I was listening to “Summer Nights” by Rascal Flatts on the radio the other day and thought, every summer seems to be marked by a song. I’m not endorsing the lyrics (or saying that I’m old enough to know all of these songs)– but let’s take a trip down memory lane shall we?

“Surfin Safari, Surfer Girl, California Girls” –  Beach Boys
“Summer Nights” – John Travolta & Olivia Newton John
“Suddenly Last Summer” – The Motels
“Summer Breeze” – Seals & Croft
“Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams
“The Boys of Summer” – Don Henley
“Summer Love” – Justin Timberlake
“California Girls” – Katy Perry & Snoop Dog
“Sunshine & Summertime” – Faith Hill
“Summertime” – Kenny Chesney

Search “summer songs.” Give a listen. See what happens!

Ahhhh….the memories.

Some of the songs remind me of my parents and their record player.

Some remind me of riding through town in my dads pick-up, windows down, loaded with friends, after graduation.

Some remind me of fun times floating down the river in Montana.

That Bryan Adams song? Let’s not talk about that boyfriend…I mean memory!

Some songs make me think of beach vacations. Others remind me of the 4th of July.

All memories…of my experiences, my family, and my friends.

My story.

Your kids are creating those memories right now! It’s June! It’s summertime! And one day a song will trigger a memory for them of a time spent with you. Summer is a great time to change up the pace of your family. Create some space. Relax and have fun!

Here are a few things that are on my list every year:

Eat outside. We grill, plug in the twinkly string lights, light a few candles and enjoy the night. Everyone is invited–friends from the pool, neighbors, and family.

Sit on the front porch. I love to read on the front porch. We make sure that the furniture is clean, painted, and the cushions are put out. It’s not unusual for a kid or two to plop down beside me and chat a while.

Make special food. Cooking is a great way to celebrate summer. Last year I got one of those big, old time ice cream makers. Yum! Don’t forget watermelon, lemonade, and garden veggies.

Outdoor games. When my kids were younger, they spent several summers playing capture the flag with the other kids in our cul de sac. All of our yards connect and the dads usually get into the fun too. Our neighbor across the street has a full on wiffle ball tournament complete with trophies every year.

Indoor games. One summer, I played cards with my son almost every night. We were really sick of the game by the end of the summer, but it was fun to keep a running total and keep the competition alive. Last summer, I tried to learn Canasta. Yikes!

Beach Trip. At some point in the summer, we seem to end up at the beach. Now it’s just a tradition. We love the sun, waves, sand, food, and music.

My list could go on and on, but I want to hear about your list! What does your family do to make summer special?