Friday, September 2, 2011


It's almost the end of June, about a week into summer break with my kids, and, ummm, I'm not doing so well.  I totally expect (and dread) my kids inevitably going through their annual out-of-sorts whack-a-doo behavior from the huge change and decompression that the end of the school year and the beginning of summer brings.  But, me?  Well, I guess I'm entitled to feel the brunt of their intense emotions plus my own emotions from the change, too.  I give up a lot of my own freedoms and routine when I'm practically on mommy duty 24/7.  I know, it's what I signed up for when I had kids, but it's still a bit overwhelming sometimes, especially after getting used to having six hours a day all to myself.

I feel blue.  I feel sad.  Uninspired.  Unmotivated.  Disconnected.  Totally blaaaaaah.  I didn't like how I am feeling one bit.

After about a week of this sullen mood, I wake up and decide to make a conscious effort to be more positive - to stop wallowing in what I was missing out on and instead be more grateful for all of the blessings.  So, that night, after the kids are sound asleep, I sit down with a tall glass of Merlot, a few squares of dark chocolate, and I write this as my facebook status:

"One of the best advantages of summer: hours swimming, jumping, playing in the pool means VERY TIRED children who beg to go to bed before bedtime. Viva la summer!"

And, you know what?!?  I feel noticeably better the next day.  Seriously, so much happier.  That small conscious shift in my attitude made a world of difference.  I really like that feeling and I want the benefit of a positive attitude to continue.  So, I decide to commit to doing a positive Facebook status update every single day during the summer break.  Seven days a week, no matter what, I will look for something positive to say about summer break, regardless of what mood I am in, where we are, or what we are doing.  Some days it comes easily, other days I have to think hard.  Sometimes, I notice the most unexpected thrills, while other days it's the most simple of pleasures that so many Facebook friends relate to and appreciate along with me (those get the most comments).

So, without further adieu (drum roll please....), here are all of my status updates (and yes, I did them every single day) up until the day before school started:

Summer break advantage #2: Going out for lunch instead of packing one.
Summer break advantage #3: Hangin' out with longtime friends who go to a different school.  
Summer break advantage #4: Playing with classmates at the beach is way more fun than the concrete playground at school. 

Summer break advantage #5: Every day is like Saturday.
Summer break advantage #6: The pool!
Summer break advantage #7: Even though the school year is finished, their learning continues on, only they don't realize it (it's fun!)...shhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Summer break advantage #8: Ice cold mango banana smoothie for a snack hits the spot.
Summer break advantage #9: Lots and lots of extra time to read.
Summer break advantage #10: Mom still gets to go to her beloved Thursday morning painting class, but instead of being at school, the kids now get a fun playdate.
Summer break advantage #11: Frozen yogurt is good, but tastes quite spectacular after a great day at the beach...and just a table away from Jermaine Jackson!!
(See him back there!)
Summer break advantage #12: A cute burst of annual sun-kissed freckles (just like his mama).

Summer break advantage #13: Although I really love this extra time together, any time that I happen to get by myself without the kids to breathe and regroup feels especially lovely and appreciated now.
Summer break advantage #14: An impromptu picnic in our own beautiful backyard.
Summer break advantage #15: Listening to way more music and (hopefully) discovering the new song or soundtrack that will remind me of this summer. I wonder what it will end up being?
Summer break advantage #16: A Ray Harryhausen ongoing summer movie marathon from my major movie fan of a husband's personal collection. Yes, the original Clash of the Titans still stands up to this day.
Summer break advantage #17: Days like today, with nowhere to go, no one to see, nothing to do in particular. No schedule. No worries. No stress.
Summer break advantage #18: Much anticipated vacation time to go see other people that you love and miss soooooooooo much.
Summer break advantage #19: Dining al fresco.

Summer break advantage #20: Appreciating a rest on a shady bench (with a rather cool view).
Summer break advantage #21: Making fond memories.
Summer break advantage #22: Embracing the mess and letting go because it's an indicator of the amount of fun that's being had.
Summer break advantage #23: Sandcastles.
Summer break advantage #24: Losing track of what day it is.
Summer break advantage #25: Cooling off in a cool stream full of a gazillion very catch-able tadpoles.
Summer break advantage #26: That cute and short fuss-free very stylin' wash-n-go much much cooler to beat the heat summer hairdo.
Summer break advantage #27: The fun summer blockbuster movies that we anticipated for so long are finally here.
Summer break advantage #28: Monday. 9:04am. Still in pajamas.
Summer break advantage #29: Fieldtrips and learning are now on our own schedule and whim.
Summer break advantage #30: All that cooking outside in the backyard...three cheers for the bbq!
Summer break advantage #31: Sprinklers aren't just for watering the lawn.
Summer advantage #32: It just tastes better.
Summer break advantage #33: We get to celebrate two very special birthdays!!♥♥
 Summer break advantage #34: Unexpected warm summer showers.
Summer break advantage #35: Camping during the week.
Summer break advantage #36: Campfire smores.
Summer break advantage #37: Extended family time together.
Summer break advantage #38: It doesn't look like the planet Endor when it's covered with snow (Sequoia is where they filmed the Endor/Ewok scenes for Star Wars!).
Summer break advantage #39: Reconnecting with nature and (hopefully) inspiring a future painting...or two.
Summer break advantage #40: Looking a little less paler than usual.
Summer break advantage #41: New True Blood episodes
Summer break advantage #42: Seeing pictures and hearing about friends and family summer vacations.
Summer break advantage #43: Keeping a supply of ice cream in the freezer at all times is practically a requirement.
Summer break advantage #44: So many possibilities.
Summer break advantage #45: Thunderstorms.
Summer break advantage #46: Staying up much later and getting used to sleeping in.
Summer break advantage #47: I'm pretty sure the calories don't count.
Summer break advantage #48: No feelings of the Monday dread on Sunday.
Summer break advantage #49: Rush hour traffic still sucks, but not as bad as when school is in session (you get reminded of the difference when school starts).
Summer break advantage #50: Soaking in all that extra vitamin D.
Summer break advantage #51: Homemade popsicles.
Summer break advantage #52: Reaching the point where you are fulfilled and actually excited about going back to school.
Summer break advantage #53: Slow leisurely breakfasts whenever we get around to it.
Summer break advantage #54: Seeing the finish line...just...over...there! And wow, how bittersweet knowing that a new "race" is about to begin.
Summer break advantage #55: The annual return of the ripe figs in our backyard.
Summer break advantage #56: Writing my "summer break advantage" every day to keep me positive and grateful and focused on having a wonderful summer.
I know for a fact that this daily practice of gratitude made an already amazing and fun summer more joyful and deliciously satisfying.  I'm not saying my summer was perfect and I was giddy and jolly every moment.  But, every time I found myself feeling negative or grumpy (like when we got stuck waiting for almost an hour for a road closure on the road up to Sequoia after missing the cutoff by seven stupid minutes!), I felt more inclined to look for the positive (the view from where we were parked was beautiful!).
Now that summer break is over and my kids are back in school, I actually kind of miss my daily "summer break advantage" postings and often find myself wanting to keep posting them.  But, everything has a time and a place and I know all good things must come to an end.  Luckily, the "advantages" live on in my mind and attitude, only now it's less limited.  Funny, how now I see kids-are-back-in-school advantages, weekend advantages, volunteering advantages, hot weather advantages, girlfriend-weekend-away advantages, gardening advantages, painting-class advantages, and being-in-my-forties advantages (gasp!!), and so on and so on.  Oh, and finally-writing-in-my-long-lost-blog advantages, too.


  1. Wonderful post. I felt like I was living your upbeat messages every time I read one. Love that you chose to find the beauty in everything...and share it with us. xoxox

  2. I enjoyed them all - even the second time around!

  3. love this post, life is made up of all these special moments. and we drink them up. i truly believe when we focus on our blessings and even write them down we benefit greatly. life is hard, but filled with the most wonderful simple moments along the way and you are so right that these are the ones that can be so enjoying gazing upon the little freckles on your child's face. this morning we went and had donuts, and i think i made a memory i'll linger on for a long time. love hearing about why you were writing those all summer, enjoyed them. For me it was not having to make lunches in the morning...sooooo sssssweeet. :)