I knew when I moved to the UK, that it would be hard living so far from my family and friends as well as leaving my culture behind. I also was prepared that when I had kids it would get even harder. Their life milestones would sometimes be witnessed and shared by extended family but I knew that for the most part they wouldn’t.
So when we had our first baby, we vowed as long as we could afford it, we would spend the summers in America. This gives the kids quality time with their American cousins, their aunts and uncles and grandparents. This gives them the chance to learn the culture and ways in which life is different than in the UK. I wanted them to live both cultures and both lives equally.
I love that we have never missed a summer back home. I love that my kids adore their time with their cousins and also love their time in America. I think it would make it harder if it was something they didn’t necessarily want to do. But they are constantly asking, when can we move to America, so I know I am safe for a few more years.
This year, sadly, Daddy couldn’t come with us. Work commitments and house renovations meant he needed to stay in the UK. While it’s hard for us to be without Daddy, we still planned an action packed summer as we always do.
Our Summer in America is getting more adventurous the older the kids get. It means we can do more things, venture farther out, and explore bigger days out.
Our summer held camping, hiking, picnics in the park, city swimming pool, swimming at Grandmas, horse back riding at my brothers, my other brother flying in to visit, trampoline, bouncy castle extravaganza, water parks, theme parks, city beach days, and lots of ice cream to top it off.
CAMPING ON THE LAKE:
Camping on Lake Pend Oreille is one of our summer highlights so I will share our experience there first. Our best friends have a annual campsite on the lake with a cute little private beach. We love basking in the sun while the five kids run around wild in the sand. We toast S’mores after dark and bbq our breakfast and dinners. In true tradition style, we always order in sushi. Not necessarily a camping thing but it’s become our thing. There is a random yet equally delicious sushi restaurant on the way to the campground, we always grab to go.
The kids love swimming out to the dock and jumping off and flying off the water slide as the waves roll in from all the boats speeding by. They were so brave this year which was the first year that I let them do it on their own. Proud Mommy moment when my littlest girl went first.
They build endless sandcastles, and swing on the swings looking out at the jet skiers going past. We nibble are way through watermelon and popcorn while we warm up on our towels. It’s not only beautiful but it’s peaceful. It’s quiet. We get to spend quality time with our best friends.
When I was little my great grandma had a house on this lake. I grew up having family reunions on it. My mom’s cousins continued on with this tradition and it was so special. Someday we hope to have a house on this lake. I hope we will be camping, and visiting this lake for years to come. It holds generations of memories for us all.
FAMILY BEACH DAYS OUT:
We love going to Sandpoint City Beach. It’s a beach I talk a lot about every summer, one that my mom went as a child, I went as a child, and now my kids go. This year, with my mom moving in town meant we were only 28 minutes from the beach instead of the 1 hour 30 mins we used to be. So instead of going only once or twice a summer, we pretty much went every week and sometimes a few times.
There is a huge park on site, hut for ice cream, and soft sand for sandcastle building. I could spend every day there as the kids are in their element. They don’t fight and bicker and they sleep like babies when we get in from all the swimming.
It’s right in the town center so you can walk around to little boutiques for shopping and lots of eating places too.
WATER PARK & THEME PARK:
Now that the kids are older, we make a day out with cousins and friends at Silverwood Theme Park & Boulder Beach Water Park. It’s two parks in one location and it makes for a great family day out (or few days if you have it). We tend to hit all the rides in the morning and when the temperatures boil over hit the water park. Since my kids are still slightly too short for the big rides we get all the riding done in the morning but I foresee the older they get the bigger and more rides they will be able to go on we will definitely need to go two days to visit.
They do great online prices and two or three day passes instead of just one entry. So it’s worth checking online before you go a few days in advance.
This summer we went with friends from Seattle and family that lived near by and it made for great dynamics as the older kids did the bigger rides and then took the younger kids swimming and the babies splashed and played together while Grandma enjoyed the lazy river.
HORSE BACK RIDING:
My brother, his wife and daughter have a ranch together where they train and buy/sell horses. My niece does rodeos and it royalty among them. My sister in law runs an amazing program for rehabilitation for kids. It’s a few hours drive from my mom’s house but we try to see them as much as possible. Since MM starting riding horses she was dying for my niece and SIL to take her on one of their horses. By the end of the ride, MM was riding without anyone holding a rope, she was learning how to guide the horse and even trotting on him. We even got my son up on one and I may or may not have hopped on myself in a white dress and flip flops. You can take the girl out of the country but not the country out of the girl. It’s a fact!
We hope as the kids get older we can go on horse riding days out too with family. So much more exploring awaits us as they get older for sure.
FRIENDS IN TOWN & FROM OUT OF TOWN:
There isn’t a summer that we don’t have special friends driving in from all over to visit us. We feel grateful, honored and loved that they make the long drives with their kids just to see us and spend summers with us. These are friends I have gone to high school and college with. I love that our kids get to grow up together despite living on different continents.
We are also blessed to have our best friends and godmother to my kids living in the same town my mom does now. It means we get to see them everyday all summer long. Our girls were born on the same day and our babies are only five months apart which meant we were pregnant both times together. She is like a sister to me, having me in my life my whole life. Every year we take annual spa trips without the kids, we spend beach days together, we camp with them. I can’t imagine any summer without them popping over for dinner or to jump on the trampoline or swim in the pool at my mom’s house.
There is so much more to do where we spend our summers in America. We live near beautiful falls that we went to last year, and a gorgeous view from an infamous swing bridge over rapids too. There are endless lakes to swim in, places to hike to, and mountains to explore.
Of course, we always have to be mindful of the bears and mouse that might attack us. I get asked this a lot. In my parents’ old house that I grew up to they would be right there in the garden somedays. It was that close.
This year, we tried to have our down days too. The days where we just sat by the pool or jumped on the trampoline at the house and I read a book while baby took a nap. It was a busy one for me, as I was helping my mom paint, decorate, unload and sell anything from the old house. We said goodbye to our family home this summer which was emotional and raw but I am excited for the next chapter of our summers in America with my kids.
GOODBYE TO ONE HOUSE AND HELLO TO A NEW ONE:
From here above where I grew up and got married and my babies took their first steps. We filled the new house with extended family and shared bbqs, gatherings, dinners, and parties this summer to start our new adventure at the house below. Every summer we take a photo on our old house steps and now we continue that tradition on the new house steps. Why not? I love a good tradition.
It’s a new chapter for us all our summers in America but there are filled with just as much adventure, fun, memories. family and friends as before.
I hope you like following along here and on our daily IG stories. For the first time ever, we are spending Christmas in America too. It will be such a different visit for my kids. There will be numerous feet of snow and many snowman building, snowmobiling, and a few snowball fights I imagine too.
Have you been to America? Perhaps you live there, do you have any special places that come to mind, comment below…