Kids, Life, Summer

Looking ahead: summer, changes, etc.

It’s officially May, which means we have entered Ethan’s official last month of middle school.

This also means this is the LAST month of the boys attending the same school. (Possibly forever, because there’s a very real possibility they may actually attend different high schools.)

This makes me a bit sad! I am so used to our routines, etc. right now, and everything is about to get shaken up, big time.

High school for Ethan next year is going to be wildly different, and his school is also almost ~25 minutes away from home. He’ll have HIGH SCHOOL sports- a whole other beast- and probably a whole other level of homework, responsibilities, new extracurriculars, hopefully new friends…

Our morning routines are going to be totally different, too, with Ethan needing to leave early in one direction (some combination of carpooling, Ivan driving, me driving, ??? Not totally sure yet. Wait- OMG, actually, he will have his temps by then, so I guess HE will be driving most days!!! Eek.) and Asher needing to get to their current school.

Speaking of driving, Ethan had his first driver’s ed class last night! He goes for 2 hours every night this week, and then takes the written temps test on the last night. Assuming he passes that, he will be all set to go to the DMV on his 15th birthday (July 12th!) to pick up his temporary license. (He’ll also have to complete another 22 hours of online training, but he can do that at any point this summer- it doesn’t have to be done before he can get his temps. Plus behind the wheel training, of course.)

This is an exciting time around here. But it’s kind of mind blowing, too. I knew all of this was coming, and it’s not that I don’t want it to come- it’s part of life, and it’s all good stuff. It’s also a little bit sad to see one chapter close and another begin. Mixed emotions, I guess. Which is probably normal. 🙂

Summer 2023

I’m also trying to sort out summer plans. We are not doing a bunch of constant camps, etc. anymore, which is a perk to not having little kids that need “childcare”. The kids would legit revolt if I tried to schedule their every minute anymore.

But obviously they need to have some activities and whatnot.

Asher’s June is pretty tied up with a week long training trip to Fort Myers, FLORIDA with his swim team at a university, followed by a family vacation right after that. He always stays pretty busy in general with swim team practice everyday, and I know he’ll want to spend a lot of time at the gym with friends, biking around, fishing, etc. I need to figure out some other options for him though. Maybe a soccer camp. Last summer he did some online art classes that were a good option. He usually does the summer band lessons through school once a week.

Normally he goes to a sleepaway traditional “summer camp” at some point, but with this big Florida Swim Training Trip in June and his Washington D.C and Philadelphia school trip in the fall, we told him no other super expensive camp this summer! He’s already getting thousands of dollars spent on him for these other trips…We felt like he needed to learn that you can’t just do “everything”, and “real life” includes making some choices. So we said- choose either the Florida training trip or the sleepaway camp, but not both. He chose Florida. 🙂

Ethan has work, so that is an easy way to fill a bunch of time. He’s also doing a strength and conditioning class at his high school every morning from 7:30-9. Also possibly a basketball league, and a pre-high school soccer camp at school as well. He’ll have piano lessons too.

I don’t feel like we have a ton of concrete plans for them yet, though. We actually were toying with the idea of sending them to Mexico (alone) for a couple weeks in early August, just for the experience of being there without us and to spend some quality time with their abuelitos. But not sure yet, as Asher isn’t old enough to fly unaccompanied….

We’ll see! I need to think about everything a bit more. I feel like the high school summer information has been slowly trickling out… whereas other camps/activities had deadlines months ago! It makes it very complicated when there are so many question marks. Also, my sister + family will be in the U.S. for an extended time this summer, so that will affect some of our plans probably, too! Lots of moving parts. 🙂

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for Ethan’s friend’s mom offering to drive to the Spanish placement test this afternoon!! Score! I just got ~2 hours back in my day.

Bonus gratitude: WARMER WEATHER coming up. The weather has been miserable… see Asher’s soccer game on Sunday. Rain, cold, wind….. ugh. The worst!!!

23 thoughts on “Looking ahead: summer, changes, etc.”

  1. We need to solidify summer plans, too, but I’m not eager to do so with our lives in flux. But my husband’s last week of classes is this week and he has finals next week and this is his last summer when he won’t be chair of his department for at least three summers, so we should do something special. But it’s so hard. *sigh*

    Driver’s licenses! That is sure going to change the dynamic in your household. Ha! How are you going to work out the car situation in your household? Are you going to get another car for the kids to use? Or let them use yours? I’m always fascinated by how this works.


    1. I drive a 2012 minivan currently that is right on the cusp of needing to be replaced, and my husband’s car (a Honda Accord) is getting pretty up there in miles, too/ he wants to replace in near future. The current plan is to hand down the Accord (Ivan’s car) to Ethan in summer 2024 when he gets his license. It’s in good shape yet but getting older, so good for a kid while still being very nice, and safe. My husband will just get a new car for himself at that point. I’m not sure yet how we will handle the $ part. I don’t think we are going to make Ethan “buy” the car from us exactly, but we may be do something like decide on a dollar amount and have him pay us X dollars per month towards it or something. (Considering we will have to buy a new car and not get the benefit of any sale or trade in dollars!).

      I actually think my husband also told him he has to pay for half of his driver’s ed classes, too, which Ethan was totally on board with. I mean, he does have a job…. time to start putting some dollars to use. 😉 For gas, we will probably split it somehow with him- like we will cover gas for things we would have driven him to anyway, like going to soccer practice or driving Asher somewhere for us, etc. But if he just wants to go driving around, go see friends, etc, well…then he needs to pay for some of it, too. I know when I was a teen I also had to pay my insurance premiums, or at least part of if it, I think.


  2. Yay I’m so happy to read your sister’s family is coming for an extended visit this summer. I feel so lucky that my brother is only an hour away…can’t imagine if he and his kids were in a different country!


  3. How nice that you will get to see your sister! It sounds like such a full and busy summer ahead for everyone — not without its stresses, of course, but hopefully lots of fun! And eeeee!!! Temporary license and high school! Those are big exciting changes!


  4. FWIW, we have three sons – ages 26, 24, and 24 (fraternal twins). When they got their first car all those years ago, we gave each one of them up to $5,000 to do so. They could spend less, but if they spent more it was up to them to cover the difference.

    We also provided them with $X each week towards gas. Again, over that amount they had to cover on their own.

    We covered the full cost of their insurance (gulp!!) for two years, then when they turned 18 they started paying half of the cost. At 20 they started paying the cost in full.

    This is what worked for us, but could definitely depend on college choices, etc. Our boys all went to college locally and lived at home during that time.

    It’s the BEST when they can start driving themselves to those early morning sports practices…our oldest played ice hockey and had some at 6 am……


    1. Thanks for sharing! We are still in the “brainstorming” stage of figuring out the details on some of this/ haven’t really fully talked about it yet, so it’s helpful to get ideas of what has worked for other people. 🙂


  5. I love all of your updates about the boys growing so quickly.

    Over here, people can drive from 17 so I always find it so interesting how it is younger in the US! It seems perhaps easier there too? Here, there is a theory test and then a practical driving test with an instructor in the car with you… lessons are usually weekly over several months


    1. Well here you can’t get your license until 16, like to drive alone. It used to always be you could get your temporary license/ learner’s permit at 15 1/2, but they’ve recently changed it to 15! I guess so that kids have a full year of driving with their parents before they are eligible for their full license, and also so they have the chance to drive in all 4 seasons (ie. SNOW)…. You have to do the written test/ classroom portion and then there is a certain number of hours they have to drive with an instructor before getting their license, too, plus a # of hours the parents have to sign off on, separately.


  6. It’s 16 here in Canada, so I’m also always surprised to learn that 15-year-olds can drive in the US!

    Where does the time go?!!!

    You know all about my challenges with setting up our summer, but I finally got my act together and pulled together a colour-coded spreadsheet which is making me feel slightly better, and I registered them both for a camp they begged to do again for the first week of July (they only finish school on the 30th of June)…and have about 1/2 the summer with confirmed activities. A few of the camps are only 9-12 and some others are M-T, so we will still have PLENTY of down-time to do fun stuff. But last summer was just too much flexibility for this planning soul of mine – haha.


    1. Glad you’re getting your summer stuff sorted out!! It really is complicated, isn’t it!? I never want to be OVERscheduled in the summer, but underscheduling can be a problem, too! Asher’s swim meets etc tend to tie up a lot of the weekends, but we can sometimes run into big gaps during the week….


  7. going to two different schools sound scary… involving logistics and planning. my girls might need to split up in middle school too and I can’t imagine how that would look like… sigh…
    summer with older kids might be easier than with small kids as they can be alone more or with friends. Ideally, I’d send the girls to china alone, to be independent and to be “bored”? I think they need more free space as I used to have when I was kid, then packed activities. for this summer, we are going back to china, do some travel, but mostly spend time with extended family who we haven’t seen since 2019.


    1. That will be great to go back to China! How many vacation weeks per year do you get? You sure seem to get a lot! How lucky! Or will you have to work remotely?


      1. I know I’m super lucky to have plenty of leave. 26 days plus the public holidays. Girls might go back first as soon as they finish school with daddy and then I’ll join them in July for a month.


      2. Oh ok, I get 25 days also plus the legal holiday days (8 days)… I guess it just seems like you get more!! Haha! Maybe because you take more frequent trips I guess, and we tend to go for fewer trips per year but sometimes longer, like a full 2 weeks at a time?


      3. We also have almost 3 weeks of holiday in December that’s not part of my annual leave. So maybe I do have few more days.


  8. I also went to Fort Myers on a training trip for swimming! (This was quite a while ago, though!). I’m curious how or why your kids would have to go to different high schools? Surely they would let them both attend the same one even if they rezone things? We have open borders here (not sure if that is a thing everywhere), but as long as you can provide transportation, you can go anywhere for school.


    1. Oh, funny! I can’t remember the name of the school they are going to train at, but it sounded like lots of fun + some beach down time with friends! Will be awesome I bet. 🙂

      So re: the boys + school, it’s complicated. They started out at our local public schools in kindergarten (we both went to public schools and always assumed the kids would, too. And my mom was a special ed public school teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools for her whole career!) However, we had some pretty serious issues at the public school that we tried and tried to work through, but ultimately it just did NOT work. It was very hard. We ended up pulling them out when Ethan was in 4th grade. So, they’ve been at a local private school which goes through 8th and it has been fantastic for them. For high school we had to decide if we’d return to public now for high school or go to a (different) private school for that as well. Long kind of personal story, but for many reasons we felt the private high school is the best fit for Ethan. (And he particularly wanted to go to the private high school.) However, Asher is a different kid and has different needs/ different personality, and he so far desires to go to the public high school with his swim team friends and wants to swim for the public school team. And we think he will do fine there. So, they may end up split for this reason. 🙂 Although it’s not 100% decided yet about Asher- we have until next year to decide for sure on him.


      1. Oh, that totally makes sense and I’m sorry for your bad experiences! I worked in public schools as a speech pathologist for 7 years and we assume we’ll send our kids there.. (they are 3 and 1, so not pressing at the moment!). And I would really like to go back to work there when my kids are a little older. I have a lot of older friends who say they try to make decisions for their kids and schools as each year passes.. not saying “were a home-school family”, etc. but just reevaluating what’s best for their child as time passes. Oh, and yes- high school swim teams can be such a good bonding experience!! I’m sure Asher would love that!


  9. I’ll be interested in what you decide about the schools. My middle two are in 7th and 8th and I think we are going to send them to different high schools. They have always gotten along well, but lately it seems like they would do better with space from each other. My younger does really well in school, and I don’t think my older one is handling that well (they are in a couple of the same classes because the 7th grader is advanced). Part of me wishes I wouldn’t have let the 7th grader take those classes, but also I didn’t want to hold him back. Anyway, next year they will be separated and I’m hoping my 8th grader can find his place. But I am dreading the thought of two separate high schools (plus my youngest in middle school).

    Also, summer scheduling is stressing me out a bit. I kind of miss the days that I told my kids what they would be doing 🙂


  10. So much change ahead for you guys! This is season of change for us as well with Paul starting kindergarten. He’s going to our local public school which we’ve heard really great things about. Hopefully he’ll have a great experience there. Then in 2 years, Will can go to a 4yo PK there so we only have 2 years of 2 drop-offs. And then they’ll be at the same school for 3 years, but not again until high school – assuming our plans don’t change in terms of school choices. Paul is going to the public school summer program which is at our local elementary school this year. We figure it’s a good way to get him comfortable with the school and they don’t nap there! I know we’ve talked about this before, but they still nap in his room at school and he does not need to nap at age 5 and it results in later bedtime/harder bedtimes. So we are excited to ditch the nap. We aren’t doing any other camps but he gets to do some pretty cool things through this summer program like weekly field trips and every Wed they “swim” at the wading pool, etc. So I think he’ll be well entertained. Camps are tougher for us to swing since many start at like 9 which is not workable for our schedule. We’d have to have a nanny + camps. I’d be more open to that when both boys are in elementary school.

    So what’s crazy is that when I was young, you could get a full fledged license at 14! My parents made me wait until I was 15. So I think I got my learner’s permit at 14 and then my license at 15. I lived in a super super rural area, though. I drove to Fargo quite a bit but I never had to deal w/ super overwhelming free ways or awful traffic in general. They have since changed the law and now you get your license at 16. It’s interesting how different the desire to get a license is amoung kids. My oldest nephew got his license on his birthday and was soooo ready to have it. My other nephew was less motivated. And then i’ve got another nephew who doesn’t care about getting it at all because he wants to live in a place with great public transportation. When I was young, everyone was EXCITED to get their license and there was no delaying it! But again, living in rural America it was ticket to having some freedom!


  11. Lots of changes coming up in your world. I can imagine it’s all bitter-sweet…. exciting to see your boys grow into young men but also sad to realize that they’re no little kids anymore.

    If I may ask, what’s the reason the boys might attend different high schools?


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