EPIC Summer! (8-4-16)

PictureSo a couple months ago I blogged about my summer plans.  I was pretty excited that I had a plan to spend a lot of time with all my kids, be outdoors, and get into shape at the same time.  We started out with a bang!  We did so many cool things, Disc Golf Camp, Garden Club, rock climbing, ranch work, hiking.  It was a bit more challenging than I had imagined, as when I first promised this kind of summer, we didn’t know we were moving.  Buying and selling homes takes up quite a bit of time, and paperwork, which is not my forte.  I was doing OK juggling the truckloads of paperwork and still doing the fun kid program.  We biked everywhere.

Another gigantic distraction crept up on me, pretty much blowing all my energy away.  I’ll write more about that later, but kind of feel like I limped the rest of the way through our summer.  Here I go judging myself again, but I don’t want to give myself any excuses either.  I’ll grade myself with a B for my performance this summer.

Some days I was so consumed with the other things on my plate I didn’t have a plan.  I didn’t have patience.  I lost my temper.  I actually lost kids.  (Don’t worry, they weren’t really lost, I just couldn’t find them).  Instead of playing kickball with them at the park, I’d be juggling paperwork.  Again, my goal wasn’t to cater to 7 kids and constantly entertain them, but I had hoped to be paying a little more attention to them this summer and not be distracted.  There were things that I had planned that we didn’t get around to.  There were days I had to flat out cancel because I just couldn’t figure out how to juggle.  There were a couple weeks we didn’t meet when my kids were out of town.   I lost my patience when we’d try the library.  Too many computer distractions, places to hide, kids to keep track of.  It’s less stressful outside.  Sometimes I’d have to resort to threats and bribes.

OK, so there’s the fails.  But, I think I still did OK.  Maybe not what I had envisioned but we biked to the pool.  We biked to the playground.  We went to the rodeo, clubs, rock climbing with a friend 3 times!  We went to a ranch and helped brand.  We went fishing, wading, had picnics every day.  We spent over 7 hrs a day, 5 days a week outdoors.  That makes me very, very happy.  The kids are tan.  They aren’t covered in mosquito bites anymore.  We’d occasionally treat ourselves to Fro-Yo.  We managed hurt feelings, flat tires, squabbling kids.  A difficult task was the age span.  Bringing the 2 and 4 year old along on every excursion definitely made things more challenging.  But it brought out the caring of the older boys.  Often I would look over and see one of them entertaining.  Always patient with the littles even when they weren’t patient with each other.  I hadn’t expected to have the little guys with us every day, but they were pretty much the entire summer.  I witnessed kids sharing lunches.  I witnessed kids who grew more independent.  My daughter started off the summer whining about keeping up on her bike.  This week she kept asking me if she could bike ahead with the boys.  Often I would have another kiddo with me!  Yes, there were days I had 8 of them.  It does bring into question your sanity a bit, but on the other hand, when there are 6 boys in the pack, inviting my daughter’s friend is actually a load off.  (Not on my bike, however.  I often end up with 3 kids on the back!  It’s an incredible workout!)  But we figured it out.  I tried not to feel bad that errands were involved in our daily activities.  “OK kids, let’s bike to the mortgage company, then the post office, the lawyer, then on to the bank!  Yes, cookies and suckers all around!”  Or, “it’s time to get a latte for mom!”  I actually took 7 kids to the chiropractor.

We also had to cut it short by a couple weeks due to the move and our kids going out of town again.  Yesterday was our last day and it ended as perfectly as we started.  The kids chose to go down to the river again like we did the first day.  The river levels were crazy low and we spent over 3 hrs playing.  They caught crawdads.  They swam.  They waded.  They dug holes in the dig.  They all got along the entire time.  Not even a whiney toddler.  They thoroughly enjoyed their day.  They got sun and dirt.  A day like yesterday makes me feel like I’ve been a success.  Nothing makes me happier than a kid that’s played outside all day.  That is the good life.  I guess it worked out well after all.

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