Summer is officially here.
I must say that even though I normally love the arrival of summer, this year I have had mixed feelings about it.
I love summer because there is no more school schedule, homework, full days of school, sports, church activities, and trying to cram in some family time.
It is nice to be able to be the one in charge of the schedule and to have as much time was we want for fun things.
I have been nervous though, because of this pregnancy, of how I am going to handle all of the kids home all day, and the extra chaos it could potentially bring, along with my extra fatigue.
On Sunday, I decided to sit down and type out a schedule for our family for the summer. I made a daily schedule for me and the kids, as well as a summer schedule with our vacations, day trips, and fun activities.
On Monday night for FHE, I presented the schedule to the family. I taped it all up on our wall, which I call the "command station" where we can all see it and follow it.
Today has been the first trial run, and it is been wonderful! It is eased a lot of my anxiety and worry about bored kids, complaining, and chaos. It made me excited for summer!
The kids woke up today and made their beds and straightened up their rooms. No complaining, and no nagging. They just did it, because they knew that was the requirement every morning from now on, this summer. I usually do this for them on school days, because the rush to make it to the bus does not allow time for those things. It was so nice to not have to worry about that this morning!
We had breakfast, and then the kids knew that we all had to do jobs. There was no complaining as we did household chores and set our home in order for the day. Mary and Sam unloaded the dishwasher in 1/2 the time it takes me! I didn't even have to run up and down the stairs numerous times to put away clean laundry. I had 4 runners ready to go, once I folded it all.
They just knew that after a few jobs each, it would soon be play time, so they didn't seem to mind.
The kids sports this summer are all in the morning as well. (Karate, tumbling, cheer, and a couple weeks of swim lessons in July) So, the kid that is doing their sport, gets of out chores for that day. No big deal, there are still plenty of helpers at home.
Then it was off to the gym, and by the time we were home, the kids knew that they could now play with friends. They played with friends, got dirty, ate popsicles, and lived the summer life of a kid. I even went out and chatted with some of my friends who were also outside for a while. I didn't feel pressure to be inside straightening up the house and catching up on chores. It was all done, and it felt wonderful.
Then, we all came in for lunch, and I put Luke down for a nap. No complaining or looks of shock when I told the kids they all had to come in for some reading and quiet time. They just knew that was next on the schedule. I don't know if the lack of complaining will continue to last, but it sure has been refreshing today!
I read to them from our book club book for the month, Matilda. (all of the neighborhood moms are reading the same book to their kids each month, and at the end of the month, we watch the movie from the book outside on a big screen in someone's yard) I LOVE this idea! Our neighborhood is so fun with stuff like this.
I hate to admit this, but I rarely read to my older kids, if it is not our usual scripture reading. They usually read on their own. I look at books most days with Luke and William when Mary and Sam are in school.
It was really fun to read to them, and to see them so into the book. I am a big reader and have always loved to read, and it brought me a lot of joy to see my kids enjoying the book so much, and to have that time to snuggle with them.
They did their own thing for the rest of quiet time, and now some of them are back out playing and some are still hanging out inside.
The time between quiet time and dinner time is the kids choice. They can either play more with friends, do the extra jobs that they can earn money from, do an activity around town with me (like the brag tag summer program, go to the park, get snow cones, etc) or they can stay inside and escape the heat with their pregnant momma.
When Ben gets home, it is dinner and family time, baths, scripture, prayer and bed.
The schedule isn't packed too tight and managed by the minute, but it just lets us all know what we will be doing for chunks of time throughout the day. It gives the kids plenty of play time to enjoy friends and summer, but it also gives them time to come inside, unwind, read, do projects or whatever. It also gives me some much needed help with household chores. With everyone's help for 30 minutes each day, it really goes a long way.
It also makes sure that have good family time, as well as time to do fun summer activities in the afternoon together around town, or even here at home. It forces me to get out with the kids, read to them, and remember that even though it is easy to let them romp around all day with friends, while I do my own thing inside, I am still their mother, they still need me, and we can all benefit from good, fun time together, and a schedule to follow to keep us all grounded and not too crazy and chaotic.
We have a few fun vacations planed this summer as well, a California trip, a couple Birthday's (tomorrow actually), some fun 4th of July plans involving family, boating, fireworks, and fun, my sister's wedding in August, Lagoon, and things here and there to look forward to, and to make memories with.
Then we will end it all with the arrival of our sweet baby girl a few weeks after school starts up again in September.
I think it is going to be a great summer!