The kids got out of school a few weeks ago. As much as they loved the routine of going to school each day, I was itching those laid-back days where we didn’t have a schedule to abide to. For us, summer is about being together and going with the flow. It’s about really spending time with one another and embracing the days of adventure and the days of doing nothing.

A couple of months ago, I decided to take a step back from work. I stepped down from my full-time position and decided to do more freelance consulting. While working from home is wonderful, I knew that this is the prime-time with these three little ones and ultimately, that’s what matters. So with less on my plate and more time during the day, I decided that this summer is all about us.

We’ve got no schedule. No routine. Nothing on our plate, except for whatever adventure the day takes us on.

I have to admit that I am loving the age that the kids are at right now. They’re more independent than they’ve ever been, yet still love having me around and involved in everything. We’ve built sand castles together, enjoyed many cups of shaved ice, and have played for many hours on the playground.

Most of all, we’re enjoying this time together. When I think back of my childhood, the summers that I spent with my family are the memories that stick out most vividly for me. They are a sacred time that should never be wasted. So we’re taking full advantage.

Last night, shortly after putting the kids to bed, I sat on the couch and cried. Some tears were tears of joy, while others were tears of sadness. Just an hour before, Macks called me up to his room and told me he had to use the potty. We’ve been in the potty training process for about a month now and he’s finally starting to get it. But we’ve hit a few obstacles along the way. One being (for lack of a better word) poop. He won’t go. Not in the potty, not in his Pampers Easy Ups training underwear. He will just hold it in until he’s absolutely miserable. Which then makes us both miserable. But last night something must have clicked. He called me up, told me he had to poop, went to the potty and went. It was as easy as that. We did our little excited potty dance and headed off to bed, like this was something that was part of his daily routine (which I assure you it is not.)

I didn’t lose it until after he went to bed. Because I was happy for him. Elated that we were making it over this hump, yet filled with so much sadness that we were closing yet another chapter in our lives. Yet another step towards more independence. We’re closing this baby stage in our family and moving forward as a family with three “kids.” It’s a hard pill to swallow when you realize your youngest baby isn’t such a baby anymore.

Macks has always been one to do things on his own time. He wants to do things his way. There’s no reasoning with him. He was my first child that went past his due date. He was the one that took the longest to sleep train. And alas, he’s the one that’s taking the longest to potty train.

The girls were easy to potty train. As soon as I put them in preschool, they’d see their classmates using the potty and within weeks, we were out of diapers. Avery was potty trained both during the day and through the night within a month. It felt like I didn’t even have to try, it was so easy.

And then it came time for Macks to use the potty and it wasn’t even close to how the girls were. Once again, Macks assured me that he wanted to do it on his own time. So learning from his cues, I decided, we’d just wait for him when he was ready.

Rather than pushing it and asking him to try to use the potty, I just let him be. We started using Pampers Easy Ups Training Underwear, but I didn’t even make a big deal about them. He loved that he could wear something with Thomas the Train on them, but I didn’t harp to him on the fact that that looked like big boy underwear or they were easy to pull up and down like underwear.  Thank goodness that they were ultra-absorbent because we needed that extra protection with the way he was using them. And he used them for months.

He was one of the only ones in his class that still wasn’t potty trained and yet he was fine with it and I was too. I remember speaking with his pediatrician at his three year appointment and the doctor assured me that it would come. He said, let him be and eventually he would turn the corner. He didn’t give me any tricks or three-day methods to get him over the hump. His only suggestion was to give him the time that he needs.

And that was the best advice I could have ever been given. Because it worked. Macks didn’t need any special methods to help him use the potty. All of the tricks that I’d used with the girls were completely useless to him. Because in true Macks fashion, Macks had to do it his way in his time.

So if you’ve got a “Macks” in your house, just let them do it their way and in their time. Because eventually it will happen. And you’ll think to yourself, the timing couldn’t be better.

Pampers Easy Ups Training Underwear won the 2017 Best New Product Award. Easy Ups look, fit, and feel like real underwear while providing the outstanding leak protection you’d expect from Pampers. Your little ones will think it’s underwear, but you’ll know it’s Pampers.

Last week I chaperoned Harlan’s field-trip to the beach. They’ve been learning about the different bodies of water lately and to end the lesson, they took the school bus to the beach nearby. I couldn’t help but pinch myself as I watched as her and her classmates waded in the water observing all of the plant and animal life that existed. It was such a gorgeous day and to be able to just take a quick trip to our local beach was incredible.

Since our move nearly three years ago (crazy, right?) I keep finding things that I love about the town that I live in. I’ve fallen more and more in love with the beach as the years pass. No matter what time of year it is, I always love driving down and watching the calmness of the water and the boats out in the distance. If I ever need a moment of tranquility, chances are, you’ll find me at the beach.

This weekend our beaches officially open in our town, and while I know they will be packed with people to celebrate, I still find that tranquility that I find during the winter months. To be able to sit on the beach and watch the kids splash around in the water, run after each other in the sand, build sand castles together, is one of the most enjoyable feelings for me.

Since we spend a lot of time at the beach and at the pool in the summer time, I always want to make sure that I not only have stylish bathing suits that the kids love, but ones that will hold up to their craziness. I really love the collection of swimsuits that Lands’ End has. The kids sat with me to pick our their suits which is always a fun process for me. As much as I love shopping for them, I love involving them in the process. And all three of them are very vocal about what they do and don’t want to wear.

They loved all of the swimsuits from Lands’ End that the hard part was getting them to narrow it down to one favorite. It didn’t surprise me at all that Avery choose the suit with the sunglasses. This girl loves her accessories and what a better way to show that off than with an adorable swimsuit. Macks is all about the sharks because he’s been going over aquatic life in school, and Har loves a good tropical look with the pineapples.

We’ve already got our bags and swimsuits packed to celebrate this long weekend. If you want to find us, we’ll be hanging out at the beach.

To kick-off Memorial Day and the unofficial start to summer, I’ve partnered with Land’s End to celebrate National Swimsuit Day. Today only, May 23, you can purchase your favorite swimsuits for the entire family at 50% off, plus upgraded free shipping! That means that not only can you get a great deal, but you can also have your suits in time to hit the pool or the beach this weekend!

And what’s better than a day at the beach? A vacation at the beach! Enter the Lands’ End Best on the Beach Sweepstakes. You could win an 8-day, 7-night stay for two at the British Virgin Islands, Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina!

Swimsuit details: Harlan’s Swimsuit | Avery’s Swimsuit | Macks’ Swimsuit and Top | Lands’ End Bag and Towel