Firstly, we made a conscious decision to stay mostly at home and have no big trips. We wanted to be cheap-o. But looking back, we still packed a lot of fun into the summer, and even ended up travelling more than we expected. We took two trips to Ohio in June, and one of those trips included another jaunt across to border into Pennsylvania to Waldameer, a fun amusement park.
Plus, with Marc and Marcy in Tennessee now, we just had to go visit them, too. Funny how a trip across three states doesn't seem like that big of a deal compared to the thought of visiting them in Texas...Our summer-staycation also included a few trips to the zoo less than 20 minutes away, which we somehow avoided checking out for the 1st year and a half spent living here,
plus the occasional trip back to Michigan for my birthday, frisbee, a few trips to Silver Beach,
and Rachel's cochlear kid day-camp and speech evaluation.
|Rachel and her good Michigan friend, Madison|
a day watching go-kart races,
and a 2 day Mom-only trip to Indy for a Deaf Educator's conference (where I felt vastly out of my element and hugely motivated to get my act together). Plus, I actually hosted a girls' night here in town and Christian started a local frisbee group (Wanna come? Its Saturday morning at 8...)
Secondly, the kids are old enough now that they understand the routine for the most part. I can say "Go clean your room," and while they might whine and complain sometimes, they usually get the job done. I love feeling like it isn't quite so much Mom vs. Entropy around here...I have some allies on occasion.
On that note, I have also noticed a big change in their ability to entertain themselves. While there is still too much tv going on around here, they also are really good and playing together. I really love those rare times when all 4 kids play together without bickering. Hannah is sometimes too cool for pretend play, but every once in a while she forgets to act like a teenager. Plus, Hannah is just now starting to make some friends in the ward, which I've been praying and hoping for since moving in. Nathan and Aaron are such tight buddies that I dread back to school because I know Aaron will miss him desperately. I really worry that as they get older, especially with a bigger gap grade-wise than they are age-wise, that this may not last and I want to enjoy it while I can. I love the imagination of little boys.
Over the last year or two I've seen a huge change from previous summers--In the past, we've sort of limped through the end of summer, desperate to end the boredom by sending the kids back to school (Don't hate me--they love school). This summer, more than any other year, I could keep them around a bit longer. Back to school means expenses, busywork, and a very lonely almost 5-yr-old boy who really ought to be starting kindergarten (but he sadly has to wait another year).
With just 6 days left, we have all the school supplies we need, I've paid for their books and joined the PTO, visited their classrooms, and Hannah has already packed her backpack and decorated her binder. (I can't believe this is her last year of elementary school!) The kids are ready. I think the best way we can use of the last few days of summer is to be as blissfully lazy as possible before the madness of the school year comes back full-force.