When I started this project, I wanted an outlet to share things about how I’ve managed to juggle life with kids and my husband traveling a lot and being a stay at home mom but also running my own business. Somehow, three years in, I’m still juggling all the things, and I still love this group of women I pulled together to help me with the blog…but I’ve also had ups and downs and waves of being super busy, especially in the last 12 months. Which is why our third annual year in review is a little behind the calendar. Oh well!
A couple of years ago, I talked about Summer Parenting, and how juggling life in the summer is a whole new challenge when the kids are out of school and want to be completely free from all structure. My kids are older now – more independent, more self-sufficient – but they still are living their best summer lives while I am also working from home. So…we’re trying to embrace all the Joy of Summer while also keeping it real around here.
This last year has been a little hectic in all of our lives – let’s face it, life post-pandemic is crazy busy and we’re all embracing doing all the things, saying yes to every extra activity our kids want to add, and trying to wring all the joy out of everything. Team Juggling Normal have all been super busy over the last year, and our regular posts have dropped down to just once in awhile. We have plans to ramp back up…which probably won’t happen until the fall, when all of our kids are back in school and we all get back into normal schedules. As much “normal” as we all get, anyway.
Does it seem like your summer is busier than ever? That is certainly how I feel!
Between kids and sports and life, I’ve been living in the moment, and only coming up for air every couple of weeks. We had All Baseball, All the Time in June, and my kids had a blast – especially the middle, playing for both our city league (local) team, and traveling to tournaments all over eastern Colorado and Kansas for his travel team. My kids have officially aged out of all of the little kid stuff – the youngest played machine pitch this year for the first time, and loved it.
Our oldest is only a month away from moving across the country for college. Friends, 18 years goes by in a blink. She is a mature young women, and we are so proud of her and excited for all of the life adventures to come – and a little sad to see her starting to organize things and get ready to pack. Parenting is the biggest challenge in life, and as many ups and downs as we’ve had (I talked about Teenagerness earlier this year), it is also the best thing ever. From Baby Time to high school graduation, watching and guiding her along the way has been such a joy. Life is meant to be lived, and she is ready to go out and do her thing.
As I’ve reminded friends this last few months who have asked me if I’m ready for her to go, our job as parents is to raise our kids to be good humans, and to teach them what they need to know to become functioning adults. She has a great foundation, she gets how things work, and she will figure things out as she goes – just like we all did. Our teenager is smart, savvy, and beautiful. She will find new Best Friends, and stay in touch with all of her friends at home too.
Last week, we said goodbye to our dog – which has been a process over the last few months. I wrote this spring that it’s important to Talk About Hard Things with our kids, and we did prepare them, but actually having to make the decision was so hard. Spots was my shadow while I worked from home for the last 12 years. We got him as a puppy when the oldest was in Kindergarten, and we all wish that dogs could live forever. Life and death are always things we have to deal with, and teaching our kids how to handle grief is a part of all of it. Saying goodbye to a pet is never easy, and each of my kids has had spurts of anger as we’ve all worked through it. Kristi also talked about starting the process of saying goodbye to a pet earlier this year in her post, Doing the Right Thing.
My word of the year for 2022 was Kindness, and as I circle back on all the things over the last 12 months, I think it’s the perfect word to remind all of us to just be nice to everyone around us. We all need kindness in our lives, and both giving and receiving kindness makes people happy! Just Be Kind, and we will all be better for it.
Do you feel like the last three years have been a slog? Pandemic, school closings, coming out of school closings, finding the New Normal, keeping everyone sane, living life and doing all the things. I struggled getting into the Holiday Spirit last year – and I’m making a goal this year to live it up and just embrace the joy in all the things, for every holiday and family event.
Last fall, my Thanksgiving post talked about being Grateful and Blessed – and we are! I had another post about Gratitude, and I reminded everyone that Prevention is key to get ahead of cancer.
We had a couple of Team Juggling Normal Group Q&A posts toward the end of last year – our Favorite Things About Fall post, and our Theme Words for 2022. Team Juggling Normal has more fun Q&A posts to come, and we welcome any ideas or questions you have for us to answer! Feel free to comment with your questions, and we will add that for the next Group Q&A.
Kelly completed her Homegrown Year Challenge! If you missed it, she gave us all the highlights in her post, I Did It! If you love gardening, I talked about my little patch of veggies in my post, Summer Harvest, and shared my favorite summer recipe for the Best Mango Salsa.
On the working mom side of things, I talked a bit about projecting the image you want in my post about the clothes we wear to work – What We Wear Matters. We also talked about technology (or the lack/challenges with it) in Device Crash, and Kelly’s post, It’s Okay to Turn it Off Sometimes.
I wrapped up the summer last year talking about the adventures of Growing Up, reflecting on our teenager starting her senior year of high school. One year later, I can’t wait to see what she does in college and beyond. All of our kids grow and teach us so much, all the time. Every Season of Life is an adventure, and we all have to figure out how to Find the Balance through it all.
No matter what season you’re in now, take it all as it comes, and try to enjoy it as you go. Our kids grow up so fast, and experience so much each year. Thank you for reading my blog, and for spending time with me virtually as I log the various adventures that life takes me on – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hopefully, my thoughts help you know that you are not alone, and my stories help you get through the variety of joys and challenges that our kids and life bring to us. Here’s to three years of Juggling Normal!