I worked from home today, which technically I suppose I do every weekday, but what I mean is that I worked from my actual house instead of my parents’ house – the place I usually refer to as my summer office. I stayed home because Kristin was speaking on an education panel up in Lansing this morning. Maybe it was because I was getting a glimpse of the kids’ lazy summer days that I normally miss, or maybe it was because it’s August and my fear of not squeezing in enough special moments before school starts is creeping in, or maybe it’s because I have to leave for New York this Sunday, but I felt a huge sense of longing and sentimentality all day. I just wanted to sweep them onto my lap and give them one more hug and wander outside to watch them lolling on the tree swing. Today I wished that I could be a stay at home mom, at least for a little while. It feels so unfair some days to miss so much of what really matters. Continue reading
It’s nearly August and I’ve been feeling a little anxious lately. Even though I’m wise enough to know that summer isn’t as simple as ten weeks of uninterrupted quality family time, and that in some ways the routine and predictability (and lower expectations) of the school year are almost healthier for a personality like mine, I can never quite shake the urgency and panic that surrounds my need to squeeze the ultimate joy out of this season of long daylight and slow mornings. We’re doing pretty well with the summer bucket list, but I’m still concerned that the next month is going to pass by too quickly and that there’s more I could be doing to make it worthwhile.
If you’d asked me a number of years ago if I considered myself to be “outdoorsy” I probably would have said no. For years I told people that I didn’t especially like BBQs or picnics because eating outside with insects on a table that was very likely stained with bird poop held very little appeal. Somehow though, over the past few years I’ve developed a mild obsession with homestead-y outdoorsy things, following strangers on Instagram who share perfect images of spotless yet wild looking children in modern-hippie-prarie garb (I think that’s a thing), in breathtaking homeschool landscapes in the mountains of Montana, reading amidst goats and chickens or tending to succulents in a stunning backyard greenhouse.
I wanted in. Kind of. I have a tiny vegetable garden, we started composting, and now I wanted to become a camping family.
Did you know that Kristin and I fell in love while camping? True story. It was a required part of a class and to be honest we both kind of hated that trip at the time, but that’s beside the point. It feels full-circle somehow. Continue reading
I woke up with a summer cold last Friday and knew that it had the potential to sabotage the weekend. We didn’t have much in the way of plans, which I suppose was good, but I crave that family time and the opportunity to make magic together. It was the solstice, and we’d talked about heading out to Virtue Cider in Fenville and then catching the sunset over Lake Michigan with some family friends. Fortunately my germs didn’t sway their dedication to the plan, and I figured it might be my best chance to make something of the weekend in case I felt worse in the coming days.
The kids ran wild together, discovering trails (full of poison ivy!) we didn’t know were there, chasing chickens, flipping over in hammocks and just enjoying the expansive surroundings.
We adore these friends, and enjoyed the snippets of conversation that we were able to squeeze in as much as the kids enjoyed their wild freedom Continue reading
I’ve been feeling so energized to get out and do things and line up new projects. It likely has a lot to do with all of the beauty exploding outside. We’ve been having a ton of rain which is never terribly energizing for me, but when it leads to so much green, and every once in awhile that rain gets replaced by a day of brilliant sunshine and blue skies it makes me want to take advantage of it in every possible way.
I’ve been looking up new sewing projects, spending time in the garden, researching composting (which we started this weekend after years of considering it – and it makes me giddy to put scraps into our pretty countertop bin), and building the kids a dowel swing. Continue reading
Easter weekend arrived and it feels like spring is finally here. Saturday was full of all kinds of beauty, most of which I didn’t photograph. We started the day with Jonah and I heading off to an Earth Day 5K at the Nature Center. We did it in celebration of his accomplishment of having completed a ten minute run in gym class. I knew that we would likely walk most of it, and we walked nearly all of it, but to my surprise he never complained and actually told me how much fun he was having more than once.
We stopped by the neighborhood hardware store on the way back home and they gave Jonah a cheap plastic kite. He was thrilled and wanted to try it out immediately, so I warned him that sometimes cheap plastic kites don’t work all that well and don’t last a terribly long time, but we walked over to the schoolyard to give it a try. Despite my skepticism, it actually flew quite well and he was over the moon. It was so much fun watching him run back and forth with it (which honestly amazed me after a 5K). Continue reading
When Kristin dropped off a large bunch of bananas to our next door neighbor just before we loaded up the car to to leave for Charleston, Colleen told Kristin that she recalled someone saying that we would never attempt that drive again after the first time. “I think that may have been the same person who bought way too many bananas before leaving for a road trip. I wouldn’t trust her.” Kristin replied with a wink.
Last Friday Jonah had the day off from school while no one else did. A friend of ours told me recently that she’d taken her daughter, also in kindergarten, skiing for the first time. “She loved it!” she said of her daughter. “You have to take him!”
I grew up skiing and have so many happy memories of those times. My dad took me for the first time when I was seven or so, just he and I. While I don’t remember learning, I vaguely remember coming home and falling asleep on our brown velvet couch after a long day out in the snow. In the years that followed we went up north and to Colorado on ski trips as a family or with our next door neighbors who had girls the same age as my sister and I. I can picture moments like snapshots of the places we stayed, some nice and some less so, the various colors of chairlifts, runs that twisted through the woods and the places we would veer just off of the run to weave through the trees. In middle school my happiest memories are from ski club, winter weeknights when my mom would pack up and drop off all of my ski gear, always packing a Hershey’s Cookies and Mint candy bar in my bag. We’d stay after school until the bus took us way out to the ski hills where they would let us loose with the responsibility to return by 9:00 p.m. before the bus left to bring us back. It left me with a thrilling sense of maturity and trust. Continue reading
Valentine’s Day has never made my list of favorite holidays, but since having kids it feels like an excellent excuse for thematic crafting. For the past couple of years I’ve picked up some pre-cut hearts and loads of stickers and sequins and markers and let the kids go to town and drop whatever chaos they ended up creating into their classmates’ paper-bag mailboxes. This year the holiday coincided with an irrepressible urge to take on a creative project, so I decided to co-opt their valentines entirely. Continue reading
The last two weeks have brought some of the most extreme winter weather Kalamazoo has seen in a very long time. Of the last ten school days, eight have been snow/cold/ice days. It was thrilling at first: wondering the night before if school would be called off (it’s worth noting that this is easier for us because when they call school Kristin is at home to watch the kids), waking throughout the night to peek outside and revise your guess for the morning. We had so little snow in December and early January that I was really hoping we’d get enough for some serious sledding, but this was more than I’d anticipated. Continue reading