Oh how I love summer! I love not having to be places at a specific time. I love having time to learn things with my kids and help them work on their goals. I love the long cool evenings when all the neighborhood kids are playing happily together until it gets dark. I love all the great events that are always going on all around us in Ogden, making it so that there's something exciting to do any time we feel like venturing beyond our neighborhood.
After a busy, busy amazing time in Europe, it's so nice to take a few weeks to just sort of go with the flow. The kids and I made a "bucket list" of things that we'd like to do this summer and we've been going on our "must-do's" to keep everyone reading and writing and helping with housework and getting physical exercise every day (see all about that here). So we do have some structure to our days and some plans. But the kids can do all their "must-do's" in a couple hours so there's plenty of time to play with friends in the neighborhood and just sort of hang out.
I'm finding that I can get a couple of hours of Power of Moms work in each day at some point - but I'm deliberately not planning on exactly when I'll work. So far it seems like quiet times naturally occur each day when the kids are off playing with friends or building a fort in the backyard or working on their "must-do's" and I can work during these times. I've had a few times I need to head into my room and do a phone call or record a podcast, but that has slipped quite nicely into our days w/o being a big deal. I'm really focusing on my "word" for this year - Enjoy. I want to soak in these great kids of mine and follow their lead more often and spend more time being by spending less time doing.
Of course, we're only one week into summer so who knows how I'll feel about everything in a couple weeks. But so far, so good (other than the inevitable moments of kids bugging each other and everyone needing something from me at the same time on occasion).
Anyway, here are a few of the things we've done so far (mostly unplanned - just things that felt like a good thing to do at the time - good mix of fun and getting stuff done - in a no-pressure fun way):
- Weeded the big patch of weeds in the back corner of our yard (everyone worked together and the kids had a good time seeing how nicely the roots of the huge weeds slipped out of the ground thanks to the rain)
- Took a couple kids out to special lunches to celebrate their great grades this past quarter and really enjoy some one-on-one time (I've still got some lunch dates to do - I so love one-on-one time with these kids!)
- Had a good meeting with my dad to brainstorm how to best market the Joy School 2.0 lesson plans I've been helping with all year and that we'll now be offering on Power of Moms (check it out here if you want). So excited to get this great program upgraded and shared with a new generation.
- Cleaned out closets (put away school uniforms for the summer and cleaned out stuff that is too small or stained)
- Stumbled across a big-deal tree climbing competition at the park down the street - serious stuff as these guys from different power companies and tree trimming companies competed against each other in different events from seeing who could climb a set tree and ring a bell at the top the fastest to seeing who could climb straight up a 50-foot rope from a tree limb using a special sort of knot they had to do. My kids LOVE climbing trees (especially the twins) so they were totally into watching. Plus they liked the key chains and baseball hats that a chainsaw manufacturing company was giving away.
- Went to a really great concert at the Ogden amphitheater - the first in a brand new series of Ogden Twilight Concerts. Watched two great bands and enjoyed a fun concert atmosphere with all the kids (while poor Jared attended meetings - but luckily there will be another concert next week and he'll be able to join us!)
- Learned to make gelato (see post with details about that here).
- Watched a newborn for a friend and learned all about babies (she's been wanting to add "experienced with newborns" to the flier she's making to help her get more babysitting jobs). Eliza became a pro at feeding and burping and soothing and changing and Oliver and Silas were quite enamored with the little guy. Then Isaac rocked him to sleep. Oh, there's nothing like snuggling a newborn! And there's nothing like seeing your older kids dote on a sweet little baby.
- Ashton finished making a whole series of awesome videos about our time in Italy (you can see them here). I think he's pretty darn talented and he captured a lot of great stuff I didn't think to capture. Plus he made a great video about our time in the orphanages in Bulgaria. (He shared that here.)
- Isaac had a friend teach him to juggle and now he's working on juggling WHILE riding his unicycle. I told him he'd better get a clown costume.
- Cleaned out all the cardboard boxes in the basement (how in the world did we get so many down there?) and the kids built a big fort in the playroom with them.
- Eliza, Isaac and a friend spent a whole afternoon building a great brick patio area with bricks laid in a nice pattern in the back of our yard using a bunch of old bricks we've had piled up forever (it was going to be the floor of a fort but then they thought it would work better as a patio)
- Oliver and Silas had about 100 Nerf wars with their buddies in the neighborhood and after saving up for a long time, they were finally able to purchase their own nice Nerf guns so they wouldn't have to borrow from friends anymore (a couple friends have a whole arsenal but having your own gun is just way more special. When we got back from the store with their new guns, they were SO excited to show their friends and when I tucked them in bed that night, they said thanks for taking them to the store again and again and said "this is almost the best day of our whole lives!") I've never been a fan of guns and didn't really let the older boys have guns but seeing these neighborhood boys have so much creative fun with their totally harmless and totally non-realistic-looking Nerf guns won me over.
- Ashton spearheaded a great Nerf war video with all the neighborhood boys (you can watch it here). Loved seeing the big boys and little boys working together all day.
- Went to a really big and super interesting and fun classic car show downtown - just wandered on down the street and found like 300 cars - beautifully restored old cars - some 100 years old, creative mash-up cars, muscle cars, cars with amazingly huge fins, cars with crazy and beautiful paint jobs, super low cars, super high cars, interesting stuff!