I am so excited about summer. For the first time in years, I’m excited about summer for me. Not for my kid. Not for my family. I’m excited for me.

This summer is going to be a bit different because for about 3 weeks, I will be kid free. Yup, J is heading down south for a couple of weeks to hang out with the other side of her family and later in the summer she’ll be going away to camp for a week. Couple that with the fact that J has been making friends, attending parties, going to sleepovers, etc, it’s like she really doesn’t need the constant go go go summer that we usually try to provide. She’s spreading her wings and I’m spreading mine.

adult summer bucket list View Post

Summer is almost over and Jam and I finally made it to the pool. Sad, I know. And what makes it even sadder than the fact that it’s late July and we haven’t gotten to the pool, is the fact that our apartment complex has a fully accessible pool that’s open 7 days a week. Yep, this is an epic parenting fail. Well, maybe not epic since last summer we didn’t go at all because I couldn’t find the access card, but a fail nonetheless. This time I made sure that I got a new access card well before summer started, but I also knew that Jam would be swimming and going to the water park with the day camp she attends. I wasn’t too pressed about not utilizing our pool, but there’s still a sense of “not appreciating what you have” that I feel. I digress though.

Even though it’s summer, there aren’t many days that lend themselves to us having a leisurely dip in the pool. We’re always going, going, going, so when I realized that it was a Saturday evening and there was actually some down time available, I jumped at the chance to finally get over to the pool. Jam, of course, was ready and willing and we made our way over. And get this…not a soul in sight. The pool was completely empty. At first, I thought it was closed or had some deadly chemicals floating around in the water, but after searching for signs and checking the apartment’s Facebook page for updates, I gave Jam the “go ahead” to jump right in. And jump right in she did!

My baby swims.

When she was just a little baby, Jam loved the water. She was one of those babies that was just at home in the water. As we would wash her up in her little tub, she would splash, put her head under the water, stretch her arms and legs out, and just be. It was the cutest thing ever and anybody that saw her do it would comment on how she’s “such a water baby.” I’ll never forget the time she got in her first kiddie pool, wearing her first tiny bathing suit. There was so much wonder and excitement in her eyes. And she splashed, rolled around, and laughed for hours. It was perfection.

African American baby's first time in pool.

 Fast forward to this weekend and I saw the same wonder and excitement + bravery. Running and jumping in the pool and everything. And then she started swimming. Just out the blue. Never having had a lesson in her life, but always watching everybody swim around her. It was magical, especially as a mama that never learned how to swim and one that’s had such trouble learning. Her stroke isn’t perfect and she can’t hold her breath for very long, but she swims and she’s learning. View Post

Plan an amazing summer filled with family activities, good food, and good times easily with these few steps.

For the last couple of years, it’s felt like summer has just passed us by. School ends, summer care begins, and boom, before you know it, it’s time for back to school shopping. It sucks!!! As a kid, I would wait impatiently for the last bell to ring and for sweet, sweet freedom. Freedom from homework, freedom from nagging teachers, and freedom from all things structure. Our family usually didn’t have any plans other than spending time with each other, but I still looked forward to it though. As a grownup, I notice that I still get that exciting feeling, but it usually amounts to nothing. Like I said, our summers have been summer care and back to school shopping. We’ve taken one or two road trips, but nothing spectacular. Last summer, I actually think we only went swimming once. Womp, womp. This year, I’m determined to plan an amazing summer for myself and for my family.

How to Plan an Amazing Summer

Step 1. Throw caution to the wind. This seems to go against the planning theme, but bear with me for a minute. Every year, I long for a day at the beach, a road trip, water parks, picnics, camping, etc., and every year another year goes by with my wishes unfilled. And it’s because I get caught up in the details. If we go camping, we’ll need this, this, and this and we don’t have any of it! Omaha doesn’t have beaches! We’ll have to fly somewhere, which will cost money and then we’ll have to take time off from work and on and on and on. Sadly, I can’t focus on the big picture because I’m too bogged down by the details. This year, I’m switching my focus from “how” to “why.” Why this trip to the beach is what we need to unwind from the week. Why we want to spend time as a family roasting marshmallows under the stars. It’s all about the why.

Step 2. Take some action. This should be the easiest step, but for us, it’s the hardest. I’m definitely the picky one of our bunch and if things aren’t right i.e. perfect, it’s not happening and the day/night/outing is ruined. Ugh, I’ve got to break that mindset, ya’ll. Nothing will ever be perfect. Most times, it won’t even get close to perfect and that’s got to be okay. Maybe we won’t make it to the beach this summer, but we can definitely make it to the lake that’s a half hour away. Some action is better than no action and some action gets you closer than sitting still.

Step 3. Choose to be present. An amazing summer is not complete without pictures, right? Well kinda. It’s totally okay to memorialize the first marshmallow roast or that cannonball that I’ll dare Hubz to do in film. But I can’t miss the moments that follow because I’m trying to get the perfect shot for Instagram or my blog. The shot is great, but the laughter and stories that follow are what matter.

SillyFaces

Step 4. Create a summer bucket list. This is something that we’ve never done. We’ve never been intentional about how we spend our time or what we do as a family. In the past, I’ve made a list (without my family’s input) of things I think we should do, but the list stayed tucked away and was eventually forgotten. Not this year. This year, the list is leaving the blog. It’ll be posted in our home, for all of us to see. That way, on those weekends that we’re crying boredom i.e. being lazy, we can check our list and get moving.

WaterPark

How are you planning to have an amazing summer?