Delighting in the Chaos

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Summer is here and normally these words make me giddy but the last few weeks have been riddled with some slight angst. Rather than my typical nostalgia attached to Red Hot Chili Peppers and sonic shushes and sun burnt faces, a few words keep repeating in my head.

I have so many children.

Ok- I need to be fair. Some of you reading this home-school an entire adopted tribe from Africa and are shaking your head in condescending shame at my 4, who happen to look spectacularly awesome and picturesque in this picture.

Nevertheless... these are the words that have made me pause with a little fear as summer has been getting closer.

I managed to say “the words” out loud to a friend as we walked recently... she told me about a twist on a nursery rhyme in a lovely book called.. I Love You Rituals.

A wonderful woman lived in a shoeshe had so many children she knew exactly what to doshe held them,she rocked them,and tucked them in bed.I love you, I love you, is what she said.

Immediately it stung to think that my kids had become a burden in my mind. I want to delight in them, even delight in the chaos. So here are my goals this summer so that I am the woman in the shoe who knows exactly what to do, rather than the one whipping them to bed with only broth (tempting some days)....

1. Wake up before my kids. We need time with Jesus and a run and some quiet.

2. Set expectations. Summer brings a new routine or lack of routine. We need to communicate with our kids about the plan for the week or the day. They love to have a plan.

3.Set goals. We all need physical, missional, spiritual goals. Things like my son wants to learn to wake board and we want to choose a summer mission as a family (more on that later) and reading goals.

4. Spend one on one time with each of them. If you are running an errand and your spouse is home... take one. They love this.

5. Work hard so we can play hard. We are moving and the kids are helping pack and doing a lot of work around the house.My 4 year old helped carry things to the truck today and after he finished, he had a glowing pride encircling his head.  Lazy summers can turn into frustrated bored kids. House work, yard work or cooking (hey- it's free child labor) and then go play hard- (swimming or to Chuck-e- cheese).

6. Limit electronics.

In our new house I had a shelf and a plug installed by the garage door. It is for our phones and ipods to charge. Our goal is to walk in and leave our devices at the door. So we can all rest and play together without the war of technology in our pockets pulling on us. But set TV limits and video game limits and facebook/pinterest limits. This is a war.  Fight it as such.

7. Laugh

My oldest is headed to seventh grade and honestly wears me down with his witty banter over even taking out the trash... but he’s cute and kind-of funny for a kid and he’s not always trying to exasperate me, he’s just hormonal and 12.

So I am trying to laugh instead of lecture and redirect instead of punish and relax instead of stress.

Tell me your summer plans with kids- we are all in this together, even if you only have one.