Summer is coming…eventually

Wisconsin winter is not one to let go in a punctual manner, so spring is always unpredictable and welcomed with cheers. Of course, false spring comes at least four times, usually followed by a few last determined snowstorms.

But this weekend, we found ourselves outside in the sunshine, strolling with all of the kids in short sleeves with big grins on our faces. We dined alfresco under stars and twinkle lights in a hidden River West garden, let the kids get multiple cheeks painted before the carousel and train ride at the zoo, finished up in the garden and got through all of the laundry. My ideas about excitement and fulfillment have shifted somewhat in the last 10 years. I found this weekend divine!

Most importantly, school ends this week. At this point, I don’t know who’s more excited for the last day – the kids, or all of the adults in our household! It’s been a loooong last month.

We’ve been tweaking summer plans for months. The trick with this many kids is to align activities in similar geographical areas at very similar times. For example, we will be driving to a farther dance class because everyone can go into different rooms at the same time in the same building. It’s a ballet miracle! We make sure the activities we pick play to everyone’s strengths, and still leave time for lots of goofing off in the park.

After months of the morning school bus sprint, summers here are so much more relaxing. The kids tend to sleep in more and go to bed more calmly because they’re so active during the day. Dave and I are less stressed, because we’re not trying to stay on top of everyone’s homework all the time. Lots of college kids home for the summer means any additional coverage we need is easy to find, and we get to meet fun new people. And this year in particular, it means I have gotten through the opening sprint of my new job, and I’m starting to have a lot of fun at work with my team.

We knew going into this last few months that we would be busy, but I don’t know if we could have predicted the massive upheaval in our schedule. We do very well with mapped out time blocks, but I’ve had a number of surprises. My gratitude towards my husband and Charlene, the amazing adapting au pair, knows no bounds. So our excitement about the summer dovetails beautifully with my excitement about finding my new groove. Kids are sensitive to change and stress, and I’m excited to show them that our new rhythm can be just as predictable in a different way.

In the meantime, we will be bumming in the backyard, barbecuing and catching up with friends we haven’t seen in ages. We’ll be reading stories, going for walks and explaining the secrets of the universe. We’re hoping for lots of time with Sassy and Poppi, swimming in the pond and running all over the yard! All of which is pretty much living the dream I’ve had for years for the kind of summer experiences our kids would enjoy.