Seventh, 11th Summer: Gone!


School started today. With our four weeks in the UK, then my trip to Ohio for my reunion (both of which I’ll blog about), there wasn’t much time left.

We jammed in a lot of good memories: a beach trip in June, Krause Springs in July, and Schlitterbahn in August.

From which there are no pictures. The kids had a blast, but I was too stressed to think about taking photos. As confident as both kids are in the water, as much as I’ve enjoyed Schlitterbahn in the past (without kids), even though we had three adults for two children (thank God for our friend M.) there wasn’t enough Prozac on earth to calm me. The park is very well-managed and there are lifeguards everywhere; there was probably very little real danger, but it felt like the biggest responsibility we’ve ever taken on with those kids, much more even than swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. We frequently got separated, “lost” Gary and Bryan for a while, then I hit my head and M. took Chloe to find them while I sat with an ice pack. Chloe sobbed and wailed on the Congo ride (it wasn’t the water, it was the sounds and mist and dark tunnels) and a lovely kind man floated up to us and asked her name and if he could hold her other hand (while I was cuddling her from my tube) until we got to an exit.

I had to wonder what sort of planning this was, having to pack and get on a plane to Ohio the next day. As fit as I am for my age, I wonder if 8 ½ hours trying to keep up with a 10-year-old and a six-year-old at a water park isn’t just too much.

The day I returned from Ohio, Gary took Chloe swimming and fed her supper. They picked me up at the airport and she spent the night. She and Gary made me a surprise treat, a concoction of graham crackers, peanut butter, bits of chocolate, mint cookies and a ton of food color gel frosting. It was, um, extremely sweet, in every meaning of the word.

Sweet treat welcome-home treat!

Sweet welcome-home treat!

Chloe doesn’t always appreciate the nice things Gary does, and one day she said something very unkind to him. He was about to take her swimming and instead went to lie down. I told her she had hurt his feelings, and she finally got it, saying she couldn’t take the words back so what could she do, apologize? So she wouldn’t disturb his nap, I suggested she write an apology on the fridge white board:

Chloe apology

Last week of vacation included the usual swimming with mermaids (Chloe said she wants a mermaid tail for her birthday, an idea that creeps me out) and playing in the sand kitchen, plus “baby” care (Lammy, Nessie, a teddy bear my mother made for Chloe’s mother, and even an actual doll, a mermaid Barbie, who swam with us) and watching a bit of Jacques and Julia, which Chloe asked me to turn off because they were preparing duck.

No duck cooked in this kitchen

No duck cooked in this kitchen

Bryan joined us Saturday and he and Chloe had a last swim together before school started—mostly fighting over a mask and snorkel Chloe never otherwise played with. Just as the cousins are very different, Chloe remarked on how different her mother and her aunt are (like, say, night and day?), and she said, “And Aunt Melissa even likes the Bullhorns!” “You mean Longhorns?” I replied.

They played “Austin-opoly” (coming to an agreement that sounded to me like a violation of the anti-trust laws) and getting ready for Halloween and Christmas in one swoop.

Kids in pool 2

Nightmare before Christmas?

Nightmare before Christmas?









Ready for Christmas

Ready for Christmas












Sunday we swam after church. Having the snorkel all to herself, Chloe used it as a device that prepared food and drinks (you dialed in what you wanted—I asked for a margarita and nachos), repelled sharks, made music—you name it. I want one.

Cleaning therapy: digging into the sand mess. Kool-Aid makes a good coloring agent, but it stains, so I gave Chloe a pair of plastic gloves.The courtyard is hopeless, and now our water’s turned off, so this is as far as I got.

Kool-Aid make a good dye but it stains. Swimming gets the stains out.

Mess(y) cook.

Waiting for the water to come back on so I can hose it down.

Waiting for the water to come back on so I can hose it down.


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