Start of Summer Redux

June 28, 2010

in Parenting

Vermeer Painting

Who wants to spend the first week of summer sitting inside (and spending large amounts of money) working on dismantling a marriage? My guess is no one.

Last week was a terrible start to summer. So, I deserve a do-over.

This week is devoted to fun time with the kids. Princess Daisy and Monkey have camp during the day, but we have many exciting adventures planned throughout the week. It was easy planning our activities for this coming week because we have our 2010 Family Summer List. As a reformed compulsive list-maker, there are still situations when list-making is essential. Getting ready for a trip is one example. Getting ready for summer is another.

Working on the list is an event for us. Last year we had a leisurely breakfast at Starbucks with pen and paper in hand. This year the list was started over a long dinner at one of our new favorite restaurants. I forgot paper so we came home with our notes written out on a wad of napkins.

Here’s how we create our summer list:

  • Each family member offers ideas for the list.
  • Any family member who wants to participate in this activity then states an interest.
  • Note keeper adds family members’ initials next to the activity, signifying who will be a part of that particular activity.
  • The list is started at the beginning of the summer, but is a work in progress; ideas can be added throughout the season.

There are inevitably things on the list that one child is interested in, but not the other. This allows me an opportunity to spend special time with just one child while the other is in camp or playing with a friend. There are also activities that I add to the list just for me to do. There are not many, but I find if I add a couple, it reminds me to take time for myself.

Here are my 10 favorite entries on our 2010 Family Summer List:

  1. See Strasburg pitch
  2. Go to an art museum to see Vermeer paintings
  3. Make homemade mozzarella
  4. Cycling downtown followed by dinner in the city
  5. Complete an experiment that explodes
  6. Make tons of homemade ice cream
  7. Plan a vacation with AC and her kids
  8. Have a summer BBQ/Sprinkler party with a few families
  9. Three culinary adventures in DC with the kids (places Monkey might even have to wear a collared shirt!)
  10. See Civil War exhibit at the National Archives

Each summer we end up with a wide range of activities, with many of the most creative entries suggested by the kids. Other than number 9 and 10, these are all suggestions from the kids.

The summer ends with items we did not complete and that is fine; no one gets upset (we are good at making a really long list). I save the unfinished list to use at our beginning-of-the-season planning session the following year.

Our summer escapades are about making memories that will last a lifetime.

My kids are fun and adventurous and this is going to be a great summer, filled with exciting activities. We will be catching fireflies, eating smores, soaking each other with water balloons, spending quiet time reading, and more.

Even with all these fun activities, there will be difficult weeks as I work through the final details of the divorce. And, yes, I will spend more time with lawyers than I would like in the coming months. I can’t, however, lose sight of what is most important this summer.

My kids are 7 and 10 this summer and we have a special list of activities we want to experience together during their school break.

For this, I won’t get a do-over.

Afterword: Read our 2011 list and how life has changed for us one year later.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

SuzRocks June 28, 2010 at 10:26 am

Can I come and play too? I would like to be involved in the BBQ’s, sprinklers, and ice cream part…

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Naked Girl in a Dress June 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

SuzRocks: Only if you bring some water balloons with you!

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Mark June 28, 2010 at 11:44 am

I love your family approach to how to spend the Summer! Sounds like a great plan.
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Naked Girl in a Dress July 8, 2010 at 10:02 am

Thank you Mark! I love your blog and have been reading it regularly.

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Amanda June 28, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Kelly-love, love, love your blog! I am passing it on to a friend that is in the process of getting a divorce. You are refreshingly honest and I love your writing style. We did our family list the other day-put it on a sheet of poster board with lots of bright colors and will check things off as we complete them…kids are super excited and it is a great reference for those “summer is here, what can we do today” kind of days where we don’t have anything planned.

Cutting for stone (book from your previous blog pic) is one of my all time favorites. Have you finished it yet?

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Naked Girl in a Dress June 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Thank you for the words of encouragement! It is great to have a go-to list of ideas when I feel uninspired.

I am reading Cutting for Stone right now and I do love it. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the next book I will read.

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citymouse June 29, 2010 at 6:20 am

Stopping by from SITS…

I totally understand the list addiction thing. I will actually add thing to a list even after I’ve done it just to cross it off.

I keep wanting to do a Summer Bucket List but am so overwhelmed at the thought of not including everything! Guess I just need to do it (besides, I’ll just add to it as needed!)
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Lynn from For Love or Funny June 30, 2010 at 6:40 am

You inspire me; it’s not too late to write a summer to do list with the kids! Stopping by from SITS!
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@bluenotebacker August 1, 2012 at 10:30 am

Your list looks incredible! Lots of fun things there and your kids are lucky to have you to do them with. I’m always worried about not entertaining my daughter (turned 9 last weekend) during the summer when she’s not absorbed in school. I have her every other week and if (when) we fall into the same routine every week she’s here I feel like a failure as a parent.

Bottom line is though, she’s happy to be with me, she gets to have input, and so the days go by. I learn not to second guess myself so much, and it always makes me smile to hear about other parents having awesome plans with their kids. :) Yay for summer fun!
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Naked Girl in a Dress August 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm

That list is from a few years ago. I write a new one each year on my blog. It’s a great idea because we all have those moments where we don’t know what to do with the kids in the summer. It sounds like you are your daughter have a wonderful time together. Remember: it’s not about constant activity; it’s about quality time.

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Sandra August 1, 2012 at 11:57 am

This is such a great tradition. We do talk about what to do in the summertime, but I think the act of writing them down is actively engaging in the process. There are only three more weeks left in summer vacation for us, and I think we can make a three week countdown list to make it count. Thank you. (Visiting from S30P.)
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Naked Girl in a Dress August 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Thanks for visiting Sandra! I hope you enjoy making and following your list. A reader mentioned creating a list each season might be fun.

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Kimberly August 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

Argh. I haven’t made my Autumn List like I said I was going to when I read your other list. I’d better get on that!
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Naked Girl in a Dress August 14, 2012 at 10:25 am

There are lots of fun things to do in Autumn. Have fun with it!

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