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My Summer Bucket List

Erin Zammett Ruddy

This time of year always exasperates Nick and me. We love it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s intense. Every day is jam-packed and endless, Tuesday is the new Saturday (so is Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday), the weather is too perfect to stay inside and every activity involves a shit-load of gear that often comes home wet and/or sandy. We basically hang on for the ride, which is not how we like to live our lives (we actually like schedules and structure and sitting on our couch every once in a while). And so given that it’s mid-July and I barely remember my name I thought today would be a good day to take a beat and write down some of the seasonal fun I want to be sure I have before summer gets away from me and I’m sitting by the fire listening to Vince Guaraldi trio eating beef bourguignon. Here goes:

Go to another Mets game. I took Alex to Citi Field last week for his first professional baseball game and he loved it (see photo for evidence). He is a super sports fan (you should see him watch soccer—he’s obsessed) and, naturally, he loves the Mets. When David Wright hit a homerun Alex went nuts. (What a memory for his first game, right?!) And who doesn’t love a $6 hotdog and a $10 beer?

Take the kids to the ocean. Yes, I live on an island and one side of that island touches the Atlantic. The beaches are gorgeous and the waves are legit and no, I have not taken the kids yet this year. (And we only went once last year.) I know! It’s crazy! They have swam a ton on the north shore (Long Island Sound and the bay) but trekking to the beach beach just hasn’t happened yet. I’m determined to do it soon (perhaps if I didn’t consider it trekking, I’d be more apt to get up and go).

Do a jackknife off the diving board. I attempted this in front of the kids the other night and it didn’t go so well. I touched my toes fine but couldn’t stretch back out in time so it was basically a belly flop. It hurt. I used to be pretty good off a diving board and now that my kids are old enough to notice, I want them to notice how awesome their mom is at doing fun stuff. Need practice.

Water ski. In August, we are heading up to my aunt’s lake house in New Hampshire where I spent endless summer days as a kid. We hiked up mountains, we swam, we sailed, we ate Ben & Jerrys and gawked at the cute boys from the posh boys’ camp up the road. It was kid summer heaven and I am dying to get back there with my crew (they’ve never been). And when I’m there, I’m going to attempt to get up on water skis, another thing I used to be quite decent at but haven’t tried in, oh, 15 years. Better pack the Advil.

Host a clam bake, preferably on the beach. Or, at the very least, be invited to someone else’s clam bake. Yeah, that might be even better. I just want a fire pit with lots of seafood and a bowl of clarified butter.

Make a lot of homemade stuff. I’m thinking salsa, ice pops, pickles, gazpacho, sun tea, maybe even bread. I love cooking this time of year (any time of year, really) and the garden is producing so many fun things for me to experiment with. BTW, made these fritters the other night and they were divine.

Read all the books we talked about on Monday. Or at least a few of them. Maybe two. Because of all the reasons I listed above, summer isn’t the easiest time for me to crush books—by the time I get into bed I am so exhausted I usually get through one page before my eyes cross and the mockingjay hits the floor. But I will prevail!

Paddle boarding. I tried this for the first time last summer with my girlfriends out east and it was awesome. We’re definitely going to do it in New Hampshire and we’re also heading to Lake Michigan to see Nick’s parents in a few weeks (can't wait for this much-needed vacation and family time!)  and I think we can do it then, too. Alex got to try one out the other day at the beach (i.e., he jumped on some woman's while she was getting ready to paddle out) so he's pumped, too. 

Take the kids to the city. Alex and I went into the city last night with my mom, Melissa and Andrew (I gave a speech for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society). Meghan met us there and then we went to a fabulous dinner afterward—the boys ate duck and lamb chops, which impressed the wait staff (and me—lamb is so not my thing). I want to get back in asap and do the Central Park zoo, the museums, visit our old hood (we lived way downtown on the Hudson with amazing parks and restaurants at our doorstep) and take advantage of the fact that we live so close to such an incredible city. Actually, Al and I are meeting friends in NYC on Tuesday for an outdoor concert. Check! 

S’mores! I have all the (processed/bad-for-you/is-this-even-food?) fixins but we haven’t made these suckers yet. And they are quite possible my favorite thing about summer.

OK, before I get overwhelmed with all that I want to do, I’m going to stop right here and let you have a go. What’s on your seasonal bucket list? I'm sure I'm missing a few hundred awesome things so maybe I'll steal some of yours! Happy Friday, happy weekend, happy insane summer!