The first weekend of “fall”

It’s been at least 90 degrees every day for the past week or so, which is ridiculous since the fall equinox was on Friday. Normally I love spending a good portion of our weekends outdoors, but the weather has been so unpleasant that I went into this weekend feeling a little bit grumpy because nothing sounded like much fun and we didn’t have a plan. I also knew that my 20th high school reunion was on Saturday night, and I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. I was determined to make some family magic happen somehow because I needed to balance out what might be an awkward Saturday night.

Although Kristin was less than enthusiastic about baking in the sun, I dragged everyone to the beach on Saturday morning. Although I have no photos, we had a really wonderful time. We swam, we played in the sand while sitting at the water’s edge, we took the kids to a great playground, and then we headed back home to get ready for the evening. My reunion was actually more fun than I’d anticipated, but Jonah was up really late while we were gone, so we knew that we ought not make Sunday too busy. We did, however, manage to make it to the Fall Fest at the Nature Center (which, again, ninety degrees). We only caught the last hour, but it was a pretty hour and given the weather it was uncrowded. I managed to snap a few beautiful photos of the kids exploring.

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As we left (a little past closing time), I asked a staff member about a couple of terra cotta pots of cherry tomatoes that were sitting on a workbench by the entrance. “Take them,” he said, which thrilled Jude and Vivi because they pick those from the garden at school and the neighbor’s house across the street every chance they get. Then he gave the kids a golf cart ride to the parking lot just because. Jude and Vivi ate tomatoes the whole ride home.

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I don’t know why I get so worried about not squeezing enough quality time and joy into our weekends. I guess the time just goes by so quickly and I see the kids growing faster than I can believe. Somehow though, most weekends at least, it all works out better than I could have imagined.

Farm life on a Sunday

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Even though we thoughtfully and deliberately made the move to Kalamazoo, sometimes the introvert in me wishes that we could live out in the country away from other people and give our kids that magical farm-life childhood full of freedom and dirt and exploring. If I’m being honest with myself, however, I’ve never liked yard work and I’m a bit of a sun-phobic; I love the outdoors, but mostly only between about 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. So visiting farmer friends is a much better compromise.

Our path and our timing seems to have an odd yin/yang way of diverging with that of our good friends Jodie and Guillermo. We met them 13 years ago when I first moved to New York, and Jodie then helped me to land on my feet and find my way all alone in an unfamiliar and overwhelming place. In a year or so, however, they decided to move away and life took them way out west (Jodie to Seattle, Guillermo to Alaska, if I remember correctly), then to Portland, and then finally back to Michigan in pursuit of farm life (with lots of other travel adventures in between). Jodie grew up on a farm, and together they’ve made it their life’s work and purpose. We relied on their advice as we decided whether we could truly move back “home”, since they’d done something similar. And then only a month after we arrived, they announced that they are moving back to New York, but this time upstate to buy a farm. We’re so happy for them, and yet so sad that our paths are moving us in opposite directions once again.

Yesterday they had a small going-away party on their property, so the kids got to spend a few hours dipping their toes into farm living. I loved watching them play and explore: searching for raspberries, climbing on the tractor, wandering through fields. So much joy.

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