Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer simmers down










Today is the first day of school. I sent them back, to sixth and third grades, respectively, with smiles on their faces and nutritious snacks tucked into their lunchboxes. I hope they have a wonderful year. There are some big changes at school this year - new faces and new routines - and I have some serious apprehensions, but I'm trying to stay positive. We chose our school situation - which requires 50% home instruction combined with 50% traditional classroom time - because we know we can do a good job for our kids. I think they're both resilient enough to make it all work, I just hope I am. I can't believe how big they both are, my son almost as tall as I am and not quite twelve years old yet. But then I look at the pictures I took this morning and remember that they'll never be this little again.The first day of school always gives me a giddy, woozy kind of feeling, even now when it's been many years since I was a student.

The last few weeks of summer passed in a blur. We didn't have much to do, and yet we had plenty to do, what with buying school supplies and shoes, getting haircuts and figuring out the new stuff at school. But there was also lots of time to laze about the house and backyard, watching clouds, playing with hens, baking, reading, crocheting - whatever we could find to pass the long days. Twelve weeks of summer break is just too much, I'm sorry. It's not even having the kids at home that bothers me. I actually like having my kids around. No, it's the sheer quantity of time. Twelve weeks is just a very long time. It's nice to have a little time alone too, of course, and I can't complain about that; I can count on two hands the number of hours I've had alone since the end of May.

We really did have a good summer, though. The weather mostly cooperated. It was only beastly hot for a short time, in mid-June. I would say the rest of the summer was just regular hot, nothing too awful. The monsoon has been very good this year, with several big storms and many inches of rain all told. There were lots of coolish nights and mornings, which I always enjoy. Now, the days are getting noticeably shorter and the mornings are not nearly as bright, to my great relief. I love this time of year, summer sliding into fall. Soon, we'll have the scent of roasting green chiles in the air. Fall is my favorite, hands down.

This week, I've been keeping a Radio Diary for Nielson, a company that tracks how people use media like TV and radio. They contacted me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I'd like to participate in their radio-listening ratings and I jumped at the chance! I listen to the radio every single day. They chose me at random for the radio diary. I've also been asked to participate in their TV ratings in the past. Yes, we were a Nielson Family! It was about five years ago. It was actually really fun. You make a little bit of money (no, it's really just a little), but I don't care about the money. I love writing things down. It's also interesting to examine my daily habits. For the radio diary, I have to write down all the radio I hear every day for a week, whether at home, in a car, or someplace else, along with the times I listened and the station or program. Then I mail it back to them when I'm done. I like helping with things like this; I'm also currently participating in an extended study of household spending habits through the US Census Bureau. I was chosen at random for that too. They ask questions about grocery shopping, household budget, debt, banking, and similar topics. I don't know why they want to talk to me, but it makes me think a bit. And it's easy; I can go on and on about myself with no trouble at all.

My plans for these first few weeks of the new school year include:
  • walking more often on the mile-long path in the park 
  • finishing my Maybelle squares (I have about 40 left to make) and starting to join them 
  • reading the rapidly-accumulating pile of books on my desk 
  • keeping my desk cleared enough to see the top of it more often
  • clearing out my closet a little, to get rid of things I haven't worn in years
  • shopping for new socks for myself, since all my socks have holes and threadbare heels
  • getting Christmas shopping done early, as soon as all the September-birthday shopping is done
  • starting a new cross-stitch project for the family room
  • getting back to regular blogging, which I miss

I think I can. Ambition is my middle name! Well, not really, but my middle name does begin with A. Let's pretend.

17 comments:

  1. I am so glad my school district doesn't start this early! They look adorable. Such sweet ages.

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  2. Oh Jennifer, I've just had one of those temps perdu moments seeing your children scrubbed and smiling and ready for a new year. I adore Maggie 0' Farrell's novels. She was interviewed by the Guardian newspaper the other day because her memoir is just about to be published. It's titled something like "I am, I am, A Brush with Death" and there is a long extract from it on the Guardian website. Twelve weeks is an eternity. My family was chosen randomly to log our shopping habits for the Office of National Statistics. I liked to think my detailed diary bucked the national trend somewhat as I conjured meals from allotment produce, cycled everywhere, borrowed books from the library and have never been much of a shopper but like you I love recording minutiae.Your list is ambitious, but definitely doable I think - go Jennifer. (if you get the chance to watch on iplayer or YouTube or something similar do try and catch "Oklahoma!" live from the Proms in London. It was an exhilarating evening and featured Robert Fairchild fresh from "An American in Paris" via the NYC ballet as Will Parker, who danced his socks off.)

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  3. Twelve weeks is a long time. The kids here get six weeks off for summer and that seems like ages. I've been doing Shop and Scan for many years now, I basically scan all my shopping and upload it to the site once a week, it gathers information on the purchasing habits of households. I collect points from this which can be exchanged for vouchers.

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  4. 12 weeks is a really long time. The schools around here go back tomorrow after a 6 week break. Good luck with your list. I think it's doable.

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  5. Look at your two bears, so tall and confident and smily! I hope they enjoy their new school year, with all the challenges it might bring. Twelve weeks of holidays is way too long. I struggled with the seven we had. I didn't get that much time with the children due to work, which is a bit unfortunate. Ah well. My four went back to school today, too. I managed to talk the oldest into joining the annual back to school photo. Just a few years ago they would happily cooperate. I sometimes participate in studies like you do but not for a while. My son is enrolled in a long term population study, starting from birth. He has health checks and lots of questionnaires, we just get the questionnaires. It is quite interesting to find out the outcome of the latest round of interviews every couple of years.

    Must not ramble. Enjoy the well deserved you-time! xx

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  6. I've got that book on my to-read pile as well, I'll be interested to hear what you think of it. Twelve weeks is indeed a long time. We have six and it doesn't seem long enough though. There's a happy medium in there somewhere. My son was taller than me at 12. He's 13 now and 6', eek. I'm a listener to radio as well, the station that is just talking and no adverts, I don't like a lot of noise. The little bears look lovely, all ready for school. Mine would love not to have to wear uniform, it must be nice to wear their own clothes. Although uniform is fairly easy to deal with, and no hassle about getting the right label! I hope they have a good year. CJ xx

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  7. I'm always astounded by how early school starts these days. In my area, it's not until next week, but still too early. Back in my day (oh jeez...I sound like a granny!), we didn't start back to school 'til after Labor Day. I heard some kids in the neighborhood playing today and it made me smile because next week, it'll be like a ghost town around here. Your son is so tall! That's the first thing I noticed when I saw the photo, was that it looked like he's grown by leaps and bounds. I hope both of your kids have a great school year. Sixth grade is a big adjustment. The hormones are starting to kick in. Third grade is wonderful for most kids (and teachers, lol). Well, enjoy your much-deserved alone time and working on your goals!

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  8. Lovely photos, I can see just from the time I've been following your blog how much your little bears have grown, especially your son. Gosh, 12 weeks is a long time, there are people here who think 6 is too much and it should be more spread throughout the year. Good to have plans and goals xx

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  9. Yes, they really are getting big! I hope they have a good year. I remember always feeling a little blue and apprehensive when my kids started school in the Fall. I still hate seeing summer come to an end.

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  10. My goodness the bears are getting big! It seems so early for them to start back to school. As someone else said, in my day we never started back to school until after Labor Day. I've never heard of anyone doing radio listening surveys. We were also a Nielsen family a couple of times when our kids were growing up. That was interesting and lots of fun. Our beastly hot weather finally ended a couple of days ago. We also had just a little bit of rain on Sunday and that seems to have chased the smoke away for now. Thank goodness. I hope you enjoy your time to yourself Jennifer. I know you enjoy your time with your children. It is precious time, they'll be grown before you know it.
    Blessings, Betsy

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  11. Your twelve weeks is too long, our six weeks is too short – we're half way through our summer break and I'm enjoying the change of routine but it's speeding by. It sounds as though you've made the best of all your time, though, Jennifer. And your children look so lovely in their back-to-school photo. I'm still taller than my daughter (who's 13) but it won't be long before she's taller, and both my boys tower above me. I have resigned myself to being the shortest in the family... I'm sure you'll whoop that 'to do' list. Sam x

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  12. Hey Jennifer,
    I was so struck by how grown up your boy bear is starting to look! And I adore your girl bear's dress. Twelve weeks does seem like a long time. I would worry that any semblance of routine would tumble into absolute slothdom here (if that's even a word). You seem to have got the balance right though. I always think the first day back at school is kind of magical; new shiny shoes and haircuts and a sense of excitement. My boys will enter their final year of Uni, final year of secondary school and first year of junior school respectively. So lots of study and changes afoot here. Oh and don't worry to much about your growing to read list. I have a whole shelf! I think you'd enjoy Maggie O' Farrell's novels 'The Last Runaway' and 'At The Edge Of The Orchard' very much, so look out for them.
    Leanne xx
    Leanne xx

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  13. wow - 12 weeks of summer hols! We get 6 weeks here (new Zealand) - you mustn't get many breaks throughout the school year then? We have 4 terms of 10-12 weeks with 3 x 2 week breaks and the long summer hols of 6 weeks - that equals 12 weeks but through the entire year. I'd get bored myself and would have to go on decent holidays somewhere more than once and the teens would have to get a job! It's so fascinating how different every country is! Enjoy the autumn!

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  14. I like your list. It's very realistic.
    Really? It smells like chilis roasting? I like that!
    Your kids are so cute! They ARE growing up!

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  15. I can't imagine more than 6 weeks off for the summer hols. It's fascinating hearing the world's different education calendar. All the best with your plans. Cathy x

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  16. Love your subtle sense of humour Jennifer ;) Your son looks very much like you as he gets older. My son grew past me a couple of years ago. He gave me a hug this week and my head rested below his shoulder (little mom). Each year our kids start back into school with a new schedule ahead of them is always filled with a little apprehension I think. We have two short months for summer break, but the kids don't go back until beginning of September. Enjoy your free time to yourself!
    Wendy

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  17. I can't believe how grown up the LB is looking. It's a really lovely photo of your two. I wish our six week holiday was longer but there's no way I could cope with twelve, both the kids and I would go crazy. Good luck with your to do list, there's lots of fun stuff on there. X

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