Well, summer, you’ve been a delight – as always. It’s my New York mentality, I’m sure, that kicks in every year and makes me desperate to wring every bit of fun possible out of the season. I know all too well that it won’t last, and dammit, I’m going to fill every second with fun so that I have some warm, sunny memories to look back on when the snow is falling. That concern is a little less relevant here in D.C. – realistically, it’ll probably only snow once – but old habits die hard. Here’s how I did on my summer agenda:
The BIG one! Take a family vacation to C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A. (Tickets are booked, but the rest of the planning looms.)Done! We flew out to California for the wedding of a very dear friend and stayed on another week for a family reunion in Santa Barbara. It was the perfect trip – just the right combination of family and friend time, beach fun, and adventure. Recaps will be continuing for some time yet, because I have tons of stories for you!
Go adventuring on the water. I’ve got some ideas: whale-watching for one, and a kayak tour of the sea caves at Channel Islands National Park for another.Done! The California adventures were in the works when I originally made my summer list, but I’m pleased to report that we did them and they were epic. Kayaking the sea caves made for a great adventure, and we had an incredible day out whale-watching in the Santa Barbara Channel with the kids and my parents – I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Closer to home, we got the kids out in kayaks for the first time. They took their first rides in the Adirondacks over the Fourth of July weekend, and we’ve had fun duffing in D.C., too.
Make a homemade tomato tart using tomatoes and herbs that I grow in my garden. (I’ve planted eight tomato plants. Something has got to grow.)Done! I was on top of my tomato harvesting all summer, in light of the need to stay ahead of the very greedy neighborhood squirrels, and in early August we got enough of a harvest to make my tomato tart dreams a reality. Peanut and I baked it together – spending time in the kitchen with her has been such a joy this summer – and we made a Ritz cracker crust, herbed mascarpone filling, and topped the tart with homemade tomato-and-herb refrigerator jam. It was delicious.
Visit my parents and get in some quality time with family friends, and spend a day at the lake.Done! We escaped to upstate New York and the Adirondacks over the Fourth of July weekend and packed in lots of quality time with family and friends around all the adventuring. A dear family friend hosted a barbeque for us on Friday evening and invited my high school best friend and her family, and we saw the same family friends at the lake later that weekend – plus my grandmother, my cousin Jocelyn, and my Uncle Jim and his family. So nice to see everyone, and so nice to spend a couple of days on the Sacandaga. It’s my happy place.
Same trip: bag another Adirondack high peak (or two?).Done! Steve and I passed the kids off to my parents one day while we escaped up to the high peaks region for a big adventure – climbing Giant Mountain to bag our third peak. It was a tough mountain, but we summited and loved every second on Giant.
Re-read Jane of Lantern Hill, which will always be a summer book for me.Done! It had been years since I’d visited with Jane and Dad. I’d love to live – or even to spend a few months – in the cozy, welcoming nest Jane creates on Lantern Hill.
- Take another trip to Little Washington and eat at the Inn, thanks to an incredibly generous gift certificate from the world’s sweetest mother-in-law.
- Take the kids for bike rides on the Mount Vernon Trail. (There are a few things that have to happen for me to do this – a tune-up for Blue and Steve’s bike, locating the bike rack – maybe – and helmets for the kids.)
Buy a GoPro. I’ve been wanting one for ages and it’s time to take the plunge – plus we’ll need it for all these adventures.Done! We added to the camera arsenal this summer and it was very exciting. We’re still figuring out everything we can do with the GoPro, learning to create and edit videos with the footage we shoot, and working out some kinks in our filming, but it’s been such a blast. We took the GoPro sea cave kayaking at Channel Islands National Park – the whole reason we bought it – and it was a game-changer.
Spend a weekend on Virginia Beach with my dear friend Rebecca and her family.Done! We headed down to the beach in late June for the first trip of our summer, and as expected, we had a wonderful time. There’s nothing like returning to a beach you already know well. And it looks like we’ll have more chances to visit VB in the future, since Rebecca had an unexpected – and perfect for her – job opportunity come up in D.C. and will be moving here during the weeks, commuting to the beach on the weekends, instead of pulling up stakes for Florida as originally planned! I am unreservedly gleeful about this.
Keep up the Saturday walks to the farmers’ market and do some baking with seasonal fruit.I’m calling this one done! We didn’t get to the farmers’ market as often as I’d hoped we would, since we spent so much time out of town this summer and on the weekends that we were in town, we usually beat the heat at the splash pad on Saturday mornings. But we did make it to the farmers’ market a few times, and we baked with blueberries that we picked ourselves and tomatoes and herbs that we harvested from our garden.
Well, I’d say that was a VERY good summer. The only things that didn’t happen were the bike rides on the Mount Vernon Trail (I got a helmet for Nugget, but Peanut needs one too and I ended up getting busy and unable to get back to REI) and the dinner at the Inn at Little Washington (we were just on the go so much that we couldn’t squeeze it in). But as for the rest of the list – man, did we ever do a LOT. Three trips (Virginia Beach, the Adirondacks, and California), kayaking adventures, new summits, gardening fun, playdates with friends – it’s been an absolute blast. We lived it up and enjoyed every moment we got to spend together; I can’t ask for anything more than that!