Category Archives: summer

Our Summer Guidelines

I’m just going to admit it. These summer guidelines are mostly for me.

Since summer days tend to vary, I’m calling them guidelines as opposed to rules. And because, I don’t want to make my days overly complicated I’m keeping them simple.  More than a few might revolve around food. If you live with teenagers, you’ll get it.

No fancy pictures or printable here. Just my plans to attempt to have a bit of sanity this summer. Maybe my simplified plan will give you a few ideas or please, feel free to share some with me.

Our Summer Guidelines:

  • Take a shower and get ready for the day within 30 minutes of waking.
  • Eat breakfast within an hour of waking. Everyone is on their own for this meal.
  • Lunch is at noon (more or less, this timing is hard to perfect). Eat what I prepare or be on your own.
  • Dinner is between 5:30 and 7:00p.m.
  • All dishes returned to the kitchen before you go to bed (my oldest is actually really good about doing this one already)
  • No staying up all night during the week, in rooms by midnight
  • Teenagers plan and prepare one family meal a week
  • Mom is not the maid. If you make a mess, clean it up! Ask for help, if needed.
  • One family together activity a week. (Maybe an outing, maybe just a board game night)
  • Complete practicing of musical instruments prior to 10:30p.m. (This one may be J specific)


What you might notice I’ve left off my guidelines: any semblance of trying to limit screen time or force my kids to read.  I’ve noticed if I leave them to their own devices, they have interests pulling them on and off the screens. Drawing, music, going outside to visit neighborhood friends (or driving off with friends to go hang out) often pull them away from the screens. They tend to read more if I don’t insist that they do it. Perhaps they take after their mother (a bit) with rebellious personalities.

What summer guidelines do you follow?


Another Summer Break Ends Today

The boys’ summer break ends today.

summer break

Tomorrow I’ll be sending off a 7th grader and high school junior to start yet another school year.

I laughed a bit when this memory popped up on my face book feed this morning:

I asked the boys what they wanted to do on the last day of Summer Vacation.  Answer: STAY HOME!

I have no doubt the answer today will be similar if not the same.

How We’re Spending The Last Day of Summer Break:

Currently:  The boys are still sleeping. It’s not quite 10:00a.m.  Should make for an interesting morning tomorrow when they have to leave the house at about 7:10a.m. and 7:30a.m.  I just don’t have the heart to wake them up today.

Honestly, I’m only awake and moving thanks to an early morning ornery cat (6:00a.m.), followed by an 8:15a.m. call from a teacher asking me to work. I’ve decided to make chocolate chip muffins, from a mix, before waking the boys. I figure a special breakfast today will taste better than a half-awake serving tomorrow.

How We’ll Spend Today:

J will probably be on every screen he can find bouncing around the house. My grand plans to find a place to take him swimming fell through a bit with the weather although I may still push for it later in the afternoon/evening hours. Perhaps we’ll just get out the water balloons.  I definitely will insist he spends some time out in the daylight so he’ll (maybe) go to sleep easier tonight.

G plans to spend the day doing his AP summer homework. You know the things the teachers assign back in May to be ready on the first day of school.  I don’t judge as that’s exactly how I did things as a high school student although I don’t recall any of this “summer homework” nonsense.  Do kids that actually do this stuff before the last week of summer exist?

I conceded to go work for just a couple of hours this afternoon.  I will have to take a minute during that time to call the middle school as J’s schedule needed adjustment and the 7th grade principal (really liked her based on our phone call!) gave me quite specific directions on what to do about it.  I’m quite certain they will be okay with that, a reason I do love working there.  It will be interesting should I need to do it, to see if I can get from my work to the middle school in the 30 minutes I’ve allotted myself!

Other minor tasks for the day:  Change the sheets on the boys’ beds, have them make sure they have all the school supplies ready to go, laundry check! (hopefully, avoiding the scary cricket residing in the basement), and a bit of house tidying.

How We’ll Spend Tonight:

Eating dinner, double-checking that all is ready for tomorrow, possibly soothing a bit of nerves and negativity (if you are one of those people who have kids that like to return to school, consider yourself lucky!), attempting to convince everyone to go to bed at a decent time.

Happy New School Year!


Savoring Summer

This post is my response to my summer frustrations I shared earlier.

Here goes my outline for savoring summer.  Or rather, my plan for savoring the final 2 weeks of summer before my boys return to school.

There are exactly 11 weekdays remaining before the first day of school.  Seems like a decent amount of time until I consider the following:

  • G has an evening band practice on one night
  • G also has lots of summer AP assignments he chose to condense into this time frame
  • I have a hair appointment one of these days (Non-negotiable!)
  • I will probably have to work a few of these last days
  • J has 7th grade orientation one of these days
  • Schedule pick up/Showing Proof of Residence will take part of another day
  • I suppose we should add school supply shopping in here though I’m tempted to skip it until after school starts…

Here’s the part of my post where I find it necessary to eat a bit of crow.

savoring summer

I don’t think the bluejay would complain but I’m glad the sentiment above is not a literal thing.

One thing I’ve always said I despised a bit were those summer bucket lists although I’ve made my own on occasion. 

After asking myself what would help with my summer frustrations and help me to feel like I’ve saved and savored this summer a bit, I realized the answer was simple.  I needed to make a list of the things that meant summer to me. Yikes! I needed a summer bucket list.

My requirements were simple: I asked myself what do I need to make it feel like I’ve had a complete summer?  And so the short summer bucket list began.

My Savoring Summer Bucket List

  1. Have at least one day of water fun! We are going to have at least one day at the local pool as well as a water balloon fight in the next 11 minus all the stuff above days.  I already purchased the water balloons.
  2. You scream. I scream. We all scream for ice cream! We are going to go out for ice cream somewhere new. I’ll let the kids pick from a few suggestions.
  3. Take an educational day trip somewhere new or visit a new (to us) museum in or around our city.  If I’m lucky, do both.
  4. Have a fun family outing! Maybe see a movie, play mini golf, or something else like that…
  5. Have at least one family fun day/night at home. Either watch a movie or play a game.
  6. Celebrate National S’Mores Day on August 11th!
  7. Spend some time at a lake. I don’t care if we don’t spend the night or if it’s a local lake just minutes away. I’d just like to be near some pretty scenery and water.

Later, once the boys wake up, I’ll ask them what one thing they’ll need to do to feel like they’ve had a complete summer.  The answers most likely will be in the realm of stay up super late, sleep half the days away, have friends over, and eat lots of junk food.  They did manage to do all those things this summer.

Their summer has probably been mostly just fine. They could go on at this pace of doing the things in the above paragraph indefinitely.  Perhaps it’s time to admit summer simply looks different as my kids continue to grow.

They certainly aren’t worried and feeling the pressure (much of it self-induced, I know) to end summer with a completed list.  And I certainly know I don’t have to let the start of school signal the end of summer.  School starts in August around here, hardly the end of the season!

We still (sort of, hello band practices and football games every Friday) have until Labor Day signals the unofficial end of summer.  Or I could even stretch it further and say Fall doesn’t officially begin until September 22.

When do you say summer ends?

Just don’t tell me you’re one of those people drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes in August. (I’ll still be your friend but you might need to buy me a cold Frappuccino while you help with an autumn bucket list.)





Summer Frustrations

The summer frustrations are filling my mind and my heart. This is not the summer I planned.

Part of it, I know, is the time of year.  Summer is sliding fast into the beginning of the school year. Seriously, they were stocking school supplies in Target before we even left for our trip!

My mood at this time of year is equally split between aw, summer is almost over and isn’t it time for these kids to go back to school already.  School starts exactly one month from today.

My summer frustrations are worse this year.  Probably because my expectations have not met my summer.

summer frustrations

While I generally try not to complain too much, I also know it can be a bit therapeutic to get things out of my system.  So, get ready for my list of mid-summer complaints.

My Summer Frustrations:

  1. I didn’t get to go on a good vacation!  Yes, we went on a trip.  It wasn’t the trip I had planned for this summer.  My husband and I had some communication issues as we was preoccupied with other things so only G went on that one (with his marching band).
    summer frustrations

    photo credit, G

    And while I’m glad he was able to go and have a good time, I’m still a bit sad none of us were able to experience it.

    summer frustrations

    photo credit, G

    He was happy to be on his own for a bit though…and I know he needed that.  I yelled and complained about the communication issues and I needed that.  I’ve mostly moved on from it.

  2. I tried to make the most of our trip and was met with mostly a chorus of complaints from the kids.  Even when you know it comes from the place of their ages, sometimes it still hurts.  And on top of that, I didn’t get to do some of the things I really wanted to do.
    summer frustrations

    Due to yet another misunderstanding, we missed our tour of Carlsbad Caverns despite rushing through the natural entrance so fast, I called it the Carlsbad Caverns 5K.

    My planning may have been a bit off due to the circumstances and of course, I understood but it was still disappointing. Due to yet another misunderstanding, we had to rush through the cavern and still missed our tour. I’m pretty sure we were the only ones who were sweating at the end of the entrance.  I started referring to it as our Carlsbad Caverns 5K.  We did at least get to see the bat program, really worth your time if you ever get down that way.

  3.  We haven’t followed through on any of our summer theme days.  I know I’m partly to blame for this one.  We managed one mangled library trip (together) all summer. We haven’t even been to the pool one time outside of our trip.  And since I’m complaining, I’d really like to be sitting on my nonexistent backyard pool deck sipping a drink with a paper umbrella.  summer frustrations No, we have no unfinished plans to build a backyard pool.  Just threw that in there.
  4. The electronics are taking over! While I can realize, that talking to friends on Skype while playing video games is the new communication, it doesn’t make it any less annoying at times.  Especially, the late at night stuff.  Teenagers are creatures of the night which is fine to an extent.  The grouchy mornings mid-afternoons are wearing on me though. Maybe if I called the kids on Skype, they’d listen?
  5. The house is always a mess and these people are always hungry but never want to eat the food we have here.  I imagine that’s a universal complaint of parents everywhere.  Please, tell me that one is not just me.

I could continue but I must stop.  J’s awake and is having a friend over in a bit so I must figure out if we have any food for 3 kids to not want to eat as opposed to just 2.

And yes, I realize my complaints are all “small stuff” but they were weighing me down so I had to get them out of my system.

After all, Festivus is only 6 months away.

If there’s Christmas in July all over the blogging world, why not Festivus?  Want to air a few grievances and see if it makes you feel better? You’re welcome to go ahead in the comments (just nothing too mean, please).

Hopefully, I’ll be back tomorrow with my plan for salvaging what’s left of our summer.

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