I promised a summer bucket list post awhile back, and here it is, July 15, and I’m finally getting around to it! (It’s amazing what DOESN’T get done when the kids are home for the summer, but we are having all kinds of beautiful adventures. I’m so grateful to have this season with them!)
A couple of years ago, I realized that our summer had just sort of slid by, without much intentionality about how we would spend our days. Being a working mom, I can’t bring my business to a grinding halt just because my kids are out of school (although I do take on fewer clients during the summer months), but I also don’t want the summer to pass by, not having accomplished much or created lasting memories. Enter the Summer Bucket List.
Last summer, our family made a list of all the things we wanted to do before school started back up. I’ve learned it’s one thing to “want” to do something fun, but unless it’s staring me in the face in form of a written reminder, chances are it just won’t happen. (Weird, I know.) So we made our list, prettied it up with individual scrapbook pages for each activity, and posted everything on the wall. Our den was plastered with all of the fun we wanted to enjoy together, and it was really motivating to make sure we scheduled each item at some point during the summer. And we got it all done!
This year’s list is a bit more relaxed. Rather than wallpaper the den with gorgeous scrapbook pages (as fun as that was), this year’s list lives in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook (which I’m seldom without). The reminder isn’t as constant, but our list is simpler this year. (I found that including a lot of stuff on last year’s list produced a bit of anxiety because I felt I *had* to do it all.) So here’s what we’re up to this summer:
1. Family vacation to Wimberley, TX (check!) Our vacation happened just a couple of weeks after the devastating flood that roared through the Blanco River, carrying houses off their foundations, ripping one-hundred-year-old cypress trees out of their banks as if they were twigs, and killing several people. It was a bit more somber trip than usual. But we still managed to enjoy Cypress Creek (our accommodations offer lots of private, creekfront land), some amazing food (our faves: The Leaning Pear – a MUST, The Salt Lick, The Grismtmill), and relaxing family time in a simple, natural setting.
2. Schiltterbahn – we had hoped to visit the New Braunfels location while in Wimberley, but Tropical Storm Bill had other plans, so we’ll go to Galveston in August.
3. San Antonio – we’re going next week!
4. Family Camp at Lutherhill – our annual tradition the week of July 4th. The kids always have an incredible time (so do I), and this year was even better with the addition of my sister and nephew!
5. Blue Bell Tour in Brenham, TX. Obviously, our list was created was before their operations were shut down. We are hoping they will be back up and running before the summer is out – I miss me some Blue Bell!
6. “The Farm” – friends of ours have property in Hempstead, TX, and no trip to the farm is complete without a dip in the pool and a ride on the 4-wheelers. Check!
7. Finish summer reading challenge from the library. We’re working on it.
8. Swimming. Check, check, check! They are in one pool or another almost every day.
9. Go to the beach. Coming in August!
10. Go to Mountasia. (Putt-putt golf and go kart place.) I’ll be honest, I don’t look forward to this one in the summer. But it’s part of their summer reading rewards, so OK!
11. Take a drawing class. We took advantage of a great opportunity at our library this summer for a free drawing class. Jacob has really been enjoying it. Julianne and I hang out and read while he’s sketching.
12. Eat cookies. Every day! Our daily read-aloud time is called “Cookie Time”. We all pile on the couch with cookies, glasses of milk and great books. The den is a bit messier than usual but the kids do not want to miss a day!
13. Throw a party. I’m not sure what they have in mind for this one, but sounds fun to me!
14. All-day movie marathon. Sounds like a great post-San Antonio activity.
So that’s it! In addition to these “fun” things, I also developed a flexible daily schedule that includes chores, quiet time (for naps and/or personal reading time), read-aloud time (aka Cookie Time), and limited screen time, plus a long list of “I’m bored” activities that they can do by themselves. It’s been a great summer so far; I’ll be sad to see it come to an end.
What’s on YOUR summer bucket list? Let me know in the comments – I may need to start my 2016 list early!