It’s almost here!! Three more weeks until my glorious, fabulous summer vacation begins. I am lucky enough to work a teacher’s schedule so, for me, summer is simply the most amazing gift a working mother can receive. Nine glorious weeks of doing…whatever the hell we (my kids and I) want. We can have lazy days or busy days. We can go to the beach, the playground, the zoo, or simply the backyard. No mornings spent rushing around and arguing with each other. No evenings slogging through the dinner and bathing routine trying to get everyone to bed at a decent hour. No Sunday evening “scaries” (as a friend of mine calls it).

Last year I had stole this great idea to make summer bucket lists. Each of the girls and I made colorful fun lists of things to do throughout the summer. We checked them off as we went along and had a frantic week in late August squeezing in the last couple of items. The girls had fun making them and the lists ensured we didn’t let the summer slide away without any memorable experiences (and great pictures).

bucket list

Last summer’s lists.


Just a few of the items on those lists.

While we will absolutely do this again this year I’ve been making another sort of bucket list that I will not decorate and tape to my refrigerator with the rest. I am looking to this summer as a time to hit restart on some aspects of my life. I want to end this summer with the following “checked off” of my own special bucket list.

1. Find a way to grow closer to my oldest. My oldest daughter has been…difficult. After a wretched year filled with surgery and recovery I had foolishly thought our relationship would emerge from the chaos stronger than ever. Unfortunately, while I was busy taking care of her and while she was busy recovering adolescence crept in and began to do some damage. Our interactions are often negative and I’m worried that she is not as happy as she should be. I think she’s floundering a bit as she tries to figure herself out and I haven’t been as helpful as I could be. I am determined to spend some time with her this summer—without the stress of our usually busy schedule invading—to talk to her, laugh with her, and reconnect.

2. Eliminate some negative influences in my life. There was a time, not so long ago, that my life was much more stressful than it is today. Lately my family has found some peace, some happiness, and a more positive outlook on this life we’ve made. With this change at home I’ve become much more aware of some of the negativity around me threatening to take this new peace away. This will be a tricky item to check off of this list but I’m hoping to find a way to gently and carefully move away from some of this lingering negativity and toward more positive outlets for my energy and time.

3. Organize my home and my life.  I have five people living in my house and we have been there for almost ten years. The clutter is out of control and my basement is beginning to look like one you might see featured on that awful television show “Hoarders”. I have boxes that we moved into the basement ten years ago that I have yet to open. I have multiple piles of plastic bins of clothing stacked to the ceiling. I have paperwork EVERYWHERE. I’m missing a birth certificate but I have credit card statements from accounts I closed years ago. I can’t ever find what I need and I’m always tripping over things that I don’t need. It is time to CLEAN OUT my home. I’m even contemplating renting a dumpster. I’m hoping that this literal clean out and organization will help me do the same mentally so we can gear up for a successful start to our school year/work year in September.

4. Improve my overall health. I want to exercise more, eat better, and drink less.  I know that I am not the first or only person who puts an item like this on their “to do” list but it definitely deserves a spot on mine.  Currently, I do not eat or drink to excess and I try to exercise as much as I can.  My health, however, has not been a priority of mine and I think that it’s time.  I do not need to lose a specific amount of weight but I would love for my pants to fit a bit better. I love to run but I do not run enough and that will change this summer. I do not need to completely overhaul my eating habits but I would love to experiment in the kitchen with lighter meals, more vegetables, and healthier ingredients.  The great thing about this goal is it will impact my family’s habits as well since I’m the one who does the shopping and the cooking.

5. Be a happy mother. I may not always have a summer off from work. In fact, I will need to set my sights on a more challenging role within my field of education soon and those positions often require working in the summer. I want my children to look back on these summers with their mother and smile. I want them to remember a relaxed, fun, and energetic me. I want them to spend a big part of every day of their summer smiling and I want them to enjoy their carefree lives. I know that my mood and my attitude influences theirs.  They deserve a happy mother and I will do my best to give them one.

So hurry up summer! Only three more weeks and counting. My list is ready and I’m so excited to get started.

Summer fun vintage car. Legs showing from pink vintage retro car. Freedom, travel and vacation road trip concept lifestyle image with woman and copy space on blue sky.

Image via Pinterest.