Saturday, May 2, 2009

Counting the Days

It is time to get it together. I have a wonderfully long Summer Break coming soon. Usually I spend the first week or so just chilling out in recovery of the school year...not this time. I have no stress from which to recover. Well nothing other than the high work load, and that will end when my contract days are done. It has been a very good year. I've been blessed at work with great kids, great parents, and better yet, great friends to work with every day. I almost don't want it to end. I am losing a teacher from my team this year. She is moving on with her military family. So I will savor her company while she is still here. The school year ending is almost always bittersweet.

So on for, "How am I not going to let the summer pass without getting out of it all that I want?" First I must reflect on my past summer habits. Five years ago, I had a very stressful year of work. I was in a contract and had to endure a very tough year. It took me the last months of my contract and the first two weeks of summer to get a new contract in a much better work environment. I spent the rest of the summer on recovery. The last three summers I have kind of fell into the same pattern...and not properly planned for the summer. I did plan a family vacation and a few trips to the lake, but I did not get to any of my summer's agenda.

This year I am going to have a much bigger and broader plan. I am not going to plan every day down to the last minute of detail, but I am going to set goals for days and weeks. So where to begin? My plans are to sleep in from time to time, but I will also rise early to enjoy the coolness that only morning brings in the summer season. Early morning rising also usual means a more productive day for me, so if I have a day of tasks or somewhere to be, I will be up as soon as the sun hits the horizon.

I am going to read a lot this year. I have no babies or toddlers to care for minute by minute anymore, no lesson plans to create, time on my hands and a very long list of books I want to read. I have the Twilight series on the top my list. I have ordered the books, so will have my own copies to share with family, friends or students after I finish them myself. I also have to read the next Shopaholic books. Enjoyed the first one so much, I'm looking forward to reading the next books in the series. I will search for recommendations when I finish with those, but have considered reading the Harry Potter books...probably a too tall order for my summer, but something I am considering. What do you think?

During the first week I am going to work on closets. I have a friend that will be working on hers as well.It is always nice to have a buddy when working on projects. We have committed to a closet a day on the first week after school is out. I also have a Twitter friend that has agreed to work on intense decluttering with me once our break begins. I think getting all of that out of the way at the beginning (and I don't see it taking more than a week or so- you do believe me, right?), leaves me time to plan other outrageously fun activities for the summer. Last year we didn't get to the lake much because it rained what seemed to be every other day until August. We squeezed in a few lake trips, but did get rained on every time we went out. The running joke last year was that I got my workouts putting the cushions off the patio furniture every time it rained and then back on again as soon as the rain clouds passed. Who wants to sit on wet cushions, right?

I have yet to even begin to plan our "get away from it all" vacation. I usually have an idea by now where we are headed, and generally when we will go so Joe and any of the older boys that are interested can arrange their schedules for time off. This year we do have family that is planning to head this way, and I don't want to be out of town when they come so I am waiting to hear when they are headed here. As far as planning the actual trip, I can usually do that within just a week or two. I prefer to drive and see the sights since we have some time off. Or, I should more accurately say Joe does the driving. I am the navigator. We sometimes reserve a room before we leave home, other times we stop when and where we are done for the day. Every trip has its own unique memories, although our trips are frequent enough they start to run together in my mind. This is definitely a great thing. I love that my kids are getting so many great experiences, and I really enjoy the chance to travel so often.

So the countdown begins. Not because I need the break, but because it is coming nonetheless. I want to spend some time with family and friends, and to make our home a place where we can enjoy each others company. I want to be ready to make it a summer that at the end I will feel as if I lived it well.