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A Family Friendly Jump Start into Summer

A Family Friendly Jump Start into Summer

Summer and I have a love/hate relationship. (In fact, this picture sums up my feelings towards summer perfectly.) I love having the limitless opportunities that summer affords but living in Iowa means hot, humid days. I hate being hot. My hair hates humidity. It’s a frizzy combination. Hair problems aside, summer offers way more upsides than down including getting out of the house without bundling in a parka.

My day job includes marketing a riverside destination which means travel is on my mind a lot. It’s sort of a requirement of the job. The only problem with watching other peoples insta-worthy moments is that travel in my own life is hard to come by. Especially when you are married to a contractor whose busy season peaks in summer and who hates driving more than a few blocks from our house. (I’m not exaggerating here folks!)

Each summer I cling to the weekends that don’t involve being shut away in A/C...they are usually the closest thing we’ll get to a vacation. With only a few weeks into summer we’ve managed enough fun to officially kick off the season. Here is what we’ve tackled so far!

The kids on an arctic truck at the Henry Vilas Zoo.

Weekend trip to Madison, WI

Each year for my day job I am gone for a weekend long festival that requires me to be out of town from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. It really isn’t long but the weekend before I’m usually antsy to do something with the fam. This year was no exception!

I absolutely love Madison and it’s only 2 hours from our house. Usually we try to make a trip to the Henry Vilas Zoo every year or two. It’s one of the only admission free zoos in the country and it’s $0 price tag does not mean you are sacrificing your experience. It keeps up with other zoos we’ve visited over the last few years and in most cases it surpasses them. This year we visited the Arctic Passage that opened just a few years ago. We got to see a polar bear working with its handler, watch seals lazily swim by, and watch a couple of grizzly bears bask in the 65° temps we experienced that day. Other favorites were the giraffes, lions, and prairie dogs. (They are so cute!)

This was a quick trip but we managed to fill our bellies during a quick stop at the Cheesecake Factory. I also filled my soul by stopping at World Market. This is a must if you are a shopper like I am. They have some really great on-trend items for affordable prices. I never walk out empty handed. (Much to my hubby’s disappointment!)

We were only gone for half a day and didn’t even make it downtown but it was a fun sprint into summer fun.

(Miss F wasn't impressed with the heat at this year's rodeo.)

Rodeo Round Up

My husband has owned his own construction company for 12 years now and I couldn’t be prouder of the hard work he’s put in to get where he is today. I get to bask in the glow of a #proudwifemoment each year at the Jackson County Pro Rodeo as I watch his company flag waving in the wind around the arena as a sponsor. Now I feel like I should put a disclaimer here. I am NOT a rodeo girl. I own that. In fact, I’ll own it, insure it, and take it in for routine maintenance. But I’ll also own the fact that watching those cowboys being jostled around on an angry bull is a) impressive and b) like watching me get ready in the morning with two kids...cringeworthy and intense. It was the 15 minute payoff for the hot and sweaty hours that preceded it. The fireworks that signal the end of the festivities always remind me that summer is finally at our front step.

Bubbles, Baseball, and Bug Bites

When I can’t convince Shawn to journey outside his comfort zone, or the county, we settle for backyard shenanigans. Our current playlist includes bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles. (Per the request of our two year old.) Saturday mornings you can find us at the ballpark. We divide and conquer with the boys taking part in the game and the girls supporting the team (and concession stand popcorn sales.) Of course, all of these activities come with a side of bug bites that I could really do without, thank you very much.

But in all seriousness - I love summer and can’t wait to soak up in the sun for a few more months. What plans do you have this season?

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