Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bits and pieces

Wow, so blogging in the summer is taking a back seat to our crazy summer schedule!  We have had something going every day and night for the last couple weeks.  My house is a wreck (more so than I can normally tolerate), and our schedule is out of whack.  Eek.  Tomorrow is kid swap, which means we are going to shuffle kids between grandparents and aunts and uncles.  All the kids are super pumped  to be with their cousins/grandparents.  This time it is my turn to give away everyone but my 11 year old and take in a 14 year old.  As in, I will only have two children in my house for the next 48 hours.  Wow.  I'm thinking that, in between a few fun activities for two busy young men, I am going to whip this house back into shape.  I'll let ya know how that turns out.

Today marks the ninth birthday of my "monkey in the middle" child.  Nine years ago he entered our lives in a big way!  Emergency C-section, three hour ambulance ride to the nearest children's hospital, ventilator, tubes, anxiety, fear, family, friends and faith.  This sweet child, with the happy go-lucky, laid back personality that we prayed for, has brought us untold joy.  His ready smile, his cheeks that beg to be pinched, his cuddly, loving way -- this child is a gift directly from God.  Praise God that He saw fit to give him to us!

For my son's birthday dinner, he requested popcorn chicken and mac n cheese (I made homemade to make the meal at least partly grown-up).  The boys decided to enhance our celebration by making rude armpit noises.  The youngest boy got up quickly on his chair and began shaking his tushie in the air.  Usually this behavior causes my husband and I to rapidly squelch any and all boyish fun.  Tonight, we only looked at each other and laughed.  I had tears in my eyes.  These children!  This life!  Sometimes I just have to laugh - otherwise I'll cry!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summertime, and the living is easy

Today is the first "real" day of summer.  As in, nothing going on, most of the kids home, and reality kicking in.  That's code for:  Mommy's summer plan.  Chore lists, restricted time on screens, required reading, you get the idea.

Despite much grumbling during its approach, the kids did well today.  I fully believe they thrive in a structured setting, and I know for certain that I do.  A few willy-nilly days here and there are fine, but a free-for-all all summer would do all of us in.  We have always had a summer plan, but I felt I needed to give ours a bit of a shot in the arm this year.

What's a mama to do?  Go to Facebook of course and ask all of my 701 friends what they do with their kids during the summer.  Bingo-blammo - and a schedule is born!  How on earth did I ever parent without Facebook?

So here is the plan:

Each day, the kids have a list of things that must be completed.  They are used to lists, since they have a list every day during the school year.  Each day, they must do most of the following (the chores rotate daily, so not all chores are every day of course).

Play with a sibling for 30 minutes
Exercise for 30 minutes
Read for 30 minutes
Practice their instrument
Make their bed
Straighten their room
Put away their laundry
Clean the bathroom
Vacuum a room

After lunch, if we are home and not running errands, we will have some sort of quiet/reading time (mama's favorite!).  After that, and if their list is completed, they may have two hours of screen time to be used however/whenever they want for the rest of the day.

My oldest son, the most screen-obsessed one of all, actually did not use all of his screen time today.  I was shocked!  He is attending a handbell camp at school and had to be gone this evening, cutting his screen hours short.  And he chose to play outside with water balloons and the hose this afternoon instead of being glued to the computer or Wii.  So, perhaps this is a tentative success?  A child choosing outside over electronics?  I'll keep ya posted.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Quiet hours

My house has been quiet lately.  Seriously quiet.  I have had only two children, girls to boot, home since Saturday.  My three boys went in two different directions with friends and family, causing our family to dwindle to four for a period of about 48 hours.

It has been really weird.  And easy!  And quiet.  Wait - did I mention that already?

My girls and I have enjoyed some much needed girl time while the boys have been gone.  We went shopping, we watched Little Women, we ate lunch out and and enjoyed late(-ish) night snacks.  I really soaked in the time we had together for talking and laughing and loving.

But I'll tell you what.  All that quiet aside, I really miss my boys!  One of my boys came home tonight and the other two will arrive tomorrow, and I am anxious to have our family together again.  Soon our house will be overflowing with noise, stuff, fighting and hugs.  And I can't wait.