*Let me preface this post by saying that we are extremely blessed and lucky to even be considering so many plans. We are extremely thankful for this year’s blessings!*
Am I the only one that exits Christmas and is immediately thinking…alrighty then, what happening for summer break? Sure, there are plenty of other smaller days off, including a more extended spring break between now and then. But post-Christmas is a landslide into summer that often comes with no boogie board to help control the descent.
Moms like us often feel we need to pre-plan as early as possible for obvious reasons: It takes so long and a lot of calendar juggling to create a summer schedule that works for everyone in the household. Not to mention activities seem to fill up immediately nowadays.
I’ve decided that I’m going to create my own formula for the summer and then fill it in accordingly: Exercise, Travel, Outdoors, and Family. So here’s hoping we will get there, and everything will be ready to spring into action, and by the end, we won’t be a crazed mess.
The youngest little bundle is too young for camps or anything overly fancy, so we will keep her summer footloose and fancy-free with swimming classes, gymnastics, and plenty of outside bubble time. Our eldest (at the ripe age of seven) would like nothing better than to do everything all the time. Keeping her focused and helping her understand that not only is it not healthy but unaffordable to do everything can be a challenge.
She already does gymnastics and will continue her practices with the team through the summer. One would think gymnastics a fine and utterly exhausting exercise that should not be accompanied by anything else, but my little ball of energy loves swimming. Fortunately for us, her team is active for roughly half the summer, so it’s a bit of a whirlwind leading in, but it quickly dies down.
Everything I’ve read about childhood summer emphasizes the importance of not overloading and finding a balance between scheduled and free time. So, during swim team and gymnastics combined, we tend to keep all other activities to those that lend themselves to fun and disorganization: parks, playgrounds, backyard, and a smattering of tech.
Near: Last year, we did not use the areas around us to explore as we should have. I hope to take advantage of fun destinations like the Nashville Zoo and Cloudland Canyon this year to fill in the fun and adventure.
Far: When daddy is home from traveling, we try to squeeze in a few road trips when possible. My goal for this summer is one trip north and one trip south. We, like most others, try to hit the beach at least for a few days, so we will head down to Florida to our favorite off-the-beaten-path destination at Ormond Beach. On our second trip, I hope to revolve around our northern cousins with a trip to Ohio and/or a camping trip, perhaps to our favorite Mammoth Cave destination where we can gather in outdoor splendor and cool off in the underground labyrinth.
Hiking: My goal is to get us outside to walk a little daily. I am not the most outdoorsy of women, thanks to the presence of the evilest creature known to man. If your answer was arachnid, you are correct! Though snakes really do come in at a close second…I am determined to push past my discomfort of all 8-legged arch nemesis to get us some Vitamin D and a healthy appreciation for the local state and city trails, which are a pretty nice perk of living in Chattanooga.
Camps: This one is hard because it is such a sink of time and money, but boy, does our eldest enjoy the heck out of a traditional summer camp. Last year she attended Camp Hidden Hollow and had a blast! She raved about the counselors, the lake, the swing, the horses, the archery, and everything in between. In addition, she reveled in the weather, whether 100F degrees and sunny or a rainy day filled with mud. So, this year, we will hopefully be able to send her another week of childhood memories.
Lastly, my summer equation will include the most critical aspect of all: family. We will do the things that make any summer truly magical: host barbecues with our friends, frolic through sprinklers with the cousins, entice grandparents for a quick picnic at the park, create adorable fairy houses with a little sister, and snuggle on warm nights while watching the stars with their dad and me.
Even as I write this, the other categories tend to cause me slight panic as deadlines approach, and I wonder what we can afford in both time and money. While the last makes me feel peaceful, excited, and nostalgic, ultimately, every summer plan, except for family, could go up in smoke, and I think we would have the best summer imaginable.
So, perhaps I need to reorganize my expectations, thoughts, and plans to be more like this: family…and everything else if we get to it.