Monday, September 22, 2014

Summer Report Card

Hello! I'm back after a wonderful summer spent in my former home of New England and present home of Iowa! I can't believe that today is the last full official day of summer. It went by fast! I'm ready to blog again after taking almost three months off from it. My writing may not be the smoothest for a little while because I suffer a bit from writer's block when I haven't done it in awhile, but it usually comes back eventually. So bear with me as I try to get my groove back. Ha ha.

We had a great summer in Massachusetts (hereafter referred to by its easier and faster abbreviation, "MA"). I'll be posting much more about it in the weeks and months to come, but for now I want to re-visit my little Summer To-Do List that I made in my last post before we left for our annual summer trip to MA. I'm happy to report that I was successful in completing most of the items on the list and that my summer report card is looking pretty good! 

1. Do yoga on the beach with my sister(s).
Done! Grade: A
I went with my older sister Jennifer, who is a yoga instructor, and with my mother. My younger sister Elizabeth wanted to come but her cute clingy little 2-year-old son made it difficult to do that. Next time, Liz! 
We only did yoga on the beach once, but it was so relaxing and I definitely want to do more of it in the future. It was very much worth getting up early for the 7:30 a.m. arrival/start time. I've never been on the beach that early--it's so quiet and peaceful. Kind of like yoga.

The view from my beach towel-turned yoga mat.
Check out the seagull on the right.

I had to crop Mr. (or Miss?) Seagull out for my Instagram photo:

Jennifer, before we got started. She's the master!

I really can't think of many more better ways to start the day than this.

2. Witness and capture a beautiful sunrise or sunset over the ocean.
Done! Grade: B+
Even the early start time of yoga wasn't early enough to capture a sunrise, but on one of our last evenings on the Cape we saw a lovely sunset and I took lots of pictures of it.
I'll do a post in the future about it, but for now I'll just post a picture or two. It was over the ocean, but it wasn't over the wide-open ocean the way I really want because there was some inlet land in view. And the sunset was very pretty, but not jaw-droppingly stunning. So getting sunset/sunrise shots over the wide-open ocean is still on my future summer to-do list. No rest for the weary (and picky)!


3. Go on a whale watch for the first time.
Done! Grade: A+
And it was wonderful! It was seriously one of the best experiences of not just the summer, but of my life. After this experience, whales are one of my new favorite animals. They're amazing, powerful, huge titans of the sea, yet they have such a gentle, sweet demeanor. 
I'll do a post about this too, but for now, here are a few pictures. 

4. Find the perfect little owl made entirely out of seashells.
Not really done. Grade: C.
I didn't find the one that I have in mind. My chances would have been better if I'd gone to a few of the places where I think I had a better chance of finding one. What I envision is a simple, elegant, small, mostly white owl made from real seashells. The closest thing I found was this tacky cute little Mommy/Baby owl from a tourist shop, made with manufactured seashells and hot-glued googly eyes. Ha ha! I had to get it, but I'm still going to be searching for that perfect little seashell owl that I have in mind in the summer(s?) to come.

5. Try out stand-up paddle boarding.
Not done. Grade: F :-(
I couldn't find a free afternoon or morning to myself to do it. The closest I came was watching (enviously) as other people did it. It's at the top of the list for next summer!

6. Read a book for longer than two minutes without feeling the need to keep an eagle eye the whole time on the kids.
Done! And more than once! Grade: A+
I loved it. I was only able to do it when I was at the beach without my kids. Unlike Peter, I can't relax enough to focus on a book when the kids are in or near the water.
The equation that works for me is this:
Beach - my children = wonderfully atmospheric free-reading time!

One morning I read my scriptures on the beach and, no joke, I felt pretty close to heaven due to the unbeatable combination of enlightening scriptures, the ocean before me, the sound of the surf, and the  gentle warm feel of the soft sand underneath me.

Another day I actually finished a book on the beach. It was a pleasure that I hope will be oft-repeated in the years to come.

So I got a lot of great things done on my Summer To-Do List! It really was a fantastic summer and you're going to be sick of hearing about it by the time I'm done blogging about it, but blog about it I will, because this blog is a record of my imperfect but very blessed, wonderful life!

And to end on an entirely different note...