Y’all, I’ve never been good at making mood, dream, or vision boards, or whatever the hell you call them. Though it’s fun to flip through magazines and cut and paste pictures, I just don’t find that I’m good at prioritizing actually making it, and then once I do make it (I’ve only ever made just one) where do you put it? The fridge, like a second rate school art project? I’ve recently fallen back in love with Pinterest because I’ve got a few things that need planning coming up, but honestly, that’s the only time I use it heavily. But, you know what I really love? A good old-fashioned list. Written on paper, or in my phone’s reminders (heck, even on a blog *cough*cough*). Something that puts my exact goals in front of me to remind me what the heck I need to do. Something I can keep on my desk, or wallet, or computer (*cough*cough*) that will hold me accountable. Something I can cross off to reward myself with a little boost of natural dopamine because I’ve achieved a goal. Something that when all is said, and hopefully DONE, I can toss into the trash and pat myself on the back for crushing said goals.
Ok, so what am I getting at? Well, you see, summer is upon us and this being our first summer as parents, my first summer as a mama, RJ’s first summer as my kid, I want to make it special. He’ll be at a ripe age to actually enjoy activities (that I plan) this summer and I want to make the most of it, for all 3 of us.
Summer is my favorite season…
…and while I won’t be prancing around half naked for most of it, like I used to do pre-baby, this year, I’ve got a whole new human to introduce to the magic of summer. So without further ado, here is The Black Mama’s Summer Wishlist:
- Introduce babe to the swimming pool, safely, of course. He loves playing in the tub so I think he’ll be drawn to the water. Our first go around with his kiddie pool wasn’t exactly one to write home about, but now that he has much more stability, I think it’ worth giving it another shot. One of the funniest looking baby gadgets i’ve come across is also one of the most helpful when it comes to introducing the pool, so we’ll be ordering this puppy real soon. Keep an eye out for a review.
- Take a trip to the beach as a family – RJ and I spent some time at the beach for a wonderful little photoshoot a couple of months back (gotta love SoCal weather), but we have yet to take the plunge as a family.
The Man loves to fish so i’m hoping we’ll find ourselves up in Malibu or Santa Barbara at least a couple times over the summer. We’ll do a little fishing and then hang out on the sand.
Even though I love to rock my melanin, it’s important that we wear sunscreen, especially baby, with his delicate skin. The Man has lots of tattoos so it’s also important to keep those nice and protected, not to mention, sunburn and predatory UV rays are no fun in the longrun. We had always used one brand, but recently switched to a formula without all the chemicals. This is another product I plan to replace with a DIY recipe.
- Grow RJ’s book collection with fun & diverse children’s books – I read to RJ every day, usually 1 or 2 books during the day when he’s alert and wanting to eat the pages, and then 1 book at bedtime. We have a nice collection so far, a lot of Dr. Seuss, some Berenstain Bears, lots of animals, and his dad’s favorite “Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada” by Jimmy Fallon. But now that he’s getting older and able to recognize faces, I want him to see characters that look like and resonate with him in our books. Through my internet browsing, I came across a wonderful blog, Here Wee Read, that is my go-to for diverse book choices. I have started a wishlist for our collection and slowly, but surely, I’ll be adding more of them to our shelf. We also have a Hoopla subscription through the Los Angeles Public Library. I plan on utitlizing both the app and the actual library more this summer too, including finding some Korean language children’s books that The Man and RJ’s halmoni (grandma) can read to him.
Here are a few I’m ordering this week:
4. Garden – I don’t have much of a green thumb, but have managed to keep my aloe vera plant looking lush and beautiful for the past 4 months. That being said, my man has a great green thumb and wants to help me learn to garden. He bought me all sorts of seeds and we’re in the early stages of planning it. There will definitely be some posts on this and pictures to come, and this is one of those Pinterest binging projects that’s got me super exicted. Urban rooftop garden here we come!
5. Make fun Summer food – I’m always in the kitchen trying new recipes, but with the summer comes a whole new batch of seasonal and exciting ingredients to try in my kitchen. Basil, corn, peaches, okra, and watermelon, just a few of my favorite summer ingredients. And to get the party started, here are 2 recipes that I’ve already fallen in love with.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls from Real Food Honestly
Watermelon Ginger Popsicles from Brown Vegan Goddess
**Note: This recipe isn’t actually posted on her site, but instead on her instagram (@brownvegangoddess). It calls for half of a watermelon (cubed) and about 2 inches of peeled ginger. Throw togeter in your blender then pop the juice into popsicle molds, or just drink it for a cool summer treat!
6. Hang out at Grand Park – As I’m always explaining, one of the best things about Los Angeles are the parks. Grand Park is located Downtown and they do a fantastic job of putting on weekly family friendly events, and in the last 2 years, they have really expanded their summer offerings to make Grand Park a destination for Angelenos. There are lunch trucks parked there all through the week if you just want to go for a lunchtime stroll, and bigger events and concerts on weekends and holidays. You can catch us at the Beat Swap Meet on June 19 for some good ol’ hip-hop family fun.
7. Support other Mamas – Being engulfed in the world of mommy bloggers, though just beginning really, I’ve come across a lot of moms that I admire and want to see succeed. So this summer, I plan to support them at their events, by shopping in their online stores, and by showing up when they need it, because it truly does take a village, not just for your kids, but for you too, mama. Coming up in July, a mama maker friend of mine is hosting her first summer bazaar which will bring together other LA mama makers to sell their unique handmade products. Check it out!
8. Take more pictures with my camera – Not my phone! I have a pretty decent little point and shoot that I should remember to use more often. I like to keep it old school and print photos out for albums, so why not make them really good to begin with? I also enjoy putting my pictures on display. There are 2 things a home can’t have too many of: pillows & photos!
9. Plan RJ’s first birthday! – First birthdays are a pretty big deal in Korean culture, so I have a bit of pressure to make this good, but I’m also on a tight budget. Sometimes those two don’t mix, but guess what? This mama is gonna make it work and yes, there will be plenty of DIY involved. My plan is to have this fully realized by the end of August so I won’t stress about it, after all, the most important thing is for this little boy to know how loved he is, the party is really for us grownups.
Mamas, what are your summer plans? Share in the comments, or find me on social media (@_theblackmama_) and let’s connect there!