Ready or Not, the End of Summer is Here!

Seems like yesterday that the days were getting longer, the school year was wrapping up, and all my dreams and aspirations about the coming summer were just around the corner. For some, it means kids are home all day which can be positive or negative, depending on perspective or situation. For me, my kids are home all day every day, but during the summer I don’t have to spend hours teaching and grading papers.

Summers are usually time for me to catch up on all the things I can’t get done during the school year: decluttering closets, deep cleaning, trying some new recipes, house projects, going to the pool, time with friends, and sleeping.

Here is what DIDN'T happen

• I have an old hutch in my garage which I was hoping to paint, but there it sits, untouched.

• I didn’t try any new recipes and got baking done only when I needed to for company arriving. I had hoped to try out some new, healthier recipes, but instead I ate too many sweets and chips which were around because we had company most of the summer.

• Decluttering will have to be done on a smaller scale as I can find slices of time, although we finally donated the hundreds of VHS tapes which we accumulated over the years. Although they were great movies, it was time to let go; our VHS player no longer works.

• No major house projects were accomplished, just the “must fix the broken…” kind of projects. Hundreds of wasps showed up in our great room the weekend we had 21 people sleeping at our home. I guess our attic was the perfect home until they burrowed a hole in the 24 foot ceiling of our great room, leading to one of those must tend to now kind of projects for this summer. We found the shop vac to be very useful for capturing them!

• Going to the pool was at an all-time low because I just couldn’t fit any more in my days. Sleep? Well, I certainly could have used more of that.

If I didn’t do any of those things, what DID I do all summer??

• Hosted mainly. We had teenagers at my house most days. Teens coming and going, joining us for dinner, taking showers, hanging out with my teens, games, and watching movies.

• Hosted neighbor kids, coming and going, picking the wild raspberries (and 2 outbreaks of what appeared to be from poison ivy as a result), strawberries, and our small crop of blackberries. Kids played in our tree fort, making grass soup, corn (pine cones), and various other creations. They rode bikes, Ripstiks, scooters, and the electric car that my old neighbor gave us four years ago as we were moving. If it had an odometer, it would have a lot of miles on it.

• Hosted family. My son and daughter-in-law have come and gone, living with us for periods of time during transitions this summer. My parents drove all the way across the country to spend a good part of the summer here. We only get to see them once a year, so we value that time. We got to spend over a week with my brother and his family when they came to visit. It had been a long 6 years since my kids had seen their cousins, so friendships were formed and great times were had.

• We also had the blessing of having my son, daughter-in-law and 2 grandkids visit. We hadn’t see our grandkids since Christmas, so it was like meeting the first time for my 12-month-old granddaughter.

• We embarked on our biggest family vacation yet when we headed west for my oldest son’s wedding. Getting my family across the country is no small feat, but seeing some of Utah, Idaho, Yellowstone, and Montana will never be forgotten. The wedding was beautiful and we gained one more wonderful family member.

• Scrapbooking. I set the bar way too high when I had far fewer children. Like so many others, my husband was the youngest in his family and there are very few photos of his childhood. I am determined to have scrapbooks for all my children, even if they are more simplified. Thankfully, my mom has helped me for the last few years when she comes to visit in the summer. This year was no exception, so we quickly got caught up on that. I only scrapbook once or twice per year, so we have to work very fast!

• Birthdays. We celebrated 7 of my kids’ birthdays, my nephew's, my mom’s, mine and 2 of my teens' friend’s birthdays. Next week there is one more to celebrate. Thankfully, everyone is fine with homemade cakes, not so fancy, but they taste good.

• Throw in a week of vacation Bible school at church, a Spartan race, and a company picnic to summarize our summer’s highlights.

• But the biggest accomplishment this summer was the completion of my book. During late nights, long days between company, and slices of time whenever I could grab them, I completed the biggest project I have ever undertaken. Many days I wanted to quit. Going into the summer I was wrapping up my final edits, but there were many hurdles yet to jump over to get this book finished.

This book started to form in my head 16 years ago and 5 years ago I started putting things down on paper as I began writing and teaching parenting classes. The content was life changing for those in my class. Here is some feedback from my class:

“The impact of what you have shared has had and will continue to have impact for generations.”

“Parenting classes often make me feel overwhelmed or like a failure. This one didn’t. Instead it was very encouraging.”

“I am so thankful for what I have learned! I was definitely a mom who hated to get up each day because it was so hard and stressful, but now I truly look forward to my girls waking me up and I’ve found the joy of motherhood again.”

Those comments and the people who wrote them encouraged me to get this content into a book so they can read it again and share it with others. This book is everything I wish I had when I embarked on parenthood. It is lessons learned as I navigated this imperfect parenting journey, not theory, but real stories and practical ideas.

As school is starting, it is time to reset. Put what didn’t get done during the summer behind you and embrace those moments and things you did well. Then as you begin this fall, let me come along side you. Pick up Parenting Sensibly: Turning messes into successes while you are waiting in the school pick up line or at your kid’s practice, a doctor’s office, or before bed. Even though the chapters are short, the content is rich and will give you food for thought until you get another 5-10 minutes to read the next chapter. Go to www.parentingsensibly.com and sign up to receive updates. I will let you know as soon as my book is available in Oct. 2017!

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