What are your summertime intentions? Are you going to work, put your kids in camp, travel, or stay-cation?
For my family of four, it’s all of the above.
My husband is a firefighter, so work during the hot Californian summer is a given, and set plans are a gamble (subject to statewide wildfires). I’m a writer, so I’ll make time for that while my part-time job as a sub teacher is on hold for break (and my full-time job as a mom is in seasonal swing).
Plans for the Kiddos
Our ten-year-old daughter is going to a musical theater camp at the Barranca Vista Center in Ventura. And our thirteen-year-old son is somewhat of a homebody who likes to read, draw, drum, play video games with his friends, watch movies, make nachos, shoot airsoft, and frequent Golf n Stuff. Got a teenager? Sound familiar?
Envisioning the Future
I made a summertime vision board with my personal priorities: family time, creativity, education, exercise, outdoor experiences, gratitude, health, and safety. It’s Week One now, so we’ll see about my High Hopes come August!
Luckily, these objectives can apply at–and away from–home. When at the house, my children crave screen-time, of course, so my husband and I decided they can earn four 1.5-hour sessions a week (they don’t have cell phones yet). To each household their own tech rules, but this structure (mostly) works for us.
Each morning, the Z’s (our kidz have Z names) must get ready, do their chores, consider writing in our shared gratitude journal, and make a plan for creativity, education, and exercise. The system orients us to how a day might unfold, pending unforeseen issues and opportunities.
The Power of Potential
Also, I like to list possibilities on my calendar as I see advice and events suggested by Ventura County Mom Collective and otherwise. This gives us ideas and options for stimulating and enriching activities.
Regarding reading, as an indie author, I would like to recommend taking your kids to the library, Barnes and Noble, or an indie bookstore. In Ojai, we have Bart’s Books. If you’ve never been there, it’s an outdoor experience worth the drive! In Ventura, there’s Timbre Books, Abednego, and Calico. In Camarillo, The Bookworm is off Las Posas. Wait, don’t miss Bank of Books in Santa Paula! P.S. The IndieBound site makes bookshops easy to find.
Venturing out of Ventura
Last but not least, there is something to be said for travel. I’ve never flown overseas, other than to Hawaii and Mexico, but there’s a lot to see in the states, and given the resources, taking trips can widen one’s perspective, plus expose us (and our kids) to different environments, regions, habits, norms, foods, dialects, and cultures.
Traveling encourages adventure, wonder, exploration, escape from routine, and a view of the beauty beyond our backyards (not to discount local scenery).
For us, cross-country road-trips to Michigan enable experiences with my side of the family, memory-making opportunities in the Midwest, direct access to the love my parents provide, and chances for my growing children to get to know their maternal grandparents.
After all, family time is my first priority, and I can’t wait to watch my vision of a vacation together become a reality.
Plus, I’m a particular packer, so anticipating possibilities along the journey (and loading our camper accordingly) is part of the fun.
Imagining the Ideal
What is your sunny forecast for this season? Here’s my daughter’s colorful dream. Whatever you dream up for your summertime intentions, I hope you have a wonderful time!