Summer, so far

Summertiiiiimmmmmmeee and the livin' is..... NOT SO EASY.

How's your summer been going? Have you gotten everything done on your to-do list? Can you find your to-do list in the piles of wet swim towels and "art projects" and very special leaf collections that are crumbling into dust and/or rotting into new life forms but are pressshhus and therefore cannot be touched?

Yeah. I'm looking forward to school like WHOAH.

Two more weeks. I think I can make it.

I had such high hopes for summer. I really did. More than anything, I was hoping it would be a relaxing time for Z after a somewhat stressful year in school.

I haven't blogged much this summer mostly because it has not been a great one for Z. She's had some good days but she's also had some really, really rough days, days when I worry our family is run by her anxiety and her mood swings and her many, many feeeeeelings. The constant changes of summer (One week of summer camp! Then a vacation! Then no camps and we're spending the week at home learning new chores!) were not a good thing for her. She chose each camp and I know she wanted to try a lot of different things but next summer, we'll insist that she chose one camp and do it for a long stretch. Less transitions are the key, I hope!

Here's how my plans for the summer played out:

1. Every night after dinner, the kids and I will sit down and write out a plan for the following day. That way we aren't just fumbling around in the morning in our pjs until someone gets inspired/stir crazy. We can, of course, have mornings where we stay in our pjs all morning but I'd like it to be a purposeful choice.

This was useful and I will do this again, especially for Z. On summer days, she used to constantly ask me what we were doing that day, that morning, that afternoon, that evening, and when it was written down for her, I didn't hear that question nearly as often. We didn't do it as often later in the summer but by then she wasn't as anxious about it.

2. Z will do her school summer reading challenge and we will schedule in reading time every week day.

Z finished the library's summer reading challenge early in the summer and is almost done with her school's reading challenge. I didn't wind up scheduling in reading time because she is an enthusiastic reader and I find her curled up with a book at random times. She often chose to read as a way to calm herself down when she got upset about something.

3. Z will also write something every day, whether it's the grocery list, a letter, a story, a journal entry, anything.

This is a lovely thought - a lovely thought I didn't enforce AT ALL. She is a less enthusiastic writer than reader, and is often frustrated by her penmanship and spelling. I figured that the more she reads, the better she'll write and I encouraged her to write at any and every opportunity. I just decided not to make it a THING.

We'll see how she fares once school starts up and she's required to write every day.

4. Both girls are going to learn how to do some more chores around the house this summer. They've chosen to learn how to do their laundry from start to finish and how to load and unload the dishwasher.  (I think I will need to reward us ALL with treats after working on these.)

I pretty much sucked at this.

We spent a week learning various parts of the laundry and dish washer processes. Unfortunately Z is not really tall enough to manage either skill and E is definitely not. By the end of the summer, I am still on sole laundry duty but they now have to put away their clothes every week. Instead of them clearing their dishes to the counter, they clean them into the trash (or dog food bowl) and then put them in the dishwasher.

It's better than nothing, I guess.

5. We'll have an adventure every week, of my choosing.

I didn't do this either! Whee!

I'm blaming Z for this one. Her behavior and mental state this summer didn't really support spontaneous adventures.

6. I'm going to ask the girls to pick a personal goal for the summer and then make a plan to reach that goal.

I did this! The girls picked goals! And.... didn't really do them!

Z decided she wanted to learn to play the ukelele. She bought one with an Amazon gift certificate for her birthday and we spent one afternoon trying to learn how to tune it with the help of youtube, to no avail. The fact that I have zero musical ability continues to haunt me.

E declared her desire to do laundry (we had just been discussing the chores we were going to do, so I'm pretty sure she was influenced by my FAKE enthusiasm for Tide.) She has helped quite a bit each week, but she is far from being able to do it herself. I plan on enlisting her help every week in sorting and folding the laundry though come fall instead of doing that by myself at night.

So. It's taken me over a week to write this post. I think that means I just need to move on, yes?

How's your summer been? Is it over already? Any tips on transitioning to the school year?

Bueller? Bueller?

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