter from Ethan's face], is functioning as human, and surviving because everyone watches Porter like a hawk to ensure no damage. We're not sure if it was natural, or influenced by Porter, but Ethan lost most of his luscious, dark curly hair and after an awkward couple of weeks in July, is now sporting very light brown hair. He smiles all day long, and is adored by all who meet him.
We learned it is harder to transport a family of six around, especially after flying somewhere. We don't fit in a small car any more, but we had very generous grandparents who let us use and dirty their cars (multiple different ones).
Porter and Allie kept track of our summer vacations, beginning in April when we started buying plane tickets. Allie would ask frequently about our trip to Arizona, usually wondering if we could buy some gum for our trip next week (it was a good 2 months before). Porter, would say "morrow day we go Orgen? [Oregon]," and when you would tell him we had 3 weeks until we left, he would nod knowing with his eyebrows scrunched and say something like, "no morrow go Orgin." Oh it was heart melting. These trips mostly included cousin and grandparent love--which continues to grow exponentially!
We realized a few days before our flight to AZ, that we had a 3-hour layover in Minneapolis. WHAT!? Our favorite Richards cousins were there to greet us with Pizza and an awesome setup of tables and chairs to use. What a fun blessing since they couldn't make it to the reunion.
Saw real volcanoes (5 from this one perch)
And something that looked like one (Meteor!)
We had a tender blessing for Ethan. My parents were planning to make it, but ended up needing to phone in. We were thrilled to have so much family present--electronically and in person.
Thank you family for feeding us, vehicalling us and spending so much time with us. We sure love you all!
One giant accomplishment came last week, when we finished reading the Book of Mormon as a family! We learned we could do it in only 4 years--reading one column a day. Jackson was a little disappointed to learn that we just start over at the beginning the next day. ha ha!
Sad to say goodbye to such a lovely summer, but excited for cool weather and the adventure of having 2 in school. On to new adventures!