Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Fun?

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself typing these words into my Google search bar: "How to survive summer with kids." I am sure that I will look back one day at laugh at this post. But right now, there is nothing comical about it. I was actually beginning to feel dread at the thought of summer vacation. I like my kids, I promise. But there are some things I don't like about summer vacation:
*not having a moment to myself all day
*my 3 kids bickering with each other
*having a messy house
*hearing, "What can I have to eat?" all day long

Please don't hear what I'm not saying. I know that I am so fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom and able to spend time (a lot of time) with my kids. I really do want to enjoy our summer together so I decided to come up with a game plan to do just that.

I read somewhere that our kids live by a schedule 9 months out of the year so it wouldn't be a bad idea to add a schedule to our summer days. I jumped on this idea after remembering how much fun my kids had when I created a schedule for them during Easter Vacation a couple of years ago. They really enjoyed knowing what was coming each day. And as a former teacher, it was fun for me to write out our plans on a big dry erase board.

I thought about those things (listed above) that really drive me crazy about summer and then instead of whining about them, I decided to try to change our fate.....not to sound overly dramatic. :)

Last week with summer vacation only 4 days away, I sat down with my good friend over at and we made some plans to keep our sanity this summer!

I wish I was more creative and could make these schedules and lists look pretty but I can't! So, as my kids like to say, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"

Summer Schedule

7:30 Breakfast, make bed/clean room

8 Get ready for the day

*brush teeth

*wash face

*brush hair

*get dressed

8:30 Morning Jobs

*clean up living room

*clear table/put away breakfast items

*unload dishwasher

*clean bathroom

*water plants

*food/water for Charlie

9 Morning Exercise

(bikes, scooters, play ball, walk, run)

9:30 Pack lunches and clean out car

10 Snack and Fun!

12 Lunch

12:15 15 minute clean up

12:30 Rest and Reading

(kids who stay in their rooms will get a popsicle at 2:30)

2:30 Snack and Free Time


3:30 15 minute clean up

4 Water play (swimming, sprinklers)

5 Dinner Prep

5:30 Dinner

6 Fun for kids who were kind to their brother and sister and obedient to mom and dad (offenders will get ready for an early bedtime)

7 Bath/shower

7:30 15 minute clean up

7:45 Prep for tomorrow

*set out breakfast stuff

*pick out clothes

8 Bedtime

I will replace our morning schedule with the following one during the weeks (yes, there are multiple weeks!) my kids go to Vacation Bible School:

Summer Schedule


7:00 Breakfast, make bed/clean room

7:30 Get ready for the day

*brush teeth

*wash face

*brush hair

*get dressed

8 Morning Jobs

*clean up living room

*clear table/put away breakfast items

*unload dishwasher

*clean bathroom

*water plants

*food/water for Charlie

I am trying not to buy a lot of our typical snack foods (pretzels, crackers, etc.) during the summer. I feel like they are a bit of a necessity during the school year when they need snacks at school. I think my kids are going to go through withdrawals for a while but this is our list (with some help from my friends on Facebook):



Strawberries, peaches, grapes, nectarines

Veggies & dip

carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers

Cheese slices or string cheese


Bananas or apples with peanut butter


Hard boiled egg

Peanut butter balls




Peanut butter & jelly sandwich

Peanut butter & honey sandwich


Turkey & cheese sandwich

Crackers & cheese

Peanut butter & crackers

Weekly Dinner Menu

Monday: Tacos/Burritos

Tuesday: Sandwiches

Wednesday: Salad

Thursday: Beef

tri-tip, steak, hamburger, ribs

Friday: __________

Saturday: __________

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner

Summer fun? Yes! I even made a list!

Summer Fun

Go to the park


Movie theater


Baking treats

Bike ride

Board games

Water balloons

Dress up clothes/make movie



Dance party


Slip n slide


Snow cones


Storyland & Playland

Farmer’s Market


Go out for ice cream or frozen yogurt


Go for a walk

Go for a bike ride

Train to Hanford

I am hopeful that we are going to have a great summer-if we follow the schedule. Just kidding!

If you have any great summer plans to save your sanity, please share them!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On The Eve of Christmas Eve

On this eve of Christmas eve, I am starting to feel a little bit sad about not sending out our annual family Christmas letter. Well, not about not sending it out but about not writing one. Since, I am no good at scrapbooking and a failure at keeping up on this blog - it is nice to have our memories of the year written down somewhere.

I am giving myself thirty minutes or less to write this letter and there will be no one proof reading it. You have been warned.

As usual, I planned to slow down and enjoy the month leading up to Christmas. And as usual, life got in the way. Between the kids' Christmas performances, my annual gift wrapping party, our family trip to Disneyland, in addition to daily life - there was not enough time to slow down! But life is good and we found quite a bit to enjoy.

Last year at this time, I was praying, praying and praying some more that Matt's company would be awarded the job to rebuild highway 41 into Yosemite. Matt bid the job and he was hoping to run it. When we found out that he would be the project manager on the job, we were so excited. Little did we know, that it would turn our lives upside down. Well, that might be an exaggeration. Not quite upside down but our lives were pretty crazy there, for a while.

In May, Matt and four of his co-workers moved into a house in Fish Camp (just south of Yosemite) to live and work for the next 6 months. Matt came home on weekends and usually one other night during the week. The job was quite stressful, to say the least, and the kids and I really missed having Matt at home. (Well, to be honest, I did like holding the remote control for the tv.)

For the last month, Matt has been working full time out of Granite's Fresno office and bidding new work. He helped coach Zachary's soccer team and will soon be coaching his basketball team. Matt has started playing basketball one night a week again and has resumed control of the tv remote.

Zachary is 7 and in the second grade. He is seriously a genius when it comes to math (hey, I said this letter was for myself so I'm allowed to brag a little). He is also slower than a turtle when it comes to getting ready in the morning....the most time being spent on tying his shoes. Zachary had a great time playing soccer this fall. His team was undefeated (which I'm sure added to his enjoyment of the game). Oh, and I should mention that he played in one t-ball game last spring before falling off of his bike and breaking his arm. Zachary's favorite things to do are: play games on my ipod touch, play outside with the neighborhood kids, listen to music and lately he has been wanting to help out in the kitchen.

Emilie just turned 6 and is in Kindergarten. I tell all of the parents that if they would like a running report on how their child's day went, to just ask Emilie. She is always happy to share all of the details. Since there is another child named "Emily" in her class, at the beginning of the year Emilie decided to be called, "Emme." She also decided on that spelling. I had been spelling it differently for the last 5 years but on the first day of school, Emilie had another idea. Emilie loves school and she continues to "play school" long after the official school day has ended. Her favorite things to do (besides boss everyone around) are: listening to books on cd, looking at and reading books, drawing, drawing and more drawing. I cannot believe how much paper that girl goes through!

Luke is 4 and is attending preschool three mornings a week. The activity he enjoys most at school is swinging on the swings. He LOVES to swing. Sometimes at home, he'll walk into the backyard all alone to swing. Luke also likes to play with his friends and watch "Special Agent Oso" on tv. I am sitting here trying to think of another way to say this but I just don't have time so here it is: Luke is naughty. Yes, he is. I have to tell his teachers, other parents, and strangers on the side walk, "Our first two kids didn't do stuff like this...." I love, love, love that kid. I mean, I can't get enough of his guttural laugh, his sweet affection, and his crazy antics. But I strive for honesty and that kid is honestly a stinker!

I am pretty much doing the same stuff I was doing last year and the year before that. (Uh oh, my 30 minutes just ended.)

My life is pretty full with raising these 3 kiddos and loving my husband. I wish I didn't yell so much and I wish I had dinner ready when Matt walked in the door at night....I would love to have a clean house but no matter how much I just will not stay that way. I should be going to the gym but I don't. I should correct my kids every time they make a rude remark or are unkind in some way but some days I just want to ignore these things because I am tired!

In spite of all my failures and unfulfilled expectations, life is good. Really, really good. I am thankful for so many things. I have some great friends. Really, really great. I am still in love with the boy who winked at me across the classroom in high school. Our church is awesome. Our God is amazing. I seriously cannot fathom God's goodness and blessings. Most of all, I am thankful that God is with us.

The following words from Matthew 1:21-23 are floating around in the background of my life these days:

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him 'Immanuel' - which means, 'God with us.' "

Merry Christmas, friends!


Thursday, August 26, 2010


Yesterday Zachary came in the door after school and burst into tears. He said that he saw me pick up his sister from Kindergarten and drive past his school. He just happened to be walking to the bathroom at the same time and apparently he waved to us and we didn't see him. Forget about the fact that I was driving and therefore focused on the road in front of me, my heart twisted with mother-guilt. Seriously kid, I was driving! How was I supposed to know that you'd be out of your classroom at 10:52 in the morning? Nonetheless, I am a loser.

Early this morning, Zachary's teacher left a message on my cell phone letting me know that around 11am yesterday Zachary seemed sad and was maybe feeling a bit homesick. She gave him a cracker and a hug. (OK, it's official: I LOVE her!) Once again, felt the pang of mother-guilt reminding me of how I failed my sweet boy.

I decided that I needed to rectify the situation and alleviate my guilt. So, today I picked Emilie up from Kindergarten at 11:30 which is the exact time that Zachary lines up outside his classroom to walk to the cafeteria for lunch. I told Emilie (or "Emme" as she is now known at school) that we were going to say hi to her brother. She said sweetly, "No, I don't want to.....let's go out to lunch again." (Sarcasm intended.)

As we rounded the corner to the hallway where Zachary's classroom is located, I spotted him immediately. And he spotted us. His eyes lit up and he said, "Hi Mommy! Are you here to take me out to lunch?" I was not. (Insert mother-guilt pang here.) But I said, "Sure I am. Where do you want to go?"

Oh, what a sweet hour we had. We ate our Happy Meals. Zachary and Emilie played in the germy, stinky play area. Zachary took off his socks and shoes. There was a TV on playing a cartoon that 'we don't watch in our house.' I seriously could cry right now thinking back to the smile on his face. He looked more than happy....he looked rejuvenated.

I didn't want to burst his bubble but I did have to inform him that this was a special treat and would not be happening all that often. But I secretly want it to happen maybe just a tad more than I let on.

I wish I could say that when Zachary came home from school today, all was right with the world. But I'll save that story for another day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Imaginary Letters

I love to read. Have I mentioned that before? The more I read, the more I want to write. Whenever I sit at my computer to write, I just want to read. It is a game of avoidance. When my kids are all in bed (and they have stopped asking for various items and repeatedly getting up to tell me something or to show me something), I think, "This is it. This is my time. I can write and get my thoughts out of my head and out there." Wherever "there" is. So that is my plan but then I manage to find a new blog and it is usually so interesting that by the time I finally force myself to stop reading, I think, "I gotta get off of this computer; I need to relax." Like I've been working!

I've been reading this great book and the author actually has a chapter that discusses the fact that writing is work. It involves making the choice to sit down and focus and write. And saying "no" to other more pressing things like laundry, planning next week's meals and checking Facebook. I never thought of it that way before. I thought of writing as a release, like taking a deep breath and letting it all out. And it does feel that way when I am done but the process of putting my feelings into words and the time it takes to do that - adds up to work.

Just about every other chapter that I read from this author, makes me want to write a response to her. I have a letter written in my head after each one of her stories and then I read another chapter and a new letter begins to form. Nothing ever gets written down on paper. I thought tonight (after reading another chapter) that I should start putting post-it notes on the pages that touched me enough to evoke an imaginary letter in my head. And that maybe one day, I could go back and write a real letter to this author.

But that would never work. My feelings are so fresh and all of the thoughts swirling in my head would not be there if I went back to reread a chapter so that I could write a response. And really, who am I kidding - thinking that one day, I will make the time to write to this author.

I only know of one other person who has read this book and we love retelling the stories and sharing how the author's words have affected us, made us think, changed and challenged us.

But one day, I would really like to let the author know all of that, too. Maybe some day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Our Week in Pictures

Sunday, August 15
We love having Nana and Papa stay at our house!

Monday, August 16
Luke is so happy to have his best buddy, Zach, home after 7 weeks apart.

Tuesday, August 17
Zachary is always 'working' using any scraps he can find.

Wednesday, August 18
Luke's first day of school.

Thursday, August 18
Zachary called me into his room and I was looking in his closet, on his bed.....I couldn't find him anywhere!

Friday, August 19
We were in a hurry this morning so I asked Zachary to get Luke dressed. This is what the two of them came up with. Being my third child, I thought it would be just fine for Luke to wear this outfit to school.

Saturday, August 20
Grandma and Grandpa are here to visit! We spent the morning at The Farmers' Market and the park.

Monday, August 16, 2010


It's 11:30 at night. This is late for me. My friends make fun of me because I like to go to bed before 10. Anyway, I locked all of the doors, turned off all of the lights and just checked on my kids.....the things I do every night.

After covering each of them up, turning off their lamps, kissing their cheeks, whispering soothing words and smelling their hair, I realized something.....

The later I stay awake, the more I love my kids.

Can this be true? This is a crazy thought. I mean, of course I always love them and I already love them all the way. But two things have given me perspective:

*I have just spent 3 hours alone. (I guess not truly "alone" but completely uninterrupted.)
*Sleeping children (especially when they are your own sleeping children) are absolutely the most precious sight.

Man, I love those kids!

I almost want to wake them up and tell them how much I adore them!

But I am going to put myself to bed right now before I do something I will regret!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Our Week in Pictures

Sunday, August 8
Emma (our next door neighbor) and Emilie play with their dolls.

Monday, August 9
Luke is an aspiring Window Washer (he would not leave the man alone!)

Tuesday, August 10
Matt reads, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," to the kids before bed.

Wednesday, August 11
Zachary took it upon himself (with the help of his handy assistants) to replace light bulbs throughout the house.

Thursday, August 12
Luke borrowed this "Jesse" hat from his friend, Audrey. He played with it all day.....while wearing jeans and cowboy boots and riding his stick horse, of course.

Friday, August 13
The kids had so much fun playing at this new park. Emilie enjoyed hanging out inside "the bubble."

Saturday, August 14
The kids love when Nana and Papa come for a visit. We all had a great time swimming in our neighbor's pool.
For some crazy reason, I can't type below this picture and I refuse to waste one more second trying to figure it out!