Thursday, June 14, 2007

Summer "being"

Me, about 1978
I was a crazy woman today, decluttering and organizing like crazy around my house. I don’t know why I got in the mood to do it, but I’m thinking partly it had to do with getting my house ready for the summer. It offically starts next week, though here it has been 70 degrees and cloudy all week. I was setting up a station by the door for sunscreen, towels, and swim toys-- for days in the kiddie pool and sprinkler—also, cleaning out the toys downstairs, organizing books, as usual.

One thing on my to-do list is to write out a summer schedule for us all. If I don’t, I tend to lean more on the lazy side, and my days are gone, eaten like the locusts do. I don’t like to be too regimented, I like a little margin, but I still need a guide.

I always like to have some good summer music to listen to. I find that most kinds of 60s music always sets a good summer mood for me. Neil Young is always good. My latest obsession is the Mamas and the Papas—-“Dedicated to the One I Love” and “Words of Love” are so campy, so 60s-ish, so Summer of Love-ish. I’ve been playing them over and over and lip syncing them for my kids. I asked them if I should be on American Idol, and they said “yes”, sweet things. (I’m not that good.)

A friend told me about this post, where the mother sets up what she calls “Camp Russell” for her children. Granted, she only has a 3 year old and an eleven week old, so this will be feasible for her, but I’ve got a 13 year old all the way down to a 19 month old. I need to be more flexible in content, and more creative. That being said, I love her idea of having a craft and a field trip each week. The theme thing is good, too, I just have to decide if I want to do that or not. I also like this link which gives ideas of fun and productive things to do with your children in the summer.

On the other hand, I don’t want to be too structured in the summer. In the framework of intentional parenting, it’s easy to do that. I like to just “be” sometimes. If I am erring on the side of not planning enough to grow my children’s bodies and minds, then I’d rather err and embrace the unplanned talks, games, and lounging outside with the lightning bugs. To just “be”.

If I think back to my own childhood memories of summer, they have to with just that: being. I think about being in my grandmother’s bathroom, the cool, yet sticky summer air, the smell of her house, curtains blowing gently in the breeze, and me going through her jewelry box, again and again, as I always did when I was there.

I think about Slip n’Slides, or my first airplane trip to Shreveport, Louisana to visit my aunt. I had my birthday there, with a neighbor girl I hardly knew. Such is the things of summer.

Mostly, I think about the carport in the house I grew up in. The cool concrete under my feet. Splashing rainwater in a wheelbarrow. We were just “being”.

Of course I have some things planned for our family. Berry picking, for sure. Swimming. Two plane trips to visit family. (This is the summer for traveling for us.) I’m inspired by Lindsey at Enjoy the Journey for taking ALL things off her schedule for the summer so they can just “be”. I like that. (here and here).

So, I will strive for that, while making my “loose schedule”. I aim to just “be”.


Brenda said...

Your summer memories sound so sweet. I guess I need to think harder because I mostly remember being BORED! :)
I loved the links you posted. I have written about this same topic before. I just always feel guilty for deciding to focus on family. I'm glad to know other Christian women are deciding to do just that.
(And I'm also going to re-visit that schedule I made. It was going to start on Monday. Hmmm.)

Sheila said...

Great photo. I love your memory of the jewelry box. I have the same one.

Thanks for the links for kid activities. It is good to mix up planned and unplanned.

Betty said...

We stopped "school" this past week because we were taking care of other children. My body crashed and hit the wall. I've been so tired!

I have focused this week on keeping the house in better order which has been so much easier without homeschooling! I do have some goals for this summer, like keeping up with our read alouds and independent reading, and times tables. Then the rest of our day will mostly be spent in the pool and having friends over for fun. I want to enjoy this season and use it to equip me for another season of schooling and focused learning.

I didn't realize how spent I was feeling. I've really needed to refuel. But like you, I need some margin, some structure or I'll likely spend all my time reading blogs!

I've never read the book, Margin, how did you like it?

L.L. Barkat said...

Who would guess all this? So reserved you are in public. I would like to sign up for the lip synching show. :)

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

I'm telling you, this season of "being" right now is perfect timing for us.

It has thus far been refreshing, but it has also been hard! When you are programmed to constantly go! and do! and run! and be doing something! it is hard to dismantle and just BE. There have been times this week where we've been home; the kids have been playing nicely in their rooms and I've been lounging on the couch. I *SHOULD* be happy to have downtime, but alas I find myself feeling all pent up inside like I just NEED TO DO SOMETHING!!! So I've taken to doing things around the house when this feeling surfaces. I will do a little extra cleaning, bake some bread, etc. Now my "doing" is focused on blessing my family.

But honestly, relaxing with NOTHING TO DO is something I need to "learn" how to do again. Just to "be" and rest in Him.

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

btw Andrea, I chose your blog as my pick of the week. I am so glad I found it :)

Anonymous said...

Now, where did you hear the music of the Mamas and Papas??? You're right it is good relaxing music.

You do need down time to refresh your body and your spirit. I believe that God tells us this in Ps. 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God."

When you are in an unplanned mode you are more relaxed and the kids enjoy you more and you them.

Love You,

Beck said...

My childhood summers were AWFUL. Long story.
So I work very hard to make sure my kids have summers that are, at the least, not awful. I like the summer camp idea, actually!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I tried to do a camp sort of thing two years ago. It didn't turn out so well, but I do try to balance some "stuff" that we don't fit in in the school year with some downtime. This year we are also going to work on some housekeeping instruction.

I am launching my Read Together mission for the summer on Monday--challenging moms to read and discuss some great books with their kids.

MY first airplane trip was to Shreveport LA!! I was twelve.

Jana said...

Today was my first of many visits to your blog. I have to say, your header impacted me more than anything I've read all week. Just the header. WHAT a FANTASTIC description of my desire as a mother. I love that.

About this particular post, I just posted about this on MY blog today - how to enjoy the summer and balance the rest and relaxation with productivity. My daily to-do list has three items on it: 1) Something for me, 2) Something for the kids, and 3) Something for the house. That way, I feel rested and refreshed, the kids have a good memory, and I feel I've accomplished something productive for my home.

Great blog!

Elise said...

It's so funny that we have to try to just "be" - because we already "are" - life just gets too cluttered, and we can't see it.

I love this post, and am encouraged just by reading it. I'm going to visit Lindsey's links - thank you!

Anna said...

I lvoe this photo....water in the wheelbarrow and the bug in the distance. It could have been my home. Thanks for sharing it.