Where did summer go? {AKA what I've been up to instead of blogging} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Where did summer go? {AKA what I've been up to instead of blogging}

Monday, September 2, 2013

Where did summer go? {AKA what I've been up to instead of blogging}

Is it really the beginning of September?  Are my kids really starting school tomorrow?  It feels like just a few weeks ago that they were finishing up school and now we're getting ready for the new year to begin.

We've had a great summer!  I'm so thankful to have been able to spend this time with my kids.  We had a lot of fun doing things from the kids' summer brainstorming lists.  We didn't get to everything... but that just means we'll have a few things to do this fall or to start off next summer's lists.

You may have noticed that my blog posts have been less consistent this summer.  Or maybe you were enjoying your summer so much that you didn't miss the organizing posts :)

I've had so many ideas to share with you though!  I even started a few posts but didn't finish them.  And I've got tons of pictures that I took along the way to use on the blog.  I'll publish a few more summer-related posts this week (since it's still technically summer!) but then I think I'll put the other ideas on hold until next year.  Who wants to read about summer in the fall right?!

Anyway, today's post is me sharing a bit about what we did this summer and the things I observed or learned.

I'll apply these lessons when I plan our fall and also next summer.  Hopefully you can do the same! {Number 5 is my favourite... so if you're scrolling through quickly, at least read that one!}

1.  Routines Work {even when you don't stick to them!}

Having our daily routines and weekly routines really helped us to fit in the things we wanted to do this summer, while still having some structure to our days and weeks.  We didn't stick to them as much as I'd originally thought {see this post for more about why}, but having routines gave us structure and some stability and predictability, even when things changed along the way.

Sometimes "Which park on Wednesday" turned into "Which park on Friday" because it was raining on Wednesday.  Or "Play it on Tuesday" and "Get wet Thursday" were switched because friends invited us to meet them at a splash pad on Tuesday.

Sometimes "Reading Together" happened in the morning because we had a playdate with friends in the afternoon.  Or "Cleaning" was skipped one day because the kids slept in {pretty rare occurrence around here} or it was just too crazy hot to even look at a vacuum cleaner :)

Having names for each component of our routines helped.  By naming everything, we were able to prioritize and rearrange the various activities when we needed to, without feeling like we were missing out on important things.  And we learned to be flexible.  And creative :)

2.  Team sports can teach a whole family 

I mentioned earlier this month how baseball took over our lives this summer.  I loved seeing how happy my son was when he was playing.  He says he wants to be a professional baseball player and, while I'm sure that goal will change several times in the next 10 years, it sure motivated him this summer.

One of the things I liked was how he didn't seem to mind whether his team won or lost.  I mean of course he was disappointed when they lost.  But he is very competitive and tends to get really upset when he loses a Wii game or a board game.  We've been talking with him for years about just enjoying the game and being a better loser {well not exactly in those words but you know what I mean!}.  It's one of the main reasons we hadn't signed him up previously for any sports leagues.

But this summer was different.  He always found something to be happy about, despite the outcome.
  • A close game.  
  • A strong inning to almost win the game.  
  • A good hit.  
  • A great defensive play {he was actually involved in all 3 parts of a triple play... the only one anyone had ever seen in Rookie ball!}.  
  • Cheering his teammates on {and getting others to join in} 
  • Playing under the lights for most of his playoff games {they played from 8:30-10:30...way past his bedtime...hence a few of those sleep-in mornings!  And the lights made them feel like real pros :) }
He had fun... all summer... even when they lost.  I'm hoping this will translate into better sportsmanship in all areas of his life.  A mom can dream right?!

So my son learned something from baseball this summer... but so did I.  I had so much fun cheering for him.  And getting to know other kids' parents.  And cheering for their kids.  And having them cheer for my son.  This was all new to me as a parent.  And I loved it.  I've heard stories of nightmare parents yelling at their kids and I'm so glad that wasn't our experience this summer on either of my son's teams.

I read this article a few weeks ago about being a good sport parent and it really resonated with me.  I tucked him in after every game with the words "I love watching you play baseball".  Every time those words were met with a big smile :)

While my son and I loved all the baseball evenings this summer (my hubby too...he was able to make it to at least parts of most games), my daughter... not so much.  She spent most of her evenings at her brother's games armed with a stack of books and a DSi.  She also met some other kids who didn't care what their siblings were doing out there on the diamond either.  Here she is on one of the cooler nights:

Isn't that toothless smile the best?  {Good thing she's so cute because we also learned this summer that she's got 8 cavities and may need childhood root canals to deal with some of them. Ugh.}

Thankfully my daughter didn't complain too much about going to all those games.  Even the night it rained the whole time and we were snuggled up under a big ol' golf umbrella.  I think she learned a bit about how to be a supportive sister {but definitely not about being a cheerleader LOL}.

3.  We love camping!

OK, that's not really something I learned this summer... I've known I loved camping for a long time, and I've been cultivating that love in my hubby and kids over the years.  Camping was on both my kids' summer lists and I'm glad that despite my hubby's frequently changing work schedule, we managed to go camping twice this summer.

There's something about being outdoors, cooking over a fire, hearing the birds chirping early in the morning... it all just says summer to me.

I organize things as much as possible before and during our camping trips so that I can enjoy myself more when we're there.  Camping can be a lot of work.  But a little organization can really pay off.  I'd planned to do a short series of posts on how I organize things when we go camping because I really want to share some of those tips with you.  But I think now I'll wait until next summer :)

4.  It's fun exposing our kids to the music we love

My hubby and I both like 80's and 90's music. And classic 60's & 70's songs too.  There's a great local station that plays 70's, 80's and 90's music and it's usually our go-to radio station in the car.  Nothing against recent music...  but those familiar, upbeat, fun songs, that I can sing along to, often help me get more done when I'm cleaning or organizing or stay awake when I'm driving :)

Our kids are still young enough that they mostly listen to what we listen to when we're driving.  I know this won't last forever, but it's fun exposing them to some of our favourite bands and artists while we still can.
A couple of weeks ago we went to the CNE {Canadian National Exhibition - an end-of-summer tradition around here} and there was a free Beach Boys concert at the bandshell.  So. Much. Fun.

Not a great picture... we didn't go early enough to get a spot on the benches or even get very close on the grass... {too many other fun things to do at the CNE!}.  So we were quite far back.  But we had a blast!

The kids had never been to a "real" concert before {The Doodlebops, Backyardigans, and Bob the Builder don't count as concerts right?!}.  So it was fun to see their reactions.  And because we were so far back we could dance and sing to our hearts' content.  My kids thought I was a bit crazy at first, but then they joined in and I got a bit of dancing time with each of them.

Now my son recognizes their "sound" and asks if it's the Beach Boys every time he hears them on the radio.
Love it!  Oh, and this weekend it's a "Totally 80's Long Weekend" and my son keeps wanting to listen... so fun :)

5.  Watching the sun rise is special 

Last Thursday we got up early and watched the sun rise.  It was one of the things on both my kids' summer brainstorming lists.  {They read about the idea in an Owl magazine the night before we did our brainstorming... and they did NOT forget about it all summer!}.

Here they are when we were leaving... still dark outside.

I waited until late in the summer to do this...for 2 reasons.  First, I knew it would mean getting them up earlier than usual and I didn't want them to be tired for any planned activities {so definitely not until after baseball season was over}.  Second, I wanted to watch as late a sunrise as possible and Thursday's 6:39 a.m. was much more manageable than the 5:30 sunrises earlier in the summer!

I misjudged where the sun would actually rise, so we ended up watching it come up over some trees, rather than over the horizon on Lake Ontario.  They were a little disappointed, but still said it was worth it and it was one of the highlights of their summer.

It was a neat experience for them.  I think they just take for granted that the sun comes up and goes down every day and never really think about it.  There were lots of questions and observations so it turned into a bit of a learning experience.  Love when that happens so naturally.

There's just something about seeing the sun rise that does the soul good.  Something about new beginnings and fresh starts every morning.  I love it.

Might have to make watching the sun rise an annual tradition :)

I love summer more than any season so it's sad to think it's coming to an end.  But officially it doesn't finish for a few weeks and I intend to soak up every minute of summer weather I can :)

As you reflect back on your summer, what are some lessons you learned?  What are your favourite memories of summer?  Are you ready for it to end or trying to enjoy every last minute of it?

Happy organizing!

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Check out all my summer posts here!