the last summer

Today was the last day of school for the kids in our neighborhood and normally I don’t pay much attention to that stuff. But it struck me that this is the last Last Day Of School in which we will NOT be participating. FOR ALMOST TWENTY YEARS OR SOMETHING.

I think I need to sit down for a minute.

Anyway. So yeah. Maggie starts kindergarten in the fall, which means that these next few months will be the end of the weekly routine that we’ve developed over the past few years. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the girls are shuffled to daycare while I work. Tuesdays for the past 8 months have been gymnastics and lunch and errand-running, then home for Audrey’s nap and then Maggie and I hang out together (or sometimes I work, if it’s absolutely necessary) And then Thursdays have been Stay At Home Days, if at all possible, (WE LOVE THURSDAYS!) or other errands and appointments, etc. Every day is different, pretty much- sometimes even I have to double check with myself Wait, what day is it? Where are the girls going today? Where am I going today??

It’s crazy and exhausting at times, but I’m going to miss it. Gone will be the days where I have just a preschooler and an infant, that phase of life that is so precious and unique and ridiculous and mundane and fun. Instead, I’ll have a kid who gets on the bus every morning and goes to real big kid school. And then I’ll pick her up every day before lunch and then… well, here is where things get fuzzy because I haven’t completely figured out my plan with work and daycare and her half-day kindergarten. But we have time. We’ll figure it out. (Look at me, Planner Of All The Things, being all casual and non-freaky-out-y! I’M GROWING, YOU GUYS.)

For now? I’m just going to try to enjoy this summer- this Last Summer before our summers truly become Summer Vacation instead of just those hot and sweaty months where we do the same thing we did all year, plus maybe go swimming a couple of times.

And in order to properly enjoy this summer? I HAVE A LIST OF THINGS WE WILL DO!* Dan and I went on a cruise in February for our anniversary so we’re not going on a big family vacation (sorry kids! We stole your fun vacation! haaaaa) Instead, we’re going to try to do a bunch of fun stuff in shorter doses (10+ hours in the car with Audrey who screams during the 15 minute drive to the grocery store? NO THANK YOU. SHORT FUN TRIPS, IT IS!)


1. Go to Idlewild Park. I have not been there since I was a little kid so I’m super excited about taking the girls there as an alternative to Kennywood this year.

2. Visit the zoo. We’ve actually been once already this year, but we have plans to go again in a few weeks for an event Dan’s employer is sponsoring. (So so so sad about this though. We saw him in April.)

3. Go to Moraine State Park and McConnells Mill. Picnic lunch, bathing suits, sunscreen. BAM.

4. Swimming. We don’t have a pool in our neighborhood, but we have several options for public pools and meeting friends. Not entirely sure how I’ll handle two velcro children in the water by myself if we go during the week, but whatever. And we’ll try to do it on a weekend once or twice so Dan can come too!

5. Playground. Audrey is LOOOOVING playgrounds these days (and Maggie always has) so I’d like to check out some new ones nearby.

6. Children’s Museum. It’s not ALWAYS going to be nice outside, so if we have a rainy day and no annoying errands to run, I think we’ll head here.

7. Library. See: rainy day activity.

8. Family mini-golf night. Maggie LOVES mini-golf. Audrey has no idea what it is yet. It should be entertaining, if nothing else.

9. Pajama Days. Because: DUH. Every summer needs a few of those.

So! What are YOUR summer plans? Big vacation? Sticking close to home? Any other fun ideas you can suggest for us?


  1. Lea

    June 5, 2012 10:22 pm

    I don’t know if you have heard of Puddle Jumpers or not, but I got one for Asher last summer (at Target), and it is a lifesaver in the pool! Your older child can have more freedom (or still hang onto you but is floating on their own) but is still safe. He is using it again this summer, even though he’s also learning how to swim, but he still really loves it.

    Sounds like a very fun summer for you guys!

    • Jen

      June 7, 2012 8:23 am

      I’ve seen those before but didn’t think Maggie would really like them (even with a lifejacket and/or floaties, she PANICS AND CLINGS!) But maybe I’ll try one!

  2. TwinMamaTeb

    June 5, 2012 10:53 pm

    We did McConnells Mill last weekend…the kids did the 2 mile Kildoo hike all by themselves, I was stunned. It is NOT an easy hike. FYI there is no swimming there. However, swimming at Raccoon Creek is great. Big sandy beach for Audrey to play in while Maggie can swim (its roped off). Food and bathrooms w/showers are there too, so falling asleep in the car on the way home isn’t awful.

    We also do spray parks, whether it be in Troy Hill, Southside Works, or PPG. Bonus is no threat of drowning! (and they are all free).

    The library is great when it rains- go to a different one for a change of pace. Or our new favorite when its raining? Jumping in mud puddles.

  3. Melissa

    June 5, 2012 10:53 pm

    Lots of fun stuff! Woo!

    Our big plans are to SELL OUR STUPID HOUSE (for the love of God please let it happen soon) and of course, welcome our third baby! :) So I’ll be breastfeeding the newborn and wrangling the two older boys all day, every day. That’s probably enough, right? lol…

    We just took Oliver & Andrew to the Cleveland Children’s Museum last weekend, which they love. It’s a guaranteed Zero Whining Zone, and THEY BOTH SLEPT THE WHOLE 45-MINUTE DRIVE HOME, which was totally worth the admission cost right there.

    My oldest sister has a pool except, um, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to participate this summer (right now, at almost 37wks pregnant? NO. And then after baby I probably won’t want to see myself in a swim suit for a while, so I dunno). Hopefully George and other family members can handle Oliver and Andrew without me so at least they can have fun!

    And as for Maggie starting Kindergarten, it *will* be bittersweet at first, but you may end up enjoying the new schedule. I always felt bad that I never got as much one-on-one time with Andrew as I did with Oliver, so I cherished our mornings alone this past year. And as much as I’ll miss Oliver when he starts all-day 1st grade this fall (!), it will still be nice to have time for the two littler brothers. Kind-of a sad/happy trade-off… just like everything else in parenthood, I guess. :)

    • Jen

      June 7, 2012 8:22 am

      You’re absolutely right- I’ve already thought about cool it’s going to be to have some alone time with Audrey, she definitely hasn’t had much of that at all! So different, but hopefully not too sad when things change ;)


  4. Sunshine

    June 6, 2012 9:53 am

    This is our last summer before BOTH kids are in school in the fall…and K is full-day here so these next few months are feeling a little bittersweet. We do picnic suppers at the park, spend lots of time at the zoo, spray parks, swimming pools, and a trip to Holiday World (it’s like Idlewild – a very young-kid friendly amusement & water park). Oh! and my mom is taking them to PA for a week…they are thrilled and I am..nervous!

    • Jen

      June 7, 2012 8:24 am

      oooh wow, a whole week away, that’s a big deal! I’m sure they will have a BLAST (and then the de-grandma-ing period afterwards will be FUN. ha) Enjoy YOUR last summer before both kids are in school :)

  5. Gina

    June 6, 2012 9:55 am

    My big plans involve not losing my mind. So far, I’m doing OK. Sort of.

  6. Shelly

    June 6, 2012 2:04 pm

    I second the Puddlejumper, it worked great for us!

    My girl starts kindergarten this fall, too, and I’ve been having the same thoughts as you. Our last summer together that is just plain old summer. Summer vacation from here on out will be completely different. It makes me a little sad, I have to admit, but in a good way.

  7. K

    June 6, 2012 7:14 pm

    I’m excited to do LOTS of swimming. Ezra has always loved the pool and, unlike last summer, Iris is walking and homegirl loves getting splashed in the face and hosed. I don’t even know.

    We also have a great zoo about an hour away that is huge and with an awesome African exhibit where you can feed giraffes. T is super excited to take the kids there.

    And then there is a huge county fair with carnie food and farm animals that I think we’ll try for the first time.

  8. Susan

    June 6, 2012 10:16 pm

    IDLEWILD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  9. Amanda

    June 6, 2012 11:37 pm

    I love love love Idlewild Park! I was just there last year for a family reunion. We BBQ’d and went to the water park. Still as fun as when I was a kid! Plus, the girls can go to the Storybook forest! So cheesy yet magical! :)

  10. Athena

    June 7, 2012 11:14 am

    Your list is the same as ours! We are also going to the Saxonburg Carnival next week – the kids love the Pet Parade on Monday and the giant Fireman’s Parade on Thursday. Also the Big Butler Fair – we go mainly to see the animals. And 2 weeks of VBS…

    Last summer, I had lots of camps for the boys and it was tiresome, for me but fun for them. This year (with Leda = 4 kids and only 1 me) only VBS, so we have to make our own local fun!

    And best part of the summer, Corey is done, DONE and starts his JOB (a real job, after only 15 years…)!!!!!

  11. Erica

    June 11, 2012 5:24 pm

    My list is now entirely “Pajama days.”

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