Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bracing for the Summer

All the signs are here.

The backpacks are tossed to the back of the closet. The lunch boxes are relegated to the hard-to-reach cabinets. The phone lists with classmates' numbers are close at hand. Flip flops are strewn about the house.

It's officially summer vacation here in Anthem. And this year, knowing what I'm up against, I'm getting us ready.

Back in Elk Grove, the kids were on a year-round school schedule -- three months on and then a month off. We had about 6 weeks off in June/July (as well as the months of February and October) and by the end of July it was back to school.

So last year when we moved here at the end of April, Blake and Nick went to school for just a month and then it was summer vacation. It was an unbelievably long, scorching summer. Blake and Nick had been in school just a short time and hadn't made many friends yet. Even though we have a pool, I didn't feel comfortable taking Zach and Allie in the water alone (they were only 2), so the boys and I would wait until their naptime. And, perhaps most importantly, it was just too blazing hot to venture out anywhere with the kids. During the summer the neighborhoods of Phoenix are like ghost towns. I once heard someone liken it to winters in the midwest -- hibernating and taking cover from the snow and cold for a few months. Only here it's taking cover inside to insulate ourselves from the brutal heat of the summer.

Last summer, having just moved, all three sets of parents made a trip out during June, July and August. Brett's parents were here a couple weeks ago, and my parents are planning a September trip for Nick's birthday -- but nothing in between is scheduled. A clear sign that a lot of people make their first summer visit to Phoenix their last :)

So I've been plotting, trying to strategically break up our summer and minimize the kids' down time (that's code word for watching TV and playing video games) ...

We'll be getting a beach house with my parents, brother and his family on the California coast in just a few weeks. Then we'll be flying back to visit Brett's mom and relatives in Minnesota in July. Blake and Nick will spend an extra week in Sacramento with their grandparents. Blake's going to his first overnight camp -- a soccer camp in Flagstaff. The twins will continue to go to preschool twice a week, as well as keep up with swim lessons. I'm still trying to get Nicky to pick a sport/camp or activity.

But still, while I feel more prepared, I still don't feel completely ready for those endless, stifling hot days (the sun is up this time of year by 5:30 -- still not used to that).

To soften the inevitable heat wave, May has been beautiful and on the mild side.

About a week ago we finally had our first 100-degree day (actually AFTER Sacramento hit 100 a couple days earlier ... unusual). The next day we had our first 110-degree day. Then a few days later wind and cool and then lots of rain. It felt like the Bay Area. Over Memorial Day weekend we were in the 70s and 80s. We decided to take advantage of our zoo membership and go one last time before it's cool enough to go back again, which will probably be about November. Really.

Of course Zach and Allie love the zoo, but we're finding it a surmounting challenge to find family activities that cater to all the kids. Blake didn't want to go. "The zoo's so boring ... why do we have to go?" So, little-by-little, my little Blake is turning into a big kid (now a 6th grader) who'd rather be skateboarding, playing soccer or flying his bike off jumps than going to the zoo. And just like bracing for a long, blistering summer, I'm not ready.

1 comment:

Phil said...

Welcome to Arizona :) You'll find more and more of us out running at 5AM before the sun starts to raise above the horizon. 80F with 10% humidity isn't too bad, but once the sun gets 20 degrees above the horizon, you'll feel like your skin is baking.

Good luck. My only advice is to spend as much time on the coast as possible.