As we were folding the laundry earlier this week my husband commented, "you know it's summer when you don't have to fold any socks!" True, right? Summer has it's own style and pace. And the biggest difference between summer and the rest of the year isn't the fact that we spend most of our time in flip flops but the fact that the kids are home All Day, Every Day. Oh boy.
I know a lot of schools have let out for the summer already. Here in North Carolina we are still on our final week of school - and oh what a fun week it is. Graduations (Tyler's preschool graduations was A-dorable), awards ceremonies, parties and field days, etc etc. And while I'm just as excited as the kids are for lazy mornings with no schedules/places to be and fun filled afternoons at the pool, I am also dreading the long days that could lead to boredom and sibling arguments. Which means I've been gathering ideas for weeks now on how to combat these issues (and there are tons of great ones out there thanks to the internet, blogs, and Pinterest). I am spending a good chunk of time today pulling things together - you know I don't tackle anything without a plan and a cute gimmick or two up my sleeve.
This morning found me in need of groceries (and probably one of the few opportunities I have left to go to the grocery store without kids in tow) and while I was out I made sure to stock up on on the summer Must Haves - freezer pops and fruit chillers and drink mixes and pool friendly snacks. I piled all my loot on the craft table and hunted up some of the other things I had stashed for summer use - a new extra large bottle of bubble solution, water balloons, and some water/pool toys (these aren't new, but we haven't used them much and I'm pretty sure the kids don't remember we have them) - and dumped it into a big bucket. I plan to have the bucket sitting out to surprise the kids with when they get home from the final half-day of school on Friday. (Plus a new sarong for Kaitlyn and a cap for Ty if I can find one that's cute and in his size. Easier said than done, I'm finding.)
Now I'm sitting here with notebook at the ready, flipping through all the ideas I have gathered to keep us all busy and happily entertained this summer. I have a few new items to add to our Summer Fun Ideas Jar (you can see my post from last year here). I've already pulled it out once already (this weekend when the kids and a couple of their friends just couldn't seem to agree on anything. Worked like a charm - woohoo!) and I know it will come in handy many times in the next couple of months. Basically it's a jar full of ideas that the kids can pull out when they are having a rough time. The catch is that whatever idea they pull out, they MUST do that activity for at least the next 15 minutes, without complaining.
The boredom isn't the only thing I know we might get frustrated with this summer. We have a fantastic neighborhood and a whole pack of kids that like play with each other as often as possible. That gets a little hard on the parents when kids are in and out constantly, so I'm already considering a designated No Friends Day or at least a portion of each day when friends aren't here. I even printed off this great little "Yes we can play/Sorry we can't play door hanger (printable found here).
Also on my mind - daily/weekly routines, learning activities, our Summer To Do List, and a good idea for dealing with bahavioral issues (like the many many arguments!). I'll save all that for a post tomorrow and leave you with a few photos of the little treat I whipped up for Kaitlyn to give to her bus driver. She has stopped Kaitlyn more than once, and even pulled me aside at the bus stop to say how great/sweet/nice Kaitlyn is. Love that! She totally deserves a treat and a thank you.
Now it's time for me to wrap up my blogging and put my lists aside and go pick up my little guy from one of the few days of preschool he has left. *sigh* Oh they grow up so quickly...