Up North

CWC2017-4

Last week we had a grand experiment called “Bring the Baby to the Cabin and See What Happens”. It turned out OK… In the the days before we left, Alex suddenly had issues getting back down to sleep after his middle-of-the-night feeding. I’m talking screeching and howling when I leave the room. This caused panic and concern in me, because 1.) we’d be sharing a room with him and 2.) we’d be sharing a cabin with 9 other people, so letting him cry it out didn’t seem like an option. The only solution I saw was that I’d have to be up with him, possibly for hours, until I could get him back to sleep in the most peaceful way possible. So that’s what I did. Every night I was up for at least an hour, usually more, confined to this tiny dark room. To be honest, it was hell. BUT. There were lots of good things about our trip. Time with grandparents, fresh air, the weather was leaps and bounds better than the forecast promised, plenty of lake time, beautiful sunsets, and so, so much more. And having so many hands on deck meant I could claim at least an hour or two of morning z’s.

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Weekend Away

JUGGLER-16JUGGLER-14Last Tuesday we returned home from a whirlwind long weekend Up North to visit Alan’s folks at their cabin. It’s recently built (replacing a TRULY rustic cabin that lacked electricity or indoor plumbing!) and we only briefly toured the place last summer on a day trip from my family’s cabin. Now that this cabin is here, Alex will have twice the fun summer times with family! It’s so nice to be able to have these places for our kids. Growing up going to the cabin was and still is one of my most cherished traditions.JUGGLER-1JUGGLER-2JUGGLER-5JUGGLER-8JUGGLER-9JUGGLER-11JUGGLER-20A couple evenings Alan’s dad took us two out in the little boat to tour the lake. Is there anything better than an evening on a lake? No there is not.JUGGLER-27JUGGLER-29It occurred to me that I’ve never been this far north, this close to the solstice, so it stayed light out past 10 o’clock. This was a bit of a novelty to me. I’d hoped to do some astrophotography but I couldn’t make it to darkness. And good thing too, because our first morning Alex woke up about 5:30. It’s tough for a little guy to adjust to vacations!JUGGLER-30JUGGLER-31I really don’t mind waking up at dawn (although these photos were taken decidedly post-dawn). It’s tough, but when you’re at a beautiful lake in the woods, that’s basically a feature. I’m sure there will be more of these next month at the other cabin.

And if you’re going to have a baby force you awake in the early hours, it’s nice to have a couple extra pairs of hands to hold him while you get your bearings and drink lots of coffee.JUGGLER-33Hah! Alan’s uncle who owns a little stretch of shore across the lake picked us up in a pontoon for a little family visit. Alex’s first time on a boat!JUGGLER-37JUGGLER-38JUGGLER-39JUGGLER-40JUGGLER-43JUGGLER-44JUGGLER-45JUGGLER-46JUGGLER-47JUGGLER-48JUGGLER-50JUGGLER-51JUGGLER-52JUGGLER-53JUGGLER-54JUGGLER-55JUGGLER-56JUGGLER-57JUGGLER-58JUGGLER-60JUGGLER-63JUGGLER-64JUGGLER-65JUGGLER-66JUGGLER-68

Sweet Boy

ALEX-MAY-8I have a big backlog of photos, so I thought I would do a big share. These are photos from almost two months ago (!) that I have only just uploaded. I’m delighted to report that I’m all caught up (for now).

Doing some maintenance on my ever-growing collection of Alex photos made me realize how quickly he’s growing. I could also remember specific days, and how maybe… “Oh that was a good day” or “Oh, that was a tough day.” But what stands out to me most is that those tough days are in the past. We don’t have to live them again. There are still more ahead, but each day we become more experienced too. ALEX-MAY-15

I think we’re currently experiencing the dreaded 8 month sleep regression *and* a nap transition where he’s going from 3 naps to 2. While reading up on it, I was reminded of the 4 month sleep regression he had, which then lead to a month-long cold, which caused multiple loooong wake ups every night. That was a dark period. I felt like I didn’t want any more kids after dealing with that.

But like all things, it passed, and now Alex is nearly 8 months, and despite the occasional hiccup, he’s quite dreamy. He’s super fun and energetic. We’re taking swim and music classes this summer, going on tons of walks, and despite the unpredictability in sleeping, he does take longer naps, which means long breaks for mom. I think back to how harried and exhausted I was in the beginning and that time is so far away. I feel 1000% more in control of my day than I did then, and that alone does great things for my state of mind.ALEX-MAY-21ALEX-MAY-27ALEX-MAY-28I’ve also learned that it takes a long time (at least in my case) to be OK with being a stay at home mom. When Alex needed me for every single thing, that was incredibly draining and demoralizing. It was also tough having such a dependent little baby while the days were dark and cold. I think I’ll have my next baby in the spring.ALEX-MAY-33ALEX-JUNE-2ALEX-JUNE-10This boy is the sweetest little thing. Despite the struggles (which become farther apart as he gets older!), my heart EXPLODES every time he smiles at me. When Alan hands him off to me at night to feed him before bed, I hold his little body and smell his head and just think I’ll take like 10 more of these please.ALEX-JUNE-27ALEX-JUNE-38ALEX-JUNE-65I never knew I could enjoy summer SO MUCH until Alex came along, and I realized recently it’s because having a baby makes everything new. You pretty much have to keep busy all the time, and go places, and try new things. And even though he’ll never remember going to the north shore or music class or checking out the neighborhood brewpub on Father’s Day, we will cherish these early days with our sweet boy.ALEX-JUNE-71

No Justice, No Peace

PROTEST-10Yesterday, as everyone is probably (hopefully) aware, the officer who killed Philando Castile was found not guilty on all accounts. When I learned this, I had a deep feeling of anger in my gut. When the murder happened last summer it was just another reminder that institutional racism breeds everywhere, even in our seeming liberal utopia. I’ve sat on the sidelines through everything, comfortably pontificating on Facebook, feeling the outrage, but not enough apparently to get my legs moving. I knew I had to go out and protest this, though. These times are not for standing idly by. They are for action. And I’m sorry that it took me so long to show up.PROTEST-16PROTEST-11PROTEST-21PROTEST-22PROTEST-24PROTEST-27PROTEST-38PROTEST-41PROTEST-43I especially loved seeing people bringing their kids out. When Alex is older I want to get him involved. I want social justice to be a part of his life.

🖤✊🏻

Highway 61, We Visited

NORTHSHORE-32NORTHSHORE-24Last weekend for our 3rd anniversary we packed up the minivan and headed north. The plan? Explore the north shore of Lake Superior. That was all we knew. The unpredictability of the baby made it hard to have any solid plans.

And that really worked out well.

Parenthood is challenging, in a thousand different ways, but for me particularly, accepting that I can’t control everything, or even most things, is an incredible hurdle to leap. I guess I was always a bit testy, but the hormones, the loss of sleep, and a plan gone off the rails? I get terribly agitated, which is a great understatement.

I had visions in my head of beautiful sun kissed afternoons and us on the craggy rocks overlooking Lake Superior, on hours-long hikes, while the baby happily snoozed and we took little breaks to have a picnic of cheeses and salmon spreads. But the forecast indicated a much different trip, one with coldness and rain. Everything we wanted to do was more or less set in the outdoors. If the weather was shit, the trip would be RUINED. I tried not to get bummed about the trip before it even started, but it was hard.

But, back to this trip. It actually turned out really great! We had one day of really crap weather but still managed to go out and do some stuff. Our little lakeside condo at Bluefin Bay was cozy and spacious. We don’t feel any time was wasted, which in my mind, means the trip was a huge success.

Day 01

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Day 02

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Day 03

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Day 04

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Day 04

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Day 1 was spent driving, walking around Canal Park in Duluth. We ate lunch at Northern Waters Smokehaus and grabbed beers at Canal Park Brewery . We then took a pit stop at Tettegouche State Park. We stayed at Bluefin Bay for the trip. 

Day 2 started sunny, but quickly turned to rain. We rode the new gondola at Lutsen and got lunch and beers at the Summit Chalet. Later on, we took Alex swimming for the first time in the hotel pool.

Day 3 we got breakfast at Coho Cafe (and every morning subsequently!) and hiked around Temperance River State Park in the drizzle. After naps, we ventured to Grand Marais to eat lunch at The Angry Trout  and explore Artists’ Point. Before heading back we got beers at Voyageur Brewing. And later, more swimming!

Day 4 we went to Cascade River State Park, followed by lunch at Cascade Restaurant

Day 5 we packed up and headed home with a brief pit stop at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

It’s easy to forget how much beauty is in your own state. I can’t recommend the North Shore enough for a family getaway. I think going later in the summer would’ve given us a wider range of opportunities for activities, but I’m glad we got to go when it was still pretty quiet and cool.

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