The possibilities of summer always lay out before me like a beautiful patchwork quilt. Like each carefully sewn square, every day has its own color and texture, its own story behind it.
As summer draws near, I always ask the kids to make a list of things they'd like to do. It usually starts with, "Go to Disney. Go to Six Flags. Go to Great America." You get the idea. But the further down the list they get, the more their true loves come out. "Dinner at Lou's Drive-In." "Catch lightning bugs." "Sleep in a tent in the backyard."
Because of my current work-at-home status, our schedule has been pretty flexible, and I must say this has been one of the most enjoyable summers for me as well as my kids since I can remember.
As the school year looms, I go to the kids once again and ask them to list everything we did. Again at first they list the obvious ones: Trip to North Carolina. Trip to South Dakota. Water parks. But the more they think about it, the more they remember the "little" stuff, and they suddenly realize that they had an awesome summer and got to do lots of really cool things, and it reminds me that my "carpe diem" motto stayed intact. So without further ado, here's a list (as far as we can recall) of what we did this summer:
1) Broke all traffic laws at Bicycle Safety Town.
2) Drove to North Carolina to visit grandparents (with Dad).
3) Got welts at Chilli Paintball Pits.
4) Drove to South Dakota via World's Largest Truck Stop, Corn Palace and Wall Drug.
5) Hiked the Badlands - and LIVED!
6) Panned for gold.
7) Had a picnic.
8) Hiked at Forest Park Nature Center.
9) Ate at Emo's.
10) Drove to Lou's for homemade root beer.
11) Rode our bikes to Culver's.
12) Fished for "the big one" with Grandpa.
13) Hiked, climbed and waded at Matthiessen State Park.
14) Rafted down Bureau Creek.
15) Visited 8 water parks/pools, including Lakeview, Splashdown, Morton, Dragonland (Pekin), Fairview (Normal), O'Neil (Bloomington), Shore Acres (Chillicothe), Knights Action Park, and soon the Aquaport in Maryland Heights, MO.
16) Learned about the stock market, video gaming and managing your money at ICC College for Kids.
17) Swam, hiked, learned and praised with some awesome neighbors and great kids at Eagle Crest Camp.
18) Roasted hot dogs and cooked s'mores on the fire pit.
19) Water balloons + slip 'n slides + super soakers = wet, happy kids.
20) Brushed up on volleyball.
21) Raced (and beat) Mom in a footrace.
22) Mowed lawns for extra cash.
23) Rode the wheels off three scooters.
24) Swung as high as possible on the swings then jumped into oblivion.
25) Went to the Prairie Air Show and spent the whole time in the Lego tent.
26) Saw an IMAX show in the Quad Cities with Grandma and Grandpa.
27) Viewed the amazing possibilities of Legos at Lakeview Museum.
28) Learned to play the bass; taught brother to play "Smoke on the Water" on the acoustic.
29) Convinced son he could actually be good at tennis if he didn't get so frustrated.
30) Taught Mom how to throw a football spiral.
31) Took turns shaving the ice for homemade sno-cones.
32) Helped Mom make homemade chex mix (affectionately referred to as "crack mix" because once you start eating it, it's hard to stop).
33) Made four blueberry cobblers and two peach.
34) Rearranged the kids' bedrooms.
35) Enjoyed some cool treats at the Ice Cream Shack.
36) Dodged the streams at the Riverfront fountain.
36) Caught frogs.
37) Caught turtles.
38) Hit the fake deer in archery.
39) Biked the Towpath in LaSalle and hunted for bats in the caves.
40) Was sick for a birthday.
41) Filled the sandbox with water and sat in it.
42) Ate dinner on the deck.
43) Taught youngest to cook burgers on the grill (just like SpongeBob).
44) Climbed on the roof to spray a ginormous wasp nest.
45) Played flashlight tag.
46) Kicked oldest son's butt in HORSE.
47) Discovered that "It's all about the deals" at UFS.
48) Banished all directions and made a uniquely original Lego city, complete with Empire State Building, coffee shop, defense department and House of Representatives.
49) Planned one last hurrah to City Museum in St. Louis.
50) Came to the realization that this has been one flippin' sweet summer that we'll hopefully never forget.
What about you? What were the highlights of your summer?