Friday, July 8, 2011

The Top 10 Things I Love About Summer...

Like many urban moms, most of my world now revolves around a 10-mile radius circling my house for shopping, play dates, parks, sports and "staycations". But the other day, deciding to venture out into the world, we were driving up to a town past Bellingham for a family wedding. After all, what better way to show the kids how other parts of the world live beyond Alderwood Mall, right?

So about an hour into the drive north on I5, once the huge stretch of super shopping malls and new casino resorts gave way to farms and green pastures, we were coming upon a herd of cows. Excitedly I pointed and said, “look Nikki, look at the cows!” and she looked out her window and very innocently and with wonder in her voice asked “are they real, mom?!” I guess milking that big, fake one at the zoo’s petting area gave her the wrong impression! 

Then, after the almost third hour of driving, when we had finally gotten to the other end of the state, Evan quickly jumped out of the truck, looked around and very seriously asked “do they speak a different language here?!”  Hmm, maybe it's time to expose our kids to some other ways of living besides their comfortable, instantly-gratified and perhaps a bit egocentric urban lifestyle they‘ve enjoyed… 

So now as we approach almost the middle of July and I am way behind on my blog posts, I thought it was time to reflect on all the other wonderful things I love about being home with the kids during summer vacation. Since just like the holidays, it's one of those times of year that most of us look forward to with excitement and if I can be so honest as the not-perfect mom, a little bit of dread... (C'mon, I know I'm not the only one here!)

And just like Christmas, wouldn't it be cool to have our own Summer Advent calendar with a twist; maybe it would be it would be a 45-day Liberation version that begins around mid-August until the first day of school and each door would have a little wine glass behind it with a piece of spiked chocolate. And then the last day would have a big champagne glass with a spa coupon? C'mon, we could sell it right next to the "mom's sippy cup" wine bottle spout at Mrs. Cooks and make millions!

Okay, okay, I know, it's not that bad. So without further ado, here are my favorite things:

1. Shopping and packing for an entire week to go on any kind of family vacation and then unpacking everything again and doing laundry for another week after you come home and realize when you look at your Summer Liberation calendar that your next relaxing vacation is in a few days!

2. Shuttling kids back and forth to swim lessons, tennis lessons, soccer camps, playdates and Kumon (for all you super-motivated moms) so that you and they get the most relaxation out of their time off from school.

3. The precious memories from your own childhood of of drinking from hoses and dirty feet from running around barefoot all day versus the dirty and non-filtered reality of your kids doing it!

4. The exhausting battle of keeping the house picked up after deciding that your kids will have a good, old-fashioned summer of playing at home all day followed by the subsequent scramble to search the internet for another week-long camp! 

5. Diligently practicing math facts, sight words and having them write book summaries so they don't lose that edge to get into the right pre-school. Oops, did I say that? I mean college, of course!

6. Sunscreen and forgetting to put it on because you thought the sun wasn't going to be that strong today and they really need their vitamin D. Bad Mommy! 

7. The strategic use of screen time to get at least one thing done in a day, even if it is just emptying the dishwasher or making your bed!

8. Snacks and meals and the constant litany of "I'm hungry!" chanted throughout the day, usually at different intervals by different children and/or their play dates so that the never-ending cycle of fixing, eating and cleaning up of snacks and meals is never broken. More screen time anyone?!

9. The musical melody of the words "I'm bored" coming either from any or all of your children on any given day or being screamed from the voice inside you as you stare at your Facebook account and realize that the only exciting thing you did today was make your bed. Farmville anyone? 

10. And now my new all-time favorite reason of all; Realizing that all your children are old enough for Overnight Camp! Bad mommy!

I hope you enjoy your own Top 10 versions this summer!