Life Lately

Amazed by the eclipse. We traveled to Missouri to see the totality. We missed out on the shadows due to a thin layer of clouds, but could still see the eclipse and the ring during the totality. We are already counting down to the totality here in Bloomington in 2024!

Enjoying the time when both kids are in school. E started preschool at the beginning of August and is now going three mornings a week. It feels like the start of a new era for our family–both kids in school, no diapers, and the youngest in preschool!

Proud of HP. He is now a kindergartener! It was a bit overwhelming at first with all of the new things, but he has settled right in. I am so impressed with his teacher and the school community. When I would think about HP starting kindergarten a few years ago it seemed like so long for him to be gone and like a lot for a newly minted five year old, but now that we are here it feels like the exact right thing. Funny how that happens.

Struggling with the after-school hours. Pick-up takes always takes longer than I think. HP is hungry and tired after holding it together at school all day. And there there are all the sibling squabbles. I am now going armed with a variety of snacks to feed him before starting the walk home in the hopes that it improves the situation.

Featured on the Sarah R Bagley Podcast. We had a great conversation about creativity, motherhood, and the launch of Family Pedals. It was a fun experience to be on the other end of an interview. I’d love for you to give it a listen!

Walking regularly. As much as I would like to, making it to the gym regularly is not a happening thing in my life. Instead of fighting that, I am shifting my expectations and going for walks while catching up on podcasts–two things I love.

Listening to the We Live Here podcast about race and class. I especially enjoyed the most recent one about the “Woke Spectrum.”

Celebrating Neil’s birthday this weekend with rock climbing, dairy-free desserts, and random presents made by HP out of tape and paper.

Thinking of everyone affected by Harvey, and now Irma. The amount of destruction is overwhelming. I am terrified that this is our new normal re natural disasters. Stay safe, friends.

Life Lately

 

Summer has begun in earnest for our family. We got back from the beach on Tuesday, and the kids and I head out on a road trip to Oregon with my mom on Monday. Phew! This year it just worked out that all of our travel is crammed together across a few weeks instead of spread out.

Speaking of road trips with kids, I welcome any and all tips, specifically any audio stories, books, or podcasts an almost five year old would enjoy. We already love Sparkle Stories and on our last trip we discovered But Why? and Brains On! Please share your favorites–it’s going to be a loooong trip to the West Coast and we’ll have plenty of listening hours to fill.

I decided our trips would be the perfect place to start another reread of the Harry Potter series. I wanted to read it this summer in preparation for a very special all-things-Harry-Potter episode of Friendlier that will come out in early August. The first two books are not my favorite in the series, but in rereading them I found them funnier and wittier than I remembered. I am currently a few chapters into Book Four and enjoying the ride.

Preschool has ended for HP (forever!) and we are now in summer mode. Once we get back from Oregon we have a couple of camps lined up for both kids, swim lessons for HP, and generally trying to soak up these laid-back weeks before HP goes off to kindergarten.

This may seem crazy, but we are considering canceling our home internet. Our one year promotional period is ending and the price will more than double starting in June. I know it would be inconvenient at times, but there would also be benefits–like eliminating the temptation to look up “just one thing” and then falling into the rabbit hole of the online world. I may expand more on my thoughts and what we decide in a future post.

We have a new roof! As in, I just wrote the final check and the roofers drove off a few minutes ago. When we bought the house we knew the roof wasn’t going to last much longer and used that to negotiate a lower price. This spring we finally did the necessary research and got quotes. We decided to get a standing seam metal roof, which should last for decades to come. It feels good to cross “get new roof” off the never-ending list of house projects.

I hope this finds you all ready to enjoy the holiday weekend and kick-off summer!

Life Lately

 
Struggling to write. The news of the world is so dark that what I have to say here feels trivial in comparison. I want to keep showing up and be in the habit of writing, but it is hard to feel like it matters.

Thinking about Homeward Bound by Emily Matchar. She took a critical look at many of the choices I have made (staying home with my kids, intentionally downsizing, DIY cooking, etc.) in a way that made me think, not get defensive.

Relishing in glorious, glorious sleep. My children now regularly sleep past six a.m. This has been the dream for so long and it is every bit as wonderful as I imagined it would be.

Working on a new creative project and feeling energized by the possibilities.

Excited to visit a college friend in Nashville to our celebrate our birthdays. It may still be four weeks away, but anticipation is half the fun, right?

Re-watching the final season of The Office with Neil. I loved the early seasons, but the last one is my favorite. Feeling all the feels about Jim and Pam.

Loving the imaginary play happening in our house. HP usually assigns roles (mommy bunny, baby bunny, and friend mouse, for example). E is adamant about declaring a role for herself if she does not like one assigned. If we call her “E” while they are playing she’ll correct me: “No! I am not E! I am a CHICKEN!” Okay then.

Inspired to be politically engaged. I signed up for a reproductive justice workshop on how to advance women’s rights in the current political environment, have been calling my representatives, and attended a local protest against Trump’s executive order on immigration (pictured above). It feels small in the face of what is happening, but it is something.

Life lately

Wearing sweaters. Fall is here, and it is glorious. Cool breezes that require jeans and jackets, cloudy bike rides to preschool with a chill in the air, soups every night–I love it all.

Thinking about Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg. So many excellent insights into productivity. The one that has stuck with me the most is having mental models of how your day/week should go to both keep you focused and allow you to easily recognize when something is amiss.

Appreciating HP’s newfound love for crafting. He was indifferent toward drawing and any form of art for a long time, but now asks to craft daily. See giraffe picture above, which he just had to draw after we tucked him in. It would have been impossible to sleep otherwise. 😉

Thrilled to be in a book club again. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren is our first book and I am almost done. It took me about a hundred pages to get into it, but once I did I couldn’t stop. It has confirmed what I already knew: I would be a terrible bench scientist, but it is fascinating to have an inside look into that world. One woman in our book club runs a lab at IU so I am particularly interested in hearing her take.

Listening to Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. It takes me back to my undergraduate days as a religion major in the best kind of way and inspired me to pick up the first book in the series for a reread. All the warm feelings for this podcast.

Hoping to take another bike camping trip during the height of the fall colors. Fingers crossed the weather works in our favor so we can make it happen. Last year the boys when bike camping around this time and the temperature dropped below freezing the night of the trip, which made me glad E and I stayed home.

Loving our new bike racks! Neil finished installing three racks this weekend. It is so nice to have specific place for all of our bikes that is protected from the weather instead of haphazardly locking them to the edge of the carport or storing them in the shed/workroom. One more project to crossed off the list!

Excited to celebrate E’s birthday. Two! She may not know exactly what a birthday is, but her brother does and his excitement is contagious. I have no doubt she’ll enjoy the cake, ice cream, and presents even if she doesn’t fully understand the occasion. We are having a small family celebration because, well, that’s what we prefer.

Happy Monday!

Life lately

Telling everyone I know about this book. It is well-written, fascinating, and just the act of reading it makes me love Bloomington even more than I already do.*-

Needing new rain gear. I rode to church in a downpour last Sunday and arrived completely soaked. So soaked, that I had to go into the bathroom, wring my shirt out, and put it back on. I bought my raincoat and rain pants before we moved to Oregon in 2008 and they seem to have lost all of their water repelling abilities over the years.

Excited that the school year has started! We had a great summer, but I am more ready for the routine of preschool. First day was on Monday; all smiles at pick-up!

Trying to spend less on groceries this month. What can I say? We love to eat nuts and good cheese. We’ll see how we do.

Loving our house more every day. It feels good to settle in. (And now have working ceiling fans in all the  bedrooms!)

Thankful that my mom is visiting while Neil is in California at a conference.

Refreshed from my weekend in Chicago. Having forty-eight kid-free hours to explore a new city with old friends was just what I needed to fill my tank. See also: delicious ramen, sushi, and pizza.

Wanting to find at least one play and concert to attend this fall.

Planning more ways for our family to explore nature in the area. Perhaps a bike-ride one Saturday to a nearby lake?

Joining a newly-formed book club next month. I so loved my book club in Austin and have been wanting to find one here. Now I have!

Listening to Harvey sing the state song over and over. And over. He especially likes to sing it in the back of the bucket bike.