There's no denying the heat here, it pounds into your body from the second you leave your air conditioned house to the second you get in your air conditioned car. Add in the record level rain storms we've been having lately and it's been positively tropical 'round here. And the sad truth is, it's just getting started. So far we're talking upper 80's/low 90's...that's baby heat in Texas. But it's here for the next 5 months and there's no turning back. Just to be clear, we've got another week before school is out and summer officially begins. So this is not the I-can't-believe-my-daughter-just-finished-her-first-year-of-school post... that will probably come next week chock full of clichés and mom-isms that have been around since the dawn of time. Lucky you.
No this post is about summer. Hot, humid, Texas summer. Summer in southern Texas is not the same summer I thought I always knew. Just like our first winter in New York was like no winter I had ever experienced. You'd think growing up in Colorado and Utah I'd be prepared for winter, but no. I couldn't rely on regular coats and winter gear. I had to invest in an Alaskan pipeline approved parka and then I was like, OK. I might survive. In an opposite way, that is what summer is like here. You can't go into it all willy-nilly and think you'll make it. Preparation is key. If you're not ready, summer will eat you alive.
The other problem is I always thought I'd be a creative mom with art projects and crafts at the ready, fun and spontaneity around every corner. I'm not sure why I thought I'd be that way because my childhood summers were a kick out the door with a, see ya at lunch time. I'm not saying I didn't have any activities and outings planned for me, but those were the rare occasions. Day-to-day, we just played. And I actually think that's a good thing. I'm a big believer in kids just playing. By themselves or together. I play with my kids sometimes but I don't consider it my job. I love seeing what my kids come up with on their own and I love seeing their bond strengthened through sibling play filled with repeat roles and inside jokes. Also, the crafty creative part of me seems to have a hard time coming about unless the house is picked up, the dishes are done, and I have a good craft in mind with all the proper supplies ready to go. I like order and neatness. Not just in my house, but in my mind and life. I like planning and I like things to flow.
But I'm trying to change that. I don't need Pinterest for each and every boredom dilemma and I don't need everything else to be in order before an activity can start. Ideally this summer will be a mix of planned activities/outings, free-range playtime, chores and responsibility, and letting it all go. This past week I did a good job of thinking on the fly and coming up with simple things that kept the girls occupied. Today it was just getting in the pool. Nothing revolutionary, but normally I might rationalize that since we'll only be out there an hour is it worth changing, getting wet, dealing with wet swimsuits and towels and tracking grass in the house for one measly hour? But I didn't think of all that... we just pulled the trigger and went for it. And it was good. Trash bags filled with leaves by the back of the house and all.
Last weekend the husband was out of town and we were getting a little cagey. So I did something we've never done before but I knew the girls would love it. Make-overs, with *real* make up. Usually makeup only comes out for kitty faces and Halloween, but they were so excited. Especially PSP. I didn't do eyeliner or mascara on Lamp, but PSP got the full face. Then we had a little modeling shoot. Can you tell we're in trouble in a few years? And I'm not talking just about PSP, check out Lamp and that prune. (pursed lips = prune)
And just this past Sunday, with the husband gone again, I had the idea to line their doors with paper and let them decorate their own bedroom doors. Reminiscent of elementary and middle school days where teachers decorated their classroom doors, I have to say this one was pretty brilliant. They had a great time, were occupied for a while and got to be totally in charge of making something their own.
I'm currently researching crafts/supplies, outings/activities, chore charts are on the agenda as is summer-time food and a family summer fun list! I'm hoping the preparation will pay off. There will be plenty of down time and at least one summer road trip. I'm really thinking we'll kick this Texas summers butt.
How do you handle summers? Do you have a game plan, play it by ear? Camps and classes or simple and homemade? Are you a planner or do you fly by the seat of your pants? Any favorite activities or crafts to pass along?