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For some reason, at the beginning of each summer, I always have a lot of faith that the next three months will prove to be an endless buffet of excitement. Even when I was in school over the summer and had to read 500 pages per week in my history of Russia class and 400 pages per week in my medieval history class (at the same time), and even when I was out of school and working full time, I always felt that the months of June, July, and August were rife with possibilities.
The last few years have been more of a challenge in this area as the summer months were hijacked by something beyond my control….E traveling a lot or his achilles injury and my pregnancy with C two years ago or a lack of income last year. This year still has some challenges, but we’ve somehow managed to get off to a good start with two trips out of town the last two weekends to collect Junior Ranger badges for B.
My summer plan lists don’t change much from year to year (I’m nothing if not predictable), but I’m hoping this year we actually DO a lot of these things rather than me just writing a post about doing them. 🙂
Of course. Always. I am basically in love with the library. It’s honestly amazing to me that I can borrow, for free, almost any book or audiobook out there. I’m also busily working my way through the 2016 reading challenge and I hope to check quite a few items off that list over the summer (I think Still Life is next after Emily of New Moon).
I’m also reading a lot with the kids this summer. There are about a million kids book lists out there for summer reading, but right now we’re making our way through this one and B loves it so far. I love that he’s at an age now where he likes to listen to chapter books as it allows me to not only re-live some of the ones from my childhood, but also find new ones (like the Among the…. People series we’re reading right now).
Most libraries also offer summer reading programs for both adults and kids, often with prizes if you read so many hours over the 3 months. Bonus!
The town we moved to (and the surrounding area) offer an enormous selection of hiking trails and I’d like to actually check out all of them to see if we can find a suitable replacement for our old stomping grounds (which I really miss). We found one a few weeks ago less than five minutes from our house that was absolutely gorgeous and made it on a list of the eleven best hikes in Colorado, but it’s more challenging which limits C’s participation other than catching the view from my back in the mei tai.
The internet is a wondrous place and I’ve found a few sites (namely AllTrails.com and EveryTrail) that have listings of local trails with maps, pictures, reviews, and the ability to search by what type of hike you’re wanting (eg. more challenging, near water, has bird watching, etc.).
National Parks/Monuments/Forests/Historic Sites/etc.
I’m finding that I’m a little obsessed with the National Parks Service this year. I discovered the Junior Ranger program last year and was so excited to get B started on it this year (and I picked up a Passport book for myself 🙂 ). We got him a little backpack on which to pin all of his badges (they also sell hats and vests) and we plan on getting as many as possible this summer. There are quite a few here in Colorado and we’ve got two of them so far (with plans for another one this weekend) but we’re hitting a roadblock as the drives get longer and longer after this weekend and the kids aren’t all that keen on sitting in the car for hours and hours (I can’t imagine why).
Because I’m a dork and like online toys, I’ve been entering all of the ones in the states around us into Roadtrippers to see how far the drive would be for each of them and if there are any we could group together. We’re hoping to take a vacation later this summer (our first in nearly three years!) to get all of the ones in Wyoming, but I wouldn’t mind taking a few shorter trips around here in the meantime.
This goes hand-in-hand with the last part as I imagine we’ll probably do some car camping for some of these places. I hope anyway. For some reason, I tend to have fond memories of camping, yet reality isn’t quite as close, and I keep wanting to do it year after year. On the other hand, I am really ready to give up tent camping and surrender to the convenience of trailer camping, but I’m restraining that to pop-ups or some kind of hybrid. Either way, I do want to give the kids the gift of having memories of camping in their childhoods. I loved camping with my dad when I was growing up.
My favorite places to camp are National Forest campgrounds. They’re usually less crowded than commercial campgrounds, still well-maintained, and cheap!
Yes, I have to include the yard category this year, which is a new one. We have a yard! Finally! (E is actually mowing it even as I type this.) We’ll be making a lot of use of our firepot (a housewarming gift from my dad and step-mother) and the kids will be making a lot of use of the expanse of space outdoors, sunshine, swingset, and sandbox. I think we might also host B’s birthday party here later in the year and get a volleyball net or something crazy like that. We also have some out-of-town guests staying with us over the 4th of July because we actually have space for guests now! Imagine that!
Seriously, I love having a yard. Love it. All the time I spent feeling guilty about the kids being stuck inside almost all the time is just a distant memory now. I did try to get them out as often as I could, but our hour-long hikes can’t even compare with them heading out after breakfast and spending hours and hours and hours each day playing in the dirt. I love it.
What are your summer plans?