We have a few things working in our favor this summer. The biggest thing is the fact that my husband is off all summer. That is the light at the end of the last week of school tunnel. The kids have kicked into full on sibling rivalry mode, and it’s exhausting. So while I have dreamy images of the two of us lounging in the back yard while the kids blow bubbles and play in our splash pools, the reality is that we’ll be back to the days of a man to man defense.
Still, it feels good to go into summer with a plan, even if that plan is wear pajamas until noon! Shopping list: popsicles, things I can grill, cases of La Croix. The thing is that I don’t want to wish it away. There’s that whole 18 summers thing, which kind of stresses me out when I think about it, but mostly it has the desired effect which is to make me want to make summers memorable for my kids. The other thing is that I already have children and I know that what people say about the best laid plans is absolutely true. So what I need are things that are fun for the kids while also sanity saving for the adults.
Our actual plan goes a little like this:
We have several neighborhood pools, and one that we can walk to. (We can walk to them all, there’s only one that I’m willing to walk to.) We’ll go pretty much every day. We’re pretty low maintenance at the pool, so it’s easy to throw some towels and sunscreen into a bag and go. When everyone gets hungry we come home.
The beach is much, much more work and stresses me out. Still, we’ll go a lot. The kids love it.
I have been looking forward to the day that we could pass our summer days in a movie theater since the summer that Bub was born. We’re still a few years from making this a family affair, but Bub and I will be regulars at the theater. We’ll see a few new releases, but mostly I’m planning to take advantage of summer movie programs. (Regal has a good one – $1 movies on Tuesday and Wednesday. Fair warning – the info on the website sucks.)
The Kids Bowl Free program is awesome, and we’ve signed Bub up for the past few summers. This year I added Bubette, too. Two free games of bowling, every day, all summer long, you just pay for shoes. You can buy a family pass for $25 to cover the grown ups in the house, if you want, but we don’t. Managing two wee bowlers is enough activity for me.
I printed out the summer schedules for our three local libraries. Just about every public library offers some sort of summer program. This is more up Bubette’s alley, which is fine. See above: siblings driving each other insane.
Bub is signed up for two weeks of camp. We would be doing more, but with my husband home I don’t need the daily dose of interaction that I would if I were on my own all summer.
If the thought of Disneyland in the summer makes you want to weep, well me too. Except that we have our Disney plan down to a science. In the summer, the only time to go is first thing on a weekday morning. We can usually manage enough rides to keep everyone happy, and when the crowds get crazy, we bail.
Playdates. Lots and lots of playdates
I like being the house where all of the kids play. Having the playroom destroyed doesn’t stress me out, it’s just the sign of happy entertained kids. Same goes for the backyard. You want to get every single bat, ball, and bubble toy we own? Go for it. Get out the paints? Sure, it’s washable.We have splash pools and a small bounce house and we will be inviting every over to play, because above all else, I’m a homebody. Being able to be home and have happy kids is the ultimate win for me.
We also have a closet full of puzzles, legos, play doh and craft supplies – many of them unopened due to the kids’ recent birthdays. My hope is that I can ensure a few lazy mornings by setting a few things out on the kitchen table the night before, like our own mini summer camp. It’s Play-Doh day! Knock yourselves out.