The 2017 Eclipse: I’m Not Over It Yet

See how the eclipse helped our family say good-bye to summer!
See how the eclipse helped our family say good-bye to summer!

Yeah, yeah. The eclipse happened already. Everyone is getting tired of hearing about it. It’s over already. But the thing is… I am not ready to be over it yet.

You see, summer is ending and school starts in a few days. And, I am feeling so conflicted about this. I am excited to send my children to school so I can reclaim a little time for myself, and I feel guilty about that. I am looking forward to time by myself, and yet, I know I will miss having the kids underfoot. I feel that the kids had a great summer, and I worry that maybe it wasn’t enough. I am proud that I provided lots of fun moments and experiences for my children this summer, but I also regret that we didn’t do all of the fun activities I had wanted to fit in.

With all of these contradictory emotions swirling through my head, I knew I wanted to end the summer with something big that was positive and memorable. And, viewing the eclipse was the perfect end-of-summer experience for that. I mean talk about ending the summer with a bang. The eclipse was amazing, and it was awesome to experience it together as a family.

So if you don’t mind, I’m just going to relive those moments a while more by writing about our eclipse experience.

An Out-Of-This-World Way to Say Good-Bye to Summer

Before my children were whisked away to school and extracurricular activities, I wanted (needed?) to make their final week of summer extra special. Lucky for me, the universe stepped in to help. All the stars aligned (well, technically speaking, one star and the moon aligned) to create a spectacular farewell-to-summer event for our enjoyment. A total solar eclipse!

From our home in Michigan, it was actually a partial eclipse with about 80% coverage. But it was still super impressive!

The Days Before the Eclipse

To prepare for the eclipse, I did what all other perfectionist moms do and turned to Pinterest. I found several simple crafts and science experiments to do with my children. You can see my Eclipse Activities Pinterest Board here.

On the day before the eclipse, I purchased a few snacks and gathered the supplies we would need. Additionally, the little kids and I built a couple of pinhole eclipse viewers out of cereal boxes. (We used this tutorial.)

Homemade eclipse viewers! We are ready for tomorrow! Let’s cross our fingers in hopes that the weather cooperates. #goawayclouds #solareclipse2017

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In the late evening, a friend unexpectedly gifted us with a few pairs of eclipse viewing glasses. What a wonderful surprise for us!

We were completely ready!

Let the Eclipse Begin!

On the day of the eclipse, the weather forecast predicted mostly cloudy skies. All morning, I kept nervously glancing out the windows to discover that the skies were still gray. By late morning, the weather shifted and the cloud cover began to dissipate. By noon, there were just a few wispy clouds in the sky. All systems were go!

Observing how shadows shift and change throughout the day
Observing how shadows shift and change throughout the day

We created a welcoming space for viewing the eclipse on our back deck by opening the shade umbrella and setting out some comfy chairs. Everyone settled in ready for the galactic show.

My teenage son had set up a camera to make a time-lapse video of the yard darkening. He had attached an outdoor thermometer and a clock to a foam board so that the video would show the time passing and temperature changes accurately. It was a pretty clever setup.

The little kids completed some solar-themed art projects and science experiments with me.

  • We painted dark construction paper with sunscreen, and then, set the paintings out in the sunshine for a few hours. It was fun to see how much the color faded all over the paper except for the areas covered in sunscreen.
  • We also set out a toy on a piece of paper. We traced the toy’s shadow, and then, we were able to observe how the shadow shifted and changed shape throughout the day.
  • Finally, we attempted to track the temperature changes during the eclipse. For this, we simply jotted down the time and temperature every 15 minutes or so.

The Amazing Eclipse

Once the eclipse actually began, we all took turns viewing the eclipse through pinhole viewers and the special eclipse viewing glasses. It was neat to observe the eclipse through the pinhole viewers and to see how the shadow covers the tiny circle of light. But it was exceptionally neat to view the sun through the special glasses.

Watching the eclipse like a couple of rock stars! #eclipseviewers #solareclipse2017 #rockstars

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We were all amazed by the eclipse. The little kids kept commenting on the shape of the sun. “Mom! Mom! The sun looks like a Pac Man.” “Now, it looks like a banana.” “Hey, it looks like a crescent moon!”

Once the eclipse peaked, we gazed around us in wonder. Our area of the world did not get terribly dark. (As I mentioned earlier, our area only experienced 80% eclipse coverage.) However, we seemed to be surrounded in an unnatural-almost-eerie dim glow. Suddenly, we realized that the neighborhood birds were all singing their twilight songs. What a wondrous moment!

Slowly, the world regained its light and the birds quieted, and we celebrated the passing of this special event by eating ice cream.   

Related: Want to see the full eclipse? Fellow blogger Stacey from Love Laughter and Luggage posted an amazing picture of eclipse totality on her Instagram feed. See her amazing picture here! You can read about her eclipse totality experience here.  

Farewell, Summer! Thank You, Universe!

Thank you, Universe, for allowing me to share this experience with my children. What an amazing and memorable way to end our summer together! This experience has brought me peace as I prepare to push my children out the door for that first day of school. Yes, I have done enough. Their summer was good enough, and we all have wonderful summer memories to think fondly of. Good-bye, Summer!

 Did you have an amazing eclipse experience? Tell us all about it in the comments.

See how the eclipse helped our family say good-bye to summer!
See how the eclipse helped our family say good-bye to summer!

 

 

4 comments

  1. The eclipse was certainly a magical time, and I agree, it kind of signaled the end of summer. We were already in school, but we took the day off to witness this. I also agree that I don’t feel we got everything in that we wanted to do, but as I look back, we sure did a lot! I want to make the most of the family time we have together. Time just flies by so quickly. I hope you guys have a great school year!

  2. Sounds like a fun and memorable way to enjoy the eclipse! You were lucky to have the solar glasses and a quiet setting so you could look at the eclipse and hear the birds singing their evening songs. I regret that I didn’t have glasses, and someone was mowing the lawn by my building so I couldn’t tell if the crickets were chirping or the birds singing different songs! I’ll be better prepared in 2024!

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