Summer is here! We are two weeks in and having a great time.
Truthfully, I was a little anxious in the weeks leading up to summer. Even though this will be our third summer as a family with children, it has felt like our first, since Eloise was in school for the first time this year. I wasn’t sure how long stretches of unstructured days would go, without school to fill the time. Even though school was only for six hours a week this year, anyone with small children knows that five minutes can sometimes be an eternity, so six hours is significant!
I’m happy to report that summer is treating us well. In typical Kirby fashion, lots of fretting for no reason.
We’ve had picnics galore:
We visited our local alpaca farm:
We've done lots of art:
And we even got to have weekday lunch with daddy at a cute little hot dog joint:
(Amelia's face kills me. This child could eat meat until the cows come home.)
Have you ever read Simplicity Parenting? I’ve read my share of parenting books, and this is one of the few worth reading, in my opinion. It gives so much insight into what kids do and don’t require in terms of organized activities, stimulation, etc. and truly takes the pressure off parents to plug kids into something every minute of the day. It talks about the real, tangible benefits of unstructured playtime and just plain boredom. Kids need to be bored sometimes! That’s how creativity blooms.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to provide a book review in this post but I read this article the other day once Joanna linked to it, and it had me in hysterics. It’s a must read! And it reminded me of Simplicity Parenting, in a tongue in cheek way. Of course, I wouldn’t follow ALL the suggestions, as I’m fairly picky about what my children eat, watch on TV, etc., but the overall message that summer should be simple and FUN really resonates with me. (Updated to add: Here's some more proof!)
When I see or hear about people having summer bucket lists (you know the sort), it kind of gives me hives. Talk about parental pressure and planning, not to mention the potential expense of some of these activities.
Nick plans on taking a couple days off each month this summer for family activities, and leading up to the summer we made a whole list of places we could go. Well, with two nap schedules to work around, a budget to consider, and both of us questioning how many activities an almost- one and almost-three year old really require anyway, we have wised up and are simplifying. Instead, I have a very short list of simple activities I can do with the girls (mostly Eloise, during Amelia’s long morning nap) during the week, and when Nick is around on his days off, we can just do whatever we want!
Last week it was an impromptu family picnic in Natirar:
Simple, fun, five minutes away from home, and free!
Here’s my version of a summer bucket list (except it’s not really a bucket list because the fewer tricks I have to pull out of my bag, the better; it’s more like—if I have to, these are the activities I’ll do this summer):
Make Jello jigglers
Paper bag hand puppets
Necklace making with Cheerios, cut-up straws, macaroni, etc.
And of course the usual suspects—playgrounds, pools, picnics, painting, playdates, and the library.
Honestly, I sort of envision our entire summer going like our playdate we hosted this week with two of Eloise’s friends. I set up the baby pool in the backyard, put the slide INTO the baby pool, set up the water table and splash pad, and two big picnic blankets under a shady tree for lunch. Everyone had a blast, me included because it was so easy! Eloise took such a long nap afterward that I had to page her multiple times from the video monitor and Nick finally got her up at 5:30 when he got home from work, to which she said “I’m super duper sleepy.”
Let them be little!
And if you're local, and you have a greater tolerance for activity, crowds, and missed naps than we do, here was our original family list that we probably won’t be doing much of! Maybe when the girls are older and attention spans are longer, car rides are less painful, naps don’t need to be worked around, etc etc! I’ve highlighted the ones I would guess we will get around to this summer.
Bike the Columbia Trail
Canoeing or paddle boats
Train ride to Bernardsville for ice cream
Do you have a summer bucket list? Or are you averse to plans, like me? The more children I have, the more simplicity I crave (or possibly, the lazier I get)!