Boundaries, Bootcamp and A Splash in the Concrete Pond

Last summer the boys voted against swim team.

No early practice.  No late night meets.

In my ideal mommy brain, this was an excellent idea.  The boys and I would have slow, leisure mornings – sipping coffee and tall glasses of OJ.  We’d dabble in chores, pack a healthy lunch, load up for the pool mid-morning and chase away all of their woolies in a concrete pond.

After hours of giggles and Icee pops we’d return home for warm baths and afternoon naps.  The boys would work on summer reading and bridge activities while I whipped up a hearty supper.  At 5:30, we’d stand to greet daddy at the door with hugs and tales of our blissful summer day.  After eating and cleaning the kitchen as a family, we would tour the neighborhood on bikes and end our summer day with games, prayers, tuck-ins and snuggles. Only to do it all again the next ideal day.

Do you think that is how summer 2014 went down?

Yes, for about three hours. Of day one.

Last summer was rainy. And the boys grew weary of the pool. And reading was “too much like homework.”  They grew tired of carrot sticks and turkey wraps and cried for Little Debbies and cheese puffs instead.  Pleads for media began at 9am, and in response to my “No way Jose”, they chose instead to wrestle in the playroom, which would inevitably turn into tears.

By the time Brent came home, I was frazzled and mad that he’d had the privilege of working a full-time job, away from the house, and I passed the boys off like an all-star fake in football.  I was so ready for school to begin that it was borderline unhealthy and I vowed I would never, I said never, re-live that summer again.

Hallelujah. Amen.

So here I sit on the threshold of Summer 2015.  Again, we chose no swim team. Which means no predictable 9:30 start time. Their energy exertion rests in my little hands and it is my God-given duty to wear them out and help them have a fun/memorable summer.  But still one with an element of hard work and intellectual stimulation.

Big sigh.

Moms? Do you feel me on this? Can we do this!!??

YES!  Let’s all say it….”We can do this.”  Read this familiar verse in the Amplified Bible…

I have strength for all things in Christ, who empowers me [I am ready for anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.] Philippians 4:13 AMP

I know it may sound over done, but we really do have the “strength for all things in Christ.”  He empowers us with Himself – for all things big and small.  Even planning a great summer for our kids.

In my last post, I shared that we must pray before we play this summer.  Once I got my thinking straight in prayer, I took my Expo marker and went to town, mapping out a daily routine for the boys.

My boys need structure.  I need structure. God created us for order and His Word states that He sets healthy boundaries for us.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:5-8

The level of structure you crave, or the boundary lines your kids need, for summer may be less than mine.  I know some amazing Moms who thrive best in LOW structure.  They love to roll around in the freedom that summer brings.  If that is you, then do-it-to-it!.  But if you need a little direction, let me share what the Lord has given me for the next 74  mornings…


Don’t laugh.  You know I am not a Pinterest worthy blogger.  You won’t see this board pinned on any boards.  There are cuter ways of doing this I am sure, but for all practicality, here ’tis.

The heart icons indicate daily tasks for each boy.  The chores marked with E, G, L are tasks that will rotate weekly.

Basically, I determined chores by summer tasks I find myself doing over and over and over again… every summer day-in-and-day-out.  I chose to rotate these to keep it fresh.  We will see.

After they have done all of their chores for the day, they get a ticket in a jar.  At the end of each month, if they have a ticket for every day, they get to have an ALL-DAY-AWESOME-PLAYDATE with a friend.  How fun!

So far, this has brought an element of predictability to our morning routine.  Surprisingly, they have loved exercise the most.  Early you’ll find the little rascals jogging the neighborhood, riding bikes or making up bootcamp drills on the front lawn.

Grant takes lots of pride in “his” flower beds and Ethan is quick to finish every chore first – just to be done.

Luke cries.  I’ll be honest. He is not a fan.  But we push through.

And once they are done, we play!  We do pack up for the pool and eat Icee pops!  We do read for pleasure and rest well late afternoons.

The trick isn’t designing a dry erase board for the fridge.  The trick is “praying before playing” and hearing from God on what our kids need.  He will tell us if we listen!

I hope this helps cast some vision for you and I would LOVE to hear how you are planning out your summer, too!

Lord!  Thank you for all things summer…. Let us be good stewards of our time each new day.  Help us, as parents, listen well to You as we all map out a game plan for our family. Thank you that Your mercies are new every morning.  Today we enter into Your courts with thanksgiving and praise!  We love you so.  In Jesus Name… Amen.



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