We have hit the halfway point of our summer vacation (or close to it) and I am ready to send my kids back to school! I love them to death, but we are having a slightly hard time getting along in this house right now.
It is always difficult to fill your kids’ summer schedules if you are a mother or father who stays at home with your kids. The trips to the pool and parks only go so far. Hanging with the neighbors outside gets boring in the hot sun. This is especially true if you have promised to do your best to not spend extra money the entire month of July. I cannot tell a lie. It has been hard. When I hear about fun events like concerts, or friends going out to eat, or see sales at my favorite garden center, it hits me pretty hard sometimes. It is only July 17th and there have been countless times that I would have filled the back of my car with plants or gone out to eat at the restaurant because I didn’t have a meal planned.
But it does not take me long to turn my reasoning around. The “hardship” of not purchasing the things I want or treating myself to a snack or meal out is EXACTLY what I need to experience. As soon as I get over the initial let down, I remind myself how happy I am going to be at the end of the month that I have not spent that money. Sure, I have a list of things to purchase August 1st, and I will spend that money when I get there, but in the meantime I am reconditioning myself to not give in to the little temptations and not eat out at my every whim.
I was right when I told you guys that this was going to turn into a weight loss adventure too! I did, indeed, weigh myself July 1st when my blog challenge started. In the 17 days since, I have lost 8 pounds. EIGHT POUNDS. My weight loss diet??? No candy, no eating out, drinking lots of water and keeping busy with LOTS of physical activity.
The kids and I have walked to the library several times and enjoy running a 5K twice a week (they ride their bikes). There has been huge progress in my house remodel now that I am not out shopping for new projects to begin. My yard and garden have also gotten a lot of TLC. If you know what it is like to truly overhaul and redesign a yard, you know it is one of the best workouts you can get. No need for a gym membership!
Don’t get me wrong, I have not been perfect. I wish I could report that I have not spent a dime other than on groceries, but there have been a couple of little purchases. I spent just under $30 on some fertilizer for my tomatoes that are not growing properly and some soil and mulch. I had to move several plants around to prepare my garden for its second planting this season, and it “couldn’t” wait until August. I decided I already put too much time and effort into it to let the garden go to crap because of a silly blog challenge (not to undermine what I am doing here!). I had to purchase screws for part of the master bath remodel. Again, not worth stopping me in my tracks for a couple bucks. My kids have used their own money to buy ice cream and my husband (who is helping me, but never claimed to take the same vow) went flying twice this month in a Cessna to get up to date with his private pilot license.
All in all, I am VERY happy with our progress. But there is no denying that we are bored. Every day, no, every hour, I am asked the question “what can we do?” “where can we go?” or told “there’s nothing to do!” I reached my limit today! Instead of yell and separate my older kids to their rooms, I decided we needed a solution. We settled on creating a summer schedule.
I N-E-E-D schedules and so do my kids. Well, I think most kids do. Not because I’m crazy OCD and everything has to be a certain way. Instead, it’s quite the opposite. I need a schedule because without one I am lost. My brain is so haywire that I cannot concentrate on what to do or what was done, or what I am doing. I cannot focus.
I had the kids brainstorm the things they want to do on a daily basis, or need to do, like read. I also encouraged them to write down things we could do once a week that were more special. I had to throw in things like spending time with their brother/sister, and chores, but for the most part they came up with all the ideas.
Each child has their own schedule. They have common activities, as well as mandatory sibling time. Reading time, library time, TV, video games, chores, activities (pool, beach, park…), summer assignments (me telling them to do something like write a book report on their most recently read book)…well, you can take a look at them yourself. There are still a couple of blanks, but we are still ironing out the details of my youngest’ schedule.
It helped so much today! I think the biggest impact is that when they wanted to know what to do, it was not ME telling THEM what to do. It was a piece of paper that had all the ideas on it that THEY came up with. Kids are so much more willing to do things when it is their own idea and they are not being told what to do! I am not going to be Mommy Dearest about sticking to the schedule. Times are not exact and the kids know there is plenty of flexibility if we decide there is something else to do, or if something unexpected pops up.
I am really looking forward to seeing how this plays out over the next week.