I always love how easy it is to shift into summer gear once school and activities end for the boys. All of the carefully orchestrated schedules we've known for the past ten months just end suddenly: we have no more early mornings, no more lunches to pack in the evenings, no more homework or meetings or dropping people off here and picking them up there. There is a noticeable change in everyone's mood at home; we do everything at a more leisurely pace, have more time to enjoy together, and laughter comes often and easily. This is definitely one of my very favourite times of the year.
Our first weekend of summer has been hot, sunny, and perfectly fun. We've adopted full-time outdoor living, spending time in the pool and playing games in the backyard from morning until evening. I went ahead and purchased a slackline kit after my sister-in-law Meg told me how much she and her family love the activity, and it has generated a huge amount of enthusiasm here so far! We found a perfect spot to suspend the line between two shady trees in our yard, and Noah and Will have already spent many happy hours over the past two days balancing skillfully back and forth across it -- they think it's awesome. Matt and I have also tried it, and we agree; it's such a fun activity for everyone!
We have seen the bird in our yard every morning, afternoon, and evening since Will first discovered her on Friday. She comes close to all of us, and when we walk off to somewhere else in the yard, we often find her following us so she can stay nearby. When we crouch down low to the ground to talk to her (yes, we've started talking to her!), she hops right over to our faces and looks up at us with curiosity. This afternoon I was holding our bird book down low to the ground so that the boys and I could try to identify exactly what kind of bird she is, and the three of us cracked up when she hopped right over to the book as if to read it, and then flew at my hand and pecked at the diamond in my ring! Our whole family is now completely fascinated by her.
We're pretty sure she's a young brown-headed cowbird, and the boys have discovered some really interesting details about her species online (including the fact that this little bird's mother, like all female cowbirds, did not build her own nest or raise her own young -- she laid her egg in the nest of another bird species and left that bird mother to feed and look out for her baby.) It's amazing the lessons that can come at a time when you're least expecting to learn something....
We hope our new little "pet" will stay with us over these next glorious months of summer holidays, as we all savour the feeling of being as free as the birds.