Backyard Summer


It’s July. Primetime for family vacations.

I am loving seeing vacation photos of friends and their families hitting the beaches on the gulf shore, heading to the lake, and even trips to Disney World. My husband and I intended to of plan a family trip somewhere, but we just couldn’t get organized. Work schedules paired with a toddler being in full toddler mode made planning ahead feel daunting and not worth the effort because let’s be real – it wouldn’t be relaxing with a toddler anyway.

I won’t complain too much. My husband and I were able to sneak away solo on a trip to Cancun, Mexico in January. And I did take my daughter on a “girls’ trip” for a couple days last month that turned into a near nightmare with a missed nap that unraveled the whole thing. That’s a story for another day, but I’m honestly trying to forget it.

You could say I’m having some vacation FOMO this year.

Summer is my time. Being in/around/near water, sipping on some drinks, feeling the hot rays of the sun hit my porcelain skin covered in the highest commercially available sun screen. Summer is my jam. And since we don’t have dedicated time planned to do soak it in in a different place, we’re having to make it up as we go. I also don’t want to feel stuck inside all day. I love air conditioning, but I can’t keep my toddler entertained by Disney Jr. for too long.

I’m sure these are obvious for you pro moms out there, but here are some things that have kept us busy outside, literally in our own backyard, so far this summer:

Water table. This is some of the best money we’ve ever spent. Seriously get it out, fill with water, put child in front of it. Sometimes (most of the time…) I don’t even put her in full swim suit and swim diaper for this. She’ll get wet and I’ll towel her off before heading inside. I’ve been able to get a solid 45 minutes to an hour of play time out of this thing.

Kiddie pool. I bought one last year and tried to use it once before my daughter was even a year old. While we’ve only used it once so far this year, it was pretty amazing. My husband and I even sat in it with her. I even had the water table out AND the pool. I think I finally earned some fun mom points on a hot summer morning with that combo.

Chalk. Have access to concrete? A dollar store nearby? Done.

Bubbles. Do you know how much little kids like bubbles? The answer is a lot. And nothing is cuter than hearing a toddler squeal “bubbles!” over and over (I’m being serious, I love it).

I used to always have a trip or adventure planned, but this feels like a new reality for a few years. And much to my surprise, there’s a lot of fun to be had in our own backyard.

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A St. Louis area transplant of 12 years, Kelly now considers herself at home with her husband and daughter. Having spent time in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and even Orange County, California, throughout her childhood and adolescence, Kelly and her husband are committed to putting down roots in St. Charles, Missouri to raise their (hopefully growing) family. As a full-time working mom, Kelly is focused on navigating the twists and turns of motherhood while still building her career in corporate America. When Kelly finds a spare hour of time to herself, she’s likely doing something active – running, walking, or sweating through a class at Orangetheory Fitness. Or just enjoying a glass of wine!