Remember back when you were in elementary school and your teacher asked you to report on what you did with your summer vacation? Well, this post is my attempt at providing just such a (mid-summer) report.
Image by Claudio.Ar (Out until Jul 27th)
One of the perks of being a professor at a small college is that my summer is largely available to use as I please. Sometimes I use the time to catch up on research and writing, sometimes I simply need to escape academia and be a full-time dad to my two little ones (and give my wife a hand around the house). My teaching workload this year extended a month beyond normal (until mid-June) since I agreed to run my Human Anatomy and Physiology course for the college’s summer school. This, combined with an intensive grant-writing effort during the spring semester, completely burned me out, and as such I’ve taken a much needed hiatus from the office for the past five weeks or so. I have managed to keep writing, but it has mostly been in the form of posts to this blog. I have some ideas regarding how to begin integrating this blog more with my work, but details on that will come out later – stay tuned.
I’ve spent my extended break almost entirely as a stay-at-home dad, and the family and I have had a wonderful time traveling, hanging out with friends, and trying to make the best of what has been a total wash in terms of summer weather here in NH. Being a full-time dad is hard work, but great fun, and it makes me appreciate what my wife does on a daily basis during the school year. I imagine as the kids get older I’ll start working more in the summers, but for now, I want to enjoy every moment I can with them, especially since they’re at an age when they still think mom and dad are wicked-cool.
So, what have I accomplished/learned so far on my summer break?
1. We’ve taken two trips in our new pop-up camper. Given the weather lately, I realize now that any attempt at tent camping with the kids would be brave, but insane. Camping + Heavy Rain = not fun for anyone.
2. I learned that marathon training helps in the event that you need to carry a 3-year old up a mountain (we climbed Mt. Monadnock in SW New Hampshire). You just never know when this might happen, so I suggest you start training now – it’s always good to be prepared!
3. We spent a day at Storyland. Although I’m a 30-something years old, I still love that place. Watched my 5-year old son hold hands with his “girlfriend” for the first time – very cute!
4. We had a lobsterbake with some new friends. I learned that lobsters don’t scream when you cook them – the old wive’s tale is false.
5. We spent a boiling week at the beach in Florida with some old friends. Learned that running at noon in FL sun = very bad idea. Teaching daughter to swim by herself in armbands while dad lounges with a book = great idea.
6. I’ve learned the fine art of dressing Disney Princesses and Polly Pockets. Learned that daddy’s have no fashion-sense when it comes to dressing for a “Royal Ball.” Also learned that being a princess can be very dangerous when there is a 5-year old boy with clone troopers lurking around.
7. Took a canoe trip up the Contoocook River to a beach and almost got caught in a thunderstorm. Learned that it’s much easier to paddle downstream with the threat of electrical disaster looming than it is to paddle upstream to a tranquil beach.
9. Haven’t watched TV once (kid’s shows/videos not included). Pleased with my decision to drop full cable service and save $$.
10. I’ve become a dedicated dog-runner. Jack is my companion on ~75% of my runs these days, and he’s getting better each time. He recently had his first 20-mile week! Still can’t figure out how to avoid the pooping issue though.
11. Managing to keep my mileage around 25 per week so far, plan to up that in coming weeks in prep for fall marathon(s). Have run only one race so far this summer to accommodate family time, travel, and marathon training. I’ve committed to running the Hartford Marathon in October, and am contemplating doubling up and running the Manchester City Marathon in November.
13. Finally, and most importantly, I’ve once again reaffirmed my belief that being a dad is the most super aloducious (don’t ask, it’s a kid thing) awesome job in the world!
Hope everyone else is having a great summer too!