Ain’t No Cure For the Summertime Blues…Unless You Help Me!

This is the last week of school for my 2nd grader.

In five days, it will be officially be the start of summer for her and will be followed shortly thereafter by the end of preschool and thus full-time non-stop togetherness until the end of August.

Y’all, I am freaking out.

Even thinking about it long enough to type these last few sentences has made me break out into a cold sweat, and I am pretty sure my blood pressure is up into the range of “dangerously high” right now.

I don’t want to feel this way about summer. I honestly don’t. I want to feel like summer is the greatest, what with the no alarm clocks and no homework and days upon days of freedom and togetherness…and Oh God, now I think I am getting hives.

So, I need your help. Because, I feel very strongly that I *should* even in my quest to be honest about how I feel and willing to tell it is like it is, I should go into the summer armed and ready to make the best of it and actually make this time count. I don’t want August to come and realize that our weeks were an endless series of wet towels and sunscreen and too much TV and mommy saying “Stop it girls” and “ENOUGH”…and you get the point.

I want August to come with a pang in my heart as we ready the backpacks, because I know that the three of us just spent good, quality time MAKING memories together, DOING things, GOING places, HAVING fun. It isn’t as though I expect this every day or anything (this isn’t a Disney Channel show, for God’s sake), but I am thinking that once or twice a week during the summer I want to challenge myself to do something more than just throw the kids in the car and take them to the movies.

So, I am looking for ideas from you. Sound off in the comments below. Give me your best suggestions.

And I should probably make note of the fact that I don’t really like being hot. Or spending boatloads of money. And I can’t remember how to ride a bicycle. My girls are eight and four, and we frequently combine forces with friends who have an eight and a twelve year-old, so any activity will have to satisfy a wide age range. That shouldn’t be too difficult, right?


Ain’t No Cure For the Summertime Blues…Unless You Help Me! — 32 Comments

  1. Well I have a 2 yr old so I don’t have the same issues with keeping him occupied for the summer XD However, if there is a zoo near you try there. I know out here in the summertime the San Diego Zoo has fun little summer programs and stuff for kids,usually really cheap. Find a pond and feed ducks, go to a park, check with local churches and see if they have any fun activities going on. Movies, arts and crafts (that is a dangerous one isn’t it? XD) read books.

    All depends on your kids and how much patience you have. While it may not be the summer of your most fantastical dreams I have learned through my 2 yr old sometimes the simpler the better. As long as it is fun and there are snacks and maybe even other kids ; D I’ll ask around with some of my Mom friends and see what they say about the summer time blues aka “The Mommy has Lost It” time period. ;D

    • Thank you so much! πŸ™‚ These are some great suggestions! I appreciate you taking the time to read and leave me some great ideas…I am writing them ALL down!

      • Wow.. I can’t believe i am just now getting notification of your reply! I’m sorry for taking so long!

        I hope the ideas helped and I am sorry I never did get back to you with other mommy ideas. However, here are a few more since before you know it summer will be back again!

        Sensory bottles… easy to make and even some older kids like them!

        Tornado in a bottle (cool sort of science-y experiment.. pretty easy and cheap.

        Making your own crayons out of older crayons (messy but easy and fun!)

        Having a “pool” party where the kids get to do water themed crafts in their swimsuits! Have them use food coloring, shaving cream and make “white cap” waves in a bucket of water etc.

  2. Ugh-I can’t believe it’s coming so fast! I’m seriously worried about keeping everyone occupied and sane (mostly me on the sane part). You’re in a little different boat than me with an 8 year old, since there are plenty of things I wouldn’t attempt with a 15 month old, but might with an older child.

    Here are my suggestions: We love riding the light rail into town. You can go to Imaginon, Discovery Place, or the Levine pretty easily. We’ve done the family pass to DP and it’s completely paid off over the summer. (But living here this is probably old news to you). Taking the light rail and getting lunch makes it a day. Also, the main exhibit at the Levine is pretty kid friendly and interactive and I think they have some free days over the summer. If you guys haven’t been to the Levine, I would do that one day.

    We occasionally do the spray grounds at Blakeney, but usually we just go to the Y pool instead.

    I’ve had a few people mention going to Creative Playthings (I think that’s it). They have some free play days when they’ll let you play on all the stuff even if you aren’t looking to buy a playset.

    Another place that’s free and air conditioned ( πŸ™‚ ) is the Billy Graham Library which is a fun outing. They have a talking cow (seriously) and it’s sort of interesting. You can breeze through it with the kids, but there’s stuff there. And it’s local and free.

    I’m already racking my brain. We’ve been to the pool 3 times already and Yorke appears intent on giving me a heart attack. He wants to be completely in the water and just wants to walk off the side of the pool into the water… so that doesn’t bode well for my enjoyment of that as a great time killing activity.

    I can’t wait to see what other people suggest.

    • GREAT ideas here, thank you!! I had no idea about the Levine museum or the Billy Graham library, so I have already added those to the list! πŸ™‚
      You rock!
      Let me know if y’all ever want to go together anywhere!!

  3. I have absolutely NO idea. I know, I am the most helpful person in the universe.

    Mine are out in 3 weeks. I think Brian will probably be ready to go postal by mid-June.

    • My only summer goal is to avoid the feeling wanting go postal by June 12th. Surely, I can manage that, right? πŸ˜‰

  4. Try to remember what you and Laura did in the summertime when you were young girls. Here are a few hints – – swimming in your pool; riding hotwheels: playing lots of cards and board games; baking cookies; drawing on pads; going to mid-day movies; feeding the ducks at the local pond/lake; helping your Mom at the grocery store; playing at friends’ houses; doing puzzles; going to work with your Dad on Saturday; getting donuts on Sunday; riding in the car to see animals in the country (remember how many times we stopped so Laura could look at horses); playing in your room; taking naps (yes, you really did!); playing with the dog and cat; helping your Mom with dinner (setting the table, getting the drinks,etc.); walking with your Dad on the par-3 course; playing on the swing set; reading/looking at books and magazines in the sunroom; building your forts and hide-outs in the living room; and, of course, watching TV. You did all those things and more, summers went by, and you two turned out to be pretty normal, wonderful young ladies.



    • I am sure your “Drop them off to visit Papa and do crafts with Eileen” was totally implied, right? I will assume so, anyway, so look for them weekly at your house for some quality time! πŸ˜‰
      Or maybe you were trying to secretly tell me you are getting us a pool in our backyard? That would be awesome!
      Seriously, though, thanks Dad, these are helpful ideas, and I will definitely use some of them!
      P.S. I think Mom may have exaggerated some of the summer fun she told you we were having…I don’t remember all those things you said we did! πŸ˜‰

  5. season pass to carowinds is best money we had ever spent! Waterpark! Get there at 10 – go on snoopy rides for less than 1 hr. 11am water park opens. Swim for 2 hours and leave. grab food on way out – or we kept a cooler in the car – and would head to the car, eat and go home.with the season pass, this is actually a great deal (esp if you don’t buy lunch at the park!)

    • Thanks Kerri! My girls ask all the time to go to Carowinds, but after Disney with Abby, I may have to check it out once before I spend the season pass money! πŸ˜‰
      Great idea about the cooler in the car, too! πŸ™‚

  6. Ice skating rink. (nice and chilly. My 5 yr old has been taking lessons.)

    Roller skating rink (here, they’re super cheap. And cool. As in chilly.)


    Spray park. (go in morning, home by lunch or after picnic lunch, and here they’re free bc part of city parks.)

    Painting pottery place. (indoors = my summer love language)

    Day camps. (I know people who VBS hop from church to church – usually a half-day for 4-5 days. Emma, at least, should be able to go without you volunteering and should be free or nearly free.)

    Gymnastics day camp?

    Library story-time? (Our’s has a craft to complement the story, too. And FREE.)

    Playdate hop at houses? (Have friends bring whatever water toys, slip-n- slides, baby pools, sprinkler attachments, etc they have and set them all up in one friend’s backyard. Set kids free to play while the Mommys hang out inside drinking something yummy.)

    Can they visit grandparents for a weekday or two?

    Indoor bounce house places?

    There’s a place here called Amazing Jake’s, and it’s essentially an indoor fun park w go carts, mini-golf, arcade games, bowling, little rides for the little ones, and an all you can eat buffet that a 12 yr d boy would adore. It’s not cheap, but would be worth it when your nerves are fried. Anything like that in Charlotte area?

    There’s also a list of summer things to do with your kids that I pinned that you’ve probably seen, but I’m planning to follow this summer bc Ava, my 5 yr old, will have me whining for mercy next week with all of her requests to do this, that and the other. Every. Single. Day. For the rest of my life.

    Oh and perspective, my friend. I just read about a childhood friend from church who Make a Wish just sent on a DW family vacation bc her youngest son (they have 3), who is 4, is dying of cancer. (They’ve given him a few months, i think.) Heartbreaking. Thank you, Lord, that my girls are healthy and able to make me whine for mercy. (This helps for about 5 minutes until they begin screaming at each other.)

    • You rock Steph!! LOVE these suggestions!! :):) Thank you so much for taking the time to leave them for me!
      We don’t have an Amazing Jake’s, but it certainly sounds like we could use one ASAP! πŸ˜‰

      I am so sorry about your friend. I just simply cannot imagine. πŸ™

  7. I think doing things together is great; however, having 2 girls, different ages and interests, I would suggest at some point in the summer taking each of them with you, one-on-one, to an overnight at a hotel or even a day out with each of them. I know you have lots of good friends (and PaPa) who could take one of the girls for the day and/or night and leave you time with the other one, just the two of you. I only had Austin, but I imagine if I had two, there would be those times when I wanted that one-on-one time with both of my children – and maybe have them pick the dates they want to go….or a spa day with each of them as opposed together, which will produce much less, if any, emotion for the day/night. Hope this helps!

    • That is a great idea! πŸ™‚ One-on-one time is very important, and I get a fair amount of it during the school year, but summer adds challenges for sure. I will definitely think about doing that, even if it just some daytime outings (we are saving our pennies for a certain wedding in November! ;)) because the girls love stuff like that!

  8. Ashley, all the planning you will need to do to keep 2 kids happy puts a lot of strain on you. So I suggest that once a week you let your dad keep the kids and you go somewhere you can relax. Such as a movie, spa, manicure, pedicure. You get my drift. don’t you? Also you and Robert should get out without the kids and go on a date night. Most kids can find things to do without us planning for them. I know they need structured time but you do also. Have a great summer!!

    • Love it! I will be sure to pass along your suggestion to my dad! πŸ˜‰ My girls are really good about playing together and having fun, but they also need some structure or we all go a little crazy! πŸ™‚

  9. I suggest tackling Pinterest for ideas for activities and crafts and look at your own local parks and recreations for outdoor things to do. Make the most of it and remember they kids aren’t going to remember if you spent money or not, they are going to hold onto those memories though.

    • You are so right Melinda. πŸ™‚ It is the memories and that is definitely what I am focusing on right now!

  10. I think Kerri’s idea is good. Plus, if you swim for a couple of hours you are tired and take a nap when you get home. Definitely take your own food with you.
    Any kind of community pool near you? Parker has a good one & season pass is cheap.
    My idea is you come to Colorado for a few days. Get here Wed night, I’ll take you up to Leadville, spend 4 days, go back Sunday night. Not exactly cheap but once you get here wouldn’t spend anything. I’ll (John too) take care of Emma and Abby, go on train rides, feed fish, etc., and you take it easy. Or Robert can bring them. He can go on hikes while I play with Emma and Abby. If Robert comes added bonus is Ashley has 4 days off.

    • I cannot tell you how much I wish we could get out to CO this summer! My girls would LOVE it. Emma is dying to get back to the alpine slide at Winter Park, but Disney pretty much blew our vacation fund for the next fiftyish years! πŸ˜‰ Definitely will think about it for next year, though, because it would be fantastic! πŸ™‚

  11. I actually wake up in a cold sweat thinking about how I am going to manage the summer with a teen, twin tweens and a toddler. I have a feeling I’ll be in the car a lot and not really getting much quality time. Each year I say this summer will be different and each August, I wonder where the time has gone.

    • Your last sentence is actually really what inspired me to write this in the first place, because I say that EVERY SINGLE SUMMER, and I just want *this* summer to be different. I hope it will be, at least a little bit. I am trying to keep my expectations realistic, though.

  12. I love the ideas!!!!
    I should print out a sign that says “IT IS 5:00 SOMEWHERE” and hang it on my fridge for validation
    Summer is always GREAT (up until JULY 5th) and then I am READY TO WRAP IT UP!!!!!

    • I totally agree with you. The first month is doable but after that I am done. I am going to work on my attitude this summer, though. I might have to send myself to my room to think about it…alone.

  13. Bill’s idea of you coming out this summer sounds great to me.
    How could you forget how to ride a bike? It’s easy, like, um, riding a bike.
    I’m old, so can only relate to my summers as a kid. We just took off all day. I think our parents saw us for a few minutes in the morning, maybe come in for a bite of lunch, then at dinner. The rest of the time we were roaming the neighborhood, probably doing bad things, but not being a bother to the folks, at least.
    Not saying that is a good idea these days with young girls, don’t want them to end up on a milk carton, but maybe letting them loose once in a while and getting a break for yourself is ok.

    • I don’t even think they put missing kid’s pictures on milk cartoons anymore, do they?
      Believe me, when I say, if CO was an option, I would be there. Guess one of our summer activities will be playing the lottery! πŸ˜‰
      The bike reading thing is super embarrassing, right?

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