What’s it like being a Real Housewife in Westchester County? Follow our column with our REAL HOUSEWIFE as she takes us on her daily (mis)adventures. The kids, the laundry, the craziness and yes, even all the rewards!
Why is it that summer conjures up images of lazy days in hammocks and children playing joyfully under sprinklers and my summer often feels like I am running the NYC Marathon? Sure, I anticipated a bit of the usual taxiing of children, but much less than what is expected during the school year, right? I thought that I had taken every precaution against the normal running from pillar to post. I balked at signing up for the traditional day camp so that I would not have the drop offs and pickups to deal with, and have only dabbled in the occasional week long sports camp. We have joined our local pool and have utilized activities that are low cost and nearby. For the most part, I have tried to keep the emphasis on regrouping, reconnecting and relaxing.
Still, with my daughter on the swim team and the two older boys playing summer baseball, the schedule quickly fills up. Add in a few visits to the dentist, a specialist or two, some long-overdue play dates with children that no longer go to our school, and it looks like MomTaxi is running at full force. Just what can be done to replicate those picture perfect summers found on postcards? Is there any answer that doesn’t involve relocating to a farm and homeschooling my kids? I think perhaps the answer is in my own backyard, and can be squeezed in between the loads of laundry.
For our family, the vehicle for slowing down has been the addition of a fire pit. A few logs, some sticks and a bag of marshmallows is all it takes to get my mangy crew to gather together, if even for a little while. Now don’t get me wrong, we haven’t broken out the guitars and started singing ‘Kumbaya’ or anything (… not that there is anything wrong with that!) But, it is just the right balance of modern times and retro fun. It is just enough of a break to make it really feel like summer. If everything else must be fast paced, involving multiple changes of uniforms, swim suits, sports bags and meals on the run, we can at least gather for a few moments under the stars and share a few laughs.
The fire pit is proving to be the catalyst for rediscovering the “idea” of summer. Recently it has given way to games of Man Hunt and it has inspired me to Google games of yore such as Ring-a-Levio, Ghost in the Graveyard and Kick the Can. The fire pit can pull us outside when the temptation is to plop the kids in front of the TV and utilize a moment to catch up on bills, emails or social networking. It is the quest for a perfectly toasted marshmallow (which has proven to be as ellusive as the search for The Grail) that has even convinced my “tweenage” girl to come out of hiding. It is even possible that I spotted a real ear-to-ear smile when her little brother offered her a slightly well done s’more, and if I am not mistaken I may have seen her helping her younger brother hunt for fireflies!
The power of the simple things is not to be underestimated! So I challenge you… get outside at night with your kids. You don’t need a blazing fire to get things going. A walk around the town track, a game of flashlight tag or reading with a lantern on the deck can all prove to be pretty magical moments. I guarantee that it will lead you and your family down a very pleasant path. The price is right and the memories you make will be priceless.
Here are a few websites to get you started. Of course, many of the games mentioned have regional variations but the basic gist is the same. Take a moment to check these out and perhaps you can share some of your favorites. (A word to the wise, however, the new plastic mayonnaise jars are much safer for capturing fireflies! Let’s just say that a near catastrophe was narrowly averted!)
Pretty soon you will be able to follow our “wifey” on FB, Twitter and her up-coming blog!! Stay tuned for more…and thanks mom!!