Thursday, July 14, 2016

Family Vacation Photo Dump Pt. 1

We had our first of two family vacations for the summer at the end of June.  Alex finished up his summer term, came home, we packed up the car and were off for a week at the cabin with my family. My Family has grown quite a bit over the last year. I've gained a sister-in-law, a brother-in-law, and a niece who will be arriving at the end of this month. Everyone was able to come up to the cabin for at least a couple nights. I haven't been on vacation with my entire family since I was in high school. So needless to say we really enjoyed ourselves. 

This was also our first trip with two kids. They did well, No one fell in the lake, which was my chief worry. We didn't get very much sleep though. We were all in the same room for the first few nights and Johnny and Trixie kept waking each other up. Then when Johnny got moved into his own room he figured out how to climb out of his pack 'n' play and Trixie suddenly started sleeping on her stomach. Both of these developments made me uneasy so I didn't sleep well even when the kids were sleeping. 

I was recently talking with a friend about how going on vacation with little kids is not really vacation. You're still doing many of the same things you do at home; changing diapers, preparing food, washing dishes, waking up at 6:00 am. But there's still something about not being in your own home that is restful. You're only doing the essentials. All the other things that clutter the brain and absorb the day are not around to be worried about. The only thing to worry about is togetherness. And that's a nice feeling. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016


"A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2016."

 Johnny//3 years. I can tell that Johnny has enjoyed being in preschool, because now that we are on summer break and not going, he starts each day by saying, "downstairs, outside, car." I've been trying to give him something interesting to do each day that we are at home. Usually it's just going to the park.  Johnny rode his little bike all the way to the park and back today without showing any sign of getting tired. In this picture he is wearing the medal he got for running in the Kids Fun Dash at his schools fundraiser.

Trixie//8 months. Trixie continues to be a very different baby from her big brother. If I had put Johnny down in the grass at this age he would have screamed and cried until I had picked him up. Trixie, on the other hand, wiggles her legs and and toes in the grass and plucks up blades with her chubby little fingers.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Summer Rest

There's not a lot going on right now. For the first time in 7 years I am not teaching summer piano lessons. (Except when I took maternity leave the summer Johnny was born.) I had 17 students this year, which only worked out to about 10 hours a week of active teaching, but it felt like more.  On days that I teach I need to keep the first floor of my house tidy, which is almost a losing battle with Johnny around. I also need to have dinner ready early those days, because I teach right up to, and after the dinner hour. That means I need to make a strategic meal plan for the week of things I can put in the crock-pot, or assemble in the morning and then put in the oven while I'm teaching. It doesn't sound like much, but considering how easily an hour can get swallowed up by just breastfeeding and then changing a couple of diapers, staying organized enough to keep my studio running consumed a pretty large amount of time and head space each week.

This past year has been stressful. Alex's school has been very stressful for him, and for me. His successes and failures are my successes and failures.  If he does well on a test that means I've done my job of running our home and giving him the space and time he needs to learn his material well. Conversely, if he does poorly I feel like it's my fault for distracting him too much. Alex is the one who goes to class each day, but really, we're both in grad school. 

Getting used to having two kids has been stressful. Johnny and I had worked out  pretty good groove before Trixie was born, and when she came we had to start over. She is delightful, but it's still been an adjustment. Although not nearly as hard of an adjustment as when Johnny was born.

Everything that happened with Johnny's hearing this winter became very stressful very quickly. Johnny's hearing and speech development had never been of much concern to me when he was a baby. His GI stuff was much scarier. I always kind of felt like the hearing thing would just work itself out. Then for the first time this winter he seemed behind, like he was falling through the cracks, and we weren't doing enough for him. To realize he had not been hearing was scary, and I felt like we had failed him.

All these things, combined with the sleep deprivation that comes with having a baby, and all the other little things that come up in life were piling up in my brain and I was beginning to feel serious burn out. I knew something needed to go, and it couldn't be my kids, or PA school. The only thing left to go was piano lessons. So they went. (In case any of my student's parents are reading, don't worry, I'm still planning on teaching again in the fall.)

It was definitely the right thing to do. My days aren't really more peaceful. We still manage to somehow be really busy. But there isn't anything hanging over my head. Sometimes I get the feeling like I should be doing something, cleaning a bathroom, or answering an email, but when I stop and search my brain there's really nothing I need to be doing outside of caring for my family. And now that that's the only thing I need to do, doing it is a lot more enjoyable.

I have some things I'd like to do this summer. I'd like to stay on top of the weeds in the garden this year. I'd like to work on my sewing and add some things to my etsy shop. There's a couple rooms in our house that I'd like to paint. But if I don't get to any of those things, it won't matter at all.

This is a picture of my kids literally destroying my to-do lists. I love being productive and having to show something for my time, so this is kind of a powerful image for me. No to-do lists. Just family, and space, and rest. And  a messier living room.

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