Start of Summer Redux

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.

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