Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer 2016!

I was the weird kid in school, who dreaded summer vacation. I absolutely loved going to school, from the routine, to the lessons and just about everything. I would seriously cry on the last day of school, and start a countdown for September. Yup. 

Having said that, today I'm so grateful for the memories I have of summers at my grandparents' house. I will admit, during those endless days of going back and forth between playing teacher, jumping rope and eating our body weight in fruit salad and ice cream, I often complained about being bored or wishing our summers looked more like those of my friends who were traveling or going to Wonderland or malls everyday...

What I'd give for a quiet afternoon with my grandparents now! They went out of their way to put down a carpet in their garage and put up a chalkboard, where my sister and I would sit for hours playing. My grandfather made us skipping ropes out of rope and duct tape and they were awesome. We'd have spontaneous trips to the park or out to eat that were so special! The amount of excitement infused into a walk down the street to go to the wading pool was incredible.

This is our first summer with two toddlers! Two years ago Y was only 4-7 months old for his first summer, and last year N was a newborn. Y's first summer saw plenty of trips to the park, long walks and even an incredible Disney World vacation, courtesy of my parents! N's first summer was very different… It kicked off with the NICU and was followed by hospital visits and surgical wait lists. Summer was lost somewhere between reflux and feeding clusters and sleep regressions. We did manage to get in one or two outings, but for the most part it was a blur. Out of that fog and on the other side now, our days seem to alternate between, "don't climb that!" and all the cuddles and giggles and exploring and songs possible. 

I'm determined to live it up this summer, after all of our struggles last year. While a part of me misses the silent walks through the park with a sleeping infant or laying our little guy on a swaddle blanket on the grass and watching his eyes light up at the passing clouds, leaves and birds, there's something about watching our oldest go down the slide over and over again or our youngest taking tentative steps on the grass, or watching them both pump their legs on the swings, laughing, that feels liberating (& terrifying too!). Time just keeps moving *insert weeping emoji here*. 

Now that summer is well underway, I’m so happy to report that we’ve really been making the most of it! Since I stay home with our 1 and 2 year old boys, year-round, the term "summer vacation," doesn't exactly apply to us, other than the opportunity to get out a bit more thanks to the weather. We’re incredibly fortunate that M doesn’t work on Fridays, which opens up a whole day for family outings! We’re especially taking advantage of all of our opportunities, given that this fall our 2 year old will be starting in a preschool program (ahh!) so our flexibility and freedom will begin to shift a bit.

Created our Summer List using my new favorite app from Rhonna Designs
Our list isn’t comprised of the most extraordinary activities. As the Mommy to two toddlers, I have to be realistic about how long we can expect to be out before meltdowns happen, nap time gets disrupted or it’s just too much for them altogether. After all, for every car ride or walk to an activity, there’s an equal one back with super tired toddlers (and that’s if you don’t hit dreaded traffic). Distance, cost, weather (taking into account too hot or rainy days), and stroller-friendly are all factors that I took into consideration. 

I’ll be doing my best to share posts with our experiences at each place and any tips that made the day easier or things I’ve noted for the next time! 

Hope this inspires a few ideas if you’re looking to get out with the kids this summer! 

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