Why I Didn’t Accomplish My Summer To-Do List (and what we made time for instead)

posted by Andrea | 08/15/2019

Last week was the final full week of summer for our family as Dave is already back to school for teacher meetings this week. 

Seriously, the summer felt like it FLEW by this year! 

Back in May, I made a mental list of all the things I hoped to accomplish over the summer… I was so optimistic at what I could accomplish, especially considering the kids are older now and Dave would be home ALL summer again.

Unfortunately, I did NOT complete many of these mental todos! 

Things like: 

  • Finish our laundry room renovation (didn’t even get started — but that’s partially because the people we need to help us were not available)
  • Update all the recipes on my blog (I finished 2 or 3 of the HUNDREDS of recipes I have posted so far!)
  • Do several blog updates (I didn’t do any)
  • Start exercising 2-3 days a week (nope, never did it once)
  • Make several videos for my blog — with Dave’s help (we made 2)
  • Do a mini-makeover on our outbuilding (we just recently got started on this)
  • Repaint the trim on the front porch (never even started — but I do still have time for this in the fall)
  • Get Simon to ride a 2-wheel bike (nope, not happening — but not necessarily because of lack of effort on my part!)
  • Start piano lessons with Nora (we did 2 lessons)

Even now, I look back on that list and wonder what on earth I did with all my time this summer! Dave was home every day, I was home every day, I should have easily completed all those big projects and to-dos this summer… but I didn’t. 

And yes, it’s very unlike me to push so many projects and to-dos to the “back burner”! 

At times it was difficult to accept that I would not come close to completing all the things I wanted to do over the summer. I felt like a failure, I felt discouraged, I even felt a little lazy at times! 

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So what did I do with my time this summer?

As I thought back over the summer, I realized we really truly did have a fairly “full” summer — and while I personally didn’t accomplish all of my to-dos, I did have a lot of fun and I certainly hope my children will look back on this summer with happy memories. 

We carted the older kids to and from swimming lessons, soccer camp, basketball camp, and Vacation Bible School (each 1 week long, but all different weeks). 

We often went to Story Hour at local parks (via the library) on Wednesday mornings.

We often went bowling (via the Kid’s Bowl Free program) on Tuesday mornings.

We went to the Zoo several times.

We went to Rebounderz on rainy days.

We took bike rides to various parks, sometimes stopping to grab a bite to eat on our way home.

We visited my sister, Dave’s sister, and Dave’s grandma (all in different states).

We had people over to our house ALL THE TIME! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning play dates, afternoon pool parties, etc. etc. There were a few days when we had 3 different groups of people coming over at 3 different times of the day. It was crazy, but really fun!

We changed the kids bedrooms around (per their request) and had fun painting and decorating with them.

We picked and tended to the garden veggies, and we maintained our landscape.

We went to many birthday parties, anniversary parties, and special events with friends. 

We swam in our pool almost every day we could — often several times per day. 

We visited friends with bigger pools, lakes, trailers, and cottages.

We went out for ice cream (and made our own ice cream). 

We usually ate 3 meals a day around our table (inside or outside) often with various friends or family eating with us.

We read through the entire 7-book National Parks Mystery series at meal times. 

We made gak and slime, and played with play-doh.

We went to thrift stores and let the kids pick out something “new” after purging several boxes of toys and games. 

We attended many fun summer events put on by our church. 

I canned pickles, beets, jam, and tomatoes (with LOTS more to can yet this fall)

I made James’ digital photo book, and kept up-to-date with our yearly family photo book

I kept 2 different sourdough starters alive and baked tons of bread, rolls, buns, cinnamon rolls, etc. 

I made so much food from scratch and continued to faithfully grind all my own grain for cooking and baking. 

Like I mentioned above, we had a very FULL summer — it just wasn’t all that productive from a house work, blog work, or school work standpoint (I know Dave had several school projects he never got to either). 

But I think we’re both OK with that! 

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5 years ago, I wrote a post entitled “We HAVE the Time, We Just Don’t MAKE the Time” — in regards to the fact that we all HAVE the same amount of time each day, however we can all choose (to some degree) what we MAKE the time to do. 

In other words, we are all usually much more in control of our time than we like to admit. 

So yes, we could have MADE the time for my blog projects and our laundry room project and Dave’ s school projects, but we decided that for now, when the kids are home all summer (and still think we are cool), it’s a better use of our time to do as many fun things with them as we can. 

I know, I never thought I’d choose “fun” over “productive” — aren’t you proud of me! 

I have always been very conscious of how I utilize my time each day, as well as how I talk about time management. I am careful not to complain about “not having enough time” because I know I could choose to MAKE more time for whatever it is. 

Since writing that original post 5 years ago, I have been EVEN MORE aware of how often others flippantly comment about not “having enough time” or wishing for “more time”.

I do completely understand where they are coming from (I think we all wish for more time every now and then) but I also continually remind myself that we all have the same number of hours each day, and it’s up to me to figure out how I want to use my hours. 

Of course, my goal is to be efficient with my time… but if I choose to spend all afternoon with my kids at the pool, then I can’t really be too upset that I didn’t accomplish any major projects that day. 

Similarly, if I choose to work on a big house or yard project all afternoon, I can’t be annoyed that the house is a mess and our dinner plans are fairly simple. 

Even though Dave is already back in school, the kids and I still have lots of big plans for these last 2 weeks of summer vacation — including the much-anticipated County Fair! 

My goal was not, and is not, necessarily to entertain my children all summer long, but I do hope they can look back on this summer (and future summers) and remember how much fun they had.

And maybe, just maybe, when they have children of their own, they will realize how much time and effort Dave and I invested into prioritizing a significant amount of family time this summer. 

Thank You Summer Vacation 2019!

It’s been real! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Filed under: LifeWorkDaily LifeTime ManagementProductivity

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33 comments

  1. Candace

    08/29/2019

    I AM proud of you! It may ending being more memorable than it otherwise would have! There are seasons and different energies for different times of the year. You will never get to the end of your life and say “Gosh I wish I hadn’t spent so much time with my kids!” <3 Thanks for putting things into perspective for us all! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love that picture of the little one's expression while bowling! Priceless!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, Clara is a cutie!

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  2. ShellyL

    08/17/2019

    Of the many things I admire about you, I think the best is that your kids always look so happy. They always look well cared for and like they are having a great time. I love how you always remember to take plenty of pictures. Good job, mom!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Well, I’m sure I don’t need to convince you that they are NOT “always happy” but for the most part, we feel very fortunate to have mostly agreeable and mostly happy children!

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  3. Linda Bolt

    08/17/2019

    What a wonderful summer! Your children are at such wonderful ages for having fun together. I think you’ll always be grateful that you spent your time having fun with the children.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Linda! Yes, they are at a fun age right now — I’m glad we could all be home a lot this summer!

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  4. Susanne

    08/17/2019

    Sounds like the perfect summer to me!

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    Andrea Reply:

    it wasn’t bad — that’s for sure!

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  5. Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

    08/16/2019

    This. This was so my summer! We traveled 27 days out of 60 this summer, driving thousands of miles as a family, creating so many memories! But my to do list? I didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I planned, but that’s okay. I want my kids to have these family memories!

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh my — that sounds fun AND busy at the same time! I can’t get over how much you travel — even with your growing bunch!

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  6. Kate

    08/15/2019

    Our family summer went much the same, except we did do a major renovation. I should say the renovation is still in progress. Thankfully the master bath part of it is finished ! We started spring break and will be completed second week of September with the bedrooms. The goal was June! We just were not willing to give up vacations or fun things with kids every weekend to work on it . Also same as you, many of the people we needed were unavailable. The extra stress of the prolonged renovation has been worth the great summer we had with the kids! Now that I no longer have a baby at home we were able to pick up and go any time we wanted! Lots of swimming, many free events, library visits, garage sale shopping, every park within 10 miles, McDonaldโ€™s, friends over, camp fires, cottage vacation at the beach, boat rides, fishing, Chicago zoo, bike rides, parades ect. planning on the fair next week, and then maybe one last fun event Labor Day weekend. It was a really fun summer!! But I am so ready for some quiet, and decluttering when school starts up in a little over a week!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh yes, summer renovations are often very prolonged because everyone is so busy with other things! Glad you were able to make time for your project but also still enjoy lots of family fun too!

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  7. J

    08/15/2019

    Your kids are growing up way too fast and when they’re all in school, they will grow up even faster! Trust me, I know what I’m talking about! Lol.

    Your kids are going to remember all the fun times that they have had with their Mom and Dad, not all the projects that were done! They’ll remember all the yummy food that you made them and all the people that came over their house to eat and swim with them. They’ll remember all the times they went to the zoo, to the park, to visit family and having ice cream cones just bc. Just having a blast all summer with their parents and making so many happy and memorable moments with their siblings too!

    I’m so proud of you Andrea that u kicked those projects to the curb, while for the time being at least! Lol.
    Have a great weekend with your family!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, for the time being! I’m sure I’ll pick the projects up again this fall (hopefully!)

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  8. Natalia

    08/15/2019

    I cringed when I read the long list of unaccomplished dreams, as I have many of those and I know the disapointing anguish…
    But, your summer was fantastic and I’m glad you chose to spend the time on the important people in your life. That’s what life should be! Congratulations! I like you even more!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad I’m more likable when I don’t finish my to-do list! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  9. Just saying

    08/15/2019

    You did the most important things even though you may have not known exactly what they were before the summer started. Your kids are growing fast and time spent as a family is the most valuable. There will always be time for the house and projects but childhood is fleeting. You’ve got your priorities straight- good job!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks! And yes, they are growing fast!

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  10. shan

    08/15/2019

    Oh, Andrea, what fun you and your kids had this summer. You were productive – in making memories!!! Your kids look so happy, and I’m sure your extended family and friends all appreciated hanging out with your family and enjoyed your hospitality. And I’m also sure that you planned and worked hard all summer to orchestrate everything. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you know… I was just telling Dave the other day how much “work” it was to plan so many activities for our family this summer. They were all just fun things, but it really did take a significant amount of time, effort, and planning to make it all happen! Now I need a vacation from summer vacation — LOL! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. Linds

    08/15/2019

    Its been bothering me that Clara is under 2 and forward facing in the car. Are the rules or understanding of safety different in MI?

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    Lea Reply:

    I’m not Andrea, but in our state (not Michigan) the recommendations are by weight and height AND age instead of a hard age. It’s something like “Over 1 year of age AND weight x and height y”. For some children that means they face forward at about 16-18mo and others it’s more like 2 1/2-3yrs. Ours were on the low end (we’re a very tall family) and we got loads of questions all the time. I’m guessing Michigan might be something similar…?

    You’re very observant! I didn’t even notice!

    Lea

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  12. Michelle

    08/15/2019

    It sounds like you accomplished many goals. They just weren’t the ones you had planned on accomplishing.

    Sounds like a very productive summer to me.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, exactly! Not bad, just different than my expectations at the beginning of the summer!

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  13. Kim

    08/15/2019

    You made wonderful use of your summer! Your children are incredibly blessed to have you and Dave for parents.

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  14. Abby

    08/15/2019

    It sounds like your family had a fantastic summer! Random question… where did you get those adorable little bags with the kidsโ€™ initials?

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Abby — Dave’s mom made the bags for the kids ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Shan Reply:

    Andrea, That’s what I thought since I remember the Quiet Book she sewed for Nora when she was a baby! That’s how I found your website, looking for ideas for a Quiet Book for my granddaughter ๐Ÿ™‚ Your kids look so sweet holding those little bags!

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  15. Maria

    08/15/2019

    Wow! Your summer vacation looks amazing. I think bonding as a family and making memories is much more important than accomplishing any “project”. You and your family will surely treasure the happy memories you created and I’m sure the kids could care less about any “to do” list left undone. It’s good to have balance – projects will always be there, but time with little ones won’t.

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  16. Gail

    08/15/2019

    You are a complete person who has achieved balance and perspective. If I were a little kid I would love to be in your family!

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    Andrea Reply:

    our kids might not always agree with you… but I’ll take it as a compliment! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  17. Gene K Tobin

    08/15/2019

    Great job! The projects can wait, the children grow up so fast. None of you will regret it. Time together – precious!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I think you’re right! Thanks Gene!

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