We are closing in on the final days of Summer here, with just four full days of no schedule remaining. I find myself both sad to lose the carefree nature of no school, but also ready to get back into the regular rhythm of all the things. The kids are very eager for Tuesday to come, but it’s going to be a lot quieter this year with FOUR kids in school, and just Cooper to hang out with me all day.
Once again I’m joining in with Emily in sharing “What We Learned”, a practice I enjoy participating in at the end of each season. In no particular order, here are 9 Things I Learned this Summer:
There is a quicker way to get to church. We’ve been attending our church here for over two years, and just this summer I discovered a new route that saves us about 5 minutes of driving time. Not only do we get to drive by this pretty wall each week, but finding a quicker route taught me to evaluate my rhythms. Perhaps I do things just because that’s the way I’ve done them. Are my current rhythms the best or could I shift things around in my schedule, or my closets and drawers so we can have more order and efficiency? Lessons abound in every situation; we just need to pay attention.
Escape rooms don’t require that you actually have to GET OUT OF THE ROOM. I never wanted to participate in one of these events because I hate small spaces and get terribly claustrophobic. Well, it turns out that you aren’t actually locked into a small space forever. My parents, sisters, and our husbands figured out all the clues and escaped from our room, before the time was up. I didn’t panic, and it was fun.
Our town is home to the world’s first ice cream cone machine. There’s a barbecue place downtown near our church called Doumar’s, named after Abe Doumar who invented the cone machine. It was first used at Coney Island, N.Y., in 1905, and they still use it today to make cones here in Norfolk, VA. (The bbq wasn’t awesome, but it was definitely worth the experience).
Having a good quality salad dressing container inspires homemade dressing. We love a good balsamic dressing and I’ve been making it for years, but the mason jars I was using were too small and they dripped. I finally ordered this container and it has made a big difference. We love it and it was worth the $15. It holds over a cup of dressing, it doesn’t leak, and the pour spout is perfect. Plus, it isn’t ugly or glass, so hopefully it will last a long time.
Grief comes in waves, but through the spiritual discipline of remembering, I’m able to walk through it in a healthy way.
New York City with kids is a blast. We took the girls for a two day trip to the city and we had so much fun. We took things at their pace, which meant no shows, no big tourist attractions or rushing from here to there. We walked a lot, rode the subway, visited Chinatown, ate in Little Italy, roamed around Central Park, and ate all the fun things. My favorite part was watching their faces light up at every little thing. They said “Thank you” constantly, and Isabella told me after the first day, “This was the best day of my life.” She’s a city girl at heart, and she’s now begging for a trip to Paris.
There is a way for me to get books from the library without going crazy. The kids are usually restless by the time we’ve played in the kids’ zone, and chosen their piles of books, so when we get downstairs to search the adult section and check out, someone inevitably runs away or decides to grab all of the brochures and free resources from the circulation desk. It ruins the visit. So, now we start downstairs with books for me first. But instead of perusing the aisles, I go directly to the new material section, grab 5 or 6 books that sound interesting, and I’m done. Sometimes I end up with duds, but this method proved effective this summer. I discovered an author I liked, and eventually read 1500 pages worth of historical fiction from him. My current read is another new release, a mystery set in Uganda, that I’m loving. We can now visit the library without anyone needing discipline and I come home with a stack of my own..
My kids are growing up. Obviously this happens all the time, but over the summer I noticed a lot of changes. We’re almost out of the diaper phase, people are sleeping better at night, the years of all-the-time discipline are starting to pay off in wiser choices from each child, and everyone is generally becoming a bit more independent. Yes, the baby years are fun and I enjoyed them, but there is also a lot of joy in watching these little people mature in their own ways.
It takes me approximately 1.5 hours to get into a groove of writing after I leave the house. I said yes to speaking at a women’s retreat this fall, and in order to finish preparing my sessions, I have to get out of the house. What I didn’t realize is that I can’t show up at Starbuck’s after a ten minute drive from home and immediately sit down to crank out my ideas. Chunk-time writing, as referred to in Hope*Writers, requires a bit chunk on the front end for my mind to engage in the work. This is helpful moving forward, and hopefully–over time–the amount of time it takes to actually start producing material will lessen.
What did you learn this summer?