The coffee cup lied-summer isn't that long anymore!
As I sit at the computer with my coffee on the last free day of summer break, it seems like a short time ago I was writing the post "School's Out for Summer". I say it every year, but this break has passed faster than any other, and I can't believe it's over. According to my "Things to do before school starts" list, it should be mid-June. School supplies, clothes and new tennis shoes have been purchased. The girls and I have had our back-to-school haircuts, and orientations are over. But today, the fact that vacation is over has hit me like a big yellow school bus. In my first year of teaching, (18 years ago) school started on August 22. Now we begin weeks earlier. There are campaigns to save our summers and petitions to sign, but I think we need to count our blessings that we have any break at all and rejoice in what makes this time so special.
I realize that I am very fortunate to have summer break with my kids. Time to have fun, relax, get projects completed, and enjoy some much needed mental downtime. So instead of complaining that it's over, I will reflect on what has been an awesome break, and be thankful I have a job that allows me the luxury of June and July.
I don't know about you, but the things I enjoy about summer are very simple. As you have probably figured out, I lead a simple life, nothing glamorous or extravagant, but blissful all the same. I love it that this is the first summer my daughters have mastered the art of sleeping late. Although this will come back to bite me in a few days, I have enjoyed quiet mornings with my beloved coffee sitting in the screen porch and in the back yard swing. I have been able to watch Good Morning America instead of Disney Channel, and have had time to finesse the art of "piddling" in my house without interruption. Morning solitude has become my new bff.
Having time to read for pleasure is something I revel in during summer vacation. This summer I have discovered a new favorite author, Elin Hilderbrand, discovered several great chapter books to read to my class this year, and reread a few favorites just because I love them and had the time to do so. Having time to read is a luxury that I have a difficult time completing once school starts. After a long day, when I collapse to read at night, I fall asleep after a few paragraphs. But in the summer months, I can read all night. (Remember, my children are sleeping late now.)
The beautiful and talented Faith Hill swears that the secret to younger looking skin is not wearing makeup. She states that unless she is on stage or at an event she does not put on makeup. I'm not a super star but this is a rule I practice during summer time. Although not a pretty site, I love not having to do hair and makeup unless I am going to be seen in public. To prevent scaring small children I do apply some and attempt to do something with the hair when I leave my house. But most of the time, it's ponytail and a fresh face. I love it. But in a few days, I will be back to hairdryers, mascara, and tons of gel to make myself presentable to my students who are painfully honest if you have a bad hair day or your makeup isn't just right.
To avoid sounding lazy, we have had a lot of activity this summer. Lots of fast-pitch softball, pool parties, go cart rides, bike riding, marshmallow roasting, and gardening to name a few. Again, simple activities that we savor because they only occur during summer vacation. I hope Hannah and Micah have made a lot of summer memories that they will treasure when they are older. Here's a few scenes from the Ballard summer of 2011.
Some of my favorite summer memories are simple ones as well. I remember spending the night with Grandma and Papa John. He'd fix my sister and me vanilla ice-cream topped with Hershey's syrup from the can. I can taste it now. We'd also spend one night with Grandma and Papa in Summer Shade where once they took us to Guntown Mountain. (To this day I hate chairlifts.) I remember swimming in Marrowbone Creek behind our house with Beth, Sandy, Tesia, Jeff, and Derek. Riding bikes through Marrowbone and playing in the makeshift clubhouse Beth and I constructed in the chicken house. Each summer we took a day trip in the big truck with daddy and broke and shelled beans at night. Summer vacation lasted forever and we were always glad to go back to school where there was no air-conditioning but friends you had missed.
What are your summer memories? Have a favorite song or recipe that makes you think of summer?
With the end of summer comes a new school year. Although we will trade the laid back days for busy schedules, the girls and I are excited for a new school year to begin, and a little anxious as well. Hannah is going to Middle School, Micah has a brand new first year teacher, and I have new standards to get used to. Life is about change and learning to deal with it, and what I love about the start of school is starting over. Everyone gets a fresh start. I hope everyone has a great experience going back to school. Just for fun I found this video. Maybe Renata, Valerie, and myself can dance through the halls of CCES like these girls do. Hoping your memories of summer are sweet and happy first day of school!