Thursday, June 23, 2016

25/52

"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.




Friday, June 17, 2016

24/52

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



Johnny//3 years, Bubbles feature again in Johnny's portrait, but this time with baby buddy Iggy. Johnny and Iggy had their first play date when they were just two weeks old and they've been friends ever since. (photo cred. goes to Alex.)

Trixie//8 months. My baby girl is crawling and pulling herself up! How did this happen? I predict she will be walking by the end of the summer. She is so eager to keep up with her big brother, nothing will stand in her way.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

23/52

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



Johnny//3 years. More bubbles. Everyday bubbles. 

Trixie//8 months. Hot summer days mean babies don't wear clothes. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

listening, eating, making, reading.


// listening//

One of our best local artist heard on our great local radio station! Love me some Mason Jennings, and very happy to discover he has a new album out. Yay!


//eating//

Too much sugar!

I've been making a lot of desserts lately. Rhubarb pie, with the family rhubarb that keeps being divided and passed down. It can be traced back to the farm in Howard Lake, MN where my granddad grew up. So yeah, I'm pretty serious about my rhubarb.


I've also made this mocha chocolate cake, with the best frosting I've ever tasted. And this gluten free, vegan, no bake chocolate raspberry tort that takes literally 10 minutes start to finish. I usually do not go for these kinds of desserts because in my estimation a dessert needs at least two sticks of butter and two hours of toil in the kitchen to be a legitimate dessert. But this tort is delicious!! I will make it again when it's 95 degrees outside and I don't dare use my oven. 

There has also been rhubarb bread. And chocolate chip cookies. So I'm thinking it might be time to do a sugar free month again.

//making//

I bought some cotton yarn over a year ago. I was planning on using it for baby hats and then never did.  A couple months ago I got this free pattern in my inbox and instantly thought of that lovely summery cotton yarn in my yarn closet. (yes, I have a yarn closet.) (It's also the gift wrap and extra bedding closet, so, it's not as bad as it could be.) I started my summery sweater a couple weeks ago, got about a third of the way through, and I realized my gauge was way off and it was going to be ridiculously huge. So I ripped it all out and I'm starting over, hoping to have it finished in time to actually wear this summer.


//reading//



I am almost done with All the Light We Cannot See. I have been such a terrible reader since I finished college. It has been so long since I've read a novel (besides The Hunger Games). I would really like to make reading a bigger priority. The Fountains of Carrots podcast had a read along of this book and then dedicated an episode to discussing it. That was my motivation to pick it up. And I'm so glad I did. This novel is so good and so beautifully written. And when I'm done the first thing I'm going to do is listen to that podcast.  Then I will look to Christy and Haley for all my book recommendations.

What have you been up to? Link up here and let us all know!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Baptism Day

I don't know the date of my baptism. My husband doesn't know the date of his baptism either. To be honest with you, I don't remember the date of Trixie's baptism, even though it was not that long ago.

But I will never forget the date of Johnny's baptism. June 1, two days after he was born.

We were brand new parents, and to turn our world even more upside down we had just found out our son had a very serious birth defect and would be having his first of many surgeries within a day or two.

My husband and I remember the day our newborn son was transferred to the NICU as the darkest of our life. We had no idea what was going on, struggling to keep up with medical jargon we didn't understand, feeling like life had come to a complete stop, and that it would never be normal again. We were sharing the little tiny pull-out couch in Johnny's NICU room. I was hobbling around on the unsteady legs and in the weirdly shaped body of a newly postpartum women, recovering from a very private event in a very public and uncomfortable setting. We took turns holding Johnny's hand through the window of his incubator. I couldn't stop crying.

We decided that we wanted to have Johnny baptized before he went into surgery. The procedure was not incredibly risky, and his prognosis was very good, but we wanted to have him baptized all the same. We called our priest, who quickly came down to the hospital. My parents were there, as well as our good friends who we had asked to be Johnny's godparents. The nurses kindly overlooked the 4 person maximum of the NICU rooms for us. Johnny was placed on a pillow on my lap, his IV tubes and monitoring cables carefully arranged, and the rite began.


There, in that NICU room, in our darkest hour, we invited the light of faith. Hoping for what we could not see  forgiveness of sin, adoption into God's family, grace  drops of water were sprinkled on Johnny's forehead. We buried the fear and sadness that had consumed the last 24 hours with Christ in the water, and we allowed hope and joy to rise. Johnny was the one receiving new life, but we were being renewed as well.

The next day Johnny went into surgery. We still felt anxiety, and we still cried, but something was different. A sacrament had taken place, the invisible had been made visible and tangible. We were united with Christ, even there in our darkest hour.  Or maybe, especially there, in our darkest hour.

Tonight at dinner we will celebrate Johnny's baptism. Trixie will lend Johnny the baptism candle she received when she was baptized in our church. We'll light it and receive the light of Christ again. Since beginning this post I have looked up the date of Trixie's baptism, November 14. So we'll be sure to light the candle again on that day as well.

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