June-Gloom is a real thing, hanging heavy on California's coastline when we're all ready for the sun to burn the marine layer away. June-Gloom is a real expression, branded here on the West Coast. But May can be the same way, only she doesn't have a catch phrase in her corner, so my husband is intent on coining this one: May Malaise
malaise |məˈlāz; -ˈlez| (noun) a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify : a society afflicted by a deep cultural malaise | a general air of malaise.
I like it alright, nice alliteration, but without a viral push and an army of tweets it probably won't stick. However, there is a new summer catch-phrase on the rise, now that kids are getting out of school and moms are desperate to start the holiday off right:
"Summertime Agenda of Awesome"
Last year, creative mom blogger Kelli Stuart started hash-tagging every picture she uploaded of her blond kids to Instagram:
She made a poster-board listing the fun they'd have, alongside a splattering of rules, such as, "Snacks at 10am and 2pm each day" and "we cannot feed the entire neighborhood at dinner every night." Her summertime agenda of awesome also offered incentives for her children like $1 per book.
And so this year, when I read that she'd made a new sign, I jumped on board! Literally jumped on a great big piece of cardboard! And now I'm inviting you to do the same and hash-tag your way through the summer with us:
I grabbed the leftover trifold poster-board I'd bought for my
fifth-grader's sixth-grader's science project that he didn't use this year, and found the dye-cut letters from my third-grader's fourth-grader's Tsunami Lego project, and started printing up lists and goals and plans and a calendar and a Bible verse. And this is where I confess that our #Summertimeagendaofawesome15 poster-board may be slightly more awesome then Kelli's - not that it's a competition moms - just saying that I snapped a picture, sent it her way, with the caption, "My Summertime Agenda of Awesome poster-board just ate yours!"
"Over-acheiver" she text back with a snarky tone.
"And by the way," I replied, "my kids are making twenty-five cents a chapter over here this summer."
"Good, tell them to get reading. Because your kids are buying the popsicles when you come out to Florida this summer."
Seriously, ladies, we're just having some fun. You can make yourself a poster or not, have a Family Summer Bible Verse or not, read aloud from a heavy book or not, use the months off to work on math sheets or not, see the Grand Canyon or not, raise money for a local ministry or not...
All I'm saying is is this...
Make it an awesome Summer Moms!
Say yes to your kids, say yes to your husband, say yes to more rest and more play and loads of water colors and poolside parties. Say yes when they ask to face paint, say yes to the mess, say yes to Lemon Bars, say yes to having friends over last minute, and yes to kicking your children outside for long stretches of sweaty play each day. Say Yes... to an agenda that includes all of this and more.
For those of you who are zooming in to see what specifics I included in our chart:
-The Kids listed the special things they want to do this summer.
-We also listed the big things we're looking forward to, like church camp and our trip to Florida (because we really are going to do that!)
-Our Summertime Verse is Ephesians 4:29.
-I printed up a blank calendar online and filled it in with all of our plans so the kids can see what's coming up next.
-Reading log, where each kid can record the title of the book and how many chapters he read.
-Little Men is the book we're reading together as a family this summer. It's one of my all time favorite books for boys.
-Missionary Fund - Since life is so super busy during the school year, we focus on raising money for our ministry partners as a family during the summer. Lemonade stands are a great introduction to this, tithing from their book reading fund, and a few other creative money making ventures will allow us to give together as a family.
-Sleep-In and Win! This is our first summer trying our hand at a sleeping in competition. Last year's competition was Wii Just Dance Kids, and my oldest beat me with "Every Body was Kung Fu Fighting." This year, however, the kids get a checkmark each time they sleep until 8am or later! The boy who slept in the most times will get some AWESOME prize at summer's end.
-Most Cheerful Servant sticker chart is simply my way of encouraging the children to out-serve one another this summer. The day I unveiled the chart two of my kids were extra eager to get in the kitchen and kept asking my TEN favorite words EVER! "Mom, is there anything else I can do to help?"
-Rules and chores are pasted discretely on the backside of the board so that the front can be all about the fun. Sure, there are limits to TV and screen time and daily charts to remember that making beds and hanging wet suits are paramount this summer too... but our focus is on the celebration this summer.
Feel free to follow along on Instagram this summer...