your own personal summer bucket list…

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on the notes section of my phone last week, i started compiling a summer bucket list for our family. writing down all of the things i wanna squeeze in during our summer days together over break from fire fly catching and kite flying in central park to family bike rides all the way over the brooklyn bridge. and don’t forget the mini road trips and adventures in new places! it started getting lengthy, and very full. and long. so very long. i hadn’t even gotten input from the kids yet, this was simply just my rough sketch before taking it to the family. and then, because of my current habitual state of always being overly tired, i yawned while reading it over. and then, realizing i was yawning while looking over what was becoming a rather listy to-do sort of summer list, i gave myself room to laugh for a minute. then i started a new list.

it’s a summer bucket list for myself. and it doesn’t consist of much. it’s more of a self-love sorta list, a slow down and take things off your plate – not add to it – kind of list.  it reads in a way that gets me excited for these warm months ahead. because i only have the bandwidth for so much, and no more. and i see the toll it takes on not just myself, but everyone, when i exceed my own personal bandwidth and think i can do more. with less sleep, with less time. it’s a joke and it’s a trap. i’ve seen examples of this magnified in my own life and i’ve caught myself falling into the pattern more often than i realize. it’s tricky to identify at times because i enjoy keeping busy and challenging myself by taking on new projects or goals and i enjoy doing a lot with my little ones every day. as mothers and fathers and caregivers of anyone beyond ourselves, it’s easy to think it’s the only way, or a more selfless way, to go go go and give give give. but eventually, it will backfire. i think we all know this deep down but we keep trekking along full speed ahead thinking it won’t affect us the way it might others. lol. our brains are so cute sometimes.

my personal summer bucket list for myself consists of just five things – a few feeling rather personal so i won’t go into them here, with others more broad like unplugging from all things tech frequently and allowing myself to eat and enjoy all the treats summer brings my way. (i mean, who wouldn’t be excited for their summer list if seeking out the treats was a required staple!)

the kids will be fine, the family will be fine. we’ll still get out each day and do things together.  we’ll maybe catch fireflies and maybe we won’t. we’ll take the bikes out, i’m confident of that, but perhaps not all the way across the brooklyn bridge.  we’ll keep the kites near the front door incase a windy day presents itself and we’ll adventure in our own right together plenty. we won’t beat ourselves up though if we never get to the kites, or bike the extra mile because these things weren’t declared a summer “must” back when our energy felt a little higher.  we’ll laugh and cry and make memories and have fun.  but none of it will read as a to-do list – as a cross this off and move onto the next check-box ever so quickly because we are jamming in all of the things this summer! we’ll slow down and enjoy. and mama, she’ll be having the summer of all summers because she’s in the proper frame of mind – which counts for more than one might think – without the ginormous summer bucket-list in hand (because she has a treat in her hand instead)… and did i mention she isn’t sharing said treat?!

yep. it’s gonna be a good few months for me over here. i really believe that. and i’m so excited.

you are welcome to join me! write your own personal summer bucket list which has nothing to do with your kids or anyone else. just you. put some extra love on that list for yourself! even just two things. write them down. you don’t have to share it with anyone, either. and as summer comes, with the crazy pressure to do everything and be everywhere and hardly ever find a moment for yourself, you step outside and close your eyes and look up and feel that sunshine on your face and prioritize your little personal summer list! you and me, we’re gonna have the best summer ever. :)

for those interested, pink pants from here, and pink shoes from here. blouse is a few years old and bag is by feed. sunglasses from here.

  1. Jessica

    I can’t tell you how timely this is. I was literally just about to open a new browser tab to research summer reading ideas and activity ideas for my kids, and was feeling pressure to make sure we have a routine and they keep their reading/learning up and we do enough activities. I just felt all the breath go out of me that I didn’t even know I was holding! I love the idea of having a go-to idea list, but not feeling the need to finish it or cross anything. Thank you for reminding me I have permission to just HAVE FUN!

  2. Sierra

    we’re always thinking about bucket lists as a family but I love the idea of doing a personal one. And can we talk about those pink pants?! So fun!! Sierra Beautifully Candid

  3. Rose

    Good post Naomi!

    When i started my blog back in 2011 my posts were simple and didn’t require too much of us going all over the place. It was focused on my kids. As i was looking back in between my posts from then until now I notice a shift that we don’t do too much. Especially since my kids have gotten older. There are so many things I’d love to do in this life for myself and my family, and not that I’m old but at my age have come to terms that I need to slow down! For my health, and to just enjoy the sweet, simple moments that each day brings. Living in Jersey close to the city, if we are not careful, can truly wear us down. Even with two young children left in the house, I am definitely learning that, and our summer is going to be simple without feeling the need to accomplish every little on our summer bucket list that I’ve had since 2009!


  4. Sloan

    You are such a bright light, Naomi. Thanks for reminding me of all of the richness that life offers that has absolutely nothing to do with a to-do list.

    • naomi

      thank you so much for saying that, sloan. it means a lot! enjoy your amazing summer without the big to-do list!

  5. cj wilkinson

    this post was just what i needed. what a brilliant perspective. thank you for sharing this inspiration!

  6. McKenzie Randall

    I LOVE this idea! I’m a teacher- so I sometimes feel even more pressure to squeeze EVERYTHING into summer. I need to remind myself that I can still do things for myself all year! Especially during school when I’m giving so much to all of these little hooligans.

    • naomi

      yes i am sure this perspective would be so different when you have a chunk of time off and can finally breath! thanks for doing what you do though. man, we have been blessed with the most incredible teachers in our kiddos lives and i know that job ain’t easy! you guys are superheros.

  7. Melisa Trujillo

    As the new mama of only one (!) incredibly hyper-active 6-month-old who allows/enables/forces me to teeter on the edge of total exhaustion all the time, I can only applaud this post over and over. Here’s to getting into a more restful, self-caring frame of mind, and all the summer treats!

  8. Sherry

    As a mom to 3 college aged kiddos, you’ll have the best summer ever. our favorite summers were when we just went with the flow and didn’t over plan anything. kids need to be kids. they sometimes need pajama mornings, ice cream for dinner, spontaneous picnics in the park. you do a great job of all of these and you’ll never regret going with a relaxed summer.

  9. McKinlay Otterson

    I just wanted to pop in and say how much I agree and appreciate with your beautiful perspective. With our world today, we are constantly bombarded with what ELSE we can add to our lives to make them most “successful” but in reality, some of the most successful and beautiful moments are those that come as we slow down a bit. I’ve always been a list maker and a “try to accomplish as much amazingness as possible” type of person but as I served as a missionary I learned that sometimes you have to go a bit slower and focus on yourself a bit more in order for the time you have to be beneficial and meaningful and effective. I digress but thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully. Happy Summer!!!

  10. Birgit

    Yes to this!
    This is how I started going in summer holiday 2 years ago
    I stopped making this long must do before we left and instead I started to enjoy just being on holiday and go with the flow.
    The kids love it so much more and everyone is 10 times happier.
    X b

  11. Julia Kim

    At times it is hard to find the balance between too many plans and too much empty time.There are days when I am so exhausted I yearn to chill out for a few hours but I have learned that I (we) can end up even more cranky and tired if we don’t have some sort of structure. My kids start bouncing off the walls and too much “together” time and we all fall apart when we set our expectations too high and fill up our schedules too much. May we all find that sweet spot this summer!

  12. Celia

    I love this!

  13. Mj

    It was a pleasure seeing your husband and kids on sixth avenue today after being a fan of your blog for so many years! Thank you Josh for being willing and kind enough to take a picture with me. You two are doing a great job living, learning and loving in the big city!

    • naomi

      oh that is awesome! thanks for saying hi! i’m sorry i missed you!

  14. Thank you for sharing. Cheers to a good summer and achieving that personal bucket list!! My daughter is turning a year in June so I’m going to try to start this now because so much already revolves on what I would like her to enjoy and experience but balance really is KEY!

    Also, yay for summers in NYC! :)

  15. Karen

    This is so profound and I’ve been thinking about it a lot for the past few days. Thanks for sharing! I’m ready for a memorable, easy summer.

    • naomi

      crazy! saw it as well. thanks for sharing!

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