Summertime!

Okay. I know I’ve been stangely quiet here lately. But, it’s just because life is seriously always C R A Z Y! Can I say that again!? Life is so crazy. And, now that we are in a pretty good rhythm of both parents working outside the home, it’s still totally crazy. Seriously. I need an assistant just to manage the kids.¬†

But, We do it. And, We do it with a smile (usually) ūüė鬆
Now that we are in the full swing of summer I just want to say that I do have more to say. I am writing (music) like crazy and trying to process that and look at what I want to create next. Album? Yes! Full? Probably. Nashville? Most likely. ¬† When? No idea. I have to work through all of the songs I’ve written over the last couple of years and figure out which ones will ever (or never) be heard.¬†

Hope summer is treating you well. Vacations are my fave…probably yours too!¬†
Xoxo, 
El Momma 

#ELMOMMA31 31 Days of Blogging in July

El Momma, July 2015

We did it! This is my final post of my self-given challenge to blog every day for the month of July. We went on a few random thought trails, but for the most part it was a great experience. I enjoyed sharing a part of my life with you every day this month. If you missed a post or two, feel free to look around. Every post was tagged with the hashtag #elmomma31 , so that should help or you can just scroll back through time or start on July 1  and scroll up until you end on July 31.

Welcome to August. I’m sure you will hear from me again soon as we gear up to go BACK TO SCHOOL!

much love,
El Momma (Rebekah)

Working full time with kids…it’s a whole new summer

What a difference!

We are 5+ weeks in with a few weeks to go and this summer has been very different from the last 10 “summers with kids.”
10 years ago, we were “in the throws” with a newborn baby boy- our Bakri. A very sweet time, really. Rocking chairs, cradles, cuddles, nursing and sleep deprived.
As we were blessed with more babies, a lot of things became a lot easier.
For example, with more children I had less time to focus on one child.
For me, that meant I was a lot less neurotic with the addition of more children. (Sorry, Bakri!)
But, that has just been my personal experience.

I am sure there are parents of single children that have it all figured out. I, however, believe that I’ve improved with each child. ūüôā Thankfully, for them. ¬†I’m pretty chill with them.
So, El summers have been pretty low-key. And, we have been blessed to travel a little: to California, Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Illinois and also places within Texas.
I began working part time before Maddux, our second son was born.
As the kids got old enough, we would fill our summers with VBS at various churches where we either visited or knew people well and lots of YMCA time. I even had a couple of ‘theme week’ summers which the kids really loved. For an example of a theme week, click here http://elmomma.blogspot.com/2013/08/su-mmerweek-5-theme-week-performance.html?m=1¬†I loved theme weeks too. I especially loved it when we had guest camp leaders and extra campers. That always made it extra fun for all.
Now that I am working full time, albeit with a very flexible family-friendly schedule, I worked hard to plan out our summer a couple of months before it began. I looked at all the fliers that were sent home from school, considered the VBS camps we had done in the past and asked other parents what they were doing with their children. We also did swim team for the first time. More about that later, but I’ll just say we loved swim team! So far, our summer rhythm feels really good. The ELs seem really happy too. Some things they are doing together and some things are based on their own interests.¬†
How do you and your kids spend your summer?
Hope it’s a happy summer, friends! Enjoy your loved ones.
Xoxo,
El Momma 

Ninjago camp 

Swim team finals 

Disney Musical Theater Camp

Waiting for the other ELs at swim practice

Summer Week 5 Theme Week- performance week

Our youngest turned 3 this summer. One month before his birthday he asked (completely unprompted) for a Willy Wonka birthday party. It was a perfect idea, so we got to work. We asked our family to join us for the fun and even dress as characters from the book…anyone, but Willy Wonka. Leeland, our birthday boy, would be the only Willy Wonka.

Last year the Els had a performance week and did a song from Aladdin at a family Disney night at our church. This year, the kids picked out their characters and we spent the week rehearsing and preparing for them to perform a few songs from the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie.

He already had a blue velvet jacket (hand-me-down originally purchased by his grandmother for his oldest brother) I found this hat on ebay. And ordered him a size small.

Pajamas, velvet jacket and top hat…normal for rehearsals!

 Practicing for the big performance. Our stage.

¬†Tickets…I purchased a set of Willy Wonka graphics from Etsy. Everything was customized.

¬†The party table. Cake, candy, chocolate and more candy. We’ve never served so much sugar at a party!

Our handsome birthday boy. We found the vest material online. It is the same fabric print as the Gene Wilder vest. Our little Leeland, Willy Wonka was so very happy!

Summer Week 4- Theme Weeks- Water Week

Last week, while the Nation celebrated our Freedom on the 4th of July, we prepared for a week long celebration with Water as our theme. The first objective of water week: learn to swim!
 Swim lessons
¬†With a bird’s eye view

Swimmers must be hydrated and fed well. Here is a photo of us at lunch at the Kolache Factory.

¬†For the 4th of July, we celebrated with family at the Els’ Aunt and Uncle’s pool party! The Els practiced swimming.

Ate yummy dinner by the pool!

¬†Leeland even sported his Willy Wonka top hat in his swim trunks. Can you guess what next week’s theme is? (I’ll give you a hint, it’s performance, birthday and chocolate related)

After the family pool party, we headed home to watch the fireworks! Leeland asked nervously “Are they coming closer?”¬†

 Me and Miss T- July 4th 2013

¬†And, for the weekend, we made a waterpark in the backyard…just dad and the water hose is pretty much all it takes!

 After all of the water park fun in the backyard, we had a picnic. РLeeland
 -Maddux
 -Daddy and Trinity
 -Maddux and Bakri
 -El Momma and Trinity
-The Els
 -The Els
Daddy’s hat on Trinity

Hope you are enjoying your summer. What do you do with your little ones to keep them cool, happy, occupied and engaged in the summer months? Comment below.

El Momma is a blog chronicling the adventures of El Momma (singer/songwriter Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam), her husband and 4 children- the Els. To download a free 6 song sampler from Rebekah’s critically acclaimed debut album, Radiant You, visit www.noisetrade.com/rebekahme/radiant-you¬†

Summer Week 3- Theme Weeks- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Regift!) Week

Last year we went to the big recycling center in West U for Recycle week. This year we decided to do things a little differently. We have 2 bins of recycling that get picked up bi-weekly at our house. We are really good at recycling. However, we needed to go through clothes we can’t wear and have a few things fixed so we can reuse them. We also decided to stop (or at least cut down- I’m not sure how to stop because of bacon in the microwave) using paper towels. We are going to use cloth instead. I will let you know how that goes. We do throw a lot of paper towels away. So, hopefully not using paper towels will make a positive difference.¬†

 We took donations here. Clothes, toys, shoes, etc.

We filled the back of the truck with donations. Bakri and Maddux were excited. 

¬†We took special clothes to our baby niece (she’s 2) and ready for everything Trinity picked out for her!

We even took El Momma’s last year’s summer shoes to the Shoe Hospital for repair. I spent $12 on repairing them instead of $45+ on new ones. ūüôā Win Win!

the start of summer and a plan

Summer is a crazy, wonderful time for us. The kids are getting older and have more specialized interests. My hope and goal for the summer is typically to keep them happy, busy and friendly with others and especially each other. I also want/need to get work done, have time for myself, spend lots of time with them and have a plan. I am so not a type-A personality. My co-workers may disagree. But, it’s true. I’ve found my type-A side through work, because it allows me to be more creative, more free, and more fun. So, type-A, “Miss Organized Self” emerges to plan worship services, direct bands, manage children, etc. I think “Miss Organized Self” is a good persona to have for the summer as well. She’ll keep my kids in line, give them fun things to do and also give me free time to not go crazy. ūüôā

So, we have jobs. These will be weekly jobs to keep us from fighting about who brings plates to the table or who gets out of the car first (that’s a big one). We’ve already ventured out of the house and had breakfast since giving out the jobs for the first week and not one fight broke out. Whew! I’ll let you know if it works past day one.¬†