Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Rhythm

We've made a major discovery here.  As much as we all love taking a slow start to our days - me writing with my coffee and them playing in their pajamas as long as there's no fighting - that setup has derailed most of our days lately.  It's too hard to drag them away from their play later to get anything done (and by anything, I mean the basics of dressing and brushing teeth) or go anywhere.  That fight then leads to an antagonistic vibe that lingers well into the afternoon.  Pretty soon, we're all grumpy and fighting and not getting much done.  Bottom line, following our natural inclinations in the morning just isn't working for us anymore.

One morning, after a particularly nasty day, I changed things up.  We all got up and got moving and tackled our most dreaded task of the day right away.  We cleaned off the art shelves.  That means we took everything off, sorted through every stray crayon and scrap of paper, wiped down the shelves and the floor underneath and behind them, and put everything back in a more organized manner.  It took most of the morning to complete the task (seriously, that bookshelf was a WRECK), but we felt so successful afterward.  And even though we were motivated to knock off a few other to-do's for the day, the rest of the day still felt like a vacation.  It was all downhill work.  I really enjoyed it.

This summer, while we attempt a major purge in this house, I'm vowing to tackle the dreaded decluttering chores first thing each morning.  Really, I'm gonna do it.  The kids will help with some of that, and they'll have their own project time during the mornings.  Ella's finishing up her fox encyclopedia, and after that I'm sure they'll both spend a lot of time dabbling and finding new interests.  I'll take breaks to be available for whatever they need, and they'll help me with some of the decluttering.

Even the cat thinks it's time to clear off the piles.
We'll of course have lots of outside time (following the shade - mornings in the front yard & early afternoon in the back yard) and plenty of reading time, with our typical weekly library trip.  I originally planned to order the next Life of Fred book (Goldfish) for Ella, but we're taking a break for now.  I'll see how our schedule is going next month and ask if she wants to work through it then.

In the afternoons, we'll work through Drawing Lab and experiment with our art supplies.  There should be lots of posts on this throughout the summer.  I anticipate this will be The Summer of Drawing!

In the late afternoon, the girls usually have free computer time while I fix dinner.  This has pretty much saved my sanity.  As much as I'd ideally love to have them in the kitchen helping me, by that time of day my nerves are shot, my noise tolerance is maxed out, and they have had enough of each other and all of that togetherness.  I use that hour or two to breathe, regroup, assess my day and plan the next, and prepare a meal in silence.  Ahhhh.  My most dreaded time of day has become one of my favorite times.

That's pretty much it for us this summer.  People are always asking us about our plans and classes, but we typically don't do any of that (with the exception of taekwondo on two evenings) during the summer months.  First, it's crazy hot.  Blech.  Second, everything is crowded.  We're spoiled and prefer to go places during the typical school year.  Third, we just like staying home.  We love our friends (we do still visit with some our favorite people once a week), but we don't like to be on the road all of the time.  Since we eased up on a lot of our outings and commitments this spring, we're so much happier and more relaxed.  I'd like to keep it that way.

On the weekends, we're trying a few new things and trying to establish a sense of rhythm to those days.  Spring and fall are a bit chaotic and inhibit any regularity on the weekends, but I can establish that during the summer.  So, Friday nights will be family game night to kick off the weekend.  Then, Saturdays will be for errands and relaxing at the new farmer's market, ending with homemade pizza night and/or date night for mom and dad.  Usually date night is at home, but the idea is to get the kids in their rooms early so we can watch a movie or play a game (Munchkin!) in peace.  Sundays are for family time at home: working in the garden, doing yard work or home improvement projects, lazy movie afternoons, and grilling in the back yard.  Knowing that it's pizza and grilling on the weekends is a huge plus for me.  I don't have to think about food as much and I don't have to be in the kitchen all the time.  Huge.  Of course, we'll have to change all of this in the fall, but for now this sounds great.

Decluttering, projects, art.
Not too much, not too little.

How about you?  Do you have any big summer plans?
Do you plan more or less activities during the summer than other seasons?


  1. It sounds like a good plan. I like your weekends, too. Come plan my life?

    1. Have you noticed in that plan that I never leave my house?

  2. My plan for summer is to focus on some art projects with the kids, let them play outside and ride bikes, and in general take it easy. I'd like to spend some time on my own personal interests, like learning to do more in Photoshop, learning to sew, and getting back to baking bread.

    Even though it's only June, I feel like it slipping away...

    And ditto on not going places in the summer. Ick. All crowded and sweaty with all those kids on summer break? No thanks. We'll go to the zoo in October when it's just us and the giraffes.

    1. Yay for personal projects! I have a major writing project I'm slogging through.

      I know, mid-June! Where is this summer going already???

  3. Hi Michelle, I've followed you home from a comment you left at Wonder Farm- nice to meet you.
    My son's a few weeks from finishing nursery school, so we haven't found our HE rhythm yet- all very exciting, though.
    I'm actually desperate to ask, do you play Munchkin with 2 people? How does that work? It's an absolute fave around here, but we've never played with fewer than 3. Please tell!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. :)

      Yes, we usually play munchkin with two people. It works the same way, but we don't use some of the group-centered rules as much. It's always fun with more people, of course, but it's still fun with just two.

      Those early childhood years are the best time to develop your family rhythms. Enjoy!


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