Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer Reflections

Summer break is rapidly coming to an end. I've been reflecting on what went well, and what could have gone better. What I did right, and ways I could improve.

So, what went well?

1. We were able to spend time with my parents, my sisters and my sister's family. So wonderful! The highlight of the summer.

2.I was very consistent about having the girls read each day (we missed days ocassionally, but not often) and about reading to them.

3. In fact, I've been trying to "teach" them American history by reading aloud books. So far we've learned a lot about the events leading up to and the events of the Revolutionary War. We've also read about slavery and the Underground Railroad. I plan to continue to read lots of books about American history in the upcoming months as Michelle studies American History in 5th grade. I know there just isn't enough time to cover everything in a deep and meaningful way in school.

4. We've had a lot of outings and made a lot of memories. Trips to the park. 7 Peaks. Lagoon. Discovery Gateway. Tracy Aviary. Planetarium. Swimming Pool. Paleontology Museum at BYU. The Main library. Gifted Music School Camp. Juggling and Magic Show at the library.

5. I've been pretty consistent about chores and having the girls help with household cleaning. Michelle has learned to mow the lawn. They are doing a lot more vaccumming, washing dishes, sweeping, and so on. And Michelle has practiced violin very consistently.

6. I have been really working on being patient and not losing my temper when they misbehave. I'm doing better. Nowhere near perfect. But I've made progress. (Let's hope I can keep that up now that the stress of working full time comes back!)

7. My presidency and I reorganized visiting teaching. We held a visiting teaching seminar. I was able to get a little bit more organized and feel a little more comfortable with my calling.

8. I was able to do some small acts of service and strengthen relationships with people in my neighborhood. Thanks to their activity day leaders, my children have been doing a fair amount of service as well. What a blessing.

9. We've done a fair amount of art... sometimes with an actual lesson/project and sometimes I just provided materials and they created whatever they wanted.

10. I've been able to read, play with my children, and relax. And I've been exercising 2-3 times per week all summer. I've been meeting some other ladies at the church and doing Insanity. It's tough, but it has felt good to know I was doing it regularly.

What could have gone better?

1. We've done okay with piano, but their teacher had a baby at the end of May and took June off and I wasn't as good at making them practice during June as I should have been.

2. I always vow that we will spend time every day practicing math. I am never very good at following through with that. We've done more this summer than most summers, but still not as well as I'd have liked.

3. ELECTRONICS: I've never felt that electronics/screen time was much of an issue for my kids. On school days, they get little or no screen time. There just isn't time. During past summers, they have spent some time playing the Wii or watching tv/movies. But it seemed like it was always very balanced out by time outside, time on outings, etc. But now we have 2 Ipads with Minecraft and Temple Run. We have a Wii... and the game Mario Kart. We have Hulu Plus and Netflix. We have a VERY SLOW and very old computer. This seems to all add up to a lot more screen time than ever before. I do try to monitor it and limit it, but for the first time, it has felt like a battle to get them to unplug and play outside or do other activities. That one thing makes me somewhat glad for the beginning of school to come. (And I guess if I'm being honest, I have spent too much time on electronics this summer. That's okay if I'm doing something productive, but I've wasted time this summer...)

4. I'm noticing that my kids really don't appreciate all that they have. I am working on trying to teach them gratitude, but I'm not sure it is working very well.

5. I had grand hopes/plans of pulling out my professionally taken photos of my children and getting them each scrapbooked this summer. Most of the best snapshots (and some not so good ones!) that we take end up on this blog, but the professional ones are mostly languishing in drawers. Many of them hang on our walls until we replace them with more current ones...but then they languish in a drawer until I find time to scrapbook...which is almost NEVER. I got exactly ZERO scrapbook pages done this summer.

6. The summer just went too fast. I did accomplish much of what I hoped to. I did treasure lots of time with my family. I do feel rejuvenated. But I am not at all excited about returning to work. Usually, I have mixed emotions. I'm ready for the routine. Excited to try out new things in my classroom. Eager to meet 25ish new faces. Nervous. Sad to not have as much time with my children. This year, all of that is missing...except the sad. My baby starts kindergarten this year. My oldest goes into 5th grade. They are ready, and I'm excited for them. But the time is just going too quickly...and once I'm back to work, I am busy every minute. Life is totally scheduled. I can handle it. The Lord has blessed me tremendously and magnified my abilities. But I've loved the more relaxed feeling of summer.