Jun 7, 2014

Summer Vacation - Day 1

We have been out of school exactly 1 whole day and life couldn't get much better.  Well...it is about to because we're fixin to go on a real, road-trip vacation pretty soon, but I mean, as far as life is concerned, summer vacation is about as good as it gets.  I just love having my kids home from school!  I miss them so much when they're gone.  I love the carefree, come what may, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kind of days that summer brings.

Our very first day was no exception.  We were able to help out a friend who had a last minute trip come up and asked if we could watch their 2 year old daughter for the day.  It was as if  I had the gift of being transported back in time with my own kids.  She was SO MUCH FUN!  I felt like I got to re-live my kids at 2 again.  But this time, my kids got to experience it along with me.


Meet Tenley and her two favorite admirers.  Chloe and Bennett couldn't get enough of her.  They even sat outside my bedroom door when I put her down for her nap and listened to her talk to her stuff animals.  Bennett kept asking me if he could go wake her up so he could play with her some more.  She brought the fun curiosity and unexpectedness of a toddler into the house and kept us in stitches laughing all day.  I'd say that was a pretty fun way to start off summer vacation.

As Chloe and Bennett entertained Tenley, Gavin was hard at work on his computer tapping away.  He has decided to take an online Harvard Extension course, Intro to Computer Science since he wants to learn programming but wasn't sure which language he wanted to learn first.  He recently taught himself a little Java in order to make some Minecraft Mods (whatever that means), which were super important to him.  Then he moved on to creating his own servers so he and his friends could connect and play the same mods (again...not sure what that means, but I know I couldn't do it, so I was impressed he figured out a way).  Finally he decided that he would put his Chromebook laptop computer to better use and decided to download the Linux Operating System onto it.  No one told or showed him how.  He just troubleshooted for hours until, voila! there it was, operating on his computer.  I asked him why he did it and he said in bigger words than I repeating, "Because it can run programs that are desktop based; my other operating system couldn't do that."  Alrighty then.

How does your kid wake up one day and just understand the world in a whole different way and on a whole deeper level than you?  He speaks a tech language that I don't understand.  He has found his niche and can't learn enough fast enough.  I admire him greatly.  I love his determination and perseverance during this process of growth.   I also am endeared to my Daily Gavin Factoids.  I love the random facts that spew from his mouth at any time of the day or night.  He ensures that I learn something new each and every day. 

In order to ensure that we enjoy this wonderful break from school to its fullest, we felt that we should let the kids know what our expectations were.  The kids have always felt happier and safer knowing where their boundaries were.  As they mature, more and more of the rules fall by the wayside and it's not so much us 'controlling' them, but us teaching them to make wise choices and control themselves. But in all fairness, we have to disclose our expectations, just in a way that doesn't feel controlling to them.  As long as they live with us, we still have the awesome opportunity to teach them how to be caring, responsible, loving, hard working adults.  Hard to do!  

Chuck came up with the following:

1. Wake up before 9am. We've always been a house of early risers. We like to get to places early.  But as the kids are entering adolescence we now have people that love (and need) to sleep late.  So we had to cap the sleeping in at 9am so we could still have some morning left to enjoy.

2. Do what you have to do before you do what you want to do.   This has always been our rule in regards to chores.  Chores always come first.  If someone comes to see if they can play, we ask if they have done what they have to do first.  If the answer is 'yes', they can play, if not, they know to finish their responsibilities.  This will serve them well in life. (We borrowed this phrase from the movie The Great Debaters).

3.Write down your goals/daily rhythm.  Our people love schedules.  Sometimes it's hard for them to be spontaneous.  But sometimes it's also hard to remember exactly what you want to do each day.  Having them write down their own summer goals and expectations helps them own this.  If Gavin wants to finish his online course this summer, this little written reminder will help him instead of give him the excuse, "oh, I forgot."  And it keeps me from nagging and reminding them.

4. Spend time outside each day. Gavin especially can easily get caught up in his computer work and learning and the whole day can slip by being caught up in what he truly enjoys.  But summer is about being outside, getting plenty of sun and fresh air.  He set his own personal limit on his computer time and we trust him to abide by that.  My people aren't huge tv or movie watchers, so being outside comes easy for us most of the time.

5. Do something for someone else every day.  Learning to be others focused is hard.  May as well start now because it takes a lifetime to learn.  It's easy to see our own needs, it's hard to see someone elses. 

6. Govern yourself.   In other words: we are trusting you to make good choices.  If you choose to have cookies with lunch, don't eat the whole bag, take what you feel is an adequate amount.  We will not always be around to set limits for you.  We know you will fail, but we know you will learn from those failures.  Self-control is another lesson that takes a lifetime to learn.

Let the summer fun begin!

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