Starting Summer

My friend Danielle came over yesterday and, over soup and sandwiches, we talked life. Kid stuff. Apps that help with grocery shopping. Marriage stuff. Faith and friendship. Today, as I was mulling over how nice it was just to share conversation with Danielle, it occurred to me that summer is right around the corner. In one week exactly, Ashtyn finishes first grade. (Crazy to me!) I'm about to be home for summer with three kiddos. (I might be starting to twitch right now at that thought.)

I need a strategy.

I need to somehow find a way to not be overwhelmed by laundry. I need to plan out meals so I can stop going to the grocery store every half hour. (Because going to the grocery store with my kids really makes me start to twitch. And break out in hives.)  I need to find that letter from the doctor I seem to have lost that has my prescription. I need to sign Ash up for swimming lessons and hope she doesn't freak out. I need to take Linc to a martial arts class for a trial visit. I need to find a few books to read this summer, maybe join a book club. I need to ask Nancy to please go have cocktails with me at Siena's soon. I need to lose ten pounds at least (which is not helped by the cocktails at Siena's). I need Jeff to finish the backyard ASAP.

The truth is that my list is so long, it could wrap around my body five times.

I want summer to be relaxing and enjoyable--but not to be wasted. So while I want lots of pajama days and easy days, I want play dates and zoo trips and going to the park and bubbles and popsicles. I need to read books to my kids (which sounds fun but is hard when you're past the point of exhaustion every night. Last night I was up with Lily twice and I felt like a zombie when I had to get up this morning). I want #100daysofsummer that make my kids love their life. I want #100daysofsummer that includes some mom-time for me. I need it for my survival, loveys. Maybe a romcom movie night with popcorn and dessert. Or appetizers and wine and book discussion. Or donuts and coffee on a Saturday morning. (Hm. Then again, there's that ten pounds I need to lose.)

Summer, like everything else, always seems to fly by. But the winters are so long here in Colorado that I desperately need to stretch my summer as far as it will go. There are friends to catch up with. There's family time that takes front-and-center. There are those few moments of quiet, alone time that you snatch when you can. And when you try to add all that up--there's not enough time.

Where do I start? Well, that's tricky. You see, I'm a really laid-back parent. My parents were both this way. I grew up in an atmosphere that just rolled with the flow, and I think I thrive best in that sort of place. Jeff and I don't like to put a lot of pressure on our kids, or on each other. But when I've got an empty summer calendar in front of me, along with three kids in pajamas watching Peppa Pig--I think it'll take some planning for the days not to get away from me. Here's what I know: If I want something to happen, I need to make it happen.

I need a little structure in my life or I really do feel like a 24-hour waitress, doling out snacks to my kids. I'm thinking we'll have breakfast time, one snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. And that's it. Maybe I'll have some easy-to-grab snacks that the kids can have without asking me constantly. Every two weeks, I need girl time with friends. This might be margaritas at Rio Grande or a movie Saturday afternoon or a book discussion one evening mid-week. Something! Who's in? Who wants to be on the evite list, loveys? (Seriously, let me know!) Once a week the kids need a play date. This could be at my house or the park or a friends' house, but whatever it looks like, we need playtime with other people. Once a month, Jeff and I need a date. This is harder to swing, but I'm going to try for it. No matter what, even if we're more lax on bedtime for the kids during summer, we're going to set a time and hold to it. Post-bedtime tends to be the only time Jeff and I can have to ourselves. We have TV shows we love to watch together, we talk about finances or our schedule or trips to see family, or we just hang out alone. It never happens if the kids get to stay up as late as we do, so we're pretty intent on getting the kids to bed at a decent hour and having time just to decompress from our hectic days.

I love summer, loveys. Watermelon and hot dogs and lemonade and kids running around in the sunshine. Driving up to the mountains and having family time. Wearing sandals and long, flowy skirts and enjoying the heat of warm days. These days go so fast. We want to make them count.

Starting next weekend I think I'll start hashtagging my Instagram photos as #100daysofBrucefamilysummer so I can easily group them all together. This reminds me, if you're not following me on Insta, look me up at @BrandyBruce. The same goes for Twitter (@BrandyBruce), I'm tweeting more and more (stemming from my obsession with following--aka stalking--Outlander peeps on Twitter).

Sunny days. Rainy days. Happy days. Difficult days. Let's share them with each other. Let's do summer together.

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