Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The End of the Year, Noah's Big Trip and What We Are Doing Now

Yep, in the midst of wrapping up a school year, going to final performances, assisting my kids in preparing for finals and overseeing the writing of thank you notes from my children to their teachers, my blog has fallen silent.  In the grand scheme of things, this is not bad.  Because the truth is,  you were likely busy with all of the same.  The pace of May dictates the rhythm of life around here.  I do not always like it but we always make it through.

Josiah at his final performance
Benjamin in the middle school play
Noah in his sectionals track meet, nearly qualifying for running at State! 
The morning of the last day of school
As soon as school was dismissed, we packed up supplies for Noah to leave on his first mission trip and my job description as his momma was altered once again.  When he came into this world, I was his soft spot, his  food supply, his protector and teacher and, more often than not, I was the one who spent hours gazing at his sweet face.  As he grew, I became his tutor, his teacher, his disciplinarian.  I have lived hours of my life considering ways to keep him safe and wondering whether or not that was actually a part of my job as his mom.  I have given permission and withheld it.  I have laughed long and hard and cried tears on his behalf.  I have prayed with him and over him and I have closed the door to my room and fallen on my knees and prayed with fervor privately for my boy.  But this time, the job was different.  In a small but very real way, I had to let him go.  I had to trust.  I had to release my sweet boy into the whole wide world and know that God would do what He would do with his one wild and wonderful life.

And the truth is, as a family, we have held our breath a little bit... praying for his safety as he worked in the inner city.  And we have heaved great sighs of relief when he stepped out of a 15 passenger van and found himself back in our arms with great stories to tell and deep lessons he learned and people he met that we do not know at all.

So, the blog fell quiet a bit and we have processed a lot.  And now we find ourselves up to our eyeballs in the structure-less string of summer days.  All of it is good though I do not think we have yet to find our feet.  My kids are still tired from their year end activities and our days are likely ending too late.  They are sleeping long and waking slow and we are remembering what it is like to live side by side, day in and day out, for the good and the bad of the season at hand.  The teacher in me wants to line up activities for our days and adventures for our lives but the momma in me is looking at my kids and knowing that sometimes less is more and that is what is needed today.

For now, our focus is small.  Rest. Play. Replenish.  Here are some ideas that we are working with in our family.

Rest:  We are being purposeful in allowing for downtime but are reducing media a lot.  After a long family meeting, we have decided to allow one hour a day of screen time, to be spent with other members.  It has long been a rule that we do not play video games alone so this bit is not new to my kids.  In the evenings, TV will only be a family affair.  Turning off our screens each day has led to more time spent together and more impromptu activities initiated by my kids.  My older boys are running daily and teaching soccer to their younger siblings.  Our Legos are getting a work out and trips to the library have resulted in hours of quiet time spent reading together.  At the end of the year, my kids were wound tight and agitated.  Allowing for time to relax and rest is helping to relax that some.

Downtime with your dog cannot be beat! 

Play:  I am reminded again how important it is for me to let my kids go off and play.  They need FREE PLAY and do not need me to tell them what matters to them.  They need time outside and lots of it.  They need permission to use water, access to sidewalk chalk, bugs to watch and grass to lay in.  And I need to get out of the way.  So, my kids are going outside to play and they are staying out there.  The sun is falling on their faces and so is the rain.  I have been looking for ideas for what we can do together when the freedom requests some structure... because I know that day will come.  There are some great ideas in Family Fun magazine this month and some more ideas on their site. (http://familyfun.go.com/)

Replenish:  For the past month, we have been focusing on eating well.  It is a very hard thing to switch to once you have given in to processed foods and quick meals.  The kids adjusted well though the beginning was a little tough. We ate a lot more fruits and veggies and eliminated most store bought snacks.  We are continuing parts of this still.  So, each morning I put four water bottles (with names written on bottles and caps) on our kitchen island.  I cut up fruit and put out baked snacks and add a few treats like cookies or chocolates.  When a snack is needed, my kids know where to go and I know that what is going in will keep them strong and healthy throughout their days of play and activity.  Some of my kids do great with water intake and others are not huge fans but for the most part, their water bottles are emptied and often refilled and I am thrilled knowing that they are giving their bodies what their bodies truly need.  No nagging.  No directing.  Just a simple line-up of snacks and beverages set out on the island each day.

So, that is what we are doing.  It is only the beginning but it is beginning well.  The summer will hold many experiences... some that we plan and some that we do not... but for now, we are relaxing, playing, replenishing and looking forward to what is to come.

And you?  What are you up to these days?

 Blessings on your day.

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