- Camp out
- Blueberry picking
- Strawberry picking
- Raspberry picking
- Barnes and Noble
- First Watch
- BA Sweeties
- Library--Seville to read outside
- Camp Invention
- Young Naturalist Camp
- Smoke bombs and sparklers
- Blossom for 4th of July
- Lake house
- Not break bones
- Squirt guns/water balloons
- Niagara Falls
- Go to the park with friends
- Baseball games
- Make pickles
- Make salsa
It's August. It seems as though summer just started, yet, here we are, a mere 3 weeks away from school starting. This summer has made me reflect on my summers as a child for many reasons.
Let me start off my saying, there was not a single person that I knew growing up who had to go to daycare over the summer. No one went to camp after camp after camp because there was no one to watch them. Kids were home and played. No one sat in the house watching TV or, if you were lucky enough to own one, playing Atari. Most of the time, you had friends over to play, but sometimes you just had to entertain yourself. Yes, people's parents worked, but grandparents came and watched the kids. By watched, I mean they were warm bodies in the house in case of emergencies and snack makers for neighborhood kids. In no way were grandparents in charge of entertaining you. If, for some reason, you had to go to your grandparents' instead of them coming to you, you took a minimum of one friend with you. Summers were waking up late, having no plans, calling your friends to go hang out or just showing up at someone's house to see if they were home. There was no making plans weeks in advance with friends to plan time to get together. If your friends were home, you played with them. If they weren't, you didn't. It really was that simple. This is coming from the viewpoint of an only child. I didn't have built in playmates with siblings. It was just me. I didn't sit around all day asking my mom to play with me or give me ideas of what to do. Of course there were times we did special stuff, but it was spur of the moment. I had to run errands with my mom, as did my friends, but, heck, sometimes your friends ran the errands with your parents. No one complained. No one begged for stuff at the store. No one expected anything. It was just a part of life as a kid.
I know times have changed. I know first hand that family support isn't there like it used to be. I understand kids have different interests. But, really, kids haven't changed that much; parenting has changed. There are so many parents who are trying to fill every moment of their children's days. It's crazy. People keep thinking we're so busy, but in all honesty, we're not. My kids are having as close to a 1980's summer as they can in 2017. My kids did a total of 2 camps each. One was right at the beginning of summer that they both attended all day. The other camp they did, they didn't do together, but it was only an hour and a half a day for 3 days, each. And that was it. We still had karate and baseball, but that's nighttime stuff where we wouldn't be doing anything other than hanging out at home anyway. Yet, there are people who didn't give their kids even a minute to be kids. For how "busy" everyone thinks we were, my kids woke up at 9:00 or later every morning. Every day it was nice, my kids played in the pool almost all afternoon. My kids rode their bikes (or, after the arm breaking incident, walked) to their friends' houses.....without knowing if their friends would be home or able to play. Their friends did the same. I think there was twice that someone came over and my kids couldn't play because they weren't home. Those are pretty fair odds. Today is a great example of a typical summer day here. Kids woke up whenever. After they ate breakfast, they played Legos. We walked both dogs. Monster played ball with Little Dog. We did a little laundry (and I really mean we as the kids folded). We had lunch, which the kids fix for themselves every day in the summer. The kids read for a bit. Then they got in the pool. That was at 1:15. They didn't get out of the pool until 5:15. There was no fighting. Both kids were having a great time. This is a typical summer day. Isn't that how it should be? After the kids got out of the pool and showered, we had dinner. Kids had ice cream on the porch after. Then we took a walk down to a friend's house and then around the block with Little Dog. We watered the garden and everyone got ready for bed, even though there was an hour until bedtime. Kids colored, drew and read. They were kids. I was not having them practice musical instruments. They were not working on skills for a sport. They weren't doing vocabulary building to increase their skills for the coming year. They weren't mind numbingly watching television or YouTube. They were being kids.
It was bound to happen. With my kids being as active as they are and playing as hard as they do, one of them was bound to break a bone. I just didn't expect it to be from falling down the stairs. Little Miss Sunshine broke her radial head (bone right at your elbow) falling down the stairs. She was tiptoeing and down she went. From the very top to the very bottom. At the ER, when they told her it was broken, you would have thought they told her she was going to die any second. She was crying so hard that another nurse actually came in and asked if everything was alright and if they needed help. She fully believed her world was ending. We were told she would be in a cast for 4-6 weeks. The next day, we went to the orthopedist, who was AMAZING. He looked at it and told her 3 weeks. She picked a purple cast, which is waterproof. She's been doing well with the cast and her attitude has definitely improved. She's still sad she can't ride her bike and she missed her last baseball game, but she's been swimming and doing all the other things she loves to do this summer. Even though this broken arm has only been a small portion of our summer, we will always remember it as the summer Sunshine broke her arm.
With only 4 school days remaining, we realized we were a little late making our 2017 addition of our Summer Bucket List! So, without further ado....
Summer, as always, is flying by. I'm not going to lie, it started off rough. It took us all a god week to get back into the groove of always being around each other. So far, since then, summer has been wonderful. I know that I say this time and time again, but I'm so very thankful my children are best friends. Summer wouldn't be near this great if they weren't. We kicked off summer by heading to the zoo. I'm really glad I decided to go when I did, even though it was the most crowded I have ever seen the zoo, because we went on a day where we had to wear sweatshirts and since then, it's been in the 90s! I'd rather go on a chilly day then a super hot day! We still have to hit the other local zoo sometime this summer, but I'm watching the weather for that one.
We have actually checked a great deal of things off of our Summer Bucket List in just one short month. We've checked off: go to zoo, pick strawberries, go to park, baseball, spend time outside, science experiments, spend time in the pool, spend time at the library, and go get ice cream. We've also checked off Camp Invention and one round of art camp! We've gone to Rockin' The Court, Strawberry Festival, an orchestra concert, and Rally in the Alley. We've had friends over and we've just hung out at home and played. All that on top of karate 3 days a week and baseball. Plus, I've managed to clean out my basement and garage! I wouldn't be able to do it all if my kids didn't get along. The fact that they can play together and love being with each other is the key. As an added bonus, the earliest my kids have woken up is 8:00, but 9:00 is the average! Whoo hoo to sleeping in!
All that we do makes it sound like, to some people, that we always need to be on the go, but that is far from the truth. I know people that schedule things every day because their children can't just be. It's true that Little Miss Sunshine has a more difficult time entertaining herself than Monster, but both my kids love our down time. Days where we have nothing planned, we call our "Golden Days". We live for those days. Our "Golden Days" are actually the days where we do the most fun activities. The zoo trip and strawberry picking happened on "Golden Days". I simply can't understand the need for some people to never be home. Are their kids that bored? Are they that bored? Heck, if there are parents our there who are so bored that they force their families into going out and doing activities just to get out of the house, I'd like to know their secret. I don't have the luxury of getting bored. This topic deserves it's own separate post though, which I'm sure I'll get to in another 2 months or so since I have so much extra time on my hands....
Back on topic though. The bond my children have is something very special. Other people see it and comment on it. I always knew that I was lucky to have children to get along so well, but I never realized how much others saw it as well. That bond is what makes our summers so amazing.
Today, we start July. I have to say, it's bittersweet. I love that we have another month left together, but it also makes me very sad because school is just around the corner. Another summer is close to passing, which means I'm another summer closer to having it be the last summer with my kids. No matter how frustrated I get, I savor each moment because in eight short years, Monster heads off to college. The fighting and disagreements are all part of growing up. This time we have is precious.
22 more school days. We can not wait for summer in this house! Kids are already signed up for Camp Invention and Young Naturalist camps. We've got VBS marked on our calendar. They are so excited for these camps, but they are also excited for our lazy, crazy days of summer! Here's the list of the things we want to do in the Summer of 2016!
I've been quiet on here for some time. I know that during the summer, I usually post about all the fantastic things we've done. This year, I just couldn't bring myself to do that. I felt like if I posted about how summer was going, it would mean that summer was almost over. Like every year, summer goes way too fast. This year felt faster still. Maybe it was that June was full of camps, rain, and pain. Maybe it's just that I'm getting older and people say the older you get, the faster time seems to go. Whatever it was, summer sped past. My son didn't get to eat his "bucket o'shrimp" with Papa. We never got to Niagara Falls or Chicago. We didn't get out for near as many bike rides as we wanted to. Even with the things we didn't get to do, we got to do so much. Summer was amazing. With school now in full swing, there is no denying summer has come to end. Since the weather has been so nice, we've actually been able to extend the feel of summer into our weeknights and weekends with family walks and bike rides and outings. This Sunday, we made our house "autumn ready" by getting out the fall decor. Now we're looking forward to apple picking, pumpkin patches, soy bean boxes and hayrides. But, before all that, one last look at another amazing summer.
Today, I read a story that made me realize that I've been spending the first 4 weeks of my sacred summer vacation focused on what I can't give my kids instead of what I can. It made me realize that that I've been letting a little of my happiness be taken every day. Social media plays a large roll in this. People always post the happy. They post the "look at my perfect life". They post the "look at where we go". Those posts have made me hurt for what I can't give my children. I can't give them vacations. Daddy doesn't have the time off work and we don't have the money. I can't give them new rollerblades or new bikes every year. They have to deal with hand me downs. I have been letting the feeling of not being enough and having enough ruin parts of my day. I'm done. I'm taking back my happiness. I'm taking back my sacred summer. I'm done focusing on what I can't give my kids. They certainly don't focus on it. They are thrilled that they get to play baseball and go to camp and play in the pool and just hang out. They are thrilled to go get ice cream uptown in the middle of the day for no reason. They are happy playing with Legos and riding hand me down bikes. They are happy playing in our cramped, one bathroom house. I only have seven weeks left with my babies and I won't let my happiness be taken away one moment longer. Especially when the one taking away the happiness is me. I've been trying so hard to make this summer as perfect as last summer that I haven't stopped to look and see that it is perfect. It is perfect because we are family and we are together. What matters is what I can give my children, not what I can't. And I can give them me. All of me.
Ideas for summer fun:
Even with the weather not completely cooperating with us and our horrible stink bug infestation, we have been making the most of every last minute of summer. We have one day left until the kids go back to school. In the past two weeks, we've gone blueberry picking, again, gone to the fair, gone to the zoo (different one than last time), gone to another baseball game, camped out, gone hiking, had picnics, visited with Grandpa, visited with Uncle M, gone to the library, gone to a birthday party at Build-A-Bear, gone to the kids' first concert, and played like maniacs. I still went to yoga and the kids still went to art and karate, too. We also managed to accomplish a ton like back to school shopping....ok, it was really retail therapy for me since I'm so sad the kids will be back in school..., worked on the bug issue, canned 14 jars of pickles, and even got some school work in there. Yet, like always, I look at all we've done and say, "I wanted to do so much more". I'm trying to let that go. We have had such a great summer and instead of looking at it and being sad for what we didn't get to do, I'm trying to look at it and take it into the school year. It's not like I will never be with my children again after Tuesday. I still have half days with Sunshine and evening and weekends with them both. That is something I need to remember. I need to remember that we can't just make the most out of the summer, but we need to make the most out of each moment. Every precious moment counts. Right about now, the people who are counting down the minutes until school starts again, are telling me to shove it, but I'm telling those people to stop, look around and appreciate what you have. Yes, the kids may be fighting, it's not like that doesn't happen here every single day, but I'm pretty sure if you really look at it, there are so many more moments of laughter than there are of anger. Those are the moments that matter. Make the most of them.