Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Homestretch....Summer's Coming

This morning finds me, not at Panera with the anticipation of Maria’s mocha, but at the end of my dining room table surrounded by, well, not junk, but it looks pretty war torn-- as far as dining room tables go.  Magazine clippings, scraps of paper with musicians I want to download, paint swatches, Julia’s unfinished breakfast from the car, glue stick, stapler, scissors, loose papers with dates that need to be put in the computer, lists that need to be simplified, a site plot for the house, articles I want to read {Piper and Ali-- THANK YOU for sharing your story!}, the infamous to do list -- and sadly, no coffee yet.  I keep telling myself-- in a minute.  It won’t be created by Maria but the consolation?  It’s free.  Kind of.  So my mind is a bit like how my table looks.  Scattered-- and loose things everywhere.  Nothing nailed down.  Things that need to be settled, “framed”, but I can’t seem to do it.

I have confessed a few times, I don’t multi-task well.  I feel almost like I am admitting to some crime because the ability to M-T is so greatly valued in our world.  Like you, I am forced to, but I don’t like it.  For a few days, my brain has been going from one end of the “matter” spectrum to the other-- from exterior home colors to how can I make the most of the kid’s summer, from where in the world are the kid’s summer clothes to planning several significant talks/dates with Julia over the next few months, from which cabinetry can I do without to training and disciplining Brighton in a way that reaches his heart-- not just his behavior, from Charles Martin's new book coming out just in time for summer to my place at our new church.  Oh, and what’s for dinner?  Yes, and when is that date night with Jeff?  Only after we feel like we’ve had enough family time this week-- and when will that be because it’s baseball season and extra ballet rehearsals for my little munchkin in the Wizard of Oz?  And we want to finish school strong and that clever book we started after Christmas.  And I don’t want to lose touch with people because people are what make this life matter.  This list could go on and on but my niece, Hunter, comes to mind at the moment, ending her time of high school with significant weekends to finish out her month of May.  And I am a thousand miles away.

You feel it, too.  It’s the end of April......heading into the home stretch of May..... and into the summer months which we all feel will bring us the margin we need.  White spaces on the calendar.  Mornings to sleep in.  Time to read great books.  Dinner around the table-- all of us.  Hot days to make popsicles.  Time to ENJOY our kids.  But come August, we are all scratching our heads wondering where did the summer go?  Exactly the same place August through May goes.

Brighton is all about the schedule, time, beginnings and endings {Actually, thinking about eternity in heaven “creeps [him] out” -- and I know just the reason-- there is no “end” and that does not compute in his mind.  He does not get the point if there is no goal, no finish line.}  Well, my time guy has already asked enough questions this month to figure out how many days off from school he has in his near future.  88 days.

As I said I am not a multi-tasker, but I am a planner.  I’ve had enough summers with my kids now to know that all my grandiose ideas and all my good intentions go nowhere without a plan.  So that’s what I do now-- I will pick the 3 most important things to happen with the kids this summer and figure out a way to make those happen.  First, I begin by taking that 88 days and whittling it down to how many we will actually be at home without an agenda.  Subtract vacations, summer camps, VBS’s, out of town company.... and whoa, there are only a few weeks left without a serious schedule.    Knowing this helps me keep things do-able.

This will shock you, I know, but we always have reading incentives in the summer.  When the kids get out of school in a few weeks, I will take them to 2 or 3 places, like the library, Half Price Books, Barnes & Nobles, and have the employee explain the program to Julia and Brighton-- to issue the challenge. This seems to be more effective..... for one of my children.  Because Brighton is Brighton, I will offer the extra incentive to double the reward of the place of business. ex-- like if B&N offers a free book, I will purchase him a second one of his choosing or if HPB is offering a gift card, I will double it and he can spend it on whatever he chooses at HPB.  Julia, on the other end of the reading spectrum, is thrilled to be rewarded for doing something she loves.  I also set up a “bonus reading” chart.  I have them set a goal over the business’ programs and if they meet that goal, they end the summer with a special friend over to spend the night.  And just for fun, my kids still love picture books so I am committing to having new ones from the library all summer.  I will mostly choose non-fiction historical books but will certainly throw in some fictional fun.  A simple breakfast {muffins, bagels, fruit etc} on the couch with picture books is a favorite reading time for us.

Again, like the mess on my table, I have many more ideas floating around I am trying to choose from to nail down as my next 2 goals for the summer.  I am praying that He will show me what is most important.  I will have a personal goal for each child-- how I want to engage with them individually and I will talk to them about things they’d like to do or accomplish and go from there.  

As I think and pray through this for another 3-4 weeks, I’d love to hear some of your plans-- how you engage your kids in the summer, fun traditions, goals for your time with them.  I hope to let you know my plans as they come.

Sidenote 1 {I feel this whole post is a sidenote.}: The Anderson kids were with us last weekend and the oldest, Atlee, saw me swatting the fruit flies and told me that her mom, Nikki, had made this:

Of course she did.

A fruit fly trap----Just put a small piece of fruit at the bottom and some rolled up paper in the spout and somehow, they don't know how to get back out.

I am sure Nik’s was way cuter- as everything she owns is, but it works!  You probably have seen it on Pinterest, but in case you haven’t and in case you hate those pesky little flies, you should try it!

Sidenote 2:  As for the music I wanted to download-- if you care-- so far, I chose Christa Wells’ {BIG fan!!}  collaboration with Nicole Witt called “More Than Rubies” and JJ Heller’s new release “Loved”.  Wonderful gals, lovely lyrics.

And if you made it to here--  thanks for hanging with me.  I can’t believe I just wrote two pages from this discombobulated mind of mine....

And by the way, that is the first time I have ever typed “discombobulated”.

All done, but it made this mess in front of me MUCH more bearable.


Sarah said...

Loved hearing your thoughts. Your summer plans sound great, but it sounds like you might need to multitask to get it all done ;)

nikki said...

for the record- you're trap is cuter than mine- a topo bottle- who knew???? and a new charles m?? wow, what would i do without your blog?? love you!

Emily said...

Okay, the reason that you feel inept at multi tasking is because our brains were not designed to do so. Sadly, we live in a society that values so many things we were not created to do. Also, where is this summer of which you speak. All I see is a dreary day in MAY! Where is spring even??? Oh well, perfect day to be stuck in bed. :)