*Lyric from Down on the Corner by CCR
I’m not much of an artist. I think I must have decided that early in life because I can remember, even in grade school, feeling a complete lack of confidence to give it a try.
“It won’t be very good.” I heard my own words coming back to me from my daughter.
“Well,” I said, “it’s not about whether it’s good or not. It’s about doing it, trying it. It’s for the experience – for the fun of it. Anyway, how do you think you get good at stuff?”
Lucy was already hard at work on her flamingo.
And Bee was happily painting without regard for either half of her kitten.
“You don’t have to do it,” I offered.
“I think I’ll start with the right side,” she said, more to herself than to me.
“This isn’t turning out too bad,” she said, perking up as she began to draw.
“Pretty great, Julia!”
She decided the left side was definitely harder to draw than the right.
Then, we put her two drawings together.
One stroller + one bike + one wagon + four kids + one mom + a grandma + a picnic lunch = our first trek of the season to the Tree of Many Trees.
We stopped at the little brown bridge, half a mile away, mostly so the girls could throw sticks and rocks in the water.
Then we moved onward, to the Tree of Many Trees, 1 mile away.
We had a picnic lunch there and I asked the kids to pose for pictures.
Lucy was responsible for the best outtakes, per usual.
I wasn’t sure I’d gotten one of them all looking at me AND smiling, so I said, “Hey, I got poop on my head!”
Then we headed home.
Jackson was awake for most of the walk.
We’ll do it again and again, all summer long.
I drink tea each morning with breakfast. Yogi tea is my favorite brand because I get a message on my tea bag.
Together we can do what we can never do alone.
Isn’t that the truth?
Our van still isn’t fixed because MONEY and since it’s the only vehicle we have that all the kids can fit in, we’ll probably be spending a whole lot of our summer days at home. And that’s okay with me. I’d like for summer to be slow, to allow time for exploration, imagination, and creativity. My best summer memories from childhood are from days like that.
Berry picking along the railroad tracks. Riding my bike. Reading an entire book in an afternoon on a blanket under our butternut tree. Making bracelets and necklaces, then opening a jewelry store on my front porch. Playing kick ball with my friends until it got dark. Catching lightning bugs.
These are the sort of things we do when we’ve got time on our hands, not during the hour we have between piano and softball.
Still, stuff needs to get done and it’s easy to let summer days pass without doing it, especially if they’re things we don’t really want to do or they happen to be things that frequently get put off in lieu of Something Better To Do. So. I read How to Make Your Summer at Home with Kids Count over at Thriving Home. It’s full of some pretty great ideas, but the one I’ve decided to try is a daily fridge schedule, which is basically a magnetic list of our usual activities that we can rearrange into a schedule for the day.
This is what ours looks like.
I think we’ll be adding some items, but this gives you the gist.
I introduced the idea to the kids this weekend and said, “We’ll start on Tuesday, after the holiday.” But they wanted to do it right away, so we set up our day over breakfast. You guys, maybe it’s because it’s something new and maybe it won’t last, but it was like a miracle.
Julia grabbed for the T.V. remote and Lucy stopped her, “Julia, it’s not T.V. time, yet.”
And Julia said, “Alright. I’ll just read a book.”
They reminded me that they needed to practice piano. And when I let them choose when they wanted to Clean Up, they actually DID IT.
This idea is brilliant. Honestly, I’m not sure what I’d be doing without the ideas and inspiration I find on the internet.
Together we can do what we can never do alone.
Amen, Yogi tea bag. Amen.
Of course, we’ll have some days when the fridge schedule won’t apply. But for much of the time, I think it’ll work. Mostly, because it’s flexible.
What does your summer look like?
Vacation began, officially, yesterday after Julia’s last day of school.
Check out what pure joy looks like.*
I made the balloon wreath that’s also a game from The 36th Avenue and hung it from the door to welcome her home.
You see, there’s a piece of paper inside each balloon with either a number or a letter T printed on it, and one with a smiley face on it.
The plan was to take it to the back yard, but it was so cold and windy yesterday, we decided to bring it inside. Dave found the box our T.V. came in and hung the wreath from it and we handed the kids some darts.
They all took turns throwing their dart to try and pop the balloons.
(We let Phoebe stand a little closer.)
And when they did, they got to pull pieces of candy from a big bowl according to the number on the paper that was inside it. If they got a T, they took another turn. If they got the smiley face, they got a big pack of Twizzlers. Because Twizzlers in our house are like cigarettes in prison.
It was super fun.
Then we – all of us, even me – headed off to Lucy’s first t-ball game, which they won.
You guys, this is going to be a great summer.
*Can you name the movie that line is from?
As the students filed into the sanctuary for their preschool graduation, the mom sitting in front of me turned around and nodded toward Jackson sleeping in his infant carrier, “I remember when Lucy was the one in the car seat.” Her older daughter had been in Julia’s preschool class and her youngest was standing on stage with Lucy.
“Those four years went fast.”
Now, half my kids are through preschool.
Lucy, the 2013 graduate.
Yes, that’s the same dress, same shoes. It won’t be long until Phoebe will be stepping into them.
I wrote about Julia’s last day of preschool four years ago. I re-read it this morning and realized I could have written it for Lucy today. I hope you’ll read it, too.
Summer vacation is nearly here! Today is Lucy’s last day of preschool and tomorrow is Julia’s last day of third grade. And damn, you guys, I’m excited to have them home all day for a while. I’m looking forward to slowing down and doing a little more of want we want to and less of what we have to.
Yesterday at breakfast, I asked the girls what they wanted to do this summer and we made a list. Last night, I turned that list into this.
I got the idea to display it like that from The Buente Family’s Summer To-Do List. I especially love the check boxes to show our progress. It’s the perfect antidote to “I’m bored” or “We never do anything.” And I’m hoping it’ll keep me from letting the summer slip by, so when August arrives I’m not panicking and trying to jam everything into the last few weeks, turning our Want To activities into Have To activities and our relaxing summer into a hectic and torturous quest for fun that leaves us exhausted for the return to school.
But I don’t want to think about the return to school right now. We’re ready for the summer!
This has been hanging in the living room for a few weeks now.
Join the most awsomist club envented. Join Julia Grimmett to fun, feasts, fests, and gifts, and a whole lot more!
Your child will be particeapating in something with violence, not too much – violence, challenges, worthiness and coolness. This is probably for someone that is so awsome, wich is everybody in this family, that you can see it even if they don’t say anything. This club is ruled by Julia and if you choose to particapate, you must see her imedietly. Grownups, if you participate, will be in a different group.
This is just stuff you really needed to know.
I cannot bring myself to take it down. I love it too much.
I left the keys in the ignition of Dave’s car in the start position yesterday, apparently. I don’t remember doing this, but it was an easy way to add some adventure to our morning today. We got to search for his keys AND find a dead battery! Like a treasure hunt, but without the fun.
That’s not what I even really wanted to tell you, though. It’s what I had to tell you, because when I do stupid things, it makes me feel better to laugh about them and Dave’s not laughing, yet. He’s jump starting the car from the lawn tractor.
Anyway, this is what I wanted to tell you.
Thanks to a generous gift and gentle encouragement from a beautiful friend, I’m giving cloth diapering a try.
Doesn’t Jackson look dapper in his diaper?
My mom used cloth diapers when I was a baby, and it wasn’t until after Lucy came that I really understood that it was something people still did. I thought it was an “olden days” sort of thing, like making all your own bread. Sure, it’s fun to make your own bread, but it’s not convenient to do every day. It may not even save you money. But so far, cloth diapering seems sort of simple. I keep wondering if there’s some key element I’m missing. I’ve seen so many articles and videos about it and was even invited to a cloth diaper party once to “try and figure it all out!” Of course, I didn’t really read those articles or watch the videos and I didn’t go to that party, but the knowledge of their existence was enough to place a shroud of mystery over the whole thing. Plus, I don’t know many people who do it, but some that don’t have suggested that it’s complicated and time-consuming.
My experience so far is that it’s less work than when Lucy started wearing underwear, but still had a lot of accidents.
I’m going to try it a while before I decide to invest in the next size diaper.
I’d love to hear about your diapering experiences. Do you use disposables or cloth or a combination of the two? What brands do you use? And what about baby wipes? Can you believe it took me until child number four to ask these questions?