Full-swing Summer


Today watching "coffee talk" from SmartHer News (love her and how she presents the facts) she said a couple things I've been thinking about...

One was that as pediatricians look back to Dec/Jan there were some strange sicknesses with kids and apparently there's some discussion of COVID-19 being here earlier than we thought. I have been wondering this as some people we knew had a bad cough/respiratory illness in February that in hindsight seems a lot like Covid. I'm convinced (as a person with no medical training) that more of us have had it than we think. But of course I could be totally wrong about that.

Another thing she talked about was Trump's first rally and his main points about if the democrats win we can expect "anarchy, loss of freedom, loss of guns, and higher taxes". She mentioned that White, Suburban women are one of the key groups (just like in 2016) to impact this election. Realistically, Indiana is never a huge factor in the election, so I'm not sure how much this applies to me, but it made me think as I am in the demographic of white/suburban/woman. Trump's message seemed mostly to me about instilling fear in people that if he doesn't get re-elected we can expect "total anarchy". He must think white, suburban women are prone to fear...oh wait... I for one will not be giving into his scare tactics.

This fear thing is so real. I think it's the number one reason white women don't want to engage in the race discussion. So much talk about "losing our freedoms"...this is fear-based. Fear that somehow this comfortable American Christian life we've created for ourselves won't be quite as easy for us if the playing field is leveled. That's a harsh observation but I really believe it's playing a huge part.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on anything I just said...regardless of if you agree.

So, summer...

Man, these days are long. So fun and full and long. We've been getting in lots of pool time, splash pads, popsicles, parks, etc. Some days the boys are outside before 8 am and since it isn't dark until 10...that's quite a bit of space to fill.


My two peony bushes were fantastic. I only wish they lasted longer.


After a long time searching we finally bought an outdoor dining set, but are now returning the poorly made chairs. Sigh.




My parents took the boys for a couple days so I could finish painting Soren's room and we also needed a babysitter for some friend plans. An unexpected gift was kayaking with 3 of my favorite friends for a couple hours on a perfect 70 degree day. 



Soren got his first real haircut which aged him like 6 months overnight. I felt sad, but he's still v cute.
The older boys are still very into making their own breakfasts...


This past Saturday was the summer solstice. We always celebrate with the standard menu of charcuterie, wine, and whiskey. Devin smoked trout which was a big hit. John and Emily joined us - it's always fun and easy to be with them.


And then Father's Day! Devin golfed with John and Matt in the morning, took the boys to the pool, smoked some ribs, and we all ate too much. I don't say Devin is a great dad out of obligation...he really is very kind and thoughtful when it comes to the boys. They adore him for good reason.


Happy June! The days get shorter from here on out!

First Lake Trip for 2020




We finished up school and headed to Pentwater for the first time this year. May in northern Michigan is pretty unpredictable weather-wise so we were pleasantly surprised to have warmth and sun most of the time! What a gift. The air was crisp and fresh and we were all so happy to be back.

We were headed for the beach one day and I looked in the mirror and thought "wow, I look like a mom". I don't know why, it just kind of struck me funny that day.






So fun to adventure around the dunes with the boys! There were also lots of fishing adventures back at the house with dad and Devin. Soren loves my dad so much and is often found following him around.



Ira catching this large bass on his little plastic pole was a highlight of the trip. Such surprise and joy!




Henrik continues his fishing obsession and spends a surprising amount of hours with a pole in his hand. He knows the names of all the various baits lures and other fishing lingo. I love this for him.






Soren was a handful, but a fun one. He has no fear and thinks he can do whatever his brothers do. I finally gave him a broken pole and tied a hook-less bait to the end which entertained him for quite so time without me having to worry about a hook to his face. He only fell off the dock once the whole trip which is actually kind of a miracle.



Probably my biggest highlight was also the boy's highlight. They mastered the paddle boat themselves and suddenly had new independence to go out fishing on their own. They were so cute loading up their tackle and poles and heading out. They worked well together and I just felt so. proud. I don't know why, but this new thing that was helping them build confidence while having fun just warmed my heart so much.


We weren't up there alone but I'm sad to say I mostly just photographed my kids. There were some fun evening games, Kaitlin and Bella serenading us on the dock and beach, and good conversations. I also did quite a bit of running and logged about 15 miles in the 5 days we were there. 

I did catch sweet Truman reading to Soren first thing in the morning. My boys have some really amazing cousins to look up to!


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!