While I may get a little stressed as summer approaches and scheduling takes a turn, I always get sorrowful when it comes to an end. I’m convinced this summer went by faster than any other, seriously.
Earlier in the year, we decided not to take an extended trip. Instead, Luke took some time off work and we hung out and had adventures closer to home. We did have some super fun adventures, from trapping a squirrel, Disney Quest for Aidan’s birthday, SeaWorld Aquatica, boating in a tropical paradise with the family to wading in the springs at Rock City. We visited the Aquarium, partook in some arts & crafts at You do the Dishes and even had a picnic or two at the park. Oh, and a large plastic pool served as a dedicated source of entertainment for about two weeks before an animal or something took it out.
This summer, Skye learned to swim and went on her first field trip. The girl has a true love for the water, no doubt! Both Aidan and Skye had fun at the Bright Horizons‘ camps. The Hunter’s Green crew really does go above and beyond! Thanks to them, I got to dabble in face painting… And, Aidan couldn’t be more excited about the “camp-out” this weekend. He enjoyed a couple of MOSI camps and some guitar lessons as well.
Oh, congratulations to my folks… They moved into a cool new place this summer! I’m waiting for the call where they’re heading out to water aerobics or Taco Night.
Summer 2012 was awesome!
For Aidan’s 8th birthday, we celebrated by taking him and his best friend to Disney Quest. He had been there not too long ago with his friend during his birthday, and this is what he had decided on. Afterwards, we were going to have his friend sleepover, which would be the first sleepover we’ve had here. In preparation for all of it, Skye hung out with her grandparents!
Disney Quest was a little pricey for what you get… I guess it depends on what you expect. The two boys we had with us just kind of stood there at first not sure what to do. They didn’t want to do this, it was too long of a line for that, or whatever… They got moving when they saw us getting increasingly frustrated over the whole thing. The wait for the games wasn’t too bad.
We have a Gameworks (or I forget the name of that place now) not so far away. So, it would have been about a quarter of the price to go down the road, play games and eat something. But, I can’t argue it was an adventure going to Downtown Disney and I don’t think Aidan would complain. We did leave after several hours because they told us their “eyes hurt.” Interestingly, they were fine when they got home an hour later and immediately started playing Minecraft. They devoured pizza and a bag of Doritos, with a little bit of our help. It was shameless, but it was worthy.
For two kids determined to make it to midnight, Aidan stormed off to bed around 11pm or so and his friend followed shortly thereafter. They never did finish John Carter and never even asked about it.
Aidan turns eight today, and we spent the afternoon hanging out. His wish for the day was to play video games and LEGOs and then follow it up with ribs and corn for dinner. No problem…
As he was watching some kind of Minecraft YouTube tutorial, I inquired about a few of his favorites:
Favorite color – White – “It just fits me.”
Favorite thing to do – Play video games – “They’re fun.”
Favorite video game – Minecraft – “I get to build stuff.”
Favorite subject in school – Reading – “I’m just good at it.”
Favorite book – Harry Potter Goblet of Fire – “I just like it.”
Favorite place to go – Gameworks – “It has good games.”
Favorite place to eat – Five Guys – “They have good food. I like burgers”
Favorite shows – Adventure Time & Gravity Falls – “Funny stuff.”
Favorite thing to do outside – Ride bikes – “I like hanging out with my friend Connor.”
Favorite snack – Oreos – “They taste really good.”
Some deep stuff there… That’s our boy!
Bright Horizons accepted an enormous challenge today and gathered all of the kids from the center out on the playground and constructed a flag out of their colored clothing! Despite the heat, the kids waved Old Glory and smiled in celebration of America’s 236th birthday. Can you spot Aidan and Skye?
Well, summer has officially started and we’ve officially made it through a few weeks without the regular school schedule. The extra hour has significantly reduced the morning chaos!
This summer, we kept Skye enrolled at Bright Horizons as an easy transition from preschool to a more “camp” type of atmosphere. She’s having a blast doing swim class, cool themed activities and we’re even looking forward to a few field trips coming up. We’ve been going there for about six years now if you include the time with Aidan, and they just all seem like family at this point. The kids love it… we love it!
For Aidan, we did a few different things to mix it up a bit. Turning eight in July, our thought was that he could use a little boredom. Rather than paying for summer camps every week, it was decided to do a camp every other week. We’ve filled in the other time with some pretty cool guitar lessons from the neighbor kid and days out with my folks or with me painting our own pottery and such. He’s busy, but there’s time for boredom too while I get the work-from-home stuff done. Currently, he’s obsessed with Minecraft, so that’s about as deep as conversations are getting these days. Gaming is being regulated to avoid zombie brain-drain. This week, he’s crashing stuff with his best friend and neighbor at the Museum of Science of Industry. The feedback started out questionable, but they seem to be having more fun now.
Luke had last week off, and we had a blast exploring some old school Florida tourist spots. We ventured over to Rock Springs for a picnic and went tubing. Later in the week, we revisited the Sponge Docks over in Tarpon where we ate at Hella’s. Luke and I agreed Acropolis is better, but that’s just the smug seeping out. We walked the beach at Honeymoon Island and topped the weekend off by dropping the kids off at my parent’s house for a sleepover. Nothing says vacation like staying up late listening to loud music and movies and then sleeping in and drinking coffee without any screaming or whining… Priceless!
Oh, Father’s Day and my birthday were last week as well. Special thanks to my folks for taking me and Aidan out to lunch! Luke still owes me Cirque du Soleil. Although, he did take me out for a pretty spectacular afternoon of food and fun. Turning 36 wasn’t so bad… It was a great day and I still feel like I’m in my 20s. It’s all good!
With a few MOSI science camps, some cool field trips and such with Bright Horizons and another week with me and Luke on vacation, Aidan should be starting 3rd grade with a smile.
Aidan has started acting like kind of a jerk lately… There’s no better way to say it. The little boy, who is only almost eight, was only weeks ago the most sensitive and loving little kid you ever met. His innocence was, and is, precious.
I can’t pinpoint an exact event, but there’s been an attitude shift over the past few weeks. After overhearing a conversation in the car with his friend on the way to summer camp, I realized I needed to really have a serious talk with this kid.
When I approached him that evening, I told him it was likely the most important conversation we’ll ever have because all other things can be applied to it. What I said went something like this…
The world is a huge place and it’s full of such a crazy amount of life. From the smallest little amoebe to the largest whale in the ocean, we’ve all been fortunate enough to be granted some time on this little floating planet. It’s what we do with it that really matters… The time we’re given here is finite. It has an end, and it goes by much faster than you may now realize.
What I want you to understand is that words and actions have intense meaning and that respect is something you don’t want to be without. We should share in the understanding that we all have a place here and that there’s no point in judging others for any reason or purposely making them feel bad or considering violence as an answer to solving our problems.
Having respect for others is how you develop understanding. And, understanding is how we get progress. And, progress just means that our future is happy and good. If we spend time using our words to say mean things or treat other living things poorly, we waste time we could be using to do things that result in more positive things, like developing friendships and having good times and appreciating all of the truly beautiful things around us.
You know who The Beatles are. They once told us that all you need is love… It’s true sweetie. Don’t think about people for the things you don’t like about them or agree with others that they are funny somehow. Appreciate people and other things for being different and focus on what drives your real passions and who you are. You’ll be more productive, won’t hurt people’s feelings and everyone is happy.
So, to conclude… Never stop learning and always treat people with respect. If you can do this, I’ve done my job as your mom well.
Today is Easter, which is a day traditionally spent dressing up and going to church… but, that’s simply not the Stepniowski way.
The last egg hunt we hosted was in 2008, so I suppose it was about time for a sequel. We’re very fortunate to have so many awesome people in our hood. And, many of them represented as we hid what seemed like hundreds of eggs in our yard. We actually hid them twice because the kids seemed to enjoy themselves so much! Instead of putting candy inside like we used to when I was little, we had them turn in their baskets for goody bags that Tathiana had made for everyone. Thanks Tathi!
With Luke on the grill and guardian of the beverage coolers, we had plenty to feast on. Of course, we have our folks to thank for always contributing our favorite foods as well.
So, welcome spring… And, thank you to all of our friends and family who shared in the celebration!
Easter 2012 Gallery
Aidan’s Spring Break was met with much Disney magic… Three days, in fact.
We ventured over to Orlando and visited Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney. We even had time for a character breakfast at the hotel with Pluto and Goofy in attendance for all of the screaming kids’ enjoyment. We decided to try out the Wyndham across from Downtown Disney and think that’s our only regret. Next time, we’ll either drive back and forth or stay in the Grand Floridian like we’ve done in the past. The variance in quality between the two is significant. Although, I’m not sure if Skye would sleep in either one. While the rest of the crew was exhausted by the end of each day, Skye managed to keep the energy going throughout the night.
The weather was perfect, and we captured some really beautiful pictures . It was the Flower Festival at Epcot, which is something both Luke and myself had wanted to see. It was pretty cool. Good times, as always… it’s how we roll!