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We’re only into the first month of summer and I’m already super hot and broke. I started off with good intentions of having our four teenagers study for the ACT exam and hang out at the neighborhood pool. After two days of trying to help the youngsters synthesize graphs and use abjure and quagmire in sentences along with the pool closing to Remove Organics (code for ‘toddler poop’) I’ve succumbed to field trips.

Our first trip was to revisit the Georgia Aquarium. The girls love the otters and the pizza. Our son likes the Japanese Spider Crabs and the corn dogs. We stayed all day, working our way from amphibians to reptiles; seeing the Waddle Walk and Coastal Predators shows in between. The kids begged me to book the Swim With The Whale Sharks experience but at $212.00 a pop, they had to settle for ice cream and an African Penguin Adoption Kit from the gift store. It was a pleasant day. I'm not sure if it was worth $300.00 plus parking, but it was nice.

I tried an economized outing- packing a picnic lunch and heading to Old Mill Park in Roswell. Everything was going fine until the oldest was stung by a bee and the youngest was traumatized by a snake (I’m pretty sure it was a stick). Both came running down the hill like they had lost their minds. I tried to calm them with ice cold lemonades from my backpack but the eco-friendly tops weren’t secured so the drinks were gone and our chicken salad was soggy. After a CVS stop to get Benadryl and another pair of flip flops (my youngest that had lost her mind during snake/stick moment, also lost one flop), we headed to Greenwood’s for lunch. Cost for the day = $122.00.

I have budgeted one field trip a week, so we can hit The High Museum, Centennial Park, Lake Lanier Islands and other sites but the rest of the days we’re headed to the library, the Greenway, and our neighbor’s pool (at time of publication, poo free). Even with all of these activities, there are many disagreements about what they can wear, shorty shorts, no!, zinc oxide, yes! And what they can eat. Summer seems to escalate the chatter/complaints about our snack stash. The kids have a “We want all things sugar” motto that conflicts with my “Eat the carrots I just bought,” recommendation.

Some day they’ll all be grown and I will miss these summer moments but right now I’m counting the days until they head back to school.

Amy Lyle lives in Cumming with her second husband Peter, 4 teenagers and a large dog. She’s a playwright for a large non-profit in Alpharetta. Her first book, THE AMY BINEGAR-KIMMES-LYLE BOOK OF FAILURES is available on Amazon.

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