Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Taking it easy






My backyard is my favorite place to be right now. The flowers in the planter bed are all blooming now and my little half-barrel full of annuals is doing surprisingly well so far. I've been watering it daily, and it's also benefiting from a drip-hose associated with our irrigation system. I'm trying to use the water sparingly, of course - this is the desert, after all - but I also chose plants which don't need lots of water to thrive. I'm so determined to get this right. I've been really happy to be able to look out the sliding door in the breakfast nook to see that barrel full of bright flowers. If I can do that all summer long, I'm going to be so proud of myself.

I've been trying to take it sort of easy this week. I haven't felt well and I think I might be developing seasonal allergies. Something made my eyes really swollen and itchy for the past couple of days. All I wanted to do was close them. I had a low-grade fever and a lot of sinus pain too. I had an overwhelming urge to soak my whole head in a bucket of cool water. Washing my face often and changing to a new pillowcase helped a little. I'm feeling a lot better today but I should keep an eye on this; I never took it seriously before, but I think I'm becoming an allergy-sufferer.

Summer vacation is just over a week away. I'm looking forward to it. But two different people lately have asked me whether I'm "dreading" summer break with my kids. Another was astonished when I told her that the only organized activity I've planned is swimming lessons at the neighborhood pool, two sessions for two weeks each. She wanted to know how I'd be able to "stand" being at home with them so much. I don't even know what to say to people who ask questions like this. In a word: No. I'm not "dreading" summer with my kids. I truly like having them around. Sure, there will be squabbling and complaints of boredom and I'll look forward to having more structure in the days again. But nobody ever said raising kids would be cupcakes and cuddles 24-7. I like to think I'm in the sweet spot with them now anyway; no more diapers, no need for naps, everyone can feed themselves, toilet themselves, dress themselves and even buckle themselves into their seats in the car. But they still enjoy imaginary play and runs through the sprinkler. And they still want to hang around me. These are golden years, as far as I'm concerned.

Do you prefer to keep things free and easy in the summer? I really do. It seems like it's becoming less common these days but I don't mind; I want my kids to have the chance to make their own fun. It's good for them. Does the idea of "dreading" time with your kids bother you as much as it does me? It makes me really sad, actually. They're interesting little people and our time together is short; I'm making the most of it while I can.

I'll be back soon with some recent "happies" to share. My friend Gillian misses posting weekly happies as much as I do and she mentioned making them a regular thing on her blog again. I've been thinking about joining her. I think it's time for a happiness groundswell, people. Join us!

33 comments:

  1. Hi Jennifer, Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog. I came to visit you and will definitely be staying to read more. As for summers - well my girls are 31 and 33 now but, no, I never dreaded the summer holidays. The mornings were less hectic, we could eat when we were hungry, go for walks in the woods, make things, go shopping/swimming/to the library when we wanted. Sure, we got tired of each other's company now and again but that's when we went and did something on our own. Fun times. Enjoy them while you can! :o)

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  2. I always dread the time when they will have to go back to school after the holidays, I love having them at home. There's some arguing and fighting of course, but like you I just like to have them around. We don't plan much for the summer holidays. Mostly we look at the weather and do something accordingly. Your garden is looking beautiful, but I do hope your allergies clear up. I developed hay fever as an adult, it's not as bad as it used to be though. Enjoy the rest of the week Jennifer, CJ xx

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  3. Your flowers are so pretty and they do make me happy!
    I like a casual summer. I think we need a little time when every day is scheduled full of things!

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  4. So sorry about the allergies... feel better soon. I have had them for years, and they are no fun. That makes me sad to hear that some parents dread having their children home for the summer. They are only young for a short time, and it's so important to be with them as much as possible. My daughter has never really attended preschool (two weeks only) as we are homeschooling now, so I don't know any different then having her always with me, and I love it. They grow up too fast. This is a refreshing post, and I think the two of us have a lot in common. Your flowers are really gorgeous! I love the pink and purple color combination.

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  5. I hope you sort out if you have allergies and I hope you don't. I'm just tired of late. I've been doing too many volunteer things, to be honest. 2 of my organizations don't meet over the summer, which I'm glad for. I love the way your yard looks.. I hope you can keep everything hydrated! :-) ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  6. Your flowers are beautiful. It has been too cold and rainy for anything to bloom here! I hope that your allergies clear up soon.

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  7. Such pretty flowers, Jennifer; good for you!

    Wow! I am appalled at that callous comment re: that woman's idea of time with her kids during the summer! Pretty scary, I should think, to feel that way about one's own children. When my daughter was little, I sort of had a semi planned program for her, i.e., it was either am/afternoon day camp, which was usually something artistic, balanced with something physical/sporty. The rest of the day was just spending time together, either cooking, baking, crafting, or visiting friends or family. I will treasure those moments forever, for they sometimes are the only thoughts that calm me when I feel anxious about getting older ,and not having the same energy. But most importantly, they are my go-to place when I am not able to actually be with my daughter, as she lives here in Toronto, and her father and I, in Greece.

    Enjoy your golden years, my friend!

    Poppy

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  8. I will join in on this! That sounds like fun and who couldn't use some happies! Ok...first of all your floral vignette above is gorgeous! I love your garden art! it makes your space feel so cozy! And those blooms! So pretty Jennifer! And I can't get over that whole thing about summer break with moms. My oldest is in preschool and I have had a couple conversations with moms who are looking to fill up every week! I am not that mom....and sometimes I wonder if I am doing enough but at the end of the day it is what feels right to us! We just play and dig and play some more! Glad there are other like minded mamas out there! Wishing you a wonderful weekend...and I hope to get some pics to link up! Nicole xoxo

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  9. Allergies can be downright miserable! Mine tend to come and go; so far this spring, they're not too bad. I'm surprised since I'm allergic to trees, grasses, weeds, and pollen. I also have indoor allergies - dust, mold, even animals. But my cat allergies aren't so bad where I can't have any. The comments made about you being home with your children this summer is really sad. I love your attitude...and you're right, these are the golden years. Before you know it, you'll blink your eyes and they'll be teenagers and not wanting to spend time with you or at home. They'll be too busy with their friends. I know someone who used to send her kids to summer camp for practically the entire summer (and she was a SAHM). I never understood that.

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  10. So sorry you have felt unwell, Jennifer :( I hope the cause is easy for you to sort out and banish! I am so excited that your garden is thriving! It can be so disappointing when one can't get plants to be happy. Currently I have more weeds thriving this year than I want :) I'm soooooo glad you are enjoying your children! And I like the idea of doing a regular "happy" post. I really enjoyed the series of "reasons to be cheerful" posts I did along with a little journal. Wishing you well, Jennifer! xx

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  11. Hey Jennifer,

    I have never understood the horror some people have of being with their children! And like you, I tend to drift through the holidays, with just a little structure. For us it's trips in Betty and surf school. Olly will be going this summer for the first time. He may love it, he may not. I like to take them places, but I also like to let them be. I am lucky to live where I do, because a lot of our activities are based outdoors. The beach is free. I am always surprised by how many locals don't use the beach and surrounding countryside as much as I do. It's a year round playground as far as I'm concerned. Maybe as a relative newcomer to the place, it still hasn't lost it's appeal. And your time with your children, at the ages they are are indeed golden. I can't expect Sam or Alfie to join me on my adventures anymore. I miss them as little people, but we did have a blast together when they were young. Poor Pops gets the full blast of my attention now. The other two dip in and out as they please.
    Enjoy your garden Jennifer. It's looking gorgeous. Sorry about those allergies. Marc gets hayfever during the summer months, which really hacks him off. I'm lucky that I don't.
    Leanne xx

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  12. Allergies are horrible! :( Sending you lots of get well wishes! :) Your flowers are gorgeous! It's still way too cold to plant anything in my area. I'll just have to settle with admiring yours! *hugs*

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  13. Hope you feel better soon! Your flowers are too beautiful to have to stay away from!

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  14. Hope you fell better soon. School holidays have changed as Matt has got older, but I have always loved them. Time to slow down and do all those things you fancy, and going to different places there isn't time to visit during term time. After the long summer I am also ready to go back to routine, knowing that in a few weeks it will be half term. Take care. Xx

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  15. Love your pictures Jennifer, your flowers are so pretty, it's still not safe for us to plant out the bedding yet as it still a danger of frosts. I'm sorry you have been feeling unwell allergies are awful lets hope it's just a one off. I like your attitude to parenting and I agree with you entirely, I didn't have the luxury of planning stuff for my kids when they were growing up in Syria, there was nothing for them, apart from swimming lessons, but I enjoyed having them home, you don't realise how precious these times are until you look back, and they do go past so quickly. :)

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  16. Your garden is blossoming beautifully, Jennifer. Sorry you're not feeling well. It sounds a bit like hay-fever to me, which used to afflict my husband every spring and summer when he was younger. Thankfully it's improved with age. :-)

    I don't think I've ever dreaded spending time with my children and grandchildren in my life. They grow up and away quickly enough, so treasure this time when they really want your company.

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  17. I wonder why people have kids when they don't want to spend any time with them. I've always loved having my two at home, I still do and they're 15 and 19 now. I've always hated the end of the holidays when they had to go back to school. Eleanor leaves on Wednesday, though she has to go in for her exams and she's going back in the sixth form after the holidays, but she's got an extra long summer holiday this year, she doesn't go back until the beginning of September, and I'm so looking forward to spending lots of time with her. I used to organise some things for them when they were little, but to be honest, they preferred to just chill at home. Schools can be busy places and it's nice for them to please themselves what they do in their down time. Your garden looks lovely with all the flowers blooming, give them a bit of a feed after a few weeks to give them a boost and they'll go on flowering all summer. Sorry to hear you're feeling under the weather, I do hope you start to feel a bit better soon and that it isn't the dreaded allergy.

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  18. Jennifer, hope you are feeling better today. My son always has allergies/sinus issues. We are trying a teaspoon of unfiltered local honey every day to help. It has to be local so you develop an immunity to the pollen. He has not been sick for two months and that is a record for him.

    My summer is still the same as every other season, with work and Little Buddies therapies we are on the same schedule. My teenager will be more relaxed so that will be nice.
    Hugs to you,
    Meredith

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  19. I'm sorry you are suffering from allergies, Jennifer. It can be such a miserable experience. I don't think you have ever mentioned having an outdoor clothesline, but if you do you might want to avoid drying your sheets and pillowcases on it. Pollen and assorted nasties can take up residence on them when they are outside.

    I agree completely about being perplexed by people who don't seem to enjoy time with their children. It's one of the things I so love about your blog - your delight in the time you have with The Bears shines through! I homeschooled my five, and so spent 365 days a year with them. I look back at the time when my kids were the age of yours as the "best of the best."

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  20. Just catching up here and sorry to read you've not been feeling well. Allergies can be so debilitating sometimes - I get hay fever too so I have lots of sympathy for you.
    I don't have children but I really can't understand how people who have been blessed with them, don't want to spend time with them. That makes no sense to me. Enjoy the time with your lovely littlies and treasure all the fun and adventurous times you will have with them this summer.
    Hugs xx

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  21. How sad that people actually dread spending time with there children, I used to love it and actually still do, my eldest was 30 earlier in the week. Enjoy them while you can. Have a great weekend.

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  22. Your flowers are so beautiful and growing wonderfully. I'm sorry you haven't been feeling well.....allergies can make you feel awful, so I hope you can find some help for them soon. I used to love having the long summer with my children to just play and do whatever we felt like without too many organised activities. I like playing with my grandchildren now too!
    Have a happy weekend, Jennifer...hope you feel better.
    Helen xox

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  23. Jennifer, comments like that make me so mad, I have had similar comments in the past from people and I just don't understand it. I never dread spending time with the children, the summer holidays could not be long enough for me! There is talk from the government about making the summer holidays shorter here in the UK, and I will be so upset if they do!! I am devastated that they are even thinking this. It's the time where kids can be kids, they can just relax and have lazy days, enjoy the lighter evenings and the summer air. I am in no hurry for them to grow up and they too love imaginative play, we encourage this as much as we can! We try not to book in any activities, and if we do, it's something for the whole family to do together. No wonder you didn't know what to say to those Mums, Jennifer! I am not sure why they wanted to have children if they didn't want to spend time with them. Crazy. I am sorry to hear you have been unwell too, allergies are not good! :( I hope you feel better son. Your flowers look good and you are doing great with your barrel, keep up the good work! :)

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  24. Your garden is looking so pretty. How miserable to be feeling under the weather and suffering with allergies. I hope this have started to improve. I used to always look forward to the holidays with the children. I used to have a theme for each week and plan things to do around that theme with cooking,outings, making things etc. The children used to enjoy having something different to do. Sarah x

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  25. Sorry you have been under the weather. Your garden is looking lovely & a happy post sounds good fun. I've never gone down the route of organizing activities, we aim to do something on Sunday a couple of times a month. Never any firms plans though. I love it when my children are off school for holidays I always have done.

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  26. Your garden is so pretty! I hope your allergies go away, it's miserable when you can't enjoy the outdoors properly. I used to get hay fever but I grew out of it. You never know, the same might happen to you. :)
    Jess xx

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  27. Oh I know exactly what you mean, these ARE the golden years! I love the holidays for the lack of routine, the way we can just see what the weather is like and be spontaneous. I never dread it, ever, I cherish it.

    I have had hayfever since I was a child - if that's what you mean by seasonal allergies - and it's not fun. I've been told that eating locally sourced organic honey can help enormously. I'm don't understand the science behind it, but it has to be local, so that it contains the pollen which may be bothering you. Or something. But I've been sneezing all week and have had a sore throat and itchy eyes, always a sure sign that May is her for me! xx

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    1. That should read "that May is here"... x

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  28. It was lovely to see your flowers, I hope that you can sort out the allergies thing so that you can spend the summer out there enjoying them. I am sure that you will have a great summer and not be bored at all, you will be busy and active with your children just as you always are! As you say, enjoy this time while you have it for it will soon be gone. xx

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  29. I guess some people just don't think before they ask their silly questions! I'm right there with you, I absolutely love and enjoy being around my little one. You're a wonderful mommy! It sounds like you will all have a wonderful summer vacation. I'm sure your kids can't wait. :)

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  30. That flower bed in your yard looks so pretty. I can imagine a little table and chairs next to it! a camp for the summer! Heather x

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  31. I hope you start to feel better soon - allergies are not nice!
    As for dreading time with little ones, Joe is pretty demanding (in the sweetest way) but he's only a year and a half old. I like to think once we hit that 'sweet spot' we'll love our time together even more than we do at the moment.
    And I may well join you with 'happies' (you know I like putting together those little miscellany posts)!
    S x

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  32. I completely sympathise with your allergies. I have terrible seasonal allergies too (especially tree pollen), it can make you feel so unwell. I don't dread time with my girls at all. Sometimes I find there are moments where I'm not as patient as I should be (their bedtime when I'm hungry for example) and I do get bored of the sound of my own voice 'Leave her alone' and 'No' seem to be overused phrases but I never dread the time...it p[asses so quickly. I can't believe my eldest starts school in Sept!

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