Here is a list of things I plan to get around to this summer as a means of fighting off the ravages of very long days of togetherness with my three wonderful, healthy, spirited children.

First is a list of what I intend to do for myself, then will be a list of what I intend to do with my kids:

1) Read 2 classic novels.

2) Take yoga/pilates (at this point I don’t know the difference between them, so we’re not exactly talking hard core on this one).

3) Road trip to visit a girlfriend out of state

4) Submit one article to Metro Parent

5) Wake up with my husband and excercise/have coffee before the kids wake up.

6) Work on my blog! Hopefully, by the end of summer it will have morphed into something new and exciting.

7) Read some Shakespeare

8) Brush up on my math (Yeah, right.)

9) Get together with my BFF’s regularly

10) Buy and wear one of those cute, flowered bathing caps to the pool. (This is my own dare to myself. I think it’s practical and a cute, I just have to get past shocking my local community with my eccentricity. Who knows? Maybe I’ll start a trend…)

11) Turn my backyard shed into The Wine Shack. (Ladies, use your imagination on this one…)

12) Start a book club.

13) Wear a hat instead of freckles, use sunscreen more stringently than ever before. I have already reckoned with the fact that I cannot turn back the hands of time, but I will be damned sure to do my best in preserving what I have!

14) Swim laps at the pool every time I bring my kids.

15) Keep my pigs looking palatable. I don’t do pedis, but I can at least give them a little attention now and then.

16) Make Friday nights “date night” at home with my hubby and kids. This means fancying myself up a bit, arranging some adult-oriented meal to be eaten el fresco while the kids run around with hot dogs and watermelon, put on some great music, enjoy a little wine and let the night unfold…Ahhhhh!

17) Play tennis once in a great while (This is similar to the yoga plan)

18) Go to the Eastern Market regularly.

Here is what I hope to accomplish with my chickas:

1) First and above all else – a strict code of conduct! As much as I have my opinions about Hitler’s Nazi regime, there will be tyrannical dictatorship here until they are in complete compliance with house rules.

2) We will have a list of goals and objectives posted for each day of the week to ensure a sense of structure, but secretly I know in between things like library trips and pool visits will be lots and lots of spontaneous fun!

3) Try to attend church once during the week to free up weekends.

4) Take the kids on as many day trips as possible to give them a variety of new exposures.

5) Load them up on in-season foods. Forgo juice boxes and fruit snacks altogether, stick to Kool-Aid and fresh everything.

6) Take them with me to the Eastern Market occasionally.

7) Spend time with each of them individually whenever possible. Evening walks and bike rides work well for this.

8) Teach them how to experience summer entirely through their senses: the smell of fireworks, the taste of fresh Michigan cherries, the scent of various plants and flowers, bbqs, bat watching, bugspray, sunburn, swimming exhaustion, the sound of grandpa’s boat motor, muggy nights, ghost in the graveyard after dark, the chill inside an ice cream parlor on a hot day, the sound of mosquitoes buzzing in your ear, grass clippings, sprinklers, rattle bugs in trees, etc…)

As I continually revise this list, adding more good things to add to my summer itinerary, I will be mindful of how precious it is to be able to spend my entire summer with my kids. It’s gonna be nuts, it’s gonna be stressful, but its gonna be a blast.

What 35-year-old doesn’t want an excuse to be a kid again every summer? I’m so glad I get to put my flip flops on instead of hight heels. I’m so glad I get to have popsicles whenever I want. I’m so grateful I have all of this.

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