Monday, July 16, 2012

Even when you lose, you win

When school let out for summer break, Brock and I made a conscious decision to keep Thing 1, who just turned five, out of organized activities. The pressure to get your kid "involved" at a young age is intense, especially in a city like Ft. Collins where Jaxson has already earned his black belt in Karate, Kayden is reading at a third grade level and Little Lily is in her 4th year of dance before Kindergarten Roundup. Yet I bravely evaded the 21st Century parenting "requirements" and attempted to navigate the choppy waters of "unstructured play". I decided to let the children do important creative childhood activities, like play with earth worms, toads, bubbles, cardboard boxes and each other.

Who needs soccer when you have a soda flat?


My ultimate goal was to keep one last summer for our family so that we can do whatever we want to do, whenever we want to do it. One last summer without the organized activities that come with strict schedules and Saturdays dedicated to Soccer games or T-ball tournaments. One last summer for impromptu camping trips, day hikes and farmer's markets. One last summer of pure fun.

Some good old fashioned fun in the backyard
(making little brother do all the work)


Just as I wished, my summer has been full of last minute decisions to take trips to the mountains for hiking and horseback riding. We have spent multiple nights in our friends' cabin, where we enjoyed hamburgers and lemonade under the crystal blue Colorado skies. We have had no schedule. We have filled our children's lives with parades, rodeos, ponies, parks, BBQ's and nature. They have spent so much time in the dirt that the bathtub looks like a sandbox every evening after bath time. Thing 1 learned to ride a bike and Thing 2 discovered his love of ants. We planted a garden and have eaten pea pods out of it while warming ourselves in the sun, throwing the stick for Red Dog and admiring at our newly planted flowers. We have been "organized activity" free, just as I planned, and I have never been more exhausted in my entire freaking life.


Thing 1, Blizzard and I in the Rooptop Rodeo Parade.


Yes, this seriously happened.


As I type this, my overstimulated children are simultaneously screaming from the rooms that I separated them into, trying to destroy my happiness...my collagen... my metabolism their nap time. Every evening I hear them jumping on their beds two hours past their bedtime and yet they wake before me and are eagerly waiting for me with demands of food when I stumble from my room each morning. My normally brilliant sleepers have morphed into overtired, grocery store screaming, Popsicle demanding, toy hoarders who fight non-stop and make me burst into tears at 7:30 a.m. (hypothetically speaking, of course). All in all, my plan for an easy breezy summer clearly failed and I can't WAIT for some organized activities so that they have some FOCUS and attention that doesn't come from ME.

What have I learned from this breakdown lesson? That if you look haggard and sound distressed every time your husband sees you, he will sense that you are teetering on the brink of sanity and HE WILL BUY YOU AWESOME COWBOY BOOTS AND INSIST YOU GO TO BLOGHER 2012.

I bought my tickets this morning and I can't WAIT to meet you crazy broads! Watch out New York City!

Peace, Love and a Good Night's Sleep,
Johi



What's that? You want to see the boots?

Okaaayyyyy....

19 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I'll be spastic with anticipation until then! Either that or I am going to give myself an ulcer (because that is how I roll).

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    2. I. . .you. . .OH. My. God. New York is going to be the experience of a lifetime; I am (for once in my life) totally speechless.

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    3. I fear that MAY just be too much awesome in one area for that city to handle! Are we prepared to take down an entire city with our concentrated fabulousness?? Because it's gonna happen.

      Woo-hoo, Johi's going to BlogHer. I never thought I'd see the day! I'm so excited I may just soil myself. Oops. Too late. :D

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    4. I'm a ball of nerves and excitement! I'm a NY virgin, so I'm really looking forward to all of this- but especially meeting my sister wives!

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  2. I am insanely jealous of those boots... Note to self, get new boot

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    1. I would recommend two. Unless of course you only have one leg... then I would blame speak to text for misinterpreting me again.

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    2. Well two would be better. Speak to text fails me so this would be dyac. I am also drooling over this pair of black boots with guns on them. Now to find the money tree or rob a bank...

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  3. Congrats on the fun? filled summer. We always kept our summers free. Lots of activities during school months, but the summers were ours. Looking back, I wouldn't change it.

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    1. I took Thing 1 on a FIVE HOUR horseback ride and when we returned to the barn he asked "What are we doing now?" like I was supposed to have a second FIVE HOUR activity planned for him that day. Dang kid got my farm families stamina. It seems that it skipped me.

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  4. Shit yeah, that's awesome! I have never been to New York, AND you get to meet everyone. And all you had to do was look like you were on the edge of a nervous breakdown! Who knew it would be so "easy"?

    I am surprised your Namaste mugs didn't pay the way by now, anyway. I mean really, it's my favorite thing ever.

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    1. I know! Right?

      And thank you for supporting my Namaste habit. I think I sold three mugs total cuz I'm a winner like that. Now I will probably take my earnings and buy my friends magnets or something stupid. :)

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  5. You're a good parent. I have a feeling that I'll be yelling, "Sign 'er up!" when I am with Cinderella full time. Right now I am all telling Manfriend about the benefits of free play.

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    1. Thank you for saying that. We have had some lovely moments this summer, it's just a lot of "togetherness". :)

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  6. We have SO MANY pictures of our baby brother pushing our big brother around in the wagon (and whatever other contraption was made out of it). Ah, farm life. You're doing good, Mama! And FREAKING AWESOME KICK ASS BOOTS, LADY!!! You're going to have an AWESOME time!!

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  7. Holy Crap! Those boots were made to be given to me! LOL! That's right! Package those babies up, and ship em out! I lurv em!

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    1. I would love to give away boots, but alas, I'm a hoarder so I keep all of my stuffs.

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  8. Can't wait to meet you in NYC! Are you bringing Blizzard? Am I too big to ride?

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