#1: My first goal of the summer was to sleep in. Quite soon, though, I grudgingly came to understand that sleeping in is overrated. I had this idea that sleeping til 9:30 would not waste my day, that somehow I'd be able to slip out of bed late in the morning all shiny and clean with dishes, laundry and chores happily completed. But in truth getting up even at 8:30 means the day started without me: my kids were finished with their breakfast and READY TO GO while I was trying to catch up with my coffee and a shower. The smoothest days were the ones where I got up earliest (pre-7 o'clock since I have an early bird son), could drink my coffee and read the news quietly before the happy noise of the house began.

#2: Quiet time is good for the soul. Everyone's soul. Within the first week of summer vacation I realized how loud my house is. Someone is always talking. Always. Baby Chickadee is explaining a toy to me in her baby gibberish, Little Missy is explaining a picture to me, G is asking me a question about how the world works, they are talking to each other and me AT THE SAME TIME without taking turns. Noise, always noise. And my ears need a break. So during Baby Chickadee's naptime we often have quiet time for the older two, where my ears get to sit in silence. And everybody's soul is restored and happier afterwards.

#3: If you don't plan ahead, the days will race by. Each Friday I'd look back and think, Where did this week go? And now I'm looking back and thinking, Where did the summer go? (See last week's column.) But right now, in this moment, I think it's okay. We went to lots of baseball and traveled to grandmas houses and went to VBS, but in between there was lots of sitting around and coloring and reading books and playing Happy Action Theater. At least I was with my kids as the days raced by.

#4: It's okay to not see your friends. It is sad to not laugh with them and hear their stories, but I know my friends are still there. They were just spending time with their kids, too. Coffee with them gives me something to look forward to this school year.

#5: In the early mornings, in the noise, in the activity, in the delayed connections with friends, I am glad through it all that I am my kids' mother. It is a privilege.

Erin Fox is a weekly columnist for the Augusta Gazette and a busy mother and wife. Her popular blog - erin's little corner can also be found on our webpage,augustagazette.com.