Every year, I make a summer fun list (see last year’s here). Little adventures make life memorable. I do not want to get to September and wonder where the summer has gone. So I create a list of activities that will help me make memories, and will make summer feel like summer to me.
This summer is obviously…different. I’m frustrated about what’s going on in the broader world. Among other things, this country is about to have a summer childcare crisis. We’re donating to summer kid meal programs, and I welcome other ideas for places helping children and families.
But in the meantime, I’m aiming to make my own family’s summer as good as possible. I want my kids to remember this as a fun time. Neither my husband nor I are traveling for work, and probably won’t for much of the summer, so that is something the kids are enjoying. My husband is almost at the end of book 6 in Harry Potter with the 8-year-old! I suspect she is going to remember this as “the summer when Daddy read to me for an hour every night.” And that would be a good thing.
Here’s what else (other than them finishing the series!) is on the list:
Take the kids on hikes. We started doing 30-45 minute hikes on weekends early in quarantine. I have started taking the kids on afternoon hikes on local trails during the week too. They whine about it at the beginning. But they aren’t whining at the end. I want to find at least one new-to-us trail. Even here in our suburb, the May trees are magnificent; the thick green of brambles and bushes seem to be overflowing with birds. We stop to watch and listen!
Try a few flavors of Rita’s Gelati. We plan to make this a weekly family thing. My current favorite is blood orange with vanilla custard but I am open to persuasion.
Develop a signature cocktail. My husband and I don’t drink much but I think it would be fun to have a go-to special summery drink. Refreshing, not too sweet. I welcome ideas. I normally just open a bottle of white wine.
Swim. I am so grateful this summer to have a backyard pool. We will go in just about daily while we’re home. I’d like to do a solo swim sometimes too — when I am not responsible for anyone but myself! This is actually a relatively relaxed summer for that, though. The big kids can swim and the baby can’t move on his own. The next two summers will be less so.
Build the dollhouse with my daughter. We have the kit. I ordered the card table to build it on. This is going to happen.
Build Lego Yoda with my 10-year-old. Another massive project. We’ve started, and are on step 50, and there appears to be a phone book’s worth of instructions to go. Never mind — the length is not a deterrent when it is something that can reliably keep him off video games for a little while. (Not that I really mind video games — group Minecraft for the four big kids can occupy them for hours!)
Be my 13-year-old’s novel writing accountability partner. I’m doing a little bit of free writing each day, which will eventually turn into a novella. He’s writing a vampire book called Midnight and he’s many thousands of words in, and learning about the hero’s journey format and all kinds of great stuff. We will both nudge each other onward.
Launch The New Corner Office. Meanwhile…I have a short book coming out on July 21. The New Corner Office (yep, same name as the podcast — please also check that out!) is about how to productively and ambitiously work from home. I also want to de-clutter my own corner office because it’s getting a little bit ridiculous.
Spend lots of time at the beach. We’d planned to go for a week in late June/early July and a week in August. Now, every time a camp cancels, I start looking at more dates. I will definitely enjoy my chocolate peanut butter ice cream cones at Day’s, which I really hope survived all this (Rita’s is growing on me, but water ice lends itself more to citrus type flavors…).
Eat well. We have a system of summer meals right now. Monday is “choice” but usually some sort of Costco pre-made meal that my husband picks up on his shopping trips. Tuesday and Wednesday the kids help me cook something from Sunbasket. Yep, they’re a Best of Both Worlds podcast advertiser — I decided to become a paying customer. This week we had pork tacos and Penang curry. Thursday we order in. Friday is pizza night. Saturday is something elaborate; my husband has been cooking surf and turf type meals. Sunday we usually do hamburgers and hot dogs. We’re growing tomatoes, which will be great for summer eating. I’m not sure we’ll get to do strawberry picking this year (though I am hoping!) but I do plan to make strawberry shortcake. And peach cobbler since things should be open by that season.
Take my coffee outside. There’s a trade off here. I get a lot of work done in the early mornings. But it’s also a nice peaceful time I can sit outside and listen to the birds. Maybe I’ll just start taking my laptop outside at 6 a.m.
Go outside after dinner. Last night I went out with the 5-year-old, in part to limit the YouTube viewing to fewer hours, but we had a lot of fun running laps around the backyard. It was actual, real speed work. We can do walks, porch chats, etc. I want to take advantage of the late light and no one in this house ever goes to bed at a reasonable hour.
Run long. I’m up to 7.5 miles, but if the marathon is happening in late fall, this needs to start rising. Bike on occasion too. Maybe I’ll try to run, bike, and swim on the same day at some point. Of course that might require me to…
Teach the baby to take a bottle, or a cup, or eat solid food. In other words, some calories that do not come straight from my breasts. I’m trying to savor and enjoy my time with this last baby in his chunky cute (non-mobile!) phase, but it’s a little harder to savor this at 2 a.m.
What’s on your summer fun list?