Tag: slow summer

Spring and Summer 2013 215It’s summer still. We are not clothes shopping. Or school supply shopping. Or even talking about back to school just yet. We are in the bubble of summer and we like it here.

At the beginning of the summer a few of us made summer bucket lists full of things we wanted to do in the 2.5 months of summer break. There were some simple things on there like try a Stand Up Paddleboard and eat ice cream while floating on a raft. There were some harder things too like learn to do a back flip. There were places to go and people to see. Books to read and games to try. It was fun to create the list at summer’s beginning and it’s fun to glance at it every now and again to gauge our success rate.

Now in the final leg we are checking our lists one last time. We’ve done a lot that we wanted to do and we know that makes us lucky.

What’s on your list as you enter this final phase? If you haven’t made a list yet, there’s still time! Add a few things you’ve already done then cross them off. Add some people you want to see. Or books you want to read.  Add some easy things and maybe a thing that pushes you out of your comfort zone. (like that back flip mentioned above!) And add some down time too.

Don’t let the marketing machine fool us that summer is over. Instead find or create your bucket list, and your bucket while you’re at it, and savor these last few weeks of summer break. According to my calender there’s still 1/3 left to go.

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Summertime Off-Gassing

Here in our house, the last day of school was exciting of course. We were all thrilled to be finished up with ridiculously early alarm clocks and lunches and homework and all the other stuff that accompanies a school year. It’s fine for a while, but by the time you reach the end, it is a veritable drag to the finish. Tupperware starts cracking, notebooks begin unraveling, and even our psyches hit the breaking point. I’m never sure whether we reach that point because we know we’re near the end, or whether we’re near the end because we’re reaching that point.

Here in our house the last day of school was absolutely crazy too. Tempers were flaring. Little infractions were seen as major affronts. Siblings were at each other. People were even making declarations of not wanting to go to Grandma’s together! Which if you knew the glory of Grandma’s, you’d understand the magnitude of such a statement. And my behavior was really no better. And I thought to myself, “oh man, there’s something wrong with us.” Seriously.

My friend Carrie, she who is witness to a lot of my parenting,  called it off-gassing, which by definition is the emission of especially noxious gasses. That description gave me great comfort.  And with that in mind I entered back into the fray.

When I shared  the story of our awful last day with a mama-of-3 friend of mine,  she grabbed my shoulder and exalted,  “US TOO! ME TOO! AWFUL! FIGHTING! CRAZY!!” And she too thought, “wow there must be something wrong with my little family as a unit and surely they’ll never rise out of this yucky, sibling fighting-filled state.

The next day things were a little better. Flare ups yes but not like that crazy last day where all seemed completely hopeless.

And I realized that transition from full on school to full on at home is a biggie. And that giant school’s-out-for-summer exhale is not to be taken lightly. And with each extra person in the house, that exhale will be even bigger still because each one bounces off all the others, around and around and around, until it finds a safe place to land.

So I gave myself a break. And I told my friend Kami that I would share this because we both thought others might want to know that this behavior isn’t indicative of something being wrong with your kids or your parenting or your family as a whole, rather just a little school’s-out-off-gassing. Which is normal. And can be remedied by some downtime, a few trips to the library, and soaks in some cool, clear water.

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CONGRATULATIONS RACHEL!!! Send me your address and I’ll get this in the mail to you pronto!

We are back at home after a (mostly) delightful  road trip and visits with kith and kin up and down the east coast.  After putting over 50o0 miles on our van we returned home tired but happy to be back in our own beds with our own stuff. Woo-hoo!

And then just one day in,  just post suitcase emptying, the cries began from one who shall remain nameless,  “what are we gonna do…”

Then I remembered the books I was sent by my publisher to give away to a lucky winner! The first one so beautifully and simply named, The Book of Doing; everyday activities to unlock your creativity and joy by Allison Arden.

Allison didn’t start out to write a book, rather she set out to unleash her own creativity which she feared had become dormant in all the mindless running around that  filled her days. She wanted to reignite that childhood feeling of making and doing and did so by approaching all her tasks with an air of creativity.  Says Allison, “The Book of Doing will open your eyes and mind to the energizing possibilities that you may have once taken for granted.”

It is delightfully whimsical in its layout – with simple and fun line drawings and light-hearted fonts – the kind of layout that makes me want to just browse it’s pages with a sketchbook by my side for jotting down and drawing my inspirations. And this book is FILLED with them for little kids, grown ups and families too.

From very simple things like making a list of people you love and things you love to do and then encouraging you to fit them into your schedule to learning code to mailing some random object just for the fun of it, this book will provide endless ideas and motivations for doing. And it not only gives you suggestions and projects, it also encourages you to come up with fun ideas of your own with simple prompts and an inspiring list of the “laws of doing”.  It is the kind of book that every family and couple and individual should have prominently placed on their table during these dog days of summer.

This book is filled with love and joy and creativity and it is, frankly, the kind of book I wished I’d written myself. But since I didn’t, I’m sure glad that Allison Arden did because truly, a book like this can only improve the joy factor wherever it goes. Just a few minutes spent perusing its pages by both child and adult alike and all cries of “what am I gonna do??” by both kids and adults alike will be banished forever from your kingdom.

As a kid, when we would cry bored, my mom would say, “Write a letter, read a book. Read a book, write a letter.”  When my kids whine that there’s nothing to do I tell them, “Boredom is the key to your next big idea.”  Or, when I’m feeling particularly snarky I say, “Bored people are boring.”

To win this copy of The Book of Doing, tell me something your own parents would say when you whined that there was nothing to do. Or something you’ve said to your own children when they voice their own concerns over the lack of activities.

Then I’ll pick a lucky winner on Wednesday August 8th so you can have your very own copy in these waning days of summer.

 

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Summertime rules

Things change in summer. Bedtime hours vary. Schedules are more random. More books are read in a week than during a month of the school year. Even with our early rising for summer swim team, we don’t keep such an eye on bedtime because of the knowledge that a midday siesta is definitely a possibility. Life in general feels a little more spacious even when we are doing lots of things and seeing lots of people.

I think it’s partly the long hours of daylight that give us this spacious feeling. Or maybe it’s that we’re more in control of our unscheduled time because it doesn’t hold so much homework or so many meetings or fundraising obligations.

Splitrock Sum08 016

Maybe though it’s just an illusion. Which is fine with me, because illusion is part of reality anyway. And this illusion  should serve me once school starts back again in fall and I can take on this same spacious feeling.

I’m curious how others feel in the summer. I’m wondering whether this feeling is sort of universal or whether its a fabrication of my own mindset. Is it just that I relax more in these days? Or is there actually more time and space allotted? How does your summer feel? Does your family operate differently in the summer than during the school year?

Curiously yours,

Bernadette

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Free summer camp

A friend’s daughter is attending camp this summer for 3 full days a week for free. They have created a great thing they call Co-op camp and all the girls involved attend 4 days a week – 3 of them for free. Here’s how it works… Each family takes the girls 1 day a week. The other 3 days the girls go to a different house. The parent is responsible for creating some camp like activity for the girls either at home or somewhere out in the community.

So far, and only one week into summer break, they have roller skated, swam in a creek and biked at the town veloway. In the weeks to come they’ll do some sewing, bowling, definitely more swimming and who knows what other fun stuff. The total cost is up to the parent – free or a fee.

The cost benefits are obvious. The other benefit is that the kids are exploring their own town in a way that they might not have done if just left to their parents’ devices and they are getting to do it with friends – thereby avoiding the summer cries of “more friends!! For the parents, they are committing to spending one day each week solely dedicated to the pursuit of summer fun. Who doesn’t want that? And everyone is seeing their own town with a brand new lens.

So, if the cost and chaos of the pursuit of the ideal summer camp has got your worn out, consider co-op camp. I bet you can already think of a couple or a few parents you’d like to partner with on this.

 

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