Tuesday, August 25, 2015

So Long, Summer!

Today (Tuesday, the 25th, for those of you who won't read this until later) was my first day back to school. (Technically, yesterday was the first day of school, but I don't have Monday classes, so today it was). This is also the first time in six years that I'm actually going back to school at the start of the August/September school year calendar (because of my admissions schedule, and then taking a leave last fall to have a baby, my first two semesters of grad school both started in January). It feels rather exciting, and so right, like this is the rhythm life is supposed to have, and I've been missing it these past few years. It feels nice to have this formal end to summer.

I'm learning this about myself as I grow older. I LOVE routine, but I also NEED change. I need routine change, like the seasons, coming and going every year, constant but ever changing. I love summer, but I love this formal end to summer, this mark that one season has ended and a new one is beginning. It's a time for me to look back and look forward.

On that note, I just want to take a minute to reflect on my pretty spectacular summer. It was the best summer I've had in a long time, because I wasn't pregnant and we didn't move across the country (it's been one or the other for the past five years), and I had time to work on projects, cross off goals, read a lot of books, do a little travel, and basically enjoy a nice, slow pace of life.

Favorite Summer Reading

This was a banner summer reading-wise for me. I read 18 books for pleasure since school ended in May, and most of them were SO GOOD! It's hard to narrow down, but here were my top five summer reads:

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John - I read this one too quickly, I really want to go back someday and read it again slowly and really savor it. Also, I want to do some more thinking about the use of the two Shakespeare plays in this book, and how they work in the setting. Good story-telling, good writing, good book.

2. The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber - I really want to read this one with a book club so I can discuss it with other people. I still think about it all the time.

3. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger - Just really beautiful.

4. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - My library came through for me! This book came in just over a month after it's release date! I was pretty shocked and pleased. I think I'll write more about this later, because, complex feelings. But it still made the favorites list.

5. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell - There were lots of contenders for this fifth spot, because on a purely entertainment/enjoyment level there was some good competition from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Ready Player One. But, if you can't tell, this summer was kind of all about the contemporary literary fiction for me. And I've got to be true to my main man, David Mitchell.

Summer Projects

I wrote out a huge to-do list at the beginning of the summer, most of them having to do with home decor and organization (remember this wreath? That was project Number 1). I'm happy to say that with the exception of one item, which due to stupid shipping problems won't be happening until this weekend, I was able to cross every project off my list. I've definitely got a post coming up about all these little projects because I know you're dying to see the Big Reveal. Except, it's more like the Little Reveal, because they really were just little things. But little things that, now they are done, make me so happy.

A Little Travel

The best beach trip ever!

A trip to Utah!

And that was it, because traveling with a baby is EXHAUSTING, and his sleep schedule still hasn't recovered from that last trip (5:45 AM every morning! For over three weeks now! Shoot me.)

Some Quality Down Time

There was lots of swimming, weekly trips to the library, summer pre-school, a few play dates here and there, but mostly there was just a lot of good ole quality hanging around the house (because it really is too hot and humid to leave the air conditioning). I can tell that at some point in the future (like, next summer) we are probably going to need more structured activities in our week to keep the cabin fever at bay (we got close a few days here at the end of driving each other to the point of insanity), but with a baby who still takes three (!) naps a day (they are short, frustrating, 45 minute things, but he's not a car sleeper so they must happen in a crib or they won't happen at all), it was lovely to just be home. (Can you tell I'm an introvert, in that I loved my summer because I got to stay home all day most days?)

Also, my experiment with Awesome Mom Time has turned out to be hugely successful. It really made my long summer days home with the kids flow better in every way. I haven't figured out yet how I'm going to incorporate it into our school year schedule, but I'll probably do a follow up post with thoughts about it at some point.

Guys, it was a great summer.

How was your summer, reading-wise or other-wise? Do you enjoy the change of seasons, especially with formal markers like back to school, or do you wish summer would never end?

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