Tips and Tricks

“I wished to live deliberately…”

…to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life

~Henry David Thoreau, Walden (emphasis is mine)

I am lucky, I am a teacher who gets to spend the whole summer off with my child.  I want the summers of the future to conjure up the magic and memories of summers of the past.  I want the Munchkin to feel like summer is a time for fun and exploration, for adventures, and marrow sucking.  I want her (and me) to enjoy summer; I don’t want to look back and think I’ve “wasted” the gift that summer brings.

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When summer rolls around I think about that quote from Thoreau; summer is a time that has always been filled with adventure for me.  I was the child of two middle school teachers so summer meant waking up late, being lazy, going outside, going camping, exploring the neighborhood on our bikes, fishing, and any number of other things suburban kids did in the 80s and 90s.  We also, almost every summer, went on some road trip or two, camping up and down the Eastern Seaboard. There was usually mosquitoes involved and A LOT of historical sites visited but we still get to pick on Babci about old cemeteries “because someone famous might be buried there.”  Summer was a time of freedom, of adventure, and life no longer being ordinary.

Now that I have my own child, I want summer to be like that for her.  I want her to experience all that life has to offer even if we never go on a month long road trip like we were able to do when I was young.  The Mr. works for a major corporation and is subjected to the limits on vacation that most Americans are so he doesn’t get to enjoy the summer off with us but he gets to tag along on some of our adventures so I want to make sure I plan a few otherwise the laws of physics start to govern us and “a body at rest stays at rest”

In Case You’re A List Person:

  1. Get a good calendar – I personally found CleanMama’s three month printable calendar (2019 version here) last year and I loved it.  I can see the whole summer at a glance and not have to worry about flipping back and forth or scrolling through my digital calendar.  I like doing this on paper because then I can post it and just have to look at it on the wall briefly to get a sense of what’s going on and what adventures we could go on that day or week
  2. Put important dates/events – I fill in the important, known stuff so I don’t accidentally go scheduling anything at that time.  It also allows me to see how the summer is broken up between holidays or family events.
  3. Put standing commitments – The Munchkin is still going to go to daycare two days a week during the summer so I want to make sure I have those written down so if someone asks me to do something I’ll know right away whether I’ll be mom-ing that day or not.
  4. Add people you want to see – I put notes, either on specific days or just around the calendar for people I want to make sure I connect with over the summer.  These can be people I see all the time or people I want to make it a point to spend some time with when my schedule gets a little easier and I don’t have to worry about time constraints so much.
  5. Add things you want to do – We have some memberships to local attractions like the zoo; I like to write them down in a rotation on Monday during the summer so then I’ll make sure to use the memberships instead of waking up and wondering “what are we going to do today?”
  6. Leave some blank space for lazy days or spontaneous adventures – I’m a fan of leaving days blank.  I want to make sure I enjoy my summer and I’m not perpetually racking my brain for things to do but I also want to be bored once and a while or leave room for an impromptu summer adventure whatever that brings
  7. Enjoy your summer!

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The school year can make me feel like a slave to a routine, which by the end of summer I am desperately craving again.  Right now, however, when the sun is (usually) shining late into the evening I want to soak it all in so there are memories to carry me through.  When I have things to do and reasons to get out of the house during the summer I’m a much happier person so planning my summer and not taking this gift for granted allows me to “suck the marrow” out of it.

If you want to make sure you enjoy summer, whether you’re staying at home, working, or somewhere in between make sure you plan it.  When I don’t have a plan or even just ideas it can be very easy for me to fall into the TV as a distraction and while I enjoy some TV it definitely is not a marrow sucking kind of activity.

Figure out a way to enjoy this season when the sun is shining a little bit longer and it’s calling you to be outside.

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