Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dear Summer

Dear Summer,

You officially arrived with the passing of summer solstice this week.  I had to be sure that you were truly here to write you a letter, since just three weeks ago, my status update on Facebook was: I'm wearing my Ugg slippers on June 1st. It's because I want them to match the sweater I'm wearing. <Sigh>.

We had the obligatory discussion of what summer solstice means with the kiddos.  It is the longest day of the year because of the way earth's axis is tilted and the direction it points in regards to the sun.  But even without any explanation, the kiddos know that summer is special.  They can feel it in all the changes and opposites of the dreary winters we have here.  It really hits home when Dear Son looks at me with a most puzzled look and asks, "Why are we taking shower when it's still daytime?"  I guess by that, we know summer's here.  Here are my Top Ten Idiosyncrasies of Summer.  

10.  Sunscreen.  You've already heard my rant about sunscreen.  It is an inevitable part of summer.  One addendum: it doesn't freakin' wash off, which bothers the heck out of me.  Well, duh, it's waterproof!  Isn't it what we want when we go swimming?  (Update: a doctor friend reminded me that we should choose mineral sunscreens over chemical sunscreens based on a scientific article he read.  Mineral sunscreens are made of just that--minerals, thus natural--typically with the active ingredients titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide.  Chemical sunscreens are made of, well, chemicals, which are all the other ingredients (namely avobenzone) you see on the labels of sunscreens on the market.  Mineral sunscreens are typically marketed for babies and children who have more sensitive skin and don't need extra chemicals.)  #sensoryprocessingdisorderissues

9.  Pool/ beach.  As much as I am a heliophobe, I still go to the pool and beach for the sake of the kiddos.  They love water with a passion.  So against every ounce of my natural instincts, I go into the sun with them.  The only plus is that if I have enough sunscreen on, I do get a nice color to replace my glaringly-fair skin.  And... for a few moments in the water, as I look up at the stunning azure sky and cloud puffs in freestyle design, soak in the warmth of the sun on my protected skin and feel the gentle summer breeze brush my cheeks, and see the laughter and playfulness of the kiddos, I think to myself: this is really nice.  In those few moments--which I force myself to remember--I am willing to go through all the trouble and face my issues to make it happen for the kiddos, and just a little wee bit for myself, too.  #notasunworshipper

8.  Heat and humidity.  I am your typical high maintenance whiny baby when it comes to the heat.  I've long declared that air conditioning is the one modern day convenience that I cannot live without.  But see, it's really not the heat that bothers me; it's the effect of humidity on my sweat glands.  If you have hyperactive sweat glands like me, you'd understand.  This summer, however, I finally got a prescription for Dry-Sol (active ingredient: 20% aluminum chloride), an antiperspirant that can be used on feet--my problem area--as well as hands and underarms.  This is the first time I have had dry feet in heat and humidity, which means I can wear sandals and flip flops without slipping and sliding in them!  It has been the BEST thing EVER.  My feet I have never been happier.  I'm sorry that this is TMI, but for me, it's a groundbreaking discovery.  #doingthehappydrydance

7.  Bugs.  This one is above all else that I cannot stand in warmer weather, including all three of the above.  I detest mosquito bites more than anything in the world.  You can imagine my glee when we went to the marshes of Florida a few years back to ride boats and "see manatees or your money back."  And one manatee we saw--a lighter shade of the water color by the banks.  One underwater shadow, 45 very hot minutes, and a dozen mosquito bites later, we didn't get our money back.  You see, mosquito bites in numbers like that for me (and Dear Daughter) will trigger an immune response that leads to a fever.  Yes, a fever.  Did I tell you I hate bug bites?  I just got my first few of the season yesterday.  And yes, there are those bug sprays to help, sure.  But did I mention I have issues with putting chemicals and stuff on my skin?  Yeah, THAT.  #heebiejeebies

6.  Pretty toes. Now onto nicer things about summer.  We girls love our pretty toes in the summertime.  As soon as the socks come off, DD immediately begins to beg for me to paint her toenails.  And she really rocks her hot pink nail polish on her girly toes nicely.  I have my few staple colors, although I will venture out to uncommon ones once in a while.  And no, I don't go out for pedicures.  Miss Stingy would rather that I contort myself into an oddly shaped ball to paint my own toenails.  Each year it gets harder and I get achier.  So the one day that I cannot paint my own toenails is the day I know that I'm old.  At which time I'll beg DD to do them for me for all the times I've made her toes pretty.  Fair trade, right?  #timeforacolorchange

5.  Flip flops. While we're on the topic, how better to show off our pretty toenails than in our favorite flip flops?  I live in flip flops practically all summer long.  I read an article a few years ago about the detriment that flip flops do to our feet.  I felt very guilty about it, so instead of spending $3 at Old Navy for flip flops, I now spend ten times the amount to buy what are supposedly 'better' flips flops, ones that contour and cushion, for my summer feet.  #hopelesslyattached

4.  Lawn care. I wrote about our grass last summer.  It is a fine balance between keeping our water bill affordable and not killing our grass.  In our neighborhood, it is easy to see who waters the lawn and who doesn't.  We water, but just enough so that the grass doesn't die.  We're cheap homeowners that manually turn on the water sprinklers when we have a heat wave or drought.  This year, our grass has been looking pretty nifty.  We were just patting ourselves on the back when I may have realized that the automatic sprinkler has probably been turning on in the early hours of the day without our knowing.  Oooops.  #scaredtoseethewaterbill

3.  Gardening. Each year I look forward to warm weather so that my rose bushes come alive and bloom hundreds of roses.  Besides growing tomatoes and herbs, this is the first year I'm keeping a vegetable garden in my new planter box.  I've harvested, cooked, and eaten my own swiss chard.  There's something to be said about cooking and eating foods from your own backyard.  I've made pesto with my own basil, made ice tea with my own mint, and toss salads with my own parsley.  I'm looking forward to harvesting green beans and red bell peppers, big boy tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.  I cannot even begin to describe the joy of watching a plant grow, flower, fruit, much less be harvested and eaten.  I've also had the joy of chronicling this process with photographs.  Yay, Instagram!  And I'll have photos to come.  Pinky swear!  #itsreallylikemagic

2.  Picnics. Whether it's at the park, under the stars at an outdoor concert, or on our own driveway, a picnic is just a 'funner' way to eat.  Lay down a blanket, cop a squat, munch on food, and gaze at the sky.  Or search for bugs.  When we're done eating, I shake the blanket once or twice and leave all the crumbs for the great outdoors.  Cleaning?  Done.  Oh, and when it's raining, I pull away the coffee table and we picnic right on the living room floor.  It's fabulous and the kiddos love it.  #beakidalloveragain

And finally...

1.  Relaxation.  There is nothing like the relaxation of summer where we get to sleep in.  Even if we don't sleep in late, there's no rush or schedule, lunches to pack or papers to check.  I have anxiety-related blood pressure issues (so I monitor on a fairly regular basis), and rightfully, I have the lowest and bestest blood pressure during the summer months.  (It's pretty amazing that on the first day of summer vacation, my BP reading literally drops by 20 on both numbers.)  It is our my time for relaxation and rejuvenation.  Well, that is, until summer school is over and I have the kiddos 24-7.  #grassisalwaysgreener

There are other summer-musts that I didn't mention, mostly regarding foods, such as making ice cream, popsicles, pies, smores, and outdoor grilling.  Those can fill up a Top Ten all on their own.  So for now, these represent.

So, Summer, until September 22, we get to enjoy and endure all your idiosyncrasies.  Lastly, I just want to say that you give us the most beautiful skies of the year.  The blue is extra blue, and the clouds are extra puffy, and the sunsets are simply breathtaking.  And thank you for those few extra hours of daylight.  I simply love it.



  1. Summer is pretty awesome. Even though we have the summery mild weather year round... the actual summer time is still special. Like you said, that extra relaxation and a an hour of extra sleep do wonders!!! :)

    1. We really have to appreciate and take advantage of our summers here. Between snow storms, below zero windchill, and long cold season, this is the time to go outside, or else. I'm just afraid it goes by all too quickly!

  2. I wish I had the same adoration of summer. Perhaps I would appreciate it more if I didn't live somewhere where visitors purposely leave for the summer (we call them 'Snowbirds', and I'm just jealous because they can leave and I'm stuck here.)

    I'm glad that beauty of summer outweighs the negative aspects for you. Enjoy the healthy glow, relaxation and lower blood pressure while it lasts :)

    1. Well, there are a lot of things I have to compromise in summertime, but it's well worth it, mostly for the kids. Today, we went to a small amusement park in heat and humidity. The entire time I was there, I was freaked out about the sun and having brought the wrong sunscreen. In the end, I must admit we had a lot of fun, and it was all worth it. =)

  3. Just reading this makes me dread school beginning again and all our schedule issues!! But for now I love being in my back yard and watching the kids run back and forth in the sprinkler. I ignore virtually every responsibility I have until I fear there will be consequences and then I work on a few things. I need to get some of that medication and you will have to give me some good ideas on gardening. The deer invade my property all too much!! Yeah for longer days except my kids won't go down until 9:30 because it's not dark yet. I love how you are super honest in your writing by the way. Well, between my kids and my sisters, we have 6 birthdays from end of June to mid August so it's a lot of cake!!! That doesn't go well with swimsuit season but what the heck, throw in camping, beach and a few more family parties and I'm done with cake, tan and well reacquainted with my family by Fall. PS lets do a pool day.