I’m only three weeks into summer and I’m already starting to feel burned out. How could this possibly be happening. Already. Sigh.
I’m a planner. I constantly have lists running through my head about what I want to do, and where I want to take the kids. I constantly guilt myself for being a stay at home Mom:
I’m wasting too much time. I wanted to stay home with them to DO things with them. I need to do more things. They need more experiences. I should have brought them somewhere educational this week. Fark, the house is a total wreck, and I need to do laundry, but then the kids don’t get to do anything fun today.
If my idiotic inner voice making me feel lazy wasn’t enough, there’s also everything else I’ve already committed to (either to the kids, or just to myself):
More trips to the zoo this year because we have the pass. Take them to the museum again. You said we would go back to pioneer village. Don’t forget about the aquarium. And Wonderland, again, you’ve got the pass. There was that storybook place to have a picnic, and the day at the beach you promised. And the farms. And what about that lion safari place? Oliver would love that one. And you did say you would try to go back to the falls one more time, you forgot about that…
If my long sought after summer days disappearing wasn’t enough to make me want to crawl into a hole for the next 8 weeks, the bank account going along with it was. I’m trying to save for Florida, and sports, and all the other “stuff” that inevitably comes up (except going to the drive-in, Mommy’s got to have one guilty pleasure).
Monday and Tuesday were right-offs, and to top it off, I was in a REALLY bad mood on Monday. Like, the first thing out of my mouth every time I spoke to the kids was
“I’m sorry guys, Mommy is in a really bad mood, and really grumpy, so I might not be very nice or happy right now. I’m doing my best to snap out of it by the time nap time is over”.
Seriously, that is verbatim what I said to them before they asked me for anything, just incase I felt the urge to laugh in their adorable little faces while screaming NO (I would never…).
While in that horrendous mood though, I managed to completely reorganize their play room, aka the dining room. I also came up with what turned out to be THE BEST IDEA OF THE SUMMER. I mean, yeah, we’re only three weeks in, but I’m pretty sure I nailed it with this one. I was going to surprise them Wednesday morning. Scream around 9 am to get their shoes on, that we were going on a “Park Expedition”. We were going to see how many different parks we could get to in 2.5 hours, that we had never been to before.
I’ve been home now for a couple of hours. The kids all went to nap with exhausted smiles on their faces, and we’ve already decided that next week we’re going on a “Forest Trail Expedition”. We spent two and a half hours driving to parks that we’d seen on the way to places before but never stopped at, and any others we found along the way. We hit five parks, spending around 20 minutes at each one, before I or one of the kids would shout “Time for the next park!”
It was so insanely fun and ridiculous. Oliver figured out how to do the monkey bars and fireman pole on his own, Anna learned how to use my camera, and Sophie showed everyone she’s the best climber of the group.
More importantly though, I don’t remember the last time I just ran around and had that much fun for hours on end. With the kids. WITH THEM. Not just walking around somewhere, reading them signs or pointing things out. I had the best day of my summer running under swings to push them high enough that they could touch the sky, spinning around on ridiculous contraptions until I could barely walk straight, and shooting down slides. All WITH my kids, laughing along beside them.
Here’s what 5 parks in 2.5 hours looks like:
Park 1 – Sophie’s a fan right from the start.
Sophie also challenged Oliver to a climb off.
It was a tie.
Sophie is an expert at blowing dandelion seeds. In fact, my three kids are probably why our town seems to have an epidemic every year. Sorry!
Park 2 was an old school one we found driving through an older subdivision. Sophie was just happy she got to go down a metal slide (she watches the big kids on the drive-in giants).
Sophie proving that she can climb just about anything. She is 17 months old now after all, lol.
Park 3 is a bit of a cheat. I took Oliver here when he was 2 because I thought the slide looked awesome. It was, after I had to lift him up to the first platform, then climb up myself to take him down. Anyway, he didn’t remember it, so we figured it could still count. It’s RIDICULOUS.
Oliver stopping halfway up to chat up a girl in limbo on a platform. There’s no way to the slide from where she is. Insane playground.
Park 4 was a big climbing set. I didn’t think there would be much for Sophie, but it turns out she loves being spun around. Also, even slowly spun babies can’t walk straight after (adorable!!)
This baby… Too much awesome. And yes, all three of them were spinning around when the pictures were taken.
This is called: They couldn’t agree on who would sit where before Sophie decided to jump down. It was the best with all three – though there are a ton with Anna posing there after Sophie was gone, lol!
On to park 5, and the last one before we called lunch.
This is Sophie’s “Look at me, I’m an adorable baby” pose.
This is Sophie’s “A lightbulb just went off and I’m about to do something I’m not supposed to do” face of determination.
So, the lesson in all of these pictures (outside of, man, she REALLY likes to whore out pictures of those adorable kids): Sometimes it is the simplest and easiest things that you can do, that will have the most impact on your kids. I know we’ll still get to the museums and the farms at some point, but they won’t distinguish those times from the ones six months ago. I KNOW that when next summer rolls around they’ll still be talking about the awesome morning we just had, and asking to do it again.
And here I am, acting a fool on one of those spinning contraptions. Told you Anna learned how to use my camera (the side eye is directed at you Aunt Jen!)