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

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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Glimpses of magic at the edge of summer

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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

Mudroom / Craft Room Renovation

First, can I just say that I really love our house? When I think back to the agony of our long-distance house-hunt, I vaguely remember thinking that it would be amazing to have a mudroom, even just a tiny hallway that could serve as one, but I don’t think that I ever believed that it was likely enough to make it to our formal “wish list.” We were incredibly lucky to find this place, and one of the rooms that has held a lot of promise but mostly felt like a disappointment for the last two years is what the previous owners called the breezeway (despite the fact that it’s a fully indoor, four-seasons room). It’s a remarkably large breezeway, at 10′ x 18′, and I believe the previous owners used it as an office. It connects the garage to the rest of the house, with doors to both the great room and the kitchen.

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Halloween 2019: Space Men & a Mermaid

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Halloween was yesterday and today I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on some of the quirky and challenging things that make me me. In particular the things that come out in high-stakes situations that I value deeply. It’s no secret that I love Halloween. It’s second only to Christmas (and when I was a child it might have actually been first). My mom poured love into every homemade costume, my dad took us trick-or-treating from block to block until late into the night (it always felt like 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. but maybe times have changed? Or maybe 8:00 feels a lot like 10:00 at the end of October when you’re a kid).  Continue reading

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

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

Learning to love nature and passing it on

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It’s finally, finally becoming beautiful in Michigan. Last week we had a couple of rain storms and, while things were already beginning to show signs of life, everything in the yard seemed to wake up almost overnight. Our new bike trailer arrived last Monday, and I’d been eyeing the forecast all week long and had big hopes for a perfect weekend outdoors. Ever since we uncovered the patio furniture a couple of weeks ago I’ve been wanting to plant things in all of my mom’s hand-me-down pots, the farmers’ market opened for the season this weekend, and I was eager to get the bikes out. I had a moment towards the end of the week when I wondered if feeling this excited for the weekend was setting myself up for the possibility of disappointment, but I didn’t know how to feel otherwise so I let the feeling pass. Continue reading

Learning to sew

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I may have mentioned before that my parents bought me a sewing machine for Christmas. Every Halloween I call on my mom to bring hers over and handle the non-cardboard-and-hot-glue portions of the costumes, and while I believe that she really loves spending that time crafting with me, she also knew that it would be worthwhile (and fun) for me to learn how to do it myself.  Continue reading