Finding My Summer Groove

Categories Family, Life, Self, Words

Summer is here.

We’re only five days in by the calendar, but around here it’s been summer for nearly three weeks since Zilla’s school year finished in the first week of June. It’s nice to be finished with packing school bags and lunches, scrambling for clean uniform parts, dealing with homework assignments and projects and all the rest. Now it’s time to relax and take life a bit less seriously. Time to stay up late, chase fireflies, watch fireworks, drink lemonade, and do all the summer things. It’s time to take it easy…

But summer is hard. As a mom who works from home, I find it incredibly hard to maintain my usual routine. In fact, it’s impossible. There is no way I can tuck into my head and work for six uninterrupted hours with my daughter at home. So for the past few weeks, we’ve be trying – struggling, if I’m being honest – to find our way. What is the best balance of work and play? What is the right routine for these unstructured days?

Routine? Yeah, routine. We need that here. Because when you live in The House That ADHD Built, routine is crucial. For this family of ADDers, when we do not have a good routine in place, all hell tends to break loose. We all thrive on having a plan to follow, and if that means planning our unplanned hours, so be it.

So…we’re working on that. And I have a vague recollection somewhere that my One Word for the year is balance, so it just fits right in with that theme.

Rather than get too mired down in what’s not going so well lately, let’s talk about what is good.

Our CSA season has started, which means fresh organic vegetables straight from the farm each week. It also means that meal planning gets so much easier. I just look at the produce we have for the week and go from there. Yes, I suppose I can do that all winter just based on what’s in season and grab that at the market. But this works so well and involves zero thinking on my part. And when the days are too hot or no other brilliant ideas come to mind, there is nothing like a nice big salad for dinner. With salad comes soup, of course. While I haven’t done Soup of the Week posts here in a really long time, we do still have soup almost every week. Our current favorite is a creamy arugula soup I found online. This week we’re trying a chickpea, turnip, and lemon soup. (Are you following me on Pinterest? If you are, you can find the recipes for both soups pinned to my Soups and Stews board. Go down to the bottom of the page and follow me over there.)

Zilla and I bought cherries and raspberries at the supermarket today. Sure signs of summertime and some of our all-time favorites. The weather today is practically perfect – low humidity, comfortable temps, abundant sunshine, and a delightful breeze. It’s nice to be enjoying the light and freshness of summer again. If summer would stay exactly like this, I could love it all the time. But when the humidity and bugs and high temps kick in? Forget it.

Super big news here recently is that the Hub passed a major test for one of the courses in his degree program. Passing that test gains him a new IT cert, renews a couple of existing ones, and earns him a passing grade for the course. He’s doing great things and Zilla and I are very proud of him. We are so thankful for how hard he works at his job, at his school program, and at everything he does to take care of us. He’s a great guy – one of the best out there and we’re so thankful to have him in our lives. Now that the test is over, maybe I can get him to fix the dripping kitchen sink…

I’ve also been taking some online classes. Not degree-related, but awesome material that is helping me move forward in my professional (and personal) goals. I’m about to take final exams for the two classes that just ended. I’m thankful that I found this online opportunity and for the public library that made it possible. Sadly, this particular program is no longer being supported by the library, so I have to find an alternative to continue the learning path I have planned out.

As a result of an assignment I shared in one of the classes, a classmate asked if they could add part of something I wrote to their clippings file. Um…wow. How cool was that? I’m pretty excited that someone loved my words enough to want to save them and I’m grateful that they asked.

Speaking of writing, while precious little is making it here to the pages of the blog, I’ve been doing quite a bit of it. Zilla and I are making slow but steady progress on our Rotten Cat book series. I was so hoping to release the first by the end of this month, buuuuut…that’s not happening. So at the moment we’re stepping back to re-assess and come up with a better plan. They are coming soon, though, and I’m actively assembling a team of beta readers and a team of read-and-reviewers. Interested? Send me an email or a Facebook message.

I have also made significant progress on the early stages of my first novel. Yeah, novel. How about that? That’s kind of in the background for the moment while I work on the kids’ book release process, but it’s moving steadily. I may actually have a first draft before the end of the year. We’ll see. I also took a huge leap and huge risk by talking specifics about the book out loud to someone recently. In fact, I did it more than once. So I’m mighty excited about that.

I’ve pulled in a few new paid writing jobs recently. Most are small and that feels well, small…but it’s progress. And I’m thankful for all of it because it means I’m moving that much further along the path of the goals and dreams I have laid out for myself. Slow but steady wins the race, right?

I am thankful that my Hub and Zilla let me be a little high-maintenance and blow my cool every now and then. They get me.

I am incredibly thankful for an uninterrupted shower. Fifteen indulgent minutes during which no man, child, or cat entered the room to interrupt with any need or inquiry. I love them all. I do. I appreciate how much they all depend on me. But please give me these few minutes alone every now and then. Thank you.

That does it for me. Not bad for a day that otherwise felt like a big fat dud. And for that, I’m very thankful, too. Because even when the days seem to go all wrong, there is still much good to be found.

Because even when the days seem to go all wrong, there is still much good to be found. Click To Tweet


I’m joining the gang at the Ten Things of Thankful hop this week. Celebrate the blessings in your life – no matter how many or few! The hop link-up is open each weekend from Thursday through Tuesday evening. Click on the link in the image below to find this week’s posts and link your own.

Ten Things of Thankful

Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

10 thoughts on “Finding My Summer Groove

  1. The photo of the cherries makes me want to go buy some tomorrow!
    After having temperatures above 100 degrees this weekend, I was especially glad to have a cooler day today. It only got to the mid 70’s.
    Congratulations to both you and your husband for doing well in your classes.
    It sounds like you have a lot of irons in the fire, but it sounds like you have a supportive Hub and daughter.
    Wishing you much success with your pursuits of writing a novel.
    I love how you and Zillia are both working on the Rotten Cat series. She will have fun memories of doing this with you.

    1. Cherries are so gorgeous right now – I couldn’t resist a bag. They’re around for so short a time.
      Thank you, Pat. We do have quite a few irons in the fire and yes, the Hub and Zilla are amazingly supportive. I love that Z and I are doing the books together and no matter what the future holds for our books, doing it together is pretty awesome.

  2. I loved the tone of this entire post, it is so in keeping with the TToT concept of finding good things in our lives no matter what else is going on, because something always is. I remember the wonderful days of breathing a little easier as a mother during summer vacation, because even though I was working at not at home during the day, it meant less planning, less making sure everything was ready and running on schedule, and everyone was in bed on time.

    With you working at home, I can imagine the challenges of scheduling in time where you can wholly focus on work while Zilla entertains herself. That’s good too though, a life lesson in enjoying your own company! I was happy to hear that the Rotten Cat series is still in the works, such a fun experience to share! Please add me to the list of beta readers, I do enjoy cat antics “just a little”! :–) I am excited that you have a novel on the back burner too, and are having some writing jobs come in to keep you going. Every effort helps you grow your skills and helps put food on the table!

    Speaking of food… cherries, yes! I had to indulge in an expensive bag of them for us too, just couldn’t resist! Last night Papa Bear’s coworker sent home a bag of yellow squash from their garden, mmmm! I love summer cooking, lighter, easier fare. I love your CSA participation, it does make it much simpler to plan meals!

    Huge congrats to the Hubs for passing that major test. It sounds like he’s moving right along on that degree, and that has to mean good things for the future for all of you! I like that you are also doing classes and teaching Zilla in the process that learning is a lifelong undertaking. LOL at the kitchen sink, if it was a computerized device I bet he’d have it operating correctly in no time at all! 🙂

    To write something that someone found enough personal value in to want to save is a huge morale booster. I can’t say I am surprised though, because you are intelligent and wise beyond your years in the way you approach life. Yes, even on the days that seem to go to the dogs, you have learned how to resurrect motivation for the next day and carry on, and that’s really the big secret to life… shake it off, an do the next thing. 🙂

    Having a family that accepts the occasional meltdown is a blessing, because we all have them, and don’t need guilt to follow. Meltdowns are human, and a little TLC can go a long way at times like that. I had to smile at your thankfulness for an uninterrupted shower. Such a simple thing, yet often a rare occurrence with a house shared by family and furkids. A total luxury! Now I vote that you should get a “Mommy goes away” retreat weekend at last once this summer, where you can go do something fun by yourself, or join a friend, or be a hermit and write nonstop. Those are gifts we all should give ourselves, time to be in the role of “just me” for a little while leaves one refreshed to return to family and all that it is.

    I know you have a birthday coming up this week, any special plans for celebrating? I hope we’ll hear taht you did something fun for the ocassion in your next TToT! Love you much, have a very happy one! XOXO

    1. Honestly, Josie, I wasn’t even going to do it but I was cranky and figured it was a good idea. 😀 Plus, I knew I wouldn’t get anything else written and up on the blog, so…there you go.
      Working at home is hard – was just saying this in reply to Clark – but trying to do it with kid home all summer is WAY hard. We’re finding our way… The cat books are definitely still in the works, but the work is slow. This project is priority one at the moment – have to take advantage of my illustrator being home all summer. 😉 The novel is definitely beginning to take shape. It’s kind of strange. It’s begging to be written, but it can’t be number one on my list right now. But it won’t take no for an answer. So I’m just working at it and taking each day as it comes. I have serious plans for this bad boy come fall when I’m home all alone and uninterrupted again. 😀
      The writing is good lately – not that much of it has made it to the blog, but perhaps I’ll pull some of it over here because why not? We’ll see. Is it putting food on the table? Not hardly. A Skittle here and there, perhaps. But it’s all progress. I’m thankful that I am not the sole breadwinner, that’s for sure. I do hope the near future holds some very good things. Say a prayer or two in that regard for us.
      Birthday…yeah, I guess I do have one this week. No big plans. I think maybe dinner with family, which is always really awesome. Can’t think of a better way to celebrate.
      Love back, xoxo

  3. Novel eh? We totally need to figure out how to arrange schedules for a call-in for writing. There’s something about writing thats fun to talk about, but normal people tend to glaze over, 5 minutes in. (“But…but, finding the right it’s such a critical step and, depending on the cultural background of the character…. ‘hey! wait, I’m just getting to the good part!!”)

    Working from home is difficult when the house is empty. Add people engaged in activity and life-stuff and, well, you have my respect for getting anything done. (Theres something about empty houses and houses with people in it who are being very quiet, so as not to disturb you. They are not the same.)
    Have a productive week!

    1. Novel. Yeah. A call-in would be very cool. Absolutely.
      Working from home is a challenge. Home alone, I’m left to my own devices and totally unsupervised. Some days are hard. People home? Total distraction. Even when they try to give me space and time, it’s very hard to get truly immersed for a variety of reasons.

  4. You said a lot from my post spoke to you and I can say the same here after reading this finally.

    Planning the unplanned. Exactly.

    I love that your family get you. That is important for those in our lives.

    A day with berries, sunshine, and a breeze is one of the best anyone could ask for.

    Ah, finally I hear what your children’s book is based on and I love it. All the times reading about “The Rottens” and I can’t think of a more perfect subject for you to be the one to put out there. Kids will love that.

    I would love to read it, be one of those lucky to see it sooner, in any way you might need.

    Also, the novel is exciting. Glad you are finding your routine and I hope this summer is a great one for you.

    Also, I meant to read this and the other posts before now, but this is meant to be because I can now wish you a happy birthday here. Final day of June feels like an excellent day for a birthday.

    1. It’s a great day for a birthday. I used to laugh when listening to the radio and hearing the fast talk at the end when the announcer would say “all offers expire June 30.” Thanks for the birthday wishes.
      I would love for you to read the books, Kerry. Talk to me sometime about how we would make that happen?

  5. Your list is awesome here. I love that you’re working on your books – yes, BOOKS! – and you’ll get into a routine. Just remember to be kind to yourself as you adjust to having the Little One at home. 🙂 In just over a month, she’ll back at school already, too. Whew! It sounds like wonderful things are going on over there. Keep up the awesome work!

    1. Be kind to yourself…important and something we all need to remember more readily.
      I can’t believe we’re at almost a month of summer break already. She’ll be back in school far too soon. As strange as it is to keep a routine over summer, I love having her home and having the freedom to do whatever comes our way. School will begin again all too soon.

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