Saturday, August 31, 2019

Summer 2019

We've been back in school for four days, and nothing is like I thought it would be. For the first year in FOREVER, I was not excited to start again- I'm usually chomping at the bit. The boys weren't necessarily ready to celebrate just for the sake of newness, like in the past. They're starting to have their own personalities, and no level of enthusiasm from me can change their opinions. But we made through the first week! We did packed lunches and dinners at the table and homework time, all things I really REALLY wanted to be a part of our school year routines. We held off on takeout until Friday, which is a weird milestone that helps me know I'm staying organized. I battled a head cold and still kept my shit together (kinda) and this is how I know the year is off to a good start.

Before I get too far into celebrating a single well-run week, I want to take a quick peek back at the summer we're leaving behind. It truly was the most successful summer I've lived in a long time. It was a combination of purpose, rest, ENORMOUS amounts of time for myself, and a few sweet trips that went really well. 

First off, I worked this summer. We had a very long break, due to very few snow days, and so my 5-week summer school job technically only took up half the summer. There were three weeks before and two weeks after to go on trips, see friends, and do our normal summery activities. The five weeks in the middle, I taught a summer school class Monday through Thursday, from 8:00 to 12:30. You read that right. Where were my kids during this time? At a summer camp (on the same site as my job!) that they attended Monday through Friday from 8:30-4:30/5. DO THE MATH, LOVELIES! I had hours and hours of unscheduled time to fill as I pleased, and it was MAGICAL. I felt stimulated by my short work day and pampered by my free time. My kids swam, went on field trips, and spent lots of time with friends. This set up was PERFECTION.

What did I do with my time? Some long held-off chores, like getting my engagement ring fixed and resized (it had to be cut off after some postpartum swelling right after I had Milo), some lunches with friends, some (very few) trips to the gym, and lots of hours in front of an air conditioner, playing Stardew Valley. I got back into the habit of posting articles to Book Riot. Every Monday, one of the boys had therapy in the early afternoon, and the alternating set up gave me one-on-one time with my sons throughout the whole summer. 

I fell deeply into a nighttime routine that I've kept even in the new school year. Set out clothes for tomorrow, take a shower, do some skincare, get cozy with candles, and read a few chapters of a book. I've been working my way through the giant three-volume compendium of Anne of Green Gables titles that I've had since I was a child, and it is truly the best way to calm down before bed. My nighttime routine has always been a mess, and if I took my makeup off I considered it a win. This new routine is super calming and feels great, especially when I follow it up with a few ASMR videos. That was another touchstone of my summer- ASMR. I've even started listening when I'm working at my desk (there's an amazing video playing as I type this) or getting ready for the day. Every other person in my house is completely freaked out by ASMR so I'm alone in heaven, but it's okay. I appreciate it enough for all of us. 

I didn't do a lot of reading this summer, which disappointed me at first, until I reminded myself that I've been writing more and using my planner more consistently. It's almost a journal at this point, with more notes about what actually happened than upcoming appointments recorded. I did read an excellent YA book with a fat heroine (If It Makes You Happy), a few graphic novels, and a few books about ADHD. 

We had a family vacation to Pennsylvania- we went hiking, explored some underground caves, when to the Central Lancaster Farmer's Market, and spent a day at Sesame Place. Ben and I spent three days in Portland, Maine on the first grown up vacation we've had since we had kids. Both trips were GOOD, and brought us closer in different ways. 

It was actually on a day trip to Wingaersheek Beach that I had a thunderclap realization- we're clicking in to this season of life. It's easier to anticipate what my kids will need- on a day at the beach, during the school year, for a solid dinner. I'm starting my third year as a Media Specialist, and I'm less surprised by the different events that happen and more organized around what I need to accomplish. It's not perfect, and I have to be ready for constant flux, but it's slightly easier, and slightly better, than it was this time last year. It's just going to keep getting better (and weirder) as we go along.

Before the summer slipped away, I just wanted to write down how things went. Focusing on the positives helps me realize what I want to bring into the school year. There will be less white space in my schedule for sure, but I hope I can remember how much pleasure downtime gave me. One on one time with my kids is vital, and solid routines can give me so much peace. I know this year is going to be great because I used this summer to truly recharge. 


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