Work Home and Family - Shifting Gears

Spring is heading into summer here and that means we're shifting gears.  From school and all the craziness that it entails - both on the learning and the teaching ends - to something a little more restful and laid back.

Summer will not, however, be as laid back as we'd like.

I am going to try to completely knock off this dissertation thing before classes start in the fall.

I am transitioning from part time professorship to full time.

John is doing a lot more preaching this summer than he has in the past - which means a lot more travel then we have had before.

The kids are attending a couple of summer camps that they are really, really, really looking forward to.

I am putting together a whole new course - never been taught at our school before - for fall.

John is taking 3 intensive courses this summer plus another weekend retreat that is required.

We're still doing our annual week-long camping trip and our weekend anniversary get-away this summer.

It doesn't seem like it is possible to slow down, spend more time together and saver the days when we have all that going on.

But it is. 

It definitely is.

Travel means more time together in the car - time to tell stories, read to each other and listen to books on CD. (I almost typed "tape" but our van doesn't even have a cassette deck anymore!).  I also work on handwork (mostly embroidery) but also hand-mending in the car - something that I rarely get to do otherwise.  And I enjoy it tremendously!

Visiting new congregations means more opportunities to worship together as family - sometimes during the week - which we don't always get to do.  I also just get to devote that time to my family and meeting new people.  Usually I'm running around trying to get to Sunday School, talk to someone about the upcoming food drive, getting hit up by someone else to chaperone the youth trip, making sure there are clean spoons out for the coffee hour, and who only knows what else - including making sure communion is out, the microphones work and the slide show is complete and appropriate!  It's very refreshing to just worship and visit! (And usually be the one who is getting blessed by the little things the congregations do to make us feel "at home" - like a bag of goodies for the car-ride home or coloring books and crayons specifically for our kiddos!)

No school day - for the majority of the summer - means time in the evening to potter around the yard, splash in the wading pool, visit a local park, take in a local outdoor (free!) concert or visit with a friend. We started this this past week with a picnic dinner at a local park - where I took the photo at the top of the post. The kiddos made sand castles at the nearby beach and we leasurely ate our sandwiches and fruit and chatted away.

Camping is a retreat that I definitely look forward to each year - no distractions of phone calls, internet, computers, or the hastles of daily life other than dishes and cooking.  We love hanging out together all day for a whole entire week!

John and I love taking our annual anniversary trip - which gives us time to be just the two of us, nurture our relationship with each other, do somethings we can't do with the kiddos (like read all the information at a museum display or shop in an antiques shop!), and just be the married couple that we are in addition to being parents.

I'm dedicating two weeks of my day-time to just writing - at a quiet place with minimal distractions - so I don't take up that precious evening time with my writing.  Hopefully the minimal distractions will make it easier to complete the dissertation without extra stress!

Yes, even though the summer may not be as relaxed as I'd like, it can still be a wonderful, slower time to enjoy our time as a family.

What do you do to unwind and slow down during the summer? I'd love to know!


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