I felt convicted a couple weeks ago that if I was not intentional, I was going to work my summer away and not take it for the season it is, a time of renewal and play. There is always so much to DO that I get caught up and forget to enjoy. After May, I kept thinking that “next week won’t have as much on the list” and then next week…
But we haven’t been all work around here! Back in May, Micah turned 2 and just in the past few weeks, he has gotten a bit easier. I always find 1 to be a much harder age than 2, but Micah was testing my theory. There are still challenges (he is determined to pick every single green strawberry and green tomato on our farm…aah!), but he is not quite as unpredictable. He might still play in the toilet and let himself outside, but I’m more hopeful every day.
Hannah is 9 now (9!)! She had a cute beach-themed American girl party, which was way too much fun to organize. We made grass skirts and leis and paper umbrellas to put in drinks. And I learned that if you forget sugar when you are making cupcakes, they don’t make anything resembling a cupcake (John called it quiche, which isn’t true, but you get the idea). We put jelly on the quiche-cupcakes and ate them for breakfast! Hannah did basketball day camp a couple weeks ago and she’s taking piano this summer. She wanted to learn to play recorder, so I’ve been helping her with that recently, plus she is sewing a couple quilts.
BenBen joined Hannah this summer in dancing at the Mid-Sommar Swedish festival. Watching him bow to his partner and dance and sing in Swedish, while wearing breeches was about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. He took dancing very seriously and he talks like he will do it again next year. BenBen is looking forward to playing soccer later this summer. Other than legos, he is most excited about playing baseball with me in the yard and biking.
Sammy loves to run. All my kids run and enjoy it, but Sammy absolutely glows when he is running. A couple days ago, he ran 2 miles like it was nothing (and he is 4!). Sammy is taking swim lessons for the first time this summer and that felt like a huge deal. The boy who has always been content to sit on the side of the pool. Sammy is also a little ball player with me and he is all cuddles and love. There is something magical about 4 years old and he is right in that sweet spot.
Micah has been entertaining us recently, not only with picking all the green strawberries in the garden tirelessly, but also with his words. He says big words like “strawberry” (of course) and basketball and Lila. He even calls me Mama sometimes, instead of dada. Micah loves board books and he loves to be outside. What a love!
In addition to Mid-Sommar, we helped with a farm festival and attended a Scottish festival in June…gotta love summer! My dad encouraged me to play ball with the kids, teaching them to throw and catch properly this summer, and we have had so much fun with that. I realized that I know how to do this because I was taught, and it is sort of an American rite- you should know how to play baseball. So, I’m owning that and my boys eat it up. It’s a perfect do-anywhere activity.
I did some more gardening work, enough to realize where I really love working. And I’m sticking with that. I am not working for the money- it’s for fun and something different- I don’t need 5 jobs. I am thankful that I got to dive into several so I could figure that out.
Something silly I recognized recently was that for so long, I have thought I learned no skills as a child. This sounds ridiculous and it’s not that extreme, but I live in a rural place and I didn’t grow up with rural skills. I had city skills. However, it isn’t true, that I didn’t learn anything- the truth was that I wasn’t using what I had learned. Enter opportunity. Although our town had a swim team in name, we didn’t really have a swim team. There was plainly a need and I grew up swimming on swim team. So, I volunteered to coach it, and I am learning so much. I am using what I grew up learning and it feels great. Of course it’s been a long time since I was on a swim team, so I’ve had to dig to remember. Some days I wonder why I am doing it, but when I’m there, I love it. It’s a short season, and I have some great kids swimming that I will know and have a connection with. It’s satisfying on a deep level to realize I have something to offer.
I am still working on my simplification quest. I still haven’t broken my streak of one bag minimum each week that goes to the thrift store (it’ll be a year in mid-August!). I think of fun new ways to frame it to myself all the time: I am living a backpacker lifestyle, or I am staging my house for myself, or I am unearthing what I really love. It’s all fun and it’s all productive. I don’t always notice the difference, but at times I do…and it is different. I’m never going to “finish”…but that’s the whole idea. My life is always changing so my home will be too. I still have things I know should go but I’m not ready to part with, so they stay. There is grace, and that is fine with me. Something different generally sticks out to me each week and that’s where I go.
On the farm side, I had a revelation this week that possibly I am thinking about the farm all wrong. The kids help with the garden- that’s easy- but honestly, the kids do nothing with the animals except occasionally visiting them, and if that’s the truth, what are we doing? Yes, we get meat and eggs and sometimes milk. But having a farm is more than just sourcing food. Our kids are getting old enough to do more (at least Hannah and BenBen) and if they are going to grow up farm kids, they need to do more than occasionally visit the animals. They need to be helping with chores or having set jobs and I have to order our lives so that happens. It’s not our habit, so it seems hard. John does all the chores- we don’t wake our kids each morning to work. To really involve the kids would require setting it up differently than it is. It’s something I’m chewing on and I don’t know what to do with it. Is the answer to get out of animals, or simplify animals, or just set it up differently, and if so how? I just don’t know!
From the bookshelf:
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- Why Read Moby Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick (highly recommended if you are going to tackle Moby Dick!)
- The Green Ember by S.D. Smith (book club with Hannah)
- Tales from the Odyssey by Mary Pope Osborne (book club with Hannah)
- Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson
What are you doing for fun this summer?