Monday, October 19, 2009

The Longest Fall Break EVER!

Back to school today after 2 long weeks for Fall Break!

When we first started at the charter school we are at I loved the thought of the extended calendar year. Longer vacations during the year, less time out at summer and the kids supposedly retain more of what they learn each year. I'm still looking for proof on that one.

The first year we attended the school it worked out great. We took a vacation to California during Fall Break for an entire week and still had another week to recuperate and get ready for school again.

Due to budget contraints (actually there is no budget, because there is nothing to budget with!), we had no trip planned this year.

I am realizing that 2 weeks is a long, LONG time when you have nothing planned. I had good intentions. We were gonna go to one of the local farms to their chili cook off and pumpkin patch. Until I saw that it was $14 per person, and that price did not include food or pumkins! I'm all for supporting the local farmers, but when we our bank account is beyond empty I can't justify spending that much on a hayride and a corn maze. And the fact that the farm is an hour and a half away made the price even harder to swallow. Frankly...I guess I was just not in the mood to spend $100 on chili and pumpkins. There. I said it. It was easier to put a tarp up over the swing set and tell the boys to turn it into a fort. (Read it correctly, people, that is fort with an O, not the other word with an A!) Which they thought was cool for 2 days. The fort, I mean. They also think the other thing is cool and funny too though. But that's a story for another day.

That only left 12 days to fill. We made cupcakes and had friends over another day. Down to 11 days. Church 2 times, we're down to 9 days! Whoo-hoo!

At this point we were still waiting for our neighbor kids to get out for their fall break. They only get one week off. Because they don't like going to school until June 10th, which is the consequence of taking longer breaks during the year. I am starting to see the wisdom in a regular school calendar. But I digress. So we had a few tough days. Because mom's brain could not seem to function to come up with activities and my boys were having a hard time with the thought of actually playing WITH EACH OTHER!

Thank Goodness my nephew's birthday party came around! On Columbus Day we hung out with the cousin at Amazing Jake's all day, which is like Chuck E. Cheese on steroids. Have you seen that place?! It is loud and crowded and crazy and big. Rides, video games, prize games, rock climbing wall, laser tag, bowling, mini golf and a buffet. My kids love it there. I like the fact that I can actually get decent food, not just pizza. I had huge salads for lunch and dinner. Yeah, we stay all day when we go. My body was totally diggin' on the healthy food and I was diggin' on the fact that I didn't have to make ANY of it OR do the dishes. It's a long way from our house, almost as far as the pumpkin farm, but since we weren't paying for anything and I didn't have to cook or clean that whole day, it was worth the drive! Once I got past the feeling that I was swimming in a giant H1N1 petri dish, that is.

So that left 8 days. 8 days of watching my oldest (now 10 yrs old) walk around in circles trying to entertain himself. 8 Days of listening to "I'm bored." Read a book. Let's build your Scout Rocket. Play a video game. Help me pull weeds. Fold the laundry. Let's draw a picture. All met with rolling eyes and annoyed sighs. 8 days of fighting over chores, because "we are on vacation." No, we are on Fall Break, which is different from a vacation, because we are still home and making messes and chores still have to get done. "Whatever. This is the worst vacation ever." Glad he heard me.

In the end, they had a few fun days and I think that even if they weren't occupied every single minute of every day, they at least enjoyed having the break from school. Once the neighbors got out of school, things improved a little bit as they had other kids to play with.

But I wished I was in a better place for my kids. I miss feeling creative and fun and upbeat and willing to try new things. I just couldn't get there for them this time. I was too busy trying to get through the day. I realized that Big Man and I are just worn out. It's been a tough 2 years. We are ready for something different, but struggling to find the energy to create the atmosphere that will allow opportunities to present themselves. We really could have used a vacation ourselves.

I'm starting mine today. The kids are back in school. For at least 4 hours a day this week, I get peace and quiet and time to think and plan and change my attitude. Maybe I'll be ready for the 3 weeks the kids are out for Christmas. That's 7 more days I have to help fill! Yeah...regular school schedule is looking better and better to me everyday.


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