August came and went and I survived . I am not a fan of that particular month. Jeff goes back to work. The kids finish camp and become end-of-summer-squirrelly. Virginia turns into Satan's armpit, hot beyond all reason, yet punctuated with biblical amounts of rain. And bugs know they own the place. In conclusion: ugh. But the overall awesomeness of the summer was worth the inevitable August blues, and we really made the most of it. Jeff turned 43 in June, so we're the same age again. Maria pointed out that Daddy is younger than me approximately twice a day for those three weeks.
Here is the birthday boy, first thing in the morning. This man does not want for poorly timed affection:
Later that month we had a spectacular vacation at Woodloch resort in the Poconos and I can't say enough good things about the place. The family part was quite lovely, also!
There were go carts, and those go carts were excellent.
Here is Aunt Kimberly, helpless with laughter after finding out that yurts are a thing and people sometimes sleep in them. The more you know…
An assortment of Niehomes went zip lining, some of us for the first time (well, Marlo and me). I did okay until the end. After the zipping was done, you were expected to just jump off the platform, holding a rope that would (eventually) catch you. I was not okay with this. In fact, I argued with the poor kids running the operation for a good five minutes, because holy hell, this just seemed like a very bad idea. Eventually, they were like, "Listen lady, jump off already. Do you see a ladder? Do you see stairs? No, you do not. Now jump." You'll be relieved to know the whole thing is on video somewhere thanks to Aunt Kim. Extra teenager points go to Sawyer for not dying of embarrassment on the spot.
AND we went to Boston!
AND the Majewskis came to visit from Indiana! (They continue to be awesome, supportive friends.)
AND the grandparents came to stay! Subaru fell in love.
AND Maria and I took a trip to Tacoma for a Tetloff family reunion. Seriously, you’d think we have actual lives if you read this.
I painted our stairs. I don't remember why. At the time it really, really seemed like it needed to happen.
Optional new school year report:
The kids have been back in school for two weeks now, he a fourth grader and she a second grader. I worry about the kids in turns. I mean, of course I worry about them all the time, but they each have their seasons to be the primary object of my compulsive anxiety, and while Maria bore the brunt for June and July, it’s now the boy’s turn.
Melissa, his beloved special ed teacher and Chris, his beloved para, left to go teach an inclusive pre-K in a different school. When I say they are beloved, I mean both by Kurt and by us. Those are some fortunate three and four year olds! Melissa single handedly convinced me that this whole school thing might actually work out after all. As for Chris, “para educator” is a weird title for what she actually does (something between “helper” and “fairy godmother” seems more appropriate). He had them on a daily basis for four years, which gave him what we hope is a solid foundation for this year and the next. (After that, it’s middle school, and I cannot even.)
It matters that you have skilled, loving people watching out for your kid at school. His classroom teachers, obviously, have been excellent also. It could have gone much differently up to this point, and I realize how lucky we are. The first weeks of school have been fine, minus a few times when I forgot the new people didn’t automatically know his routine (my fault). He seems happy, and my fingers are crossed so hard my nail beds are turning blue.
Maria was a barely contained fiery ball of rage and anxiety for a couple of weeks, but it seems to be passing. (We express our nervousness in a wondrous assortment of methods chez Niehaus.) Her bestie from last year moved away, so of course, she is appropriately tragic. (“Mommy, she’s my love.”) However, I am waiting for her to announce that she has a new love any day now. Such is the life of seven year olds. She is reading fairly well (at least as well as I was at that age, though Youtube is a siren call hard for her to resist), and she seems to be at least okay, if not actually awesome at math. It could be worse.
HOW IS LIFE GOING THIS FAST. When I started this blog eleven (!) years ago, I had no kids, no nursing degree, no real estate, and two living parents. Now the years are slipping through my fingers. When I was young I looked forward to the future because I thought I had a fairly good idea of what was coming. I didn't, obviously, but I took a lot of comfort in the illusion. Now I can't even pretend.
I have no map, people! I can't find the interstate! I forgot the name of my destination and I think I left my ID in my other pants.