Do you know what this is?
It is our summer at it's best; all nicely packaged into neat little boxes that are arranged with order and precision. But words like neat and order and precision all sound rather un-summery to me even as I type them, so there is probably a sense in which they should all be muffled and strewn about a bit just for summer's sake. I'll tell you the real reason I'm laboring over something like a jigsaw puzzle for our summer days-- well, I'll tell you a few reasons if you don't mind.
Summer in Chengdu (a place I'm starting to like if you read the last post) appears challenging from where I sit. Summers in China alone can be challenging. They are certainly restful, with the slackened pace of no school and our general modus operandi which is to lay low, be together, not go anywhere, and hang out with the people who are still in town. And yet, the downsides are, among others: lack of pools, backyards, museums, libraries (and all the other fun free stuff those summer bucket lists on pinterest tell you to do), and such. So the upside is, we have to get pretty creative, and flexible.
My panic button started to go off a few weeks ago when I realized that this summer also had the added challenges of a husband-now-administrator who has to work more office hours in the summer, leaving me at home with four little children (including one small baby), and a few weeks of language study to juggle between us. I won't say I didn't shed a few tears before The Man attempted to calm me down with his typical reality check speech (they always work). And the reality is... life is not bad. It is quite good, actually. There are challenges, yes. But there is a lot of good and the summer will be good in spite of these glaring obstacles that I allow to stare me down until I run away like a scaredy-cat school girl.
So, this schedule above is one of my ways to tackle the challenge. 1. Kids enjoy structure. 2. I need help. A schedule will allow us to have both. It will organize my ideas of what they can do and hopefully give them some independence as well as freedom within a set of parameters. And the best part to me is getting them excited about it. It's like our own little summer camp. One of my hopes with this is to allow the kids to have plenty to look forward to, to enjoy, but also plenty that involves them in helping one another and our family with all that needs to be done.
And then we will eat. Things like pizza (sun dried and spinach on whole wheat crust, below), and homemade popsicles, some birthday cake for a special turning-six-year-old, and probably a few vietnamese-iced coffees on my end.
It will be good. I have hope. And where would we be without hope, right?