Being that this is not my first rodeo, I don’t think that it’s too far fetched to anticipate hearing my sweet kiddies grumble a tiny bit over the summer’s eight weeks. Do I have a plan? Oh, yes. I always have plans. It’s just that life doesn’t always go according to those perfect plans!
After watching a little Bluey the other day, JuJu and I sat on the floor, papers everywhere, with a huge bin of crayons. We were drawing and coloring and life was absolutely grand. Until she tried to eat three crayons, dumped the bin, and slipped backward on the pile of papers. I’m nailing this whole mom thing.
What did I learn from this little experience? A few things, actually. 1) As the Rascal Flatts song says, “Crayons go up one drawer higher…” and 2) That coloring is really fun. Like the scribbling with a 2-year old, outside the lines, not even trying to be perfect- coloring. And just like that, I came up with my summer plan.
Add some C.O.L.O.R!
C- Craft away! For those of you who know me well, it’s totally not surprising to see this. But I really want to encourage those around me to just get messy, create, and have fun with whatever you have. There is something so beautiful about the creative process- seeing something rise from nothing. It reminds me that we are a part of God’s masterpiece in the works. Even if you have no idea what your finished product will look like- just dive in! Last summer, my girls’ favorite day of the week was “Make it Monday.” We took trips to crafts stores and they came home and destroyed the dining room table for hours. It was glorious. Grab those watercolors, beads, glue, glitter, yarn, noodles, sticks, ribbon, stickers- whatever you have laying around. Who knows what you might imagine and unleash!
O-Observe and then tag along! Don’t reinvent the wheel- check out what other folks are doing, and where they just went on a local adventure. ( Yes, this gives you full permission to scroll a while on facebook- for research purposes!) A berry farm 45 minutes away? Yes, please! A park with a free sprayground? Grab your crocs! A museum with BOGO tickets on Tuesdays? I’m all in! Then, ask a friend to hit the road with you- the more, the merrier! (And double the hands! And snacks!)
L-Learn something new! Typical of this forever teacher to say, but truthfully- there is something magical about learning at this age. Not my kid’s age, mine! When I homeschooled during COVID, neurons were firing where dust had been collecting. I was so impressed that I could learn the 50 states and capitals to a song, that I sang it as a lullaby and sometimes in the shower! Learning is not just for our youth- so grab that thing you’ve always wanted to get under your belt- and DO it! Big or small: a new language, marinating chicken with Pioneer Woman’s homemade sauce, or finally getting into needlepoint or Yoga -it’s not too late! Just keep that thinker thinking over the steamy, hot days. You’ll be glad you did and you’re setting the best example for your kids, too. Especially if you flop a few times…and get back up again. Good luck~
O-think Outside the box! Head to the land of impromptu and invention. Don’t have time to get to the movies for the newest summer flick? Then ask a neighbor for their projector, grab a sheet, and watch a classic under the stars. Didn’t make it to the pool this afternoon because of a super long nap? Take advantage of the extended hours and swim after a quick dinner. There’s less people, so you might not get fire-hosed by a random water gun, and no sunblock is needed! #winning. Missed the ice cream truck, again?(me!) Play nursery rhymes on your phone, throw some frozen treats in a backpack, and make them chase you down the street. I’m fully convinced it’s the thrill of the hunt that makes the ice cream taste so sweet! Wishing you were with family in Florida? Put some punch in fancy floral paper cups with tiny drink umbrellas, add an inflatable palm tree, and D.I.Y.* some Hawaiian shirts. *Take plain t-shirts, ( or old ones inside out) dollar store leis deconstructed, and glue their flowers all over the shirts! Top it off with Bob Marley or Beach Boys, serve dinner in the backyard on towels- and you have yourself a beach party.
Last but not least, R-Relax! If the idea of a D.I.Y. beach party stresses you out, then please, my sweet friend- don’t do it! If trying to learn something new gives you an overwhelming sense of anxiety- stick to what you do best. These really are only suggestions and no one knows your family better than you do. If the monthly mayhem of sports schedules and school projects makes your head spin, (like mine) just seize the time to NOT do any of those things. I have always seen summer as God’s built-in time out. Not the “You’re in trouble” kind, but rather the gentle, loving “You’ve been running on empty and might break down soon” kind. Life is busy! Especially with a family! Recharging is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s 100 % necessary! My only hope? That you’ll find some time to beat the daily grind and have a bit more bandwidth to make a few more memories.
With friends around, creativity in your back pocket, and new things brewing- I pray you hear a bit less about being “hungry and bored” and a whole lot more “That was fun!” But, alas- kids will be kids, so don’t forget to squeeze out a smile and think of your own childhood as you hand them the last sips of your water bottle and divi out the emergency pocketbook granola bar while driving home from a 17-minute round of pouty putt-putt.
Here’s to a summer thats full of COLOR
and one where we are perfectly planned and ready! (for things not to go so perfectly as planned.)
A present from the girls: one of their favorite Bluey episodes. Have fun completely relating to the entire 7 minutes. Enjoy!