According to the outfitting company that led our kayak trip, Mary has been six for like half a year, but according to her birth certificate, today is the big day. I was going to write a sort of newsy update kind of post, but then noticed that all of the pictures were of our shockingly grown up youngest. She is almost as old as our oldest was when she was born so enjoy the mental gymnastics I've been wrestling with all morning.
I almost forgot to take the traditional picture in front of the cubbies, but then remembered after lunch.
Wes and James went to a guitar camp this week that met at a Unitarian church, so we took full advantage of connecting with our spiritual sides, like going on a contemplative walk around this labyrinth. Someone was meditating there in the morning and no matter how much I hiss-whispered for the kids to stop shrieking and running they just could not resist, so we went back in the afternoon when we had the place to ourselves. It's hard to meditate when it is a hundred degrees outside.
One camp day I took the kids and my laptop to our local hippie grocery store/cafe/playground in an attempt to ply them with breakfast tacos and get a couple of hours to finish two work things by an upcoming deadline. It was modestly successful. I got both things submitted. But it was not without its stressful moments. And creepy supervision by Mary. On the way out I bought a package of hot dogs that, for lack of a better solution, stayed in my purse until we arrived home several hours later.
We spent some time contemplating heat stroke and our own mortality by this pond.
That evening we went to Wizarding Night at our minor league baseball team's game. I bought tickets to the pre-game Quiddich lesson, which I found a little hokey, but the kids thought was freaking amazing. Except James who was under the assumption that we would learn to fly once we got there.
Mary reclined in the shade for much of the game. Here she was asking me why the players weren't tackling each other and why they were all staying "over there in the corner of the field." Ryan is not amused by the kids' lack of basic sports knowledge but I think it's hysterical (once we were at my friend Aunt Andrea's house and her son was trying to play baseball with my kids who could NOT figure it out and James turned to me and said with exasperation "Why does this game have so many confusing rules?!"). We bought the kids butterbeer and ourselves regular beer and for the first time made it through all nine innings. A family milestone!
Wes painted American flags on everyone's faces.
Mary gave me only the barest outline of what she wanted to do for her birthday, including a pinata, so Charley and I took her to the store to pick one out. Once she chose this Rey one Charley and I were OFF TO THE RACES with the Star Wars theme, including fashioning twenty light sabers out of pool noodles and buying most of the related decorations in the store.
Charley asked if we could go to Austin Science and Nature Center, which was one of our very favorite places to go when the kids were little and no one was in regular school and we had a fluid schedule and lots of energy. I'd say there was a period we came down here about once a week to look at the animals, dig in the sandbox, and play in this stream. Charley has so many memories of it. Mary has zero memories of it. That's because she has been there like once and was probably in the Ergo the whole time. My poor, deprived #fourthbaby whose formative years have been spent in the back of a minivan, front of a grocery cart, and the back of many an elementary school program night.
Look how delightful this stream is! Another reason I love Austin. This stream runs through the nature center and all they ask is that you don't walk off the edge into the actual pond.
Tonight we are taking her birthday spaghetti dinner to the POOL to spend one last late pool night with our friends before we have to worry about school nights again, which is on WEDNESDAY. The summer went incredibly fast, which I would not have said just a few weeks ago because DAMN. But a week of camp and a week of intentionally trying to have all the fun and now I'm sad to see it go.
Mary is THRILLED to go back to school, already loves her teacher (who is the same first grade teacher James and Wes both had), can't wait to see her friends, and has carefully organized her uniforms in her drawers. The boys are less enthusiastic and I've just been giving myself mental pep talks about how much more mature and experienced everyone is and that surely this won't be as stressful as last year, right? RIGHT?