Miles Driven: 4500
States visited: 11
We visited North Carolina to attend the wedding of dear friends. I love when two good people find each other! It was a small event held on a beach with close family. The beach house was absolutely beautiful, and I am thankful for what was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Baseball games attended: 15
Baseball stadiums visited: 8
We aimed to visit as many local stadiums as possible, especially for collegiate games. Collegiate baseball has been our favorite recent discovery. We saw our beloved Vermont Lake Monsters at four different stadiums this summer. We even ventured up to Nashua for the championship game! Michael cried and was too upset to say goodbye when they lost, but he quickly regained his composure by telling an usher, “we’re family,” and making his way to the area where the players board their busses.
Michael is at such an easy age. It was cool to randomly say, “Want to go see the Monsters tonight?”, order tickets by the visitor’s dugout, and adventure to a new stadium. By the season’s end, many players recognized him and would stop for hellos and first bumps. Yet again, the Monsters remain his favorite team. He looks up to them with more admiration than he ever has for professional players with high contracts.
First Pitches Thrown: 1
This was the summer of baseball! If I can be honest, I didn’t love most of Michael’s earlier interests, such as Bey Blades or Minecraft. I learned the basics and listened to his chatter about launchers and wooden swords, but it was never a passion I shared. This is why I was beyond excited when he took up baseball! We had a baseball-themed wedding! Baseball is such a huge part of our lives; I’m thankful Michael wants to keep up with that tradition.
Michael attended three weeks of camp with the Newport Gulls, a local collegiate team. He loved the experience of learning from actual players. (I spent the time preparing for school, which was a huge help!) He asked the players if they had ever imagined coaching summer camps as part of their on-the-road experience. He loved absorbing as much information as possible from them—everything from when to invest in expensive equipment to how to steal bases.
When planning the trip to North Carolina, I found a local collegiate team, the Wilmington Sharks, and knew we had to visit. After reaching out to the general manager, I secured Michael the opportunity to throw out the first pitch before the game. Because I was nervous that he would get scared and refuse to do it, I didn’t tell him. We told him to take his glove and practiced pitching with him a few times during the week so he would be warmed up. We arrived at the stadium, found our seats, and I suggested that we go walk around to “see the stadium.” We walked to guest services, where I introduced him.
“This is Michael. He’s here to throw the first pitch.”
Michael’s face was one of pure horror and surprise. I reminded him of a few things:
We were 800 miles from home
No one else cared if he messed up
“What if I do a terrible job and it goes viral?
“Dude, no one knows you. No one will be filming you except me.”
He threw a strike, felt the crowd’s cheers, and is so glad he did it, even if he promises to be mad at me forever.
I wish we lived closer to the Sharks’ stadium! They know how to have fun at a baseball game! The crowd was supportive, the staff was enthusiastic, and every possible way to celebrate being a Shark was found and embraced. From Jaws’s “da dum, da dum” to dancing to Baby Shark between innings, they embraced all things shark!
1 Concerts Attended: 3
Having a kid who has pretty okay taste in music is pretty cool! He likes EDM more than anyone I’ve ever met, but it is nice to share some common interests. We’ve attended concerts monthly since March, but three were part of our summer adventures. I admit that the best one I saw was Imagine Dragons at Fenway. They’re not my favorite, and I’d never suggest seeing them, but I went to support Mike and Michael. The show was at Fenway, which always provides an extraordinary experience. We obtained tickets for the State Street Pavillion, which offers an air-conditioned area with complimentary water and popcorn in addition to incredible views. I am forever spoiled for all future concerts! Macklemore opened and surprised us with an appearance by Mary Lambert and Tones and I.
I love the beach, not for an entire day, but to go for maybe two hours. I love the cooler breezes, the sound of the waves, and watching sandpipers play in the surf.
Trips to the Beach: Too Many for Michael
Michael loves the beach when we get there, but there’s a lot of whining during the prep. Once we get there, we can’t get him out. We often order pizza to eat on the sand or make our charcuterie boxes to bring with us. I love reading my books, playing in the surf, or chatting with Mike. I love that Michael is still young enough to love playing in the waves. After seeing someone skimboard, we immediately bought him one so he could try it himself. Watching him on the shore trying to figure out the physics behind sliding across the surf made me so proud.
Summer Work Completed: Not Nearly as Much as We Planned
One of the most significant factors in our decision to pull Michael from him from private school was the lack of rigor. As a teacher with years of experience with seventh-graders, I know what skills sixth graders should acquire, and Michael’s teachers were not preparing him for high school. I brought home many of my teaching materials, intending to have a standing coffee date one morning a week at our favorite local coffee shop and work on reading and writing skills. We did this for a few weeks until the temptation to spend our days outside swimming, hiking, and exploring took over.
Michael did complete the two required book reports, but we didn’t do much more than that. Honestly, it is what it is. We can assess his needs when he gets settled into his new school. Mike and I realize that we only have five more summers with him before he leaves for college. If we can fill those summers with baseball games, road trips, and adventures, I’m happy to create such memories.