I looked at my calendar today and nearly fainted dead away when I realized that the end of school year looms only 13 days away. (Digs around for a paper bag to breathe into). And then I got to thinking and remembered how last summer went by in a blur. Way sooner than I expected, I found myself wondering, as I was putting Bean on the bus those cool early-fall mornings, where the months went, and regretting not taking bigger and better advantage of the time we'd had together to do anything and everything we wanted to do.
I want to make SURE the kids and I do the coming summer up right. I want us to squeeze every bit of that warm, sweet, ripe June and July nectar out of our days, and make plenty of happy family memories with Al on the weekends. So I'm starting to formulate my summer plans and get myself into a summer mindset of making fun a priority every day while still getting the absolute have-to-dos done enough to keep me from getting twitchy and b*tchy. (I need order and cleanliness. I can lower my standards a bit when I need to, but I know I won't fully relax into spontaneity and good times if I'm sticking to my kitchen floor or having to dry myself with towels that smell like tacos and wet dog.)
I'm going to sit down with the kids at the end of May to present this plan, born of my vision, which I will paint for them in brilliant pool-water blue and bubblegum ice-cream pink detail, of a summer that is one part daily chores and forty-leven parts awesomeness. A clean, orderly you-and-you-and-me adventure-packed summer.
I've decided the easiest way to present the plan to the kids is to break summer activities into two easy categories: Keep It Going and Keep It Fun.
A. Keep It Going
- Eat healthy, whole, natural foods.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Do the laundry and keep the house neat-ish clean-ish.
- Bean needs to read 35 books or chapters per month.
- And work on learning her math facts.
- And write in her journal once a week.
- I need to train at least 3 days a week for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day coming up in August.
- Peabody needs to learn how to ... um ... well, he needs finish up potty training. (I'll spare you the gory details. For now, anyway. But there may come a time when I confess everything to you and beg you to come help me figure this one out.)
- Clean and organize the basement.
- Convert Peabody's baby room to a big boy room. (tear.)
B. Keep It Fun
- Plant flowers and herbs and maybe some tomatoes, and take care of them.
- Swim at the pool.
- Try out a local beach.
- Play with neighborhood friends.
- Have a sleepover.
- Go to the farmers' market on Tuesdays.
- Go out for ice-cream.
- Make homemade ice cream in the old fashioned churn at least three times.
- Have bonfires with s'mores.
- Bake our own bread.
- Make jam from fresh fruit.
- Have picnics at the park.
- Take a long weekend trip to Blue Harbor or Door County or somewhere in Michigan (or somewhere close enough to drive to on a weekend.)
- Go camping.
- Go to a minor league baseball game.
- Go to Lincoln Park Zoo.
- Do some crafts.
- Do some science experiments.
- Go to a concert or play.
- Listen to music when at home. All kinds of music. Not just "Party Rock" on constant loop. (Please!)
- Play board games and read books and build forts when it's rainy.
- Make sock puppets and put on a play.
(The blanks are for the kids to add some things. One will be "get a puppy or a kitten" and the other will be "Eat more ice cream.")
I'm also planning on making these lists into laminated checklists for our kitchen wall, so that we can all look at them from time to time and stay on track with our adventurous plan.
How are you preparing yourself and your family for the big changes to routine and expectations summer brings? Is it a big mental shift for you? What are your big fun plans for hot weather fun? Share your ideas in the comments and/or come join the discussion on my FriedOkra Facebook page by hopping over there and clicking LIKE.