If You Give a Teacher a Summer Vacation…

Last Friday, I had to go to the grocery store. Simple enough task, right? We had a ton of food leftover from the Fourth of July, and our family had been eating hot dogs and pasta salad all week long. We were in need of substance. And milk.

I figured while we were out, we should go by this awesome camera store in downtown Orlando that I had been meaning to visit. Colonial Photo and Hobby has been an Orlando staple since God was a boy, I’m sure. And I’m pretty sure the same people have been working there the entire time of its existence. Stepping into that place is like stepping back in time. I would have taken some pictures to show you guys, but I was there because my camera battery wasn’t charging and I needed a new charger.

Anyway, we were on this particular side of town for the camera shop, so I figured we could just grocery shop over there, too. Save some time and driving around. But before we went to the grocery store, I thought I’d stop at this great park for the kids. They had been so good while I talked to the camera guys, I figured they had earned a pit stop.


It was a gorgeous morning, and a giant park (the picture above is just one of THREE play areas). We were having so much fun that we ended up staying for a few HOURS! It was crazy! The kids were having a blast, and I kept thinking to myself, “What else do we have to do?” No schedule. No problem.

(I grew three gray hairs watching Gracie climb this rock.)

Finally, when the kids had had enough, we packed up and headed towards the grocery store. But the kids said they were hungry. And I was, too. Since I hadn’t planned for this to become an all-day event, I hadn’t packed lunches for us, so we stopped at Chick-fil-a instead. After they ate, I let the kids play in the playground there for almost half an hour!

(No pictures because I was chatting with this other mom who randomly knew a lot of the same people I did. Who says Orlando isn’t a small town?)

By now, it was almost 2:00 in the afternoon and my quick trip to the grocery store had become a five-hour adventure. But, why stop there?!?!  So, instead of going to Target to get our regular groceries like we do every week, I took advantage of being on this side of town and we shopped instead at Trader Joe’s.  My favorite!  The kids got to push around a little cart, too.  Everybody wins!

Except my bloody ankles.


We moseyed on home around 4:00, just in time to beat rush hour traffic. Dinner was on the table by the time Chris got home, and the kids were bathed and sound asleep by 8:00 that night. Spontaneous adventures will do that to you.

I think this is my favorite part of summer. When one thing leads to another, leads to another, leads to another… And you don’t have to stop the cycle because there is no schedule or place to be. That’s when I have the best time with my kids, too. Those times when their moods and preferences determine our activities.

All of this made it even more depressing that night when I got home to find my school email was beginning to fill up with back-to-school information and updates. Next week is my last full week of summer break. Boo. But I intend to make the most of the time I have left with these one-thing-leads-to-another afternoons more often!

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8 Thoughts to “If You Give a Teacher a Summer Vacation…”

  1. jamie

    one more week??!!?

  2. Only one more week?! That’s craziness! In Michigan, we don’t go back until the day after Labor Day (teachers go back one week before usually). However, we were in school until June 12th this year.

  3. Jenna

    How fun! And yes … Teaching is rarely easy, but the summer kinda makes it worth it.

  4. Jacquie

    1 more week and we haven’t even broken up yet in the UK! When next Tuesday is over I am FREE!!

  5. Kirsten

    oooooh, Trader Joes! Our favorite too and a trip we only make every so often because it’s not exactly convenient. It’s crazy that school is almost back. We start August 13. Where did the summer go?!

  6. Is it weird that I’m panicking because summer is almost over – and that means that I send my little girl to school for the first time ever? It feels like this summer is simultaneously flying and creeping by…

  7. Hilary

    This was supposed to be MY summer – to relax, to take a break and maybe participate in a professional development workshop or two. Then I got an email invite to interview for an ELA position at a different school district. I figured, I’ll never get the job because it is a very affluent area and basically runs as a private school although it is technically public. I interviewed, they invited me back to do a mock lesson, they invited me back to meet with the superintendent and her assistant, they offered me the job. Wait, wha . . .?? Now MY summer has turned into cleaning out my classroom of the past nine years, setting up my new room, readjusting my teaching from 7th to the 8th grade CC ELA standards (um, verbals vs. three types of verbal phrases? when to use a comma, ellipses or dash to indicate a pause?) and basically rearranging my life. I am excited, but very nervous. Maybe next summer I can relax.

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