Summer Update, a Bit of Everything

So I have a bunch of different things that I have wanted to write about over the past few days or weeks.  But it is summer and life has been very full.  Between swim team and my oldest daughter performing in the musical “Annie,” all my good intentions of blogging failed.  Like most summers, I am spending my time living life rather than documenting it.  But in an effort to catch up, here is a summer update post with some links, photos, and thoughts…

1. We went blueberry picking today. Temps in the high 90′s and low 100′s broke and so today’s high of 88 degrees felt cool enough to pick blueberries. It was a great afternoon and my sister snapped this amazing shot of Josie. Josie is now 6 months old, cute as pie, and the best baby in the universe (not that I’m biased or anything). What amazes me about this photo is that it just happened. We were sitting taking a break in the shade and my sister just took a few pictures. It may be one of the best baby photos I have ever seen of any of my kids and it was absolutely effortless. Sometimes things that should be easy are hard, and other times things that seem impossible (a great photo shoot of a baby!) are so easy.

 

2.  This past weekend, Gianna had her first real speaking/singing part as Molly in the musical “Annie.”  For the past several weeks I have seen very little of my little girl.  She has done a lot of growing up during this time.  She made new friends, learned all her lines, decided upon accessories for her costume, and even packed her own lunches.  She did all this without my help.  She didn’t need me in any of the practical ways that I’m used to her needing me.  I was overjoyed and a bit teary eyed about it all.

Miss Hannigan applying Molly's makeup before the show

 

3.  When not at swimming practice or musical rehearsals, we have spent quite a few warm Saturdays at a small nearby lake.  I’ve let loose and gone wild–

 

My wild side

4. What a difference a year makes.  This little boy was so sick last June.  He spent some time in CHOP, was failing to thrive, and we were on pins and needles with worry about his health.  A year later, he has gained 12 pounds, his health is MUCH improved, and he is enjoying the water.  Crazy how much can change in a year!

5.  Did you all see this great article in the New Yorker?  In case you missed it, it basically lets everyone know that American kids are spoiled rotten.  While 3 year olds in tribal cultures are learning how to yield a machete, teenagers in America don’t even know how to operate basic household appliances, like a dishwasher.  I guess it is complicated to pour in soap and push a button, right?  One benefit of having a large family is that the parents are forced to put the kids to work.

6.  A facebook friend linked to this story. In summary, a mother of six young kids (ages 2-11) ditched her Suburban for a crazy bike called a bakfiets, and now travels around Portland on the bike with all 6 of her kids.  She has lost weight and rid herself of depression, but she admits it isn’t for everyone.  I can’t decide if I think she is insane or I am inspired.  Probably a bit of both.  Anyone else think MaryAlice should take up biking as her new exclusive method of transportation with her crew?  h/t to my friend Alison for the link.

7.  And finally, one of the better articles I have read on the Health Care Ruling– A Vast New Taxing Power by the WSJ.

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com Mary Alice

    It seems like a great summer, so far. Most of all, I am so happy about your 4 year old, every time he comes over my boys say “he can play with us because he isn’t sick anymore!” His weakness really made a big impression on them, and they much prefer this healthy playmate. It is also really nice to see and hear how happy you are — running off the dock with your kids, support your oldest through this new, independent phase (it still takes energy and organization to drive them everywhere…). We are experiencing similar things with our swimmers, who get to practice, pack their bags and keep track of their own things, hang out with friends on breaks and do not need me in the same way. This means that I am free to enjoy the baby more than I expected.

    Oh, I would sort of love to have biking be my mode of transportation! Ironically, my older kids now bike to swim team, and then I drive over, with just 3 kids in a 15 passenger van!

    We had a brief time when we could bike as a family – 2 adult bikers, 4 kid bikers and two in the trailer, but now we are out of luck, the little boys are too young to bike and we can’t put three in the trailer. I am going to look into toddler bike seats for the fall because we are really going to miss our long family bike rides! What a great way to spend the day together and sneak in a workout, especially if you are pulling a trailer and your sadistic husband plans an 8 mile loop :)

    Well done!

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com Katrina

    Kellie, it looks like you’re having a great summer! I also love seeing you jumping into the lake – Ed’s family growing up went to a lake every day of the summer, and I’ve heard so much about “Noe Pond” over the years that I feel like I went myself. Great memories for your kids.
    G looks great – I would have loved to see her as Molly in “Annie” – do you think that she’ll continue to do community theater, and that any of her siblings will join her as they get older?
    The mom who bikes with her children everywhere is amazing. I think we can all understand that sometimes, it takes an extreme decision (our family has recently gotten rid of cable TV, so basically we have PBS and the network channels – not as huge of a decision as this mom, by the way!) to move your family in the direction that you want it to be going. I hope that this particular mother can find some balance as the years go on – maybe they are able to buy a car that they use only for trips to the grocery store and longer weekend outings, etc. I’m always cautious about making a decision and then being stubborn about change if change is needed…By the grace of God, we all muddle through somehow, don’t we?!

  • Karen

    Love the lake picture! Wish I had gotten to see G in Annie :-( What a lovely summer!

    With my oldest I have the opposite of independence because of her PDD, not that we are claiming victim and giving up, but when she was 4 it did take me a year to teach her to put her socks on. Not fun! It has a bad trickle down effect for me as a mom, I tend to not want to put forth the effort to train my kids to do anything. I guess because of burn out. This summer I am hibernating at home to get our household in order! It has been great, but a little isolating. Maybe we can get together and swop notes on getting a kid on the spectrum to do tasks independently – withOUT fuss :-) Every kid complains time to time, but this is on a whole other level.

  • Sue Bickings

    Love this post, Kellie! The jumping in the lake picture is just summer perfection:) My parents and i just had that conversation about kids last night…how backwards it’s become, kids are not encouraged to GO. PLAY. because of fear they will be hurt, or worse…but how that is doing them a huge disservice (and something i am guilty of with a husband who has the job he has, and comes home and tells me things). Beautiful post, thought provoking & fun!

  • http://thisaintthelyceum.org Kelly Mantoan

    Love the picture of you jumping in the lake. Why are you trying to come hang out here, when I should be meeting you there?!
    And I agree; what a difference a year makes! When we are struggling through family turmoil, time seems to stand still. Eventually, you come out on the other side and it makes the present moment so much sweeter. Go Gus!

  • Mama Turtle

    What a beautiful summer!

    And #5 made me laugh – I have also noticed that they tend not to use larger families or families with a bent toward Montessori preschool education in their studies :) . It did serve as a good reminder though of just how important it is to let my little ones see me doing housework and include them in doing it. Sometimes it’s so easy to wait until naptime or after bedtime to do certain chores because I can get everything done faster, but it’s more beneficial in the long run if we do them together!

  • JMB

    #6 – really? What a freak! Why can’t the 9 year old ride a bike by herself? Here’s a thought: when you stop banging your head against the wall, it stops hurting. I’m not into the hardship for the sake of what? hardship way of life. We are all given crosses to bear, most of which are not of our own choosing, what I can’t bear, is people who believe it is a virtue to do something hard.

    • Karen

      Agree, but I think from what the article said, this mom rides her bike because it makes her happy – not to save the planet or money or whatever. Says in the article she was really stuck in life, and needed a big change. If it stops her from suffering from depression, I say go for it. Anyway, I like seeing moms doing things others think would be impossible with kids. It inspires me. Of course, I have a love for solving problems “differently” or uniquely :-) so I may just think it is cool because it is different.

  • Gabie

    Ha ha! I love the Bakfiets story. We have a Bakfiets, but then, here in Denmark, carting your kids around in a cargo bike IS the normal thing to do. Of course right now, I am only carting the almost 5-year-old and my big-old belly around. We are having straps installed for a baby car seat for those trips to school in the fall. I agree with that mom, it makes me feel happy to be out in the sun, rain, snow! And it does allow for a LOT of chocolate-eating!


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