Monday, September 7, 2015

10 Reasons Why Our Summer Didn't Suck

Back in the day, and yes I'm old enough to say that, our school days revved back up the day after Labor Day. Without fail, our first creative writing English assignment was to write an essay about "What I Did On My Summer Vacation." In those days, despite my deep love for this particular class and honors-English-status, I hated this ritualistic post-summer assignment.

My summer vacations didn't include trips to Disney or Myrtle Beach. No fancy vacations for our family. Instead, while in the Middle School, my parents purchased a piece of land in Pittsburg, New Hampshire. Dirt road. Approximately 3.2 miles into the woods. If you're not familiar with this area, it's the northern most point of New Hampshire. The last town before the Canadian border. At that time, it could have been considered "the best kept secret." Entertainment included bear watching at the dump and trips down "Moose Alley" after dark. To park the car and watch the moose.

Needless to say, my Summer Vacation paper was filled with uneventful activities. Clearing land. Hauling brush. Enjoying the comforts of nearby rustic cabins while our camp was being built. Identifying wildlife in the form of fecal matter. Watching moose lick salt off the road after a good rain. Photographing moose in the marshy areas while sipping coffee at 5 a.m. Trying to explain to the waitress what iced coffee is. Crossing the border into Canada to legally drink at a young age.

Did I say that out loud?

Back then, my summer adventures were slightly embarrassing. Unexciting. Keep in mind, I was a teenager. I craved the adventures of my fellow classmates. Trips to Florida. California. Weekend or week-long trips to popular vacation destinations. Shaking hands with Mickey Mouse.

Little did I know that decades later, I'd be craving our old family camp and the extreme up north adventures.

At the age of 41, when this time of year hits, I'm reminded of those annual "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" essays. I reflect back on the past few months. In comparison to the thousands of summer vacation photos that decorated my social streams, our dog Mom adventures may seem trivial to those who enjoyed summer cruises, beach days at a luxury resort, week-long vacations at popular summer destinations, etc.

However, unlike decades ago, I'm not embarrassed of how we spent our summer...

1. Events. We're going on two years of Bodacious Biscuit Love and there was a steady stream of invitations to participate in events to benefit our local animal shelters. From the end of May through July, we were booked every weekend. One weekend, we were double booked. We had an incredible time all the way around and it gave us the opportunity to make connections, hang out with some incredible humans and meet hundreds of pups.

2. We rescued 3 senior pups. With the assistance of some awesome humans, we were able to rescue 3 urgent senior pups. It was a joint effort. All 3 pups have new homes with new families and are lovin' life. Big. Huge. Smile.

3. The not-so-nice human who lived upstairs moved. We love and adored his dog. His human, not so much. I haven't written about this yet. Or the events to follow. But, I will. Until then, just know we celebrated. And, exhaled.

4. Raccoon. I've always adored raccoon. However, they're wild animals and it's not advisable to interact with them. It's best to admire them from a distance. Over the summer, we were able to witness raccoon rehabilitation and observe their behavior and such. I had a once-in-a-lifetime moment. While feeding a raccoon, it wrapped it's hand around my finger. Our eyes met. Then, shortly after, it took a piece of watermelon out of my hand.

5. Baby Opossums. We also had the opportunity to hold orphaned baby opossums and feed them before they were transported to a rehabber.

6. We baked several hundred thousand biscuits. Maybe a million. Who knows. We don't keep track. We should. During the many afternoons and evenings of baking, I would scroll through my Facebook news feed and see photo after photo after photo of humans lounging at the beach, enjoying a cocktail by the pool or on a cruise. There I was, sitting at my desk, viewing these photos, covered in flour, wearing a peanut butter oil stained t-shirt and sporting a sloppy bun.

7. Enjoyed lots of time with the kids. Always. Our hectic schedule does not impair family time or sporadic play time on the floor with the kids. If we had a free day on the weekend, it was spent at home. With the kids. Not once did we take that opportunity to "go out and do something." Our "something" is here. At home.

8. We found a vegetable Coco loves. Carrots. Coco and Lisa have something in common. They don't like vegetables. As the one who makes the meals and snacks, this can be challenging. With Lisa, I've gone so far as to disguise zucchini in chocolate brownies. When making the kid's meals, we do our best to disguise vegetables in Coco's bowl. Over the summer, we learned he is crazy about raw carrots. He will sit at my feet if I'm munching on 'em. A victory.

9. Four kittens fostered. These sweet lil' nuggets o' love were 3 weeks when we fostered them for one of our local animal shelters. Bottle fed 'round the clock. I work at home and sleep very little. Fostering kittens that need 'round the clock care is easy for us. We enjoyed our time with them and when they left to continue their journey, they were eating soft kitten food.

10. Our family got through some serious shit. Two family members passed away along with several dear friends of ours. It hasn't been easy. Our only trip to the beach this summer was to honor a dear friend who lost her battle with cancer. Lots of tears. Lots of memories. Through it all, the kids just knew. They were glued to our sides and, on more than one occasion, licked tears from our faces. Our. Kids. Are. Amazing.

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