July and summer

I wrote this on July 21, 2006, but it took me until now to get it uploaded. Sorry.

I’m in the airport in Kansas City where I’ve been for the past five hours. Not a bad thing as I’ve edited several thesis and read through documents from the conference in Lawrence I had the great pleasure of attending. I just amused myself by looking at photos of the kids that I’ve already seen a couple dozen times. They’re currently on the website and make me enormously happy every time I see them. Ellie and Josh (currently known as JD) are mugging for Sean’s camera and doing a darn good job of it too. I especially like the one in which they are resting on Ziggy. Ziggy is facing away from the camera, and Sean has captured the kids in expressions that we get to see so frequently that I forget how perfect they are.

We’ve been having an absolutely wonderful summer. We’ve been to the beach a couple of times. Ellie would be a beach bum if she could. She’s very comfortable in the water whereas JD stills stays pretty close to the shore. For the first trip we met my parents at South Haven. It’s a great town, particularly for kids. They have a large park directly across the street from public access to the beach. We had a picnic with my parents, played on the playground, then went over to the beach. We also snuck in some time to play a couple of games, a new favorite past time for our children. It was a glorious day.

On our last trip to the beach we went to one of our favorite towns, Saugatuck. We hiked through the dunes with our good friend Brett Godsey, who was visiting from Chicago. I’m sure his back was sore from having the kids hanging all over him, but at least they weren’t hanging on me – hee, hee! Ellie kept asking JD to come out into deeper water. I tend to think she knew he wouldn’t do it and so was asking in an effort to brag a bit. He got tired of the prodding, lost his temper, and through some sand at her. Ellie went a little crazy. She stood up in the water with fists clenched and yelled, “You want a piece of me!” I couldn’t believe it. I asked where she heard that saying, and she didn’t know nor did she know what it meant. I guess it just fit her level of anger, so she let it out.

The kids are taking tennis lessons through our parks and rec. JD is much more comfortable with a tennis racket than Ellie is, so things are pretty even. He has a great time and has recently asked to learn to play golf. I hope the interest continues because Sean and I both enjoy these activities too. JD is still my cuddle-buddy. He often has a hard time falling asleep and will ask me to come and “cuddle” with him for awhile at night. One night he kept calling me in for things like a drink of water, a trip to the bathroom, a special bathroom. The last time he was yelling, “Mom, I need you!” I went him to ask him what he needed and he asked, “When are you going to buy some Cheetos? I love Cheetos.” Another night I was laying with him explaining various techniques for falling asleep. He rolled over, put his head on my shoulder, and said, “Oh Mom….I love you.” I said, “Thanks Josh, what a sweet thing to say. I love you too.” To which he replied, “Yeah, sometimes when I say, ‘Oh Mom’ and I can’t remember what I was going to say, I just say, ‘I love you.’” “That’s alright Josh, I guess it beats, ‘I forgot what I was going to say.’”

Ellie is growing up. She reminds me of this on a regular basis. Some of the things I say are met with eye rolls from her. When I question her about this practice she informs that she does it because she is growing up. I have told her growing up doesn’t mean she can be rude, to which she counters with, “Well, it’s just that I know all of those things you are saying.”

She participated in a theater camp this summer and fell in love with the stage. After the first day I asked her what she thought. She said, “Mom it was awesome! I’m pretty sure I’m going to be a superstar.” Of course you are dear. I’m not sure how she’s going to split her time between being an actress and an environmental scientist, her latest career interest, but somehow she will do it I’m sure. We’ve had quite a few “plays” in our house this summer, and some of them have been really good.

Ellie’s also developed a taste for fashion. Gone are the days when I could pick up cute little outfits without her being there. If she doesn’t okay the purchase first, there’s a good chance I’ll be taking it back. Last week she told me she wanted cowboy boots for school shoes. I told her I needed to think about it, which I do. I’m working on the explanation for why cowboy boots are not a practical school shoe purchase.