Summer by the Numbers

For the last few weeks my Facebook feed has been filled with first day of school picture. I LOVE these, by the way. Please note that if you are ever wondering if you should share the picture of your little person with their fresh new backpack and head filled with hopes for a new school year, the answer is YES.

It did take me a little by surprise when the first of those pictures started popping into my feed at the end of July and early August. I always associate the start of school with the end of summer. Here in my part of Minnesota, school doesn’t start until tomorrow, so I end up feeling like we’ve snuck in some extra summer compared to the rest of the country. But the high temperature tomorrow is only supposed to be 63 and my son cleaned his crap magnet of a desk off so he can be ready for homework, so it seems like a good time to put summer in the books.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with summer. Summer contains both my slowest (June) and busiest (August) months of the year at work. Summer weather in Minnesota is fairly glorious, but also comes with a sense of obligation to be OUT and DOING ALL THE THINGS while the weather is good and sometimes I just want to sit inside and read and not feel vaguely guilty about it. Also, there are mosquitoes outside and I hate them. Summer is the time of year when I tend to have to most jealousy about my husband being the at-home parent during the days. I try not to verbalize this too much as I suspect summer is likely the time for him that the days seem the longest and the kids most loudly present all the damn time. I recognize one person’s “get to” can also be the other person’s “have to” when it comes to filling the long hours of a summer day.

Because I am nothing if not achievement and list oriented, I made a some goals for the summer along with a whole tracking system. Because Lord knows you can’t be having an easy breezy summer unless a chart is involved.

So, how did I do?

  • Go to the outdoor pool at least 10 times
    • Yes! The outdoor pool near us is open from the first week of June until Labor day. The math on buying a summer family membership means that we have to go at least 10 times to make it cheaper to have the membership than just paying per visit. My daughter loves to swim and her love seems to grow each year, so this year we hit our tenth visit by early July. All of those visits afterward were so satisfying because clearly I had made a good and wise investment in the pool pass. If a single visit would normally cost $20 for our family (high way robbery), I think I got our cost per visit down to closer to well under $10 per visit. Also, swimming is fun and I got to wear some of my many, many swim suits.
  • Read 1000 pages
    • Yes! I love to read but sometimes I get out of the habit, so I wanted to jump start myself. 1000 pages seemed like a decent sized number but then I realized this was really only 3-4 books, so this was probably too easy of a goal. The final page count ended up being 3715 pages which included 13 books (four non-fiction and nine fiction), including two that had the name Alice in the title and had main characters with memory issues: Still Alice and What Alice Forgot. Still Alice is a great one to read if you want to give yourself a panic attack every time you forget a name or where your car keys are. What Alice Forgot is much less stressful as the odds that I will give myself temporary amnesia seem much lower.
  • Save an extra $1000:
    • Yes! We have a certain amount of money that goes to savings every month but I was hoping that we could capitalize on the fact that we are done paying for preschool to throw some extra money in the account. I wasn’t sure how much travel we’d end up doing this summer, so I went for a more easily attainable goal and we met this goal in July, even after taking our big trip for the summer (family camp!) in June. Can I just state the obvious here — having a savings account is one of the most comforting things in life to me. After growing up poor and having some massive debt in my 20’s, having a safety cushion is one of the most measurable ways I take care of my mental health.
  • Get 1000 minutes of exercise
    • Yes! After a really sedentary spring (um, and fall) I decided to sign up for a triathlon, which involves having to actually train for the thing. I don’t think the tri is going to happen, thanks to some shin and feet issues I’m having, but just signing up for it got me motivated to move more, so I count that as a win. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, I got in 1650 minutes of exercise. Go me!
  • Ride 100 miles on my bike
    • Yes! Now, I confess that this goal is a little embarrassing to report. I live in a place where a lot of people LOVE to ride bikes and for a number of them, I’m sure 100 miles is closer to a monthly or even weekly goal. But I am not them, I am me. And I have a nice inside bike and outside bike, both of which I had not been using nearly enough to not feel guilty about and now I feel good about having both, having clocked in about 140 miles this summer.
  • Write 1000 words a week or 13,000 total
    • Nope. I have a fiction project I’m working on but it makes me nervous and so I avoid it or I put it last on my priority list. Or I write blog posts when I should be working on it instead (ahem). 9600 words for the summer.
  • Go 100 days without shopping online
    • No. I fought the good fight but a combination of work stress and some cute stuff on Zulily broke my streak after about 65 days.
  • Not get Lyme disease
    • Yes! I was very, very tick nervous this summer, especially since we were planning on a week long trip to the north woods for family camp. I don’t know if the ticks were actually worse this year than in other years or if I just read more about it than usual but I went to camp armed with lots of Deet infused sprays (no, I don’t want to use essential oils, don’t email me. I want CHEMICALS and POISON when it comes to ticks) and was pretty relentless about forcing the kids to stand still for tick checks. We ended up finding one tick on Ev (crawling on her pajamas after a late night trip to the outhouse) and one on me, but both were discovered before they’d settled in for a meal.
  • Go hiking at least three times with the kids
    • No. We got the kids nice hiking boots for camp. These boots were much higher than my usual comfort level for an amount of money to spend on shoes for kids, so I want to make sure we actually use them a few more times before they are outgrown so I can feel better about the cost per use factor. But my feet issues have limited my willingness to hike, so now I am feeing like some fall hiking may have to happen
  • See at least one movie in the theatre
    • Yes! Seeing a movie in an ice cold theatre with a big Diet Coke and a bag of popcorn is such an iconic summer thing to do but I average seeing maybe one movie per year in the theatre. This summer I saw Wonder Woman, Girl’s Trip, and Captain Underpants. Wonder Woman made me surprise cry, Girl’s Trip was seen with 10 friends (several of whom snuck wine into the theatre and were in a highly festive mood) which added greatly to the appeal and amusement, and Captain Underpants was exactly the movie you’d think it is.


This was a good summer. We had a great family trip, the kids are at good ages where they still want and enjoy family time, and nobody got any tick borne illness. I’ll call that a win.

How was your summer? Any highlights?

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