In my mind, summer starts with Memorial Day weekend, so I’m already behind on my summer bucket list. Every season, I have started to create these lists to make sure our family makes the most of this season of our lives. I am so keenly aware of how fast this time goes and how quickly James is growing up, and I want to savor every moment and make memories we’ll always cherish, especially since, as a working mom, weekends and vacations are especially important to me for QT.
This summer in particular, it’s incredibly important to me that we make the most of every minute together as a family of three. I’m nervous about how the transition will be for James as he goes from being the sole center of our lives to sharing the attention. We’ll also be moving and he’ll be adjusting to going to a drop-off preschool five days a week, which is a lot of change for our little guy. I want to have a really special summer for him to help ease the transition and savor these days as a family of three (plus Dakota!).
I’m not going to lie, rallying to be active every weekend has been hard. I’m exhausted and now that I’m officially in my third trimester, I don’t see that easing up. But I think having a list of activities to check off our list will help motivate me and at least take the “what are we going to do this weekend?” debate off our plates, which happens to be one of the biggest things we fight over. I like to just have everything planned out so we can avoid fights, getting tempted by the couch and Moana, and can just get up and get at it.
Here are all the activities and trips on our family’s summer bucket list. Anything we should add? What’s on yours? Please share with me — I’d love more ideas!
Sesame Street Place
I really want to take James here as a special pre-baby adventure that we get to do with him. It’s not a terrible hike from NYC, but I’m hoping to take a day off to go that Andrew can also get off, so we don’t have to go on a weekend when it’s super crowded. Has anyone been? Is it worth it?
James started swim lessons a few weeks ago and loves it. I’m excited for him to continue. I really want him to get comfy in the water and learn to swim so I don’t have to worry about drowning. Most classes where they actually teach you to swim are for ages 3 and up, so he’s been taking a class with our nanny and then I want to do a weekend class with him as well, but if anyone taught their child before 2, let me know how it went and where you went or if you did private lessons. Either way, we’re going to be spending lots of time at the pool this summer and I cannot wait. I’m not usually a pool person, but when I’m pregs, I so am.
So we’re going to the Bahamas in late July, which is totally random, but it’s for my father in law’s 75th birthday. We’re going with Andrew’s sister and her kids and I’m super excited. It’ll be the last time I can fly before the baby comes (and it’s probably pushing it a bit), but I think it’ll be a really fun opportunity for James to play with his cousins, who he worships, and the resort is like the ultimate kids destination.
As we plan to move before the baby arrives, we’re trying to make the most of exploring all the city has to offer. We’ve done a lot of the typical things, but we’re trying to capitalize on some of the city offerings that are more of a hike. We actually just checked this one off our list this past weekend and took James on the kiddie rides at Coney Island, which he LOVED. We walked the boardwalk and ate there, and it was so much fun. James had the best afternoon and the smile on his face was worth the overpriced tickets alone.
So this is another we’ve already checked off our list, but I wanted to include it for any NYC peeps out there. I had no idea that NYC was actually home to a legit beach. Rockaway beach is a hike but we decided to visit, figuring we probably will never go once we leave the city. I was actually really surprised. Granted it’s early summer and the beach wasn’t super busy, but it was actually really nice and a legit beach. It has a cute boardwalk with restaurants and James loved running through the sand. It was a perfect excursion for a chilly-ish but sunny day, and apparently, it’s a popular destination for surfers.
Our favorite Hamptons spot to visit in the summer is Quogue. It’s where Andrew and I first met and started dating, so it holds a special place in our hearts and we still have good friends who go out there during the summers. Last summer, we went out for the Fourth of July and rented a house. It was so much fun catching up with friends, hosting them for barbecues, and hitting up the beach as a family and just revisiting a place that has meant so much to us. We’re trying to squeeze in another trip there this summer before moving and baby. I’m hoping to maybe surprise Andrew with a trip for his birthday actually.
Solo Parents Trip/Night Away
Since we never ended up taking that parents only vacation this spring, I really want to make sure Andrew and I get at least one night away just us before the baby arrives. It may not be until August at which point I may be too far along to travel too far. Any suggestions for where we should go for a night or two that’s within driving distance of NYC? Bonus points for a beach and great food and couple’s massages.
Because James loved the rides at Coney Island so much, we wanted to take him to Rye Playland. It’s close to my in-laws and two minutes from their beach club, and it’s supposed to be fun. Plus, it feels like another fun activity we can do with him that we won’t be able to do when we have an infant in tow.
Bronx Zoo Dinosaur Safari
James is obsessed with dinosaurs right now. I took him to the Prospect Park zoo recently and they had one of the dinosaurs from the exhibit and he was mesmerized. We probably spent like 30 minutes just staring at it, so I definitely think it’s worth braving the lines at the Bronx Zoo Dinosaur safari.
James is obsessed with his toy putter that my dad got him, so I think it would be a fun activity for us to do mini golf one evening or afternoon. I always found it to be a fun date night activity, so maybe it can become a fun family activity.
I’m not sure where we’ll be on the Fourth of July yet, but regardless, we will definitely find a way to see fireworks. It’s one of my favorite parts of summer.
S’mores by the Fire
Another favorite activity of mine is making s’mores in the outdoor fire pit at the lake. It’s always a little chilly and James loves anything with fire and sweets and we can swap stories and enjoy the stars in the sky.
Lots of Ice Cream Dates
One of my favorite parts of the summer is the excuse to get an ice cream cone. I love taking James for an after dinner walk to get some ice cream after work, or stopping at the local ice cream spot after the beach for a cone. And really, there’s nothing cuter than a little kid eating a dripping ice cream cone. Plus, I’m pregnant so I can eat as much ice cream as I want, right?
Honestly, I thought I’d have a lot more on my list, but between trying to get everything shored up at work before my maternity leave, prepping blog posts for when I have the baby, getting James squared away for school next year, hopefully moving and renovating, and oh yeah, prepping for baby, we’re about to get seriously busy. I just don’t know that we’re going to have time for