The very best season is upon us.
I love summer more and more every year, and having Henry has only made that love increase tenfold. Since the key to sanity with an active baby in a tiny apartment is being outside as much as possible, summer is our jam. Summer gives me so much more time to explore this city with Henry. The last month of the semester was rough, with lots of deadlines to meet, applications to complete, projects to finish, grading to do, etc. As always happens, I got so stressed that I stopped sleeping and we had a couple really rough weeks around our house where I was surviving, but far from thriving.
But then summer came.
Last Friday night we headed to Navy Yard to enjoy our first splash pad. I must admit, splash pad fun was one of the things I was so excited about doing with a kid from the first moment I found out I was pregnant. Henry was still at the loaf-of-bread stage last summer, but this summer he is all in. He was skeptical of the fountains at first, but quickly took to trying to catch as much water in his mouth as possible. Plus, it meant that he and I could play while James scored an outdoor table and ordered at one of the great restaurants lining the park, only to have us join after the food arrived. The result was Henry making it through an evening dining-out experience, something that isn’t always his strong suit.
It is easy to think of summer as lasting forever in these early June weeks. But inevitably, August rolls around and I panic that I haven’t done everything I wanted to do. Here are some goals for this summer, both things that need to get done, and experiences I want to enjoy in this city:
Finally make an album from Henry’s first year. Last summer I used those months of a newborn sleeping on my lap to make albums from 2012-2015, and I am determined to get the 2016 album done before the end of the summer.
Go through everything and donate as much stuff as possible. Doing our taxes motivated me to be better about getting receipts for donations. I have a list of all the Zones of Clutter (bathroom shelves, bedroom dresser, kitchen gadget box, etc) that I want to sort through and purge, and I am trying to hit one zone a week.
Make serious dissertation progress. It can’t be all splash-pads and fun. We have childcare through the end of June, and I have some major goals I need to finish by then, as well as research goals for July and August. In June, Henry is with his babysitter all day Tuesday and Thursday, which means 2 nine hour days where I do nothing but work, and three days where I can feel free to focus on him and other little projects.
Run. Since the half-marathon I ran at 6 months post-partum, I have run verrryyyyyy little and I want that to change. DC summers are terrible running weather, but I’ve been going at least twice a week lately and it feels better than nothing.
Develop a better morning routine. Everyone seems to agree that productive people get up early, especially people with kids. Ummm…..oops. I never get up before Henry unless I absolutely have to, and then it is the very minimum amount required to get ready. But I really miss starting my days with some tranquil time, so I am working on getting up just a tad before him.
Read something. I read so much for work, but very rarely for pleasure. Gone are the days of my amazing summer reading lists. I do a pretty good job with audiobooks, but I want to read some physical ones too. My friend Liz dragged me to the library during her final days of maternity leave and now, after 6 years of living in DC, I have a library card. And I plan to use it… and hopefully for more than getting audiobooks on this app. So tell me- what are you reading? And I’m talking summer reading here- nothing too sophisticated.
Some DC Summer Goals:
Visit the XYZT Exhibit at Artechouse. Now that the Infinity Mirror exhibit has moved on, this is the new museum experience everyone is talking about. It’s not free, and it looks like they may not allow little kids, but I’m still intrigued.
Check out “Hive” at the National Building Museum. There are free early-open times for each DC Ward, and I can’t wait to go. Remember the beach exhibit?
Splash pads: I plan on structuring many a summer day around trekking to some of the DC splash-pads, including regular visits to Yards Park (shown above)and a couple outings to the Georgetown Waterfront and the fountains at City Center. I met a friend at the Mosaic District out in VA, and they had rudely not turned on their fountains yet… but I want to go back!
Visits to our favorite ice cream shops. Summer is for ice-cream, and a long walk to some of these pushing a stroller totally negates the caloric splurge, right?
Hit as many coffee shops as possible. I love coffee shops, and often Henry and I will walk almost an hour to try a new one. He loves getting out and I love treat-oriented walking goals. Nothing sounds better than loading up snacks and swim gear and spending the day hitting splash pads and coffee shops.
What are your summer goals? Book recommendations? Any great DC things I need to add to my list?
I think you should read The Course of Love by Alain de Botton. Also How Proust Can Change Your Life (also by de Botton). Mostly I need someone to have read these so I can discuss. But you’d like them too! 😁
I’m getting into the Poldark books and Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny…modern mysteries but as mild (and fun) as Nancy Drew. I’m glad I can finally read something in a genre that isn’t too scary, makes me crave good food,and sharpens my inner detective skills. 😉
I too love the Louise Penny series and also Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. Another author I recommend is Fredrik Backman.
Love those photos of Henry with the fountain!
I recently read these WW2 historical fiction books and would highly recommend Beneath a Scarlet Sky (based on a true story) and The Nightingale.
The only saving grace for the Mosaic District’s absurdly poorly planned splash pad (ummm hello, NO SHADE whatsoever for either kids or parents on DC summer days and right next to a highly-trafficked road w/no barrier?!) is that it is right next to Dolcezza. ;P There’s a much better (ie SHADED) splash pad in a very cute little park in Arlington called Hayes Park (I am all about finding new-to-us and exciting parks hidden around NOVA). Lots of climbing stuff, huge sand pit, covered picnic tables, and of course, splash pad.
I think you might love Terry Tempest Williams. I haven’t read her celebrated WHEN WOMEN WERE BIRDS but I’m halfway through her new book, which is a collection of essays on our national parks, and she is simply magnificent. So full of heart and wonder and empathy.
I have no idea what sort of books you like, but I love classics and just finished “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins. Absolutely amazing and very detailed. I don’t know if it qualifies as a “light summer read” or not but definitely worth it.
Also, I like the books “June Bug” by Chris Fabry and anything by Charlotte or Anne Bronte.
Good luck on your summer reading!
Pingback: Summer check-in (and the Hive!) | The Art in Life