Tag Archives: summer

Summer List: Progress Report


I can’t remember if I posted about our “Summer Ideas” list, but it’s pretty self-explanatory: it’s a list we made in June with ideas of stuff we wanted to do this summer. Did you get that? It’s a LIST that has IDEAS about STUFF we thought would be… OK, you got it.

Well, with the first day of school being EXACTLY two weeks away, I thought I’d give a brief update on how we’ve done so far. Here’s a quick review:


• Transportation Day
This was definitely a summer highlight for me. Although if you remember, when the Loud One asked why this entry had an “X” in the box, the Nibbit responded by saying, “Maybe because it was cancelled?”

So I’m not sure I speak for everyone when I say it was super fun and extremely memorable.

Who could forget the Batman photobomber?

Who could forget the Batman photobomber?

• See Monsters University and eat popcorn and candy for lunch.
Do I get special credit if I admit that we’ve done this at Despicable Me II, Smurfs II and Planes as well? Or will you get all judgey? Either way, it’s true.

We also watched LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers at home while eating Pirate’s Booty and applesauce for lunch. Sue me.

• Yankee game
One-third fries, one-third ice cream, a tiny bit less than one-third asking for more fries and ice cream, whatever tiny bit is left baseball.


• Legoland Discovery Center
This was a real win in my book. Small, indoors, relatively clean, this place has a cool Lego exhibit, a ride and 4-D movies… all things that required little input from me. Minimal effort + Big fun = VICTORY.

IMG_2773 - Version 2

• Make homemade ice cream and have a sundae bar.
Done and done. And done. And done.

• Potty train Happy Dude
It’s true… we are thisclose to being a diaper-free household (we’re still using them at night)!

A lot of people have asked me about my potty-training “technique” this past week, probably because I’ve bragged that I must be the best potty-trainer ever because training HD has been so easy, but if you insist on knowing, my technique (and by my, I mean my sister’s and probably a bunch of experts’ who have written books on the subject) looks something like this:

1. Wait until kid is saying things like, “I truly believe that I am prepared to go to the commode by myself now.”

2. Take the kid to Target to buy underwear with Lightning McQueen all over it.

3. Set a concrete start date (aka Potty Day!) and start the countdown. The week before, remind the kid “OK, four/three/two more days of diapers and then it’s underwear time!” You may even want to make up a little “Oh yeah, underwear! Who gets to wear the underwear? YOU get to wear the underwear!” song. And maybe a tiny dance to go with it. I’m not saying that anyone did that in our house, but I’m also not saying that someone didn’t do that.

4. Clear your schedule for Potty Day! and for the following day as well.  You’re not going anywhere.

5. When the kid wakes up, remind him that it’s Potty Day! and make a big deal about putting underwear on. Then, start pouring liquids down his throat – juice, chocolate milk, coffee, whatever it takes to get him to drink.

6. Then set a timer (we set it for 15 minute increments at first) and every time the alarm goes off, he gets to sit on the potty. Yay! And if pee comes out… exalt Oh yeah! Oh yeah! It’s M&M time!

7. In between alarms, you WATCH THAT KID LIKE A HAWK. And I mean, you stalk him like you did your high school boyfriend. Because there will come a time, I PROMISE this will happen, where pee will start pouring down his leg and he will say something to the effect of, “Uh oh! Uh oh!” at which point you GRAB the kid and sit him down on the potty and clap and cheer because Yay! He’s putting pee in the potty! When really he’s not, because he already put it all over your rug, but let’s get out of it. 

Do this for basically two days and he’ll be trained. Say things like, “Listen to your body!” and “We don’t want to put pee in our underwear because that’s gross!” and before you know it, he’ll be telling you that he’s ready for some pwivacy.

IF this technique is not working after a day or two (not working = kid is consistently peeing or pooping in his underwear and not caring), MY OPINION (and I’m not a doctor, although I am a self-designated expert potty-trainer) is that he is just not ready. Try again in three months or when he or she starts saying things like, “Could you please change my diaper because I do believe I defecated in it.”

Other notes:

  • Backyard/driveway training is preferred. No Resolve Carpet spray necessary.
  • If you’re training a boy, there may be some angling issues. Work with him.
  • While peeing is relatively easy, pooping is actually not. There is a learning curve. Have patience.
  • Stock up on M&Ms. If you’re in a bind (no pun intended), Hershey kisses also work.
  • I’ve heard from a few people that Potty Training Parties are the new rage. Oh yeah, I DEFINITELY want six two-year olds in my house peeing and pooping all over the place. Because one is simply NOT enough.


Moving on… 


• Essex Steam Train
I’ve decided this will be too boring. For me. And now that’s it August, I’m tired of doing things that will be fun for THEM. Which is why I’ve added “Marg Nights. Several.” to the Summer Ideas list. Message me if you’re interested.

• Picnic at the beach with all foods that can be eaten with toothpicks
Now, why did this sound like a good idea? Our beach has a perfectly good concession stand that serves all the standard-issue beige food that my children love. Why would I complicate things with tiny food and sharp sticks?

• Stuffed animal safari in the backyard

• Chelsea Piers – rock wall & swimming
Hmm, not sure how this has slipped through the cracks… still possible. Although becomes less and less likely with each passing day. But really, how fun does “swimming and rock climbing” sound anyway?

• Overnight to Newport, RI
I was so overachieving in June.

I actually did some research and discovered that I think Newport, RI may be too boring for my young (read: impatient, lacking in attention-span, sometimes bratty) kids. No offense Rhode Island. Keep it real.

So then I researched Boston instead and was really thinking about taking them up there for 2-3 days… but then we went to Turks & Caicos. For a week. And now I’m all, “Let’s not spoil the kids with so many vacations, am I right?” So I just crossed that one off the list.

• Fishing with Daddy
This one’s not on me. But in KJ’s defense, his knee is still in bad shape and fishing with the Loud One if not 100% healthy and motivated is just asking for trouble.  There’s still time. <whispering> not gonna happen.



• Fishing with Grammy
This was LO’s expedition with just Grammy. She loved it. She didn’t catch any fish and still managed to talk about this one-hour experience for two days straight.

• Fishing and tubing on a Amanda’s Dad’s boat
How effing awesome is this? A serious summer highlight and again, I didn’t have anything to do with it. 


• Awesome vacation with Grandma and family
So what if this was fully planned and executed by Grandma, in the winter? It was still an IDEA that someone had about this SUMMER. So it counts. Plus, it involved me + kids on a plane, so I want it on the record.


• See Matilda on Broadway
Also with Grammy, also wildly popular

• Make homemade stuffed animals
I just added this tonight because I spent five hours with LO and my nieces working on this project this morning. And dammit, I want credit for it.


Wouldn’t YOU want credit for this?


So, that’s where we stand. Realistically, we may knock one or two or none of the unchecked items off this list in the next two weeks, or I may just sign my kids up for various camps and read a few trashy beach novels while drinking Margs.

Now, why isn’t that on the list?


This is the list. (In case that wasn’t clear.)

I Can’t Wait for Summer!


One of my very favorite traits of the Loud One is that so many of her sentences start with the words, “I can’t wait for…!”

Sometimes the sentence ends with something big like “…our vacation to the Bahamas” or “…my birthday party!” But there are other times when she is truly excited about something extremely routine like, “I can’t wait for art class tomorrow… we’re painting dinosaurs!” or “I can’t wait to wear that blue dress again! It’s my favorite and it’s been in the laundry for sooooo long!” (Whatever, shut up.)

LO never experiences that “let-down” that most of us experience at the end of something we’ve looked forward to for a long time, because she’s already moved on to the next thing.

It’s either the World’s Greatest Outlook on Life or a Genius Coping Mechanism. Either way, she wins.

We all do this – look forward to things – even as we get older (maybe just not to the extent the LO does). As the years go on, we look forward to school breaks or even just the weekend, brunch with friends, meeting “The One,” the next date with “maybe The One,” vacations, getting married, having babies, and then… um… retirement?

Seriously, what comes next?

I’ve been thinking about this and I’ve decided that I completely understand the mid-life crisis thing now (which makes perfect sense considering I’m MIDDLE-AGED!! NOOOO!!!).

I get the identity crisis. I get the red Ferrari. And while, I don’t CONDONE the affair (be it with a trainer, pool guy or someone younger and hotter than your spouse) AT ALL, I kind of get it.

As we get old (er), we are actively seeking something exciting  – something different – to look forward to.

Part of the problem is that if you have young kids, even the “exciting” things – weekends, vacations, etc. – still maintain a bit of their mundaneness. (Mundanacity?) And the weekends and vacations without your kids are few and far between because, well, to do that too frequently would be negligent. (Sorry… don’t kill the messenger.)

A friend of mine with whom I volunteer at the school library walked in last week looking a bit down. I asked her she was OK and with a deep sigh that had me worried something terrible had happened, she said, “I am just so, so tired of doing laundry. I feel like I am on an endless cycle of washing and drying and folding. Repeat.”

YES. Now substitute “carpooling” or “meal-planning/preparing” or “working at a stressful job” for laundry – or don’t because laundry actually works perfectly – and YES… haven’t we all been there?

So now, summer is almost here. We have some camps booked for the kids and a vacation planned as well. We also have a lot of open afternoons and many free days. Yet instead of thinking about all the possibilities, I’ve been focused on the fact that we had three days of 90 degree weather and it wasn’t even June yet. I have NOT been saying, “I can’t wait for… !!

(I’ve also been focused on the full-time job of managing end-of-school-year activities. Jen Hatmaker brilliantly wrote about this HERE. I’m sure you’ve read this already, but if you haven’t, go do it now. And then carve out some time because you’ll want to read it again later.)

So, starting now, I have changed my attitude.

The kids and I have made a list of some of the things we want to do this summer* and I’m going to put them on my calendar (color-coded orange for “kids’ activity,” of course) so that it’s all right there in print.

And then I’m going to GET PSYCHED. I’m going to steal a play right out of LO’s playbook and look forward to these not-at-all-lazy days of summer. I’m going to start saying, “I can’t wait for… !” at least once a day. (Fake it ’til you make it, right?)


Happy June.


*Our Summer Activity List is a work in progress, but here’s what we’ve come up with so far:

  • Transportation Day in NYC (take a train, subway, bus and taxi all in one day… boat would be bonus)
  • Ride the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
  • Picnic at the beach with all foods that can be eaten with toothpicks
  • Conduct a stuffed animal safari in the backyard
  • See “Monsters University;” eat popcorn and candy for lunch
  • Overnight to Newport, RI
  • Yankee game with LO & Nibbit – ice cream, popcorn, hot dogs and maybe a little baseball
  • Fishing (LO is DYING to go fishing; this will probably fall under KJ’s jurisdiction being as I don’t love boats… or fishing)
  • Potty train Happy Dude (OK, I’m not going to actually look forward to that one, but maybe if I put it on the calendar, I’ll actually do it.)