For me, the new year doesn't start in January; it begins on the first day of school. In these parts, that's usually right around Labor Day. Even through the years when I was working and not following an academic calendar, the real start of the year felt like September, and now that I've got kids in school, that feeling is stronger than ever.
This particular summer seemed long and hot-- lots of sun, too many above-90-degree days and little rain. For the first time in a while, my kids did not have any formal activities during the summer -- no day camps, no sports camps, no mornings at the local art center. I'd love to suggest that this was a high-minded philosophical decision about the value of free time for children, but really, it was just because we needed to save money and that seemed like an obvious way to do it. I think the kids did really enjoy having lots of unstructured time. We did do various things over the summer -- several sleepovers at my mom's, movies, fruit-picking, swimming -- but the kids seemed to revel in being aimless.
Now they are back at school and we're trying to ease into our routine. You'll be pleased to know that a certain someone is very happy that there is some peace and quiet during the days: