Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer stories

I haven't written a blog post in a month and a half, which is the longest I've neglected the blog since I started it three years ago! I blame the summer--the glorious summer--that keeps us outside more than in. Summer is something to cherish in Wisconsin, but it is also something to record! So here are a few summer stories (from the past 10 days, because I'm out of town and that's what I have on my camera), for the sake of remembering.

1. Rafting the Wisconsin River
Jacob and Eric took our inflatable raft down the Wisconsin River last weekend. They let down a fishing line as they floated down and caught a clam. A thunderstorm came up and they wondered what they were thinking being in the middle of a river! But it didn't last long, and a friend lent a poncho.
They and their buddies set up camp on a sandbar island in the middle of the river. We're trying to figure out how to do this as a family. Eric calls these adventure trips "real vacations."

2. FHE on Lake Wingra
The lakes near our home are often warmer than the swimming pools, and most of them are free! We swam at Lake Wingra one night
and roasted sausages and s'mores for dinner. I taught the home evening lesson in my swimsuit, which is something I've never done before! We told stories about the pioneers who traveled through "Hole in the Rock" in southern Utah and we talked about faith. Of course we played baseball, too.
This was also the night that Zachary had a sudden onset of pain in his legs. He literally could not walk for three days! Some lab tests and doctor's appointments later, we found out that he has HSP, an uncommon vascular condition that affects the joints and intestinal linings. Virtually all the symptoms have resolved over the past several days--but he will have to go in for regular lab work for the next two months to monitor his kidneys. Poor Zach! He has been so patient. 

3. Donut stand
I called my friend the other day to ask if I could bring in a meal--she had just had a baby. "Oh that's so nice," she said. "But what if we make a donut stand instead?" So my darling friend was frying up homemade donuts while bouncing her three-week-old in one arm! I tried to keep up and help the kids get organized. I hope that they will remember this as a perfect summer day, because it truly was.
It was a super bonus that they made $22. Not bad! Don't those just look delectable?
(The only heartache: Zachary was feeling awful from his HSP and lay on my friend's couch for most of the time! I will have to do this again sometime with him.)

4. Biking
Cautious Jacob has been wary of a two-wheeler ever since I tried taking his training wheels off a few months ago. But last week I brought Zachary's smaller bike--sans training wheels--to the park, and Jacob gave it a try. And after a few times of me holding his shoulders, he got it! He has been working at it systematically each day ("Today I think that I'll work on turns at slow speeds"), and now he rides like he's been doing it for years. He keeps saying, "I can't believe that I thought this was hard!"
5. Adam is two, or nine, or something
Adam turned two last week, but he will tell you that he's nine. Then he laughs like he's never told the joke before. He is an absolute crack-up! His trademarks are his baseball glove--which he wears nearly all the time--and his sly little smile--which often follows his joking. Here he is with his coconut cake--we ate a coconut cake the night we brought him home from the hospital and at his first birthday, so we figured that we'd continue the tradition.

6. Half-marathon
On Saturday I ran a half-marathon. I didn't know that my friend Rachel and her husband were also running, but we saw each other in the parking garage and ended up running a good portion of the race together. Lucky! The race was delayed 90 minutes because of thunderstorms, and so we ended up running in the muggy mid-day heat. I have never been so relieved to finish a race! It was a good summer goal for me and a satisfying day. 

7. Maryland
A few hours after the race, we took off for my parents' house in Maryland. (Advice: sitting in a car for 14 hours just after a race will make you stiff beyond your wildest dreams!) We visited the "big slide" yesterday
 and played at the park.
Maryland is ultimate relaxation for me, mostly because the boys run off with their uncles all day! My kind brothers are always willing to play.

8. The ill-fated D.C. trip
I love, love, love going to D.C. with the family, and so I encouraged everyone to come along today. We drove over this morning and got ready for a monument-admiring, Smithsonian-searching day. I dropped the kids off at the Jefferson Memorial, parked at Hains Point, then jogged down to meet them. My brother took this lovely picture of us there:
Soon after that, however, the beautiful Washington Monument in the background was undergoing seismic damage! We were standing right outside the Department of Agriculture building when we heard a booming crash and witnessed hundreds of people evacuating the building. We eavesdropped on earthquake accounts while we enjoyed our lunch on the Mall.
These aren't tourists outside--these are all businesspeople who had been evacuated.
Only a few people were genuinely worried--most seemed relieved for a mid-day social hour on a sunny afternoon. We discovered that the Air and Space Museum hadn't been evacuated, so we went there. Ten minutes later, however, that was closed, too! I was the only one who still wanted to stay in the city. So we headed back.

Conversation in the van:
Zachary: Why are we going home? We didn't even see anything good!
Amy: We saw the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument and the Capitol. And we saw some of the airplanes. But the best part was that we felt an earthquake!
Z: We didn't see anything good, and I didn't even feel that earthquake!

I agreed that it was much ado about not much. But even disappointing days are memories, right?