Monday, July 30, 2012


What to say about this summer?  Well, first off, people may not believe it but Duluth has real summers.  Yes, we have real winters where it gets down to 25 below zero and many feet of snow lie upon the ground, but this is a summer of blue skies and 85 degrees.  Right now everything is green and the breezes are soft.  Sure, we had a bit of a flood at the Solstice, but other than that it has been summer as usual. 

For me, it is a true summer off.  I am switching from one job to another, and had two glorious months off.  There were a few points of boredom and unscheduled I-did-nothing-and-hate-it half days, but mostly the summer train has been rolling along.  Alex and I have had many adventures, and most of them with Kevin too.  We have been camping up the North Shore of Lake Superior, swam in the big lake, and the rivers that run into it.  Alex started the summer with a week of acting camp and a starring role as The Strongman.  We have been doing lots of PT at home, and hiking/biking/playing away from home.  Drumming is a constant companion.  And there have been play dates and birthday parties with many a friend. 

I have tried to keep us to routines, and also added in an academic focus.  I want to be able to hit the ground running for third grade, going forward instead of the usual summer backwards slide.  We don't have time to lose!  Not that it is a big grind, just enough to keep skills up.  So, if he wants things, like computer time, he has to work for it.  We keep his screen time to a minimum, but it sure is a good motivator for writing and arithmetic.  I have also been reading up on anxiety, which came up several times as a challenge at school.   Now he works for "Bravery Points" too, and we are implementing "planned ignoring" of overly anxious behavior.  It got a little worse at first, but things are starting to click now.  More on that another time.

What other summer fun?  Had a truly fantastic Fourth of July with friends, culminating in fireworks on the rocks of Lake Superior with lighting in the background and a red rising moon.  Wow.  There have been several whitewater trips, and Alex even got accidentally dumped in the river with his parent, twice.  The bravery strategy is working, because we got him to go out again the next week.  He is now swimming like a little fishy, after a two week intensive where he had swim class every day.  Good thing since it has been so hot. 

And then there was a day at the fair.  Alex completely rocked it.  He was engaged with his friends, and the farm animals too.  He ran with the crowd, and even went on his first bumper car ride.  If only I had had a camera, his delighted grin was priceless!  He tackled half a dozen fair rides with gusto, topping his previous record of two.  It was hot, and a little unfocused at times, but my boy who could never deal with either of those situations, held up great.  No total meltdowns, only a low spot or two.  He watched the kiddo horse competition with concentration, and was sad we couldn't stay to see his great friend compete in the afternoon. 

Oh yeah, and then there was the birthday party out at a lake cabin, where he swam with all the kids for hours.  His dad and I did not have to be next to him the whole time, and that is a new miracle.  He had great fun, and then caught 15 fish at the end of the party.  Yes, fifteen.  His dad had gotten a rod out, and the sunnies were so hungry they bit every hook that come by.  Ahhhhh, summer fun. 

So, here we are, and it is not quite the end of July.  Summer has been good to us so far.