Jump Into Summer

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As recently posted on the http://www.AustinCru.com website. I hope this article will inspire working and non-working mom’s alike to… Jump Into Summer!

I recently took my three youngest kids to one of our local pools specially designed with water slides and a tubing river for families to enjoy. I worked all day, so my plan was to relax on a lounger, sip sparkling water and read a book while my kids played away. I scoped it out, found a great spot to relax, and settled in to enjoy the unseasonably cool, cloudy summer evening.

As I sat, I found myself watching parents go down the water slides with their children. These were people, like me, who’d probably worked all day, yet there they were – fully living in the moment. There was something so beautiful about it. The smiles on their faces, parents and children alike, were priceless! As fun as it seemed for them, I didn’t follow suit. I didn’t want to get chlorine in my hair; I didn’t want to go under…. I made excuses to sit on the sidelines and watch life happen right before my eyes.

I took my kids again a few days later. At first, I sat and watched again. I watched my kids laugh, I watched parents laugh, and then I watched my two middle boys leave their baby sister out. I watched her go up the large slide and come down, and then do it again, with a little less joy than normal. Finally, I called out to her across the pool and asked, “Kylie would you like me to go down the slide with you?”

To say she jumped at my offer would be an understatement; she pounced on it! We met by the slide, she took me by the hand and proudly walked me up the stairs. We went down together and laughed, and yes, we did it again and again! Did my hair get wet? Absolutely. Did I go under? You bet! Did I have a moment with my daughter I will treasure forever? No doubt.

I have learned it takes planning and intentionality to set the table for these moments to happen, especially in light of all the hats we wear and all we do. It also takes the decision to jump in and fully embrace these special “to be treasured” times with our kids!

If you need a little help with your summer planning to make this summer an extra special one, here’s a list of some fun things available for you to do in the Austin area. If you live in another city, Google is rich with lists to consider for fun in the sun with your fam! Whatever you choose, my hope for you is that you jump in and make the most of it, that you laugh a lot and be a child again yourself! It’s good for the soul.

Happy summer!

Amy O’Donnell

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Plan Ahead for Summer

Happy Summer! I thought some of you who read my blog might enjoy this re-post of an article I wrote for a great online health newsletter, Fit For the King(FFTK). There are many inspiring articles and tips for summer and more in this month’s edition. You can read FFTK in it’s entirety at http://www.shoreline.net/fftk.

Amy

Plan Ahead for Summer

As a mom of four kids you can imagine my life gets pretty hectic at times.  My husband, my children and I all wear multiple hats and go in many directions. Family, work, ministry, extracurricular activities and friends keep us on our toes. The bulk of what we do falls in line with a school calendar year, and summer tends to be low key in comparison.

Several years ago, when my youngest started pre-school, I mistakenly thought that when summer came all four kids would be so happy to downshift for a season and co-exist under the same roof, that we would have “Kodak Perfect” family moments unfolding before our very eyes. I had visions of all three boys getting along great with one another and their baby sister. The house was going to stay clean, no one was going to get bored and all would go well. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong! After the first week I knew I was in trouble, and by the end of the summer I was at my wits end!

That summer taught us that we needed to have a plan for our family summers to unfold well. So, the following summer we decided to get away for a family vacation at the beginning of summer, without realizing what a blessing this would be. What we found, was that getting away together at the beginning of summer enabled us to reconnect, re-calibrate and get used to being around each other again. We were so thrilled with the way this changed the tone of our summers, we have applied it ever since. We also learned to be okay with the transition time it takes for us all to be back together, in close proximity, for longer lengths of time. And we learned to lay out plans and guidelines to help things flow smoothly, while still allowing room for flexibility and individual summer goals to be met.

What we learned here really can be applied to every area of our lives. When we have a plan, rather than just waiting and hoping things will come together, we are much more likely to reach our desired end destination. It’s like I always say (but sometimes forget to follow myself-ha!), “Begin with the end in mind!” It’s true for our lives personally, with our families, with our health and fitness goals. When we know what it is we want to see accomplished and set a plan to reach it, we are much more likely to get there.

Summer truly is a great time to re-calibrate, to rest and reflect, to reset and get ready for the fall and the busyness it brings.  It’s a season to carve out time with those we love… enjoy a barbecue or two, or more…  soak in some vitamin D as we sit in the sun… take advantage of the longer days… and starry, warm nights… and play a little more… to be a kid again ourselves. I am praying this summer you begin it with the end in mind and that as it comes to a close you will look back and say, “That was the best summer ever!”

Happy planning for a summer filled with great memories!

Amy O’Donnell