1. Sunshine. I love the wet Oregon spring, the rains in the fall, even the cold winter drizzle. By summer I'm ready for three months of hot sunny weather.
2. No school. I toy with the idea of year-round schooling. The benefits sound really appealing. But each May I chuck the idea. I enjoy the structure and rhythm of our school days, and I also enjoy the flow of lazy summer days. And the flow of not-so-lazy summer days when I can buckle down to a project and actually finish. Summer offers a chance for us to recharge and refresh ourselves, to engage in different kinds of learning...or not, if we'd rather veg out with Legos or comic books.
3. Strawberries. And blueberries and raspberries and cherries and blackberries. Fresh local berries and fruits are heavenly delicious. As a matter of fact, the reason I'm late for this Tuesday Ten is because yesterday I stopped by the strawberry stand and got a bargain: "Day-old" strawberries for $5 per half flat. End of season strawberries are perfect for jam-- ripe (almost too ripe), dark, soft and sweet. Last night I made more jam and it is perfect, sweet and flavorful.
4. Fish are jumpin'. Fishing with Grandpa has been the highlight of the summer for the ladies and gents, and for loving husband, for several summers in a row.
5. Water. Jumping through the sprinkler, splashing in the kiddie pool, wading in the river, swimming at the neighbor's pool and at the outdoor city pool, running in the waves at the beach, playing with the garden hose. The fine young gents wear themselves out with water.
6. Swim lessons. Kindergarten gent and middle gent take swim lessons for four weeks each summer. Youngest gent gets to splash in the wading pool while his brothers swim. Kindergarten gent is a water baby, his brother a bit tentative, but they both love swim lessons. Swim lessons provide some structure to our days, start the morning with some exercise, and give us a chance to visit with friends old and new. My kids have been taking lessons at the same pool for the past eight years, so every summer we get to re-connect with familiar faces. Tomorrow we've got a picnic date with some friends we met two summers ago.
7. Picnics. Pack some sandwiches, fruit, salad, drinks, sunscreen and off we go for dinner at the park. Or we throw a tea party snack and read-aloud on a blanket under the trees in the back yard.
8. Swinging in the hammock. There's really nothing quite so relaxing as swinging in a hammock on a warm summer day with a really good book.
9. No lessons. No gymnastics. No piano or choir or PE or art. I get a chance to take off my chauffeur hat for a few months. We do go to swim lessons, and kindergarten gent is going to a half-day camp in July, but we get a break from the weekly rushing from lesson to class to activity.
10. Family fun. Each June, over dinner, each person chooses the one family activity he or she really wants to do over the summer. The list is almost always the same: Fishing, go to the fair, visit the beach, Fourth of July parade-barbeque-fireworks, visit OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), birthday celebration for lovely July lady, golf.
Next Week: Often it's the little things that can give us a pick-me-up or make our hearts glow. Have any special little traditions or games? Love what you see out the kitchen window each morning? Next week's list is "Ten Little Things That Brighten My Day."