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Sunday, August 30, 2015

the remember summer challenge #REsummer

Summer. It's my favorite time of year. I am pretty lucky to work in a school and stay home most of my summer with my two children. We plan adventures daily, sometimes 2-3 adventures a day. We make a bucket list each summer of things we want to do. It always includes ice cream for dinner, trolley rides, and of course many, many beach and lake days. WE LOVE SUMMER!

So  now that summer is coming to an end (boo!), I'm feeling like I want to keep this. This feeling that I have in myself and in our home. This carefree notion, the idea that we can come and go freely, do what we want. The feeling of having energy, tons of energy, patience, get up and go in me. I love that we haven't a care in the world. We'll clean later. We'll pick up later. Right now we have a beautiful day outside to go and explore.

We try new things in the summer. We meet up with old friends we haven't seen all winter. We are more relaxed, enjoyable, peaceful and easygoing. Everything seems easier in the summer. Yes, for me personally a lot of that is because I'm not working a zillion hours like I do all school year. However, I know this to be true for almost everyone I know: summer feels easier and happier for all of us. Maybe it's the sunshine. I imagine that's some of it, but more importantly it's the attitude we have in the summer, how easily we go out and do fun things, how we make it happen, how we feel relaxed more.

I want to hold on to that relaxed state of mind, especially as a busy mother.

I want to remember all year long how great summer was, how happy I was in it. I want to be this energized, focused, healthier from being more active, carefree person. I don't want to be stressed and impatient. I don't want to be worn out.

Of course it's inevitable. Winter brings long, dark, cold days where we can't just be carefree frolicking all over the beach in Maine. It brings stressful days at work and nights where we have all we can do to make an easy dinner of mac and cheese.

I get it. Life is stressful, overwhelming, busy. It's not always roses and butterflies and sunshine or sand castles.

BUT. I have a theory on this last day of summer vacation that we CAN hold on to some of that splendid summer feeling.

I think we can keep this momentum toward being happier, healthier and more relaxed, having more fun, all year long. I really think we can try it.

So I'm asking you to join me in doing something once a month this year as a Remember Summer Challenge #REsummer. It'll be fun reminiscing in the winter about our favorite summer memories!

This #REsummer challenge is all about remembering what you love about the summer time ... and then taking some of those things and actually DOING them in the fall and winter to help you get through those long, dark days.

You don't have to lose this great feeling. OK, we can't keep the sun and warmth or the beach days around, I get it, we have to return to school and work and reality minus summer vacations... but we CAN try to keep that attitude, that motto of living life to the fullest, enjoying the sweet things and really relaxing like we do in the summer. Sometimes we can do this. I promise.

Join me on this Remember Summer Challenge! #REsummer !

I asked moms in the Facebook discussion group for the Mommy Stories what they love about summer, things they'd miss when summer is over. Here is what you moms came up with (thank you!):
  • picking vegetables in the garden
  • campfires and smores 
  • grilling every day
  • ice cream for dinner
  • staying outside more
  • fresh fruit
  • lack of schedule, get up and go more easily
  • mini vacations 
  • light 
  • camp
  • seafood
  • the beach
  • eating outside
  • getting up early because it's sunny out
  • later nights
  • hanging out on the patio (with a drink!)
  • flip flops
  • summer clothing - lightweight, bright colors
  • naps from being so busy
  • laying in the sun and feeling warm
  • park trips
  • walking
  • swimming
  • bare feet
  • long weekends
  • watching the kids do new things and grow
  • flowers
  • splashing in a kiddie pool
  • sandbox
  • later bed times
  • evening beach walks
  • breakfast as a family
  • sailing
  •  being offline more, for hours at a time
  • kayaking
  • road trips
  • power walks in the stroller
  • frequent pedicures 
  • singing to music in the car
  • festivals
  • farm stands
  • losing track of time
  • that feeling of being relaxed and energized 
  • picnics and eating light foods for dinner, like just corn on the cob and ice cream or watermelon!
So many amazing moments in the summer, right? We want to hold on to them as long as we possibly can!

I love who I am in the summer. I'm more apt to say yes, we can have ice cream for dinner. Yes, we can stay up later tonight. Yes, we can skip bath tonight. I'm more likely to relax a bit, enjoy things more, less apt to be rushing around to try to clean up or get one more thing done before a busy week. I lose track of days in the summer! Lose track of days?! I love that feeling of just not even caring, just focusing on what matters, what's most important.

I'm also healthier in the summers. Naturally, there are healthier food options in abundance. I eat more fresh veggies and fruits. I drink more water since it's hot and I'm thirstier and more active. I run and take walks after dinner. I focus more on my own self-care and sanity. I put myself first more. The whole #momMEchallenge was developed in the summer time two years ago. It's good to live this way... but not just in the summer time.

We moms especially need to remember summer throughout the year, because we need that type of energy to get us through tough winter days with our kiddos.

So once a month this year I am challenging you to post pictures to Instagram (follow me @themommystories) or in the Facebook discussion group with the #REsummer for the Remember Summer Challenge. Show us something you are doing in the fall, winter and spring that reminds you of summer, that brings you back to that instantly happy state of mind where you're relaxed and life is grand.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Picnic in the living room.
  • Dress up - get out summer attire, including sunglasses and flip flops and walk around the house like that. Even set out some beach towels in the living room for make believe fun. 
  • Get up early to see the sunrise. Watch the sunset... even if from an indoor window. 
  • Ride bikes indoors... maybe at a school or a gym, or perhaps the mall? Or even in your basement? 
  • Take a road trip some place new where you haven't been before, and then turn around if it's too cold to get outside. 
  • Plan some fall hikes outdoors. 
  • Eat a summer lunch - plan all of your favorite summer foods. Even use the grill for burgers, hot dogs, steak, chicken kebabs! No corn on the cob in the winter? Use steamed corn and pretend. Whip up your favorite pasta and potato salads.
  • Get out the snorkels for the kids to go swimming in the bath tub!
  • Get some kinetic sand for kids to build castles in a bucket indoors.
  • Bring snow indoors in the winter and build snow castles in the tub!
  • Pick up some flowers at the grocery store and put them around your house to remind you of summer fresh flowers.
  • Make smores using the microwave. OK totally not as fun, but they taste yummy still! 
  • Buy ice cream cones at the grocery store and have ice cream for dinner!
  • Set up sleeping bags and pillows, make some popcorn and enjoy a drive in movie in your living room.
  • Take a walk on the beach and find seashells. Even if you're only there 10 minutes because it's freezing out, the fresh air will do you good!
  • Head to a local hotel for free swim time!
  • Schedule offline times for the whole family, even if it's just two hours, so you can really unplug. 
  • Plan next summer activities. 
  • Look back through last summer's pictures, make a photo book. 

OK I know that simply reminiscing or trying to remember summer won't be the same in the dead of winter. I get that the summer is magical and mysterious and totally unique. It's incomparable to winter and cold weather. I get it. I'm not naive.

However, I'm telling you, we CAN be a little more like we are in the summer if we put some effort into it. Give it a try!

And if it doesn't work, come see me, I'll be the one crying that summer is over and counting down the days until next summer 2016! :)

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