Month: August 2015

August

Just like the previous “new start months”, January and June, August gives us a chance to reset our schedule, make new goals, and find a new family rhythm for the season.

Unlike my resolutions in January and my summer bucket list in June, I generally don’t write down any goals in August; I just make more promises to myself…. ones that I have really good intentions of carrying out through May.  I’ll always put a handwritten note in her lunch.  I’ll take the girls outside everyday, even when it’s snowing.  I’ll volunteer in her classroom so I can get to know her friends.  I’ll occupy Bea’s time with manipulatives and busy boxes so she will learn this school year too.

And then by September, those promises sound a lot less golden and take some mustering to execute.

Finding our new rhythm always takes some floundering too.  MG is off to school two early (for us) mornings a week.  And it makes sense after I drop her off that I do my errands while I’m in town.  So I’ve had to readjust our schedule a bit to accommodate.  Bea is adjusting (rather quickly) to life as an only child on those days, and I find I’m really enjoying my solo time with her.  For one thing, the house is a lot more peaceful without any bickering or fighting over toys and for another, my mind isn’t being constantly occupied by questions, so I have more space to devote to her ever expanding vocabulary and communication.

As far as MG and school, she is transitioning slowly (her general M.O.), but well.  When I drop her off, I get the I don’t want to go to school today schtick.  But by the time we get there, she is eager to carry her backpack in, hang it on her hook, and jump right in to playing with her friends (only one of whom she can ever remember their names….progress…).  She takes a nap every single day which seems a little strange for my non-napping 4.5 year old, but I think it’s good for her brain to rest after all of the new stimulation.

Speaking of naps, can I get a hallelujah that Bea is still a great napper?!?  When MG was the same age, she had already been consistently skipping naps on a weekly basis and it was a struggle for both of us.  Bea still sleeps a solid 3 hours in the middle of the day and not only that but I lay her down and I don’t hear from her again for that time.  The two days a week when MG is at school, this time is especially golden.  Three solid hours of uninterrupted time!  I can tell I am especially refreshed on these days and have much more energy to tackle whatever the evening holds.

I would be remiss if I didn’t post something of the heartache August has also brought us.  I lost both of my living grandparents (dad’s side) within three short weeks.  They both lived till their nineties and a few health issues between them, their loss to our family still feels like a cold shock.  I eulogized them on FB and IG but it was especially sweet to spend time at the funerals and hear others’ eulogies of them as we sat and mourned together.  Right now, I’m saving up some sweet stories and memories in my heart.  Maybe someday, it won’t feel so raw to type them out.

Less noteworthy, but also sad, we lost Teacup this month.  We played with her on a Saturday morning, left for an hour, and when we came back, we saw her body, unmoving, on the side of the road (thankfully though MG was in the car with us, she didn’t).  With the kitties being outdoor cats, we knew this was a possibility, but it still felt especially tragic to lose her, like this, on the day of my Grandfather’s death.

While I distracted the girls inside, N recovered her body and buried her in a special spot in the yard, with a handmade cross.  We took the girls outside and explained (to MG really) what happened.  We fumbled our way through it, trying to use gentle words, but direct the conversation as she began to ask questions.  It took her a few minutes of asking questions and processing before the wave of grief overcame her and she sat in our laps, bereft, for over an hour.  Her first broken heart.

Like a sweet sister cat, Birdie sat attentively on her lap as MG sobbed into N’s shoulder, and she has been good to her ever since.  I had no idea what to expect her grieving process to look like but after a good day of sadness, she seems to have emotionally moved on.  She still asks questions every once in a while, and she asks me to check on Teacup (her grave) while she is at school.  We concluded that since my Grampy loved animals so much, perhaps he is spending his first few days in Heaven taking care of Teacup.

I sure hope September gives us a break because our hearts are a little tender over here right now.

-smk

 

Summer Wrap up

Today is the very last day of summer break.   The alarms are set, the lunches are packed, the outfits are neatly laid out.  This is it.

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(the first day outfit still needed some finishing touches in this picture, but I’m having   SO MUCH FUN creating some fall pieces  for MG)

Just like all summers before it, this one went by too fast.  But unlike summers before it, I’m not left with any lingering feelings of regret  nor that nagging feeling of desperation…a state of denial that it’s really over.

Over the years we’ve worked really hard on our delicate summer balance of trips, work, and play and this year we concluded that we hit it pretty close to perfect.  It’s similar to the feeling of not receiving a tax return check because you had just the right amount of exemptions taken out of your paycheck.  Disappointment cloaked in diligence.

On July 22, we celebrated 9 years of marriage.  Our big trip was really the celebration, so a quiet dinner out was the perfect endcap.  Our anniversary has always felt like an indelible summer line.  I try to hold off on my feelings that summer is over until we’ve reached it, and then once we have, I know it’s time to begin the grieving process.

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Our little garden experiment went fairly well, all things considered.  We had a ton of rain especially in June and I don’t think I watered more than 2-3 times the whole summer.  We also lost a futile battle against crabgrass.  Next summer, we’ll do more prep work to keep it at bay.  But we’re still getting tomatoes and beans out of it and we’ve eaten quite a few already along with several kinds of peppers.  Valiant rookie year, next year we will go for the gold.

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(hallway, taken at night)IMG_2568

(new lighting in living room)IMG_2480

(having fun with the Scan N cut)IMG_2695

(new bed, still needs to be styled but had to show off N’s handiwork)

One of the big pushes this summer was to cross a lot of house projects off our list.  As far as production goes, it was a huge success!  And I can’t tell you how it feels to be relieved of that burden. We only have one big project left (replace the bathroom vanities) aside from a few other little light fixtures here and touches up there.  I’m so glad we can head into the busy part of fall and not have these to-do’s hanging over us.  N installed two new floors, made a bed, had new wiring installed for an industrial light fixture, added a window and new door in the sister room, and finished up some painting.

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(new upper, upper cabinets to extend the height)

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(sister room inspo, silhouettes by N)

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(creative collab with Hello Maypole,  “this one’s for the girls” color way)

Our kitchen received its finishing touches and there is a new sister room coming to the schoolhouse soon.  One of the floors N laid will be the base and I’m envisioning greens, pinks, and bright colors, along with this succulent quilt I made (copycat from an Anthro pineapple quilt I was inspired by)

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The kittens have been a wonderful addition to our lives this summer.  They are (still?) so sweet to the girls and MG has been doing a great job of keeping them fed and watered for her chores.  Whenever we are outside, at least one of them is around and purring.  Dream come true.

I had nearly forgotten until almost the end of the summer what a treasure (??) Taylor Lake is. The local moms start arriving around 11:00-11:30 and spread their blankets under the ample shade trees like a giant patchwork quilt.  The kids eat their pb&j’s and dip their hands into Costco sized bags of pretzels or chips as sides while making visuals as to where their friends are.  Sunscreen and floaties are applied and then sand digging and swimming can begin.  The moms begin their seaside vigil (with the help of lifeguards) but we cover the hours and back with stories and our best offerings (advice).  The kids get dirty feet and track sand all the way back to the car but they leave tired and happy.  And so do the moms.  We will certainly miss it when we are hibernating this winter.

MG met her teacher last night and school commences tomorrow.  I’m not ready.  But I’m ready.  She’s ready.

I spent an hour last week carefully sharpie-ing her name onto all of her supplies, envisioning her using them to make beautiful creations.  I wondered who her new friends would be and if she would love her teacher to the point of obsession, like most pre-schoolers do.  I wonder what books she will be introduced to this year and how long it will take for her to feel comfortable speaking up in class.  Our home-dictated schedule is coming to an end and we are about to embark on the next chapter of MG’s life.  The one that starts and ends with school.

Happy School Days to you,

-smk