I have to take a moment to brag about my smarty-pants Carmine. I was wearing my Super 5K t-shirt the other day, which happens to have a very large number 5 on it, and when he saw me, he said "Mommy wear five shirt."
I know you're not supposed to compare your kids' development, but I can say with complete certainty that neither Gabe nor Dante could recognize any numbers at the age of 2 and a half, and I'm pretty proud of my littlest man.
My not-so-little other two men are enjoying Field Day at school today - in the midst of our first official heatwave. I sent them to school covered in sunblock, with hats on their heads, and toting enormous icy cold water bottles. I expect they're going to come home sweaty and tired - a sure sign of a good day.
And tomorrow, our wacky, funny, extraordinarily unique middle child graduates from Kindergarten. He's learned so much this year. From being able to read a few words here and there to devouring entire "Magic Treehouse" books. And as I expected, he's friends with just about everyone in the entire school. Mr. Social, Class Clown, constant entertainer, and smart and kind, too. There's nothing this kid won't be able to accomplish : )
After K graduation, there's a mere two days of school left, and I'm approaching summer vacation with the same feelings I do every year. I'm excited to spend lazy summer days at the beach, and eat picnic dinners at outdoor evening concerts, and go for ice cream, and day trips, and all the other fun stuff summer entails.
But summer also means that all three boys will be together all day, every day, for 8 weeks. If you have kids, you know that will inevitably result in some degree of bickering and fighting, and some degree of whining, and some degree of complaining about being bored.
The way I see it, my job is to keep all those degrees to a minimum, and that's a tall order. And over the past few summers, I've found that it requires a delicate balance between keeping our schedule busy and sticking to some semblance of routine, but also embracing the fact that the 'routine' is optional, and we can wing it and improvise.
Doesn't sound all that difficult, but throw three children into the mix, and it sometimes seems nearly impossible.
We'll do our best, though. I know that ultimately we all do better when there's some sort of framework to our weeks and our days, and for July we've got that pretty well covered, with two weeks of summer camp and one week of Scott being on vacation (that week's routine will be beach, beach, and more beach).
August will be a little less structured, and that's when we'll chip away at our Summer Fun List - day trips, outings to local parks, special 'theme' days at home. We made a similar list last year, and it worked out great. Not only did it give us ideas for stuff to do, but it was a constant reminder to make the most of those lazy summer days while we had the chance (because on July 1st, 8 weeks seems like forever, but it always goes by in the blink of an eye).
And of course a good portion of the summer will be spent on the beach, soaking up the sun and splashing in the water. We're a family of beach bums, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Beach days have their own special routine, and when it's hot and there's nothing else to do, I count my blessings that we live where we do, and we always have that option.
This is also going to be a summer of balance for me, personally. Last year at this time, I was on the verge of beginining my Hartford training. And I thought there might be a small part of me that would miss training for a marathon this summer. But there definitely is not. I am 100% certain that I would not want to be staring down a 16- or 18-week training program right now.
My goals are out there, and I mull them over occasionally, and I'll continue to do speedwork and tempo runs and keep my long runs moderately long. But if I feel like replacing a hard workout with an easy one, I'll do it.
And if I feel like going for a bike ride instead of a run, I'll do that, too. It's so nice to not feel any pressure, and to just be enjoying myself.
For the past few weeks, I've done 2 out of my 3 weekly runs with friends, and I think I can honestly say that I now prefer it to running solo. It can still be challenging for me to make it to group runs, because I still have to work around the boys' and Scott's schedule, but I'm much more motivated to make it work, now that I've learned to appreciate company on a run - balanced out, of course, by my one weekly solo run, during which I can just completely zone out, which has its own benefits.
So this summer, it's all about balance -for me, and for the boys. Sometimes it will be precarious, and other times we'll have perfect equilibrium. I consider it a work in progress.