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The morning kisses and hugs.  “I hug and kiss you back my beautiful.”

The evening squeal of “Mommy I missed you!” “I missed you too my sweets.”

The weekday morning, afternoon and evening play requests. “Of course m dear, what game shall we play next?”

The weather is warm, the shoes are kicked off and little feet run wild through the yard.  My shoes come off next and I remember the freedom of walking barefoot in the grass.

It’s that time of year, when the house is aired out and on warm evenings, we are all outside.  Watching lightening in the distance, fireflies in the air and the occasional brave bunny hop through the yard.

This summer, we are adding a new dimension to play.  A contest of sorts, with the gentle reminder (for me) that summer is about sun kissed cheeks, grass stains on knees and windblown hair.  It is about tanned shoulders, roasted marshmallows and fireworks.  It is about priorities, about play and about letting the inner child out with abandon.

My priority this summer comes from a list, a request and a prize.  My daughters and I came across a list on Pinterest of “101 Almost Free Things to do with Kids this Summer.”  We read through it and this list had so much potential!  My oldest daughter, inspired by the Judy Moody movie wanted to create a point system (for a NOT so Bummer Summer) and depending on how may of these things we could accomplish this summer, the better the prize her or her younger sister could win.  (There might be a slight discrepancy in her definition of her prize versus mine, but we will let that go.)

But the important thing is that their desire to conquer this list became a family priority.  The laundry and dishes could wait.  The “I should do …” could wait.  What couldn’t wait was “Let’s go do/explore/try…”

When summer comes to close, and we have checked off as many possible items as we can (while still having fun,)we decided to create a scrapbook of the family participating in all of these simple, fun and just plain important activities.

Re-examining our priorities each season brings clarity to what is truly important.  Re-engaging in the play, allowing ourselves to run through the dewy grass and not care what other may think, is what is truly important.  Enjoying the here and now, with those precious little ones who won’t be little for much longer, is what is truly important.

How will your summer be different this year?