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Friday, September 12, 2014

How Being Organized Helped Us Get the Most Out of Summer




Sometimes organizing and summer don't go together.  Everyone likes the lazy days of summer right?  Why organize your lives and have routines or schedules?  Why make plans? 

I know it's already back-to-school time, and I've got a post coming next week outlining some tips for getting organized this fall.  But before I do that, I wanted to look back on our summer and share how being organized helped us to get the most of the season, even though it wasn't what we expected at the beginning.

We had a different-than-expected summer, with me working a lot and the kids in various day camps.  I knew I'd be working a fair bit, but I had thought it would be scattered days here and there and the kids could go to grandparents' homes for the day.  That way we'd still have a fair amount of time at home to have fun together.

But it turned out I had a few clients that needed me nearly full time, so I signed the kids up for a series of different day camps for several weeks this summer.  They had fun at the camps, but it wasn't the "at home" kind of summer they were used to.  And with baseball practices and games most evenings, we didn't have a lot of down time when we got home either.

We did have a few weeks at home though and we managed to squeeze in most of the things that were on my kids' summer brainstorming lists




I'm so glad we had these lists because it helped us focus our time together when we were at home.  I was more intentional about what activities we did together so that at the end of the summer they wouldn't feel like they'd missed out on anything by not having the kind of summer they expected. 

We spent time outdoors - swimming, playing at the park, and camping.  {Love cooking over a fire!}




My daughter become much more confident in her swimming skills this summer and it was the one thing she wanted to do more than anything else.  I'm so glad she had the opportunity to swim so much (and as it turns out she was able to swim at a few of the day camps so that helped increas her enjoyment level of camp too).




And of course we spent lots of time at my son's baseball games and practices.  He loves playing baseball, win or lose, and he was really excited to have had the opportunity to pitch several times this season, including twice in the playoffs.  And the best part was, his team won the championship!  Here he is getting his trophy.




My daughter is not very interested in baseball (or any sports really).  She's not old enough to stay home on her own though, so she gets to come along anyway.  She spent most of her evenings reading, playing on a tablet, or learning to write in cursive.  Two of her goals for summer were to learn to read better (which she definitely did, finishing her first "real" chapter book and then going on to read 4 more) and to learn cursive.   And she made good use of her time at baseball to achieve them.





On some of the hotter days at home we beat the heat by hanging out in the basement playing games, doing puzzles, and making crafts (all activities that were on their summer lists).


Last year, one of their summer wishes was to watch the sun rise.  It was amazing and they added that to their lists this year as well, but we weren't able to fit that in because my son wasn't feeling well the last week of summer when we'd planned to do it (the rest of the summer the sun rises way too early to even think about it!).  But, this year they also wanted to watch the sun set, and we had a few opportunities to do that.  Here's one time, after a family reunion, where we stuck around to watch the sun go to sleep for the night. {Sorry the colours didn't come through on my camera very well.}




My daughter wanted to see animals this summer (she's crazy about animals these days!).  She was able to see lots of wildlife at my parents' new condo which is right on a pretty creek.  Beavers, geese, swans (even baby swans!), bunnies, and lots of birds. 

And when we were camping there were the usual bugs and frogs.  {Yep... wearing a Disney princesses shirt while frog catching... that's my girl!}




But this year we saw several snakes from a lookout tower.  I wasn't too excited to be walking along the path back to our site after that, but apparently they were water snakes so theoretically I didn't need to worry.  I stayed away from that path after that though.  I'm not a fan of snakes!  {They may not look very big, but these pics were taken from way up high... they were huge!}

 


We were also hoping to go to the zoo this summer, but we changed our plans and are going to go to the African Lion Safari instead in a few weeks (or maybe we'll do both!). My daughter requested that we go to the Lion Safari as a family activity for her birthday, instead of a party.  We're happy to agree with that!

Aside from playing baseball, one of my son's other hopes for summer was to go to some Blue Jays games.  It took until the very last weekend of summer, but he was able to go to one with me and one with my hubby on Labor Day weekend.  {I think we need to get some Jays hats or shirts to wear!}





We mostly followed our summer cleaning routine which helped keep the house in reasonable shape most of the summer.  (I got behind more than the kids did which is why I had to do some extra tidying, decluttering, and cleaning later in the summer.)




And when we were home we loosely followed our summer routine.




We made a point of reading together whenever we could.  We picked up where we left off in the Narnia series last summer and read Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and started The Silver Chair.  The kids liked the series even more this year and we're planning to keep reading the rest over the next while.

We let them watch the movies for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader this year too.  They liked them, but really noticed places where the movies were different than the books, which led to some good discussions about books and movies.  General consensus was that we like books better :)

We ended the summer with our traditional celebration of their summer reading.  We weren't home as much as we were expecting when they set their reading goals at the beginning of the summer, but my daughter blew hers out of the water anyway (thanks to all that reading during baseball games!) and my son still did quite well.  Here they are with their treats {bad mom moment - I forgot to buy my son a book!}.




It was a great summer!  I loved working with my clients, especially the one who I worked with the most, who was preparing to list her home. We cleared out bags and bags and bags of purged items, brought e-waste, hazardous waste, and garbage to the dump, shredded 2 boxes of confidential papers, and recycled at least 10 bins of non-confidential paper.  Whew!  No wonder I was too tired to blog very often ;)

I missed being at home more, enjoying lots of down time with my kiddos.  But I'm so happy we still crossed most of their items off their summer lists.  And that wouldn't have happened if we hadn't been as organized as we were with our lists and routines.




I can't wait for next summer (it's my favourite season!).  But in the meantime I'll savour our favourite memories of this one. 

Stay tuned next week when I share tips to help you get the most out of fall by being organized!


What's your favourite season?  Do you like having routines in the summer or do you put routines on the back burner until school starts again?  What is your favourite memory of summer? 



Happy organizing!



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