I took the kids to the library, which is always a hit, and we spent the first few days of break just hanging out, reading, and playing with the neighbors. Nice and relaxing. By Sunday, though, the kids were ready to get away from the house.
Rophone drove us up into the canyon on Sunday afternoon for a family hike. It was heavenly. One of my favorite activities with my favorite people. What could be better?
You can tell from that last photo of all the kids that we had a few low-blood-sugar sufferers at the end, there. Edith struggled a bit the whole time, saying when I asked her if she loved going on the hike, "I loved it, but I didn't enjoy it". We really had such a great time, though. But, yeah, definitely time to head home.
Even though we made a conscious effort to keep things low-key over fall break, by the last day I was feeling guilty. Seeing all of the fun (and expensive!) things people were taking their kids to do (practically every waking moment during break, it seemed), I felt like maybe I was a bad mom. I was so afraid that my kids would go back to school the next day feeling gypped.
But, I had promised Big that at some point during fall break we would work in the yard. So, feeling guilty that we weren't doing some fun and exciting activity that we can't afford, Big and I spent the whole morning of the last day of fall break working in the yard. I'm so glad we did.
As we were working Big said, "I can't believe I got to go on a hike AND work in the yard over fall break!" He was so happy about his good fortune. His grin was huge, his eyes were sparkling, he was absolutely beaming! All of my guilt dissipated.
I know that not all kids get that excited about doing yard work, but I think we can get so caught up these days with unrealistic (and exhausting!) expectations of what we need to do in our free time, that we forget that it really can be so simple. I realized that if I always packed our free time with planned activities then that's what the kids would come to expect. If we didn't do them, they might think they had a "lame" vacation.
No one is putting pressure on me but me (and what I see on social media), but what if the kids started pressuring me, too?! Yikes! That would be awful! I hereby declare that I will continue to force my children to use their imaginations to figure out how to fill their own time. We will participate in planned, fun activities, but infrequently enough that they remain special. I will continue to dedicate myself to keeping my kids' expectations low!
That is my mission. Thanks for a fun fall break, kids!