Checking things off our summer fun list

The past three days were the kinds of days that make me love summer. They remind me of years when the kids were younger and our schedules looser. They let me sneak my kids away from their normal distractions and just soak them in. They were wonderful.

We always make a list of fun activities to do in the summer and this weekend we managed to check off many things…

We picked blueberries…
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The oldest and I along with her best friend from preschool (!) toured the beautiful campus of IU Bloomington…
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We went on a dunes hike…
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It was a busy weekend. And it was one of my most favorite weekends of summer 2014.

20% of the way there

I officially have one month of marathon training under my belt. With this slow but steady plan I’m following that means I’m 20% of the way through. Good news! I can easily run 20% of the marathon distance (that’s 5.24 miles in case you don’t feel like doing the math).

I’m going to be honest, other than the fact that I’m being very disciplined about my exercise schedule it doesn’t feel like marathon training yet. I think that’s a good thing. Last time I tried this, the training stressed me out. I was nearly frantic trying to get my miles in. This new plan is much less stressful. It probably helps that I have a lot more running experience to fall back on as well. I still have that slightly nauseous feeling when I look at those 16, 18 & 20 mile runs but the rest of the plan feels manageable. That’s good.

I am going to try and check in every four weeks as I work through this training schedule. This check in:

  • Happy to report that I’m consistently lifting weights weekly and doing my PT stretches on an almost daily basis. Hoping next month’s check-in includes regular yoga attendance. That was a big help during last summer’s Olympic Tri training and I know it will help my body stay strong & healthy for the marathon too.
  • I’m loving the run/walk plan. I was afraid it would drive me crazy but the intervals feel great. I’ve done a bit of experimenting and for now I’m sticking with 6/1. Those one minute walk breaks are surprisingly refreshing and really help keep my energy consistent for a longer period of time. Of course the really long tests are still to come.
  • I’m trying to make my first run of the week some sort of challenge – track workouts or hill repeats or hilly routes. I have no pace goals to drive my plan but it feels good to vary the runs when I can.
  • I’m slow. Like, really slow. I consciously tell myself at the start of each run to keep things comfortable and easy. I am focused on building distance and stamina – not speed. I know enough about my body to know that this is the best way for me to train for the marathon. I’m not going to lie though – it’s still discouraging to see some of my paces at the end of a run. However, the current pace I’m running would be perfect on marathon day so I just put my head down and keep with the plan.

One week at a time is the mantra for the next few months.

It took eight years

    Eight years ago we moved into this house. As you can imagine a lot has changed in those eight years. The toddler who played in the moving boxes…


    now looks like this kid.

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    And of course we’ve made changes to the house. The basement has been finished, new furniture has been bought, rooms have been painted. Well, all rooms but one. The “dining room” (which I put in quotation marks because we’ve never used it as such) has never been painted. It has transformed from a playroom to a homework room but the walls of this room hold a special honor. They display the artwork of my kids starting with our very first school year here. As J and I were adding a few things brought home at the end of the school year I realized that we’ve completely filled the main wall. Looking at it brings glimpses of my children at different ages. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in my front door. And now that it’s full, it’s also a reminder of how long my children have been in this house and how much they’ve grown in eight years.

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Beach Week-ish

For the first summer in eight years, we weren’t able to swing a beach week vacation. I have to admit, it has made me much sadder than I expected. I looked forward to that week of relaxed paces, family time, sand & water much more than even I realized. (And I’m the one who came up with the idea & planned it every year so you know that I’m a big, BIG fan of beach week.) For about a month I’ve been pretty bummed about not having it this year.

My brother’s family (we used to do beach week with my siblings and families) were able to still do their own beach week and they ended up renting a house on Lake Michigan just an hour away from me. Even better, they got a house with extra beds and said that we could come up whenever our schedule permitted. It’s not the same as staying for a week but it’s pretty darn nice. We went up Sunday afternoon and stayed for dinner: Tuesday afternoon and stayed for dinner; and we’re heading up late tonight so we can enjoy a full day/night tomorrow on the beach.

I hope my brother & sister-in-law realize how much I appreciate this gift of beach time.

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Summer learning

When the kids were younger – meaning they were home more often without all these crazy sports/work/friend schedules – I used to do some serious summer learning plans. We’d have weekly themes of science or writing or math. We’d take “field trips” to explore something related to the theme. I’d even give them homework.

Yep, I really did.

Now I’ve all but thrown in the towel. This summer my learning goals for the kids are simple:

1. Keep them off the TV as much as possible. I’m pretty lenient in the morning. They each stumble out of their rooms at different times. Some of them have morning obligations, some of them don’t. I’m training every morning for my marathon and then trying to get some work done. So before noon it’s just about a free-for-all when it comes to screen time. However, once lunch hits I’m trying really hard to keep them off the screens and chase them outside.

2. Weekly library visits. We always participate in the summer reading program at our library. We’re not always very good about getting there every week to log our reading time and enter to win prizes. This summer, I’m insisting on daily reading. (Let’s be honest – I only have to force the youngest to read every day.) As motivation, I’m taking them to the library each week to log those hours.

That’s it.

Well, I am also making the boy do spelling practice 3-4 times a week this summer since he made the Spell Bowl Team and the teachers have asked them to learn half the list over the summer. But that’s really it. Any science experiments, writing prompts or artwork will be spontaneous activities that happen as moods and time allows.

They don’t have a lot of downtime in their busy lives so I’m okay giving them a bit more of that in the summer. But I’ll be honest, summer is a big break from school. I kind of miss those summers where we had learning goals. Or maybe I just miss having all three of them home at the same time, engaged in an activity together :) That could be it too.

My kids are getting old.