Friday, August 14, 2015

Summer 2015 Wrap-up

We survived another summer!

Though the warm weather finally arrived in Finland this month, I'm going to have to admit that the holidays are over at the Clan household. Kids have gone back to school, after-school lessons start next week. A post-game analysis of our summer is in order, I guess

Last year a friend of mine posted a list of 100 things she and her sons wanted to do over the summer. I couldn't get mine to sit down long enough to come up with a list of 100 but here's our list and what we've accomplished. A lot of these are connected with our trip to the States as the kids were mega-excited and I wanted to give them some idea of what we would be doing. 

100 Summer Ideas

1 - Dance outside - in the rain even

2 - Go to dinosaur museum. The Chicago Field Museum fit the bill exactly. 

3 - Go to the pirate ship beach which is what the kids call the Merikylpylän or Kasinoranta beach. We went there in the spring for a friend's going away party and the kids loved it. They even went into the water though it was really cold. We haven't made it back. My knitting group meets there in the summer, but things just didn't work for us and we never made it. 

4 - Have a tea party - no photos of this, but Bump had a friend come over for a princess tea party. I should have arranged more playdates for the kids, but I'm an idiot, no other excuse. 

5 - Go fishing. This was Mouse's request and it turns out he's a natural.

6 - Catch fireflies. We did try this on the 4th of July but kids were too distracted by glow sticks and fireworks. 

7 - Visit Grandma!

8 - Play with doggies.

9 - Go to petting zoo. The kids meant this place, but we spent lots of time at animal parks this summer. 

10 - Pick peas and strawberries. We enjoyed picking the peas at the nearby fields planted by the city, but I won't go into this summer's horrible strawberry experience again.

11 - Go to beach. 

12 - Pony riding. This was Bump's choice, but the boys are starting to enjoy it as well. This is where we've been going. 

13 - Go to an island. We did this recently with Pihlajasaari. We enjoyed it, really. 

I really liked this idea of making a wish list of things to do and hope repeat it next year with maybe more suggestions. It gave us things to aim for on our big family holiday, but also ideas of what to do when no one seemed to have a preference. 

I had 10.5 weeks of summer holidays to cope with this year. The beginning of summer I planned things pretty well. Mouse finished school end of May and though I really wanted him to go to a summer camp, he wasn't up for it. He went to a swimming class first thing in the morning for 2 weeks which got us up and going and then we could get some errands done before everything shut down in July. The little ones finished nursery the third week of June and we had our holiday to the States booked for the following week. So the first 5 weeks of our holidays flew by. 

It's been the last 5 weeks that have been a bit harder to fill. There were a few days with someone injured or ill that we had to stay at home for and, believe me, that only works for a day or two, even if you break it up with splashing in a pool in the back garden or a trip to the local park, leikkipuisto. 

I can't praise the leikkipuisto system in Helsinki enough. In July they have a summer programme of entertaining kids that is well-thought out. Everything else closes up, but a lot of the parks offer a hot lunch and some activities every weekday. Some even have small splash pools they fill up with ice-cold water every Monday. For rainy days they hold indoor activities: my kids made hedgehog bread one day which they loved and I need to do again sometime. Our expat play group moves to a city centre park in the summer and it's great to let them run riot in safety with their friends. 

Our local park arranged trips to the two local farms which are free and we'd been to recently so we didn't go, but also to the zoo which they paid for and with my 4 that is always appreciated. They also had a morning of pony rides and the area ice cream truck has figured out it's really profitable to come to the park after the lunch is served. We've spent a few days a week there in the last month and the staff are brilliant, making sure I know what's going on. I even managed to leave Bump's bike there for almost 3 weeks and they put it away safely and then announced they had it on their FB page which I'm not a member of but I am now. I'm hoping Pudding and I will be able to pop in this autumn as they often have activities organised for the little ones, but still figuring out my school-time routine. 

I'm hoping the summer weather will stick around for a while, but our activities will now be at the weekends. 

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