Friday, August 11, 2017

The Summer Word

The phrase that keeps going through my head this summer (started during KidsCAN, which felt both beautiful and busy) - "This is a privilege". The phrase keeps swirling, sometimes I can't believe this is my life . . . spending my days with two delightful people, getting to know them, being responsible, creating, exploring, problem solving. The phrase is born from also feeling the flip side: "I need space, I want to write, Can I not be needed for a minute?" - the usual ups and downs of this season can feel so polarized, the word "privilege" brings me back to gratitude and perspective. I'm privileged to serve, to be able to say "be right there", to dwell with these miracles.

Summer simmering thoughts:

  • We're either busy and tired, or Home too much demolishing the house and getting on nerves
  • Summer is an island (i.e. everyone else is busy or tired or demolishing their houses, but in different places and on different time tables than you are, therefore you are not seeing the people you usually see . . .)

I love the power in naming, once I could just say it then I settled into having way more fun, letting the house go, embracing the busy when it's happening, soaking in slowness when it sneaks up on us.

Also, this quote has been shaping the days (from Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer)
"Leisure is the virtue of those who take their time in order to give each task as much time as it deserves to take. Giving and taking, play and work, meaning and purpose are perfectly balanced in leisure."

Also, Sandra McCracken has been serenading our summer island lately.


And now, July in chronicle form: 

Paint in our bedroom and bathroom (thanks to Uncle Steve!), salt and pepper shakers, brooms, combs, drainboard, towels. It's just feeling cathartic and maybe metaphorical.

Random weekday Adventures
Gold Medal Park picnic, Yo Yo Donuts with fam and friends, bringing bikes to a park, Arboretum, kids "Teddy Bear Band" concert, ice cream with cousins, lots of little and big play dates at parks and in homes.

The 4th
Play play play. We surely celebrated our freedom, and aren't we free indeed? We savored the sun while it was out, soaked up togetherness in the boat, tried all the toys and found out that Karis loves the canoe (and Judah wants to love it but doesn't quite yet - still trying to convince himself, which is both remarkable and adorable: "Mommy, I DO like the canoe" he'd tell me after we were inside and after he begged to get off the canoe and into the paddleboat). Paddleboard, paddleboat, park play, firecrackers, grandma and K watched fireworks from the dock and we listened to Karis yell at the mosquitos. Memories.

Grandma Camp
This year, my mom and grandma were joined by cousin Hope and her dear daughter Lila. Oh the fun! Oh the refreshment (for me and Hope, that is - thanks to the grandmas!). Snap chatting, lazy kayak floating, lazy winery sipping, yummy cooking both in and out, spoilings. So many laughs. And . . . so many itches - Karis got swimmers itch, she was such a trooper putting cream on the big scratchy bites. Hope and Karis connected deeply, so beautiful to watch, Judah took a shine to Lila.

Teacher Tea (and pushing limits)
Some moms of K's classmates got together to do a tea time for their adored 1st grade teacher. We got to hear her life story, she is a brave and faithful woman and offered so much joy and perspective to us all as we sat at her feet. While thus sitting, our kids were running amok and every time I checked on Judah and his little 4yo bud something new was shaking: both naked in the kiddie pool. clothed but drinking the water (they had peed into it). naked again and playing with sand table. clothed and eating said sand. Obviously more supervision needed, next time we'll do evening drinks together of a different variety.

Treasure Trev's Birthday
Oh we do celebrate this guy!  Full of joy, wisdom, ideas, love, patience, gentleness. Bike rider, Cavlin and Hobbes and Hobit reader, hard worker. We ate outside that night and I attempted to make fancy tacos (read: cilantro, radishes, lime - HA) and the traditional adult root beer floats. Karis was elated to give him the Van Gogh Star Wars t-shirt. We continued celebrating by having some double date nights out with fun friends (an attempt for Pig Ate My Pizza - forgetting they always take their summer break that week . . .so, Milton's . . . and the following week Hola Arepa - delish and delight and felt like we were in a faraway place).

There was at least one week this month where I felt stuck. This island stifled the urge to create, do, write, the things that feed my soul and help bring significance to the day. We left on our trip to IA and it was the best re-set, determined to clear the cobwebs and find peace on the island. One action item was to completely disengage from facebook, helpful. And to make myself write at least a sentence here every morning.

Iowa Getaway
We've been trying to make this happen for a long time, a visit to my college bestie and her fam. It was so good to get outta town, the car time was restful (for me, ha), and the weekend breezed by with: welcomed by weather sirens (tornadoes happen there!), fajitas and fun connecting. Saturday was packed with 3 parks, library, farmer's market, rest, splash pad, cooking. So good to do life with these dear ones, and to get to know her boys better (3 1/2 & 1). Watching my kids experience a new place and for us all to be guests was a new experience, there were some bumps (Judah needing space, things not always meeting Karis's expectations). So much value in vacationing. The trip home was random, a wrong turn in Cedar Falls led to the best coffee shop, a potty need happened just in time to introduce the kids to Cabella's.

Fargo Escape
We met the Pope grandparents in Fargo just for fun (loved Karis getting ready: "I've never really been to Fargo to just spend time there!"). We packed in fun with birthday cake, super hotel, pool time, Bonanzaville (highly recommend), talking about DISC (and how Trev and I work together), a meal and time at Trev's aunt/uncle's home. All recharging.

Big Fat Books
This was a day long self-prompted-activity after a wild weekend - oh my dears.

Savoring the summer reading here, including Being Mortal, The Sound of Gravel, Growing Grateful Kids, Lab Girl, Talking as Fast as I Can, Books that Build Character.

Karis is into Boxcar Children (oh the memories), and she and I have read together 21 Balloons, Ginger Pye, The Borrowers, The Railway Children. Trev reads The Hobbit to her at night. Sigh.

Trevor as usual is reading things no one else does. Oh wait, I think he started Moby Dick, which is somewhat approachable (ha).

Recent input:
Durrels in Corfu
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (I watch Trevor laugh)
This listen

Recent reading quotables - you can tell I loved this book:

From A Woman of Independent Means
"What a waste to let a summer go by without a new experience to show for it"

"I no longer believe an individual can change the fate of other people . . .  but I will not relinquish the responsibility for my own life until the day I die"

"sometimes being a good mother gets in the way of being a good person"

(writing about writing) "Why is it never enough for me just to live my life? From the time I was a child and started my first scrapbook, I've always looked upon my own experience with the eye of an artist trying to shape it into something more interesting than it was"

"Our parents provide a barrier against death . . . when gone, there is nothing between us and our own mortality"

"I realize more and more we have to that we have to work at making friends with members of our family the same way we do with strangers, by asking them questions and relishing their answers"

". . . do not allow your baby to become your whole life . . . they are quick to take advantage of any moment when you are not otherwise occupied and unless you firmly assert your right to time of your own, they can become your total occupation"

"it is amazing how much children are able to do for themselves as long as we ignore those twin tyrants, propriety and punctuality"

"nothing is given to us to keep. Our lives are all on loan and none of us knows when the mortgage will fall due  . . . I shudder to imagine what toll will be exacted next . . . "

"it is ironic that the very ties that bind a husband and wife in theory - home and family - often serve to separate them in fact"

A Sib Convo:
Judah - "Karisee! The bunny got out!" (of the egress window, where he was trapped for a day)
Karis - "Oh no, Judah. Daddy had to smoosh the bunny."

- "Mommy, that's not exciting, it's tragic!" (when I said exciting I meant dramatic . . . double meanings of words takes long to learn)
- "I wonder who invented hugs"
- "Well, family comes first I guess"
- "Momma, why does it say his right hand? Why isn't his left OR his right?" (talking about God's mighty right hand)

Judah Jabbers:
- "Daddy can you open my licorice, I'm not tall enough"
- "Daddy has big burps, right?"
- "I want to take out the scary books" (after bedtime, wants certain books out of his room)
- "Mommy, are you reading in your head?"
- "Here I am!" (out of the blue, all the time, adorable)
- "KARISEE KARISEE KARISEE KARISEE" (until she acknowledges)

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