Now that we are back from our vacation, we are starting out the Ryder Family Summer Program. “What is Summer Program?” you ask. Well, basically it is the means by which five individuals, with nothing particular to do and little money to spend, co-habitate from June to August without killing each other. Having J home for summer is awesome, but it does create a different dynamic. We realize that both of us and the kids benefit from a structure and plan that keeps us from getting too stir-crazy.
This is our third year of running Ryder Family Summer Program. Each year it changes because our kids keep growing. Year 1 we had 4, 2, and uber pregnant Momma. Year 2 (last year), we had 5, 3, and Baby, who was kind of a non-entity. (Read about last summer by reading about the 13 Weeks of Summer.)
This year, Baby is an entity. She is almost two and she is into everything. She sang “Jeesus Lubs MEEEE. H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P. Up abub duh wuhld so HIIIIGHHH! YES. Jeeeeesus Loves MEEEEE!” as loudly as she could in Walgreens the other day and climbed over the seat and RHOTS-ed herself all up in there. It was Crazytown.
Thus, this year’s planning has to accommodate the fact that we cannot just schlep her around, expecting her to nap in the stroller. The other two monkeys in this house are two peas in a pod–when they aren’t wailing about the injustices done one to another. Since we are most keen on avoiding death, we’ll focus on them and just try to keep baby from Toddler-Evangelizing to all the shoppers in the area.
Here’s our plan so far. Feel free to try it out and I DEFINITELY welcome any suggestions to help us fill it up.
MONDAYS: CRAFT DAY
J teaches lessons on Monday, so it will be a home day. I will do laundry and hopefully, each week we (me and the kids) will attempt some sort of easy craft or culinary arts. We sort of focused on beach detox and laundry today, but starting next week I am definitely planning, (PLANNING- as in not waiting until next Monday AM) to have chosen and obtained almost free supplies for our activity.
As an example, here’s a photo of some crabwiches that we made at the beach following directions from Disney Family Fun Magazine.
Important things to note about my kids when you send me your great ideas and links to crafty blogs:
Addie has the patience to build the Eiffel Tower out of toothpicks and playdough.
Dylan has the patience to stab himself and others repeatedly with toothpicks while mushing all playdough colors together.
Baby Anika would like to eat playdough and grab toothpicks from Addie’s beloved and perfect Tower.
I need 7 CRAFTS or COOKING PROJECTS. HELP!!! This is my greatest area of weakness as I’m not crafty and don’t really aspire to be. Please comment your ideas (or volunteer to host Craft day).
TUESDAY: MOVIE DAY
J will take the big kids to the $1 Summer Feature at our local theaters. It used to be free, but then every summer daycare known to man overran the place and you had to camp out the night before to get a space, so honestly, I not very miffed it is now a $1. I will stay home and clean the house while Baby simultaneously messes it up. If I am lucky, I can occasionally farm her out to a grandparent while I go focus on little ol’ me. (HA! I will grocery shop alone.) Presumably, J will spend his hard earned lesson money taking them to McDonalds or going on a picnic. Whereas Craft Day is for Addie, Movie Day is for Dylan.
We have already selected our 7 movies from the schedule, so we’re good on the plan for that. Actually the movies they selected are sometimes on Wednesday, but we talked to the program directors at Ryder Family Summer Program, and they agreed to occasionally flip-flop the schedule.
WEDNESDAY: WATER DAY
On Wednesdays (or frankly any day) we are accepting invitations to your neighborhood pool. HAH! Actually, we have quite a lot of fun in our blow up pool and sprinklers, so this will be the day the kids can count on us indulging them by filling it up. We may also visit some of the splash parks in our area. We are toying with the idea of J joining a pool this summer so the bigger kids can have swim lessons, but we will just have to see how the $$ goes. Last year, we found that the gas to and from the Y kind of counteracted the benefit of having a place to swim, especially since juggling three kids–or even two at the pool is no fun when they can’t swim and hate floaties.
THURSDAY- FIELD TRIP DAY
Even though we take two official trips to the beach and the mountains each summer, we still like to take some smaller “field trips” to break up life at home. On the way home from the beach, we took the ferry over to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. While there we decided to bite the bullet and pay only $100 for a two year family membership to the NC Aquarium (and Zoo association), so we now get free entrance to MANY zoos and aquariums–plus discounts for guests that come with us. Anyone? Since we already went to the aquarium, we really only need to go to one zoo this year and one next to pay for it, so we’ll definitely get our money’s worth. But this membership will definitely help field trip day because we will feel a lot freer to visit the zoo for a half day and go back another time to see the rest. With small kids, zoos are awesome, but only for about 3 hours. After that they just become stinky, sunburn factories.
We need seven field trips. Here are a few that I’ve thought of. I’d love some more suggestions! We picked Thursday because it is usually slightly less busy at some of these places than Friday.
4. Cane Creek Park (might also double as a water day location!!)
5-7. ???? We’ll drive two hours to get somewhere on field trip day, but of course, we love closer field trips too. In fact, we need a walking field trip for our “No Driving Week.”
FRIDAY–FFLEX DAY (Family, Friends, Laziness, Extras)
As you may have guessed, the program directors at Ryder Family Summer Program know that each week inevitably ends up getting shuffled around, so FFLEX DAY enables us to plan for getting together with people or just laying around the house if we had a busy field trip day. J and I are going to TRY to alternate having a “Day Off” a few times this summer, which would mean that we each get to run away and do what we want (J-golf; K-write), while the at-home parent gets to hang out in Crazytown.
So there’s the Summer Program. Let me know if you have ideas for the schedule or if you want to be included on one of our adventures. Don’t forget there are only 65 days left of summer vacation! Let’s roll!