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Mom of the Year Award Goes To ...

A beach trip during winter break was an eye-opening experience of what I want more in life with my boys.

I tried to start my resolutions prior to the new year. I figured I would get a week's jump on all the gym rats that hibernated for winter, like myself. That lasted four days. The boys and I got an unexpected, but much appreciated, offer from my best friend and her son to join them at the beach for a week. I sooooooooooo took it. We raced home on Sunday because I knew that school was starting on Monday.

Yes, I did it—my vacation-exhausted-self got up early on Monday morning, woke Ethan up, made his lunch, got his school stuff ready and drove him to school on the unusually quiet roads of East Cobb. We pulled into the school (there were cars there and the lights were on), but we were the only ones in the carpool lane. We were early. It was the first day, and rainy. My suspicion was stirring. Thankfully, there was a teacher going into the school as Ethan hopped out of the car. She tossed him back into the car and told me that school wasn't back in session until Tuesday. Awesome! 'Mom of the Year' award goes to...! That, for sure, is no way to end the Christmas break. It ruined the last day of sleeping in. It was absolutely lame on my part. 

Let this be a lesson: Do not throw out last year's calendars quite so fast. Well, I could've double-checked the school website. 

Oh, well, now the New Year can officially start. I am going to add "check for school holidays ahead of time" to my 2012 goals.

During winter break, I loved the freedom of not having to plan my day around dropping off or picking up my kids, but not having school as that daily structured event does make it hard to keep the kids on track. There wasn't any "homework checks" or reading charts, so unfortunately the only reading that got done was on the Wii instructional games or toy packages. The only math that really happened was counting how many more days of break there were (clearly math is not a family strength).

I can't say we had a lot of lazy, sit around and do nothing, but enjoy each other days on winter break. In the beginning, we rushed around for last minute things, played Santa, wrapped, baked, cleaned, cooked, and crammed any and all things Christmas into those last 48 hours before it's all over. Lucky us, we have Quinn's birthday four days later and we have to work extra hard to make that special and separate from Christmas. Then it's New Year's Eve. Yep, the days of wanting to go out, party and stay up until midnight have turned to a big fat race to get to bed in hope of sleep and good things for the New Year. 

When my best friend and her son invited the boys and I to the beach for a week, it was the first time I took a trip with the boys. I'm usually looking to take trips away from them. I found out that getting away from routines, schedules, laundry and dishes is the best way to live. The time I spent with the kids was true quality time-having fun, NOT scolding or running errands or following schedules. We were taking our time and riding bikes five miles to the beach. We stayed up late watching movies as a family instead of going to separate rooms at bedtime to have alone time. It was an eye-opening experience of what I want more in life with my kids.

It's going to take some work on my part. There is still a need for schedules with school and home, but it's okay if the laundry and dishes multiply so that we have more quality time together. The ear-to-ear smiles on my kids' faces as we race bikes, chase birds and laugh like hyenas is much more satisfying than a folded shirt or clean kitchen floor. The smiles last a lot longer, too.

Rebecca Jervis Hilderbrandt January 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Well Katie 2012 is off to a GREAT start!!! Excellant article!! Keep them coming!!
Julia Harris January 12, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Life gets busy. We're pulled in different directions-always in demand-whether by cell phone, work and responsibilities. We all need to let the dishes and laundry pile up for moments of quality time with our friends and loved ones.
Lisa May-Turner January 12, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Another great story and lesson for us all on how to make time for the important things in life. Glad you are back! Happy New Year!

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