I feel like I owe my dear readers an apology. I have not been writing this summer. Instead, I have been coughing (...for 3 weeks! Ack! It is never fun to be sick, but especially not as a kick-off to summer!) and tending to others in my family who also caught the same bug, crafting (see ottoman pics below), setting summer routines for my sons (again, see below), celebrating family (my parents' 50th anniversary celebration... such a fun and meaningful weekend!), helping to get our boys to and from their camps and activities, and assessing and realigning both my physical and spiritual health. I feel like the blogging break was necessary, and now I feel refreshed and ready for wherever the rest of the summer takes me! In case you are a details person like I am, here is a bit more about what I've been up to. 🙂
Crafting. I feel like I have had this old tire ottoman project on my to-do list forever (my husband will give a nod to this, as I have also been storing my old tires in our garage forever!), and I was super excited to acquire some time to myself last week with which to tackle it. I love repurposing trash! I mostly used the directions from This Old House.
Summer Routines. I feel like the biggest areas of familial strain in parenting our sons in the summer involve screen privileges and chore expectations. My husband and I are allowing more freedom with screens this summer provided that our sons complete the following summer rules checklists at a suitable level approved by us. I slightly altered the checklist that I found on Thirty Handmade Days to meet our family's specific needs, laminated the check lists, and my boys check the tasks off each day with a dry-erase marker. We use these checklists on summer days when we don't have other camps or all-day activities occurring.
I also wrote up a list of chores that I thought our sons could handle that go along with their checklists.
So far, I would say this system is working well for us. Sure, they may be getting too much screen time on some days, but they are always engaging in the core activities that are of value to my husband and me, and often times they enjoy an item from the checklist so much that they stick with the activity for longer than their 20 required minutes. Best of all, this system has taken away most of the arguments, as our policy is that if they whine their way through their checklist, they lose time from the privileges gained by completing the chores. My kids know what to expect each day we are home together, and I no longer have to guide them through each activity now that they have got the hang of things. Peace. Take it when you can, as it's often short-lived!
Realigning Diet, Exercise, and Spirituality. I realized some time ago that I needed some help with finding workouts that I enjoyed and would stick to, some accountability/encouragement for staying healthy, and a better plan for tracking my diet. At the encouragement of a few friends, I came up with a combo of Beachbody On Demand workouts (great variety, and I have been able to dedicate only ~30 minutes a day to working out, which was important to me because I tend to feel overwhelmed with how exercise cuts into my daily schedule), Facebook fitness accountability groups, a diet mostly based on the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan, and PrayFit's summer program to help me to remember why I'm taking care of my body to begin with.
During my devotional times lately, I have also been reading the devotional "Stuck" by Jennie Allen and learning how to identify and relish in my weaknesses and how God uses these to lead me into a strength I can only find in Christ. The study book mysteriously showed up in my mail pile a few months ago, with my husband having opened the package and then promptly losing the note from the person who so sweetly sent it to me before I could read it (and for the life of him, he can't remember the name on the note!), so I am clueless as to who sent it to me. If it was you, THANK YOU! I am enjoying it and it is challenging me in great ways!
All of these efforts are helping me to feel better about myself, have more mental and physical energy to tackle my summer days of momming and adulting, and I no longer feel like I am just floundering through my days, trying to stay afloat but inevitably falling back into destructive, unhealthy habits. Life is good, God is good, and I am grateful for the break in routine that summer allows and the resulting personal growth that can happen when we stop to consider where we are at presently and where we want to be eventually.
Happy Summer to All of You!