Splash Into Summer, Part 2 – Summers of the Present

When I think of summer now, I’m sitting in my family room in the early evenings wearing my loose gray casual crop pants and a comfortable t-shirt. No slippers or socks. The overhead fan is spinning and the windows are open. There’s enough of a breeze so the air is not stagnant. But it’s warm enough to warrant a bowl of fruity sherbet or ice cream and not be left chilly afterward. The sun is just newly set and I can hear the crickets and insects roaming about in the backyard. The dogs are either lying under the fan or exploring the yard for creatures. At around 9 o’clock, I can faintly hear the sounds of fireworks in the distance, from Sea World or the local county fair. These are my summer nights now, and I treasure them.

Even though I work full-time, I take a few weeks and days off here and there to relish in the summer and the activities that can only be enjoyed during the season. This summer will surely have its highlights, things to look forward to, and new traditions to be made.

I’ll soon get out all the Americana décor in preparation for the Fourth of July holiday. The Fourth of July is really the summer milestone for me. We typically spend the holiday at my parent’s house – swimming in the pool and barbecuing outside. I like to make a few dishes to share with the family. And you can’t have July 4th BBQ without hamburgers, hot dogs, corn from the cob, and some type of patriotic dessert.

Then we’ll head out to see the fireworks. I’m not a fan of crowds, so we’ll find a fireworks spot in a remote location close to home. We can even see them from our front yard. I like to turn on the corny corresponding radio music to get the full patriotic effect. There’s something about watching fireworks burst overhead to Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American” that signify the glory of summer.

Aside from the July 4th holiday, we’re hoping to make it to the San Diego County Fair. Bryan, Sophie and I made our first family fair trip last summer and Bryan’s been excited to go back ever since. We also plan to take several trips to the San Diego Zoo and Sea World on vacation and furlough days. Maybe a trip to Legoland will be in order (this will be a first for Bryan and me). And I know Sophie will want to spend quite a bit of time splashing about in her backyard kiddy pool.

Then there are the hallmark symbols of summer that I love. Hot Starbucks drinks become iced lattes for the hot months. I get to indulge in Coffee Bean’s iced blended drinks. Summer also means opting for stylish open-toed shoes as opposed to the loafer pumps  for work. And lounging about in my flip flops during all non-work hours. I just bought Sophie her first pair of flip flops, which she loves! I love hearing the sounds of our neighbor kids playing in the street past 5 p.m. each day. Their sounds and laughter remind me of the joy of childhood summer vacation from school.

This summer will bring some new traditions. Later this month, Sophie will attend four weeks of half-day summer camp at her new preschool. I know she’s going to LOVE the days filled with water play, art, music, science, cooking, singing, and getting dirty. She already has a new bathing suit and hat ready to go! All of it sounds so much fun! I admit I’m a bit envious that I can’t attend with her.

Sophie will likely make her inaugural trip to the beach this summer. I know, it’s a sin that we live in San Diego and she’s never been to the beach. What can I say? She’s been constantly talking about swimming in the ocean and going to the beach. So I imagine that sandy adventure will be enjoyed quite soon. I can’t wait to see her reaction walking along the sand and splashing in the Pacific.

I’m going to try some new “summery” recipes, including eating more fruits and vegetable dishes (thank you, Farmer’s Market). I also plan to get out the ice cream maker that’s been in hibernation and make some tasty sorbets and creamy concoctions. Hopefully we’ll get around to picking up the barbecue that my mother-in-law has so graciously been saving for us. I can’t wait to barbecue in my backyard for the first time. Bryan, Sophie and I will hopefully have many dinners al fresco.

So there you have it – my childhood summer memories and the adventures that lie ahead. Pretty soon it’s be Labor Day and I’ll be writing about back-to-school. But for now, I’ll enjoy my flip flops, iced latte and being splashed by Sophie in the pool!

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