Yo Summer, Let's Be Awesome


Ah, summer.

Around here we're in that transitional phase when one season merges into another. Anna finishes school this Friday and Simon follows next Tuesday. Both keep asking over and over when they will be done.

Some people ease into these kinds of seasonal transitions, some people jump in feet first and some people fight it. I'm really just trying to embrace it.

This summer what I really want is LESS and SLOW.

I want to take the long way. Wander. Linger. I want to practice being slow and deliberate.

I want to walk and bike vs. taking the car whenever possible (and even when it's not convenient).

I want to hang out in my backyard. I'd like to say "period" right there and have that be the one and only thing and just leave it at that, but there's a bit more already planned for our summer.

A family camping trip, a camping weekend with friends. A business trip for me at the end of the month and another in late July. Camps for kids.

Basically, enough.

The last couple of years I've written up a manifesto and turned it into some sort of a memory keeping project. This year I'm just jotting down some ideas here and going with it - I've got enough memory keeping projects in process that adding one more feels counterproductive to my desires for the next few months.

Here's a few thoughts about the next few months:

  1. CREATE A SPACE | Designate an area in my yard for a fire pit. I bought one from Home Depot and it needs a permanent home in my yard. Now here's the deal - knowing myself and my tendencies from time to time I might keep putting this off because what I can do right now might not be the perfect thing I have in my mind (hello Pinterest inspiration). I need to push through that and simply get it set up so we can use it spur of the moment vs. waiting for the whole set-up to be perfect. A couple of simple inspiration images from Pinterest can be found here and here.

  2. A BIT OF ROUTINE. Simple daily chores and educational time for the kids. We like these Brain Quest workbooks plus daily reading/quiet time. In addition, Simon's going to be charged with making a batch of cookies each week (teaching all kinds of practical skills) and I'm sure Anna's going to want a part of that as well. Both kids will be attending a few different camps over the course of the summer. Simon's signed up for a comic drawning/stop motion camp, a sailing camp, and a Harry Potter camp. Anna will be doing a local community center camp, a gymnastics camp, a ballet camp and a more traditional outdoor camp with some of her school friends. Both will also spend time with my parents for at least a week at Grandparents Camp (as we like to call it).

  3. INVITE SLOW | This hammock and stand. Not really less (because it needs to be purchased) but it definitely invites slow and it will add another opportunity to spend more time doing nothing in the backyard.

  4. CHOOSE LESS & SLOW. I've got a whole lot of work stuff happening this summer that might at times feel like the antithesis to less and slow. Ha. Forget "might" - "will" is more like it. I still want to be able to turn that intensity off and practice lingering in the evening when I'm done with my working day. Turn off the electronics. Ride our bikes to the pool. Lay out a blanket in the backyard grass and having a picnic dinner. Set up the projector and screen for a movie night in our backyard.

  5. SLOW = FOCUS | Read one book at a time (vs. a bunch at the same time) from beginning to end. I'm currently consumed with Gone Girl.

I loved reading this fantastic post the other day that came along at just the right time for me (written by Courtney Carver at Be More With Less): The Greatest Secret To Productivity.

As I write this out I think the main thing I want to keep in mind is slow - even more than less. How can I take the slow route or the long way this summer and what happens when I do?

Have you taken some time to think about what you want in your life as the seasons change? I know many of you are in the Southern Hemisphere and are transitioning to a completely different season all together.

PS | I made some Summer 3x4 cards (printable and PNG) that were released at Designer Digitals last weekend. Grab them here.


Like the word art used at the top of this post? It's available here.



25 thoughts

  1. michelle t

    2014-06-11 06:16:05 -0400

    I can't wait for slow. I need the slow of summer. So tired of rushing my kids out of the house at 6:30. I plan to relish this summer and all it has to offer me, with my camera in hand. The kids and dad are going to Universal in Florida for a few days, I can't go, and I plan to use that time to recharge, catch up on projects, a little decluttering, and rest. Go summer! Enjoy yours, Ali. Michelle t

  2. ailynk

    2014-06-11 06:58:21 -0400

    your art is cool, may you have the summer you want

  3. Holly

    2014-06-11 09:17:25 -0400

    Ali, any chance you will create a Summer Manifesto title page for 2014 to go along with your 6x6 digital album? I recently purchased this for the first time and have plans for an album this summer.

  4. J Allen

    2014-06-11 09:24:28 -0400

    I too have stopped reading more than one book at a time. I spent thirty days in Africa working with children in pre schools, feeding programs and orphanages, when I returned home I felt jumbled and confused. I started hiding in my books (this is common for me), one story at a time. I found reading to be as it was when I was a younger, stories filled with friends and enemies, returning to the pleasure and joy of a book!

    PS…Gone Girl in crazy good and you must read Dark Places by the same author!!!!

  5. Crystal

    2014-06-11 09:45:34 -0400

    Yes, I agree. Not enough time for an entire manifesto project. I am just using PL cards, slipping them into my album and calling it done.

  6. MK

    2014-06-11 10:15:26 -0400

    I am laughing at the planning of a fire pit. We have a family fire and s'mores as our Friday wind-down almost every weekend. Although those are beautiful, you wouldn't plan that nonsense at the beach. You would dig a hole and snuggle up. Build the rest of that in the fall when you are re-energized from your wonderful slow summer. (One thing our family does now is make-up and tell stories at the fire.)

  7. Judi

    2014-06-11 10:21:15 -0400

    SLOW is GOOD - cabin time and more sunsets and star gazing. I love Courtney I read her blogg dailey.

  8. Janet

    2014-06-11 12:08:00 -0400

    Have you read "In Praise of Slowness" by Carl Honore? It is a gem; I feel peaceful when I even think about the book.

  9. karen c

    2014-06-11 13:00:58 -0400

    The tone of your words made me laugh about the fire pit. I totally get it because that's me too. I hope you push through and just use it. :)

    For me too, less and slow in summer is the way to go, if you can do it, sometimes it's just not possible and then I just enjoy the long daylight hours.

    When my son was your kids ages I worked outside the home and what I did to make the summers slow was take a week off in June, July and August. One of the weeks we'd go on vacation but the other 2 would be spent at home with no planned activities. We'd do what we felt like: mostly the pool and reading. It's probably almost like this for your kids in summer since you work at home. There are always plenty of summer activities but sometimes just hanging out at home with a kid, doing nothing for a whole day feels the most like summer.

    I always enjoy reading your perspective. I hope you have a great summer!

  10. Nancy

    2014-06-11 13:36:40 -0400

    Yes! I wrote a Summer Manifesto and I've already started by reading a book and eating lunch outside (with no electronics!). Three cheers for summer and slow and quiet and relaxation!

  11. jeni

    2014-06-11 15:20:43 -0400

    Sounds lovely. You've reminded me that we need to get our swinging hammock thing out of the garage.

  12. Gina

    2014-06-11 16:04:05 -0400

    Ali, I love reading your posts and thoughts. After the busy school year, I am so looking forward to no real routine. When people ask us what are we doing this summer, sometimes I almost feel bad saying my son will be playing lots of organized baseball and I'm sure lots of backyard whiffle ball and my daughter will be enjoying swimming at the pool, playing with friends, reading, crafting. I learned a couple of years ago that my kids don't like tons of camps and organized activities during the summer so we don't go crazy in the summer and it's so nice to recharge.
    Your summer sounds delightful. Simon's & Anna's camps sound very fun! I hope your summer is slow...

  13. Catherine

    2014-06-11 17:31:51 -0400

    Two summers ago I had my first newborn (born June 16!); last summer I had awful morning sickness all through. So this summer I finally feel like myself again! At the very least I'm planning on taking naps with the breeze coming through open windows.

  14. Jan

    2014-06-11 17:39:05 -0400

    Summer in Phoenix is hibernation season. Too hot to enjoy being outdoors, and this is the price we pay for being able to be outdoors the rest of the year. My kids are grown so we don't have the end of school/change of routine opportunities, either. So my summer plans include planning a couple of small trips, including a "staycation" at a local hotel (where the rates are cheap this time of year!), catching up on projects where I've fallen behind (*cough Project Life *cough) and reorganizing the craft room, purging stuff I'm not using, etc. It may not sound exciting, but it makes for a "new year" feeling in the fall.

  15. Becky Marrs

    2014-06-11 20:40:10 -0400

    {{smiling}} and dreaming of a slow peaceful summer!

  16. Hannie

    2014-06-12 01:15:53 -0400

    thanks for the reminder in being "slow", being focus and thx for the share on the article "The Greatest Secret to Productivity". Needed that reminder.
    thank you.

  17. Self reminder « Hannie

    2014-06-12 01:44:48 -0400

    […] Good reads: Ali Edwards’ Yo Summer […]

  18. Mary-Lou

    2014-06-12 08:00:22 -0400

    I want to go to Harry Potter camp with Simon! Every summer I re-read the entire book series & watch all the movies.

  19. orange gearle

    2014-06-12 08:41:32 -0400

    Ha! I love the "Yo Summer!". Yo crept into my vocabulary, too after Breaking Bad. ;-)

  20. CJ

    2014-06-12 12:11:38 -0400

    I loved this post Ali, as I've loved all of your pre-summer posts. It's such a wonderful time of year, with the whole of the summer stretching out before us. I hope you all have a really lovely time with many happy adventures and lots of good memories made. CJ xx

  21. Abby

    2014-06-13 10:44:47 -0400

    Hi Ali,
    I love following your blog for all of your great Project Life inspiration. As an occupational therapist, I also enjoy the little peeks into your life with Simon. I LOVE that you're having him make a batch of cookies each week this summer. Cooking works on so many skills and who doesn't love a new batch of cookies each week? I'm going to recommend this activity to families that I work with!

  22. Collette

    2014-06-13 15:59:53 -0400

    Thank you so much Ali for this wonderful post. I really enjoyed it. I had never seen the medium site either. Wow! Where have I been. Good stuff.

  23. Kimmie

    2014-06-14 22:04:22 -0400

    I am really trying to just focus more on my kiddos & hobbies this summer. I love the idea of slowing down, I really need to focus on that. I found myself about to skip using my clarisonic in the shower the other day b/c I was just feeling so rushed to get it all done and thought to myself, Kim if you can't take 1 minute to clean your face you are in big trouble! So I did :)

    I would love to hear more about the comic/stop motion camp. My 10 year old son makes his own all the time (has Simon tried the Lego Movie Maker app?) and it would be great to find him one locally, we are stuck inside a lot during the summer in Nevada b/c it is just too darn hot! Thanks! :)

  24. linda marie

    2014-06-15 10:39:47 -0400

    This is wonderful, Ali. The idea of slowing, wandering and lingering. I’ve been thinking about this since reading it and writing my intentions for the summer.
    What stood out - awareness and the senses. Being aware through my senses of slowing down and enjoying the season. I also want to incorporate my OLW – find - into it. (putting it out there as a suggestion for a prompt??) Living with your senses for the month…sight, sound, smell, taste, touch. (reading a book and listening to music connected to my word, smelling fresh herbs growing on the deck and breathing air as I walk more, tasting fresh produce of the season, the touch of friends and family, and the practical touch of repairs to be made.) hoping to incorporate into my OLW album (may use that 3 pocket protector) thanks!

  25. Roberta

    2014-06-26 22:30:26 -0400

    My Pawleys Island Hammock is my daily vacation...just a few minutes of swing in' makes everything slow down ;) I start my day in it with morning tea and end it with a glass if wine and the stars ;). As far as your fire pit...I only gave one bit if advice...Better Dine than perfect ;). Time goes by so darn fast...I make every effort to be in every moment.

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