where wildly different is perfectly normal
Summer plans
Summer plans

Summer plans

Remember summer vacation as a kid? Long, warm, lazy summer days. They were full of trips to the pool and to the library. We had no air conditioning in my house growing up; it was a Chicago Bungalow built in (I think) 1907. (Quick aside…I just went to that site and I think I dislocated my jaw when it bounced off the floor looking at the rehabs of the old houses. I guarandamntee my house didn’t look that good; makes me want to go back, buy one, and rehab the heck out of it. Wow.) Because it was an old house with no a/c in the Chicago humidity, I played in the cool basement, hiding in the little storage rooms, listening to Star Wars on my little Fisher-Price record player. The only way to get my room cool at night was to open both windows (my bedroom was on a corner), stick a full-sized window fan in one blowing out, and get the cool night breeze through the room. My brother and I played with the neighborhood kids; kickball in the street, races up and down the block, hide and seek. No, I’m not making this up, it really was that idyllic. If we wanted a drink, well, there was the bathroom faucet and a cup. We went to a few summer camps (they must have been cheaper then…dang…talk about sticker shock these last couple of weeks), and visited relatives downstate. (Oh, if you’re not from Illinois…downstate refers to anything south of I-80. Just sayin’…)

I don’t remember my mom going out of her way to entertain us every day, or being worried about what we were going to do. We didn’t watch that much tv; these were the days before cable and there wasn’t anything on anyway. We played, we read, we entertained ourselves. I’m sure we did drive her batsnot crazy, but I don’t remember that.

So what the frack is wrong with me?

I am going slowly insane trying to come up with activities for the boys for the summer. They are both out of school in about six weeks and I’m freaking out. Summer camps are outrageously expensive, and many of them have wait lists already. Swim lessons are filling up. I can’t get answers from the music school, my subdivision’s community center, or the library about their summer programs. And a family trip is out of the question this summer; when it’s $50 to fill my minivan’s tank and it barely lasts a week…well, it’s a staycation for us this year.

As much as I’d like the revisit the halcyon days of my youth, times have changed. I can’t throw the boys outside at 9am and tell them to come back for lunch…or to be home when the streetlights come on (seriously, that was my alarm to head home until I had my drivers license). On my little side street, cars and trucks roar up and down the block too fast for comfort. There are few kids on this block, and the ones that are here are too young for my boys to play with. And, because times have changed, many of my sons’ friends are in structured activities all summer.

*****We interrupt this post for an important message*****

I cannot STAND the PBSkids show Dragon Tales. Hate.It. The boys love it. If I have to hear the girl-side of that two headed dragon squeal out “Looooooooooooove It!”one.more.fracking.time, I’m going to lose my everlovin’ mind.

*****We now rejoin the post already in progress*****

So my plan for the summer is to just wrap up the summer plans already. I’ll sign the boys up for swim lessons at our subdivision’s pool (at least that way we can get in before the hordes and can stake out a spot in the shade). We’ll hit the library. A lot. J can take a little music class. And that will be that. On my side for the summer is the delightful fact that the school behind our house will be done, completed, finis. It appears the playground will be directly over our back fence and next to that is the blacktop play area, complete with kid-sized basketball hoops, hopscotch, and what appears to be tetherball. It’s safe, it’s away from traffic, and it’s going to be totally available this summer. Bicycle riding, scooter riding, basketball playing…all in my backyard. We’ll go to the zoo, the museum, the park. I’ll get a grip and let things slide so I can enjoy my sons. It’s only two and a half months (remind me of this come mid-June, when I want to sell them on eBay).

What are your plans for the summer? Anything good? Anything I’d be totally envious of? What do you have planned for your kiddos? Surely I’m not the only one in this boat! C’mon, share the love, end my planning panic…share!


  1. Pingback: Summer plans

  2. I remember when my mom would toss us out after breakfast. Somehow our appetite would bring us back home for lunch and dinner, and she’d call through the neighborhood for us to come home for bed. I can’t even IMAGINE doing that with my kids. Even if we didn’t live in the city right downtown, I can’t even IMAGINE letting Tyler and Evan out for the entire day relying on their own sense of right or hunger to bring them back home.

    Your backyard sounds awesome. I think things will turn out better than expected for you.

    I am lucky that Evan’s school goes through the WHOLE summer. We get four weeks off in August. Two of which he’s signed up for summer camp. So I really only have two weeks to ring my hands. I think I can manage that.

  3. Yes, times have changed. Can you say “predator?”
    My childhood was like yours. Outside playing all day. Heck, we even would swim in the lake with no adult present! We’d go into the woods and build stuff with fallen branches or swing on the vines that hung down.
    My mom was a teacher and she needed that summer break to detox. She couldn’t be worried about her kids all day. And she didn’t need to be. We were fine.
    What am I doing with my kids? They’ll each go to church camp (sadly their sessions do not overlap). And we’ll hit the zoo, and a couple of museums. And swim in the pool. And maybe, MAYBE an acting camp if there is a really good one. I’m not going to put them in it just to keep them busy. Not worth my time (driving into town) or the money.

  4. We’re not in school yet, so summer to us is pretty much the same as any other time. Lots of pool & zoo time, I suspect.

    And I’m with you on DT. When we named Zach I gave everyone STRICT instuctions that he was NOT to be called “Zachie”. Everyone but my in-laws follows my rules. Go figure.

  5. Wow, another post that instantly transported me back to my childhood! I’ve always described it as idyllic! Lex is at the age now where he just wants me to leave him the hell alone, which should make me feel relieved that I don’t have to plan things, but instead it makes me sad that I don’t have to plan things.

    Obviously, that’s my vacation, too, and I’ve always waited all year so that we can go downtown, do the museums, go to Navy Pier, basically take in all that our glorious city has to offer. But, now, he’s not the least bit interested in hanging out with me. He’ll probably ask to spend the summer with his dad this year! :<

    I had planned to take him to Italy, since I’ve been promising my mother for the past 6 summers that we’d come. Plus, it’s his last summer before high school, so I wanted to do something ‘big.’ But, now that the bar is open (did I ever mention to you that my family just opened a martini lounge?) I’m afraid I’ll be tied up helping my brother all summer. I’d really feel guilty if I went off to Italy for 8 weeks, while he’s slaving away, trying to get a new business off the ground.

    So, to answer your question, I have no idea what we’ll be doing this summer. I’m gonna just keep pretending I’ll be lying on the beach in Italy all summer! 😉

  6. RC

    My mom used to kick us outside after our chores in the mornings – that I remember. Also, like you, we played in the cool basement. And the only room air-conditioned for the longest time was my parents, since mom worked third and it got too hot in her room to sleep during the day.

    When we finally lucked into a second air conditioner, I remember mom hanging blankets in doorways so we could cool one-two rooms and we would have to play quietly if we wanted to stay in the cool area.

    With Little Dude being so young, I fear summer is just part of the year at this point. Nothing too special planned. Vacation is this fall, though…

  7. I remember those summer days. We left the house right after breakfast (Life cereal, remember that?) and didn’t come home until dinner was on the table. Yet, our parents always knew where we were and who we were with. Those were the days.

  8. I have to start by saying, Bungalow = my dream house. Yep. Maybe not Chicago, but Bungalow none the less. Maybe Bradburn, built in ’07.

    I have only made July camp plans. We have no summer vacay plans, possibly New York, but the problem is that is not a vacation, it’s a guilt ridden intensive family Expo. Haha.

    Guess, i’ll be at your pool, because the good ol’ first filing (my hood) has no Pool, and I can’t imagine what it would look like 50 years later.

    Oh, and we must have a Bay outting, I am sure you have been there!

  9. I thought that once my kids had gotten old enough to care for themselves in the summer that my panic over filling the summer would subside, I was wrong. This summer Gameboy has a 10 day away from home adventure, ThePrincess will be away for 6 days, and we have a week long family trip. That leaves a lot of time for the two hoodlums, I mean darling children, to get into a lot of trouble while home alone. I’m counting on the kindness of friends & family to help fill the rest of the time; and, of course, there is quite a bit of rink time planned which will be accessible only because of carpooling.

  10. I always went to camp all summer, first day camps and then when I was older sleepaway camps, probably because both of my parents worked, but the truth is I loved it.

    Camps here all end by the end of July or the beginning of August, which blows, but we lucked out this year and the kids and I are spending all of August at Camp Grandma (Jay will join us for a few weeks) and they’ve got a TON going on in their area.

  11. Sounds completely idyllic! My childhood was like that too but it took place way, way south of Chicago (think: Confederate Flags)

    This summer we’ve got some camps planned, swim team at the local pool, music lessons, and road trips to the Western Slope, Taos, and the Central Coast of CA. Oh, and I’ve a few summer classes to take somewhere amidst all that mess!

  12. HRH

    I plan on boring them to death. That plan will last about 3 hours into the first day and then I will go crazy trying to find things at the last minute that are now unavailable because I waited so long. At least I have a plan. But now I think I will steal yours…the zoo, library and playground all sound pretty good. As for Dragon Tales…ugh. What is with those flying beasts? And the wallpaper in the kids room is hideous. No wonder they hallucinate.

Whaddya think?

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