Friday, June 25, 2010

What Do You Do in the Summertime...

...when all the world is way too hot to go outside?

I'll get to that...

So far things are going well with four kids. The older kids love the baby and always want to hold him. I would say it is easier to have the fourth baby than say, the first. Not because I don't get up several times a night or because my body is not going through the same recovery. It's just that I know what to expect and realize that this phase will only last a short while. I love having a newborn in our home. Connor is so warm, soft, snugly and sweet smelling. I look at his tiny features and am overcome by how much I love him and how amazing it is to have him here. I love how his forehead wrinkles up into his hair and all the little sounds he makes. I love it when he curls his arms and legs up and lays on my chest. I love snuggling up with him to take a nap. I love how fresh from heaven he is. I love this picture of Marissa and him (it's hard to keep clothes on that girl--you're lucky she has a diaper on).

One of the hardest things for me right now is the weather. I wish I could just send my kids out to play for hours like I do in the winter. Even when they do play in the pool or sprinklers they don't last very long out there. I haven't felt ambitious/crazy enough to take all four kids out anywhere yet. So this means we are stuck inside the house all day. The kids do pretty well just playing together, but it does get a little tiresome being in the same four walls all the time. My only plan for the summer was to have the baby, and now that I have I realize that I should probably have some other sort of plan. I got a few ideas from some other blogs and this is what I'm trying:

1. Implement the Marble Jars

This is for Erin and Alex. They basically earn marbles whenever they do jobs like help with dishes, laundry, clean up a room, wash the mirror, clean the toilet (a favorite), wipe out the sink, etc. They also get them for reading for 30 minutes, writing in their journal, memorizing a scripture or learning a new song on the piano. Once they fill up their jar they get to choose a reward like a pack of gum, getting ice cream from the ice cream truck, having a sleepover, etc. Erin seems slightly more motivated to get her jar filled, but Alex does all right too. I can't say my house is any cleaner, but it makes me feel like I'm teaching them that they have to help out around here.

2. Implement Quiet Time

So I've only done it once so far, but as soon as I introduced it they had no problem with it. I put Erin in her room, locked Marissa in her room (she was the only one to protest) and had Alex read books quietly in the family room. Marissa cried for 3 minutes and fell asleep against the door and Alex read his book about 5 times and then he fell asleep. I took a shower, made my bed and threw some laundry in before Connor woke up. It felt great! I sort of thought Erin had fallen asleep too but about 30 minutes later I hear her ask if quiet time was over. Woops. Am I supposed to end the peace and quiet? She read the Articles of Faith twice and her talk three times. Quiet time just may save us this summer.

3. Make a List of Things To Do This Summer

This was pretty fun to create, especially hearing the kids come up with ideas. Alex came up with some great ones like 'Bounce', 'Be silly' and 'Sleep with cats'. After we suggested paper airplanes he kept saying, "I know what we could do, we could make paper teeth" (or paper bears, or paper rocket ships, etc). After he thought of 'Trace your whole body' he wanted to trace everything like books, cheeks, noses, etc. Some of his didn't make the list, but they sure made me laugh. Nothing is too difficult, but hopefully it will make me feel like I'm accomplishing something and not just "surviving" or letting the kids watch TV all day. And I'm not saying we're going to do everything, but at least it will give us new ideas.

101 Things To Do This Summer

  1. Make a fort and sleep in it
  2. Have a picnic
  3. Eat popsicles
  4. Bounce
  5. Go to library story time
  6. Read about animals
  7. Go to a farm and ride a horse
  8. Put on a play
  9. Make a video
  10. Go to a parade
  11. Take 20 pictures
  12. Blow bubbles
  13. Draw with chalk and play hopscotch
  14. Go swimming
  15. Find shapes in the clouds
  16. Make play dough
  17. Trace hands and feet
  18. Go see a movie
  19. Make paper airplanes
  20. Learn origami
  21. Decorate cookies
  22. Memorize a scripture
  23. Fireworks
  24. Create a card and mail it
  25. Finger paint with pudding
  26. Paint with sponges & potatoes
  27. Play soccer
  28. Sleep with cats
  29. Read “Little House on the Prairie”
  30. Visit an aquarium
  31. Act out a scripture story
  32. Make tin foil dinners
  33. Have a marshmallow fight
  34. Be silly
  35. Make an obstacle course
  36. Roast marshmallows and make s’mores
  37. Attend a concert
  38. Go to the beach
  39. Make fingerprint art
  40. Make yogurt popsicles
  41. Trace our whole bodies
  42. Make a puzzle
  43. Discover a new favorite author
  44. Plant something
  45. Donate toys and clothes you no longer use
  46. Complete library’s summer reading program
  47. Help weed outside
  48. Go without TV for a day
  49. Learn some new outdoor games
  50. Make up a new story
  51. Make something from recyclables
  52. Watch a video of a ballet
  53. Watch the birds
  54. Make shadow shapes with flashlights
  55. Go to a planetarium
  56. Go to Burger King
  57. Cook or bake something new
  58. Learn some Spanish
  59. Play a game on the computer
  60. Sing Primary songs
  61. Make up a silly dance
  62. Watch family videos
  63. Make a collage of words and pictures
  64. Make a macaroni necklace
  65. Play hide and seek
  66. Run through the sprinklers
  67. Make something with a cardboard box
  68. Write a poem or song
  69. Try a new food
  70. Ride bikes
  71. Go for a walk and listen to sounds
  72. Find insects
  73. Make orange Julius
  74. Do something nice for someone
  75. Play a game
  76. Play with balloons
  77. Pretend to go to outer space
  78. Find out what floats
  79. Make tinfoil boats
  80. Play dress-up
  81. Play in the rain
  82. Play with whip cream
  83. Draw our family
  84. Make the solar system
  85. Play school
  86. Fly a kite
  87. Play duck duck goose
  88. Decorate a bedroom
  89. Jump rope
  90. Make popcorn
  91. Make a fruit pizza
  92. Write a nice note to a friend
  93. Take a bubble bath
  94. Go to a bookstore
  95. Make funny faces
  96. Count or write numbers to 100
  97. Jump on a trampoline
  98. Take pictures and frame them
  99. Find nocturnal animals
  100. Do something to be a hero
  101. Write the alphabet

Here's what we've done so far:

#66 Run through the sprinklers
#40 Make yogurt popsicles
Today I overheard Alex say that today was the best day ever! I asked him why and he said "Because we had yogurt popsicles and we made that cool thing out of blocks." Too bad play with blocks wasn't on the list because they played with them for over two hours today.


Mrs. Potts said...

I love your list of ideas... here's another list that might give you some more ideas in case you need them:

Our summer is the equivalent of Utah's winter - the season when nobody can play outside because of the weather.

Marinda said...

four kids... i don't know how you're doing it! we have been doing quiet time for two summers now and it is totally saving me! kimball needs to take a little break and i need one from the kids, so after alton goes down for his afternoon nap, it is quiet time for an hour. i love it. i can catch up on things, make phone calls, lay down, read, etc. and recharge for the second half of the day. i highly recommend it!

Alan Daniels Family said...

I know it sucks for you, but I really like that I have someone else in the family who can comprehend how difficult summer is for your children. We have spent way too much time watching TV. Your post has put a summer pregnancy in perspective for me. Yes, I have to be hot and swollen and uncomfortable all summer long. But once the baby comes it will be starting to get nice enough outside that we can actually leave the house. Can't take a newborn out when it's 112 degrees, but 85-90, possibly. You have also inspired me to do more stuff with my kids!