Hitting the creativity wall

For the last week or so I’ve felt like I was ahead of Halloween in a way that felt good. We baked cookies, I bought a few decorations (because for some reason we’ve never had any, and that suddenly felt like a problem I needed to address), I started playing the kids’ Halloween playlist on the way to school on Friday, and I was making what felt like great progress on Vivi’s costume and had a solid plan for the boys. Then tonight I realized that I needed to rip out a seam and move some things, and when I stitched the skirt together one side seemed totally off and I couldn’t figure out how to put in the elastic, so I decided to put it aside and start on Jonah’s costume, only to discover that I bought the wrong color duct tape. Suddenly I was overcome by a wave of panic and felt my confidence slipping away. Continue reading

The first weekend of solo-parenting

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Have I mentioned before that Kristin is doing a yoga teacher training program in Chicago this fall, and that she’ll be gone for nine weekends? I’ve been incredibly anxious about it, and it kicked off this weekend. To be honest it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I had plans Friday night and getting ready for the sitter and getting out of the house was much harder on my own, but the days went by fairly easily for the most part, and the weather has been so cool and beautifully fall-like that I was happy to skip the usual weekend field trips and stay home a bit more. Continue reading

Northern Michigan Vacation: 2018

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We just wrapped up our final vacation of the summer and I pretty much hit rock bottom this afternoon. I’m never at my best post-vacation, but somehow today there was a perfect storm: the last-hurrah sadness, Kristin having left this morning for a wedding in North Dakota, feeling a little let down by friends, the start of kindergarten just two-weeks away, wishing that our kids were a little more grateful (despite the fact that I know it’s developmentally appropriate for them not to be), and a giant toy mess in the basement that has been setting me off for weeks each time I go down there to do laundry. I woke up with a to-do list in mind, determined to show this solo-parenting weekend who was boss, and ended up threatening to throw all of the toys away and basically sobbing in the basement while I cleaned after telling the kids that they should probably just find new families because I was done parenting. Given the circumstances, they did a remarkable job of caring for themselves for hours. At one point I came upstairs and found them all painting with watercolor at the art table (I have no idea who got a glass down from the cabinet for paint water), and they played with one another basically without incident all day long. When I’m at my worst as a mom, the thing that I’m most thankful for is that they really do love one another. I’d rather be the bad guy and have them band together than the other way around. Continue reading

Charleston, SC summer road trip

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We just returned last night from the road trip that we almost didn’t take, and I’m so very glad that we made the journey. As I mentioned before, I had all kinds of worries about the drive, the heat, what we would do while we were there, but none of those things posed a problem. The kids were absolute troopers on the drive. Sure, they watched a million movies, but they really were pretty amazing about the whole thing. Continue reading

Long drives and road trips

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We’ve reached that point in the summer when suddenly there seems to be some sort of time vacuum happening. We text with friends to set up casual get-togethers and find that there are virtually no days left before school starts when we’ll all be in town (and we’re in a city where back-to-school doesn’t happen until after Labor Day). Although we’re doing fairly well with our summer bucket list, I started to panic a little last night. Continue reading

Backyard magic

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Over a decade ago, back when I was in New York and the home and family that I wanted was all still a dream, I was talking to a colleague about how much I wanted a house with a yard someday. The only thing that I can remember about that conversation was my colleague telling me that she too remembered wanting one, only to find that once they had one they absolutely never used the yard. I vaguely recall wondering at the time if that would be true for me too; if perhaps this idea of spending time outdoors in a backyard (or front yard) oasis would just turn out to be an annoyance: yard work, insects, humidity, too much sun etc.

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The first weekend of summer

It was the first weekend of summer vacation and I’m exhausted and ready for bed but want to reflect on our weekend a bit before it all drifts away.

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First of all, this boy finished up preschool and I did cry a few times throughout the day. Once as I got back in the car after dropping them off, then later on as I handed off a bunch of garage sale items to a neighbor (including baby clothes and booster seats that we no longer have babies for), and a third time when Kristin and I met with his teacher for his final conference. Continue reading

The last days of preschool

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We’ve been counting down to summer since the days were in the twenties. Now the board reads “1 Day” and a strange combination of excitement and crushing sadness and worry is bouncing around in my brain. I’ve been worrying about tomorrow all week long; it’s Jonah’s last day of preschool, forever. It’s also the last morning for two months that I have to worry about getting all of the kids up and fed and dressed and out the door in time for me to get to work. And it’s the start of the long daylight evenings with no concern (ok, less concern) about bedtime, nights of catching fireflies in the yard and eating popsicles on the patio. It’s also the first summer that I’ve felt like we really have a growing number of friends here, lots of people I’m excited to spend time with all summer long. Continue reading

Vegetable gardening for beginners

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When Jonah and I went to the greenhouse a month or so ago to buy plants for the pots on our patio, I decided to pick up some tomato plants as well. For a year or so I’ve been interested in starting a small vegetable garden. They have one at the kids’ preschool and the twins eat cherry tomatoes off of the plants like they’re candy, and the other day Vivi came home from school with a small carrot in a dixie cup full of muddy water and could hardly wait to eat it. I thought that it would be rewarding to share the process of growing your own food with the kids and, if I’m being honest, it probably fulfills a small piece of my desire to raise the kids on a screen-free Montana homestead. Continue reading