Summer 2013

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Fall may not officially begin for over another month, but for all practical purposes, summer was over for us as of this week when I woke to my alarm before six on Monday morning. But I’ll miss so much more than sleeping in.

I’ll miss putting on a swimsuit instead of regular clothes. I’ll miss watching Finn jump and swirl and dive and twist in the water, so strong and confident and agile.09400023

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He spent much of the summer dashing around in the pool, asking to play “shark,” which entailed a lot of shrieking, or to play dolphin, swimming to the bottom to pick up rings with his teeth — something I’ll definitely miss. And when his older cousins came over, Finn played a big boy game in which he actually towered over everyone:

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My little man also grew tall enough to ride the big water slide at an Orlando resort this summer, although the staff still required him to wear a life jacket. When I saw Finn’s face afterward, I asked him if it was a little too scary, and he exclaimed, “No! It was cool! It was the coolest!”

Finn is finally tall enough to do the water slide! (but still has to wear a life jacket)

But the coolest thing really was the snorkeling. This was serious stuff; no splashing around or yelling here — just serious exploration of the mysterious, alien world that’s fascinated him for so long:

A little snorkeling along the beach

When we headed with family out to Sombrero Reef off Marathon Key, Finn was ready. The fish were beautiful but the surface was choppy, so in the end, neither he nor Mommy lasted long in the water. Although I won’t miss the motion sickness, I will miss the excitement I felt watching my boy climb bravely down the boat’s ladder into the massive, moving ocean.

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But it wasn’t all so intense. I’ll miss the calm times, too. While on Marathon Key, we found lots of time to float around lazily in the pool,…

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… dip little feet in the Gulf of Mexico,…

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… and sift through the sand on Sombrero Beach:

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We explored even more at the Key West Aquarium, where Finn touched some pokey sea urchins,…

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…watched sleek sharks swim behind protective glass,…

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…and fed some others up close:

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And at Fort Lauderdale’s Museum of Discovery and Science, he got almost as close to a cute little otter, who (I’d like to imagine) was darting in for a kiss:

Finn almost came face to face with an otter today!

Finn got even closer to some friendly goaty-goats at a fruit stand and market called Robert Is Here,…

Feeding some goaty-goats

…especially close to Aba’s dog, whom Finn nicknamed “Willow My Pillow,”…

My parents brought their dog Willow with them this visit, and Finn is beside himself with excitement. This is the closest he's been to having a pet.

… and much closer than expected to several butterflies, some visiting our own butterfly garden…

Finn makes friends with a zebra butterfly

…and others at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, such as this one that rested lightly on his hand and tickled him with its antennae:

Made friends in the butterfly garden...

Finn held onto something a bit heavier at a local Planetarium (but didn’t seem burdened a bit)…

Holding up the moon

… and held his new cousin Oliver — just a bit lighter and most precious of all — up close and snuggly on his lap:

Finn and baby cousin Oliver got a little snuggly yesterday. @jenncastilloux @alexrluna

On the Fourth of July, he held some sparklers a little too closely — nervous moments I actually won’t miss at all:

Happy 4th of July!

Most of all, though, I’ll miss all the time spent just hanging around, the lazy ordinary hours watching birds or playing monopoly in pajamas,…

Finn's plays his first game of Monopoly (Monopoly Junior Party edition). The "properties" are bounce houses, dance parties, and magic shows, but it's still about competition and luck. (Sigh).

…trying out different pancake recipes or experimenting with coconut macaroons,…

Homemade coconut macaroons!

… doing art projects, reading, — or just plain horsing around:

@sunshinephelps @mrajhill  Our little monsters...

Three little monkeys jumping on Grandmere's bed; luckily no heads were broken.

I’ll miss just being together, that feeling of proximity, that comfort of having family close by, right there.

That I’ll just have to try to remember as we rush out the front door each morning, each to our own places.

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