Next week is supposed to be my last full week of Summer Break before returning to kick off the school year with two weeks of in-services and planning before the kiddos arrive. I had already decided to try (if rooms were available) to go in next Thursday & Friday (the week before our scheduled return to get a head start). Earlier this week... I was asked if I would come in to work with a committee to help plan Student Activities. Of course, I said yes because I love our students (and their activities). Shortly thereafter... I received a letter from the boss asking me to be a mentor to our new English department teacher. This will be my first time "officially" acting in a mentorship capacity, although I have always (well, most always) tried to take new teachers under my wing to encourage & collaborate. Then... having stopped in to use the office fax machine the other morning while picking up Cameron from Cross Country, I was given an "invitation" to the School Board Meeting on Monday night to celebrate the Key Club's achievements at International Convention this summer. Well, my eagerness to do that should not need explaining. And thus... school is starting back a whole week earlier than planned.
While I am excited to get this new school year kicked off, I have tried making the most of my few days of Summer Break. On Monday, the boys and I went to Water Country.
The weather was nice, if not a bit too cool, especially for Benjamin who spent a great deal of time transitioning between attractions bundled in towels. I often refer to the tot as "fearless" and the water park proved to be no obstacle to our resident Super Buddy. If unattended for just a moment, he was racing off to the next big slide or pool.
The first few times he went down a slide, he was none too happy, yet he kept wandering back. Once he figured to actually close his eyes before he emerged, twirling knee over elbow, in the rushing waters he was fine. It didn't take long for him to be bored by the kiddie slides and race off to those more suitable for school-aged children.
When approaching the bundle of slides at Rock & Roll Island, he informed me that he was going to ride the red one. When I explained that no he wasn't, he replied "Why? Am I crazy?" Then, he tried to get Cameron to sneak him off to the big (BIG) slide anyway. Thankfully when Cameron told him that he was not allowed to wear his life jacket going down it, he replied, "Oh, I can't do that."
In addition to all the splash parks and cruising on a raft in the lazy river, we also went on Hubba Hubba Highway and in the wave pool. Benjamin kinda shocked me with how brave he was. As long as he was holding on to a finger (and in his life jacket), he was bobbing right along. In the deeper waters of the wave pool I commented what a good swimmer he was and he replied, "I know. Look at my tail. I'm a mermaid."
After hemming and hawing, going back & forth, wrenched with indecision, I threw the boys in the car Wednesday (or gave them 20 minutes to get completely ready, packed, and out the door... same difference) and headed to Busch Gardens. We have Season Passes to both Water Country and Busch Gardens and I am pretty irked at myself for not using them more this summer... or at all, other than 1 pre-summer trip to BG.
We rode trains, flew planes, swung swings, played in Dinosaur Land and Elmo's World. We rode the merry-go-round and Benjamin was big enough to lay down on the parasail this year. He certainly wasn't all smiles and giggles this trip though. We wanted to get him measured and an arm band to know if there were any new rides he could go on. Well, you might think he would want to have surgery again rather than have his height measured by the fuss he was making. And, roller coasters... which were his favorite part just two months ago, scare him now.
We did make it late into the night though, aided by Wolf, which Cameron won playing a soccer game, and turtles. I took Benjamin into one of the overpriced touristy stores to pass away time while we waiting for the final show to start. There was a tub of small plastic animals and you could fill a little plastic briefcase with them for a souvenir. This distracted us for a great while. Surprisingly, Benjamin wanted no animal other than turtles, 12 pairs of them. This was very odd indeed having seen no particular affection towards the hard-shelled friend before.
Benjamin enjoyed the rock & dance mini-concert that ended the night, followed by fireworks, which he watched perched from Cameron's shoulders. When I awoke him, sleepy, after arriving home and asked what his favorite part was he said, "I have two- the music and the fireworks."
I had a couple of serendipitous events on both days out of town. At both Water Country and Busch Gardens, the "Preferred Parking" was open to the general crowd and we got (for free) the kind of front row parking you usually have to pay $20 for. I also stopped at a different thrift store during each road trip and found some good books- for my classroom library and for myself.
Not so fortunate was the drive home Monday. We pulled up to the ferry just as it arrived at the opposite dock. Waited 30 minutes for it to board there. Waiting another 30 minutes for it to depart from our dock, so the ride home took near three hours! Thus upon leaving the park yesterday, I decided to take the "city" way back home, which can be confusing and thus I usually avoid it at late night. However, the trip home was less than half the previous unplanned journey. THEN!!! Today Jason heard on the news that there was an accident on the ferry last night, with the barge pulling away while people were boarding, causing a car to actually go into the river! So, I guess it would have to be serendipitous too that we didn't venture that way last night.