Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Preparing for Summer ~ part 2

I began what I refer to as Summertime planning several years ago. When my three oldest kids were young, I remember wanting the summer months to look different than the rest of the year even before my kids were in school. I set out to create some plans so that we could enjoy the outdoors and as many water activities as possible.

As my kids grew, the planning had more to do with me, than the kids. During the school year I had a routine. Once the kids are home for summer or finished with their homeschooling, my days (or routine) changed. And I found when I didn't have a plan, I became easily frustrated.

My plans have changed a bit each year as the ages, abilities, and needs of my kids change. We also now live in a very seasonal climate, so the need to take advantage of the warm weather is crucial. Below is a list of things that I have prepared for the summer in order to make the most of our time together, the warm weather, and my kids being home.

But before you think I am some kind of crazy person, let me also tell you that I am a lover of spontaneity. Some of the best times have been very spontaneous. But in order to take advantage of the unexpected or the last minute invitation for fun, I find that having a plan only makes those times all the more fun. Notice that I have not called this our summer schedule but rather a summer plan. A schedule sounds rigid and not so fun, but a plan just says to myself, if nothing else, I have a plan.

  • Spending time with the Lord ~ The kids being home from school changes the morning routine and it would be easy to miss my time in the Word. But this is the season I need it most. So, getting up early and spending time with the Lord is a one of my first priorities. I am not attending or teaching a bible study through the summer, so personal study time is necessary. Last year, I tried having my quiet time mid-morning and it just didn't work.

  • Menus ~ I have planned my meals for the entire summer. Basically, I have about fifteen meals or so that I just repeat. Super easy, super simple meals. Lots of grilling, sandwiches, easy salads and fresh fruits and vegetables. Last week we began the six week marathon of baseball and softball games four nights a week. I don't have to think about what's for dinner. Again, this is not rigid. If we are invited out, or we want to have someone over, we will adjust accordingly. I have learned I don't want to think about what's for dinner or be running to the store. I buy differently in the summer so that I am not at the grocery store very much. My freezer is full of prepared meals and meats that just need to be added to something. The past couple of years I often felt that my kitchen had a revolving door. So to help with the feeling that I stand in the kitchen all day making sandwiches and controlling the consumption of snacks, we are going to try something new. (I will let you know how it goes)

  • Housework ~ Throughout the school year my kids have simple chores that they are responsible for. Most have to do with their own rooms, taking out the trash, and dishes. But during the summer months I completely involve the kids in keeping everything done. We take time each day to work together and everyone has their own Google calendar set up with what they are responsible for that day. It will only take about fifteen minutes and maybe thirty on Saturday mornings. It is also my opportunity to show them how much work goes into caring for a home and how to do certain things properly.

Just in case you have some image that my home is sitting in perfect order waiting to receive my children for a summer filled with sunshine and fun, let me assure you that as I look to tomorrow (the last day of school), I might be tempted to scream, "I am not ready." Perfection is not my goal, but rather an environment that allows me to enjoy the season. They will be home on Friday, and there will still be several loads of laundry that I haven't finished folding, dust that I have not touched, closets that haven't been cleaned out and floors that need to be mopped. But I have five kids all day to myself for almost three months...and I plan to enjoy them.

to be continued...


Amie said...

LOVE "Perfection is not my goal, but rather an environment that allows me to enjoy the season." I honestly just felt okay about my house because of that - thank you!

I often feel the need to quote you...why is that? You have such a beautiful way of writing.

Anonymous said...

You are a Proverbs kind of mother. I know- we always hear about the Proverbs wife, but if there was a description of the Proverbs mother, it would read something like "she prepares the summer for her children". Good job! Can I be your kid this summer??

Anonymous said...

I'm with Momzie, I want to be your kid this summer too!! Very cool mommy you are!!!

Jenileigh said...

Oh to be so organized!

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

I need to copy you...on ALL of it! :) Thanks so much for sharing your life, and keeping it real!