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Far from perfect, summer still was success

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

Another summer, come and gone. Another summer where I had great intentions. Another summer where that didn't work out as planned.

As a stay-at-home mom, I start every summer with grand and lofty goals. In my delusional world, I have each day scheduled precisely.

In my imaginary world, this is how it would work:

Sleep in!

Then, once awake, start our day with big smiles, hugs and calisthenics. Have a healthy breakfast such as a bulgur wheat and leek smoothie. Household chores would be attacked with enthusiasm with a few, “Oh Mommy, let me do that for you's thrown in for good measure. We would round out the morning with reading the classics, working on an abacus and studying Latin.

After another healthy meal of something made of tofu and soy milk, we would start the blueprints and construction for our award-winning home vegetable garden and compost bin. Or visit a museum where we will study the Mosaic period, King Tutankhamen, and the galaxy. Or hike and study moss patterns guided by our compasses we made out of a needle and a magnet.

After yet another healthy and delicious dinner — made from scratch — our evenings would be spent playing board games or reading out loud to each other by the fire pit. Then, off to a soaking, relaxing bath for each child and ending the day with early and calm bedtimes.

Yeah, you know how long that lasted? Well, it didn't even start and here's how it ended.

“Why are you up so early? How come during school I have to drag you out of bed by your toes but in August, you are still getting up before 6 a.m.?”

“No, icing is not an acceptable breakfast.”

“Can you please try to shovel a path through your bedroom at some point please? It smells and the dog is missing; I think he might be in there somewhere.”

“Stophittingyoursister, stophittingyourbrother, stophittingyoursister, stophittingyourbrother!”

“Have you read your books? Can you still even read?”

“No, reading the viewing guide for the TV does not count as reading a book.”

“Get OUT of the woods; you are going to get poison ivy and ticks. Do not hit your sister with a stick. Do not hit your sister with a rock. Do not tie your sister to the tree.”

“No, swimming does not count as a bath. No, sprinklers do not count as a bath. No, simply standing in the bathroom does not count as a bath.”

“No, squirt cheese is not an acceptable lunch.”

“Put your helmet on! Yes, you have to wear shoes. If you fall off of that, you will break your arm. If you watch any more TV, your eyes are going to pop out of your head. That is not a weed, don't pull it. Have you brushed your teeth this week?”

“No, Junior Mints are not an acceptable dinner.”

But somewhere in between my perfect world and my reality, looking back, we did have a good summer.

We planted acorns, hiked on trails and swam in lakes. We cheered for the U.S. Olympians and watched Michael Phelps swim into history. We chased the ice-cream truck, played hopscotch and watched fireworks. We walked the dog, caught some frogs and ate too many marshmallows.

We skinned knees, lost a first tooth and got stung by bees. We stayed up too late, watched too many movies, and watched our one garden tomato ripen.

We went to baseball games, had water-gun fights, and played with the neighbors. We took a great vacation, had lots of company, and even made it to the library a few times.

It wasn't picture perfect. It was messy. It was fun, but messy ... like family life is supposed to be.

Kelli Di Cesare is a community columnist for Trib Total Media.

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