Making this an easy summer.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI love these lazy summer days.

Today feels like the start of true and unfettered summer. I have had childcare two full days a week since my semester ended so that I could really focus on making headway on my dissertation. I had some lofty goals (Introduction! Finish Chapter 3! Finish Chapter 4!) for these past 6 weeks, and I almost met all of them, which I am still counting as a success. On the other three days a week, Henry and I have been trying to fit in as much summer fun as possible, all while tying up some loose ends of semester-related responsibilities and summer goals (Purge all the things! Make an album! Tackle scary mountain of paperwork that has grown on my desk! Edit photos from a wedding I shot!). But now… most of that is done.

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Turkish towels are CLUTCH summer gear. They dry so fast and double as an aesthetic photo element.

Hello, sweet sweet summer.

I like to make June the productive summer month, because as those temperatures rise, my ability to get things done drops. And that’s ok.

Because the sweetness of summer is directly tied to its ability to slow us down, to hold us still, to convince us that porch-sitting, park-lying, lemonade-sipping is the best way to fill our days. I love the laziness of summer, love days that are full of fun, and light on preparation. I like it when our big decisions are between the pool and the splashpad, between the park or the sidewalk. Which Henry loves as much as the park, because he likes to climb up everyone’s steps. If you live on Capitol Hill and you have front steps, we have probably trespassed.

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He’s just biding his time before we can finish at the splash pad and he can find some good stairs to climb. .

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Total slide troll, that one.

Securing this lazy summer isn’t easy, even for someone who has the luxury of summer’s off, which is the best part of my profession. There are so many commitments that are tempting to make, and the daily impulse to complicate life is ubiquitous. You have to fight for easiness. The second half of our summer has a decent amount of travel, so I am extra intense about making the days at home feel sweet and slow.  Basically, my summer motto has three components:

  1. Go outside as much as possible.
  2. Try to do free things.
  3. Get snacks.

The second one is to offset both the third one, and summer travels. It also helps us choose creative or simple options over lavish outings. Luckily, DC is full of amazing and free summer offerings, everything from local parks to museums to splash pads and pools that are free (!) for residents. And summer snacks are so fun. The ice cream after the splash pad, the iced coffee on a morning walk, the tacos under the trees – I love the treats of summer.

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Henry and his favorite splash pad toy: a stroller cup-holder. He gets very intense about trying to use it to dump water… which is tricky, since it has holes.

But we also have some tools and tricks that help give that lazy summer vibe to our days. Here are some of the things that make my summer (and life in general) easier. Most of these you can buy, because problems solved by buying random things is sometimes simpler than a complicated DIY fix.

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The cup-holder did have some competition from this delicious sunscreen bottle.

Alexa. Y’all, ALEXA. We were so skeptical. What if she stole all our secrets? What if she ordered lots of random stuff? But we disabled the automatic buy feature, and we don’t have very interesting secrets. Instead, I have a robot who acts as the DJ to our summer jam sessions, lets me know the weather we are facing without my having to pull out a phone, and tells jokes or plays comedian routines on command.

Amazon Prime. Related to Alexa, I know, but Amazon Prime means that I spend less time in the store, and more time blowing bubbles with my baby. Who can’t blow bubbles and prefers to play with the plastic container instead of the actual bubbles. BUT STILL. I know that everyone is thankful for Amazon Prime, but I don’t to take its magic for granted.

Grocery Delivery. Time spent buying groceries and hauling them up my stairs is better spent playing in the park. Ordering my groceries also helps me avoid impulse buying and plan meals better.

Gathre mat. Ok, I totally judged these for awhile, as it seemed an obscene cost for a mat to put under your high chair. But then I was digging scrambled eggs out of my rug and constantly trying to get up all crumbs, only to still leave enough food bits to attract nice. Not acceptable. I snagged a mat during a sale and it really makes cleanup easier and quicker, which leaves more time for summer fun.

Lysol wipes. Do not spend all summer cleaning. A quick wipe down with these pretty frequently prolongs the time I can go before stopping everything and devoting time to a deep clean.

Meal planning. I love meal planning, because I love to eat good meals, but I hate to spend too much time planning and prepping during the week. For me and my Type A personality, a little bit of planning Sunday nights makes for easy weeks that have good food with little time or energy. (Don’t worry- I will someday inflict a whole post on meal planning on you, so GET EXCITED NOW!) In planning, I try to plan healthy and simple meals that are cheap, have leftovers, don’t require tons of time in the kitchen, and clean up quickly. Which brings us to…

Crockpot. I have waxed poetic about my love for my electronic sister-wife before, but I think the Crockpot is too often forgotten in the summer. I love nothing more than tossing some meat, veggies, and spices in in the morning and then coming home after a day of summer adventures and finding taco filling or pulled pork.

Sandwiches. Some of my mom friends talked about the moment they “remembered” PBJ’s, and one day – it happened. I was trying to steam some broccoli to take with us to the park so Henry could have a balanced lunch, and then I was like – why am I doing this??? He can have his PBJ (ok, almond butter), feed it to himself while he plays, and I could have more freedom in our outings. James and I are also devoted to BLT and watermelon being the perfect summer meal on a regular basis.

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There is a direct correlation between the quality of a summer day, and how messy he is by the end of the day.

What are the things, tricks, and products that make your life easier? Share em’ all so I can keep making this the laziest summer ever.

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7 Responses to Making this an easy summer.

  1. Nicole says:

    Tons and tons of sun hats, cuz they always get lost… a huge glass pitcher of cold water in the fridge (not super original, but it’s been so key this summer since our filtered water comes out of a tiiiiny stream from the kitchen faucet and we have a LOT of thirsty water-drinkers in the house this summer!), making big Mason jars of iced coffee concentrate at night so it’s ready to filter and use the next day (and it is SO much cheaper than buying the pre-made concentrate), lots of Outshine popsicles on hand all the time. The next thing I need to solve is getting wipe-able shoes for the two youngest b/c their very cute and ergonomic leather Stride Rite sandals (which my mom is fanatically attached to and buys every year) just gather SO much dirt and mulch and removing shoes inside just dumps it all over the floor. And then we have to wash their feet each time they come in, so that is getting old, and the leather doesn’t dry out all that well when I clean them.

    • Hannah says:

      Yes to all this!!!

      So, I was skeptical of the hype, but we found a pair of Saltwaters used for 10$ and they are pretty awesome. Not sure how ergonomic they are for actual toddlers, but I do feel like dirt and stuff falls out before they get inside, and the leather is waterproof.

  2. Meagan M says:

    I am jazzed to read your meal planning post!! As a fellow type A personality I should love meal planning and I do love the idea but I have tried at least a dozen of times, a dozen different ways and it never works for me! Ugh.

    • Hannah says:

      Honestly, my system is mostly about just DOING it. I have a set Sunday night prepare-for-the-week ritual that it fits into, as well as some tricks that help me actually implement the meals I plan. I will work on writing it up!

  3. Bekah says:

    Oh that highchair mat! That is so exactly what I have been looking for! Everything else I’ve found is more like a flimsy shower curtain. Ugh, here’s hoping for another sale soon, because I too am tired of cleaning eggs out of carpet.
    That green bathing suit is perfect, I might need to know where it is from?
    Meal planning, crockpot (we just replaced our dead one with an Instant Pot, already life changing), sandwiches- agree agree agree!!!

  4. Ok no for real plz write that meal-planning post. I’m a red hot mess when it comes to meal planning and end up eating a PBJ at 3 and then frozen mango pieces for “dinner” at 8. #halp

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