Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Best Vacation Day Yet

On the scale of 1 to 10 today was a 10! So far the vacation has been dull and frustrating. The weather has not cooperated and our temperaments have needed some adjusting. It seemed that any task I put my hand to failed and the girls spent more time bickering than playing or watching TV than romping around the garden. Our fortunes turned today. There is a rainbow at the end of the storm.

We continued working on our stack of homework assigned to the girls over vacation and it was my pleasure to watch the girls excitedly learn how to read. Squirrel Monkey has recently figured out how to spell and read simple words in both English and Dutch, so we picked out words from simple reading books in both our Dutch and English books and she transitioned into each language flawlessly. As did Spider Monkey; she is now onto a new level of reading and it is amazing to see her read from page to page of a long book with a normal speed and perfect inflections. She also can transition from one language to another flawlessly and even picks up a German book she was not able to read during her kindergarten year to read those words as well . . . in beautiful German. It felt good to see the girls excited to do their summer homework and even better to see their amazing skills who many here doubted they would ever accomplish.

The girls helped me mix up the exact color of beer out of frosting and several different icing colors. In so doing they helped make a cake for Daddy to take into work to celebrate. His lab has a nice tradition; with each newly published paper the author brings in a cake to share and celebrate and I am proud to be his own personal baker.

After the girls had licked the bowls of the beer and foam, we burned off some of the energy by doing gymnastics in the living room. I surprised myself that I can still do cartwheels and in the living room, to boot. So we listened to Duran Duran (songs that inspired me to spring during the age that I was doing cartwheels on the lawn during my own summer vacations) and some of the latest Red Hot Chili Peppers (songs which maybe they'll play while showing their own children that they can still do cartwheels after 30).

Soon the sun started shining and I sent the two oldest out to ride their bikes while I danced with my baby to "My Girl". She giggled with glee when we spun and rested her head on my shoulders while we waltzed, her little hand clasped in mine and an arm lovingly clinging around me.

She then helped me make a dinner by sitting on the counter and passing me various items I really didn't need to help make the meal. When all was cooling on the stove she and I walked barefoot to the playground to gather the older girls who were deserted on an island surrounded by hot lava with only a few sticks and leaves to live off of (in the school sandbox).

We ended the night with the girls tucked into bed and celebrating a successful surgery on Mr. Monkey's first rat for his own personal post-doc project by sipping wine and eating a fresh baked baguette with brie. I think summer has finally dawned.

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