It seems like only yesterday I was prepping my kids for the beginning of another school year, and envisioning all the things I would accomplish while they were away. Next thing I know, it's the end of the school year, and most of the projects I dreamed of completing are still, well, not completed.
I have a love-hate relationship with summer. I love the mornings with no place to be, I love saying so long to the twice daily commute to school, I love throwing the kids on the bike and heading to the pool. However, too much time on our hands and not enough activities planned seems to be the perfect recipe for turning lovely lazy days filled with free time into unbearable ones days that require Advil chased with Patron. I don't know about you, but when my little people get bored they start inventing ways to torture each other. Whoever thinks creativity is dead in children hasn't seen mine devise ways to creatively inflict pain and suffering upon each other when mama's not looking. That's the part I hate, the part that drives me to drink.
Nearly eight years into my stint as a parent, I finally have a plan for summer. And it has two parts! By the time they leave for college I will have this mothering thing all figured out.
Part one of the plan is to have a loose schedule for each week. I've been experimenting with this on myself the last few weeks and it's been really helpful. I don't find that I'm exponentially more productive, but I feel that I'm way more balanced. Taking into consideration things coming up each week (camps, trips, weather, budget, etc), I'll have library day, arts/crafts day, outing day, and most importantly, wear-ourselves-out-at-the-pool day. The schedule will be very loose, but just having an outline of what I'd like for us to do each week is a big step for me. The goal is more fun for everyone, less dependence on video games and television, and hopefully a dramatic reduction in sibling-on-sibling cage fights.
Part two of the plan is something I swore I'd never do: a version of the 40 x 40 list. I have nothing against people who create them, but the thought of making one for myself both stresses and freaks me out at the same time. Each summer it's the same thing, though: we talk about all the cool stuff we want to do and then you look up and they're advertising glue sticks and backpacks in the Target circular. So I came up with the 23 x 23 list: 23 things we'll do before August 23, when school starts back up again. In no particular order, here they are:
The Official 23 x 23 List for a Six-tastic Summer
- Ride the 1859 Balloon Voyage at Conner Prairie
- Have a picnic at the new 100 Acres Art & Nature Park at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and check out the Jeppe Hein exhibit
- Make our own popsicles
- Sign up for the summer reading program at our local library
- Spend a rainy day in our pj's
- Go to an Indianapolis Indians game and stay for fireworks
- Start a weekly board game night
- Go crabbing while we're at the Outer Banks of North Carolina
- See a free summer movie
- Go horseback riding at Fort Harrison State Park
- "Sugar" our trees to catch moths at night
- Go fishing
- Slide down the giant toilet in Columbus, Indiana
- Make tin can telephones
- Pick blackberries
- Catch a free outdoor concert
- Spend a day in Fort Wayne
- Play mini-golf
- Summer treasure hunt at Ritchey Woods
- Order pizza for dinner at the pool
- Visit the Columbian Park Zoo in Lafayette
- Treat the kids to Chuck-E-Cheese (God help me)
- Spend an evening catching fireflies
How do you plan on spending your summer? Is there something you always said you would do, but have yet to make happen? However you choose to spend your days, I hope this summer is one for the memory books for you. In a good way, not in a remember that summer we nearly killed each other? kind of way. That's what I'm aiming for, anyway.