Summer Sanders dives into family time

This is the summer of YES!

When the kids ask, "Can we go outside and ride our bikes around the block one more time?" I say yes. When they want to jump in the pool first thing in the morning (their eyes are barely open), I say yes. When they ask again after dinner, I say yes! That's the best thing about having the backyard pool just steps away: They can always take one last dip.

Summer is all about tetherball and Popsicles and sunshine. It's about feeling the sun on your face and spending more time in the water than out. This is our iconic summer.

My season started out with a milestone. Spider graduated from preschool. It's a Montessori, so he had long days from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and he'd been there for three years. I was so excited because it was such a huge moment for him. He dressed up in his suit and tie -- by choice! -- and we sang all kinds of songs to make it extra special.

My family then agreed to go back home to where I grew up in Sacramento, Calif., for two weeks. We're staying with my dad, his girlfriend, my brother and my 15-year-old niece and 13-year-old nephew. I feel like I'm going to turn around and they'll be in college, so now is the time to make this happen, before I'm kicking myself about it. It's amazing for the kids to have time together now, and I couldn't be any happier to enjoy this time with all of them.

Six years ago, my dad's house burned down. It was June 7. Though his house has changed a lot because of that, the basic pool, the one in which I swam every day growing up, is exactly the same. Down to the diving board! I taught my kids to do a cartwheel and handstand off the diving board, just like I always did, and they can't get enough of it. I watch them in the pool and swim beside them, and I get flashbacks of myself as a kid.

Summer visits to Sacramento mean temperatures over 100 degrees. And my dad is against air conditioning, so the pool was (and is) the best place to be all summer. There's a reason why my hair was green! That's just one of the things I have to thank him for -- my passion for the pool, not the green tinge to my hair! He'll sometimes turn the air on now when we visit, like when we arrived and it was 111 degrees!

Though my work continues to develop -- I just started my own production company, and I love the creativity involved -- some things never change. Those photos you get at the end of a big family trip are one of those things. I remember the ones we got when we went whitewater rafting as a kid (I bet I could still find one!). I just took my kids -- the whole family went together from my dad's -- and it felt the same way as we coasted down the American River. You can't beat that family time on the water, the picnic lunch, the photos afterward. This is that kind of summer, filled with family time and long days outdoors.

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