First Mate Kate’s Take: It’s Summer!!!


Do I look like I’m happy that it’s summer?!

Since Mr. Skipah is still trying to put into words how awesome the Memorial Day weekend was, I thought I would let Miss Madison have a go at it tonight.  Introducing my new spin-off First Mate Kate’s Take!

School’s out for summer! The stresses of the school year have officially taken a back burner to summer fun. The two girls do not have to stress out for a few months over standardized tests that determine their futures. All the stress they put on 3rd graders is so frustrating! Both Sloane and Miss Madison Jr. had no reason to worry, but were both nervous wrecks at the end of the school year over their respective state tests. (Miss Madison Jr. already found out she aced the Indiana state reading test that determines if she moves on to 4th grade, and I’m sure Sloane passed the equivalent assessment in Kentucky with flying colors!)

I have a brief window of time over the summer to enjoy time with my family and my own creative pursuits before I start planning to do it all over again with a new group of 8th graders.  For those of you griping that it’s not fair that teachers get summers off, I don’t want to hear it. I bring my work home with me both physically and mentally for 10 months of the year, in effect playing many roles for about 100 extra kids (beyond my own) as mentor, parent, nurse, counselor, motivator, friend, etc. Summer is my time to de-stress and actually give 100% of my attention to my family, friends, and other passions. It is also my time to re-energize my teaching with conferences to gather new ideas to use in the classroom. I have plans to attend two conferences in July—one in Michigan and the other in Kansas City. They will be part of my summer tour of the Midwest, as we also have plans to visit Wisconsin, Chicago, and St. Louis. I’m also trying to squeeze in a trip to Minnesota to visit my grandmother for her 99th (!) birthday. Needless to say, it’s going to be a busy 9 weeks!

I’m still adjusting to this new normal of only having my kids for half of the summer. I’ve always been the one to stay home with them over the summer and take them to their activities, so it is going to take some adjusting. Luckily, I have Gary and Sloane to keep me company when the kids are not around, so life is anything but dull. I just spent Memorial Day weekend with those two, and Sloane and I took our bonding to a whole new level! I am so glad she has accepted me in her life, and I am also happy for the chance to spend more time with her this summer.


My new BFF and I enjoying some roasted corn in the Kroger parking lot!


Fun times by the campfire! (Skipah disagrees, I only have six chins not 17!)

In between all of the trips and time away with the other parent, the kids and I have created a bucket list of things we want to do this summer. Most are very simple things, like wearing PJ’s for a movie marathon and going on a hike. It will be fun to check these activities off our list as we enjoy the warm summer days as much as we can.


Our bucket list for a great summer!

Gary has only known me during the school year so far, as we had our first date the weekend before school started last year. I think he will like the summer me, more fun and less stressed. Or, summer me may drive him crazy, because I have so much more free time to bother him. We’ll see!

Off to go watch last night’s Game of Thrones before I accidentally read spoilers on the internet. Looking forward to my summer job as First Mate Kate!

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Send Skipah Sailing!


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  2. My husband is a substitute teacher going to school for his teaching credential here in CA. I’ve already started hearing about how he gets summer and Christmas vacation off lol. Teachers don’t really get them off. They use those times to plan for next year and to re-charge with continuing education and conferences!

  3. We have daft state tests putting pressure on young kids in the UK too! & my mum was a teacher before she retired. Our summers were always 5 weeks of summer activities & 1 week of my mum in a panic trying to fit in all her lesson planning & preparation for the new year, & us being taken into her school so she could prepare her classroom (I actually always enjoyed going into her school to prepare the classroom)!

  4. Love the bucket list idea for Summer! Enjoy. Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty.

  5. Like I’m sure others have mentioned, I LOVE the bucket list idea – what a great way to stay focused on being productive in a fun way. It shouldn’t be a difficult thing, but with tech and all the responsibilities of life, it can often be easy to fall into a fit and let these magical months fall away.

  6. Thanks for taking time away from your great blog to visit mine!

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  9. Love this. thank you. It has a feel good factor about it.
    You should bottle it and sell it 🙂

  10. I’m new to this blog, and it’s really nice to ‘meet’ you and your family. I hope you all have a great summer! That bucket list sounds like such a good idea! Teachers deserve our utmost respect, especially considering you all help raise our children! Take care!

  11. God Bless you my friend. God bless you friends and family and your followers too. Amen. Hallelujah

  12. Welcome First Mate Kate! Yep, teachers work hard. My Munch is in school until the 20th of June. P.S. You really lost me at that roasted corn. I LOVE corn and roasted corn is heaven. Ugh! I’m dreaming about corn now.

  13. Pingback: A Memorial Kind of Weekend!

  14. Ahoy there First Mate Kate! I love your new column (and your new moniker!). I am looking forward to hanging out with you this summer as you work through your bucket list. Am delighted that you and Sloane are bonding.

  15. Great intro First Mate Kate. Love the idea of a summer bucket list for the kids and the idea of wearing PJ’s for a movie marathon.

    • Thank you! The PJ’s and movies were my daughter’s idea. They had lots of great ideas, but I had to steer them away from wanting to go to Disney World and Disney Land.

  16. Welcome First Mate Kate! Great job and I look forward to hearing more about your summer adventures. I like the picture of your bucket list!

  17. Have an awesome summer and I hope you complete your bucket list items!

  18. Your BFF just lost her hamster, but she already has a new one, so you may not have to comfort her from her loss.

    My mother is a teacher’s aide in the school I attended as a child. She has more training than any of the teachers in the school, but refuses to accept a teaching position, because her’s pays a few pennies more! Can’t say I blame her. She has her short summer packed with various activities to the point it is hard to reach her at times. She started out as a school bus driver, then attended a local college. We attended the same first college class (a beginning computer class) while I was still in high school. Helped her survive her algebra (she hates math) class by having her rewrite the word problems into cooking problems. The “X”‘s might represent how much baking powder to add, the “Y”‘s might be cinnamon or something. Had to put it into words she was familiar with. Her last day is today until next year’s classes start.

    Keep his daughter learning throughout the summer if you can. Kids lose so much during the long break from school they basically have to relearn it all over again!

    Welcome to the blog pages! Hope to hear more works from you when you have the time.

  19. Welcome aboard Kate! Sounds like you’ve had a good year! Later Mate!

  20. Well done First Mate Kate! There is a bunch of happiness taking place – I read it in the words and see it in the pictures! And the bucket list is a really wonderful idea, I like that a lot. Happy Summer! 🙂

  21. Fantastic! I’m right there with you – if you want us to work all year then we’ll need to see an extreme pay change.

  22. Welcome Kate! In the UK our school holidays are spread throughout the year & we have 7 weeks to go before our summer holidays! Our children have 6 weeks off at end July/August except in Scotland & Northern England – they break up earlier in July & go back in August. I’m looking forward to hearing more of your views in the future! 😊

  23. Welcome to the world of blogging. Look forward to more from you.

  24. Hi-ho, Kate, great to see your point of view on here. Really liking the bucket list, I might have to give it a try with our family soon. Sounds like a busy, but fun, summer ahead. Enjoy!

    • The bucket list supplies only cost a couple dollars, but it will be a tangible way for the kids to see what we do this summer and they had fun coming up with ideas to include.

  25. Welcome aboard First Mate Kate! As a part-time lecturer at a university, yes, I have summers off, as well as half of May, half of December and most of January. A lot more happens outside the classroom than people realize! Looking forward to more of your posts!

  26. Fun! Cool bucket list idea!

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