Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summertime and the Livin' is Easy

Slept in until 6:45 this summer solstice morning! Woke up sans alarm clock to a quiet house wishing that someone would magically present me with a cup of coffee.  My husband had taken the early morning workout shift so I was in charge of the kiddos this morning.  With no school or work for the three of us to rush off to, we made the cutest yogurt, summer fruit, granola parfaits and savored them as we looked out the window into the yard.  We spoke about what we might do with ourselves for the day and enjoyed each other's company.  No appointments, no obligations, no play dates... we were the navigators of our day.  I relish my summers!  Here's my top 10 favorite things about this season:

1.  I get to spend time with family and friends!  We plan adventures, road trips and fun, active, relaxing, educational ways to occupy our time and enjoy the season.  I love getting the chance to catch up with friends and family that I don't get enough of during the school year.  Folks are more relaxed and happy with the looser schedule, sunshine and longer days.

My favorite sun baskers
 2.  I get to work out when, where and how often and as long as I want to!  Friday I met my swunning (swimming+running) partner, Laura for a run in the beautiful sunshine.  We had the luxury of heading to a coffee shop for coffee, a snack and a leisurely chat.  It was so much fun!  Sunday, I met a friend for a longish trail run and chat fest.  Today Laura and I swam in the delicious outdoor 50 meter pool that I can't seem to get enough of these days.  Then I hit the trails for a solo run.  The children were well cared for by their very capable father who had gotten his workout in earlier that morning.  I enjoyed my brick totally unencumbered by time.  It was a delight!

3.  I get to read, read, read!  I would call myself a double-fisted reader, but that would be an understatement.  I usually have a pair of books, a handful of magazines and a dozen of blogs that I follow.  During the summer, I can indulge in them without compromising my other obligations.  Currently I am reading Kingsolvers' "The Lacuna" and "A Modern Witch" by Geary on our fancy new Kindle.  I subscribe to Runner's World, Trailrunner, Ultrarunning, Triathlete, Family Fun and Sunset magazines not to mention the local newspaper!  

4.  My family has a pass to the awesome city pool.  We plan on soaking up the sun, staying cool, enjoying our friends' company and getting in as many outdoor lap swim sessions as possible.  Today, I realized that the girls and I will likely need additional swim suits to accommodate our gazillion swim sessions.  For those spontaneous trips to the pool, I was thinking I should have a prepacked bag of suits, towels, sunscreen, money for the Snack Shack and other essentials, but since it's summer and I'm lazy, I haven't gotten around to packing one yet.

5.  It's time for al fresco dining, outdoor grilling, barbecues with friends and family and indulging in seasonal treats.  I am the grill master of the house.  I love me some grilled Mediterranean chicken, a side of colorful grilled peppers and a big-ass salad with all the toppings I can grate, chop and sprinkle on top.  In my opinion, everything, is betta with feta.  All my favorite dishes seem to require this delectable cheese.  I also have become fond of Jalapeno Havarti.  We all know that Wheaties is the "breakfast of champions" but did you know that Jalapeno Havarti, sesame crackers and G & Ts is the summer dinner of champions?  Try it. I think you will enjoy it too.  Skinny Cow Chocolate Mint sandwiches are a nice palate cleanser.  We also subscribe to a CSA (community supported agriculture) produce box from Groundwork Organics.  Each week we get a beautiful tub of the most beautiful organic produce that was grown on a farm less than ten miles from our house.  Cooking and eating is an absolute pleasure when I have this kind of produce to work with.

6.  My backyard beckons.  After being cooped up in the house and at work all year long, I'm ready to spend most of my hours outdoors.  As much as I like traveling and excursions, I also need my quiet time on my own turf.  I love to look out at the changing colors in my flower beds, hear the children's excitement when they discover a ripe strawberry or raspberry, watch my crazy dog swim in his wading pool and attack the hose.  Sometimes I'll weed, dig, water or pick up but I prefer just sitting in my summer perch doing as little as possible.

7.  Home improvement projects beg for our attention after being neglected all school year.  Back before children, my partner and I used to spend much of our time and money on the house.  Nowadays we don't have that luxury nor does it seem as high of a priority.  Nonetheless, we do like a tidy, well-maintained home so summer is our time to rock the "to do lists".
Mr. Trailsmitten demonstrates how ineffective a flame thrower is at burning weeds.

I've got your back babe! Sometimes I hold the ladder, flip the circuit breaker, but here I stand with a hose as my honey plays with FIRE
8.  Time to travel!  Since my partner and I are both teachers who are off for the summer, most of our traveling occurs once school lets out.  Our home away from home is a ranch in Bend.  At Sundance Meadows we hang out with our extended family while enjoying horse back riding, swimming, miniature golfing, fishing, campfires and old fashioned fun right there on site.  Bike rides, floats down the river and extra date nights pull us out of the ranch and into the beautiful town of Bend.  We also have a couple camping trips, a week surfing at the coast, and this year we get to spend four weeks traveling around New York, Pennsylvania, Boston, Massachusetts and Connecticut as much as our two week long gig at Yale Univesity will allow.  It's going to be quite the adventure!

Our home on the range.

Look what we found in the pool house!

Miniature golfing in the high desert
9.  Sleep!  I no longer need to set my clock for 5AM to squeeze in a workout before having to rush home to get kids ready for school and myself off to work.  No more staying up until the wee hours of the night cleaning house, doing laundry, packing lunches or planning lessons.  I get to stay up as late as I want.  This is usually until around the late hour of 11:00.  Then I have the luxury of sleeping in!  It's a huge victory when I wake up after 7AM.  Really, it's almost too good to be true.

10.  SUN! Longer days!  Nothing like a little Vitamin D to improve one's mood and tan one's pasty complexion.  I just love that it's light well after I put the twins to bed.  I can head out for a bike ride or run after 8PM, get in some twilight gardening and do some many enjoyable things by the light of the day. 

 May the Blessing of the Light be upon you. Happy Solstice!

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