The spring fun list

Today is cold — 21 degrees this morning — but spring is in the air. Temperatures will rise into the 60s next week and so the last of the snow will melt. Already I’ve spotted a forsythia blooming and some daffodil shoots are pushing up in grassy patches.

In honor of the changing seasons — and thanks to a nudge in a recent comment — I am posting my spring fun list. Here’s what I hope to do by the time summer rolls around!

Document what comes up in the new yard. As long time readers know, we bought a new (very old) house this fall. Renovations will finally start this month, so we won’t be inside the house much any more, but outside, there is a neglected, walled garden. A more modest version of The Secret Garden, perhaps. It’s going to be exciting to see what grows and what trees flower. I also plan to sit on the porch of my current house and enjoy the magnolias, plum trees, and dogwoods for one last spring.

Go outside after dinner. More days than not. As the light lingers longer, this becomes more appealing.

Gawk at other people’s flowers. We’ll visit the area botanical gardens: Longwood, Morris. Maybe Tyler too. I might do a solo Longwood trip during a weekday some time. I’d love to see some cherry trees. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to DC two years ago — PA recently lifted the travel restrictions and we will see what phase DC is in by late March — but Philly has some nice cherry trees too if that can’t happen.

Take a spring break road trip. Most likely to a few spots in PA — like our “Grand Canyon,” Gettysburg, maybe Hawk Mountain Preserve… I really need to plan this but the logistical details of home renovations have been occupying about 99 percent of my non-work, non-toddler-focused mental capacity.

Get the baby baptized. At an outdoor ceremony — a full year after the last attempt was canceled. My parents will be fully vaccinated by then and we plan to celebrate with them. I also have plans to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Masked and far apart from my fellow singers, but we celebrate Easter as we can.

Bike. Once solo, once with the family. I could always bike on some local paths but I might get ambitious and go farther afield.

Do a 10-mile run. I’m not signed up for any races but my husband and I often run the Broad Street 10-miler and so this would be the equivalent of that. Successfully completing a 10-mile long run would also mean that I am in half-marathon ready shape, should the opportunity to run one arise over the next 6 months or so. Spring and fall are prime running seasons around here.

Visit the Philadelphia Art Museum. In keeping with the theme of spring, I’d like to take particular notice of the floral still lifes.

Do a flower puzzle. I already own a Floret Farm two-sided one, so I should do the second side!

Listen to spring music. As in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, the Spring section from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons — and I welcome other ideas. Do any works of music (or books?) say “spring” to you?

Photo: Cherry blossoms from two years ago

25 thoughts on “The spring fun list

  1. How about “The Lark Ascending” or “Fantasia on Greensleeves” by Vaughan Williams, or “Morning” from Grieg’s Peer Gynt? Also “Sleeping Beauty” by Tchaikovsky. They all speak of Spring to me. Thanks for your Spring Fun List inspiration too. I really must make this happen this year, despite lockdown continuing in England until 29th March and only gradually lifting after that.

  2. I don’t know why, but seasonal fun lists inspire joy in my life! I love making them, reading others, and of course crossing things off the list. What struck me from this list was “go outside after dinner.” This is so simple, but quite delightful. Lately my husband has been taking the kids out to play with the neighbors while I make dinner, and it is exciting to see the kids all running around well past 5pm. This will only get better!

    1. @Gillian – excellent timing, as I have a digital ticket for a performance of Beethoven’s sixth (and fifth) for a week from now!

  3. Tsjaikovski wrote the seasons for piano. Maybe you could study them in your new house: double fun.
    Books: Anne of green gables.

    1. @Cathy- thank you for the suggestion! Since we probably will not go to Holland this spring, this is a good substitute. Seriously I did once go to Keukenhof in April and it was amazing. I wish I had known to put it on my bucket list prior to going (we decided somewhat last minute – I hadn’t known about it) because I would have anticipated it for years if I had…

    2. I also have lovely memories of Keukenhof. I’m dying to get to Holland Ridge, too, but not sure it will happen this year. However, I’ve been ordering the tulip surprise boxes! They are only $20 for two dozen — a great gift for everyone I know who is having a birthday — and they are gorgeous.

  4. I love a good set of before and after pictures, especially with an old house. I hope you’ll share some when it’s all said and done.

  5. I always really enjoy your fun lists- thanks so much for posting. I am looking forward to being able to play outside with the kids more- trampoline, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, etc. I also enjoy spending lots of money on summer flowers at the garden store. It is so cheerful.

  6. These lists are always inspiring and fun.

    I always make “fun lists” for summer, fall, and over Christmas/early winter, but really struggle with spring. The weather can be so unpredictable where I live (eastern Canada). Last year it snowed on Mother’s Day. We made the most of it and went on a lovely hike…but I was wearing a huge winter parka to do so. All that to say – if one of my to-do items had been go see a lovely flower display on Mother’s Day, I would have been very disappointed.

    This post did make me think about making inside goals for spring, as much as I’m itching to be outside. Maybe scheduling things like:
    – have a pirate supper (cover the table with butcher paper and serve things like pizza, veggies, and other finger foods without plates/cutlery; I did this once years ago and my kids still bring it up regularly)
    – have a pretend power outage (use candles/flashlights, no screens allowed, and pull some mattresses in to the living room so we can all camp out in front of the fireplace)
    – have a movie night with pretend tickets and a concession stand.

    These are all whimsical things I want to do with my family, but never seem to fit in. We spend every waking moment outside in the summer, so the summer list is always a cinch to make and so fun to execute on…so maybe I should pivot and make spring an inside/whimsy list?

  7. If you travel to the PA Grand Canyon this spring, I suggest checking out downtown Wellsboro. The town has many great local small businesses and restaurants.

  8. I love these lists, they are by far my favorite posts. We are planning for a road trip with the kids (after we watched The Goofy Movie” few weeks ago, we were itching for a roadtrip. We are going to small town with a beach and then going up and see how it goes. I’m also planning to reared the babysitter club series (the original ones) you intrigued me with puzzles, but I’m still intimidated by it. I want to do an easy one (300 pieces) then try harder ones.

    1. @Maha – I think 300 pieces is a good starting point. I’ve done a lot of Crocodile Creek 200-piece puzzles (which the older kids have gotten as gifts over the years) and they are doable in an hour or so yet still feel satisfying. Maybe will whet your appetite for more!

  9. Thanks for this, Laura! A few spring-themed favourites: ‘Primavera’ from Piazzolla’s Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (Four seasons of Buenos Aires), Beethoven’s ‘Spring Sonata’ (violin sonata op. 24), and Schubert’s Lied ‘Im Frühling’. Greetings from autumnal New Zealand 🙂

  10. My spring fun list also includes going to the local botanical garden (check!), having a picnic in a local park, reading a spring-themed novel or something about new beginnings, making lemon GF donuts, taking a walk on campus when the flowers are blooming (check!), and planting a few herbs/flowers in planters out front. You’ve inspired me to make these lists and I’ve encouraged a friend to do the same! She got her 3 girls involved to make their fun list and she said it brought a lot of joy to them all. 🙂

  11. Yes I enjoy the seasonal lists too and have made them for years but always appreciate seeing others’ lists. I love the idea of listening to spring-inspired music – adding that to my list now!

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