The Close of Summer

Two peas in a pod

It’s been a wonderful summer together but has gone so fast. 

Both kids said two of their favorite things from the summer were things we did this week!  James went to work with Kenny for most of the day on Tuesday and he LOVED it.  He packed a bag of books and a little laptop Kenny got running for him to use.  James has been very interested in the coding that Kenny does at work, so he checked a book out at the library about coding for kids, and dove in on Tuesday.  Kenny helped him along and other YL co-workers encouraged James through the day.  So fun. 

The lilies are so tall this year!

The excitement of new school shoes

The excitement of new school shoes

Playing camping

The kids still love their horses

The kids still love their horses

Fun with friends

Anna and her dog, Chloe, joining me for some exercise

Dad brought balloons home from work!

And Anna’s favorite thing was swimming this week at a nearby outdoor pool.  Typically you need a membership to use the gym and pool but we received a free one-day pass in the mail and decided to try it out.  It was great fun and the kids had a blast.  A wonderful way to say goodbye to summer!

Catch Up on Summer Plans

Back in June I wrote about our summer plan – a mix of projects, fun events, and life skills I wanted to teach the kids.  We completed everything on our June list!  It was a great balance of work and fun and the kids had a ball making their own meals.  

July was a different story.  We had company a couple times and a vacation so I purposely didn’t plan much for the first half of July.  Unfortunately I haven’t felt great the past month since our vacation, so we didn’t finish everything I wanted to the second half of July.  

Things we did do in July & August
Cleaned and organized under the kitchen island.
Sorted and organized the toys in the window seat.
(The kids did both of these projects on their own since I wasn’t feeling well and I was so thankful for their efforts.)
Cleaned the kids’s bedrooms.

Life Skills:
Hygiene – we’ve continued focusing on this since June – specifically teeth brushing.  The kids had dentist appointments this week and they’re doing so much better in this area!  
Dishes – Both kids have more responsibility in the kitchen after meals now – Yay!  

Fun events:
We saw Smallfoot in the theater – (Cinemark’s $1 movies for kids all summer long)
Attended the Rodeo
Visited Denver for the day
Visited the Pioneer Museum
More play dates with friends
Watched the sunset

Other things I wanted to focus on with the kids but will save for a later time are:
Teaching James how to do laundry
Baking skills – the kids help often with baking but they’re interested in learning more
Serving others – I’d like to use our baking skills to make something we could share with others – neighbors, police or fire station, etc.  
Reading food labels and ingredient lists

I’m grateful for the plan I made at the beginning of the summer – it helped us accomplish some things and made sure we had some fun too.  And again, because the plan was flexible I don’t feel too bad about not accomplishing everything.  Life happens and flexibility is the name of the game!  


Anna’s Bedroom

Written Wednesday, August 7th, 2019:

Today we cleaned the kids’s bedrooms.  We spent most of the day and it was really the only thing we – I – wanted to get done.  James worked on his own with a list of things to accomplish and did a pretty good job I must say.  I helped Anna most of the day because she had more work to do.  We sorted and organized almost every. single. thing in her room.  

At the end of the day I asked how she felt about her clean room and she said she was sad.  Sad that everything was put away and she couldn’t see it or find anything now.  Oh my.  

We’ve talked about how James and myself are more similar – we prefer things neat and tidy, and Anna and Kenny prefer things out in the open where they can see where everything is.  But I’ve never before heard Anna voice being sad because everything was cleaned up.  

All evening I’ve thought about that – during our fun dinner and movie night – our reward for a hard day’s work.  I felt awful that she was so sad while I was so happy.  At bedtime I laid on her bed to talk – something she always wants me to do but there’s never room for me with all of her clothes and toys on the end of the bed.  I told her that I was sorry she was sad about her room.  And she said, “Why?”  I replied, “Because I’m the one who wanted you to clean your room and now you can’t find anything.”  Sweet girl proceeded to tell me all the reasons why it was good that she learns to clean her room – so we can walk through and not hurt ourselves or break anything, so she knows how to clean up for when she’s an adult, etc.  She started looking around her room and then said, “And I do like that I have more room in here to play, and I can find all my books, and my dresser is cleaned off.  Actually, I do kind of like it and it makes me happy.”

Oh Anna girl.  We’re learning together, you and I.  Thank you for teaching me my way isn’t always the right way.  I’m learning to let go with Anna’s room – she tidies a few times a week, we clean it really well several times a year, and the rest of the time, I’m learning to let it go.  I don’t want her memories of me to primarily be about cleaning her room.  There’s so much more to life than a clean room.  


It’s been a few days now since we cleaned Anna’s room and I’ve seen a change in her.  She’s enjoying it clean and is working so hard to keep it that way – making her bed everyday, picking up regularly.  One day, though, she read the entire rest time instead of playing.  When I asked her about it, she said she wanted to play but didn’t want to pick up afterwards so decided to just read.  We had a long talk about not giving up her playing – that’s still so much more important than a clean room.  James overheard us and offered his suggestion of what he does: after he plays with legos, he puts the legos away before getting out hot wheels.  After he’s finished with hot wheels he puts them away before getting out a book.  I was so thankful for his sweet words offered in brotherly love – Anna looks up to him so much.  

I’m thankful for Anna and her sweet personality that’s so different from mine.  I’m thankful for her seven year old wisdom that challenges me and makes me a better person.  I pray that in the coming weeks Anna finds a balance between playing and cleaning up that’s just right for her.