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June 5, 2013


In one short hour, I’ll be heading up to school, camera in hand, and picking up my exiting kindergartener and second grader.  They’ll be loaded down with all their school supplies, some of which weren’t ever opened, random papers they found in their desks, and who knows what else.  We’ll go straight from school to Yogurt Planet or Yogurt World or Yogurt Solar System or whatever the yogurt place is called to celebrate the end of the school year with all the rest of their friends.  And then….

And then…

And then it will be summer.  Two and half glorious months of not making packed lunches or having to be somewhere at 7:30 every morning.  Two and half glorious months of not needing to watch the clock like a hawk in the afternoon to be sure I don’t accidentally forget to pick them up.  Two and half glorious months of not worrying about spelling words or Sunshine Math or how many minutes we read.

I did my best today to prepare for summer.  I went to spin class (for the first time in two or three months, no less). I read a grown-up book (with grown-up sorts of humor and words) for an hour.  I took a nap.

I crammed all of this because I will have my children, my three lovely, whiney, fighting, full of attitude and independence children with me constantly for two and half long months.

I have a few things in my summer bag of fun (and survival) that I thought I’d share with any other mothers or fathers who are faced with two and half months of unstructured time.  We actually have signed up for just one camp this summer (soccer camp for the big two) and one week of VBS (We’re not VBS hopping like we used to do when we were kids, although by July 10, I may be wondering why we didn’t).

1.  We’re sitting down tomorrow and making a list.  

When I was checking out some of the blogs who linked up with Hopeful Leigh, I found a fabulous idea.  Tomorrow, we’re making a list of things we want to do this summer.  It could be places to go, things we want to learn, books we want to read, things we want to cook.  When we complete something on the list, we replace the card with a picture of us doing that thing.   Some of the stuff may cost money, but some will probably be free or pretty cheap, thanks to our Texas State Parks pass.  Me?  I am looking forward to try to make chocolate ice cream in our ice cream maker and going swimming at our YMCA.  The pool there has watersides!  We’re members there, so, yep,  free (well, kinda–mostly already paid for).  I also hope to finish piecing Isaac’s quilt and get scrap book albums up to date (at least up to date as of June, 2012.  I ‘m now three years behind….sigh).  I already know that learning how to tie his shoes is on John’s summer list.


2.  My kids are having a daily to do list.

We started this some last summer.  Every day, my children will be required to read something, write something, create something, clean something, and help someone.  Simple and it allows them a lot of freedom in making their own choices.  It works pretty well.

3.  We’re going to to do summer reading programs.  

I’m currently on the lookout for some of these–the public library of course and I think Barnes and Noble has one too.  Our grocery store has done it in the past as well.  This fits nicely into our “read something” daily to do.  I need to keep my incoming first grader reading.  Over the summer, kids tend to fall back a couple of reading levels.  John can’t really afford to do that, so unbeknownst to him, we’re going to see if we can move him up a level or two over the summer.  He’s nervous about first grade already because of all the reading, so I figure by reading all summer, we should help alleviate that nervousness.  We’ll probably decide when each day we want to read our books, just help us have a bit of a schedule.

4.  We may do the Texas Nature Challenge again.

We did this a couple of years ago and it was great fun.  The state is divided into region and each region has a series of challenges to complete by doing things outdoors.  We take lots of pictures and sometimes just ignore everything on the paper.  If you are serious about it, you can complete a scrapbook and enter it into a competition.  I’m not serious.  It’s summer folks.  I don’t get too worked up by things like that during the summer.  Most of the places are close by and free or inexpensive.  It’s a nice way to find field trips to do.  Related, kind of, is the nature nights at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  Nature nights occur after hours at the Wildflower Center in June and July and are free.    There are a lot of fun activities geared towards families.


That’s it.  I think it will keep us busy and keep us structured enough we don’t all lose our minds.  This will be our first summer when we’re not tied to naps.  Isaac is taking minimal naps, a couple of times a week is all, so we have much more flexibility than in prior summers.  Well, except for the fact that we live in Texas.  And its hot here.  Really hot.  So there’s that.  But other than the heat, we are flexible as can be.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate permalink
    June 5, 2013 4:36 pm

    Great post! Half Price Books also has a summer reading program. We’ll be doing the Library program and Half Price Books. And I love your to-do list! Structure & Freedom in one. We have a calendar and a list of places to go & things to see that we’ll cross off and found it’s a lot of fun. Happy Summer!!!

    • June 5, 2013 5:42 pm

      I thought I was remembering Half Price Books had a summer reading program too. We should compared lists sometime. 🙂 I bet I’d get a bunch of good ideas from you!

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