I called a mom friend of mine today who I haven’t talked to “live” this summer — meaning we’ve texted about our boys’ activities and car pools all summer long, but haven’t spoken over the phone. I asked her, “How’s your summer?” I had barely gotten the question out and she said, “I’m ready for school to start.”
Anybody else feeling that way?
I always look at August with fear and trepidation. I lose my summer sitter this Friday to college – how dare she – with two more weeks before my kids go back to school. And August is when my kids’ boredom reaches an all-time high. Sound familiar? They’re done. And while they won’t admit it, they’re ready to get dressed before noon in something other than a bathing suit.
This year, my husband and I have arranged our work schedules so that we can “divide and conquer” on helping our kids, and ourselves, make the most of the final two weeks of summer. My 15-year-old will be in charge of himself and our 10-year-old daughter some days, while we both work, but in and between, we’re going to have some old-fashioned, frugal fun. I thought I would share our plans with you, in hopes that it might help those of you in the same situation:
- Biking, hiking, and walking – Yes, it’s hot in central and coastal Virginia in August, but it’s always a little cooler on a bike or in the woods. We love biking on Belle Isle on the James River in Richmond and at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. If you feel like making a day or overnight of it, check out High Bridge State Park in Farmville, which is long and flat — great for little riders.
- Crafts – Okay, so fine motor skill activities like threading a needle or putting beads on a string are not my thing, but I have a 10-year-old daughter which means I have lots of unopened boxes of crafts sitting at the bottom of several closets. In my desperation to fill our time before school starts, I’m going to fake it ‘til I make it and believe that I can be crafty. I’ll be a friendship bracelet-, key chain-, pot holder-making machine! Also, this will be our time to decide on a handmade holiday gift and start production.
- Volunteering – I live in a make-believe world where I convince myself that my kids want to give and help others. It’s a happy place until I tell them we’re actually going to do something. Earlier this summer we worked a water station for a 5K race that raised funds for an injured neighbor. The kids were “all in.” I discovered that if I can find things they really care about, they’ll jump right in. Hands On Richmond and Volunteer Hampton Roads are my go-to sites for ideas. You can get pretty specific about the type, time, and location for your volunteering. Hands On Richmond’s “Have a Few Hours” calendar is awesome for last-minute planners like me.
- Libraries – First let me say that I was never a big reader growing up, despite my mom taking me to the Westover Hills Public Library every week. But I love to read now, so something must have stuck, right? If you have not visited the new Slover Library in Norfolk, it is a must-see! Built in honor of former Norfolk Mayor Colonel Samuel Slover, the library was designed to be one of the most high-tech libraries in Virginia. Simply put, it is amazing and kids of all ages love it. This library listing is a good place to start to see what’s up at other libraries around the state, too.
I feel armed and ready to make the most of these upcoming last two weeks of summer, which is better than helpless and afraid as I have felt in the past! I hope these ideas help any of you out there and if you’ve got ideas to share, please let us know.