Once the nice weather starts, we look to the list for ideas and cross them off as we do them. It's fun to look back at the end of the summer and see how many of our goals we were able to accomplish. I keep all of our lists to watch how the entries change from year-to-year as the kids get older. Slowly, things like "make popsicles" or "have a princess picnic" have been replaced by "go to the movies" or "go down the fast slide at the waterpark."
Here's this year's list:
It's always an eclectic blend of the mundane ("go on a family picnic"), the hopeful ("climb a mountain"), and the slightly weird ("stay up all night") . Bug has set a personal goal of eating 100 popsicles this summer. She's keeping track, too. She also wants to read 50 books and become better at badminton.
Bear would like to have a summer sleepover with her friends, paint pottery, and go on a shopping spree. Their additions to the list this summer are really showing the differences in their ages. I remember when one of Bear's list items (five years ago?) was "put my face in the water while I'm swimming." Ironically, she's still not real enthusiastic about that, unless she has a swim mask.
Some things make the list every year, like Lake George. That's one of our favorite swimming lakes, complete with a sand beach. It wouldn't be summer if we didn't go there. Also Popham Beach, our favorite ocean beach.
Each year sees some new additions, like Vinalhaven this year. It's an island off the coast of Maine with some cool hiking trails that we plan to check it out this summer. The girls have become better (read: less whiny and foot-draggy) hiking and biking companions in the past couple of years. Daddy Shortbread and I are hopeful that we can con them into some longer excursions this year. We just have to work on Bug not expending 90% of her energy in the first 15% of the outing and then crabbing about how tired she is for the ensuing 85%.
(Sad side note: I actually had to stop typing and think for a minute about what you add to 15 to get 100. True. Sigh).
We've already accomplished some list items. Last week Daddy Shortbread painted a four-square court on the driveway for the girls. It was the very first item to be crossed off this year.
A more driveway-fastidious friend came by the other day, looked at the court and asked me quietly, "How on earth will you get that up at the end of the summer?"
"We're not?" I told her. I'm guessing she would also be appalled by the "bridge" (old countertop) my kids "built across" (heaved into) the creek. It's not like it's visible from the road or anything, and neither is the four-square court, so I'm cool with it.
With a yard the size of ours (2.something-or-other acres), you give up pretty quickly trying to control it all. I rule my gardens with an iron fist, but I'm cool with the kids playing however they want in the rest. They ride bikes across the front lawn, dig down by the creek, create bug graveyards by the playhouse, and build fairy houses out of sticks and seashells back by the old spruce. I did take exception to the time they attempted to set up a Toad Refuge in the playhouse, but that had more to do with pity for for poor toads (they were looking a little wild-eyed by the time I came across them) that it did for the playhouse.
Here's another list item that's partially completed. The girls and I saw a cool idea in a gardening magazine to make a pond-in-a-pot. We've filled it with water, which needs to sit for a couple of weeks to allow the minerals to dissolve? evaporate? something? This week we'll buy some water-plants at the garden center to stick in it. Once the nighttime temperatures are a little higher, we'll add goldfish. Supposedly, frogs and other wildlife will find it on their own. Either it will be a tiny aquatic Eden, or we've just constructed a mosquito breeding center three feet from our patio. I'll let you know. What are you doing this summer?