That would be my longest unintentional blogging break EVER!
For those of you who are moms who have been home with kids all summer, you know how this goes.
I know you know, because many of you have told me about all of the things that you really wanted to do this summer; house projects, organization projects, home school planning projects, coffee dates with friends, BBQ's with neighbors...
Yet, somehow, despite very good intentions, you haven't gotten around to any of them!
I haven't gotten around to many of those things...OR, to writing blog posts!
In all of my good intentions I picked up a book on how to enjoy summer vacation "with kids at home" and read it before school ended in June: It offered suggestions for weekly themes and ideas for structuring your days. It even offered encouraging Bible verses and prayers that focused on being intentional and graceful and in the moment with your kids.
I really enjoyed that little book...and intended to pray those prayers...
I had a bug week, music week, and an animal week all planned out. We were going to be very casual about it all...seriously. I didn't have lesson plans written, or anything like that. We were going to go to the library and get books on the topic, maybe do a super easy craft, play an easy game, and if time allowed take a casual trip to somewhere like the zoo or a music store.
Mostly, I was searching for some sort of structure to help guide what can feel like very hazy and unstructured days.
We actually did make it to "bug week" ( of all things!). We took some books out of the library that made us all cringe (remember, we're all girls...and not the rough and tumble "I like bugs" kind), I taunted the girls with pictures of centipedes while they chase me around with pictures of spiders (gross!). We made little notebooks, decorated them with bug stickers and went outside on a bug hunt...kicking over rocks, inspecting leaves, digging holes in the ground...we didn't find much, mostly a bunch of ants and potato bugs, but it was fun. We took some notes in our notebooks. We marveled at how many ants hang out in one place.
And that was that...
The rest of the "themes" and structured intentions got lost in the whirlwind of playdates, swim dates, overnights at grandparents houses (including almost a week in Ohio with grandma, aka 'Nanner', for the big girls!), trips that we took as a family, lots of out of town visitors who stopped by on their own trips or to visit family in Buffalo, swim lessons, gymnastics practices and lots of late nights eating ice cream, or staying at places later than we normally would. You know, the normal stuff.
There are many days where we started out with a plan "A", but ended up on plan "Q".
Days that I intended to do A,B and C (ahem, laundry, dishes and more laundry) and wound up doing L, X and P (bike rides, swimming at someone's house, and managing the revolving door of my kids, the neighbor kids, and everyone else in-between).
There have been days when I logged onto Amazon ready to order a legitimate whistle and referree uniform so that I could start whistling loudly in my chidlren's ears to stop fighting, or make their bed (after asking 17 times), or to not leave their underwear or wet bathing suits in the middle of the stinkin' kitchen or bathroom floors!!! For the 1,700 time!
There have been prayers too...but mostly they have sounded like this, "Dear God, please, please, PUL-EAZE give me the patience to make it through the day and help my children to realize that they are sinning when they are being THAT mean to each other and help them to have better attitudes towards each other and towards me and towards life in general."
"Oh yeah, and please help me to have a better attitude too." (;
I really did pray...about my summer, and about the kids. Yes, some of the prayers did sound like those above, but I did also pray for other things-- for the world around us, for direction in life, for wisdom in how to shape my girls' hearts towards each other and towards others. For my marriage, for my emotions (thats a BIG prayer sometimes!), and mostly that God would give me the wisdom to get this "parenting" thing as right as humanly possible...and that it might even be better than humanly possibly, if I continually invite Him into it.
I have mixed feelings about "back to school"...
Sure, there are the days when I'm ready to ship everyone off to boarding school for a couple of weeks, but then I would want them all back. They're too funny, and charming and open my eyes to all sorts of things that I forget to notice when the responsibilities of being an adult make me forget to find ways to enjoy life.
I tell everyone who asks if I'm ready for school to start that I'm really not...I could be ready to send them back for a week or two, just to get the house back to "normal", but then I'd love to have the kids back home...for another 3 or 4 weeks anyways.
The picnics in the park, the lazy mornings in our pjs, the little weekend trips here and there and the fact that I don't have to pack lunches every night is enough to make me want to live in summer for a little while longer...
How about you?
By this time last year I was completely, totally and utterly done. So if that's where you are, I get that too!! I could feel that way again next summer...each season comes with it's own ups and downs and feelings of tension or chaos, exhaustion and joy.
And, someday I will be a more consistent blogger and writer. I will. I will. I WILL. I swear.
But, for now, I have a few more picnics to attend...
In the meantime here are a few photos of what summer has looked like for us...
Lots of trips to the park and monkey bar swinging
4th of July Parade
Akron Falls hike where the girls and their cousins decided it would be more fun to be IN the water than walk alongside the water!
Lots of bike rides with this kid who LOVES her rain boots and her sunglasses.
A trip to Lake Chautauqua where some amazingly generous friends let us crash at their house AND use their boat for a few days!
Dinner in Chautauqua (we're working on getting everyone's eyes open at the same time for photos!)
A trip to Panama Rocks near Chautauqua Lake. What a cool place!
Panama Rocks...this is a terrible picture, but it was so cool to be able to squeeze between these crevices that I had to include it!
Lots of picnic table lunches at parks and other places.
My very favorite summer picture....there is actually a rather long story behind this, but it is Ava and one of her friends who moved out of state this summer. We went for ice cream shortly before they left...There is so much more I could say, but basically the picture reminds me of simple, innocent, summer friendships when life is easy and hugs are good (:
I hope you enjoy every moment of the rest of your summer!!