Friday, June 13, 2008

Summertime Survival

Today's Wonder of the World is...Surviving the First Days of Lazy Summertime!

Do you know what this picture is?
That, my friends, is Sam, my nine year old.
Five minutes into his third day of summer vacation, the child told me he was bored.
"You're bored? Really?" I said. "Great! I've got a whole list of chores that need doing."
"No thanks," he said, backing away. "I'll find something to do."

So while I went outside to water some dead-ish flowers, he scanned his face. On our scanner.

Oh yes he did. That's why his nose looks kind of flat.

How in the world am I going to keep this child busy all summer?

When Ben and Sarah were his age, we were in France. Boredom didn't seem to be a problem there. Or maybe I'm just forgetting. But I don't think so.

First there was not much daytime tv for kids, so I wasn't having to constantly fight them to turn it off. Second, the weather was usually heavenly, so going outside didn't feel like punishment.

I always expect a couple days of whining while they adjust to summer life, but after that was over, they generally kept themselves busy.

Ben would set up his Playmobile. (Remember we were in Europe, where Playmobile didn't cost an arm and a leg.)

Funky wallpaper, huh?

And Sarah would keep herself busy dressing Sam up like a girl

Or curling her hair in socks, and then posing for pictures of herself.

And when Sam got a little bigger, he would keep busy by pretending to be a fierce knight.

A fierce knight in diapers.

But now, what to do?
I've enrolled him in a few day camps. For three weeks of the summer he'll be drumming and cooking and taking pictures in the morning, while I hide away and work on my book. I signed him up because he'll enjoy himself, and also because I can't seem to write with kids in the house. Kids constantly asking me for food and drink and "why can't I scan my face again?"

But what about the rest of the summer?
So far we've brought out some crafty stuff. Here's the Creepy Crawlers kit he got for Christmas.

Would you like something creepy? We've got plenty of crawlers to choose from!

And we've been going on walks/bike rides, early in the morning before our blood would boil.
It drives Tanner crazy to have Sam go in front.

And then there's Sam's other hobby...

Yes, we're insane.
A friend saw this drum set and asked me if all parents lose their minds by the time the third child comes along.
I guess so.

It's been a year, and Tanner still isn't sure if he likes the drums or not.

He likes it best from a distance.

Me too. See why I can't get any writing done in the house when kids are home?

But sometimes the television isn't so bad. I limit Sam to two hours a day. (I know, I could have said less, but hey, Sam gets up at 7 and goes to bed around 9:30 or 10 in the summertime. That's a lot of hours. And thanks to Netflix, he watches mostly shows that are educational, about island living or world war II.)

So what if we don't look like this.

That woman is probably on some heavy duty medication.

How about you? (Not the medication part.) Summer ideas, anyone? Ones that don't involve scanning body parts?
Have a wonder-full Friday!
I'll pop in for Father's day! Come by for a visit!
Love, Becky

PS. I almost forgot! I received an email from a blogger mom who is clearly using her summer time for much more meaningful and wonder-full purposes than scanning their faces! Her project is so cool that I thought you might want to participate.
Here's part of her letter.

I'm doing a little home school project with my kids. We want to build a small Holocaust memorial in our front yard, so that my kids can remember all the Jews that lost their lives.

We are asking people to send us "stars." Any kind of star, made from anything you wish. These stars will symbolize the lights that went out due to the

If you are interested in doing this please let me know... I'll email you our address.

So drop by her site and let her know you're joining in.
See ya!


Anonymous said...

year round school. it is awesome.

TattingChic said...

Good luck this summer. I'm sure we'll have some interesting posts to look forward to from you. :)

Elise said...

How do you always know JUST what to post? We are at the end of the two-camps-a-day week and I am just exhausted. Just when I sit down to write, it is time to pick up one kid and drop off the other. I'll have to tell my son about the scanner...hmmm...

Thanks for making me laugh and then go crazy laughing because of all I haven't done this week...oh well. There is always next week, right?

Hang in there...


JaxPop said...

Just another reason to appreciate what moms (wives) have to deal with.

When my kids complained of being bored & started getting on Deb's nerves, I would take a day off (without warning). I'd wake them up bright & early with a list of 'projects' that required their assistance. If they complained at any point, the list (& day) got longer. It was amazing how their boredom disappeared for long stretches of time after that.

It was my way of coming to Deb's 'rescue'. Usually one day off per summer (other than vacation or fun stuff) did the trick.

Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

You forget the pain..... now I wish they were little again!
I went to the library with mine once a week.... airconditioned, they did stuff and I sat and read.
They were required to read at least 30 minutes a day... sometimes they were into it and read longer - HEAVEN.
I did theme camps. Example was "Flower Camp" - did lots of art projects, took photos of them and made picture frames, cement steps for the garden, visited gardens,ate flowers, etc. That was in the morning. By afternoon they were exhausted and left me alone!!
(There were issues with the cement... I don't recommend it.)
Good luck!!

Sherri said...

When I first saw Sam's face,I thought he was pressed up against a window(which was funny enough)but then I read that that was his scanned face,I cracked up!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Leah, I bet it is. Plus the kids don't forget as much. Not an option here, sis-in-law, as you well know. Don't rub it in.

Tattingchic, thanks! Yes, life is sure to be...interesting. We can always count on that.

Hey Elise! Coffee is the answer. And I just may drink mine in the lovely New Orleans crystal you gave me--my plastic Mardi Gras cup. Thanks, by the way! The hydrangeas still look great!

Jaxpop, you're a sweetie. I LOVE it when people appreciate me. And other moms out there. I like your tricky plan. We might have to try that ourselves.

Qugrainne, great ideas. I was hoping to woo my Sam to summer reading, but after reading your post I decided just to make it a requirement. Why not? And after Sam stops grumbling around the house saying, "First no tv and now MANDATORY READING?!!!" I'm sure he'll be drawn right in. We just need to pick the right book to start with. I also like the theme camp idea, though I doubt I could get Sam to eat flowers. He doesn't even like walking in the produce section of the grocery store because it makes him sick to see so many vegetables. What a kid, what a kid.

Hey Sherri, yeah, I only discovered that he did it because he printed the scan out. I picked up that picture and it took a few minutes of puzzling over it to figure out where it had come from. I guess I should be glad it was just his face he scanned.

May Vanderbilt said...

Wait, is Sam too young for sleep away camp? Boy howdy once my parents discovered that we were shipped off.

Don't worry. The feeling was mutual. I LOVED sleep away camp. There were boys there!

Sam is hilarious, by the way. I love that he scanned his face.

mah-meeee said...

wow, it's tough keeping kids busy over the summer. i guess since mine are all so little still, i don't have to deal with the 'i'm bored' statements.

Rosemary said...

Hi Rebecca,
Oh yes, I remember my daughter saying the same thing. I'm bored.
We did day camp, swimming lessons,
arts and crafts, cooking club. Reading club, at the library. How about hiking, looking for rocks, birdwatching, collecting shells. Making 4TH of July decorations. Lemonade stand, bake cookies. Mosaics, sidewalk painting with water. Plant identifying. Write your own mystery story. Illustrate story too.
OK my brain is tired now. I will let you know if I think of anything else.
Have a great weekend!

liquidambar said...

I am so glad I had summer vacations when I was growing up, that I had the leisure to get bored. Nowadays I only wish I ever ran out of things to do.

Being bored is not fatal. It forced me to come up with my own ideas and learn how to entertain myself, how to rely on myself, and how to plan my own time--skills that have come in handy. By the time I was in high school, I was writing books on my summer vacation.

I started it all by making a list called "Things to do when bored."

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

Could be worse. My youngest son has been entertaining himself this week by laying on his back and sucking air into his butt and letting off massive explosions of gas. No, I am not kidding. I wish I were. My oldest just bought a case of kazoos. I may not make it through the week!


La Belette Rouge said...

My mother used to say "you are only bored if you are boring." It always left me feeling like "huh?"

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

LOL - I raised 4 boys...thank goodness they are all grown, married with kids of their own! I can remember the "I'm Bored" all summer long...

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey May. Sam is going to a sleep away church camp for 4 days later in July. It'll be the first one he's done. I think he'll like it.
(And I think I will too.) Bless his heart.

Mah-meee, I well remember those younger days. While the psychological torture of the I'm bored complaints may be absent, it was physically exhausting to lug babies around in the heat, as sweet as they can be. Hang in there!

Good ideas Rosemary. I bet he'd really like mosaics. Especially if he got to smash some tiles. Thanks!

Jenn, I agree. My moments of boredom spurred on lots of creativity. And I discovered some awesome books in those days.

Kady, I can't stop laughing. You are too funny. Gas and kazoos? You have my sympathy/empathy.

La belette, I know what you mean. I never understood that expression. Just like I never understood teachers directing me to the dictionary when I wanted to know how to spell something.

Hey Penny! Four boys. They could be a barbershop quartet! "I'm bored, I'm bored, I'm bored. I'm Borrrrrrrrred!"

Dana said...

I was lucky enough to be able to be home with my kids during their summer breaks. I usually enjoyed their time off from school, too. When they were young, we also did the camp thing----up to a certain point. I liked them having some time to call their own---that wasn't scheduled, just some time to relax and do what they wanted. I tried to encourage them to entertain themselves for periods of time--hoping they would develop hobbies or interests that did not require me shelling out more money for camp fees or special equipment or shoes. We played a bunch and basically just enjoyed the dickens out of the summer vacation. When they were older (HS age), they were just swamped in the summer with sports camps and a variety of school activities, plus jobs. I often hated that for them---as I wanted them to have more down time--time to decompress and be ready for the fall and the next school year. Anyway, I enjoyed being a part of that time of their lives and felt lucky I could be there during those summer breaks.

Nilz said...

This is a special post! Scanning Body Part??? OMG! Just getting curious what more is there inside your blogging basket...

Dani said...

Two "Mommy, I'm bored!" lists that may be helpful. *smile*

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hi Dana, I know what you're saying. And I do feel so lucky that I can be home with them during the summer. I'll probably sound like I feel more than way after the whining stage has passed. (Theirs, not mine!) Like I said before, it just takes a little adjustment period. Part of the problem is that we have this darn satellite dish with a billion channels, and I think it's too much to expect kids to not want to veg away their summers in front of it. Todd and I are always debating whether to get rid of it all together. (But we're both news junkies and want the option ourselves!) In a day or two (I hope) Sam will get the message that I'm serious about limited TV and will start to get more comfortable with finding his own stuff to do. I agree, downtime is so valuable. Real downtime--not just plugging yourself into the boob tube.

Nilz, just you wait. There's no telling!

Dani! Thanks! I've printed those out, and will hand them to him next time he says I'm bored!
I appreciate it!

Mike Greer said...

Howdy - Having raised a couple of kids, I agree that absolute "do nothing" time is good... forces them to figure out how to point their own consciousness! However, specially for my daughter, I pulled together a list of 40 free "learning challenges" for my 4 grandkids to connect to. You can see them at this URL:

Good luck with your kids! And, I know it sounds trite, but... really... they grow up and are gone super fast. So squeeze everything you can out of your time with them!. - Mike

Jamie Noel said...

How to get through summer?! What a great topic! My youngest spent the other morning cutting out white patches of paper and taping them to our sleeping black lab to turn her into a cow. I told her I would be enrolling her in summer school on Monday! (if only our town really had one!) We did discover a roller rink nearby. I also have both my daughters slated for cooking dinners. Luckily this is still fun for them and involves pulling out cookbooks and lot's of planning. The Holocaust project sounds awesome. We visited the Holocaust museum in DC last year, truly a life changing experience.