School is finally back in session. The weather is beginning to show indications that it may begin cooling off before too much longer, although we’re still having a few ninety degree days. And I am finally back in writing mode. I enjoy taking the summer off so I can spend time with the kids and get my yard work done, but I am ready to get back into the swing of things with my WIPs. But getting back to the subject of school, do you remember those first assignments from your elementary grade years in which you had to write the essay about what you did over the summer? Man, I hated those!
Summer was fairly busy. At least, it seemed that way. Although now that it’s over, I can’t figure out how we spent the time. Lots of swimming and going to the park, and many, many trips to the library. We’re fortunate to have access to several small libraries within a short driving distance, so the kids can take advantage of all the summer reading programs. And while they’re busy with that, I have free time to work on my own reading. I read some quite good MG books this summer!
We were fortunate, too, to get in a short family vacation right before school reconvened. We chose to drive out to Colorado. I love the mountains, and the cooler temperatures, and the lower humidity. In fact, I can’t think of anything about Colorado that I don’t love. It’s beautiful country.
Our family lived in Colorado Springs years ago. The Army first sent us there, and for eight years it was our home. It’s amazing how many friends and family members want to come and visit you when you live in a place like that. And that just added to the enjoyment.
My girls remember Colorado since we were there until the youngest was five. But our son was born in Kansas, and the last time we had gone back out there to visit, he was only four. So he didn’t remember much about it. It was fun being tourists and showing him all the sights. We rode horses in the Garden of the Gods, shopped and dined in Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs, toured a little bit of the Air Force Academy – they don’t allow civilians much access to it any more – hiked through the Florissant Fossil Beds, and participated in several other touristy things. Driving thru the mountains was very enjoyable, and I survived the somewhat nerve wracking ride on the narrow gauge railroad up at Cripple Creek. Needless to say, that wasn’t one of my favorite highlights of the trip, but the kids loved it.
Of course, even though we old folk were exhausted every evening as we headed back to the hotel, the kids were ready for a swim and a late movie. But they also had a great time picking up all those little tourist pamphlets that one finds in every gas station and hotel lobby. And I’m one of those moms that encourages it. I make them read through all the brochures and then let them argue their cases for what activities we should include in our daily forays. Vacations are a great source for developing social skills and having fun, but there are also opportunities to hone those reading skills that often get stuck on a back burner during the summer months.
The one activity I encouraged them to participate in was the license plate game. The drive across Kansas isn’t the most thrilling experience for a kid, although we did notice that since our last trip out west a vast number of windmills have been erected out in the Northwestern portions of the state. We tried counting them for awhile, but they were far too numerous. But the license plate game was a huge success. We managed to spot plates from forty-six states! That’s a record for us. Our granddaughter is in first grade, and she couldn’t actually read the plates, but she got very good at recognizing an unfamiliar plate and asking our son if we had that one yet. And this was a game they kept going until we were practically pulling in to our driveway at the end of the week.
I hope your summer was a memorable one in all good ways, and I hope you found time to squeeze a little reading in between all the fun and the chores.