In summer, the schedules go out the window and family togetherness is the name of the game.
As it is with many parents, my life is ruled by the school calendar. From September to June, when I make appointments, I take into account when the kids are in school and schedule around Hebrew School and Scouts. In July and August, there is a little more freedom. July is the best month of the year because school is done, and we really don’t start thinking about it again until August.
July is a month of lazy days and smiling faces smeared with ice cream.
In the Steuer family, this is the summer before third grade. Third grade! Oh, when did they get so big? Somehow I blinked, and they grew up a little more. For some reason, this summer seems so much more important than any other before it. This is the only summer they will be 8 years old. This is the only summer before third grade. I don’t know why this summer feels like the top of the roller coaster looking down, but we are going to go with it.
Our plans include the summer reading program, Kids Bowl Free, free activities at the library, spray parks and playgrounds. Normal family activities for a (semi) normal family. There are so many things to do in the Capital District that Olivia, Benjamin and Rebecca are guaranteed to be happy at some point over the summer. Check websites for the Pine Bush Preserve, the Albany Public Library and our very own Capital District Parent Pages calendar to find all kinds of summer entertainment. These are our “go to” ways to find something to do together.
Kids Bowl Free is amazing. Each registered child gets two free games of bowling all summer. The only cost is shoe rentals and maybe some pride if you are bowling against my trio. This will be our fourth summer bowling as a family. I love that the kids remember how they bowled the first summer and can laugh over how bad we all were. Our first summer, the kids used balls that were only 4-5 pounds. Now, they blow Harlan and I out of the water. Each can throw an 11- or 12-pound ball down the lane and get a strike. In the spirit of full disclosure, we do use the bumpers because without them, Harlan and I don’t stand a chance. We laugh. We cheer each other on. We have fun together. Go to www.kidsbowlfree.com to find out how to sign up.
This summer, we are also planning on having some fun at home. We have a big enough yard so there’s Frisbee, soccer and jump rope … all at the same time. I’m sure there will be plenty of times we’ll hear, “I’m bored” or “There’s nothing to do,” but, hopefully, some board games and Uno will make the time a little more bearable. Our kids are so deprived (please insert eye roll here) because we do not have any of the gaming systems that are so popular. They do have access to one computer for the house that they have to share and can only use with permission. We have Boggle, Scrabble, and lots of other old-school games that the kids want to play. Harlan and I plan to hang out with them as long as they will let us. Sooner or later, they will not want to spend so much time with us, and that’s OK too. Right now I want to soak up all the love they are freely giving us.
July is a month full of possibilities! July has the joy of being the month after school is out and before the month that is the month before school starts (following the logic of an 8-year-old). We aren’t searching for school supplies and sneakers in July. We aren’t dealing with the anxieties of new teachers and different classmates yet. In July, we can count on the cousins coming for my mom’s birthday. My brother’s birthday is also in July, so the kids will call and sing to him. Olivia, Benjamin and Rebecca also love to point out that July 11th is their half-birthday and they would like a cake to celebrate. Maybe we could make one together?
Bring on summer, the Steuers are ready!
Jennifer Steuer is an Albany mom whose busy household includes her husband, Harlan, and 8-year-old triplets Olivia, Benjamin and Rebecca. Follow her on Twitter @Got_Triplets.