I wrote this a couple weeks ago and never published it so here you go:
As summer draws on, lounging out before me hot and dry, we are soaking it all in.  
I would like to take a minute and capture something we have failed at so far:
Yep, all those cute little goals.
But really, I need to use different terminology.  We haven’t failed.  We are still working on those little puppies, but those detailed charts have been pushed to the back-burner and we have concentrated more on the daily stuff to get to those goals.  
When I took a step back and realized we were mostly just chasing our tails to try to get everything done, I decided that for this little season of life we need to simplify and concentrate on what I care the most about getting done this summer:

Reading and writing.  

Those are things we can do from anywhere.  And things I’m continually more and more worried about these children of mine excelling in and learning well.
Sure all the other stuff is important.  All those laps they have swam in swim team, all the lofty ideas about having them each help me plan and make meals on various days and sorting and cleaning out boxes of freshly-moved junk in the garage.  It’s all good and we have touched on it all.  But I’m not beating myself up about not perfecting it all because I’m narrowing my efforts.  And that feels good. 
We have slipped into a good pace.  
Max is working his tail off at volleyball and work.  He is practicing for Nationals in a couple weeks in Houston and is working at a skateboard shop.
He’s also been working his heart out trying to learn some Chinese with a program you listen to on the computer before he heads to China in a couple weeks.  
He will be working for Dave’s business partner over there and having an experience of a lifetime, and my mother’s heart will be sick worrying about him (it’s already jumping into my throat every time I think about it) but also elated that he will have that awesome opportunity.
Elle and Grace have become my “secretaries” and are working for a few hours each day labeling pictures for me (I label them all in Lightroom and there are thousands upon thousands that need labeling) and sending out “Daughter of God” information requests (from this post back HERE…I get so darn many of those, so great to have some helpers emailing out the info.)

(I know my office looks so spic and span clean right?  Maybe I should have those “secretaries” of mine clean it out a bit…)

Claire and Lu get up early for swim team.
I have set aside a half hour each morning between those things that we sit down a read together for a half hour.
I have been assigning the kids a topic to write about each day in their journals.  Lucy’s favorite was when I told her she needed to imagine being an animal.  Any animal she would like.  This is what I got after she concentrated on it for quite a while:
Let’s check that out a little closer:
When I was gone one morning Elle gave Lucy her topic and this is the picture she sent me:
Love it (although the cookie part worries me…so normal for kids but scary for BBS kids…).
I found this great resource for writing prompts on the internet HERE (probably thanks to some blog reader…thank you!).  I love them and can’t wait to see what the kids come up with as they write.
They would also be great dinnertime questions.
After we have that writing and reading under our belts we’ve still managed to have some time for a little fun on side.
Ok, a lot of fun from the looks of how many bikes line up here each day:
Here’s to a simplified summer.
I will always love the “summer goals” with a plan we have used each summer for a while (back HERE), but sometimes in the midst of an extra crazy time of life you have to find a way to simplify.
And it feels good.  

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  1. hi, just wondering how you got the photo with the sparklers making the hearts? what camera setting do you use for that? thanks so much!

  2. You need a bike rack.

    Max's employer is letting him go! Most employers are not that flexible in life. Feeling a little envious. Three countries in a year.

  3. I was talking about skateboard shop employer. Yes the job in China is a temporary experience. But the skate shop would be year long or seasonal in the southern US. It would not be appropriate to send a minor overseas for work if it were not for a family business.

  4. We did our own summer goals in our family and I LOVE IT! I feel like we can accomplish something and then have fun/freetime the rest of the day. I love that they make their own as well, with a little guidance from parents of coarse. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Why is it wrong for China for have a manufacturing economy? Why is it hard to believe they make a quality product? Almost everyone on the planet lives on that side of the ocean. The US economy is far more varied. We have agriculture, manufacturing, service, government, military, professional services, healthcare, creative.. We have a situation where the elderly can retire, if they prepared more than SS, and parents can spend years out of the workforce if they want. Do we want a country that contains 20 percent of the population to be a country receiving aid? Should there not be means of income?

  6. Oh, it's not wrong, KMS, I just feel like in all possible cases, companies should try to have their products manufactured here in the US. Just my opinion – I'd rather see some of our unemployed population get jobs in a factory making tools than someone in China.

    Plus some of the factories in China do not pay a living wage and they have horrible working conditions, and I think some US companies take advantage of that just to save a buck on their manufacturing costs.

    Not necessarily Maxis tools, that's why I said I didn't think they did it. Just from reading Shawni's blog I would not think they would go outside the US to have their product made.

    Just my opinion.

  7. US manufacturing jobs don't pay all that well. Why does a country with only a few hundred million people, not a few hundred million workers… get to earn all the money in manufacture when the billions buying products don't live here? Half the global population lives in a small circle of countries to include China, India and Indonesia. Further how are those billions going to afford to buy tools to build up their countries if they are purely agricultural societies or aid receivers? Do we have enough surplus that not only can we buy all the tools made here that we can also see to the day to day expenses of a billion other people? Just tired of the China bashing and insisting the US just supply the world with factory labor. I was sitting in a high school class in the late 80's watching a film on how we have changing to a service economy. And long were the times of working for one company your entire life, the 401K thing happened for a reason. Anyone in their 30's and 40's should have had a better plan that factory work. As if that is the only opportunity for work in the US, in the US everyone who wants to go to college can go. Whether you have a disability, score the highest on a SAT or worked for ten years in one field and want to go back to school cold or of go into another field. Sometimes parts are made abroad, where the raw material is harvested, and the parts shipped to the local area for completion whatever country that may be. The US is usually keen on using up another's raw material stock than our own.

  8. I get your point, KMS. I guess my point is, I really don't care how other countries are able or not able to build themselves up industrially or any way.

    I've never believed it to be the job of the US, government or citizens, to be the caretakers of other countries.

    When we have 100% employment, no homeless, etc in our own country, then let's go make sure all the other countries are ok.

    But not before.

  9. We are a global society. Apple could only sell 300,000,000 cell phones if we only made them here and sold to here. Those in other countries make products designed by our citizens, or made by our citizens or made from our resources of materials. The same goes the other way around. It's social justice. It's in our economic interest. 500,000,000 million iPhones have been sold. That is more people than live in the US. How is another country going to be able to buy our agriculture products. We produce more than we could ever eat. Other countries population needs income to buy our products and resources as well. It's a give and take. Not an us versus them. Being fair to each other is how everyone has the livelihood and items they need and want.

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