We're more than half-way through the boys' 8-week summer break and it's going okay! I can't imagine the summer season here will ever be my favorite but I think we're making the best of it with kids at ages 3, 8, and 10. I'm really happy with the camps we signed the boys up for and our overall rhythm of how busy we are. I'm also so thankful that we have Maeve in full-time daycare for the summer. Even as I paint this rosy picture I want to also share that we've and some really challenging days courtesy of kids with lots of energy feeling cooped and pushing all each other's buttons. ACK.
A couple of summer highlights so far include the boys flying to Austin by themselves to stay with my parents and doing great. They had a good time, even though at the time I think Austin was hotter than Gilbert plus the sweltering Texas humidity. Chris and I enjoyed our own personal summer camp during that week including trying new coffee shops, reorganizing the studio, and visiting the Phoenix Art Museum.
Another highlight was Dash going to his first ever sleep away camp and loving it!! He said it was "awesome; plain, pure awesome." I love that he had such a great independent experience. At the same time I think it was really good for our family dynamic for Dash and Cedric to have some time apart at the summer mid-way point, and to only have a two-sibling dynamic in the house for a week. We all had a happy reunion, with chocolate cream pie, this past Saturday.
Looking ahead to the new school year + a new chapter
I can't help but feel the beginning of this school year will mark the beginning of a new chapter. Every school year is a new chapter but starting this year my three kids will all go to the same school right in our neighborhood for the next two years. To have everyone engaged in their own days every weekday but so close to home feels pretty ideal to me. I have been feeling ready for the next chapter that includes more work and recharge time for me, and to even explore paid work.
I'm also appreciating that we are moving through and towards being out of the toddler phase. Toddlers are are both so! dang! cute! and also so! much! work! There's also the challenge of navigating toddler dynamics with older kids that can feel hard. Like when Maeve won't share, or throws things at her brothers for no reason, or when we have to be really secretive about watching a movie together after Maeve's bedtime. Because of the age gap between Maeve and the boys (7 years and 5 years) I'm sure this challenge will always exist to some extent while they all live in the house but it feels especially pronounced right now. I'm ready for it to feel a little less so.
Looking back at June goals
I had just three goals in June:
+ Establish a grocery + food prep routine on Fridays. Yes! I love shopping at Trader Joe's first thing on a Friday morning. The crowds are the exact opposite of when I was going Saturday mid-morning. Every Friday I've also made something to snack on for the week. Like pecan-date energy chunks or superhero muffins 2.0 from the cookbook Rise and Run.
+ Complete our 2022 photo book. Knocked it out of the park! I used evenings while Chris put Maeve to bed to enjoyably work on this project in the studio. I completed our 2022 photo book and am waiting for Blurb to run a 40% off sale which they do from time to time. Bonus points: I even started our 2023 photo book and have it completed up through present day. My plan going forward is to work on photo books in quarterly chunks so that I'm finishing the previous year's book in January. I feel really good about this!
+ Catch up on documenting all of the kids' art and school work from the spring semester. Did not get this done! But will do it this month. As a reminder, I collect all artwork and school work I want to remember, then take photos of it on a white poster board and then recycle/throw out everything. (Here's my post all about my process and how I turn the photos into a photo book.)
There are several other things of note that I got done in June, or completed with Chris's help. They include:
+ Chris built us a beautiful entryway bench that I commanded requested he build. Then we hung the coat hooks I bought months ago and I love the overall look. The room is still in progress but I'm so happy with how it's coming together.
+ We met with the bank and had our Bank of America accounts put into our trust which has been on our to-do list for a long time.
+ I finally made time to call the older woman who used to own our Eau Claire house. I had a wonderful chat with her and learned several interesting things our house.
+ I uploaded my ID to Arizona Mobile ID app which will let me use my driver's license on my phone.
+ We reorganized the studio, as mentioned above, to make it have better flow and functionality. We also inventoried the art work we were storing there and made decisions about what to use and what to give away.
Big things happening in July:
+ We host Home Exchange guests for four nights and will go stay at my parents' Arizona house (they are not in town).
+ Celebrate the 4th of July! We'll keep it low key but might watch the movie National Treasure with the boys – thoughts on if that would be a good patriotic family movie?
+ Final summer camps: Cedric goes to a half-day soccer camp, and the boys go to a diving camp at the same time Maeve will do swim lessons.
+ School starts for all three kids the last week of July!
+ Take photos of kiddo art from last school year and establish a container for pieces to save. Carrying this over from last month.
+ Declutter and organize Maeve's closet. It's time to let some of her baby toys go (sob!) and to give away or sell the clothes she's grown out of (also sob!).
I hope you find good things in July, friends, and happy 4th of July to all my fellow Americans!