My summer of magical Mama and Milo adventure is coming to an end. I really can’t express how much I enjoyed my first summer devoted completely to myself and my family. I feel like I’ve always worked, or at least been involved in an intense job search, since I was 14 years old. This summer, my goals were completely different. Make a routine that Milo and I can really get into. Find lots of stimulating activities and day trips. See as many friends and family as possible. Check, check, check. We’ve been going nonstop since school got out. I wanted to take a second and try to keep track of everywhere we went and all the things we did. This is the only summer that Milo and I will ever share as a duo. It’s going to be precious to me my entire life.
1. Flying to Florida
This was my first super-proud moment of the summer. I drove to an airport in New Hampshire, parked and lugged our things to a shuttle, and checked in the airport to fly to Florida, with Milo, solo. I was very nervous about trying to do all the complicated things that come with flying and caring for a baby at the same time with no help. Sometimes it was a tight squeeze, and there were blessings in the form of an EMPTY ROW in the back for my lap child. We made it, had a terrific time, and got Laurel as an extra pair of hands for the flight home.
2. Saying goodbye to Grandpa Kauffman
This wasn’t Milo’s first time meeting his paternal great-grandfather, but he was much more able to say hello this time. We spent a lot of time at Grandpa’s house during our Florida vacation, and I’m so glad that Milo could pat his grandpa’s face and capture some special moments at the end. His last name is Swicker, but he is also a Kauffman boy.
3. Swimming in the Gulf!
Milo’s second time at the beach happened during our Florida vacation. He loved to splash in the waves and hang in the shade. He tried to eat a lot of sea grass and I got to show him off in his cute suit.
4. First Fourth of July Parade
This is one of my favorite pictures of all time, taken at Gloucester’s Horribles Parade. Ben has a tradition of going every year, and this time we met Nona and Grampy and got an awesome spot up in the shopping area, away from crowds. Besides a few starts when the marching bands flared up quickly, Milo was a SUPER STAR. It was really special to watch Ben pass this tradition on to his son.
5. Moving Aunt Lulu into her new neighborhood
This summer, my sister moved into a new apartment in a different part of her neighborhood. Milo has been visiting her since he was a tiny thing, and he naturally hung out with us the weekend that we got her settled in her new place. Over two days we tried new breakfast spots, hit Target and Trader Joe’s for essentials, and then stayed and unpacked boxes while Laurel and Ben did the heavy lifting of the actual move. I was proud of how Laurel handled the details of the move- she barely needed Ben or I at all. Milo, again, was patient, sweet, and ate his first pickle, to the entertainment of all.
6. Fruitlands with Nona
Milo and I were treated to a fancy day at Fruitlands Museum. Nona (Ben’s mom) took us to lunch in their lovely restaurant and then we walked around the grounds and visited the little buildings. There is portraiture, Native American artifacts, a Shaker home, and the house that the Alcott family lived in while they operated a Transcendentalist commune on the grounds. I LOVED the history and we had a beautiful day.
7. Baby Story Time at the Library
I found out about this a little late in the summer, so we only made it twice, but I’m planning to take advantage again next year, as well as during my maternity leave this winter and spring. Our local library does a weekly story time with lots of songs, puppets, instruments, and scarves. Milo absolutely adored staring around at the other kids and crawling free. It had the added plus of wearing him out and making for long afternoon naps on the days that we went. This activity was super stimulating, free, social for both us, and just felt wholesome.
8. Boston Children’s Museum
This was one of the most exciting finds of the summer. With my teacher’s association card, I can get into many Boston museums for free, and this is one of them. Add in free admission for under-one Milo, and we had a low cost day that blew both our minds. I was worried that the exhibits would be over his head, and many were, but there was plenty to keep us busy. Milo loved the musical chairs and the giant checker board, the water and sand tables, and, of course, the under three room, complete with an area that was padded and full of toys specifically for crawlers. I personally enjoyed the dollhouse exhibit and the Arthur world. We went twice, with Laurel and again with Ben, and everyone had a blast.
9. Playing outside
We spent a lot of time out in our little neighborhood this summer. A few times I laid out a blanket and some toys for us to watch the traffic and pull at the grass. Just a few days ago, Ben and I discovered a really great 2-5 year-old playground right around the corner from our house. It sits next to a huge field that’s perfect for crawling, chasing, and flopping down to watch the bugs fly around. I think was the first time Ben ever enjoyed our area openly. Milo has already visited again with Nona and Irene, and we have plans for more walks that way. Being outside with your son making little piles of bark mulch and grass just seems right.
10. Pool, pool, pool
Milo is a water baby and we swam a ton this summer. Awesome friends have invited us over to their houses for lazy lunches and afternoons soaking in the pool, and I said yes as much as possible. This picture was taken on one of our visits to my aunt’s house in Delaware. Whenever we could get in the water, we went for it. Milo loves to swim and I love to splash in the water with him. It also gives me an excuse to stock up on cute swim suits, wide brimmed hats, and fancy organic sunscreens that I buy and instantly lose. I am seriously grateful to everyone who had us over, and wish my backyard had more to offer than weeds and pitbulls beyond the back fence.
This summer was seriously, seriously packed, and I’m only through about 1/2 of our adventures. To be continued…