We went and mandated fun for ourselves. Nothing like setting enormously high expectations to enjoy your summer.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I went through a very intense week. We were pursuing the Father for some very specific answers and what came was not just unexpected, it was exhausting. I’m going to be processing through that week and God’s words to us soon and am eager to share them. Not so much because it is thrilling or powerful, but because there is truth being built up inside weary bones and there is a great stretching taking place. Most of the week was dry and tense and silent. I recorded in my notes one day, “Lord, make me lighter.”
At the end of our practice of prayer and fasting, I had a much-needed ugly cry and a few days of numbness. And then I awoke one morning with a literal burst of physical renewal and it was as if my emotional capacity had been refreshed. My husband remarked to me that evening, “Babe. I’m so glad we did this, even though God didn’t answer us the way we wanted. You seem lighter.”
And God, who had not and has not yet given us the desire of our hearts, answered that very small prayer as if to say, “I have not turned from you. Wait. Wait on your Lord.” It was Psalm 66:20 in action: “Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, nor His lovingkindness from me.”
And in that burst of lightness, I did something completely spiritual and holy: I rearranged the living room and I wrote a summer bucket list for our family. Because nothing says “fun” like making a giant list of things to do. Like, I have to do more than one a week if I want to get them all checked off. Which we all know is NOT going to happen. As an INTJ, I can declare proudly that nothing makes me happier than to-do lists – except maybe tearing up to-do lists and doing whatever the heck I want to do. So this bucket list if more of what you’d call…bucket guidelines. We’ll do what inspires us when we feel like – and ignore the rest!
But regardless of how many we do or which ones, I am super pumped. I picked a mix of home activities and family outings, things we can do with the three of us and things just me and the Happy Baby will do. So here’s the list:
- picnic at a killer playground (a happy little day trip for mama & daughter)
- family movie night with popcorn for supper
- make dirt cake
- visit our local children’s museum
- family froyo trip (we did this – homegirl was over the moon picking out toppings. proud moment: she picked all fruits & then saw the m&ms and was like “CHEAT! CHEAT!” read: “treat”.)
- visit some of the sweet old ladies from our church. take ‘em muffins or something.
- downtown disney! (I hope we do this. I think the HB would lose her mind – in a good way)
- create a backyard “water park“
- family cool whip fight (Just. You know. For fun.)
- make fresh lemonade
- summer movie matinee (our local theater has $4 movie + popcorn once a week during the summer)
- picnic lunch with daddy at work
- go blueberry picking at a local farm
- visit the pool & splash pad at the local YMCA
- see fireworks!
- we’ll be visiting family this summer, so while away we’ll do: the Virginia Living Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, and Bluebird Gap farm (and we’ll miss daddyman, who is staying home to work hard!)
- random acts of kindness: make delicious treats to deliver to our neighbors
- science experiment: make “rain clouds“! (we actually already did this. she loved it. it turned into a lot of shaving cream everywhere. WIN.)
- take a daytrip to visit Gigi at the beach (this will happen in multiples. huzzah!)
- take a daytrip to visit Grandma
- picnic with Popi & Mimi
- paint day: micah 6:8 wall art like this one
And here is Herself, making her own notations & suggestions:
And here is Herself, wielding a marker & begging for paper:
And here is the reality of my dining room table, so you do not leave with the idea that my cute bucket guidelines wall means my house is clean:
I also have a really lovely and non-overwhelming collections of toddler & preschool learning activities over on my Pinterest, which provide both inspiration and relief on days when I cannot read Curious George again because I CANNOT. You can be over-Georged. You just can. Of course, there is also a lot of backyard pool time, afternoons at the lake, and possibly watching Toy Story 2 too many times, but she is just so cute when she gets excited about Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl.
I’m excited about my summer. I’m excited about what we’re doing as a family and I’m excited about abiding and I’m excited about seeing the happy little beastie experience new and fun things. I’m not excited in the way lots of people get excited. Which is to say, it is not noisy or theatrical. But there’s a quiet fluttering and a delightful anticipation because I am eagerly expecting good things. It’s a good summer to have a bucket list. Er. Guidelines.