My husband and I recently purchased a summer getaway, about which our offspring and their spouses are already eagerly discussing. It seems that rather than a pre-retirement retreat as I'd assumed, there's a good possibility this might be more of a happy holiday haven for our entire family.
I'm okay with that. At least for now. Our kids don't live that close to us that their visits are as frequent as I'd like most of the time. So if a summer idyll is what it takes to enjoy some time with them, it's all good. There will be rules of course; I'm not doing any extra laundry for example; but generally it will be mi casa de verano es tu casa de verano when it comes to my babies and their crews.
In truth, I'm really quite excited. There will be glorious days at the beach spent slathering on lotion, building sandcastles and dipping into cool waters. The easy access to the playground from our place means hours of entertainment for the youngsters, while the elders can watch from the comfort of the deck.
These are familiar images to me. Years ago when our own kids were small, our family spent summers at a lakeside retreat. At the end of the day, all the fresh air meant tired, happy babies, aglow from all the wonderful sunshine. Bedtimes were easy, sleeps were long and mornings happy with lively little bodies ready to do it all over again.
Unless it was raining. That put a whole dark, dreary spin on the moods. One can only splash in puddles so long after all. On those days it was imperative that the grownups be able to find entertainment fit to fill hours spent in cramped quarters. Not always easy, especially when the kids were of an age where they were still too young for wandering about without Mom and Dad.
So it is then, with all of these thoughts in mind, that I made certain there will television channels and DVDs ready to amuse our pack of preschoolers at these times. It's hard to believe but there will be days when we'll be grateful for Storybots, Peppa the Pig and Thomas the Train.
Only, however, when the situation becomes desperate. I'm still a firm believer that television is a last resort. There are always indoor games, such as these from personalcreations.com that can burn a bit of energy and inspire imagination. Even in small spaces. Crafts are always fun for exercising one's creative side. And when it comes to our oldest granddaughter, colouring can occupy endless hours of a rainy day.
While there are endless colouring books you can buy, iCLIPART.com, an online subscription graphics service, has some wonderful images that can be printed off for your little ones to colour. Some are educational, others are just fun. They are categorized, as well, so finding ones for specific holidays is simple.
These links will take you to some of my favourite collections: