Those Summer Nights

Those Summer Nights

I grew up during that amazing time when summers were spent almost exclusively outside. Even during those fluke, pop-up thunderstorms, we’d traipse down to the curb and collect water running down the street {and play some weird game I can’t seem to recall, but I want to say included an upside down bicycle…} while wearing rain boots and toting a big golf umbrella.

By Labor Day, our hair would be so brittle and green from the countless hours of swimming, it seemed like it would take until the new year to nurse it back to health with expensive swim shampoos and massive amounts of leave-in conditioner – shout out to anyone who remembers Mane and Tail shampoo! AH!

We would roller skate, play 4-square {still sorry about that first time, Lauren!} and teach lesson after lesson in our outdoor classroom, across the street in my bestie, Kathy’s, wooded back yard.


The popsicles were plentiful, the sunburns inevitable and those memories will remain with me until my last breath.

I knew, even before I was married, that those are the kinds of summers that I wanted my own kids to experience.

In 2012, when it became clear that we needed more square footage, I {obviously} had a long list of things I wanted in our new home. At the top of my list were things like a neighborhood pool, a level yard that we could access right from the kitchen and neighbors with kids. I’m thrilled that we were able to find a home – and neighborhood – that checked all the important boxes.

I live for the nights that we end up on the back porch, drink(s!!) in hand, laughing with neighbors-turned-friends, watching a dozen kids run through the back yards. They’ve come up with a couple go-to activities through which they rotate, depending on which way the wind blows.

Some of our favorites are:

Spider hunting: while I’d rather lose a limb than touch a spider, these kids are OB. SESSED. All you need is a good flashlight and a wide open yard. You simply stand on the porch, squat down and shine the flashlight into the grass at your eye level. I cringe while typing this, but all those red, beady eyes staring back at you from afar? SPIDERS!

Spider Hunters

Glow sticks: for all you Target fans {wait, is there anyone who ISN’T a Target fan?}, scope out the dollar spot for glow sticks. The big ones are $1 a piece, but we stock up on the tubes of 12-15 bracelets. Plus – mom bonus alert – you can keep track of them as they run from house to house when they glow in the dark!

Sports by moonlight: whether it’s a pick-up game of wiffle ball, one-on-one basketball games or kicking the soccer ball, sports just seem to be more fun once the sun goes down.

Catching fireflies: even though it’s rare that the kids catch more than a couple, the effort to catch fireflies is amazingly exhausting. They love to dig out their “bug catchers” and run around the yard… most of the time barely missing the bug they were chasing.

My parents still live in that second house on the right and I still keep in touch with many of the “original Hawley Court Gang” (and most all of us have our own kids, now).

I hope that our kids look back, longingly, at the summers they spent with friends in the neighborhood!

What do YOUR kids love to do on these steamy summer nights? What are your favorite summer memories from growing up?


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