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Sun, fun, ice cream, swimming parties and lessons, beach visits, and water slides are all synonymous with summertime. So far this season, my family and I have experienced them all! As we've enjoyed the various activities, I've also come to realize that another part of summer, for us adults, is a chance to be playful and recapture our youth. As a child, one of my most favorite summer memories was careening down the curves of a water slide, any water slide I could find. I dragged my parents to every water park we ever passed on family vacations.

So, when some friends were putting together a trip to Ravine Water Park in Paso Robles, I jumped at the chance. With a caravan of five minivans and SUVs, we headed north for a day of thrills! Although the weather was unusually cold and windy, we still had a ball riding waves and floating in the lazy river. And, some of us even dared the slides with names set to conjure up fear like Anaconda and Viper. As my friend and I anxiously awaited our turns on the slides, as the only adults in a line of giggly pre-teens and teenagers, I felt as energized as ever. The thrill of the water slides were as exhilarating as I remembered, so I had to ride again, and again, and again! I actually went down the slides more times than my own children. The day left us with many fun memories and, unfortunately, some of us with nasty sunburns despite the application of SPF 50.

Eating ice cream as a way to cool down on a hot day creates a perfect summer memory. To celebrate this summertime tradition, July is touted as National Ice Cream Month. So, when KCFM asked me to check out some of the best ice cream desserts in town, I felt like I had hit the proverbial jackpot. Thanks to Rosemary's Family Creamery, Dewar's, Moo Creamery, Cold Stone Creamery, Hungry Hunter Steakhouse, and California Pizza Kitchen, for letting me sample all of their yummy ice cream treats. I can't even say that I have a favorite because each one of the ice cream creations I tried was unique and fabulous! Check out the article "6 Local Favorites to get the Scoop on Ice Cream," on page 10 to find out which restaurants serve up the most decadent of desserts.

A chance to play with the family pet more often is another part of summertime fun. Brian Kantz's Newbie Dad Article, "The Great Pet Debate," on page 14, discusses the advantages of having a pet as part of the family, but he's having a hard time deciding what kind of pet is best suited for his family. His article lists the pros and cons of six pets: dogs, cats, fish, birds, guinea pigs, and hermit crabs. Which one will he choose? You'll have to stay tuned for his decision!

Even though summer has many idyllic moments and traditions, not all summertime activities can be classified as fun. Check out Tracie Grimes's Humor at Home Article, "Stuff Happens," on page 8, she writes about the humbling experience of having a major appliance in your home die. So, when her water heater went out, she had to battle water, confusing hardware, and finally, a brand new replacement to save the day. And, just as one problem is solved, another one is created…. Awwww! Stuff really does happen every day!

This July, whether you're zipping down a water slide, eating an ice cream cone as it drips down your fingers, or setting off fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, remember the real spirit of July is patriotism and pride! Happy Birthday America!

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