Clark Lake: the plan B we all needed

There’s an article that I absolutely love, I probably link to it almost annually, called The Myth of Quality Time. When I read it years ago it shifted the way that I think about family vacations, especially those with extended family. I used to worry a lot about whether I was making the most of our time together and more specifically whether it felt like “quality time.” That article helped me to see that brilliant moments of joy and connection weren’t something that I could facilitate through appropriate activity choices. It’s about showing up, spending time together.

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Camping in Leelanau

Somehow it’s already mid-July. Time feels hazy and confusing, but even though our days and weeks don’t feel terribly different than they did in the spring, the march towards fall and the unpredictable school year that lies ahead is bringing a sort of dread. Somehow I’m simultaneously confident that we’ll be fine in the long run, while also expecting the logistics of managing online learning for three small children while working full time, possibly with no second adult at home (since they may send her back to the school building) to be a hellscape unlike anything I’ve juggled before.

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Almost summer

It’s been a challenging couple of weeks. Less so in our house, more so in America, but also just being a person trying to do the best I can. Social media has been overwhelming, and all of the conflicting “shoulds” have really been throwing me off. I feel like I’m finding my internal compass again and going back to the things that feel right to me: reading, listening, expanding my knowledge, having conversations, being vulnerable, but most importantly trying to raise good humans who understand racism and privilege. I’m not perfect and I’m never going to be. That is what it is.

It’s the last week of school and the weather has been summer-like and this past weekend was lovely. We went to Saugatuck Dunes State Park and both K and I were amazed that we’d never been before. Getting to the beach involved a long hike through the woods, but it was gorgeous.

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Halloween 2019

I was so on top of Halloween this year. I knew that I was going to have more than usual on my plate this month (I promise to write about Pecha Kucha soon, because it was amazing), so I got an early start and finished a couple of weeks early. The weather forecast for Halloween isn’t looking good but today was gorgeous, so I told the kids that I wanted to take costume photos today just in case it’s pouring on Thursday. Continue reading

September roundup

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School started a couple of weeks ago and it feels like it’s been months since we were up north. I miss that time, so Kristin and I have already been talking about next summer’s vacation. My parents are on an epic cross-country road trip right now and the things they’re seeing and doing make me want to do a lot more camping and outdoor exploring. Continue reading

Northern Michigan Vacation – 2019

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Sleeping Bear Dunes at sunset. My favorite place.

It really hasn’t been that long since we returned from our road trip up north, but it feels like an eternity of juggling work and kids and school year prep has passed, so trying to get back there in my head to write about it is a challenge.

We thought about changing things up this year (without any specific locations in mind) but the kids love our summer tradition so much that they wouldn’t have it. Jude in particular talks about the cabins and Mackinac Island all year long. They love this trip. Continue reading

Big feelings and little moments

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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

Family tie-dye

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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.

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Becoming a camping family

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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