This is part of a 100 Days of Summer Fun series where Oklahoma City metro moms share their ideal days with their kids. We hope it inspires you to try something new with your kids this summer! Find more Ideal Days on our list of 100 Days of Summer Fun.
Courtney Mayberry is a stay-at-home mom who used to blog for MetroFamily's Strong Together imitative. Below, you can read about her ideal day with her toddler daughter Parker.
Without question summer is my favorite season. When I was a child, it tasted like barbecues, ice cream sandwiches and the zesty punch Mom made. It sounded like Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s “Summertime.” It looked like tan lines from hours of swimming and playing outside until dusk. It smelled like freshly-cut grass, burning charcoal and bug spray. It felt like sand rushing through your fingers. And like that sand, it was always gone too soon.
In celebration of my favorite season and all the fun that awaits my family, I set aside a special day to introduce my daughter, Parker, to some unique seasonal fun. She is 17 months old and although last summer was her first summer, there were still quite a few fun things we had to wait for. Now that she’s a “seasoned” walker, I’m gladly anticipating what the season will bring.
The goals for the day were simple: register for the library’s summer reading program (we’re vets who participated last year), complete 20 minutes of reading, play at the new North Side Y’s KaBOOM playground, help someone in need and plant seeds—all while getting in some healthy meals and a decent nap.
Initially, I didn’t think this would be a packed day, but it was a bit of a challenge since Parker missed the “Mommy’s Excited” memo. She slept a near-record of 15 hours the night before. But I couldn’t be disappointed, because there are a lot of those memos and sleeping in during the summer is such a requirement. All that growing she is doing must exhaust her! So, our day started around 10:30 a.m. with oatmeal, bananas and milk for breakfast, which she happily self-served like a big girl.
After her bath, I brushed her teeth, combed her hair and dressed her in a bright pink cotton romper. Because what summer is complete without a romper? Then, it was on to the local library for her very own library card (super big-girl status), summer reading program registration and a little ROL (reading out loud) in my best library whisper. This will be our second year participating in the Metro Library’s Summer Reading Program. Last year, we had so much fun completing 20 minutes of reading and reading readiness activities together. Parker also won an amazing prize pack. I can’t wait to start again this year.
And as if Parker was already prepared to start, she marched back and forth from the couch I was sitting on to the blue elephant bookshelf, bringing me several titles to read. It was as if she were saying, “Mom, did you see this one? What about this other one?” My little reader is such a girl after my own heart. It was a cute game to her and I couldn’t even keep up with all the books she was handing me. Tea Time. Time for a Hug. Humpty Dumpty. Spot’s ABC’s. And my personal favorite, Spot Goes Shopping. There were more, but I picked five. I read them to her and a curious boy, named Isaiah, wandered over, proving how awesome my ROL skills are. Register for the library’s summer reading program and complete 20 minutes of reading? Done and done!
Unfortunately, our next move to the North Side YMCA’s KaBOOM playground was a little premature since it wasn’t quite ready for the public. But by the time you read this, it will be ready for you and your kiddies! Good things come to those who wait. Play at the new KaBOOM playground? Sooner rather than later.
The next item on our list was to help someone in need. Summer isn’t all about thinking about yourself. It’s also a time to reflect on how you can use extra time or make time to bless someone else. My heart led us to the Oklahoma Blood Institute to donate. I have to be honest. My head knows needles and seeing my life source outside of body are not my idea of a perfect day. I wasn’t looking forward to answering the awkward questionnaire, being pricked and sitting perfectly still with tubes hanging from me. However, I mustered up the courage because, for someone, that is their reality no matter the season. To sweeten the donation, Parker and I snacked on pretzels, Chex mix and granola while enjoying the breezy air conditioning. It was a cool change from the sun and heat on our walk to the taped-off playground. I donated 600 grams (one pint) of blood, which can help up to three people. Did I mention we got a free tee and two free passes to Oklahoma City Zoo? Totally worth it! Help someone in need? Done times three!
After Parker watched me donate blood, it was about 2 p.m. and she was ready for her nap. We drove home and that’s when I realized I needed one too. Do drink water and eat before giving blood. You’ll thank me later.
Our nap ended around 5 p.m. (Judge away, if you must.) Even though my husband didn’t barbecue, I still gave Parker a taste of summer with BBQ turkey meatloaf, braised cabbage with ginger and fresh summer corn. It was a welcome meal for both of us after a long nap and the perfect transition to our next activity—planting Burpee’s Bee and Butterfly Flower Mix.
This was an exciting moment for us because we received seeds along with a keepsake wooden Easter egg at the 2015 White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, D.C., last April. I was thrilled to take Parker along with a pair of my sister-friends and their sons. But I’m also glad that the experience is still impacting us today. I explained to Parker that the bees and butterflies need homes to live in so they can help make our food with their special pollination power. She seemed to understand completely. When I dropped a tiny brown seed in her hand, she immediately popped it right into her mouth. Hilarious! Otherwise, she was very patient and showed a genuine interest in using the spade to gently break up the soil. We watered our seeds and the wait has begun. Hopefully, in seven to 21 days, our seeds will sprout beautiful, fragrant flowers—perfect homes for local bees and butterflies. Plant bee and butterfly garden seeds? Done!
After gardening, I let Parker enjoy some free play in her room. It was a nice way to wind down after being in the sun. After her bath, hair braiding and teeth brushing, it was time to say good night. Like my days as a kid, our perfect summer day ended just as the sun set. I’m looking forward to more days like this. Welcome back, summer!