Summertime Chaos

I know I've been MIA from this blog for awhile. We were getting ready for my sister's wedding and school has let out for the summer.

Summer is especially challenging for us. Zach thrives on the strict routine that the school day provides him. At home, I'm just not programmed to be that strict. I suppose if I were a parent who over scheduled their child I could be, but that's just more work than I'm willing to put forth. Summer is my vacation too. I like that we don't have to run here there and everywhere by a certain time and day on a constant basis.

The last couple weeks have been especially challenging in our household. Zach's out of school and out of his routine for one. For another, the anticipation of his birthday this week is absolutely killing him. It's very much like the anticipation kids get at Christmas and then they start acting out because they're so excited they don't know what to do with all that energy. Then his Dad is leaving to go TDY for a month. Being a Daddy's boy, these separations are harder on Zach than the rest of us I think.

What do I do to curb the summertime chaos? I try to have a routine, but let's face it; sticking to my 2 year old's nap and bedtime schedules are hard enough. I'm just not a schedule person. I make sure Zach plays outside as much as possible. The more he runs around and plays physical games, the better he behaves when we need him to sit. Kicking around a soccer ball is a current favorite. I have to admit, it won't hurt my waistline to get out there with him either. During those weeks where it seems like we're in monsoon season, I pack up the kids after a couple days and we go somewhere that has an indoor play area. Their current favorite is a local coffee shop that also serves sandwiches. They have a train table that I have to pry my boys off of when it's time to leave. No matter that they have one here and a ton of trains and track.

When my husband is gone we run a lot of our errands after nap time. It kills that afternoon witching hour when the kids get all squirrely hanging out at home. It's one of the perks of not having a work schedule to go around. When we don't have errands to run, I'll take them to the park or pool. By the time we get home, it's time for dinner and then baths and bed. Of course I collapse on the couch after they're both in bed, but it's worth it to get through that hardest part of the day with them.

What do you do to get through what can be long and boring summer afternoons with your kids?