Summertime Blues

I have some bad news for you. Are you prepared? Are sitting down?

Summer is almost over. Over?

I have fond memories of hitting the last day of school, back when I was a kid, and feeling like the whole summer lay before me with lots of opportunities and prospects for adventure!

 When my five-year-old reached her last day of school a week ago, I was equally optimistic about all the fun excursions I’d get to take her and her two-year-old sister on. Oh, the places we would go. The fun we would have!

Then I took a look at the calendar to determine when we would be doing all this fun.

Hmm, we’re halfway through June already. July has a week taken up with Vacation Bible School when I volunteer with at our church, plus another week for a trip to Texas to see Grandma and Grandpa. Not much left there. August has school orientation for the little one. (She’ll be starting preschool in the fall. Sigh.) And that’s it. Summer is over.

The Summer Experience is so much different as The Mom. Now it’s my job to make Summer Vacation 2012 the best time ever. Let’s face it. Creating a schedule really sucks the fun out of a vacay staple like spontaneity. Scheduling forces you to look at the endpoint, then remember all the mundane stuff that still has to happen (like grocery shopping and naptimes) and try to cram some fun into the little holes that remain.

Which brings me to the Bucket List. The list of things I’d really like to do to make this summer amazing. Here are some of those items...

• Busch Gardens - I don’t think summer could be summer without it. And unlike last year, I now know there is a cool splash fountain area for the little ones, so we will now be appropriately apparel-ed.

• Virginia Children’s Museum - Got a postcard saying Curious George is in the house. Does George ever go out of style?

• Ocean Breeze - My fave ride at Ocean Breeze has always been the Lazy River in the kids’ area. Drifting while your kids are trapped in floating rings is wonderful. Now they’ve made it bigger. I can’t wait!

• Virginia Living Museum - On one of the super-hot days (shouldn’t be too hard to find one of those!) we’ll duck into the planetarium and check out the Virginia Night Sky show and the laser lights.

• Chrysler Museum - I hear they have a glass-blowing demonstration. Educational + Cool = Awesomeness.

• Ynot Wednesdays at Town Center - Every Wednesday of June, July, and August (so we’ve got a pretty good chance of making it to at least one) the event has a Farmer’s Market and features local and regional bands. Checking off the mundane task of grocery shopping while grooving to some tunes makes for one perfect summer.

• Hermitage Museum - This one’s just for The Mom. Friday nights, the Hermitage plays classic movies outside on the lawn, overlooking the Elizabeth River. Bring a blanket, a picnic dinner, and good friends, and wind down from all the summer craziness.

When I feel the little stress bugs trying to climb into my summer plans, I remember what the kids in my Sunday School class of four-year-olds told me when I asked them, “Are you guys taking any trips this summer?” “I’m going to Mt. Trashmore!” “I’m going to a POOL PARTY!” “I’m going to the beach!” The Best Summer Ever is not defined as what The Mom thinks is exciting - it’s what The Kids think is exciting. And mostly that consists of running, playing, crafts, water, friends, family, and love.

Oh, and ice cream. LOTS of ice cream!

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Jennifer Tackett-Hilton

Jennifer Tackett-Hilton is a Virginia Beach transplant (originally from Iowa) and Old Dominion University graduate who swore she'd never date a Navy man.... but never said she wouldn't marry one! Jennifer and her Prince Charming have two adorable (and precocious!) princesses, ages 2 and 5, and one furry pooch, Eddie.

In the (precious little) spare time she has, she enjoys crafting, shopping for new craft supplies, and writing on her blogs, EverAfterLand.com and JenEverAfter.com. You can find her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/everafterland and follow her on http://twitter.com/jeneverafter and http://pinterest.com/jeneverafter.

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