Dialing Back For Summer

The school year is over and summer is finally here!    My oldest son, Tako Jr. #1, just finished his first school year as a kindergartner!  I’m amazed at how much kids learn in kindergarten these days.  They seem super-smart now!  Tako Jr. #1 learned a ton of new stuff — reading, writing, and math.  All in just a few short months!

It was an amazing school year for the little guy, and even though it was a ton of work he seemed to enjoy school.  As a parent, this made me pretty proud.  Now, it’s time for him to enjoy a nice summer break!

studious Tako Jr. #1
He’s such a studious kid already, and he’s only just finished Kindergarten! This kid needs a summer break!

As a kid growing-up, summer breaks were usually the best time of year for me.  The weather was nice, and I got to play outside a lot.  Neither of my parents were home during the day in the summer (they both worked).  Sometimes they’d send me to a summer camp, but mostly I got to spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer (on my own).  It was a great chance to be lazy and not study for awhile.  I also learned to be pretty independent — something that’s stuck with me to this day.

As a stay-at-home dad though, I’m kinda new to this whole summertime gig.  I didn’t have any parents around during the summer when I was a kid, so I’ve been polling other parents the last couple of weeks to see what they do with their kids during the summer…

Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed.

Mostly, it seems they try to sign their kids up for as many summer camps as possible.  This is convenient for parents because they just drop-off their kid at camp before going to work.  The parents get a break, and there’s no need to pay for additional childcare when the camp has you covered.

This is a pretty expensive option in my opinion — usually around $200-$300 a week. (Yes, we live in an expensive area.)  If I tried to keep Tako Jr. #1 in camp all summer, it would end up costing around $1600-$2400 to cover two months.

I guess that’s cheaper than daycare, but it’s still a pretty big chunk of money just to keep one kid occupied.

Instead of doing what all the other parents are doing, I’ve decided to reject the regular summer plan and come-up with my own.  I’m going to be spending a lot of 1-1 time with Tako Jr. #1 this summer!

We’re going to have a blast!


A Busy Summer Ahead

In a way, I’m kinda excited — it’s like a chance to relive those great summers I had when I was a kid.  Lots of freedom provided by my bike, and plenty of sunshine to enjoy.

So what do we (Tako Jr. #1 and I) have planned for this summer?

Well, first off we’re going to be doing a lot more bike-riding to get around.  Tako Jr. #1 just got a “new to us” bike with much bigger wheels, and he’s already zooming around on his new wheels pretty good.  We’re going to use bikes for as many things as possible this summer.

new bike for Tako Jr.
He just got a new bike, and he’s already zooming around. We’re going to be on our bikes a lot!

We’re within biking distance of our local library, and Tako Jr. #1 loves to read now… so we’ll probably ride to the library pretty often this summer.  This is a typical scene around our house right now:

Tako Jr. #1 surrounded by a pile of books.  He loves reading!

Our local library is doing a ton of stuff this summer:  They’re giving away free lunches to kids, and we plan to give those a shot.  There’s also lots of “space” related stuff going on at our library — magic shows, reading challenges, robot building workshops, and other “space” themed presentations throughout the summer.  It should be fun.

We can also get Tako Jr. #1 a free museum pass to local museums too!

Again, all this is 100% free!  All we have to do is take advantage of the free resources offered by our local library.  (Aren’t libraries THE BEST?)


We’ve also signed-up Tako Jr. #1 for swimming lessons this summer.  He loves swimming, and he’ll be taking swimming classes two days a week at our local pool.  It should be a good way to cool off, and we can bike to the pool too.  In total, I think this cost around $300.

new swimmer
Two days of swimming lessons per week!

For the days we aren’t going to the library or pool, I’d like to go hiking with him this summer.  He’s a strong enough hiker that he can already hike 4 or 5 miles without a problem.

hiking in a forest
We’re the kind of family that does a lot of hiking, and the plan is to do plenty this summer!

Once it gets too hot though, we’re likely to head in-doors to catch some shade.  Thanks to the generosity of another parent on our local BuyNothing group, I have a whole bunch of science kits to keep him occupied indoors this summer.

solar car kit
We have several science kits like this waiting to go for when it’s too hot to do stuff outside.

He’s been dying to build this solar powered car kit (I think it’s this one), but I told him we had to wait until summer (when we actually have sunshine).  He’s super-stoked about building stuff powered by the sun!  To him, solar power seems like magic!

I also have a couple DIY projects I’d like to work together with him on.  Last summer we made a picture frame together and gave it to Mrs. Tako as a gift.  She loved it, and we had some good father-son bonding time.

frame small
Last summer we made a picture frame as our joint project. (Not this exact one, but very similar.)

That project worked so well that I have another DIY project planned for this summer.  (For now I’m keeping it a secret!) 🙂

On top of those activities, we’re taking both boys on a two-week trip to their Grandparent’s.  Every summer we take the kids to their grandparent’s “farm” to experience rural life.  They usually have a blast, playing in sprinklers, collecting chicken eggs from the neighbors, and helping out in Grandma and Grandpa’s massive garden.

watering garden
Every summer we take the kids to their Grandparent’s for some “quality time”.

Then, at the end of the summer we’ve got a big camping trip planned!  This is the cherry on top.  Every summer we take the kids on a camping trip, and this year is no exception — We’re headed to the San Juan islands!

If you’ve never heard of the San Juan’s before, they’re these gorgeous islands just off Washington’s coast.  An absolutely beautiful place for camping!

little campers
The new tent is ready!  Bring on the camping! These campers are ready to go!


Dialing Back My Blog Posting

Unfortunately with such a busy summer ahead, something has to give in my schedule — So, I’ve decided to cut back my blog posting schedule to just once per week.  This should give me more free time to spend with Tako Jr. #1, and I hope we have a great time together!

Blog readership tends to decline in the summer anyway, so I’m taking a page from fellow blogger Joe Udo @ RetireBy40 and just taking it easy this summer.  (Good plan Joe!  I’m stealing your idea! 😉 )

After-all, isn’t that what financial independence is all about? — Having the power to control your own time!  Most of the time the kids are in school and we can’t do all that much…. Which means I’ve got plenty of time to blog in the winter.  But summer’s are different.

In my case, I only get one summer in my life to spend with my son when he’s six.  We’re going to have a great time together, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!


[Image Credit: Flickr]

9 thoughts on “Dialing Back For Summer

  • June 22, 2019 at 3:23 AM

    When I was a kid we didn’t do either of the two choices. My parents definitely couldn’t afford to send me to any kind of a camp or anything, so that was out of the question. But my mom who was a stay-at-home mom also didn’t want to spend a ton of one-on-one time with me and my brother because that would have driven her nuts. We were fortunate in that we lived in a dense city, Baltimore, so there were other kids in the immediate neighborhood. Basically me and my brother just played all day with the other kids! We would leave the house in the morning after breakfast and literally just be on the rampage all day, on our bikes and the woods and doing all kinds of crazy stuff. It was an ideal way to spend summer for a kid, developing friendships. And I’m still friends with some of those folks today!

    • June 22, 2019 at 11:32 AM

      I think that’s the ideal way to spend the summer. Just get out of the house and learn about the neighborhood on your own. Life for kids is different now, though. Most kids are in summer/day camp most of the summer. The parents have to work. Only a few kids are around in the summer.
      Also, my son would be on the tablet and xbox all day if he’s left to his own device. I’ll be playing the tablet police for the next few years.
      Anyway, we’ll enjoy the library and hiking too. This summer, I’m doing more projects with our son too. He’s old enough to play with power tools. 🙂
      Thanks for the mention!

  • June 22, 2019 at 6:11 AM

    Sounds like a great summer is ahead! While blogging (writing and reading) is fun, it’s definitely second fiddle to spending time with your son. Hope it’s a great summer and looking forward to hearing more about your adventures.

  • June 22, 2019 at 7:32 AM

    “I only get one summer in my life to spend with my son when he’s six”, well said, enjoy the fleeting moments. I catch myself looking at my teenaged and adult children’s faces frequently and daydream of years gone by when they were babes.

  • June 22, 2019 at 7:45 AM

    Nice post and you have a beautiful family. My daughter is turning six next week at it a lot of fun to spend time with her although she can be pretty demanding about needing attention.

    Mr Tako Jr. #1 can read Japanese, too?

    Your boys are going to remember all these great times with you.


  • June 22, 2019 at 6:05 PM

    Wow, awesome plans for the summer – can’t wait to hear about the camping trip! Have a great summer and looking forward to meeting the elusive Mr. Tako in August! 🙂

    — Jim

  • June 23, 2019 at 1:41 PM

    This sounds like an amazing summer plan! Tako Jr. is lucky – he’ll love it all. You’ve planned out so many activities that I remember fondly from my summer time as a kid. Biking, hanging at the library, swim lessons, and building things. Perfect, and I wish I had a full summer like that ahead of me.

    Also – congrats on what sounds like a great kindergarten year. TFI teacher kinder, and she’s ready for her summer break now too!

    Enjoy your summer and your relaxed posting schedule. You’ve chosen a far better use of time.

  • June 25, 2019 at 1:21 PM

    You have a knack for summer camp counseling! I love summer with the kids. Mine are 14 & 12 and our big project this summer is to watch all 22 Marvel movies in order. Checked out from the library (on our bikes), of course!

  • June 28, 2019 at 11:25 AM

    Nice that you are taking time off over the summer. We become empty-nesters this summer, as our youngest goes off to college so it goes fast. We’re traveling a lot to make up for not doing much when we were a family of 4 and traveling was expensive. But we’ll keep our blogs going, as writing is portable, and I don’t mind it.


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