Last week I finally allowed myself to revel in the close proximity we are to summer vacation. As a teacher, you never want to start counting down the days TOO early because then time will pass much too slowly. But seeing as how I finalized my lesson plans for the last three weeks of school (one more week of volleyball with JUST 6th grade girls and two weeks of PE's Greatest Hits plus three days of finals....if you're curious) I can officially embrace my impending vacation and start making plans.
So what is on my personal list as well as our family list for the summer vacation?
1. REORGANIZE THE KITCHEN: Obviously this is on my own personal list and I am hiring the help of my uber organized and efficient mother to assist in this task. I have a great big pantry that has lots of space, but right now it's just not utilized in the best possible way. I need to clean out some party supplies and store them elsewhere as well as invest in lots of storage jars for pasta, snacks and baking supplies. Also, the people who previously owned our house chose to haphazardly line the cabinets and drawers with the stick on liner paper which not only looks tacky but is coming up in several locations.
2. BEAUTIFY THE BACKYARD: Our backyard isn't huge by any means and our green space back there is limited, but what we lack in grass we make up in POOL. Having direct access to a swimming pool in the Texas summers is not only practical and invaluable, but it also makes us incredibly popular. Why would my friends want to go to the public pool when my house is open for free? Unfortunately surrounding our pool is a hot mess right now. We have what could be beautiful landscaping if it wasn't for the mild winter that we had this year - due to the lack of cold, hard freezes the weed population in this area is booming and the crevices between the rock landscaping is no exception. In addition to hacking through the weeds and general overgrowth that has accumulated, Craig and I have plans to purchase a huge hanging umbrella that would cover a large portion of the patio so that Natalie can have a space to cool off after swimming or to play at her water table without her skin getting fried. I would also like the little gray bistro table and chairs that I was swooning over at Target the other week, but for right now I'm happy with my two new lounge chairs and table that will be perfect for tanning and reading while Natalie takes her afternoon naps.
3. WINKIDS CLASS WITH NATALIE: I have a very dear friend Jill with whom I have shared the ups and downs of PPD and first time motherhood over the past year. We met during my first year at my current middle school - it was my first year as a head volleyball coach and PE teacher and hers as an assistant coach and Spanish teacher. Her daughter Joley is about six months older than Natalie but just as active, determined and full of energy. Jill and I are planning on signing the girls up for a weekly toddler gym style class where they can get out all their energy, play together and oh yeah - time for Jill and I to sit around and chat as well.
4. PICTURES AND BABY BOOK: I have tried my best to be diligent in the way that I keep track of and organize the first year of Natalie's life. On my flash drive I have a folder of pictures devoted to her first year and then within that folder, there are subfolders marked for each month. Now that she is a year old, I'm switching to "Spring 2012" and then "Summer 2012" etc. because I think that will make things a little easier. In addition to the baby book that I have kept for her which denotes all the milestones and special events of her first year, I've also been putting all the pictures we take here, there and all around in a big black picture album. Unfortunately, I ran out of space in the album around her baptism which was when she was eight months old. I've got my work cut out for me this summer for sure. I want to print off the remainder of the pictures from the past five months (plus whatever we take between now and June) and put them in a new album. I also need to finish up gluing in random pictures from the first year into her baby book. The hardest part is finding the time to sort through the pictures and put them into some cohesive order for the album but if I can send Natalie away with Craig for the day, hopefully I can buckle down and get it all situated.
5. VACATION: If you go back through this blog over the course of the......is it FOUR or FIVE years?!.....then you will notice a theme with Craig and I - we absolutely love to travel. What we save on buying expensive clothes and stuff for the house, we spend on fabulous vacations. Sigh. But alas, with the addition of Natalie to our family, this year's vacay will be slightly different. Craig tossed around the idea of the two of us jetting off to San Francisco for a few days in August for my birthday but even though I was excited about the prospect of discovering a city I've never been to - the thought of getting on a plane seemed exhausting and daunting. Then we got a Save the Date in the mail from his cousin. She is getting married at the end of June at a beautiful resort on a lake in Hill Country near Austin. A lightbulb went off over my head. Why don't we just make a vacation out of his cousin's wedding? It's right after Craig's big summer NCAA sanctioned basketball tournament and he'll be itching to get out of town for a few days. What's better than cruising down I35 to San Antonio, spending a few nights on the Riverwalk and a day at Sea World with the munchkin before heading up to the wedding? Brilliant! And then he added on this little bit - since his mother and sister will also be attending the wedding, they're going to bring Natalie back to DFW while Craig and I meander around Austin for a few days and nights and have a proper momma-daddy vacation. Perfect. Now it sounds all good in theory but then I realized that we're heading to San Antonio and Austin IN THE MIDDLE OF JULY IN TEXAS. Yikes.
6. OLYMPIC LOCKDOWN: It never fails. Every four years I sit on my couch in the living room or on my bed and I cry at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. I think that since Americans are SO patriotic and proud of the freedom that we enjoy here in the states that sometimes we forget about the fact that other citizens in other countries are JUST as proud of their own country as we are of ours. I cry at the ONE proud competitor from the smallest and poorest of nations. The one who enters the gigantic stadium surrounded by only a few important coaches and handlers, proudly waving the flag of his nation. The one who has, in all reality, absolutely NO real chance at earning a medal, but promises to make his entire country proud just by competing to the best of his ability. I eat that crap up and by the end of the night I am a tearful mess on the couch, waxing poetic about the global community, pride for my country and the beauty of how sports can bring us together. Seriously. Ask Craig. Or Lauren, my old college roomie. Together, she and I were on Olympic Lockdown for the 2004 Olympics which included us not leaving our apartment for an entire weekend. No lie. We only ate food that we could find in our cabinets or could have delivered to us. On that note - did you know that Jason's Deli in Denton delivers? Genius. We watched the bios of the athletes and by the end of the two weeks, we could recite the specific personality differences between a rifleman and an athlete that uses a shotgun. There might have even been an evening spent in Chili's where we badgered the bartender to change the televisions from baseball (booooorrrring) to the Olympics (huzzah!). Or maybe the night where Michael Phelps was poised to break the Olympic swimming medal record............yet there was a brand spanking new episode of Nip/Tuck on as well. This was well before the age of DVR (plus we were broke ass college kids) so we recorded Nip/Tuck in the living room and had the Olympics on in Lauren's bedroom and spent an hour running back and forth between rooms trying to keep up with both. I know, I probably sound ridiculous about my love and addiction to the Olympics but as an athlete and someone who sees all the wonderful and positive aspects of sports and competition, I revel in the world wide camaraderie and collective cheers. Oh. And on a personal note, my grandfather on my mother's side was all set to compete in the mile run for the USA in the 1940 Olympics............but there was that whole "we gotta defeat those Nazis" thing and the whole Olympics (and my grandpa's chance at a medal) were scrapped. Instead of a trip to the Olympics, he enlisted and got to tour Europe by dropping bombs up and down the interior of Italy. So there's that.
And this little girl?
Yeah, there will be a lot of hanging out with her as well. She'll be a completely different kiddo when we drop her off at Ms. Rebecca's house in August. More and more everyday she is becoming my little girl and less of my baby girl.