After talking repeatedly with the girls about this past summer, we decided that it was a summer that really bad things happened, and it was a summer that really good things happened, too.
We also decided that ice cream soothed a lot of broken hearts this summer.
But we did do some other great things over the summer... here's a sampling of pictures.
Alec and I went to a playground program where we played once a week at all of the town parks, culminating in this trip to a nearby creek in South Bethlehem. Very fun.
We went many times to Jericho Twist. Many, many times.
Alec and Jenna both took swim lessons every day for two weeks at the town park and really made great strides in their swimming. Here is Alec with his instructor and volunteer.
We went for frozen yogurt a lot, too.
A couple times we stayed after swim lessons and played. Alec loves Splash Island.
Alec relaxing at the town park.
We made a trip to the Hudson River and had a picnic lunch.
Back at the town park, Alec threw a classic three year old style fit until he got what he wanted: a brownie. For breakfast. (Third child always wins)
We started the tradition of taking a picture after the haircut next to the barber's pole.
We celebrated the 4th of July!!
We had the Show off Day at the end of swim lessons. Here's Jenna showing what she's learned.
And here's Alec waiting on the sidelines to go.
We fit in as much swimming at my parents' house as we could, even if it just meant dunking our feet in. My dad loved watching the kids in the pool and tried to get outside to enjoy the sun and fresh air.
At our house, we tore down a rotting fence.
Dan had "helpers".
We went to FunPlex and rode the rides...
... and bounced on the bungee cords...
... and finished up on the water bumper boats. Alec was not amused by that.
We even went to the dentist and got mustache prizes. Love my goofy girls.
In August, my brother and his family came for a week and we had a ball. There was sewing...
... and of course, LOTS of swimming!!!
We went to the Altamont Fair on a blissfully cool day and saw tons of animals that we usually only see in digital form on our favorite app, Hay Day. Here's Michaela and Jenna checking out the prize-winning chickens.
Group shot of the grandkids!
Even a giraffe!!
And because no trip home for my brother is complete without a stop at Stewart's, we stopped in... and had ice cream. Love this look on Alec's face.
We celebrated my mom's birthday with an adults-only dinner at Jack's downtown. It was amazing. We talked about my dad and how much he would have loved being there with us.
We went to a BBQ at a friend's house and there you have it: more ice cream.
What a wonderful night we had, swimming and gabbing and laughing.
No visit to Gammie and PopPop's pool is complete without an End of Visit Water Show, choreographed by Aunt Bethie and Michaela. Every year they have more participants as the kids get older!! This year's show was highlighted by the acquisition of lighted sticks that squirted water. Every year they outdo themselves!!
We bought a new tractor for Dan to mow the lawn.
We enjoyed a few fires this summer and this one was from when Beth and Brian were here.
Plenty of s'mores (and counting our blessings) but no ice cream this night.
We all went to Hoffman's Playland for a wonderful afternoon of fun and rides.
Michaela ingeniously discovered play value in all the leftover latex gloves we had at the house for my dad's illness: fill them with water and make them "babies".
We wrapped up the summer by going to a Valley Cats game.
Yup, ice cream was consumed. It was a beautiful night.
And then a few days later, we left for Disney World to finish out the summer.
So when people generically ask, "How was your summer?" I could tell them it was the summer I said good bye to my dad and tried to help sheppard my little sheep through the process.
But I also can say it was filled to the brim with family and friends surrounding us with love, holding each other up, laughing, crying, learning and growing.
And eating lots of ice cream.