Summer Survival

Summer being a full time mommy is hard to explain! The first word that comes to mind is exhausting, but in the same hand it can be relaxing.  I am off work until my next huge event in September. We are off routine in a good way, so many fun activities in the summer, but for this mama... it is my husbands busiest time of the year! Heating and Air for the Commercial Industry is top priority, whew! Having been through what we have.... we still count that as a blessing that business is booming and his industry and trade is huge. And he did bring me home a cannoli the other day after the grateful store manager of the local italian restaurant gave it to him for fixing his stores AC :) I guess that would be a perk!
We really do just look at each other sometimes and say, "Gosh this is 100% what we were supposed to do." He has become one of the top technicians in his company and it is truly humbling that God directed him there.

So. I have to be very creative at home. I have had to take being mommy up a couple of steps and be a super planner. Tim may or may not make it home for dinner, so that window of time I have to be ready to do it solo. It's funny. I used to think by the time my kids were 4 and 6 they would be a breeze. Parts of it is. They play together, but that also means they fight. You can ignore the fight, or you can make it an opportunity. They are independent, but still need guidance in most areas.  You are also still preparing and cleaning up meals, still doing all the laundry, and answering all sorts of questions and having extended conversations about nothing. The only thing about having bigger kids is all the baby crap disappears out of your house. It makes room and space for the wildness that needs to come out of your large child.

They are super active. We are not "over- schedulers" over here, but they are small people with high amounts of energy. You have to have a balance of down time, home time, getting out, seeing people, being productive, having a life, working some if you do, play time, rest or nap time, ect. I'm also big on giving them a big picture... serving, ministering to others, that life is not all about them.

I do not do all this well, but have fought to find a balance. The more I plan for our week on Sunday, the better and smoother and happier we all are :) I involve Tim in the planning. This gives him a huge clue as to what all I do and he gives input in our day to day. He is great at saying no. I tend to think we can cram a lot in. He has known me for 13 years so he can easily see things that are going to stress me out that I am not seeing. Either way, here are some helpful tips I have found so far. PLEASE if you have any.... share!!!

1. We made a bucket list as a family this summer. People we wanted to see, places we wanted to go, things we wanted to do, new restaurants we wanted to try. Mini vacations we could do on the weekend.
Everyones list will be different. Some of ours included: Stone Mountain, the Roswell Sprayground water park, several new parks that opened around us, movie theater day, pool days with different friends, and the Chattanooga Choo Choo (1 hr from Atlanta), the carousel and food court at North Point Mall. Some future trips are to have a day at Serenbe, making lunches for the local MUST homeless shelter, and even something as small as Sonic happy hours from 2-4, ha!
We are trying to do one fun thing a week and keep it really cheap! It gives me something to look forward to as a mom.... getting out!

2. I have had a couple of girls nights. I plan with Tim in advance and I normally try to plan it. I get Tim all set up for dinner and bed time.... and leave! And never look back! If it goes awful, its fine. It is one night out of the 365 days a year. In the broad spectrum, you need to get out and eat in peace and be around some women.

3. We are pretty loosely structured during the day, but I'm a firm believer that structure produces freedom. We have also been doing more snacks this summer. Who doesnt love snack time anyway?
Here is a typical rundown:
8- kids up and I let them watch a cartoon while I make breakfast
830- eat, get dressed, make beds (some days)
9-1- this is our window where it is best to go out. Pool, bucket list day, park, errands, whatever.
1 lunch
2-3 I have been doing "centers". It is SHEER genius..... a friend of a friend told me about it and it is so simple and my kids LOVED it. You set the timer for 15 min. You set up stations that the kids rotate independently. This week our stations were playdough, legos, a drawing station, and then a station with me to to a workbook I bought for the summer to stay on top of that.  They had a blast. You can get super creative and age appropriate level with the centers. My kids ask for them! While they are doing that, I normally do a mid day clean up of dishes, laundry, and try and prep dinner that we planned out on sunday.
3-4: Rest or nap time. Everyone is quiet and in their rooms. I dont care if they sleep, rest, or play quietly. Sometimes I give them snack in their room and that helps extend the time. At this point everyone just needs a little space and at 4 they are happy to come out.
4-6: Either outside playing, another show, or free play while I cook dinner. *this is the witching hour. Its the hard part of the day. Sometimes we have just cranked up some music, gotten out a new toy, picked flowers, but we struggle in this window for sure. Netflix has saved the day many times although electronics are seen as a special thing over here. I know I am old fashioned, but I will dump out some of my clothes and have them play dress up before I turn on the TV. I just hate how electronically driven this generation of children are. Not in this house.  If Tim makes it home during this time then we are golden.
6 - I attempt to get them to help clean up from the day
630- eat or we will have someone/family over for dinner
7- we have been venturing back outside for a few to either go for a walk, catch lightening bugs, and recently they have been into the telescope and finding the moon, lol.
8- bath and bed
9- Tim starts busting out a wall.
? bedtime

See? We are such a normal family.

Being a mom is so up and down and most days are very unpredictable based upon moods, behavior, cooperative-ness, and so on. But, I realized that IF i have a plan, I don't feel like I am drowing. And I actually feel like my kids are happy, lol. I am all about keeping things simple and finding a balance and kids need that too. They only get one childhood so I take this job seriously like I would take any job. To plan for, give my all, and also give myself a lot of grace. Grace is the biggest thing Christ has cultivated in my over the past 7 years of being a mom. To be a mom of weakness in that we can't do it all, never will be able to, and enjoying life despite that.

So, since I am barely staying afloat, here are the only pics I manage to take on my lovely phone, ha!

Mackenzie and I on a girls date while David was at church with friends

Tim and I on a date!
Our fun little antique booth, 3 weeks in! We have sold 4 things so far....
We went under construction again and Tim is building me an office. So darn pumped. This happens after 9pm on the schedule, lol.
Hanging out with Jammie at the assisted living. They bought a puppy for the place which I think is awesome!
Mackenzie still in her pj's this morning we went out. Its ok, she is 4 and its summer.
Putting them to work!

Summer days.... fruit by the foot
Playdough got a little out of hand one morning..


Fashion show at the Antique store was hilarious. And fun. About 50 people there. They gave me a sweet gift and lowered our cost for next month :)
Spent some sweet time with Tims family
and cousin Josh
went to birthday parties
and Burger King has 50 cent ice cream all summer long. Go now.
Kids got to go to Summer VBS together and has been the highlight so far
David asked Jesus to live in his heart in his bed one night alone and told us the next day that he became a Christian. No words for the sweet heart this boy has...
 We have big plans still in process that we are close to sharing, but both Tim and I became certified in Pediatric CPR, First Aid, and AED.

Mackenzie always says.... Mommy, its a doggy dog world. (From Pound Puppies)
baking in the new kitchen

So we are trying to keep the summer time blues away from my big kids and have fun over here! I hope this brings a message of hope for summer for you.
Make a plan.
Involve your man.
Thats all I got :) More to come.....

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