Many years ago now, I wrote about my Summer of Saying Yes, and while out of practice (because everything was cancelled last year), this summer I’m trying to go beyond simply saying “yes” and looking for ways to venture out that can make the regular weeks of summer feel special—not just our vacation week. We can gear up for a grand adventure, sure. So why does getting out of the house on an ordinary Tuesday feel so hard?
Between school sports, various camps, and a couple of summer jobs (more on that soon) it’s easy to feel like everyone is plenty busy and we just need to get through each week. But in reality, we’ve typically only had one or two kids (out of our four) busy with plans at any given time, so Will and I have been looking for activities that are within reach but still feel special.
In Don’t Overthink It, I share a story about a special outing for popsicles. (It appears in Chapter 12: Let’s Splurge.) Read it to get the whole picture, but in short we did something with visiting family that wasn’t far-flung or too out of the way for us, but was different, fun, and memorable. That night was four years ago, and my kids still talk about it all the time.
We’re channeling that same energy to make memories in 2021. This summer we finally checked off an adventure we’ve been meaning to try: a kayaking trip about an hour from home. I say “finally” because we’ve had this jotted down as something we’d like to do for years, but on any given weekend I tend to think, What a pain, let’s stay home. (We like staying home, so that’s easy to do.)
The weather was on the chilly side and the water level was low—we had to get out and push in a couple of places!—and not all of our kids would say they want to do it again. But we did it, and we’re all glad we went. And, nearly two months later, we’re still talking about that trip all the time.
Leaving the house may feel like a pain, but once I’m home again, I’m nearly always glad I went out. That’s why I went to a garden tour with a friend on a blazing hot Saturday and Will and I bought tickets to an evening event at our new botanical garden. (Where I got to meet a few podcast listeners. Hi, friends!). We’ve headed to the park to hike instead of just walking the neighborhood again.
Will’s taken our kids mountain biking at the cool park that’s thirty minutes away instead of the one basically in our neighborhood. And sometimes the makings of a fun summer outing couldn’t be simpler—like giving the kids some money to spend at the local businesses within walking distance from our house. Spending money is fun when you’re young—but being independent and buying your own treats is even better!
We still have a few memories we’d like to make this summer. We have several Big Events we’re looking forward to, but I’m also thinking about the smaller, ordinary adventures. I want to go get ice cream downtown and walk the bridge to Indiana. I want to picnic for one of the free concerts down by the river. I want to visit the new restaurant we’ve been talking about trying all year, and take the whole family for a bike ride at a faraway park we rarely visit but enjoy when we do.
I’d love to know: what not-so-grand adventures have brought you joy this year? And what sort of memorable moments are you planning for the rest of this season?