Celebrate Summertime Moments
Archived Articles by Shaina Olmanson
The beginning of summer is always so inviting. It's full of opportunity, and the air seems to sing, not quite thick and steamy as it is in midsummer when its weight seems to make the most simple tasks impossible some days.
The month of June is one of my favorites, and I always plan more than I can possibly fit into the summer, innocently believing that the days will last forever, long and languid, flowing over the next three months in slow, thoughtful strokes, filled with art projects and relaxation.
In reality, summer isn't quite so relaxing, especially not with four kids around, but it is full of memory-making, which is good enough for me. I always need to rein in my thoughts and try to make sure I have my priorities straight. This means scheduling the things we have to do—like graduation parties, weddings, birthday celebrations, and Father's Day barbecues—with the activities that we also really want to do—like our annual family vacation, weekly science projects, trips to the museum, and plenty of zoo time.
I try to make a list of things that we would like to do, as long a list I can come up with, and I ask the kids to help think up ideas. They can be crazy and ridiculous like a neighborhood paintball war, to things we've enjoyed in the past like trips to the water park. Then I need them to help me decide which ones are the most important. We try to make sure that each week has a really important activity planned for it. We might only get to one museum or one science project a week in between all the everyday stuff and the sports practices and games, but one thing a week is still something to look forward to.
Once we have a list of all the things that we absolutely must do, we try to schedule them out on a summer calendar, that includes all the have-tos as well. And holes are filled with the stuff we'd like to do.
The calendar and planning serves a few purposes. First, it's easier to not let the summer get away from us, where suddenly there are only three weeks left and all our good intentions are thrown out the window. It also serves to remind the kids that we are really doing things and to help them look forward to, appreciate, and then look back on what we've accomplished. I want my kids to be grateful for all the things we have done, and a calendar with all of them listed is a great visual representation for them.
Oh, and it helps us remember when they have to do the "What Did You Do Last Summer?" reports once school starts up again in the fall.
How are you planning to savor your summer?
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