Slow and Full: My Blogging Break

posted by Andrea | 08/1/2016

family photo - july

I recently read a CarePages entry, written by a friend who is SO good with words. She is also a teacher, home with her girls all summer, and writing about how they are enjoying the more restful days of summer.

She said: “…[we are] grateful for the gift of time that is slow and full — full of family, full of friends, full of activities for the girls and for me — full.” (you may read her full post here)

As I read that sentence, I immediately realized the “slow and full” explanation of her current season of life is EXACTLY how I have felt all summer long — especially over the last 2 weeks as I stepped away from my blog work.

Our summer days have been FULL (sometimes jam-packed)… but probably not “full” in the way most people think of a busy summer.

After Dave and I get the kids in bed, we often joke about how we feel totally exhausted even though we literally spent the entire day at home — in and out of kiddie pools, riding bikes in the driveway, doing crafts, entertaining the mob of neighborhood children, reading, watching movies, cooking and baking for friends and family, doing yard work, picking the garden, and keeping the fridge stocked.

Our summer has been FULL of people and activities… but at the same time, it has felt SLOW in the best possible way.

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I realize that with 3 young children a “slow and full” description of life might sound a little crazy — because in all actuality, our days are VERY loud, messy, crazy, and even quite chaotic at times!

However, as I think about everything we’ve done this summer (and everything we intentionally chose not to do), I have a feeling THIS summer will be one of slowest summers our family will ever have…

For starters, it’s the first summer since 2011 that I haven’t been pregnant or taking care of an infant, and even though James is just barely 1 year old, he is my happiest baby so far and usually plays nicely with Nora and Simon.

Also, we haven’t done one single house project all summer (for the first summer ever since we’ve been married). Wow, does that feel nice!

We didn’t do any traveling, vacations, trips, etc. the entire summer.

And to top it all off, ALL 3 of our children are at the age where we still control basically everything they do. If we don’t sign them up for sports camps, music camps, dance lessons, or any other ‘extra activities’ they won’t know what they’re missing. This means less busy and less stress for the whole family.

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I have always been intimidated by infants and babies, and even before we had our own children, I predicted that my favorite age-range of children would be between 18 months and 6 years old.

Now that we almost have all THREE kids in this age-range, I’m convinced this range really is my favorite. I’m also grateful we’ll be able to enjoy all 3 kids in this range for over 2 years!

Although they are SO much work when they’re little — changing diapers, working around nap schedules, potty training, feeding, cleaning their messes, waking up at night, lugging strollers and diapers bags around everywhere you go, etc. — they are also so much fun to be around (most of the time!)

They make us laugh a hundred times every single day, they are amazed and entertained by the simplest things, and even in their most difficult moments, they are nearly impossible not to love.

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Right now, I’m honestly just proud of myself for realizing my children are all right smack in the middle of my ‘sweet spot’ age-range… and actually being able to slow down and enjoy it before this time flies right past.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my new goal is to enjoy at least ONE moment (but maybe not every moment)… and I can honestly say I’m enjoying much more than one single moment here or there, thanks in part to our very SLOW and FULL summer.

We have more house and yard projects tentatively planned for next spring and summer, and we might even try a family vacation if we feel really brave.

And of course, as our children get older, I see future summers filled with summer camps, VBS, family vacations, and more time away from home. Not necessarily bad activities, but our schedule will be busier and more full in a much different way than it is right now… and I don’t know if it will ever feel quite so wonderfully slow as it has this summer. 

I know this slow pace of life will vanish almost instantly once Dave heads back to school — but for the next few weeks, I’m going to soak it all in!

Thank you for the break… and for your emails, comments, and encouraging messages while I was away. I’m excited to be back to blogging again (seriously, I have SOOOOOOO many posts drafted) but so thankful to have had a bit more time to rest, relax, and enjoy our slow and full summer!

Have you ever enjoyed a slow and full season of life?

If so, what was your favorite thing about it?

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45 comments

  1. Cathy

    08/04/2016

    I’ve been reading your blog daily for years and just never comment. You were pregnant with or had just had Nora when I started following you. Hard to believe you have three now!! They are all beautiful!!

    Keep up with the great blog!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Well thanks for the comment Cathy (and for your long-time readership). It’s amazing to me how much both the blog and I have changed since before kids! 🙂

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  2. Deb

    08/02/2016

    Congrats to you for being aware of your time and surroundings enough to enjoy this special time!! I love hearing when moms of young kids appreciate the small stuff and “enjoy” their children 🙂 I have a 15 yr. old son who is basically my young “man” child now with a beard and all..lol. We have had the most wonderful summer filled to the brim with trips and activities, including a two week trip to Europe! He usually begs me not to plan anything because the summer will go by too quickly but for some reason this summer, while it’s been very busy, has seemed to last a nice long time and was filled with so many wonderful memories. Even though he’s a teenager I absolutely love spending time with him, especially just he and I. He’s amazing and smart and handsome and kind and I know I only have a little while left so I’m going to make it count!!! Keep hugging and enjoying your littles 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    “A young ‘man’ child now with a beard and all” — so funny 🙂
    Glad to hear you are enjoying your summer with your man child too! Every age has it’s perks — that’s for sure!

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  3. Julie

    08/02/2016

    If you haven’t already done so, you may want to look for striped caterpillars on your carrot leaves, parsley, dill and fennel. I am a professional nanny and have grown butterflies for my little charges over the past 15+ years. Even when I don’t have children of the age to appreciate, I still enjoy watching the miraculous metamorphosis process. One of Gods amazing miracles of nature.

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  4. Megan

    08/02/2016

    Love this post, and welcome back! You’ve totally got me thinking differently about our summer vacation next year. We’ve done some awesome trips before but this year I just felt obligated (not excited) to plan something. Needless to say, it was lackluster for all of us (although our oldest, 4yo son was ecstatic for the awesome play place we found for him; easy to please). Next year, if we’re not feeling it, we’ll stay home and have a blast! Thanks for opening my eyes. 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh yeah, it’s SO much easier to stay home with little kids. We usually tried to come up with 1 “extra fun” thing for the kids to do every day — whether it was having a friend or grandparent over, visiting a park, getting a sprinkler or kiddie pool out, doing a craft, visiting the library, going bowling, doing face painting, etc. Everything was usually free (we have free bowling for the summer) and we could do it on OUR time when it fit best with our schedule. It has been great — fun for the kids but relaxing and not-stressful for us!

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  5. Amy

    08/02/2016

    Our summer is a bit different since I have a teenager! For 23 days (they’ve been keeping count!), my daughter and her best friend have had lots of fun together! Most of that has been with me! Taking them bowling, to the mall, the pool, errands, craft stores, and even hanging out at home doing crafts! There’s also been sleepovers at each others houses for a few days at a time! My daughter has spent some time with a couple other friends, and some days, its just me and her……and those are my favorite! I love spending time with her! I always miss her when she spends the night somewhere else.
    We did have a very short weekend away in St Augustine, FL at the beginning of the summer. That seems like its been forever ago!
    There’s just 2 weeks left now of summer vacation. Last week and the next 2 will be busy! I’ve had jury duty (ugh!), eye dr. appointments. back to school shopping, my birthday coming up, etc. I know I’m going to need some time to catch up while I’m home by myself soon during the week, but I know one thing…….I will be missing the time I have spent with my daughter!

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    Andrea Reply:

    sounds like a great summer for you (and your daughter). You got to be the “fun mom” this summer 🙂

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  6. Debby

    08/01/2016

    I am having a slow summer too. I had a surgery on July 18th. This has me at home with my babies that are 18 and 20. My oldest has moved into her own house closer to her college but she works at the horse farm across the street from our development. So she comes for lunch or comes to swim on her day off. So often the three of us have lunch together and I can see us transitioning from the parent/child relationship to parent/friend/child relationship. And since I am in recovery, I am somewhat limited to being able to be super active. I love being “grounded” at home. I putz around my gardens. read books. So even though I wouldn’t choose to have a surgery if I didn’t have to, I can appreciate this gift of time with my girls at a great season in their lives. Here’s to the last month of this slow full summer of ours. 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    Glad to hear the surgery went OK and that you have been able to “enjoy” your recovery as much as possible!

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  7. Rose Ricci

    08/01/2016

    Glad you are savoring these times with your little ones…..as you all get older, you’ll appreciate (like the song says) that “these are the good old days”.

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  8. Jennifer

    08/01/2016

    The best part about loosening up our schedule is having easier transitions. My son doesn’t respond well to hurry and go, so less on the schedule gives more time to enjoy each activity and end or leave with leisure, not a stressful rush that makes us forget all the fun we had.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, good point! This is very true!

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  9. Betty Saboe

    08/01/2016

    It is so good to have you back. I was concerned about you, but now know everyone needs a rest and change now and then.

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  10. janet

    08/01/2016

    Welcome back! So happy to hear you had such a great summer and break. Love all the photos of the kiddos. So cute.

    I have had the same kind of summer. The last 2 school years I have had grandchild/ren 4 days a week. My SIL is a teacher so he has been home with them for the summer. I won’t have them next school year, and will probably be going back to work full time, but have purposely taken the summer off. It has been a wonderful time of catching up on gardening, purging, time with friends, reading and rest!

    I always enjoy your posts, so again, welcome back!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    glad you have enjoyed your slower summer too! it’s nice every now and then 🙂

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  11. Gabriela

    08/01/2016

    Welcome back!!! It does look like you all had a great time! Can’t believe how big Nora is!!! 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    thanks! and yes, she’s getting SO big!

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  12. Katie M

    08/01/2016

    Welcome back! Love all the pics – in the one of Nora blowing the bubbles, can you tell me how you have that set up? It looks like something my daughter would like!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Katie!
    I’m actually doing a full post about that fun bubble experiment next week monday! I don’t want to spill the beans before then though 🙂

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    Katie M Reply:

    Haha! Okay – totally understand! I’ll be waiting for next week’s post then 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    I probably won’t actually post anything for a few months — until we actually know he’s potty trained. So far, 2 pees on the potty today though 🙂

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  13. Maria

    08/01/2016

    So glad you’re back! Looks like you had a great time off with your beautiful family and are wise enough to appreciate these wonderful years.

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    Andrea Reply:

    We did enjoy the weeks I was away from the blog — and really, we’ve enjoyed the whole summer so far. I’m sad for Dave to go back to school in a few more weeks, but excited for Nora to start preschool — and of course, I LOVE the fall weather!

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  14. Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life

    08/01/2016

    Looks like you guys are having an awesome summer! We’ve been home most of the summer and I love it! In Michigan, I feel like we look forward to summer for most of the year and then it flies by. We’re soaking it in much more this year. Such cute pictures!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I know, I almost dread summer trips and vacations because they are so anticipated that it’s a huge letdown once they are over. This summer seemed so much better because we didn’t have any huge event or vacation to plan for. I loved being home every day!

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  15. Chris

    08/01/2016

    I missed you, but i’m so glad for you and your family. You are so right to enjoy these moments before they are gone. Time does really fly.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Glad to be missed Chris 🙂 And yes, time flies!

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  16. Lane

    08/01/2016

    My “baby” turned 6 this week and it really is the end of an era. I’ve got 2 school-aged kids now and you’re so smart to relish this time with your babes while they are still small. My 10 year old now will say things like, “so-and-so is doing boating camp” and “so-and-so is going to Europe.” While that doesn’t change our plans (a mix of ‘slow & full’ weeks and ‘full & full’ weeks 😉 it definitely changes things when they know what all the options are! Enjoy!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I think 6 is the cut-off when they go from a cute, innocent (sometimes VERY stubborn) little person to a much more grown-up looking and acting child. It think it also has something to do with their teeth. The baby teeth often seem to fall out around 6 or 7 and when they get the bigger teeth, they just seem so grown up!

    Enjoy the next phase of life — they are all great, just in different ways!

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    Lane Reply:

    Totally agree! My 6 year old looks like a jack o’ lantern with 4 missing teeth in the front right now. The baby days are over. I have to say though that I’m loving having 2 kids who can wipe their own bums! This morning they even went downstairs to play without even waking me up. I could get used to this. 🙂

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  17. Leanne

    08/01/2016

    we’ve homeschooled the last 3 years… and I’ve realized that these years have been
    “slower” and much more “full” for us…my kiddos start traditional school in ELEVEN DAYS… and I know the pace of life will change dramatically…
    I love the 18 months to 6 years ages, too…so much so, that I took a job at my boys’ school’s preschool for 10 hours a week…
    so, in ELEVEN DAYS, I’ll go from being a full time, SAHM to a part-time working mom with kids in school– including MIDDLE SCHOOL and all that comes with that 😉
    but, just to encourage you… I like the older ages, too… sometimes I talk to my eleven year old and think “wow”… “I can have a real conversation with you” (until it jumps into bb guns or star wars….!) and my eight year old, thankfully, still allows me to baby him…
    my 9 year old is 23 days away from TEN…and I look at him and think– THAT WAS FAST!
    how is he TEN?
    glad you enjoyed your break–but, since you are my favorite blog, I’m pretty excited you’re back!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — your schedule will look quite different this year! I have a feeling you and your kids will love the new schedule, and you’ll probably enjoy getting out of the house a bit more too!
    Also, happy birthday to your almost 10 year old 🙂

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  18. Paulette

    08/01/2016

    We missed you, but so glad you were able to take a break! Best pic ever…Nora and Simon with the goggles…hahaha!!!! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Paulette — and yes, that IS a great picture 🙂

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  19. Karen

    08/01/2016

    I’m so glad you have enjoyed your summer. I teach first grade and will go back in 2 weeks. It’s coming to an end but a slow and full summer is the best. I treasure the time I get to spend with my 8 year old daughter during the summer.

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    Andrea Reply:

    teacher schedules are the best! My mom went back to teaching after we were all in school too, and it was so nice to all be home together during the summer!

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  20. Melissa

    08/01/2016

    Glad you had a nice break! I have kiddos about the same age as Simon and James. I’d love to see a post about how you potty train. I realize that’s not applicable for everyone, but I’d be curious what worked for you!

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    Andrea Reply:

    well… we’re starting the potty training process this week (tomorrow to be exact). so hopefully I’ll have a good report to share in a couple more weeks, but he is pretty stubborn 🙂 We’re planning to give it a good effort for 4-6 days and if we’re not making any progress, we’ll hold off until Christmas break and try then. I think the biggest issue is waiting until the child is ready. We had to wait longer than we wanted with Nora, but once she was ready, she was literally potty trained in days with almost zero accidents.

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  21. Ann

    08/01/2016

    Thank you. I was letting myself feel guilty for not signing my 4 1/2 year old for VBS, sports teams, etc. Everyone asks why I just keep him home. I love the slow and full days and I know that the scheduled days of VBS and practices will come all too soon. I will hold them off while I can!

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    Andrea Reply:

    in most cases, I think 4 is the minimum for VBS — they will have MANY more summers to do VBS, they won’t know what they missed!

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  22. Ann

    08/01/2016

    Yay! So glad for you & your family!

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  23. Lori McEvoy

    08/01/2016

    So glad you had a “full and slow” break! Love your posts and so glad your back! Your kiddos are beautiful and getting so big! I’m a teacher and my break ended yesterday! Back to the grind!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lori! Enjoy the new school year! (I know it can be rough going back after a slower-paced summer)

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