—Afternoon at Anna & Ella’s: We were all invited over to the twins’ house on a Saturday to hang out and swim. It was good to get to know their parents, and all four kids had a blast on that very low-key afternoon.
—Back to School swim party at the twins’: This was only about ten days later, the day before school started for everyone — an actual party at Anna & Ella’s, which was another chance to kind of get back into the social swing after a summer off. Lukas spent most of his time on the trampoline, and I spent mine talking to some of my favorite mom-friends.
—Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: We put those season passes to good use with a weekday trip down to SC for some boardwalk fun. The big headline this time was Annika riding the Big Dipper (the old wooden rollercoaster); she was terrified, and I don’t really feel good about how I persuaded her to ride it — she’d said maybe, on the way down, but HELL NO once we got there … But anyway, it’s always a good time walking around eating dippin’ dots and whatnot.
—The Rio Olympics: We watched thousands of hours of Olympics coverage, to the neglect of every other kind of entertainment while the games were on … the kids loved gymnastics and the equestrian events, and the swimming was very exciting; Annika watched Katie Ledecky’s swims in slow-mo and took actual notes on her form, which the then taped to a piece of construction paper and put inside a Ziplock for reference outside in the pool. Love her focus!!
—Lazy days: Most of the month that wasn’t spent on school prep (e.g. the hellish trip to Target for school supplies, the shoe store, etc.) was given over to our usual stuff: swimming, bowling, playing around on screens (Annika’s heavily into something called Roblox), and watching Octonauts (Lukas’s new discovery, of which we all heartily approve).
—Parade of Broken Appliances: First the ovens died, then the washing machine, then the freezer. So we worked around (sending out the laundry) and did without (no more ice cream), until after a solid month, the oven got fixed — we celebrated restored oven functionality by baking these amazing Finnish cookies Annika had discovered a recipe for; still waiting on the other appliances. Ugh.
—Brownie sleepover: Annika’s troop had its first official event, a sleepover and cookout at R&R’s magical wonderland of a house. They actually slept in tents in the backyard; I had to sign up for a 2-hour volunteer shift, part of which included setting up those tents, but otherwise Annika was on her own with the girls. She loved it, and now wants to go camping with her troop. I’ll … send marshmallows. Have fun kids.
—The Empire Strikes Back: Lukas finally decided he was ready to watch Empire, so we set it up in the movie room the day Annika was at her Brownie sleepover (she was actively against seeing it herself, thus the choice of showtimes). He loved it, wasn’t scared, and now has new stuff to yell when he runs around pretending to be a stormtrooper.
—Play dates: Lukas is fully committed to the playdate lifestyle, asking for one at least once per day. He had one with Lawson (in the two hours between Kinder/TK dismissal that first week) and one with his TK classmate Manir — his good buddy from preschool — whose mom I love and get along with really well. He fell apart at the end when it was time to leave — exhaustion plus just really not wanting to stop playing — but the during part was awesome!
—Wacky Wednesdays: We had to move Lukas’s swim lessons to Wednesdays, because obviously he can’t do Thursday mornings anymore, so it’s going to be a very, very tight turnaround getting from school to AVAC by 3:15 for his lesson (hers is at 3:30). Should be fun.
Astonishingly enough, Annika started third grade, and Lukas started TK. She got the “cool” teacher, a young guy named Mr. Dinh (who, it turns out, kind of stresses her out by being a loud talker but! redeemed himself in other ways, including the optional Pokemon Friday lunch trading card sessions). Most of her runnin’ buddies are in other classes, but she is back with Niamh this year, and her BFF Raina is in her class, so it’ll be OK. Lukas is loving the otherworldly-good Miss Bingham, and she has highest praise for him so far. He has been reunited with preschool pal Manir, whom he runs to and hugs in line every morning, and is making lots of other friends (most of whose names he doesn’t know yet, ha!). He comes home with a half dozen scrapes, bruises and scratches every day, so I guess he’s having a fabulous time on the playground as well. It’s looking like a good year for both — although we found out at Back-to-School night that Mr. Dinh is going to be taking parental leave (he has a newborn daughter) starting in November. Boo! But I mean, excellent for him and I support it and all that. Heh.
—Me, sifting through forms & permission slips: "Hey, did you wanna join the Green Team at school?"
—Annika, with the levelest look I have ever seen on any human face: "No. I'm not gonna spend my recess digging through the garbage with gloves on."
—Me: [thrilled beyond measure that I haven't passed on my Overachieving People-Pleasing Joiner gene] "OK then."