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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

empire bluff trail


Sharing more Michigan photos today -- these are from a hike Paul and I took on the Empire Bluff Trail just outside of Empire, Michigan.  This was no normal hike.  This was the first hike Paul and I took as parents, and the first time we went out together since Theo was born.  It felt strange at first, but we gradually eased into the time together.  I think it helped that we were in such beautiful surroundings.  




Can you guess why Sleeping Bear dunes got its name?  Hint: take a look at the shape of the trees behind me.  




And the final view after the quick 3/4 mile hike: gorgeous Lake Michigan.  I'm ready to go back for another hiking date. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

thoughts on motherhood (week 10)




It's official: I love this mothering gig.  I feel happier than I have in years, maybe happier than I ever have.  I've been blessed with a content, fulfilled feeling - especially when I'm looking at my little boy.  A friend told me recently that motherhood looks good on me, and though my eyes look super tired most of the time, I tend to agree with her.

I'm back to work now (part time), and I'm lucky enough to feel super content and fulfilled there as well.  It helps that I'm at my dream job - leading service and justice retreats for student and adult groups - AND that I have amazing coworkers AND that I can bring Theo to work at the office with me.

Some other thoughts in no particular order:

- Paul, Theo, and I are starting to find our groove as a family.  We spend a lot of time sitting around relaxing but also like taking little adventures together.  (When you have a ten week old you're allowed to count trips to the grocery store and other errands as adventures.)

- I love all the free time I have.  Working part time with a not-yet-crawling baby at home has given me more free time than I've had in years.  

- I feel more inspired than I have in a really long time, probably because of all that free time I have. I've been taking some time to reacquaint myself with things I've been missing and setting some good habits (like tidying up, grocery shopping regularly, and healthier eating) before Theo starts crawling.

- I am so, so thankful we were given an easy baby.  Theo is so relaxed and so willing to go with the flow.  It makes parenting him so, so enjoyable.  

- Maybe relatedly - I love my boy more each day.  It brings me so much joy to wake up every day and get to see him and spend time with him.  

- We've left Theo with a babysitter a few times already, and overall it's been really good.  The only downside is that I feel like something is physically missing from me when I don't have Theo close by.  I've never had that sensation before, and it boggles my mind that I can feel so connected to a person that didn't even exist (outside me) ten weeks ago.  

- I'm already so proud of this boy -- holding his head up, smiling, interacting with the world.  I just love watching him grow and learn and discover things. 

- Though I love watching him grow, I would be fine with him slowing down just a bit.  He's at the 90% for all his growth factors, and he's already wearing six month clothing at 10 weeks.  He rolled over the other night, and I was like slow down son!!  It's crazy how fast he changes and how quickly he starts doing new things.  Though I love that he's healthy and developing so well, I wouldn't mind hitting the pause button every now and again.  

- One downside of working part time is a nagging feeling that I'm not contributing to the household finances like I used to.  I think it says more about what our society values (making money) than what our family values are, but it still has been hard for me to see my worth as being equal to Paul's when a big part of my work doesn't have a price on it.  I know lots of mothers struggle with this - which makes feel a little better and a little worse.  I try to focus on how happy and fulfilled I am to better trust that I'm doing what I need to be doing right now.  

- We have hundreds of pictures of Theo.  Hundreds.  Quickly approaching thousands. 

- I love being that most special person for Theo right now.  It feels amazing to comfort him, nourish him, care for him, and love him.  I feel like the luckiest person in the world getting to be his mama. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

point betsie lighthouse


The Michigan vacation photos continue today with our quick trip to Point Betsie.  We make a point to visit the lighthouse every year on vacation, and this year I was excited to bring Theo to one of the most beautiful places on the western Michigan shoreline.

The water is always the most perfect shade of blue, the rocks are smooth and colorful, and the waves crashing against the barriers could almost convince you you're hanging out in the Caribbean -- if the temperature was about thirty degrees warmer.  And if you traded the birches for some palm trees.

But I wouldn't have traded a single thing about this little trip.  I think I'll love these pictures forever.











Thursday, August 20, 2015

michigan


I have had one of the best maternity leaves in the world.  After getting my mom footing in the first few weeks, I got to enjoy the rest of my summer with Theo, Paul, and my family.  It's been fabulous.  It helps that baby Theo is a very low key baby and even sleeping through some nights (!!!).  It really has been one of the best periods of my whole life.  

One special part of my maternity leave was spending the first week of August with our family in Michigan.  My family has been going to Frankfort, a small town in northwestern Michigan, for about fifteen summers now.  I haven't been able to make it for a full week of vacation with everybody for a few years, but luckily maternity leave was timed so that I could join this year.  And it was so special to bring Theo to a place that means so much to me.  


Some years in Michigan are packed full of activities - day trips, beach time, shopping - and we did all that this year, but we also had lots of downtime in the condo just watching the lake (and baby Theo).  We took lots of walks, most of them included stops at the ice cream shop or the bakery.  

I divided my pictures from vacation into a series of posts.  This first post is all Frankfort -- pictures from around town, from the beach, and from our condo.  Most of the beach and sunset pictures were actually taken from the deck of our condo.  I had dozens of lake pictures, but for your sake I edited them down a bit.  Hope you enjoy a little tour of Frankfort, Michigan!




Not our condo - just a really cool old house that Al Capone was rumored to have stayed in back in the day. 





My youngest brother holding my son.  Heart explosion. 



The view from our condo. 







Theo watching his first soccer game with his uncle and his grandpa. 


And cuddling with his aunt.  Can you tell Theo has a few fans? 



Grandma making sure Theo is warm and cozy in his stroller.  



I wasn't the only one who loved the sunsets.  I signed my dad up for Instagram just so he could start sharing all of his photos. 


And just one more sunset for good measure.  Oh Michigan I love you.  Hope to see you again soon!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

porch garden (end of july)


Oh my lovely porch garden.  I took these photos before going on vacation last week, and I'm so glad I did because when I came back half my plants were dead.  Between the heat, no rain, and some knocks from the beagle boys some of my plants didn't stand a chance.  Luckily I have these photos to remember how nice everything looked right at the end of July.  And who knows, some of the "dead" plants might perk up, and I could have some more photos to share of my garden at the end of August.  I'm hoping that I can actually harvest some of the tomatoes, squash, nasturtium, or cucumbers I've been growing all summer - but if not, at least I got to watch them grow.  Which every gardener knows is the next best thing to actually eating your veggies.   


<nasturtiums>


<butternut squash>


<tomatoes>


<fork birds>


<more tomatoes>


<cucumbers>


<petunias, nasturtium, daisies, rosemary, lavender, marigold, squash>