|Alvin, the Bee Keeper|
Summer tends to intimidate me.
I feel this crushing pressure to make the season magical with campouts and homemade ice cream and fireworks and lightning bugs galore. Then there is the awesome garden that I will manage along with educational opportunities that I will craft. And, I will rest and recharge and be raring to go when fall arrives.
It's not too surprising when I burn myself out around the 4th of July.
It happens every year.
This year I decided to try a slightly different approach. It's not that I scaled back as much as I tried to be more intentional in what I did and recognize when I actually achieved a goal.
To begin with I made a list of all the things I wanted or needed to do this summer, a bucket list, if you will. I wrote it all down on two pieces of paper and duct taped them to my bathroom mirror. (I can never find normal tape when I need it! I don't mind using duct tape, though. As they say, "Duct tape is silver, silence is golden." )
* Math games and reading daily - Hahahaha hahahaha! Nope, that did not happen, self congratulating post in early June notwithstanding. My summer school program withered on the vine, just like my cantaloupe.
* Weekly Nature Hikes - My sides are too sore from laughing at the first point to be able to do this one justice. No, we did not go on weekly nature hikes. I tried not to step foot out of doors after the temperature hit 90. However, we have gone hiking at various nature trails all throughout the year and it has been tons of fun. I will definitely make the weekly hike a feature of my Autumn Goals. . . ha!
|The Pond at Turkey Mountain |
* Boys Shark Party - Now this one we actually did! It was so much fun to celebrate all three boys birthdays at my Mother-In-Law's house.
|Dee with his Shark Eye Roll|
|Aunt Brenda makes the most amazing cakes!|
|The Three Stooges|
* Family Vacation - This one was all Robert's idea. And it was a blast! Deathly hot, but a blast. We piled into the van, drove to Murfreesboro, Arkansas and dug for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park. It was epic! From the Heavener Runestone to the Spiro Mounds, through the Winding Stair Mountains into Southwest Arkansas, we visited a Civil War fort, swam at a water park, drank way too many orange sodas and got absolutely filthy. It was road trip heaven.
|Picture a vast field of volcanic ash|
|Imagine a band of intrepid prospectors in Civil War slouch caps|
|The heat index was 115, but that didn't deter Cy|
|We didn't find any diamonds, but I took home five jewels!|
* Vacation Bible School - We did get to participate in VBS this year. The kids had a great time learning about wisdom. The highlight of the week was playing kickball with slip'n'slides and wading pools as the bases.
* Swimming Lessons - My gracious and generous Father-In-Law insisted that the children take swimming lessons this year. So, for two weeks Cy, Dee, Alvin and Elle ventured forth to our instructor's house ALL BY THEMSELVES. That was huge for me. I'm so thankful for all they learned. Elle has morphed from a tick that clung to my legs to a little dogfish bobbing around in her floaties. Alvin and Dee both made huge strides in swimming independently. It was definitely worth it.
* Library Program - I managed to haul my brood to several of the library events this summer, but not near as many as we used to. But that is okay. I did just enough to check it off my list. Everyone earned their summer reading coupons, which was awesome. But half the coupons wound up lost, which was tragic.
* Shakespeare In The Park - We didn't actually go to this. And that was a win. After a hectic week, we really needed to just be still and rest. We had a quiet night at home and watched Star Trek. Boo-yah!
*Symphony In The Park and Old Fashioned Picnic - We weren't entirely uncultured swine, though. We made the Symphony which is a free event at the Gutherie Greens every year. The kids love orchestral music! Especially when it's a fun program with plenty of Disney songs. Cold fried chicken with grapes and Triscuits are magical when packed into a wicker picnic basket.
* Bowling - Every year I sign us up for Kids Bowl Free and every year we only bowl once. On Alvin's birthday. And speaking of Alvin's birthday, it was a fun packed day. It was non stop action all day long. And it was very low cost. First we met up with several families for a Nature Hike at Oxley's Nature Center. Then we stopped at the park for sandwiches and to play in the water. After that we met some more friends to go bowling. After bowling we all went for fried pies at Fulton's Pies and Pies in Broken Arrow. One more stop at WalMart for a Star Wars cake and we finished the day at Wednesday Night services with our church family.
|This is one sticky, tired six year old.|
* Movie Marathon - We watched Gods and Generals and Gettysburg to go with our Civil War summer.
* Read Aloud - We read Rifles For Watie on the porch swing all summer long. Cy is plotting how he will write a sequel someday. A great book that blends Civil War with Oklahoma and Indian history. I love this story!
* Stock Up On School Supplies - Note to self, Dollar Tree is NOT the cheapest place to but notebooks and pencils. But, at least I got it done!
* Clean House - Define "clean" . . . I did utilize some old diaper boxes to organize my pantry
* Birthday Camp Out - Dear Sons, I am so sorry that the promised camp out never materialized. I had the best of intentions, I really did. But the plain truth is, I pooped out. However, I promise that each one of you did have fun and do something special on your birthday. Here is the proof:
|Discovery Museum on Dee's birthday, a la library reading coupons|
|Slide made of packing tape|
|Mt. Rushmore LEGO sculpture.|
|Beware the Ides of March!|
|Grandma Joan reads the best stories!|
|"Sugar Daddy" accompanied us to the zoo.|
|Grandma Kimball gave Alvin this fan that belonged to my dad. He was tickled to own an "invention" made by the grandfather he will never get to meet.|
* Planned Days of Doing Nothing - There were about three . . . No, really, there was plenty of down time for important things like,
Standing Up For A Cause We Believe In
|#drawthelinechallenge to end abortion|
And some really awesome naps!
So, that's our summer in a nutshell. There was nothing really fancy. No Disney World. Just lots of simple and low cost fun. I hope it generated many memories.
I know I treasured every moment.
I really enjoyed writing my goals down and having them where I could see them every day. It helped me not forget about some of the important events. In the throes of VBS I could look at my list and say, "Oh yes, this is really important to me. I am accomplishing something that I value. Here it is on my list." Same thing when we hit a day where we did absolutely nothing. Instead of wondering if I should be up and doing I just looked up at my list and said, "Nope, I'm right on plan."