How I’m Spending My Summer (6-6-16)

PictureLast summer our two oldest boys got to be a part of a free summer program called ACES. The name of this program was a bit of a misnomer (expelled and suspended students) but it included youth workers from our local youth crisis center. It was open to any kiddo that was old enough. It was the perfect summer activity, 9-3, Monday thru Friday. They spent the day outdoors, biking around town to various parks, pools, free lunches and special activities. I loved it! It combined the best of an ideal summer with supervision.
This year there was a long wait list to get in unlike other years and our boys were at the bottom.

So, like most of my ideas that seem great at the time, I couldn’t drop the idea that I could just do our own. I invited two other boys to do it with us. I figured it was crazy but everyone loved the idea. Then I had no choice. :).

And so today marks the first day of our great summer adventure. I’m taking on 2 other 11 yo boys as well. Yes, I’m crazy. I’m not as prepared as I had wanted (I hadn’t planned on still remodeling the apartment and getting renters, and being sick all last week)and a little stressed but let me explain myself!

  • Fact: kids should be outside all summer
  • Fact: kids need to just be playing all summer
  • Fact: if the kids all bum around the house all summer I will be completely miserable and they may not survive
  • Fact: if they hang around the house all summer I will just try to get projects done, they’ll get in the way, they’ll be bored and I’ll be frustrated yet feel guilty I’m ignoring them and justify it because I have so much to do.

So, my mission this summer:

  • Get the kids outside
  • Actually be WITH all of them (not just the babies) and have fun
  • Get in triathlon shape by default by biking the kids all over town

The challenges:

  • Being rigidly organized without any outside structure in place. (Making lunches, bags packed, activities planned each day, getting all my housework done before 8:30 or after 3). As you know, not always my strong suit.
  • Finding things to do for a wide age range of 2-13, 6 boys and 1 lonely girl
  • Keep a group of 7 kids together on bike rides
  • Remembering that this is my job this summer and nothing else
  • Keep a balance of organized activities with hands-off parenting and letting the kids enjoy the summer old school style but accompanying them anyway.
  • Not letting having littles get in the way of the big kids fun.

I’m actually super excited to have the chance to do this this summer. I’m stressed because we have more going on now than we did when I planned this. It’s interesting how easy it would be for me to justify not doing this with the excuse that things have changed and I have to focus on a million other things. Once again I could easily put the kids aside, assuming there’s always another day/week/summer that will be less busy. However, it’s only stressful when I start thinking of all the things I could or “should” be doing around the house. The trick is to separate my day job (summer kids program) from my second job (cleaning, cooking, laundry, paperwork ). If I can do that it’s going to be pretty enjoyable. I love biking to the park and not being on a timeline or stressing about how long it may take to get there and back.

Today we’ve already played kickball, gotten a lesson in bike maintenance, biked to a park across town and had our lunch, played in the river.

We have rock climbing lessons tomorrow, joining the kids gardening club, the kids hiking club, and the library summer reading program.

It’s a lot to take on but it’s definitely how I want to spend my summer!

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