The Teen Years & Summer Fun

Summer break with a 13 and 15 year old.  Where to begin?

I’m not a mom that LOVED the baby stage or toddler years.  Every stage had it’s special moments, memories and milestones but I don’t ever WISH to be back in any of them.  At this point I can say I prefer relating to my sons over caring for them (as I did when they were little boys).  Our conversations, their connections, the ah-ha moments of adolescence are awesome.  Truly developing into adults, citizens of the world, opinion holders and discussion participants.  I love this time.

So what with this budding independence comes the push and pull of summer.  We’ve never been big on scheduling our kids summer time.  One, maybe two day camps in their lifetimes.  Our summer days are best spent hatching a plan the night before or morning of.  What do you feel like doing today?


Post-Conservatory Pic

Until now.  The teen years have brought nesting, hiding out, hermit-like qualities.  I don’t care for it.  So the prompt has shifted to So today we’re going to either do A or B.  Which do you prefer?

So far so good.

Example 1: So today we’re going to the Conservatory of Flowers or the Beach.  Which do you prefer?  The Q & A begins.  What will we do at the Beach?  How long will we be there?  What’s a Conservatory?  Is Japantown nearby?  Ok, let’s go there.  Decision based on lunch options.  These are definitely my children.

Example 2: So today we’re going to walk the Golden Gate Bridge or head to the Beach.  Which do you prefer?  Same kind of Q & A.  Breakfast was negotiated into the beach trip.  And the drive to Doran only resulted in 4 identifiable road kill specimens (the record is 14).


Frisbee at Doran Beach

And so it goes.  I love this time I get to spend with my kids.  Quality time, laughing, learning, settling arguments, getting slow and steady peeks into what they love, what they believe and who they are.

Each of them keep track of the time.  Jacob likes to get to baseball practice 30 minutes early, and Joshua has reading to do for his World History class.  Both of their evening commitments build in a need for downtime without their mom pestering.

Oh, and chores.  A reality of life at Casa Haugen.  On the mornings I go into work, the list is longer but when we have a plan for our day, we cut back on chores.  It works.

So this approach to our summer days works.  It’s a nice ebb and flow that makes my heart happy.

A lightning storm and a busy bee hive: summer brain

Warning: many words, little sense

The feeling of so many ideas, desires, goals, hopes…. A cacophony of thought. Too jumbled to work with. Too much to bring to order. Too many big dreams for a single mind to rein in.

It’s mid-July and I’m abuzz about the start of the 15-16 school year. New everything: site, staff, students, community. And the pressure to start of on the right foot.

Don’t we talk about failing forward? Acronyms for F.A.I.L. abound. So what’s going on here?

Summer brain, too much reading, lots of uninterrupted think time… Should be a good thing. But now, mid-July, I need the bees to calm, the lightening to dim and my jumbled thoughts to coalesce into something useful.

Positive intent has always been a pillar of truth for me. Even the cruelest words should have a glimmer of positive intent behind them. They usually do. If my intentions stay positive, my motives student-centered, my words kind and clear… I should be able to fail forward.

It might be time for a good ole brain dump to get it all out.

As I watched a distant lightening storm approach the house two nights ago, I kept waiting for the thunder. It never reached my ears. Just bolt after bolt after bolt of lightening.  I could relate to that storm.

My gut tells me this overflowing of ideas is a good problem. My type-A side wants order, a plan, a flow chart. Oohhh… A flow chart would be awesome. And then my creative side is good with the jumble. Random notes on bits of paper, willy nilly voice memos to myself.

So it’s mid-July. I’ve got time, positive intent and myriad ideas to start the year. Summer brain. The opposite of what one might think.