- Go to the zoo
- Get ice cream at SubZero and Menchies
- Make a paper mache volcano
- Pick strawberries
- Pick blueberries
- Make crafts
- Visit places we've never been
- Make candles
- Do smoke bombs, sparklers and pop its
- Learn how to make different foods
- Go to parks
- Play with friends
- Eat popsicles on the porch
With only 4 school days remaining, we realized we were a little late making our 2017 addition of our Summer Bucket List! So, without further ado....
Summer, as always, is flying by. I'm not going to lie, it started off rough. It took us all a god week to get back into the groove of always being around each other. So far, since then, summer has been wonderful. I know that I say this time and time again, but I'm so very thankful my children are best friends. Summer wouldn't be near this great if they weren't. We kicked off summer by heading to the zoo. I'm really glad I decided to go when I did, even though it was the most crowded I have ever seen the zoo, because we went on a day where we had to wear sweatshirts and since then, it's been in the 90s! I'd rather go on a chilly day then a super hot day! We still have to hit the other local zoo sometime this summer, but I'm watching the weather for that one.
We have actually checked a great deal of things off of our Summer Bucket List in just one short month. We've checked off: go to zoo, pick strawberries, go to park, baseball, spend time outside, science experiments, spend time in the pool, spend time at the library, and go get ice cream. We've also checked off Camp Invention and one round of art camp! We've gone to Rockin' The Court, Strawberry Festival, an orchestra concert, and Rally in the Alley. We've had friends over and we've just hung out at home and played. All that on top of karate 3 days a week and baseball. Plus, I've managed to clean out my basement and garage! I wouldn't be able to do it all if my kids didn't get along. The fact that they can play together and love being with each other is the key. As an added bonus, the earliest my kids have woken up is 8:00, but 9:00 is the average! Whoo hoo to sleeping in!
All that we do makes it sound like, to some people, that we always need to be on the go, but that is far from the truth. I know people that schedule things every day because their children can't just be. It's true that Little Miss Sunshine has a more difficult time entertaining herself than Monster, but both my kids love our down time. Days where we have nothing planned, we call our "Golden Days". We live for those days. Our "Golden Days" are actually the days where we do the most fun activities. The zoo trip and strawberry picking happened on "Golden Days". I simply can't understand the need for some people to never be home. Are their kids that bored? Are they that bored? Heck, if there are parents our there who are so bored that they force their families into going out and doing activities just to get out of the house, I'd like to know their secret. I don't have the luxury of getting bored. This topic deserves it's own separate post though, which I'm sure I'll get to in another 2 months or so since I have so much extra time on my hands....
Back on topic though. The bond my children have is something very special. Other people see it and comment on it. I always knew that I was lucky to have children to get along so well, but I never realized how much others saw it as well. That bond is what makes our summers so amazing.
Today, we start July. I have to say, it's bittersweet. I love that we have another month left together, but it also makes me very sad because school is just around the corner. Another summer is close to passing, which means I'm another summer closer to having it be the last summer with my kids. No matter how frustrated I get, I savor each moment because in eight short years, Monster heads off to college. The fighting and disagreements are all part of growing up. This time we have is precious.
22 more school days. We can not wait for summer in this house! Kids are already signed up for Camp Invention and Young Naturalist camps. We've got VBS marked on our calendar. They are so excited for these camps, but they are also excited for our lazy, crazy days of summer! Here's the list of the things we want to do in the Summer of 2016!
I've been quiet on here for some time. I know that during the summer, I usually post about all the fantastic things we've done. This year, I just couldn't bring myself to do that. I felt like if I posted about how summer was going, it would mean that summer was almost over. Like every year, summer goes way too fast. This year felt faster still. Maybe it was that June was full of camps, rain, and pain. Maybe it's just that I'm getting older and people say the older you get, the faster time seems to go. Whatever it was, summer sped past. My son didn't get to eat his "bucket o'shrimp" with Papa. We never got to Niagara Falls or Chicago. We didn't get out for near as many bike rides as we wanted to. Even with the things we didn't get to do, we got to do so much. Summer was amazing. With school now in full swing, there is no denying summer has come to end. Since the weather has been so nice, we've actually been able to extend the feel of summer into our weeknights and weekends with family walks and bike rides and outings. This Sunday, we made our house "autumn ready" by getting out the fall decor. Now we're looking forward to apple picking, pumpkin patches, soy bean boxes and hayrides. But, before all that, one last look at another amazing summer.
Today, I read a story that made me realize that I've been spending the first 4 weeks of my sacred summer vacation focused on what I can't give my kids instead of what I can. It made me realize that that I've been letting a little of my happiness be taken every day. Social media plays a large roll in this. People always post the happy. They post the "look at my perfect life". They post the "look at where we go". Those posts have made me hurt for what I can't give my children. I can't give them vacations. Daddy doesn't have the time off work and we don't have the money. I can't give them new rollerblades or new bikes every year. They have to deal with hand me downs. I have been letting the feeling of not being enough and having enough ruin parts of my day. I'm done. I'm taking back my happiness. I'm taking back my sacred summer. I'm done focusing on what I can't give my kids. They certainly don't focus on it. They are thrilled that they get to play baseball and go to camp and play in the pool and just hang out. They are thrilled to go get ice cream uptown in the middle of the day for no reason. They are happy playing with Legos and riding hand me down bikes. They are happy playing in our cramped, one bathroom house. I only have seven weeks left with my babies and I won't let my happiness be taken away one moment longer. Especially when the one taking away the happiness is me. I've been trying so hard to make this summer as perfect as last summer that I haven't stopped to look and see that it is perfect. It is perfect because we are family and we are together. What matters is what I can give my children, not what I can't. And I can give them me. All of me.
Ideas for summer fun:
Even with the weather not completely cooperating with us and our horrible stink bug infestation, we have been making the most of every last minute of summer. We have one day left until the kids go back to school. In the past two weeks, we've gone blueberry picking, again, gone to the fair, gone to the zoo (different one than last time), gone to another baseball game, camped out, gone hiking, had picnics, visited with Grandpa, visited with Uncle M, gone to the library, gone to a birthday party at Build-A-Bear, gone to the kids' first concert, and played like maniacs. I still went to yoga and the kids still went to art and karate, too. We also managed to accomplish a ton like back to school shopping....ok, it was really retail therapy for me since I'm so sad the kids will be back in school..., worked on the bug issue, canned 14 jars of pickles, and even got some school work in there. Yet, like always, I look at all we've done and say, "I wanted to do so much more". I'm trying to let that go. We have had such a great summer and instead of looking at it and being sad for what we didn't get to do, I'm trying to look at it and take it into the school year. It's not like I will never be with my children again after Tuesday. I still have half days with Sunshine and evening and weekends with them both. That is something I need to remember. I need to remember that we can't just make the most out of the summer, but we need to make the most out of each moment. Every precious moment counts. Right about now, the people who are counting down the minutes until school starts again, are telling me to shove it, but I'm telling those people to stop, look around and appreciate what you have. Yes, the kids may be fighting, it's not like that doesn't happen here every single day, but I'm pretty sure if you really look at it, there are so many more moments of laughter than there are of anger. Those are the moments that matter. Make the most of them.
I've read this article before. I know I have. But it wasn't until a friend of mine reposted it that it truly hit home. This is us. I actually can't tell you how many times over the past three weeks I've actually told people this and Husband and I have talked about it. We didn't refer to it as "the sweet spot", but we referred to it as our kids being the perfect ages. It's true, 8 and 5 are perfect. They are old enough to do things on their own, but young enough to still want to be with us. We're hoping we get at least 2 more years out these perfect ages. This summer has really proven to be completely awesome. I know people are probably getting sick of hearing how fantastic my summer is, but it's so true. My kids' ages have as much to do with it as their personalities and things we're doing. This year I took both kids to the zoo...alone. Last year that wouldn't have happened. Are my kids different? Nope. Still the same kids they were, but they are a little more mature and independent now. Their maturity and independence has caused me to be a little different though. I'm giving them more freedom, relaxing more, and trusting them more. At the zoo, there is a slide that you have to climb way up and wait in line to go down. Last year, I either a) wouldn't have let them go down it or b) wouldn't have let them go down it. Why? I couldn't be at the top helping them and at the bottom to catch them at the same time. This year, I put Monster in "charge", meaning I told him to watch his sister and help her. They climbed up to the top, waited their turns patiently. They didn't fight. They didn't complain when other people's kids pushed in front of them. They were perfect. Perfect.
This summer we also took down the shutters and refinished them. It was years overdue. The dark green had turned into a gross yellowish, brownish, green. Last year, we painted Monster's ceiling. Just the ceiling. For the most part, the kids let us work, but there were a lot, and I mean a lot, of interruptions. We were prepared for that when we started our shutter project. Again, they were perfect. Not only did they let us get the work done, but they helped! So, they may not have helped of their own free will (at least Monster didn't, Sunshine begged us to let her help) but they didn't complain about helping when we asked them. Like most projects, it wasn't just as cut and dry as taking the shutters down and simply refinishing them. It lead to a whole other project of taking out the kids' windows, cleaning the windows and cleaning the tracks and then rinsing down the siding. Extra work took extra time, and we had it. There were no demands put on us. We didn't have interruptions. We didn't need to take breaks. The kids were perfect.
There have been so many moments like the zoo trip or the shutter project this summer. That's part of what is making this summer so amazing. I feel like, for the first time in 8 years, we are all truly enjoying ourselves. It's not that Husband and I didn't enjoy ourselves before, but now, we don't have to constantly be trying to meet a need. The kids are pretty much old enough to meet their own needs. They work it out. They problem solve. They explore. They live. Now, this does not, by any means, mean all I do is sit back and relax. They fight, I break it up. They need help, I work through it with them. Yesterday, I posted that I'm living my life with my kids. Well, these are the perfect ages because they are also living their lives with me. They haven't shut me out yet. The sweet spot. The perfect ages. I am making the most of each moment.
...at least with pictures. Last summer, I had a huge Mommy Fail. I forgot to take any sort of pictures of my darling daughter with her trophy after her last baseball game. I had to pose the picture after I remembered I didn't take one a week or so later. This year, I was on top of it! I've been trying to document every last thing we have been up to this summer with pictures. Summer is going by so quickly that I don't want to forget a single thing. This summer has been nothing less than awesome. It makes me so sad that there are only 4 weeks left. We are going to make the most out of the time we still have.
It's funny because we've been crazy busy, but we've also had a lot of down time where we are just hanging out and doing, well, nothing, just like summer should be! There is something on the calendar for every day so far, but between events, we do whatever it is we feel like doing that day. For example, the other day, I had a sitter while I went to yoga. Then, when I came home, the kids spent the next 4 hours,yes, 4 hours, playing imaginary games with each other before it was time to eat dinner and head to VBS! They played pirate, built with Legos, played restaurant, and other things I'm not even sure of. They didn't need, or want, me for any of it so I was able to mow the lawn and do laundry! I even got to watch about 20 minutes of TV while I folded clothes and they happily built things in the basement! Thus far, it has been the perfect summer and I've got the pictures to prove it!
The grandpas' birthdays are also in the summer, only 3 days apart. We made some pretty cute cards. My dad can't stand dandelions in his yard, so we thought the "dandy'lion'" card would be cute for Papa.
Of course we've done science experiments! We melted styrofoam packing peanuts in acetone nail polish remover. Cups are lined with foil so that the acetone doesn't eat away the plastic. Then, we talked about surface tension with the milk, food coloring, and dish soap experiment. Video is courtesy of Monster's cinematography. The blue and red didn't work as well as the yellow and red. Since science is actually one of my worst areas, I'm not sure why, and we tested it several times.
And we've made some yummy fruit pops and fruit and yogurt pops (didn't get a picture of the fruit and yogurt). Both are so simple to make! For the fruit pops you just slice up fruit, put it in the mold and then top it off with coconut water. Fruit and yogurt are literally just that....fruit and yogurt. I mixed a peach and yogurt in a huge bowl and them spooned it into the molds. Easy peasy!
We have also started back to school shopping, which has made me very sad. I know these next few weeks are going to fly by. This time is so precious and I don't want to miss or waste a single moment of it!
Some superhero action...
A little yoga
Some light reading...
Ice cream and popsicles, of course!
A quick trip to the zoo
Fun and fireworks for the 4th
A little bit of hard work
Learning to ride without training wheels
It's not summer without some baseball
A little bit of Mommy fun at the Electric Run
WE LOVE SUMMER!!