Thursday, May 26, 2016

Summer Bucket List

I just can't. I can't.

I cannot wrap my head around making a summer bucket list that puts even MORE ITEMS on our already maxed-out to do list.

We have plans every single weekend for the next 5 weeks straight …anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, camps, recitals, and such. And then it's July 4th, at which point summer is practically half over.

Y'all. School is not even out yet. Not for days.

So, maybe I'm being a tad bit dramatic, but I literally feel like I just CAN'T.

I'm exhausted even thinking about it! I am nowhere near my goal/word of the year (Still).

Fortunately, I stumbled on one of those magical mommy blogger posts...one that just brings everything into perspective. It was a summer bucket list of old school 'run in the sprinklers and drink from the water hose' types of activities. It clicked.

I loved her ideas, but I knew I had to make it my own or it would do more life-sucking than life-giving to our summer plans. I also instantly knew that I wanted to build activities into the plans that we've already made, activities that would help us focus on the little things so that we might actually see the joy in our chaos.

The idea here is not to add unnecessary stress. I don’t want to be up until midnight making crust-less sandwiches because we are going on a picnic tomorrow, come hell or high water. Nope. That’s not the point. This point is fun. And joy. So we will add a ‘picnic’ to the list, but I’m thinking that our picnic will probably consist of whatever random foods we have left in our house when grocery day is tomorrow and I don’t want to cook tonight. We will picnic on our floor or in the backyard, and it will be okay to eat crackers and cereal and fruit snacks for dinner that particular night.

Soooo, I came up with a Summer Bucket List that I think will fit and serve our family well this year. 



Build sandcastles
Knock down sand castles
Jump in puddles (especially if it insists on raining every day for the rest of time)
Impromptu day trips--no plans! Just pick up and go somewhere
Picnic dinners
Dance under the stars 
Let the kids stay up waaaay too late (late enough to actually see stars)
Slumber party with friends or even just at home
Have a tea party. This might be a fancy tea party, a teddy bear tea party, or just a drive through town drinking Sonic drinks with our pinky fingers out. Whatever works!
Catch fireflies. Because we are actually seeing them again after years without.
Watch the sunset or sunrise. And enjoy it! (Note: remember to make extra coffee.)
Make fresh squeezed lemonade. Don’t sell it in a fancy stand. Just drink it.
Play. Just play.
Messy science projects
Write/journal/sing
Build towers out of legos. Or crackers. Or whatever we have on hand...
Treats...lots of coooold treats! Ice cream, sno cones, beer (rootbeer for the kids, real beer for the grown-ups)
Netflix. Lots and lots of movies on hot, humid afternoons
Swimming

We will enjoy this Bucket List and aim to tackle every single item this summer, but we are doing so with reasonable expectations.

Reasonable Expectations means … lemonade will be made, but we will drink it ourselves. Someday the kids can set up a lemonade stand and sell their little hearts out, but that day will not come until they can make the stand on their own.  Day trips will be adventures, NOT reasons to stress. 

I have no theme parks on this list. Nothing that really requires us to spend any money we weren’t already planning to spend. And, nothing that requires much planning in advance. This list complies with my Mom Guilt Vacation, which I am beginning immediately. 

Right now, this list sounds just about perfect. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

Do you have a Summer Bucket List? I’d love to see it … whether it’s ambitious, lazy, or somewhere in between.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Kindergarten Homework

The guided reading bags have been collected and will not be sent home for the remainder of the year. 

Seriously, this is the BEST thing I have heard from my child's teacher ALL YEAR.

I LOVE to read. My kid loves to read. But, these things may be the death of me. Or at least the death of our stress-free, fun-loving, enjoyable family time together in the evenings. I cannot yell it from the rooftops loud enough … we’re finally through with kindergarten reading homework!!!

Am I the only parent who hates these things? (And I don’t typically throw the ‘H’ word around lightly.) I can’t be the only one who doesn’t see the value in reading six times about Matt’s cat who sat at WHAH WHAH WHAH WHAH.

I’m sorry. I know I’m on a bit of a rant here, and I DO understand why it is important to read together at home. My daughter’s kindergarten class did a four hour reading block every day this year. Our twenty minutes of homework reading was not meant to teach her how to read, but to teach her that her parents also value reading, that we enjoy it. Our time together is meant to foster a love of reading in our children.

But it just doesn’t. I’m sorry. I think it’s crap.

The reading bags were packed up at the end of last week, so we obviously didn’t have it last night as we sat down to read together. What did we do? We wrote songs! We sang songs. We read chapter books about characters that captured my six-year-old’s attention. We snuggled and laughed and enjoyed reading together. We did not moan or groan or snap at each other to just get it done so we can do something else.

We read together longer last night than any other night this school year.

I do realize that there are many layers to this onion. That there are children who would not read if these books were not sent home, parents who wouldn’t take the time without the requirement, low funding that doesn’t allow for updated books to be purchased very often. I know our teachers are doing the best they can with what they’ve got … I just think that there has to be a better way.


My daughter has come home from school once – ONCE – this entire year talking about the work they have done in their reading/writing time. This was shortly after spring break, when the teacher had to reign in their end-of-year unruliness and they were asked to write apology letters to her. Aside from that ONE time, her interest is minimal at best.

What she does talk about are the times when she is immersed in an experience … when they plant seeds, water growing vegetables, and even taste (every single) vegetable that their class has grown. When they incubate eggs and watch baby chicks hatch.

When they feel connected to their lesson, they do not even realize they’re learning.


This is not to say that she hasn’t learned wonderful lessons this year or that her reading level hasn’t improved. She has, and it has. But does she love it? Does she love school? Does she love learning? I’m not sure. And, that might be the saddest thing ever … because if you can’t love school in kindergarten, will you ever?