Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summer Lovin... and Not

This week we're enjoying our first full week of summer. Summer outings, loads of free time, lazy mornings, later nights, and wild boys are in full swing. And thankfully this week is going much better than our little summer preview on last Friday. Friday was a not so good kick-off to summer that left me questioning my parenting skills and how to manage months of summer with all of us together 24-7.

This week I've come to remember all the things I really love about summer. Summer PERKS. They are real and they are wonderful. No where to be every morning is a good feeling. No rushing around. No waking the boys up early. (Although they've been waking up before 7:00 quite a bit all on their own. Currently trying to correct that...) No lunches to make every night. Oh what a treat to be off lunch duty!! Making lunches every. single. night. after I was tired and had already cooked and cleaned up and survived the bath and bedtime madness was not my favorite. No homework or school projects to worry about. No chaufeuring back and forth all day between school and home and errands and back to school and back home. Baseball season is winding down. We're gearing up for some fun weekends and summer outings as a family. And last but least, our vacation to the beach is on the horizon!!

That's the good stuff. The things summers full of fun and memories are made of. My favorites.

But there's also some things about summer, especially this summer, that are just flat out challenging. And wearing me out.

The biggest challenge I'm facing seems to be the issue of coming up with a game plan every single night for the next day. A plan for keeping us from jumping off dressers and yelling at each other most of the day and fighting over our every possession and being bored out of our minds. Whew. Coming up with a plan every single night is work for mama. I have to think about what we can do to get out of the house, consider Layton's schedule and work the outing around him, come up with something structured to do just in case free and independent play isn't going so well, and I have fill Garrison's quiet time box with something new every night.

*Garrison's quiet time box is a medium sized storage container that I fill up with things every night for him to use and play with during his quiet time. Quiet time was becoming follow mama around time and making me just a little crazy not having 5 minutes to myself, so I searched for an intervention. He still likes to pick out a 30 minute show to watch and still does a job or 2 some days but the box is a big part of quiet time now. I put any and everything "engaging" inside the box... stamps, stickers, play doh, magnets, pattern blocks, books, a board game, coloring books and markers, puzzles, activity sheets of mazes and dot-to-dots, etc. I just keep rotating stuff in and out. So far it's working well. Yay.

So I feel kind of like I'm teaching again because of having to work on "plans" every night and prepping for activities all the time. While I don't want to keep the boys entertained every minute of the day (because I believe wholeheartedly in independent play and my kids tend to get over- stimulated and exhausted without it), I do think we need structure. And not just because they're boys and they're busy and active all the time, but because structure has a place in the wide open days of summer. Maybe not a huge place but a place nonetheless. See above where I mention preventing all the negatives that come with too much free time.

So that's a biggie. Planning outings. Planning activities. Planning plans around a 3 month old's feeding schedule. It's just a lot of work. More than I expected.

Then there's the issue of being together all. the. time. Let's just say that little fact has it's ups and downs.  

There's the issue of needing to establish a routine for Layton this summer so we're ready for the new school year yet really struggling to do that while planning outings for the big boys.

There's the issue of lack of sleep. I guess that one's not summer's fault though is it?

There's the issue of heat and sweating and pretty soon being miserable outdoors unless you're wet.

Oh summer. You come with pros and cons.

I realize all my "cons" are stay at home mom problems. And that's okay. It's real life. I know these aren't like serious, major problems. I know I'm blessed. And I'd still MUCH rather be staying at home and facing these challenges than not. And I'm sure I'll look back one day when the kids are older and feel like I made things harder than they had to be... that they weren't that crazy or tiring or challenging to begin with. Orrrrr maybe not. Ha! 

For now, though, this is where we are. Pros and cons, ups and downs, fun and easy, tough and challenging. I just hope and pray that despite the challenges and craziness and work that summer currently is, that I'll soak it up and savor it anyway. That I'll focus on the perks and what I love about summer above everything else. That I'll laugh and play and have fun with my boys. That I'll teach them and read to them and love on them daily. Kindergarten countdown and a brand new chapter starts for us right after our trip to the beach this year. So I want to enjoy this togetherness we've got going this summer... and every summer.

I want to enjoy the perks. I'm determined to.

Here's to summer lovin!

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