Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What I did over my summer vacation . . .

Today is the last day of summer in our little world as my girls go back to school tomorrow. My youngest is entering 5th grade--her last year in elementary school. My adorable baby. A fifth grader. And don't even get me started on the other one. My oldest is off to high school! High School?! I can't believe it. I grew her in my womb! Nourished her at my breast. And then in the blink of an eye, she's this beautiful young woman going off to high school! Poof! Just like that.

Whereas most of our summer was just how I like it--quiet, low key, relaxing, and lazy--parts were also exciting and adventurous.

Like going on an African Safari!
National Geographic is sure to be knocking on my door once they get wind of these . . .

Check out the eye contact I got with this cat! Scary!

Nothing like a nice mud bath to help you cool off in the heat of the day.

I think they spotted dinner? Left overs again.

Those wart hogs aren't interested in left overs. They're looking for something fresh!

Okay, okay, the truth is we went on safari at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. Ha, ha. Did I fool you?

I just love the American Museum of Natural History and the newer Rose Center for Earth and Space that's attached to the museum. My first time visiting the Natural Museum of History was on a class trip when I was in the 4th grade, and quite frankly, I'm still in awe of the place to this day. The museum is so old and beautiful and the Rose Center for Earth and Space is fantastic. I love all the exhibits at both places and the IMAX films at Rose Center. I always learn something new.

This photo was taken from inside the Rose Center for Earth and Space:

We also journeyed to the center of the Earth World New York City!

In other words, we spent a day exploring Central Park in Manhattan on hot day in July. I've been to Central Park before, but I've always just been on the fringe of the park at the Central Park Zoo and along the upper west side along Central Park West and 59th St. I always wanted to see more of this huge and amazing park, so we did, but only covered about half of the park in one day, and even then, we didn't see everything there is. It's really an incredible park, and I had fun shooting photos while we were there.

What else? I rode 75 miles on my new road bike! It was over the course of two weeks, but still. Thanks to my husband, I have this awesome new road bike --it's actually a Quintano Roo entry level triathlon bike-- and I've been going on road rides ranging from 7 miles to 17 miles every few days. Between road rides a couple of times a week and continuing with spin classes at the gym, I'm hoping to do some 30-60 mile bike rides on the weekends next summer. It's very exciting.

I also broke some personal records this summer that I'm very excited about. For starters, I broke my own reading record in August when I read THIRTEEN books in one month! My average is 4-5 books per month, so I was so excited to have read thirteen. I wasn't even trying, it just happened.

The other personal record that I broke was my summer attendance at the gym. I work out at a gym regularly throughout the year from September through June, averaging 4-5 days a week (I love Zumba, spin, and kick boxing)! and for the last several years have only gone maybe 2-3 times in the whole month of July and not at all by the time the lazy days of August rolled around. Until this past summer, that is. This summer, I continued working out 3-5 days a week at the gym both July AND August. Except for one week during which I had hurt my back, but that was injury related, so I'm claiming excused absence. I'm so proud of myself for staying dedicated to exercise this summer.

My teen daughter made the High School Volleyball Team! She attended volleyball camp and clinics over the summer with plans of trying out for the high school volleyball team and she did it! She's been having 3-4 hours of practices every day for the last two weeks or so and has her first scrimmage game this evening--and school hasn't even started yet! This is going to be a great experience for her. Dance has pretty much monopolized her recreational activities since she was four years old, and she's been on the dance studio's dance competition team for the last four years, so participating in a team sport is so new and exciting for her. She's not giving up dance entirely. She's going to take a few classes a week after volleyball is over in November, but she won't be spending 14 hours a week there like she's been doing the past few years. Only six.

My tween daughter (10 year old) mastered the FIOS remote and menu!
PLUS, she may have set the record for watching the most Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez TV shows, movie specials, and YouTube Videos over and over and over.
And a healthy dose of Taylor Swift, as well. (I love her!)

She's also a voracious reader and has been reading the entire Harry Potter series on her own since we saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in the movies earlier this summer. She's reading that book now. She also spent countless hours at the computer typing away on her own stories. She's very creative. I sometimes help her pick out names for her characters, or names of towns, schools, teachers, things like that. She also had a lot of sleepovers with her friends throughout the summer. So cute.

Other highlights of our summer include continuing to settle into the house after the construction. (Still waiting to pass final inspections. Grr!) I finally finished putting curtains up in the whole house, which was quite the feat. All that measuring, buying rods, curtains and blinds, installing them, . . . phew! That was a big job, but everything looks great. I've also enjoyed getting my cooking groove back over the summer. I really love my new kitchen---everything including the kitchen sink! I love our master bedroom, too! Sometimes I don't want to leave it in the morning. Seriously. And the master bathroom. Ahhh . . . so nice. We also caught up with a lot of friends this summer-- some whom we see regularly during the year and others whom we haven't seen in a long time like one of my college roommates who I saw last week for the first time in 14 years! That was really wonderful.

As you can see, we really did have a fairly quiet, low key, relaxing summer with a little bit of excitement and adventure thrown in. So as another summer comes to a close and a new school year begins, it's time for morning alarm clocks, packing lunches, keeping tabs on homework, driving kids all around town, enforcing bedtimes, setting curfews and looking forward to Friday nights. Life is good.

What were some of the highlights of your summer?


  1. Great post Christine! Sounds like you enjoyed a wonderful summer!!

    New York Central Park looks awesome!

    I love the African Safari.. ;)

    I worked, a lot... lol


  2. Kids grow too fast, don't they? Sounds as if you had a lovely summer! Love Central Park any time of the year. :)

    I worked too much, didn't take vacation or relax nearly enough. Maybe fall will be my time. :)

  3. Oh I like the new background, a lot!


    YAY!!!! A Christine post! *happy dancing*


  4. Lea: Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed my post. I had fun putting it together.

    Thanks, too, for being on standby today to help me with the HTML for that third column. I was so excited when I got it to work!

    Hilcia: We've been to Central Park in the winter to skate, but there wasn't snow on the ground at the time. I'd love to go take photographs in the park in the winter. Maybe I'll have to try to do that this winter.

    I hope you find some time to rest and relax in the fall. That sounds nice.

    azteclady: Thank you!!! I must have experimented with several dozen different backgrounds today. I liked so many of them, but when I tried this one, it was an "ahhhh... that's it." moment.

    I'm glad you like my personal posts. That makes me happy. ^_^

  5. Ha! I recognized those pictures. We spent a day there last summer. Fabulous place isn't it? Funny how the dinosaur hall was so much bigger when I was 8 years old, LOL!

    I blogged my vacation. Seems like that was 2 years ago, not 2 months ago. I agreed to be the Middle School PTA president this year and I swear, it's gonna' kill me.

  6. Hi Phyl!
    Middle School PTA president??!! Are you insane? You just signed your life away! There goes your reading AND quilting time! Delegate everything... It's your only hope.

    Ha! You're so right about Dinosaur Hall feeling so much bigger when we were kids. Same goes for the great blue whale in Ocean Hall. Do you remember when the cafeteria was right under the whale? I think I ate looking up the whole time. LOL!

  7. Yes, I knew a moment of total insanity. The good news is that we have lots of volunteers. But I swear, I've spent more time on the phone in the last month than I did in the previous 2 years.

    And I had forgotten about the whale in the cafeteria! Thanks for that reminder. My siblings & I loved that place!

  8. Sounds like you had a great summer. I've been pretty much a couch potato all summer. Just reading and spending time with the kiddo.

    I've been wanting to get a bike as I think that's the perfect way to exercise and have fun. Great job on so many long rides.

  9. Fantastic post! I love the photos! All the best for your girls on their first day!

    As for my summer...can I let you know in 6 months *grin* Sorry, could't resist :)

    And I love the background BTW

  10. Phyl: That's great that you have a lot of volunteers to call on as PTA president this year. It's always good to spread the "work" so no one person is overwhelmed. Especially for volunteer work!

    Christina: Hi! I'm sure you were NOT a couch potato with a kiddo to take care of. If you did spend hours on the couch, I'm sure you were very busy holding Alana while she slept and engaging her every moment she was awake. I swear if you watch carefully enough, you can actually see them grow!

    I love the bike. It is a lot of fun.

    orannia: Cheeky!!!! LOL

    So how has your winter been? ;P

  11. Someday, Christine, someday WE are going to explore Central Park! Oh man, to see the city skyline from a park like that, it just looks amazing! I swear someday I'm goinng to make it happen!

    I love posts like this, sharing the things we do and the place we visit!

  12. Hi Christine - It's been way too long since I've been to any museum and you've reminded me how much I miss the city! Sounds like a wonderful summer. :)

  13. Wow you all were busy this summer. Between getting the house settled and the trip to NY you were out and about.

    I can't believe how long your bike rides are! That is so wonderful. I've never been a big bike rider so I'm incredibly impressed by your endurance.

    Congrats to your oldest for her Volleyball team making and of course to your youngest for her tv show watching! ;) I love that your youngest is reading so much and is making up her own stories. You've got an author in the making.

    Thank you so much for sharing your summer.

  14. Sorry I'm replying to these comments so late. That first full week of school is a doozy!

    Amy ~ It's a date! Even if it takes months or a year or more, I will take you to NYC.

    Kimberly ~ We try to take advantage of all the museums and culture that living so close to one of the world's greatest cities brings, but we probably still take it all for granted and don't go in often enough.

    Tracy ~ I only made it into the city three times over the summer and to the beach only once! But we try to make the best of our outings and always take lots of pictures!

    Thanks for the kudos on the bike riding. Since I made this post, I've done a 32.4 mile ride one day (mostly flat) and just yesterday we did a 22 mile ride that was rolling hills. It's a lot of fun, but also exhausting.

    I can't believe we start the second week of school tomorrow. It feels like we've been in session for a month already the way the crazy-busy life started immediately! LOL

    I hope your girls are off to a great start to their school year, too! :)

  15. What a lovely post, Christine! It sounds like you all had a great summer. :)

    Oh, and I just love the photo from inside the Rose Center for Earth and Space!

  16. Thanks, Taja!
    I love that photo, too-- It's such a cool perspective.


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