Friday, May 30, 2014

Summer 2014 - The Lofty Goals (ish)

It's the last day of school!!!!! As always, I have mixed emotions about that. For any of you out there raising kids on the autism spectrum you know that even though the slower pace of summer and lack of homework is something we all love, the lack of routine that comes with it can be hard on our kids.  Because of that I have always felt a need to plan, be organized and generally put our entire summer on a schedule.  Not so much this year.  The kids are getting older.  They are fun to hang out with and have conversations with.  They can learn new skills and participate in things that benefit our entire household (yes, I'm really talking about chores).  I suppose the biggest difference is that I realize my time with them is short.  They are growing up so fast and I don't want ot schedule away our time together.  I want to make memories and have them grow up and say summers were a time they had fun with Mom. (Not summers were a time when Mom went crazy trying to keep us on a schedule that we had no say in and didn't really enjoy.) So, below is the general plan for the summer.  Some of you may laugh, but I do ensure you that this plan is definitely less structured and rigid than it usually is.  I'm not even making my schedule spreadsheet in excel this year.  I think we call that progress.

Mom: Goals/plan for myself include things that will improve both my health and the general functioning of the household. 
  • I may work some (I should know more about that by this afternoon), but it will not be the 8:30-2:00 twice a week deal I have done the last couple of years.  Instead I may work a handful of hours once or twice a week as needed for special projects.
  • I will be spending a significant amount of time at the gym.  I should be there right now, but this was my last chance to come back home to a quiet house so I'm enjoying the solitude and silence before I go in to work for a bit late this morning.  For me the school year = mostly maintain and summer = pushing forward. I wan tot be stronger and leaner by the end of the summer.  Same goal I had last summer and I'm really ok with that.  For a new challenge I am adding cycling to the mix in my workout routine so we will see how that goes.
  • Recreate the habit of meal planning.  I used to plan meals a month at a time.  When Easy took the job he has now it shifted our pay schedule, which shifted my grocery shopping routine, and meal planning got lost in the shuffle.  Knowing that I will likely be working one more day a week than I did this school year come fall, I really need to get back into this habit.  When I don't plan we eat too much pizza.
  • Teach the kids......more on that in the kids sections.
  • Spend time playing with my children.  They aren't little anymore, but I realize now that we can still play.  I can watch Doctor Who with Paris, I can play catch with Vivi and play board games with Tripp.  We can swim and watch movies and do the giant jigsaw puzzle I bought for us to work on all summer.  I'm not so great with Tripp's video games, or with Vivi's Zoobles, and I really don't have a clue about Paris' Minecraft, but I can find a way to spend time and bond with each kiddo and that is my #1 goal for the summer.
Dad:  Seriously, I'm not stupid.  I don't make goals for my husband during the summer.  He still works.  Instead we will as a family enjoy having him off on Fridays and endeavor to engage him in whatever activities we can over the summer.  It won't be hard.  He's a pretty awesome daddy and husband.

Kids: While my #1 goal is bonding in fun ways with the kids, they may not actually see that as my priority.  These munchkins seem to be having a hard time with the concept of growing up = more responsibility.  So, yes, we will have fun, but there is work to do as well.  Much to their chagrin, the general rule around here is work first then play.
  • June will be busy in the mornings.  Tripp & Vivi are taking some enrichment classes from 8-11 everyday, and Paris has Keyboarding from 7:45-11:15.  This helps to extend a little bit of that routine that my aspies need to keep their world sane, and it helps prevent hitting the "I'm bored" wall before the end of June.  June also holds a return to the ticket system for screen time.  It is effective and gives everyone a fair chance to play their games without going overboard and fighting over who gets what.  They will hate it, I will love it.
  • Tripper will be taking some swim lessons if I can get the schedule to work out.  My goals for him are to help him understand that he needs to fold all of the towels, not just 10 at a time, increase his efficiency in cleaning his room, and teach him to change the sheets on his bed by himself.  I have a little tiny bit of academic work for him to do in July and August so he doesn't forget what schoolwork is.  He is truly the lowest maintenance kid I have.  (And yes, I realize that on paper he should be the most challenging - but he's not.) Oh, and he is gong to Mega Days (church camp) for the first time!
  • Vivi has a number of things to work on this summer.  Her tournament softball team will of course keep practicing and attend some tournaments. (Go Blaze!) In addition to her enrichment classes she will be doing some academic practice at home and likely working with a tutor on some math skills.  She will also be doing some swim lessons if the schedule works out, and I think she will be going to Little Belle Camp.  As far as household involvement, Vivi will be working on putting away her laundry and cleaning her room without help from Mom.  I would love to add some new things to her list, but the truth is if we can master what is already on her list and eliminate the fits and grumpys she tends to throw during the process then I'm going to call it a HUGE success!
  • Paris will be going to Mega Days, have AMCMS dance team dance camp, attend Little Belle Camp, and take some private flute lessons.  Her main household goal for the summer is to actually submit to the system that is in place and be held accountable for it.  It is more about attitude and distraction than anything, so we will be working hard on how to get the work done in the most efficient manner so that she can relax and have the optimal amount of fun.  So simply in theory....
So there you go, that's the plan-ish. We are taking a family vacation to Galveston at the end of June. We plan to finish the upstairs game room.  We are going to have weekly science fun days with my best friend and her kids. We are going to swim as much as we can. We are turning off the electronic games at 7pm so we can do stuff together as a family.  We will have family movie night every week. And let's not forget that we will be raising a new little puppy in the midst of it all!  I think it's going to be a great summer, and for the first time in a really long time, I am absolutely looking forward to it!