About four or five years ago, I had finally had it with all the time the kids were wasting during summer vacation. The older ones would sleep in until noon, waste two hours doing a ten-minute job, and then beg to hang out with friends or go back to their bedrooms to hibernate. Every morning I would labor over a huge list of tasks for me, then celebrate (and beat myself up) when I was able to cross off less than half every night before bed.
My sweetie said I was list-obsessed and he’s right! One thing led to another and in our efforts to satisfy my list-o-mania and get the kids motivated at the same time, we developed the Summer List. We write the list on Memorial Day and then try to complete all tasks by Labor Day. We start with the youngest child and go around the room five times with each person adding something to the List. If you are counting, that gives us roughly 60 things to do during the three months of summer. (Except that my kids are on year-round so we really only have about 6 weeks of summer.)
This year we got started a week late because half the family was across the state moving the Drama Queen home. So last night we cooked outside, snarfed down my sweetie’s best BBQ ribs, and then sat in a circle to compile 2011’s Summer List. Curly was so excited he was jumping up and down! "Camping!" was his first response. Obviously he enjoyed his first Fathers and Sons Campout even though it was cold and they were rained on all night.
Scout quickly added "Swimming" to the List. She had clearly been thinking about it for a while. Sport added build a treehouse, Crafty wanted to have a picnic at a new park we have never visited before. The Prima Donna thought doing some Family History (i.e. scrapbooking) would be fun. Princess decided we need to watch all the Disney Princess movies (go figure…) and the Dog Walker wanted to finish his last ten Merit Badges. I voted for Iron Chef 2 (I guess I’ll have to tell you about the first one some time). My sweetie thought refinishing the hardwood floor would be a good idea…I know, but nothing can be vetoed if it hits the Summer List. The kids all know if it is too outrageous or costs too much, it just won’t get crossed off. Time to go around the circle again!
Curly was still jumping up and down. "Camping!" he yelled. Finally we convinced him to choose something else…backyard camping…which is one of our favorite activities, complete with a sunrise breakfast prepared by my sweetie. Last year as a nod to our Danish ancestry we made Æbleskiver. Other things were added, movies and concerts in the park, wii tournament, zuzu pet show, paper airplane contest, backgammon and piano lessons, a Harry Potter Marathon…fix something in the yard (any guesses on who put that one on?).
One of our favorite Summer List activities is a Book Club and we chose the book Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. We also added lots of summer reading programs for the little kids. The hardest items on the list this year include a trip to Lagoon (a local amusement park) and all the stuff my sweetie put on the list. It’s a good thing we have my sweetie to help us with the Summer List. Otherwise we might just waste our whole summer.
**Editor's Note: My family didn't get to add anything to the list yet so it is my turn. I want to have another movie in the backyard. And plant a bunch of trees, right across the back fence blocking the neighbors that stare like we are an exhibit at the zoo... Don't forget to enter our Give Away.