It’s Summer Time!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
posted by elizabeth @ 4:31 PM

Popsicles. Sundresses. Swimming Pools. Bicycles. Beaches. Watermelon. Ice cream cones. Flip flops. Burgers on the grill. These are a few of my favorite things. Summer is here! And The Biar House is excited!
Summer creates memories. As a child, I remember riding my tricycle around our 1975 styling patio, chomping on grilled burgers by the pool, eating ice cream at Camp Arrowhead in Hunt, Texas, and long driving trips to visit my grandmother in Georgia.
I absolutely love summer. I love the more laid back schedule, the carefree attitude that permeates all parts of our culture, the warm weather (very, very warm in Houston), dinners around the pool, and more time in the day to enjoy my family.
Summer means no school! And, for a child, what is better than no school? Even for kids who enjoy school, a break from the early mornings and long days are both welcome. And, of course, summer provides time to take a refreshing interruption from the long list of activities that can engulf after school time and weekends. During the school year, my life seems to run on a complicated chart system of which child needs to be where and at what time. I do truly enjoy their activities as much as they do. Watching my son hit a baseball (finally) or seeing my daughter perform at a dance competition are my proudest moments. But the thought of just hanging out after dinner with no other agenda sounds lovely!
Of course, some structure is desired. Otherwise the ever too common “I’m Bored!” words invade the happy home. Many kids opt to go to either a day camp or sleep away camp. My children go to Camp Cho Yeh and love it! Did you know that there are 7,000 overnight camps (2011 ACA Sites Report), and over 11 million children attend day or overnight camp each year. Camping is a $15 billion dollar industry! (2012 ACA Business Operations Report).
Camp is a tremendous opportunity for many reasons. It shapes self-confidence and helps builds social skills and independence. Camp instills leadership competence and a sense of adventure. Children are more physically active and usually spend quite a bit of time outdoors enjoying nature. And, when a child is used to being on a strict schedule of school, homework, sports/band/clubs/church/scouts, unstructured play at camp can be invigorating.
Camp isn’t the only place where we find the chance to recharge, what about a vacation!? Okay, I know we all agree that a “trip” is what the family goes on, not a “vacation.” But even a “trip” or family vacation provides a time of restoration. I recently read that only 57% of Americans use all of their vacation time (ABC News). Well, now is the time to dust off that flowery Hawaiian shirt and get to that fun!
Family vacations provide a respite from the everyday routine, too. And, they create such great memories. Every year I learn that time marches on faster and faster. It’s hard to believe how quickly children grow up. And even though a family vacation can be stressful and expensive, the memories really do last forever.
Vacations provide the opportunity to learn new cultures (not just foreign cultures, but ones within our own 50 states). They are wonderful teaching opportunities that can involve adventures, new foods, and new friends. Fresh crab in Maryland, authentic beignets in Louisiana, a real bagel in New York, a cheez whizzy cheese steak in Philly, or actual key lime pie in Key West. All delicious food destinations. Clearly, I love to explore cities through food. But experiencing life through your child’s eyes, older or younger, never gets old either. Hiking in Arizona, riding the Metro in Washington, D.C., seeing an honest to goodness real mountain for the first time, or just playing in beautiful clear blue ocean water. These are all memories that I share with my children. Perfect pictures in my mind that always make me smile.
Summer is the best time of the year. I hope you enjoy your frosty beverages, grilled hotdogs, and bright beach towels. Happy Summer Y’all!

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