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things I’ve learned this summer (so far)

    things I've learned this summer / jones design company

    My friends Myquillyn and Emily (and their dad) host a monthly podcast covering all sorts of themed topics. Their most recent, and the one I listened to yesterday, was titled What Only Summer Can Teach Me. They talk about the things they have learned this summer and I was so inspired, I decided to join the party and do some thinking about what the summer has taught me. We’re about half way through and so stopping to reflect seems fitting. What has been good? What has been not-so-good? Where could I change things? What random lessons have made up the summer? You get the idea.

    So here’s my list of things I’ve learned this summer (so far):

    sunshine does the soul well

    We live just outside of Seattle and our summers are typically the most gorgeous time of year here, but they usually don’t show up until after the 4th of July. This summer, however, we’ve had nothing but sun, sun and more sun since the beginning of June. It has been glorious. Waking up to the sun shining does wonders to my mental state.

    there is a two day period of funk when the kids transition from in-school to not-in-school

    It happens every year. And every year I forget that it’s a thing, this transition-into-summer funk madness.  The first couple days of summer are a struggle – squabbling children, no routine, a never-ending stream of messes in the kitchen, the compulsion to do every fun thing all at once! forgetting that we have 8 weeks ahead of us to spread it all out. It takes a few days to figure out the rhythm of summer. I just need to remember and prepare myself for this again next summer so I don’t feel like locking myself in my room on day one of summer break.

    I’m selfish and also introverted and sometimes that doesn’t make for a happy mom

    Apparently it takes having 4 kids in the house at all times to remind me of how particular and selfish I can be. I got used to having them off at school for a few hours each day and I guess I enjoy a clean, quiet house where I can work or do a project or run errands or just be more than I realized. My selfishness and compulsion to have a spotless house has reared it’s nasty head more than once and it’s not pretty. Thankfully, the kids love me and the Lord is working on my heart in these areas.

    if you need long torso swimsuits for your daughter, try land’s end

    Our Audrey is a growing girl. She’s pretty tall for her age and has grown out of the swimsuits I bought for her at the beginning of the summer. Finding modest, little-girl suits for a long child has not been the easiest, but I just ordered a bunch on sale from Land’s End and they fit great. This one and this one are our favorites.

    Lash extensions make life easier

    I’ve talked about it on here before, and I’ll say it again: lash extensions are so great for summertime. I decided to take a break this spring and make sure my real lashes were still there (they were), but once summer hit and we were headed to a waterpark for a mini-vacation, I decided to put them back on. It just makes things so much easier for this light-lashed girl. No need to wear makeup = easy summer face.

    Audio Books are not just a thing of the past

    The last time I listened to a book on tape, it was literally a book on cassette tape. I think it was Bridges of Madison County that my mom had on while we drove to California. I probably tuned out most of it because I don’t have much of a recollection of the story and maybe it wasn’t that appropriate for a 15 year old? I don’t remember.

    Anyway, audio books are not a new concept, but I’m a recent convert. I had no idea that when you order a digital book on amazon (I use the kindle app on my phone and ipad to read), you can add the audio version for just a few dollars more. I started reading Secrets of a Charmed Life and didn’t want to stop reading, but I had to go pick up my kids from their grandparent’s house (bless all grandparents of the world who offer to take the kids overnight) and so I ordered the audio version and listened while driving in the car. Then I popped in headphones and listened while baking a pie. It was amazing. You can switch back and forth between reading and listening and the app will keep up with progress on both formats. Game changer.

    The slow pace of summer suits me just fine

    I like working and doing and checking things off my list as much as anyone (um, my name even means diligent worker) and summer just doesn’t allow for that. It has forced me to slow down, take a break and as I talked about a little bit in the podcast with Jamie Ivey, God has been speaking this message to me and Ryan: Rest. Be still. Let Me handle the plans.

    It’s not easy, I’ll be honest, because I like coming up with my own plans and I like keeping busy and feeling like I’m productive. We’ve done a little bit of productive work, but mostly, we’ve been learning to step back into reading scripture, wait on His timing and direction, pay attention to moments, take the time to reflect on all the things and it is resulting in a great trust in Him.

    I’m grateful for the physical necessity to take a step back (what with multiple children and vacations and sleeping in and swim lessons and all) which has given me the chance for my heart to breathe a little more. There is a time for hustle, but right now it’s a time for rest.

    And one last bonus one:

    11, 9 + 7 year old boys are really fun

    They swim in cold lake water for hours, go on the scariest upside-down rollercoasters over and over (I would puke), hug their mama often, play monopoly and card games, and dress up in ridiculous outfits just to get a laugh. They’re loud and messy and physical and whiney at times, too, but mostly I’m enjoying this stage with them. The boys don’t get a ton of screen time on here or instagram, but that’s not a reflection of my love for them. They just don’t dress as cute as Audrey :)

    I’d love to hear what Summer has taught you so far. Anything big? Or little? Do share!

    16 thoughts on “things I’ve learned this summer (so far)”

    1. Thank you for this one: “I’m selfish and also introverted and sometimes that doesn’t make for a happy mom.” I’m right there with you and it’s nice to know it’s not just me.

    2. Yeah, the whole shift in routine thing ALWAYS takes me by surprise, and it takes me like 2 weeks to adjust…not just 2 days. I do feel like I am at least receiving more grace for that this summer. This summer is a really unique one for me, in that I have been off work for some time, so my pace has slowed down considerably overall….but sometimes it all still feels like too much. I have very much savored the extra time with my one little person, also with my sister. I got a bike for the first time in 30 years….I have older family members coming to stay for extended stays, so we are not traveling this summer, and I am pretty glad about that. I had my bestie and her daughters come stay, and I I got to be a tourist in my own town with them. More a list of things, and not so many lessons. I guess I am learning more about who I am and what is important by slowing down and spending deeper time with people I love.

    3. My husband and I both work a Monday-Friday 8 am ’till the jobs done schedule, so Summer isn’t what it used to be when I was growing up where Summers consisted of Mom at home and Dad at work, Sleeping in, Blueberry picking in my backyard, Pool days, Summer Camp, Trips to the lake and Weekends on the boat.
      Having said that, I learned a few valuable lessons this Summer:
      One: Although my girls (age 7 and 2) may not be experiencing my childhood, they are enjoying theirs (something I always questioned). They love the fun events their daycare provides, love to swim in the pool, love weekends at home, love movie and homemade pizza night, love to splash in the sprinklers and love the Florida sun.
      Two: Vacations really are a necessity. It was our first family vacation this Summer (we went to San Destin, FL and I highly recommend it!). From the anticipation of the pending vacation, the fulfilling time on vacation, and the memories made, our Summer already feels complete!
      Three (though it ties in with Two): Unplug! The minute we left our home to take the 7 hour drive to our vacation destiny we unplugged. No phones! No electronics! No tv! Nothing but the four of us! We sang songs, told stories, played the A, B, C license plate game, and most importantly connected through fun and laughter! On vacation, we played outside games, went on nature walks, danced to live music before/during/after dinner and simply enjoyed togetherness! And, when we returned home we decided to live like we are on vacation…
      Four: Having recently (1.5 years ago) survived an invasive lung bleed and subsequent stroke, I learned that I can still do (or at the very least try to do) most things I used to and I never felt more free when I finally came to that conclusion while on Summer vacation.
      Five: Take time! for Yourself. Your Family. Your Husband. Your Children. God.
      I’m sure there is more, but that’s my handful of Summer Lesson’s Learned thus far.

    4. I loved your post about summer lessons. So much of it resonates with me. I am the Mom of 2 young adults. The youngest, a girl has found her way home for the summer while doing an internship at a local hospital. Let me tell you right now, the messes and chaos don’t end when they grow up. When they come back to the nest they turn into children that want Mom to take care of the them again. So, knowing this is very temporary and very likely the last time we will ever live in the same house for more than a few nights at a time, I am trying to savor her and enjoy watching her blossom. Thanks for the peek into your life and the reassurance that we are all human.

    5. Everything you stated here are things I have learned too. Yes, sunshine is wonderful, Yes, there is a 2 (or more) day funk when the kids get out of school. I think they just have to get used to each other again and having so much time on their hands.Yes, I like to have my own time and space, but the time of having your kids home will be gone much too soon. Yes, my girls were also very tall and long. Finding bathing suits is not always fun :( Thank goodness for tankinis! Yes! I want to try lash extensions. Yes, we used to listen to lots of books on tapes and CD’s. Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey were our favorites. Yes, I like the slower pace of summer, but I am usually ready for routine again by the time school starts. I have no boys, so I can’t say yes to how fun they are, but my girls and I can laugh about the strangest things! Thanks for bringing back some great memories and helping my focus on learning new things. I love your blog! Have a great week!

    6. I so love this! My oldest just finished first grade and my daughter will start Kinder in the fall. I still have a two year old at home, but I just felt this sense of urgency at the beginning of summer, like “hurry up and enjoy it- make it meaningful, fun, teach them bible verses, responsibility, chores, make memories, etc, because it will pass by too quickly and they’ll both be grown up and gone.” HA! Talk about pressure! So,needless to say, we had a few stressful days in the beginning. But finally I relaxed and it has been WAY more enjoyable. We are doing a few of those things but I’m not stressing about them. Lots of playtime with friends we don’t get to see much during the school year, lots of pool time, a few chores, yes, but trying to relax and enjoy it. Great post! :)

    7. 1. Splurge on the occasional babysitter! I’m a writer, but in the summer I have to put personal pursuits largely aside. Otherwise, Im just a cranky mom and a hollow writer. But there are moments when I feel that if I don’t get some quiet moments with my thoughts I will burst! So I bring in the cavalry of the 12 year-old neighbor girls, and I lock myself in my room with ear plugs in while the kids play downstairs with the sitter. I think and I write, and then I can return to the boys a bit more refreshed.

      2. Read lots of books with the kids! Every afternoon I read aloud to the boys and then we all pick up our books and sprawl across the floor and read silently. It’s bliss. I wrote an article on my blog about the five things we did as a family this summer to help our kids read better books, for longer, with more joy. Check it out!

      3. I also can’t agree more about books on cd—I recently discovered downloadable audiobooks from the library and I often have a book downloaded straight to my phone instantly, for free. Its amazing! Doing dishes while listening to an audiobook might as well be a trip to the spa.

      You can buy it on Amazon. It is amazing, my thin, short, stubbly eyelashes have become long and lush. Apply sparingly at lash line everyday at first, then to maintain a few times a week. Easier and cheaper then extensions. It even works to stimulate eyebrow growth!

    9. Have you ever tried BABE LASH EYELASH LASH SERUM FOR LONGER LASHES – 2ml. It has made my short, thin, stubby eyelashes long and lovely. I have to use it sparingly or

    10. I can totally relate with the selfish introvert thing. I have definitely taken note of that in myself this summer. I love having my kids home, but I am crave Me time. Also, I LOVE sleeping in and taking the day slow. :)

    11. I am trying to learn to appreciate summer for what it is. Typically, I loathe summer… I’m in Central FL, and it’s insanely hot, our summer out of school is 12.5 weeks, and I work away from home 5 days a week, 10 hours a day, year-round. Kid’s summer camp for 12 straight weeks is super expensive, and the hustle/hurried pace seems to be the same as always. I get jealous/envious of the slower and more relaxed schedules that some people have, and the summer vacations that some people take as a family. I’d love to be able to do those things! But for this season in life, ‘it it what it is’… and I’m really trying to learn to make our version of summer as good as I can. We’re fortunate to be able to take frequent weekend jaunts to the beach. We rent movies and stay up a little past our bedtimes, and we grill out almost every night. Maybe next summer will look a little different. We’ll see :)

    12. Gwen, The Makerista

      Definitely the need to slow down! Xander starts kindergarden this fall and I know it won’t be like this anymore…the sleeping in and relaxed days here and there. I’m excited for more time to get things done during the day, but trying to enjoy the time now!

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