The last few days we slipped away for a mini vacation up at a local lake. Spending the mornings along the water, roasting s'mores around a fire, and building "sand-ish" castles at the beach reminded us of all the things we love about summer. Summer for our family is filled with a mix of planned vacations and spontaneous adventures. However, some of the most fun we have every summer is at home, in our backyard or in our neighbourhood.
We moved into a new neighbourhood a few summers ago and there are lots of kids who are a bit older than Jake and Kinsley. The last couple years, my kids would stand in awe at all of our friends playing a game of street hockey, shooting basketball hoops or zipping up and down the road on their bikes and scooters. This spring, my kids have both loved riding their bikes and they are asking me every day to go outside and practice. I love watching them trying to keep up with the neighbourhood kids!
There is something about watching the little ones want to be better at something because the big kids can do it. I think there is a healthy motivation in watching our neighbourhood kids succeed at activities and games my kids can't do yet. Often, the older kids will come and teach my kids how to throw the football, pass the basketball or pedal faster just to encourage them.
When we are playing outside you can constantly find our kids in clothes from Gymboree because of their soft materials and playful colours. You can mix and match different tops and bottoms and play with new patterns and colours. Kinsley would wear a dress every day (or a princess dress as she calls them) if she could. I love how she hops on her bike or gets ready for a walk to the duck pond wearing a beautiful white sun dress and a pair of patterned striped sneakers! I know for a fact that by the end of the day that white dress will be covered in dirt, strawberries and sidewalk chalk - all signs of a perfect summer day.
The summer days are long, but the time they are young is short. I want to remember it all. The bike rides, the ice-cream, the summer evening walks, the water fights, the sprinklers.....the magic.