This Year I’ll Do Summer Better!


I say it every year. Whether I’m staying at home with my kids for the summer or trying to find childcare so I can work, every year I feel like summer sneaks up on me and bonks me over the head. This year, I’m a mom with a plan to maximize the summer fun and minimize the number of times my daughters tell me they are bored. This year, I’ll do summer better!

Step 1: Figure Out When People are Coming to Visit

Portland is so beautiful in the summer, it attracts lots of friends and family to come visit the west coast. Exploring the city with people we don’t see very often is fun, so I plan to take my daughters and our visitors to some tourist attractions in and around Portland. Three on our summer bucket list are the Oregon Zoo, Multnomah Falls, and Portland Saturday Market.

Step 2: Get the Backyard Ready do summer better

I’ve been pulling weeds and moving rocks every spare moment this spring to be sure that our backyard is ready for summer fun. We have a swing set, jumping stumps, a sand box, and a vegetable garden the girls help me tend during the summer. There are also plenty of opportunities to cool off in the splash pool, Slip-N-Slide, and with our trusty garden hose. I plan to start every day in the back yard watering the plants and enjoying the coolness of the morning.

Step 3:  Schedule A Few Summer Camps (But Not too Many) 

One of the best things about summer is the flexibility that comes with not going to school every day. On the other hand, one of the worst things about summer is when that flexibility morphs into boredom and “I want a play date. How come you never schedule playdates?!” Choosing a couple summer camps for my older daughter gives us the best of both worlds. This year, we’re going to do Coding With Kids and perhaps a drama or aerial yoga class of some sort. I rarely seem to get it together to register for camps when it’s still snowing outside, so our choices may be somewhat limited, but that works for me!

Step 4: Plan a Few Moms Nights Out

I love my kids, but every once in a while it’s nice to sit in one place, drink an adult beverage, and participate in a conversation where no one asks me to change a diaper or find something for them. Moms needs activities too to do summer better, so I’m going to put some on the calendar for me now before I feel the need to run away with no actual plan of where I’m going.

Step 5: Make a List of Cool Meals 

The last thing I want to do in the middle of the hottest summer days is cook, so I want to have a plan for meals that don’t require me to turn on the stove or oven ready to go before my brain melts in the heat and all I put on the table is popsicles. Pasta salads, veggie sticks, and cheese cubes figure prominently in my summer meal plans. I also just read an article about using a slow cooker to make hard-boiled eggs; score!

Step 6: Find Places to Escape the Heat 

The brain-melting heat can make it hard to think of places to cool off, so I’m planning ahead now before the oppressive heat renders me incapable. Last year, splash pads, pools, and movie theaters were some of our favorite haunts. This year to do summer better, we’re going to explore indoor golf at Glowing Greens, arcade games at the Wunderland locations, and the free, air-conditioned bliss of the public libraries

Whatever happens, whether we follow my plans to a T or not, I hope that we reach September looking back on some great summer memories and looking forward to the beginning of a new school year. In my book, that’s the mark of the best kind of summer!

What are your plans to do summer better this year?

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Aside from being a writer, Kendra is a Birth Trauma Doula at KarysMa Birth, where she helps moms find their joy after birth trauma. A former middle school English and theatre teacher, she has an insatiable love for learning and a flair for the dramatic. Among the best moments of her life, she counts marrying her husband Steve during a dream rainbow wedding, planning a princess picnic on the beach with her eight year old daughter Karys, giving birth to her one year old daughter Saryn in the middle of a blizzard, and sitting on stage with Glennon Doyle. A Navy brat for the first 13 years of her life, Kendra settled in Virginia for eighteen years before she was finally ready to move again, relocating to Portland in 2014. You can find her work on Portland Moms Blog, The La Leche League Blog, and The Not Your Average Mom Project, as well as the hard drive of her computer.