The season begins…

Summer stretches before us.  It’s the first day of our summer vacation.  No more getting to school on time, going to bed on time, drop off, pick up, do you have your lunch?

Most of me is really excited.  Weekdays we do have to be at swim practice at 9, which I learned last summer is a good thing– and an easy transition since we are up at 6 and throwing on your swimsuit seems just so much gentler than getting dressed for school.  If it weren’t for swim we might not get out of the house.

Not getting out of the house, though, is what I call a really great day.  Not for days on end but a day here and there staying in pajamas and only brushing my teeth.  It helps if there is rain or at least clouds.  A stormy day when there is no place we have to be is glorious, relaxing, and soothing to my Mommy soul.

Suprisingly I get a lot accomplished on these days.  Like the day this spring when Walt felt yucky and just wanted to stay on the couch.  The laundry got clean start to finish.   From dropping the load in the washer, to folding, to placing in the right drawer, laying flat, so you could close the drawer again.  Spider webs in the foyer and the dining/craft/watch people walk by room were swept away.  I actually dusted behind the television.

It was so nice to not think about how to maximize my alone time.  I had lots of time to myself, but I wasn’t alone.  The day offered a way to complete task after task, slowly and thankfully.  My little boy was feeling yucky but he would feel better soon and we could share the house, just the two of us, while Mommy quietly dusted, swept, folded and cleaned.  Heaven.

The part of me that is a little less excited is the part that says, hmmm, what are we going to do?  Together.  All day.  And how am I going to accomplish all the things I need to do, and usually do alone?

This summer we are implementing unpower hour.  I thought the boys might boo the idea, but they seem to be looking forward to it as much as I am.  After swim practice, and lunch at the pool, when we’ve had enough sun and water gun battles, the plan is to come home, get dry and take an hour of quiet time.  Rules:  read, write, draw, plan, play with quiet toys, or rest.

An hour of quiet stretching before me.  Ahhh.  the simple thoughts of summer.

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Happy Friday

harry with fbf graffic

As my oldest said this morning, it’s been a long week.  Only one more week until the last day of school and yet it feels so far away.

We have some fresh books from the library and look forward to reading before bed tonight.  Harry and Horsie is one we’ve read over and over.  Then we check it out again and read it over and over.

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The illustrations are retro cool.

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And it’s so fun to get to say, “Bloop,” throughout the book.  What a descriptive word, bloop.

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Sleep buddies, bubbles and the moon make this book one of our bedtime favorites.  Not too short, not too long.

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Interestingly, it is written by a young woman who was a nanny for David Letterman, Harry is his son.

harry an horsie cover

Happy reading and enjoy the weekend!

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Summer to do list

summer mack

I love reading the lists of what families plan to do with the days of summer.

And since I love a list, we have made one of our own.

The beginning of our summer vacation is pretty structured, as far as summer days go, since we have swim team practice weekday mornings at 9.  Last summer I thought that would be a strain, somewhere to be every morning.  BUT it turned out to be great!  We had a place to be, a reason to get dressed, (or at least change out of our pajamas),  and the boys looked forward to it.  No begging them to get ready.  It really made summer easier.   So our everyday did have  a kind of routine, using our bodies to exercise and our minds to learn new strokes.

I am looking forward to that again this summer.

DAILY SUMMER  PLAN

  • 9am swim practice
  • 10am pool opens, stay to play
  • 11am snack bar opens–highly anticipated by our family!
  • 12noon lunch at the pool
  • 1pm home and dry, more snacks
  • 1:30- 3 excursion or lessons, music or language on the internet
  • 3-4pm unpower hour-time to read, draw, write, quietly play or rest.
  • 4-6pm electronics time, so I can supper ready!

As I type this out, it seems kind of rigid, but in our family we operate best when we all know what is going to happen next.

The unpower hour is new to us this summer.  But the boys have started to read chapter books to themselves and I just think making time to get lost in a book is a great way to spend free time.  I am looking forward to joining them and have a small stack of books ready to let take me away.

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Powerful mornings to change the world.

hello door

Graduation speeches are the best.  I love to be inspired and by golly, a graduation speech is usually, even if they are halfway decent, inspiring.

Trouble is, it’s hard to remember all the advice that was rendered during the graduation speech that was meant for you.  I know I for one was thinking about where we were going for lunch afterwards, will my hat stay on just a little while longer, and is that really my mom’s voice I can hear from all the way up there in the stands of the division one football stadium?  Yes, yes it is…

So this time of year I love to hear what other graduates are hearing on their big day

Naval Admiral William H. McRaven’s words to the University of Texas at Austin were inspiring and entertaining.  I heard about it on the Happiness Project Blog.  McRaven is a navy seal and the ninth commander of US Special Operations Command.  He gives advice on changing the world.  Number one is, “make your bed.”

Interesting and timely since making our bed is one of our summer projects.   My hope is that by the end of the summer they will automatically make their bed in the morning before we leave the house.

But making your bed is just one those things that I think make a morning great.  Here are my other thoughts:

1.  Open the blinds.  Let in the sunshine.  See what’s going on outside.

2.  Say good morning to everyone.  It’s uplifting to you and uplifiting to them.  (Don’t worry if they don’t answer back, you did your thing.)

3.  Stretch.  Just a little bit of movement gets your blood flowing.

4.  Say thank you for the day.  Silently to God or the Universe.  A deep breath goes well here too.

5.  Make your bed.  First tasked finished.  Now on to the next.

We are not a perfectly made up bed kind of household.  And learning to make up our bed is on our list for the summer.  But straightening the sheets and the blankets, turning over and smoothing out the pillows is part of my morning mommy ritual.  When it is time to snuggle in and say our prayers when the day is over I think a neat place to lay their head is another way I say I love you and want to take good care of you.

I’ll let you know if the bed making habit sticks with my 3.

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Love this story

 

3 gifts

 

The Gift

By Leo Babauta

Three people are given a magical gift by a luminous, kindhearted fairy.

The gift is that for just one hour, they get to experience magic and wonders. This limited time is filled with visual delights, food of the utmost deliciousness, amazing people with incredible talents, and love.

The first person is a great man, and while he’s grateful for the gift, he has lots to do and so regrettably has to spend a lot of it replying to emails and texts, and checking for updates in social media. He does take some pictures of the delicious food and shares it on social media, though he doesn’t pay attention to the taste.

The second person is a bit of procrastinator (OK, let’s be honest: a big procrastinator), and while she really wants to use this gift wisely, she keeps putting it off. She spends much of the hour watching videos the first guy posts online of the magical world, but she doesn’t go out and experience it herself.

The third person is blown away by this gift. What an incredible opportunity! She realizes she needs to make the most of it, but isn’t sure how.

So she starts by paying attention. She notices every little detail. She listens to the amazing people she meets, and tries to really see them for who they are. She tastes the food and pays close attention to every sensation as she eats, savoring the food slowly.

She then practices gratitude for every moment, every person, everything she’s given. She’s filled with happiness by every little thing in this hour.

Finally, she changes people’s lives. She uses what’s left of this dwindling hour to learn magic skills, to heal people who are struggling (including the first guy), to make things to delight the other amazing people in this magical world.

She becomes the gift for others.

The hour is over, and the first two people realize they’ve wasted the gift, and will never get it again. They’re filled with regret. The third person has no regrets, because she paid attention, was grateful, and used the magic to change lives. She used the gift to its fullest potential.

Which of those three people are you?

 

Zen Habits on my list of daily blog reads.  Leo published this story a few days ago.  I wanted to put it on my website so that I will hopefully read it again and again. 

And I wanted to share it.  These few words are a beautiful reminder to me of what I really want to accomplish in life.  While I may not be like the first man, answering emails and checking websites I do tend to busy myself with important tasks like folding clothes and making supper and keeping the shoes off the floor and in the shoe basket!  (Deep breath.) 

Like the second person I can easily put things off.  After I get a shower, tomorrow when I’m rested, when the house is clean and I’ve learned just how to do the graphics just right.

In the story it’s clear that the third person has things a little figured out.  In real life it’s not that easy.  But sometimes a few words can help you focus.

Thanks, Leo. 

Angela

Posted: Friday, May 16, 2014 on Zenhabits.net

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Bunking in…

slide bunk

With three boys all sleeping in the same room, their choice, I’ve been contemplating bunk beds to free up some floor space.

red blue bunks

It’s nice to see this bed in front of a window.  That would have to happen in our room.

bunk orange

I slept in a bunk bed in the sorority house in college.  Bottom bed.  I liked it better than sleeping on the single bed in the same room.  Every sister who passed through left some thoughts on the ceiling of the lower bunk.  Mostly things like, Angela loves David, Jenni and Lisa big and little forever…

curtain bunk

trim bunks

And finally, this is really cool but I think it might be scary for sleeping!

scary bunks

All images from Pinterest

It’s a gorgeous day here!  I’m off for a walk to enjoy the temps before the days get hot!

Happy bunking and enjoy the week.

 

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Horray for Strawberry Season!

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The berries are ready and they are gorgeous!

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We had a glorious day to pick.  A bunch.  Of strawberries.

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I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon.

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It doesn’t take long to get your bucket full.

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And then end the picking with ice cream!

I’m so glad it’s spring.  It feels so good to have the sun warm you head and shoulders.

Happy, happy spring everyone!

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Favorite Book Friday

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This is one of those we loved from the first reading.  I think we’ve had it at least three years now.  It always makes us laugh.

If I Built A Car, by Chris Van Dusen is catchy…

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and smart,

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and gorgeous to look at.  My boys love to read it and have it read to them.

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It’s easy on the ears and delicious to the eyes.

Happy Reading!

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