It’s become a tradition in my house, on the last day of school, we wake our son up with Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer”. If we attempted to wake him up by playing any song on any other day, he’d throw pillows and yell in that grumpy pre-teen style (those of you with teenagers know I’m talking about). But this one day a year, he jumps out of bed with a smile on his face. That song indicates that we’ve got 75 days ahead of us to play and there’s an inherent excitement that comes with it.

For me, summer means three things: time with family, summer camp and travel.

I grew up going to an overnight camp in East Texas. Some of my favorite memories of my childhood surround that camp. We’re lucky that my parents saw how much an impact it had on me and gift a week to our son. While he has the time of his life riding horses, swimming and buying ridiculous things in the camp store, I spend weeks planning. The biggest strategy surrounds the question: How do I ensure he comes home with at least 75% of the clothing and items he takes? I’ve found the best way to do that is to send him with big, bold logoed items that can easily be identified as his and no one else’s. Beach towels, laundry bag, t-shirts, socks, etc. Armed with an ingenious strategy of outfitting my son with boldly emblazoned promotional products/swag, I’ve masterfully orchestrated a mission to safeguard his treasured camp possessions, guaranteeing a triumphant return with at least 75% of his coveted loot intact. I’ll call that a success all around.

Texas summers are relentless. Last year, we had 47 – y’all FOURTY. SEVEN. days of 100+ temperatures in Texas. Now, I grew up here and am “used to it” but this is borderline absurd. I’ve always been a mountain girl, but it’s become increasingly more and more important for me to escape to the mountains at some point each summer. We typically find ourselves in Colorado because OMGHAVEYOUSEENTHEROCKYMOUNTAINS?!? They are dreamy and I’ll go anywhere I can wear a long sleeved shirt in the summer. We try to do all the things when we are there – hiking, ATV driving, rafting, fishing, brewery visiting and just being outside as much as possible. It’s at a resort in Breckenridge, CO that I discovered my new favorite sunscreen – Sun Bum. Rounding out my Colorado travel essentials are a good sunglasses strap, polarized sunglasses, a lightweight cap and a hip pack. Counting down the days until we’re in the mountains again!

When my son is home from camp and we aren’t in Colorado, we like to pass the long, hot days playing games. Card games inside (don’t judge me that my 11 year old can beat most people at poker), yard games outside and pool games at our neighborhood pool. You might say we’re a competitive bunch, often talking trash to each other and betting money/each other’s chores/Slurpees on the games we play. We are thankful to live on a street of REALLY amazing people. The families gather most weekend nights down the street where there are raucous games of cornhole and giant Jenga being played. I’ve learned that having regulation cornhole boards with the properly weighted bags makes a HUGE difference.

Summer is all about embracing the good times and making unforgettable memories. From the anticipation of camp adventures to the blissful escape to the majestic mountains, and the friendly competition that keeps us entertained, each summer holds a unique story. So, as we crank up Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer,” (on our favorite waterproof speaker that travels with us) we’re ready to soak up the sun, let loose, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Let the summer fun begin!