As long as I can remember I have loved SUMMERTIME. To me summertime is the epitome of fun, sun, rest, relaxation, fireworks, lobsters and family time. It was not until I was in Kindergarten that I realized that many, many people don’t truly have summertime the way I thought it should be. I was horrified to learn from my Kindergarten BFF that her parents worked during the summer.
I remember going home that June afternoon and telling my parents, who were already on summer break because they worked at a private school, and we had a nice little chat about summer experiences in the working world. They explained that summertime the way MY family experienced only occurred because my parents were both teachers.
Well fast forward thirty years and I have the absolute pleasure to celebrate summertime in all its glory with my fabulous teacher-husband and our two little girls! I know that many parents are slightly apprehensive about all the “quality” time they will be spending with their needy offspring, but here is a list of ways the Miller family plans to enjoy the EPIC summer of 2017! #BringItSummer2017
1. Low Expectations
This has become a parenting motto of ours. No seriously, make sure your expectations are super low and then hope for the best. I totally want my kids to have the idyllic summer that they will remember forever, but if this summer is seared into their impressionable young minds as the summer of poison ivy, a broken AC, and bug bits so be it… at least they will remember it.
2. Bingo Board
Last summer we did a summer bingo chart on our refrigerator and it was awesome way to track and keep us accountable for fun summer activities the whole family could enjoy. This year the girls are already meticulously planning our summer Bingo board. The big one has planned strawberry picking, a family run day, a pajama day and a crazy hair day. Little sister only has one request, she wants to go horseback riding.
This year we took the plunge and signed the girls up for day camp. I mean where else are they going to learn essential life skills like how to make a friendship bracelet, use lanyard in a plethora of ways and tie-dye a shirt?
4. Swim Time
Remember how two hot seconds ago I said have very low expectations? Well there is a caveat… there is always a mommy caveat. I really want the girls to officially become confident swimmers this summer. Like dive off the diving board into the deep in kind of swimmers. AKA the kind of swimmer where I can happily perch myself on the side of the pool in my comfy dry clothes and not have to worry that I have dive in after them every second.
There is something about not being in school that makes me want to be super impulsively spontaneous. As a type A planner this is usually not my comfort zone. However, in the summertime that all changes. Ice cream after dinner… no problem. Impromptu trip to the park, let’s go. Kitchen too hot to make dinner, smoothie picnic it is.
6. The Boy Scout Way
All the spontaneity and lack of glorious planning means that you have to be ready for anything. So, we adopt the Boy Scout way… and we are ALWAYS prepared. Our definition of prepared means that in the car I keep… a large blanket (this one to be exact), two sets of clothes, baby wipes, sunscreen, bug spray and some granola bars. Those items can save your summer sanity at the beach, zoo, movies, playground, amusement park and more.
Kids need to be bored. Adults need to leave kids alone long enough for them to be bored.
8. Nostalgic Road
As I mentioned I adore all things summer and love that the girls get to experience those classic summer traditions that I enjoyed as a child…sprinkler in the front yard, lemonade stands, staying up past your bedtime, using Aloe on tender sun kissed backs, sand in every crevice of your house, shucking corn on the back porch and catching fireflies just to name a few.
I love a good summer vacay, but I let me tell you taking your children away from consistency and routine is not exactly relaxing. We swallow a big dose of low expectations every time we set off on a new adventure. And if you can, bring back-up, like your Mom. When you bring someone to help it is definitely more of a vacation for YOU!
10. The Beach
One of the best parts of living in Fairfield county is going to the beach. Our family loves to spend time on the sandy shores. My advice, less in more. You might think your children require 87 sand toys to be entertained, but let me tell you those plastic items don’t carry themselves. We take two buckets, two shovels and that is IT! If the girls need more they can work on their social skills and befriend the kid of the rookie mom over there with a plethora of fancy toys like trucks and diggers.