Let the Countdown Begin!

So a few days ago, for the first time in the history of summer, I started a “Back to School Countdown.”

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Summer is my absolute most favorite time of the year. It’s a time of pure laziness, where I can stay up and sleep in as late as my heart desires, where I don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time, and where I don’t follow a strict diet or exercise routine.

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By the end of the school year, I’m exhausted. Exhausted from the strict schedule the school year brings. 6am wake-up calls, daily homework and running everyone around to sports in the afternoons, and the rush to get everyone bathed, brushed, and in bed at a decent time at night.

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While this summer has been very fun and refreshing, and I have enjoyed getting to spend so much time with my children, I’m ready for the school year to begin.

Normally, I love getting to be so lazy, but this summer is different. I miss going to the gym 5 times a week. I miss consistently eating healthy. I miss having a routine.

You’d think there’d be a simple answer to my problem: Just stick to your routine!

I tried. It never happened.

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For some reason, my body refuses to get up early if it knows it doesn’t have to.

I’m not kidding when I say that I set my alarm to go to the gym every single day this summer and I only made it once.

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I only made it to a few night classes too though, the ones where I had to because I volunteer to get my membership free and once b/c my workout wife begged me to show up.

I need school to start so I can get back into a good routine, the routine I was able to keep up the entire duration of last school year!

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So let the countdown begin! There are only 22 days left until school starts! Time to knock out that Summer Bucket List!

We have already completed almost our entire Summer Bucket List!

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The only things we haven’t done are the things I thought we’d do the most! We haven’t gone bike riding, bowling, or skating once yet this summer! I bought bikes for all 4 girls (with Trini’s birthday money, with her permission) thinking we’d go on a family bike ride every Sunday! I bought The Littles their own skates thinking we’d use their free passes at least once a week! I even paid $30 so Joe Daddy, my mom, my sister, and I could bowl for free with the kids every Tuesday! Thankfully, the girls have used their bikes and skates plenty at home and we still have 3 weeks of summer left to at least try and get my money’s worth out of the bowling pass I bought and use the kids’ free skating passes a couple times, but I’m still surprised we haven’t checked those boxes yet!

Here’s some pics from the boxes we have checked:

We went to an outdoor movie at my sister’s house!

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 That was so much fun! I hope we can plan another one…maybe for a “Back-to-School Bash!”

We survived had a blast at VBS!

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I have definitely realized over the past year that I do not want to work with children, like ever. It’s just not fun for me. I did my best to try and enjoy working with the three year-olds I had for VBS, but the only three year-old I truly enjoy being around is my own. I’ve worked with kids of all ages over the last 5 years at our church, through the kids’ school, and through their sports, and I can say without a doubt, it’s just not for me. I couldn’t wait for VBS to be over, but the kids really enjoyed it, so of course we’ll be there again next year. I just might try to volunteer to do something that doesn’t work so closely with the kids.

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Red Night One

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My favorite time was definitely letting those wild children run around outside! I think it was their favorite part too.

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Every night we had craft time, story time with Snappy the Crab, snack time, play time (either in the gym, outside, in the room, or a combination of those), story time in the classroom, and lots of potty breaks (of course). I never imagined 2.5 hours with 10 or less 3 year-olds could be so exhausting!

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Purple Night 2

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Painting picture frames…not something I recommend doing with 3 year-olds, LOL!

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Neon Night 3 (The church fed the volunteers and their families every night that week! Sub sandwich night was our favorite!)

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Green Night 4

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Last Day!

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Thank goodness for my two youth helpers! I couldn’t have survived without them!

We went to the Splash Pad with our MOMS Club friends!

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My sister had some stuff to do at her house, so my mom and I took my niece and 2 of my nephews and Taylor’s friend.

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That’s 8 kids ages 2-10 in case you lost track 😉

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The little kids love it! Their favorite thing to do is sit in the little sinks/buckets (which you’re probably not supposed to do, LOL).

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The older girls still enjoy it too, just different parts of it.

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Between the wet playground and the dry one…

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…and eating lunch (which we always bring with us), we’re able to stay and play for several hours! You know I love getting my dollar’s worth!

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Only a few of our MOMS Club friends showed up, and I was far too busy chasing my 2 year-old niece Holly around the first hour to sit and chat with anyone. I barely even got to say hi and bye to the friends who came first and only stayed for an hour! But shortly before we left, some more friends showed up while my mom had a hold of Holly, so I actually got to sit and chat for a bit with these beauties! It was my favorite part of the day!

We went fishing for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day!

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I’m not really into fishing myself, but the girls love it and I love getting to spend time with my family outdoors. Our Mother’s Day fishing trip to the hunting land Joe Daddy leases turned up nothing, but…

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our Father’s Day trip to a local state park was super successful! Everybody made multiple catches!

We went to Stone Mountain!

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 I really wanted to go camping at Stone Mountain this year, but because we tried to make it a coordinated trip with my sister, it didn’t happen. None of us could ever go at the same time before it got way too stinking hot. Lesson learned!

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We did manage to make it out there to hike the mountain, which turned out to be the worst idea ever. It was close to 100 degrees and it turned out to be much harder of a hike for The Littles than I anticipated. There were times when I really thought the kids might have a heat stroke.

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Jules ended up puking when we got to the top. He looked something awful for a while. We lucked out and got a free ride down in the Skyride though! I guess it was too busy for them to care to check passes!

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You live and learn. I can at least finally say that I’ve hiked up Stone Mountain…and I now know that I would like to do it again, just without the kids.

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Poor Joe Daddy had to walk over two miles to and from our car to get the food we packed for the Laser Show (something we weren’t expecting to have to do when we thought we were going to be hiking back down), but I took advantage of that time and took some pics of the kids with the mountain.

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It was packed, but we had plenty of room.

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This was the best I could get out of the Fuddy Bubbie. He was over it.

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Obligatory selfie of course 🙂

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Unfortunately, despite what the weather reports indicated, just after Joe Daddy got back with our food, it poured rain for a good half hour. We left before the Laser Show even started. We were soooo bummed!

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At least we got to witness the beauty of the rain coming off the mountain! It was quite a sight to see!

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And thanks to the internet, we got to see the fireworks that we missed out on! The girls watched the video three times! I know it’s not the same, but I am kinda glad we didn’t get home at midnight.

We went to the beach.

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We didn’t go on any grand beach vacation, but we did make it out to the beach at a local state park a couple times!

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We had planned on going to the beach every Monday with our friends from church, but so far that has only happened once. Between getting sick, the rain, and the 4th, we haven’t had another opportunity. I’m still shooting for another visit before summer is over!

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It’s not Florida, but since I checked out a park pass from the library, it’s free and only 15 minutes from home (so no long driving, extensive packing, or money required)!

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They even have boat rentals! We rented the pedal boats this summer on one of our visits…

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which I enjoyed much more than anyone else.

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The kids love our little beach!

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And it works for me!

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It’s one of the few swimming events Jules has actually participated in!

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Speaking of Jules…can we talk about the fact that he is taller than me now??? I’m darker though, hahaha!

We’ve gone to a local library a couple of times for special events!

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The kids had a blast at the Foam Party!

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We got to see some cool reptiles when Southeastern Reptile Rescue came!

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He put a tarantula on my friend’s daughter’s head!

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He pissed off a water moccasin!

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He held a baby alligator!

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He taught us how to identify a copperhead snake (look for Hershey Kiss looking markings)!

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And he nearly gave my friend a heart attack when he held a corn snake up to her face! LOL!

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We also got to see a rad magic show! We have plans to attend a parrot show this week, and the End of Summer Party next week, where we’ll turn in the girls’ summer reading lists for a couple of prizes (totally all their idea)!

We went to the movies!

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Going to the movies is another activity I thought we’d do more of this summer but haven’t. I had quite a few movie events marked on the calendar that we ended up skipping because we’ve been sleeping til 9:30am and the cheap movies started at 10am. We went to see Finding Dory a couple weeks ago, and plan on going to see The Secret Life of Pets this week, but…

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we ended up buying Zootopia and renting The Peanuts Movie and Pan (and we found Max and Kung Foo Panda 2 on Demand for free!).

We went to the water park!

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We made it to the water park this year! This is something we’ve planned on doing for the last two summers and just never got around to doing. Trini requested to go and use her birthday money from family to pay for all 7 of us, so this year we made it happen! We went with my mom (who got us in for half price being a resident of the county it’s in), my sister and her kids, the weather was perfect, and we even ran into some friends!

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The kids’ favorite thing to do was play on the playground.

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The Lazy River was my personal favorite!

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Especially during the adult swim time!

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The little kids were too short to ride the big slides, which was the big kids’ favorite thing to do! I enjoyed meeting Joe Daddy’s old workout buddy/co-worker and his sweet family (that’s them there in the bottom left of this pic)!

We’ve been swimming like crazy!

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Once the heat of summer hit (in May), I decided my plan not to put a pool up this year was a pretty stupid one. Thankfully, my sister bought a permanent above-ground pool for her backyard, so she gave us the Intex 22’x52″ pool she bought last year (as a birthday present to Trini). We bought a $160 sand filter for it so we wouldn’t have to deal with those paper filters that don’t even work (which we typically spend $80 on each summer), and have enjoyed escaping the heat in it almost every day this summer!

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Swimming with the fam.

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Swimming with the extended fam.

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Swimming with friends.

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Swimming with the animals 😉 (Can you believe we’ve had these floats for THREE summers now?! Stuff like that doesn’t usually last so long around here!)

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Swimming with the boat Pa gave us!

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Swimming with cousins in the boat Pa gave us!

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Pretending TayTay’s a sea monster! LOL!

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Lots of jumping off the ladder!

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It’s everyone’s favorite thing to do!

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Especially Trini 🙂

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We even had a little pool party for our friend and neighbor Elijah! The girls made and decorated his cupcakes all by themselves!

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We’ve also enjoyed swimming in my sister’s new pool!

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Swimming and floating 😉

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And baby butts 😉

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I think our most favorite pool day this summer was with MOMS Club at some of the members’ neighborhood pool!

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It had a really fun slide…

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…a cool mushroom sprinkler…

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…and friends, of course!

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This summer I’ve learned that I need to plan for less. I really thought I wanted to go-go-go this summer, but I should know myself better than that. After the first couple of weeks, exhaustion set in and I started allowing myself at least one day of rest between festivities.

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My most favorite part of summer is really just hanging out with my kids. No matter where we are, when we’re together, we have fun!

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Even when the power goes out!

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And I know how blessed I am to have all of these people in my life after being bed-ridden for a couple days from a nasty double ear infection!

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They pulled together and made sure the house got cleaned and dinner got cooked!

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And my bestie and sister came to my rescue to entertain the kids while I was down!

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Life always has it’s unexpected, unplanned moments. Here are some of my favorite sporadic moments from this summer:

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Sleepovers with friends!

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Sleepovers with friends at their house!

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Cousin sleepovers!

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Cousin play dates!

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Lots of patio dinners!

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Snoball pit stops with one kid at a time!

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A surprise party!

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A balloon fight!

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Constant crafting (which is pretty much the norm around here)!

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LOTS of sweet treats!

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Date nights on the couch (ok, that’s our usual, but they’ve still been great! LOL)!

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Painting with friends!

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My favorite part of summer has always been being lazy. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to avoid the Summer Lazies, but at least they’re short-lived! Until school starts, I’m just going to try and cherish these moments of seeing my kids crash in full contentment where they may 🙂

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Here’s to a great last 3 weeks of summer!

Phoenix 2-001