As of Thursday morning at 9:15 am, summer break officially began for the residents of One Carbon Hill, and we wasted no time diving into the fun.
Following our release from school, Shortcake and I met up with Punkin and The General for a celebratory breakfast to commemorate Shortcake's promotion to first grade. Like many of our family adventures that have been planned and dreamed about for more than one day's time, the vision I had for a lovely late morning dining experience were less than achieved in reality. The girls were giddy with childhood happiness and buzzing with end of the school year hyperactivity, and because The General and I were lacking in that shared perspective he and I spent the majority of our breakfast repeating the phrases "Just. sit. still." and "Shhhh!". Couple this with the fact that The General's breakfast - a long awaited and much anticipated order of blueberry pancakes - arrived in the form of French cuisine a la Braidwood (aka blueberry crepes), and it became painfully obvious that this sweet gesture of a celebratory breakfast probably doesn't stand a chance in hell of becoming an annual event.
Following our breakfast, the girls and I bid The General a hasty farewell and headed toward Phase Two of our first day of summer break adventure. I'm happy to report that our trip to Miller Park Zoo was met with a great deal more success, although we learned that a) if her brisk tour of the rainforest habitat is any indication, Shortcake will never make it as a contestant on Survivor and will have to instead settle on being a die-hard fan from the confines of her bird free living room and b) our daughters greatly enjoy sea lion serenades right up until the part where the sea lion sneezes.
Also discussed on this trip: Is Punkin ornery because we tease her so much? Or do we tease her because she's so stinkin' ornery? We may never know the answer to that thought provoking question, but what I do know without doubt is that little is funnier than running away from a tiger statue in mock fear thereby convincing Punkin for a brief yet hysterical moment that the statue is actually a living, breathing tiger.
Following our trip through the zoo, we visited the Miller Park splash zone to cool off. Shortcake demonstrated a great deal of bravery as compared to her last visit to this park while Punkin still refused to go anywhere near the water exposing her anything more than a light mist. Similarly, Shortcake was a rock star on the rocket-fast slides at the park; Punkin acted brave right up until the point where she was next to go down the largest slide at the park. At the point where I was ready to push her down the slide in a very nurturing, loving manner, Punkin declared in a shrill voice complete with elaborate hand motions, "I'M NOT NEVUH GOIN' DOWN DAT SLIDE!". And she nevuh did go down dat slide.
We finished off our day with dinner at the Old El Paso with Cari, me escaping for a 3.5 mile run while my brother riled Punkin up to the point that "Crabby Gramma" had to make an appearance, a trip to the Dairy Queen and requisite drive through the car lot, and finally a sleepover at Gramma & Papa's.
The fun day left me with only one worry: I hope the girls don't expect this much excitement every day of our summer together. I'm just not cut out for that much activity too many days in a row.