A Tale of Two Summers

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It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.  A time of wonder and adventure, and often the time you think you might pull your hair out if you even as much as hear a whisper of the dreaded words, “I’m booorrred….”

Last summer I took on summer like a proper household CEO would. Before April was over I had file folders with various activities for each child. I had registration forms completed, camps paid for, vacations scheduled, Harkin’s summer movie passes purchased, library books on hold. I was ready to face summer with my arsenal of events and fun.   My iCal was set to remind me of the fun walks we would take and the perfect moments I had orchestrated.

Last summer, I nearly died.

I spent so many hours carting around kids from one VBS to another singing camp, to recreational swim team.  I cut play dates short to make it to movie times- our summer was ANYTHING but lazy.  Sure, the kids had a blast, and they didn’t even have time to be bored…but there wasn’t much time for relaxing or lounging or pitching a tent in the back yard.

Everything was scheduled.

So this year I decided to take a different approach.  I have no folders, no registrations completed, no camps.  I don’t really have any plans.  And…I kinda like it.  We’ve already had three lazy swim days, set up our princess tent in the backyard, eaten way  too many popsicles, and played at least 60 rounds of Uno and Hang Man.

We have mastered the art of lazy.

I’ll admit I’ve seen the haze of bordem pass over my kids eyes, that’s when they get to tackle a creative writing project, or read one of the books we got at the library (hey, this year we had TIME to go to the library!!!), or just play pretend.

I do have a few goals of things we will do this summer- places to visit, day trips to Sedona or Flagstaff- exploring our own backyard, if you will.  But my approach is much more, well, relaxed…. And after all isn’t that what summer is supposed to be about?

Practical Parenting Tip

One thing we’ve started at the suggestion of a friend is building a rock garden.  Several years back we began taking time at each trip (camping, visit to grandmas, Disneyland, etc.) to find a rock. The kids get to paint or color with Sharpies the rock (Mom usually makes one too!) – we make sure to label it with the date and place and add it to our colorful outdoor rock garden.  Kids love to remember the places we have been and it’s a very simple, fun, and cheap tradition to capture memories with your kids.

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Noelle Larson is a mom still searching to find the “balance” between her spiritual journey, family, ambition, inner peace, world peace…all while trying not to blink so she doesn’t miss one minute of her beautiful, messy life.  Noelle writes at metromom.org where she journals her crazy days chasing after her kids and husband, deep thoughts, and captures her latest adventures.

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