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.


After a long hiatus….

How sad to see that my last post was October 2016.  What happened this year to keep me from processing my thoughts, struggles, wins and setbacks via this blog?  Didn’t feel like anything needed such process?  Not confident to share?  Reflected in other ways?  Developed different routines?

Sudoku & hot water with lemon, a morning routine.

Hindsight is not helpful.  Suffice to say, it was a full year.  Full of ideas, problems to solve, collaboration, success and failure.  Year two at Valley Vista.  I love our students and families even more.  Staff and I have gelled nicely, building trust, having candid conversations about teaching and learning, wrestling with the future of our little school.  It’s been good.

Summer Birthdays in Kinder

Work/life balance remains in check.  That’s probably my biggest win.  Maintaining an exercise routine and nutrition plan has 100% supported my work, my stamina, my stress.  Probably the single best thing I’ve done for myself since becoming a principal six years ago.  Good routines, good people, solid goals.  Even ran my first 10K with VV staff!

My first 10K. Done.

I said “no” to many opportunities that would pull me away from my family and my school this year.  Annual CUE and Lead 3.0 were my two conferences.  Loved them both and that was enough.  All the people are energizing and the ideas invigorate my work and my thinking.  But I was mindful of time away and additional expectations that I didn’t have the capacity to meet.  I found balance.

Sharing a beer with a SoCal friend & colleague, Todd Schmidt. #lead3

Spent lots of time watching my boys play.  Another activity that fills me up.  Joshua played JV Soccer for his high school.  Jacob had his last year in little league.  I’m so thankful they play things I like to watch.  Or have I learned to enjoy watching the things they love to play?  And the bonus, they love their sport.  Eager for practice, ready for games, critical of themselves and celebratory as well.  I am a lucky mom.


Jacob & Joshua. Love to watch my boys play.

And our admin team.  What a blessing.  I lean on these people even when they don’t know it.  A text, a call, a look across a crowded meeting.  We keep each other buoyed up.  I doubt I could do this job without a stellar team like ours.  I’m thankful for each of them.

Petaluma Elementary Admin Team

So nothing earth shattering here.  Just warming up the blog again.  Getting the thoughts flowing, dusting out the cobwebs, remembering the year in broad brushstrokes.   Ready for a break.