We are all up in summer, Smarties, and while there have been some awesome times (days at the beach! days watching children galavanting in the water! days in the sun with buddies!), there have also been the *other* days (days trying to work, but not having success because EVERYBODY IS HOME AND FIGHTING ALL THE TIME). Which is why this post is a little late. Ahem.
For my family, summer is also packed with celebrations. My birthday! Smartner's birthday! Our anniversary! Which sounds great! It should all be so much fun! Except that they're all so jam-packed together that we generally fail to celebrate anything very well because we suck at this.
I think maybe there's just too much expectation that comes along with summer. We feel like we should be out and about all the time and going places and doing things and exploring! WE SHOULD BE SUCKING THE MARROW FROM SUMMER LIFE!
And that sounds awesome and everything, but my family just doesn't have the time and money to do all that. We have to keep things pretty cheap and local. Plus I have this bum foot that keeps inexplicably stress fracturing, and that restricts what we can do a ridiculous amount. BUT... we can still do some stuff.
So, in an effort to turn our summer around and not annoy each other to death, I've come up with a couple ideas for how to make it *seem* like an exciting summer without forking out money we don't have or trying to plan something we don't have the energy or time to plan. It's the lazy person approach to summer, but I think it's going to work! Here's what we're trying:
Go on local adventures: We are not travelers. It's pricey and time-consuming and we just don't have the resources right now. But that doesn't mean we have to stay here all the time. While we can't take the kind of awesome trip Christina's family was able to take this year... we *can* plan to head off to one of our local awesome places to explore. We are surrounded by islands and mountains and lakes and ocean and beautiful places and, dammit, we're going to check them out.
Eat al fresco: That sounds fancy. I don't really mean fancy. I mean picnic. I mean throw some salami and veggies and fruit and chips in a bag and call it a meal. In the summer, there's something so indulgent about eating dinner outside on the grass or on the beach (AHAHAHAHAHA NOPE my Smartner *hates* the sand) and just... taking your time. It's so simple, but so lovely. Get you a good outdoor blanket and keep it in the car for picnics. And remember that a water bottle is great for hiding grownup drinks. #protip
Let the kids stay up late: Our little Smartling has been in a summer program up until now, so he's had to continue getting up early, but this is his last week, which means that TRUE summer freedom can begin. For a brief period, we can relax the rules about bedtimes and routines and just let things roll. And having one less thing to be stringent about is always a pleasure for all. Everyone needs a break from the rigamarole.
Let the kids run the show: As a kid, one of my favorite things about summer was lazing about, sleeping as long as I wanted, and reading a whole book in a day and just sort of whiling the day away. My smartlings are busy little boys, and while they love to read and draw, they also need A LOT more action than I ever did. They want to head to the park every day and run and play and run and run. And with one of us home all the time and not needing to work... we can do that. It might not be *our* favorite thing to do in the world... but the kids are always thrilled to spend an afternoon at the park.
Throw the rules out the window: There have been a couple times this year we've just said "fuck it" and done whatever. The kids want ice cream for dinner? Sure. They want to spend one day watching movies & playing video games all day? Why not. They want to play in the freezing cold PNW water until their lips are blue and they're shivering so hard they can hardly talk, but they're still laughing their butts off? Hell yeah. Rules were made to be broken, and if there was ever a time to throw caution to the wind just a little... it's summer.
None of these things seem all that special, but throw them together with extra playdates, and the kids are THRILLED.
I forget sometimes that it's sometimes the littlest things, the simplest things, that make kiddos the happiest. And if I can throw a bunch of those little things together... well... that makes for a damn great summer, doesn't it? (Say yes.)