This week Scout turned six and Alex took off to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics (we know--it's winter there). I've been slightly over-scheduling myself the past couple of weeks, and it wasn't until I sat down to write this post that I realized the first day of school is exactly one month away!!
I didn't realize how incredibly busy our summer would be as I took on more paid photography gigs and unpaid volunteer responsibilities. Since we've returned from Wisconsin, Catcher and Scout have finished two weeks of piano camp, and Scout and Tillie have completed the first of two weeks of swimming lessons. I've created countless spreadsheets for Vacation Bible School (one of my non-paying gigs) and completed a four-hour "board training" for my other non-paying endeavor with Inherit Austin. I've also had a trio of photo shoots, two meetings for my (paid) teaching job and a partridge in a pear tree. I'm not bragging or complaining...just laying out the reasons why my blog posts continue to be spotty at best.
The house was quiet except for the little voices directing one another where to go and what to say. It was an elaborate game of imaginary play--the complexities of which I couldn't even begin to explain to you--which led these three goofballs onto their parents' bed for a king-sized wrestling match. The match was tame (by children wrestling on their parents' bed standards) and this time laughter only led to greater laughter (and not tears as is often the danger with children's wrestling matches).
These are the moments that I choose to remember from this summer; not the tears at the dinner table or the meltdown over Legos or the temper tantrum while leaving the pool. The children played so nicely this day, in fact, I forgot all about my "summer schedule" and realized that building lasting relationships with your siblings is more important than 30 minutes of XtraMath. Scout may not remember that she dressed up like a ballerina stuck in a 70s-era futuristic space film, but collectively I hope they remember that all those summer days weren't as boring as they thought at the time. And I'll have the picture to prove it...
The biggest takeaway from the Wheat Family Lake Vacation also happens to be the favorite new buzz word(s) for Alex and me: safety nap. I'll back this up to let you know 1) the definition and 2) how we arrived there.
If there is one thing that transcends childhood; one thing that rings true across gender and socio-economic lines, it's this: kids love firemen (and fire trucks and fire engines--I now know the difference between those two--and fire stations). Lucky for the Wheat family, Alex has a cousin who is a firefighter in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. On our great midwestern adventure this summer, he invited us to spend the afternoon at the firehouse, where we got an insider's tour (complete with a lesson on how to attack, er spray, your siblings with the firehose. And I'm not sure who had more fun with the firehose--the kids or Alex.
We learned the difference between a fire truck and a fire engine (the former is the one you see with the giant ladder on top; the latter is what supplies the water). The kids got to honk the engine's ear-splitting horn while sitting in the driver's seat and took a short ride from the garage out into the driveway. We learned all about the fireman's uniform and what's inside the pockets as cousin Erik put on all 45 pounds of his gear for our enrichment. And we learned about the safety nap. Because firemen work a 24-hour shift (24 on, 48 off if you're curious), they're required to take a "safety nap" during the day in case they get a call in the middle of the night. Therefore, safety nap is forever embedded in our lexicon; however, don't tell Tillie it's time for a safety nap--when it is indeed time for a safety nap--because she might stomp her feet and scream "I hate safety naps!" at the top of her lungs.