Due to the ease (and low cost!) of digital photography, I managed to take an insane amount of photos over the summer. If you’d like to see the first part (summer birthdays), head here. Otherwise, here are a few more highlights of our summer…
Father’s Day: We always love a reason to celebrate Daxson and all the reasons the kids love him. This year they worked for a few weeks on filling in this nifty little book that we found at Target (called Amazing Dad) and they had fun presenting it to him. Of course his favorites were the grown-up treats and the kids’ favorites were the Star Wars books. June is always full of graduations. Lots of new beginnings and clipping wings. This year was a milestone for me as my students that I taught ten years ago at IWA walked the graduation stage and while I wish them all good luck and joyful college days, the one graduate that took center stage in my mind was my godson, Jake, in Kingston, New York. I still remember (with extreme clarity!) celebrating his 1st birthday the summer I lived with him and his parents. It seems nearly impossible to imagine that he has crossed the adult threshold and will be navigating the world of college this year, dorms, responsibility and all! As I couldn’t be there to celebrate the momentous occasion, I thoughtfully prepared a college prep package unlike any other. I packaged up four books that I thought he should read along his college journey, marking when he should read each one and what advice I thought each offered. Here’s a little peek into his package, the books I chose and the reasons why… June was the beginning of hot days, pool fun, and beach trips. The pool started off on the patio, but as it began to lean with the slight incline, it became a bigger project. Part of the yard was dug up, leveled and covered with crushed granite. Now it rests quite happily in what used to be our grassy knoll, leveled, flat and full of nice, cool water.
June also included a weekly trip to the pet store as Joey received a Fat-Tailed African Gecko for his birthday. It was a gift from Auntie Romy and Uncle Lister (which Dax and I ironically suggested) and Joey was THRILLED…for the first few weeks. Then he realized that not only was his little friend nocturnal, but he had been given the most shy lizard ever. The poor little guy (named Joey Jr.) was frightened to death of us. He only came out of his hidey hole when it was completely dark and no one was around (we know this because Dax and I tried, unsuccessfully, to watch him catch crickets in the quiet of the night but as soon as he sensed our presence, even in the dark!, he scampered back to his hiding spot). After a few weeks of catching wily crickets and scooping poop, Joey seemed less enchanted with his new friend, although he never complained about the work, only about the fact that his pet was a bit un-interactive. Daxson seemed a bit overwhelmed with the lizard (even though he wasn’t the one carting the kids to the pet store to stock up on crickets nor was he in charge of scooping poop); he didn’t like the smell and he hated the lack of action (plus Dax has a thing against caged animals). Daxson casually mentioned that a dog would have been a bit more entertaining and that was all it took to plant the seed. I’m pretty sure Dax didn’t actually want to replace the lizard with a dog; it was more of a nudge to see the futility of owning a lizard, but Joey outsmarted him. Joey insisted that if he were to return the lizard (because apparently you can do that at PetCo), it was on the condition that he could research dog breeds and use the money from the aquarium and lizard to get himself a dog. Desperate to be rid of the lizard, Dax agreed. So guess what…Joey is spending his free-time researching dog breeds. I’m pretty sure he won’t let this go, so I see a dog in our very near future. So while he may have returned the original gift, Joey is extremely thankful to Auntie Romy and Uncle Lister, as they have managed to open the door to getting a dog (a door which was firmly shut until the lizard came along). Funny how when faced with one thing (such as a lizard), something else suddenly seems much lovelier than it ever originally did (like owning a dog).
And while Joey Jr. was cute, no one seems to miss him much (oh wait, what was there to miss…we never got to see him while he was here!). Our advice: either get a leopard spotted gecko (like my nephew has which is cute and social) or skip the lizard and find a more interactive pet when you’ve got four overly enthusiastic pet loving kids. On the plus side, all of the kids enjoyed our trips to the pet store…pretty sure they’re all in love with the hamsters just like I was as a kid! Other random June highlights: June is fig month and while we still enjoyed the fruits of Larry’s labor, we actually managed to grow enough figs ourselves this year to enjoy, William was sent to the gastroenterologist (where he got to observe some fun construction while waiting to be seen) to sort out his gastro issues (with success), William and Andrew declared their love for the little girls that live behind us and the kids enjoyed a little target practice with Grandpa Larry and Dax.