On Thursday we'll drop the boys off at our neighborhood school for the first time – a new chapter for our family. And with that my brain is switching out of summer mode and into school mode. It's hard to call it "fall" since temperatures will still sit comfortably above 100 degrees for a while but it won't feel quite like summer any more. Especially once the university students return in mid August and Chris's work starts to ramp up for the year.
We had a great summer and packed in a lot. We traveled for three weeks to Texas where my sister got married, had lots of time to hang out with family and friends, took a day trip to San Antonio, and we went to Galveston. We also got away to the cool piney mountains in Arizona with family for a long weekend. During our summer weeks at home we had some childcare for the boys and during those days I checked so many things off my mega to-do list list. On the days when they boys were at home we saw friends, went to the library, had some frustrating moments (keeping it honest), did lots of swim lessons, got treats, and built forts.
The other day a teacher at the boys' preschool asked me how life was post full time work and then she asked if I ever get bored. I had to laugh! No, I am never bored. I have so much to do and there's always more I want to do! This summer my goal was using childcare days to address as many maintenance and household/life to-dos as possible so that they won't be cluttering my mind when I start to write this fall. Of course, there will always be more to do. But clearing things from the list, especially those things that only need to be done once and never again, has been so satisfying. Since my to-do list is continually growing it can be easy to ignore the progress and focus on what I still want to get done. So I wanted to capture everything I got done as a way to stop and take satisfaction in all the progress.
Here's what I checked off my to-do list this summer:
+ Hung up curtains on both windows in our front room (still need to hem these a couple inches)
+ Sold things on Craigslist: two IKEA desks (which were hot items!), a pack and play (all the nostalgia), and extra white paint samples (also a hot item, who knew?!)
+ Multiple drop offs to our town's hazardous waste disposal to get rid of old paint cans, old herbicide and pesticide containers, electronics, etc. This was one of my most satisfying errands to run.
+ Cleaned out the car glove box (and discovered unused gift cards, woo hoo!)
+ Replaced our faded and peeling car license plate
+ Made multiple Goodwill drop offs as I edited my closet of office attire I no longer need and cleaned out the office
+ Had the carpets cleaned (so needed)
+ Installed a flag holder on the front of our house (had been on my list for YEARS)
+ Went to my annual dermatology exam
+ Simplified our car keys. We had several extra key rings, tags, and even keys that we didn't need.
+ Had allergy testing done and found that I have a few environmental allergies and they could be helped with allergy shots. Now I'm getting allergy shots twice per week and I'm so happy to be getting that done. Bring it on, spring!
+ Replaced our old, broken compost container with a new one from our town and love the new one so much more
+ Bought and hung up a beautiful jewelry organizer
+ Cleaned off and organized my closet shelf
+ Installed a new modem and router (our old one was from 2009!)
+ Had our sliding glass backdoor fixed. It was SO HARD to open and close; now it slides like a dream.
+ Had a new ice maker installed (ours was making a big glacier of ice)
+ Sent in five empty jars of Schmidt's deodorant to get a jar for free
+ Sent away a busted Pocket Hose to get a new one (I love these hoses but it's the third one that's broken on me)
+ Changed several outlet covers in our house to the cover-sliding kind
+ Hung a (plastic) mirror and art in the boys' room that had previously hung in the nursery
+ Went through all the boys clothes, stored things for next winter and donated what Cedric had grown out of
+ Replaced a too-big outlet cover and purchased a missing cabinet pull in our master bathroom
+ Decluttered our office/my writing studio including all the paper files we were keeping. We whittled it down to just a few folders and I shredded a huge pile of papers. I also painted the room a fresh white, installed shelves, and ordered a custom standing desk.
+ Finalized plans for updating our front and back yard (picking the gravel from all the choices, ahhh!), met with our landscaper and someone who can pour the concrete we need, and submitted paperwork to the HOA. Hoping this will get going in early August!
+ Had a plaque made for my book club to be hung in the booth where we always sit (literally has been on my list for a year)
+ Fixed a favorite photo frame that holds a wedding photo I love
+ Had my engagement ring sized up a little bit. Post babies it's always felt a little too tight.
+ Bought all the boys' school supplies
+ Removed Halloween (!) stickers from the inside of Dash's car window. They had been baked on by the Arizona sun so this was no small task.
Reading over that list feels really good! Since projects and tasks like these are always accumulating, I'm thinking about maybe designating one day per month when I try to get lots of little stuff like this done.
I did also take some time this summer to do more traditionally relaxing things (although getting things done is relaxing to me in a way ). I went to yoga several times. I met up with friends throughout the summer for a drink, lunch, or a pedicure. On multiple occasions I took myself to coffee or breakfast and read a book after dropping the boys off. I went to see a movie by myself in the middle of the afternoon (luxurious). Overall just having the time to not rush and to choose how I spent my days has made a big difference and all for the better.
I'm lingering a bit in this transition between summer and school year and before embarking on the school years for our family. The boys last day at our beloved daycare is today. I will definitely cry. And then my mom comes to visit, we have meet the teacher night, and two last days of summer. I'm feeling ready (mostly) for this next chapter. For kindergarten and a new preschool and to get to work on my writing projects. I've been imagining being right here – about to send Dash off to kindergarten and being able to work on my writing – for a long time. It feels really good to be here.