Sunday, June 26, 2016

Counting Summer Days

I'm struggling to find the right words lately.  In some ways it feels like the sky is falling.  The outside world feels really scary to me right now.  I worry a lot about big future things, for my children and for us.  It's juxtaposed with how amazing our family life is right now in our new home. It feels off and funny but mostly really good.  

Our big camping girl

At picture of me at Ainsley's age!!!

Minnehaha Dam, fishing picnic night 
(minus Ainsley who was at her camp overnight for the week)

Ian's chocolate camera from father's Day

dance recital hair

End of the year school parties

this picture looks like the ones I used to take of the kids by our back kitchen door in Oak Park! It made me all sentimental

Aida's Dance Recital

biggest strawberry haul of the season (now they're all done for the season! It was fast and furious and I'm looking for how to care for the plants after the harvest!)

the vegetable garden!!! (so many exclamation points for the gardens)

Wednesday night church with bouncy house

My two day time buddies

nothing like independent artists who set up a finger painting station while I'm gardening

My view from the kitchen sink, kids playing in the pool on a bright sunny day

Charlie Brown church drama camp (that's Ainsley standing up on the green box in the middle)

perennial flowers, I'm loving the color combinations

the last three strawberries overlapped with the first three raspberries, we're now up to a handful a day and I'm hoping our first big pick comes soon!

Life is moving pretty seamlessly from the end of school to the summer.  We were so busy those last weeks, it's feeling good to slow down!

The girls' dance recital was wonderful.  I surely had as much fun (more I think!) than them.  It was so magical to be back at the same auditorium that I used to dance at each spring.  The girls were in awe of the big girls who were in so many numbers, and all those beautiful costumes! (and the SHOCK that mommy used to dance in 5 numbers each year too...really????!!! Even Ian was requesting I show them "my moves"...haha!) Oh my.  They both are excited for next year (tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop...the choices!!!).  I'm excited too.

Louise's Tball season ended last Sunday on a 90+ degree day with a 1pm game and park picnic.  It was a fun season.  I'm glad Ian got some good photos of us together coaching and playing.  I was overwhelmed at times with the responsibility but it was good for me and good for Louise and I together.  Though I won't miss lugging that bat bag and tee and ball bucket around!

These first summer days are so easily filled.  Ainsley's three camp weeks are keeping her very busy.  Last week's drama camp at church was the perfect intro to summer.  She went every morning with a bounce and a smile and their performance on Friday afternoon was so fun.  Our church has been such an incredible place for us all to help grow and feel at home here.  I'm glad it's that for my kids too!

Last week Ainsley started her summer day camp.  She was more nervous than I thought she'd be but left me happily for her counselor "Meeko" (they all have nicknames) who's from Ireland!  Thursday she did her first overnight.  When I picked her up the next day at 4 she squeezed my face enthusiastically and said "THAT WAS THE BEST NIGHT EVER!!!!" She is having the time of her life.  Swimming, kayaking, fishing, crafting, fairy house making, hiking, sport playing, singing.  It's pretty much perfect!

I'm loving my alone time with Louise and Felix. The vibe is so different with those two. They We try to get errands out of the way quickly so we have lots of time to play.  We've loved exploring new parks, spending lots of time in our yard and gardens and new blow up pool.  It's such a special time for us all.

I find, as usual, I'm struggling to get into the new routine of the summer season. It's so hard for me to motivate to get everything done that I'd like and to balance the needs of the kids and the house and me.  

If I had a few days to myself I'd run every morning and knock our all of the sewing projects on my list.  I'd finish my book I'm reading and delve into a few more.  I'd watch the rest of the Orange is the New Black and Grace and Frankie while finally finishing knitting my socks I started a few weeks ago.  

At the same time I'd love a good chunk of one on one time with each child.  Ainsley, to sew with her and make a new fairy house with her and finally finish Little Princess with her.  Louise, to teach her to embroider and finger knit and hand sew better like she wants, help her read and write more.  Felix, to teach him more letters and numbers and play soccer with tball with him and bake things and read tons and tons of books.  It's so hard when they are all at different places.  They overlap some of course, but in any given activity I'm doing three different levels and it's exhausting and hard.

So! I'm just taking a moment each morning to think it through.  What can I do today?  What's realistic and fun and sets us up for success.  Yesterday it was making the girls reading charts, and cooking dinner with Louise, and motivating to go to the summer festival despite inclement weather, and buying mini donuts when we had to leave because the weather was moving in and watching the amazing pioneer show with everyone in the cool basement.  Today I think it's fishing for Ainsley and Ian before church, church for us all, and an afternoon filled with the pool outside, reading on picnic blankets, collecting items for fairy houses, dinner with family, and maybe a bit of evening sewing. (Ian and I have vowed to wait for the new season of GOT before we watch the season finale...those last two episodes were way too satisfying to ruin!)

This next week has so much potential.  It's my last with just Louise and Felix while Ainsley is at camp again. Then it's a week+ at the cabin, followed by another long weekend at the cabin close after, followed by vacation bible school, followed by a long hot August all together.  Summer always goes so fast.  I'm trying to make each day count!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Preparing for Summer

Each year so far in my parenting career summer has meant something different. How different each year looks from the last.  I remember last year finally able to give in to the unknown a bit, dive into plans.  It was such a wonderful summer.  This year I find myself hopeful but flurried.  Even after a short two day weekend the kids are at each other's throats and the house is a mess. How will three long months all together in this space look?  I'm not sure, but I'm hopeful.

perennial/herb garden!!!

compost pile!!!

raspberries up the whazoo

strawberries too

Felix's first people

transplanting raspberries for turtle lake

Louise is suddenly looking like a young (beautiful!) lady

my pal Rory

Last Wednesday was Felix's last day of preschool.  I almost felt panicked that morning.  "What should I do with my last morning of freedom for three months?!"  Then it thunderstormed and I laughed because all I really wanted was one last run sans jogging stroller or bikers by my side.  Oh well!

I cleaned the house and went to the thrift store instead, realizing there really ins't a bad way to spend your last morning of freedom for three months.  Then I sat with my little guy, feeling really happy and thankful for the time we have together ahead.

This year I'm gearing up for summer a bit differently.  I don't have to worry about as many what ifs and whens as I used to.  The months ahead feel solid and reassuring.

Still I fear the juggle. I want us all to be happy and have fun and I find as they grow and interests change and solidify it can be hard to give us all what we want all the time (duh I know).  BUT! I want to us all to get at least SOME of what we want in everyday. And even that is proving hard.

Now I have one week of Felix summer under my belt and I feel good.  We had such a wonderful Memorial day weekend at the cabin. We spent so much time fishing outdoors, the drizzly rain haven't little effect. We had fires going all day and it was such a wonderful start to the season. I can hardly believe I have so much cabin time left.

One of Ainsley's great in school notes to her teacher,she apparently does this often and her 25 year veteran teacher has never seen the likes of it before...that's our girl!

Felixn's new bed!/room.  So fun to get it all in order.

Friday night, "I have no plan" pantry dinner. Tuna Patties (DELICIOUS!) TJ's cornbread (always a hit), and green bean casserole (duh!)

My girls at their first Deanne's Dance Recital!!!! I couldn't be more excited if I tried.  (And Ainsley has already proclaimed she wants to take ALL the classes next year (4???!!!!! tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop) I've created little dancing monsters!!!)

peonies from bouqs from Jooj

New artwork from the S.A.P. art fair (that's felted wool and hand sewing and buttons...blowing my mind)

AND a new berry bowl and the second harvest from our strawberry patch (and the sister art piece, all so yum)

new fabric for living room valances

our first piece of big adult art, One Oak Many Nuts, a hand painted print by an Oak Park artist, bringing some of home....home.

This next week is insane.  I'm totally against BUSY but somehow we are.  I am so looking forward to Friday morning. Ian with a Flex holiday off of work, the girls don't with school, Dance and piano recitals behind us.  It's going to feel so good. Enjoy the ride right?

Happy Almost summer to you all!