Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend 2009

It was the last weekend of summer, and maybe that's why we felt we had to pack it all in. We headed to the cottage first thing Friday morning and spent the whole day on the beach: digging holes, taking walks, building sandcastles, splashing in the (freezing) water, swinging on the swings, eating snacks.

Saturday morning, we woke the girls up and popped them in the car for a whirlwind day in Chicago. We got to the aquarium when it opened (good move; the line grows exponentially as the day goes on, and by the time we left a few hours later it was halfway to Lake Shore Drive) and marveled at the fish! The sharks! The dolphins! The belugas! The sea lions! The jellyfish! Jemma was particularly in awe. We took some video of the girls there, and when we watched it again today, every other scene is Jemma, eyes big, pointing, saying, "Look at that one!"

We took a water taxi from the aquarium to Michigan Avenue - something we had never done before - and it was awesome. We had a great view of the city as we cruised Lake Michigan and then headed up the river, past Navy Pier and under a couple bridges. We ate lunch, then unveiled the surprise part of the special day: we told Annie we were bringing her to the American Girl Place.

I had previously vowed to NEVER take my child to that store. I had even vowed that, were it up to me, my child would never know of such a thing as an American Girl Doll. However, I didn't count on preschool Show-And-Tell, where the sophisticated girls brought in their Kits and their Kirstens. I didn't count on the fact that American Girl somehow KNOWS that you have a four-year-old, so they send you a catalog at Christmas time. And even though I put that straight into the recycling pile, my daughter honed in on it with a sixth sense, then proceeded to rescue it from that pile, clutch it to her chest and take it to bed with her for many days in a row, and declare her life to be potentially perfect if she could just have this ONE special Bitty Baby with the bald head and the blue eyes. How can a Mommy say no to that?

Meet Molly (who has been out of Annie's arms for less than ten minutes since Saturday afternoon).

It would not surprise me at all if Jemma grows up and decides to live in a big city. Walking down Michigan Avenue, she was all confidence and joy. She would have run a block ahead of us, never looking back, if we would have let her. She loved the noises, the street musicians, the mimes, the big buildings. She's going to be a city girl.

Lastly, we met Jason's cousin Nate and his growing family at the Brookfield Zoo for the rest of the day (where they are members and generously got us in for free with guest passes, too). We got to meet baby Finn, see the lions very up-close and personal, and wander around to let the girls burn off any energy they had left after a whole day of adventure. We put their jammies on in the parking lot of the zoo, popped in Nemo, and headed home, arriving back at the cottage after 9:00 p.m.

Yesterday, we could hardly stand to close up the house or leave the beach, knowing it was likely our last time there in the warm sunshine of summer 2009. So we didn't (leave), and we played and ate and laughed right up until we finally drove back in our own driveway (our "real house," Jemma calls it) after 9:00 last night.

We are beat, the girls are fried, and we've sucked every last ounce of summer out of this, the last weekend. It's been the crappiest, coldest one I can remember. Still, it's been the best one I can remember. And now the backpack is packed, the outfit is chosen, the camera is set out: Annie starts kindergarten tomorrow. In the garage, a bed frame sits, tacky with two coats of paint, waiting to be assembled in Jemma's room; this may be her very last night in a crib. Time marches steadily on, and just this minute, I sort of wish it would stop.

1 comment:

  1. they are so beautiful! sounds like a perfect weekend:)