Semi-Distance

I can be an all-or-nothing type of person, so this middle ground of "things are kind of open" and "you can sort of start being with people" isn't my favorite. But since we're still plugging along at school and anything fun for children is still closed (playgrounds, museums, etc) life has looked pretty similar to the past few months. We did get together Mother's Day Weekend with my family at my parent's and it was SO NICE and soul-lifting. I don't have any pictures because I left my phone in our van all day. Funny how the best days tend to be the ones when you aren't even thinking about your phone!

Not in correct order, but some of what we've been up to:


Started adding some life to our great room. Definitely the scariest painting job I've ever done. Don't look down.


I love this little area in our neighborhood where the boys fish. I long to live in a more nature-heavy, diverse landscaped area but our new house has helped with that in a small way.


Between the neighborhood ponds, our larger yard, and the small woods on our property the boys have had some fun adventures. Recently: teepee building.



FINALLY finished the wallpaper in Soren's room and there was cheering.


Soren standing at the oven crunching kale chips. "num num chip" over and over.


The older boys have been rocking school work and generally fun to be with. Video games is the  screen time reward they're after these days. Even better if it's Beach Buggy in dad's car.


Looking ahead - last week of school! I'm not dying to be done and feel a little worried about occupying everyone since things haven't really reopened. A trip up to Michigan to kick off summer break will be a good start!

Mothering


I wouldn't say I entered motherhood very gracefully. I probably looked like a doting mom from the outside, but on the inside I was anxious and selfish and mostly wanting my pre-kid life back. We had more kids, because I believe in kids having siblings and it seemed like the thing to do.

Each season of postpartum brought mental instability and dark days despite always really enjoying my baby. The best way I can describe my postpartum anxiety/depression is "low capacity". My capacity to handle chaos or stress or decision making was incredibly small. I would have outbursts of anger at the slightest inconvenience or freeze with indecision when overwhelmed.

A lot of this was hormonal and would even out as soon as I would stop breastfeeding, which meant that by the third baby I knew the drill and made the hard decision to stop breastfeeding much earlier than I wanted to. There were other contributing factors to my mental health that required the help of a counselor, but that's a different topic for another time.

The great thing about motherhood is that you get to evolve alongside your kids. I handled the infant stage so differently from Henrik to Soren. I relaxed more with each boy. I've altered and changed my parenting philosophies as I've made mistakes and gotten to know my kids better. It's really kind of beautiful to see how over the past seven years I've grown up alongside my boys.

Now that I'm a year out from my postpartum haze, mentally healthy, and back to a better version of myself I feel like I can finally really enjoy my children and parent from a place of peace. There are very few things I sense from the Spirit as clear directives, but I know He has asked me to pour into my children right now - to really take responsibility for their discipleship, their education, and their childhood.

I love these three and feel so grateful to get to know them even better this next year.

Distance: Week Seven

Our last week of official quarantine was a good one. Even though restrictions are lifting, I assume the next few weeks of our life won't look a lot different until we finish up the school year. Like many people, I have mixed feelings about things opening back up. I know some things really need to get back to normal, for the sake of businesses, restaurants, etc. For that, I'm glad. But, will we lose what we gained during this time and just go back to schedule-packed lives? I hear so many people saying they don't want to go back to the way things were but I have little faith people will actually make adjustments to prevent that. I realize this is easy for me to say... it's easy for me to say no to things and we have already made some intentional family decisions regarding what we let our kids get involved in because we don't wish to live lives running from one event to the next. I always knew this about us, but this time has definitely confirmed we're all happier when things are low key.

First up: Soren turned two on Monday the 27th! We had lovely weather and so much fun celebrating Soren. Blueberry pancakes, Kona Ice Curbside with our favorite neighbors, and lots of outdoor time. We ended the day having pie with Soren's beloved Auntie and family (my social distancing obedience was waning at this point).











Oh Soren - you are something! So funny and strong-willed and precious. In our family, two-year-olds have been SO FUN. I'm hoping Soren continues that trend. Love our little "Snorb" so much!

This tree! It has been so gorgeous in all it's early spring phases.


Snack and craft together - brilliant!


Banh mi style bowls. Our family favorite and most made meal.


One day this package came in the mail addressed to Devin. He said I should open it because it was for me. Apparently he thought I needed a better shaving system because my "razors are always laying around and this one comes with a nice magnetic hanging system". For some reason I found this gift so endearing and loved him for it, even if it felt unnecessary and probably cost more than I would spend on a razor subscription. It's SO DEVIN to want me to have an easier or more streamlined way of doing something. Thankfully this was not a message on my shaving habits. :)




I took a lot of photos of Soren last week because he just kept being so cute.



Date! Sort of...time away from the kids at least! Saturday Marlee babysat and we went downtown, sat in the sunshine on the landing, and drank a beer (yes open containers are illegal...whoops). We got takeout at Nawa and then realized Costco closed early so we saved our food to zoom over to Costco. Then we ate our takeout in the car after shopping, which was a little hard for Devin as he doesn't really allow eating in his car. :) Dates aren't as fun when there's really nowhere to go, that's for sure. We will be excited to sit at a fun restaurant and have a leisurely dinner!

Distance: Week Six (is that possible?!)

I'm hoping this is my next-to-last post with the title 'distance'. Could the restrictions really lift next week?! I'm ready.

Week six...hmm...looked like most of the other weeks. It flew by with the normal routine of school and outdoor play when possible. We waited in a rather long Starbucks line one really gloomy day for cake pops which brightened the mood. I have no use for cake pops in my life. I think they're gross. But then the boys ordered the new lemon cake pop and I was super impressed. I almost regretted not ordering one after Henrik begrudgingly gave me a taste of his.









The weekend found us enjoying beautiful weather, lots of fishing with the N kids, counting down to Soren's birthday and me spending way too long on a pie crust that ultimately was not a success. Why is baking so finicky? It's why I much prefer cooking...no recipe and you can create a fabulous meal while you make one misstep on pie crust and the whole thing feels like a waste.


And finally, the big news of week six! 
We un-enrolled our kids from the school they attend.
This quarantine has highlighted things that work super well for our family and (gasp) I have found it all mostly enjoyable. We've been drawn to the idea of homeschooling for the flexibility it offers. Who doesn't want to set their own schedule?! But it wasn't a good option for us the past two years after having Soren. 
I'm SO GLAD our kids have been at Blackhawk Christian the past two years. It is a phenomenal school with amazing teachers and staff. Seriously, I love everything about it. But I also have really loved our boys spending their days together and with me. I've been looking for some more "purpose" - something to throw myself into. The Lord has used the last several weeks to show me that, at least for the next year, I will be challenged and fulfilled by throwing myself into my kids and their education. 
I know there are trade offs. I know it will be really hard some weeks. I know they will miss out on things by not being at school. But when I look ahead to the next year, the only way forward that I have total peace about is doing their education at home. I know what they'll miss because they've been in school, but I don't yet know what we'll gain so I'm excited to discover those things as well! 
Also we're gonna save a ton of money in tuition - some of which can hopefully go to a couple fun family vacations and extra babysitter budget. :)
I have been hesitant to talk to people about this decision. I don't think anyone sees me as the homeschooling type (including myself). So I feel like I have to defend my decision. I'm sure it's not true, but it's how I feel. I have never wanted to be associated with the homeschool community at large (not speaking of dear friends who I really like) for various reasons. But, alas, I will let go of my pride and be thankful I get to decide what kind of homeschooling family we become. 

More to come on this subject later I'm sure...



Distance: Week Five

Another week rolled by, much similar to the previous few. I have been shocked by my kid's lack of desire to leave the house. They have seemed content to be around our home and outdoors. I think they're feeling an extra sense of safety and security really. Henrik told me today he doesn't understand why people are emotional about this quarantine because he's found it quite enjoyable.

My week personally was a bit rockier but mostly due to hormones and having a lower capacity than I do most weeks. The weather sucked, which didn't help. Quarantine is 100% easier and more enjoyable with the lovely spring weather we've had other weeks. I've also been irritable about my pants being tighter and therefore less comfortable, but we all know who is to blame there. I've been mulling over some changes we're considering for our kid's education next year and it has consumed most of my thought life.


"mom take our picture." uhh...good one, guys.




Friday night was homemade pizza and movie night. They watched the BFG because they finished reading it this week during their nightly bedtime readings with Devin. I was mostly chasing after Soren, who does not watch movies.

The few inches of snow yesterday was an unwelcome surprise, but thankfully it has mostly melted.
If I think through each week of quarantine so far they could be summed up like this:

Week One: ahh, this is nice

Week Two: Bake all the things / Eat all the things

Week Three: Wine

Week Four: Downton Abbey (again)

Week Five: Online shopping
(honorable mention to tight pants...refer back to week two)

Week six has yet to happen but it needs to be 'house projects', so I'm hoping I can report back next week on those!