Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Pros & Cons

Watering the daisies
Best parts of summer so far:
Using fresh food from our garden, radishes with garlic salt, mint in our water, basil & green onions on our fish, popping strawberries and cherries when we walk by.

Playing in the neighborhood, sprinkler, beauty shoppe on the front steps, dodge ball, medic, pushing babies in strollers (real & plastic), basketball & pitching to little brothers.

Watching baseball & soccer games.

James being an Altar Server for the first time and seeing what a gift a strong faith foundation is when you have a child entering the pre teens.

Being together.

Cozy Fathers Day moment
Patio & porch nights with friends for mom & dad time.

Worst parts of summer so far:

Getting TO baseball & soccer games.

Cleaning. How many wet suits and towels can 8 children create? Lots apparently.

Cooking, we are all getting sick of sandwhiches but really 3 meals a day a gal can only get so creative.

Our table works well for the kids but someday
 I have a huge farm table on my wish list!!
Mama time. Harder for me to find a moment to workout.

Overall a great start to summer. Annie is off for a WEEK long camp and most of the boys start football camp in the morning. We have celebrated oodles of birthdays and more to come. Our house officially is  12, 10,10, 9, 8, 6, 4 and 18m. Well and some in the 30's but those we don't disclose:)
Keeping up with miss LuLu can be a challenge but the kids fight for turns to hold her and care for her.

Looking forward to week 3, our library reading charts, some new summer recipes & a little more time at home this week. I would like to try to be better about an organized snack time 2 x a day and some kind of group work time when everyone was together but on task. The older kids often go and read but they loved doing a craft when I pulled out the pearler beads and wax paper. I would also like to do a field trip to someplace that is new, a new park or nature preserve. AND I would like to have them help me make freezer jam with the cherries from our tree. Lofty goals, hope some of your summer goals are actualized this week!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welcome Summer

This year I am feeling special gratitude for summer!

Lucy followed a butterfly around the front yard for 5 minutes yesterday. She blew it kisses when it finely flew on to the next yard.

Mark & Daisy made a calendar of countdown to summer that listed all the things they were looking forward to in summer (including eating freezies on the back of Dad's truck).

The older children are high fiving for being able to sleep in, have their windows open and read comics.

Mickey declared summer his favorite season (each season makes this prized cut yearly, but I love his enthusiasm).

Nate is learning prayers for ordinary time.

I am still trying to tackle this desk, I really should post a photo of it clean when I manage to get it ship shape :)  Sheff finished fixing up our screen porch for summer nights and has a busy summer at Urban Rebuilders.

Wishing you lazy reads, sweet tea on the porch and memories with those who save quarters for the ice cream truck.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Getting 10 Runned as Mom

I am exhausted, feel guilty saying so, but it is the truth. Normally I have a day here and there when I don't get it all done, but this season I feel like quick sand is taking over the high ground.

I did add frozen mixed veggies to the macaroni and cheese tonight, but that's as good as it gets right now folks. No homemade bread, the oats ain't slow cooked and the cloth diapers are neatly stacked and ignored.

How can I be better at this spring season? I know when school is out I will have a better rhythm. I am having the hardest time finding time to work out, Sheff and I have to be ships passing in order to keep the right kids on the right fields at the right times. To top off this week Lucy is doing an up at night stint with 4 back molars arriving any day.

I know it is possible but I wish I could find a little more joy in my work right now. I wish I could get a little more on top of my game. Spring seems to be 10 running me weekly.

That said I am, we are, so grateful for help driving, kind words in the scramble and emotional support for mom (I have needed a bit more lately)! I have a verse taped to my computer that I read tonight. It is a good reminder as I try to cut myself some slack and renew my strength as Mom.

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Workbooks & Swinging in the Trees

I think we all need some summer vacation. I am hesitant to say that because that equals 8 kids 24/7 but I know it is true:) Towards the end of the year friendships need space, minds need downtime and bodies need to move more.

Each year I try to learn from the summer prior. What activities worked well? What was difficult? Did a daily schedule help or hurt our days (help!) Did we keep up on chore charts or need a new structure? What camps were fun and how to budget for different opportunities for the kids.

Using the Library Reading program is an awesome way to get a big family (or anyone on a summer budget!)
 to the State Fair!
Through trial and error we have found a rest time hour (when the baby is sleeping) summer work time is best for keeping up with reading and math over the summer. Most of our kids would rather climb a tree or throw a ball than sit and read (Annie & Nate are the exception) so I need to build in time for "summer school". I hit Lakeshore learning and pick up age appropriate workbooks. Each kid has a file to grab for the one hour slot and I initial the page/pages they finished. Then they need a one hour reading slot in the day (yes it can be TinTin or other comics).

I loved doing Urban Tennis last year because we had a consistent plan for 6 weeks. The downside was kids did not get a chance to do individualized sports camps or lazy days at the beach. This year everyone is doing 2 or 3 weeks of sports camps. We also do our weeklong Bible camp where I pitch in as a volunteer leader for a tuition break (and its lots of fun!) We have cabin dates, camping plans and our annual week away this year up to Ely, Minnesota to Camp du Nord, it will be our 6th time there.

I ran into someone at the baseball park (this happens A LOT:) and we were catching up. I used the phrase enjoying status quo, and its true! Our family is in a good place. Healthy, happy and bursting at the seams for summer fun.

Wishing everyone a wonderful last week of school!