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.

Lately

041317-20Hey, Blue Eyes!

Things are ticking along in our household… Alan undertook the GREAT task of building raised beds so I could fulfill my goal of having a garden this year. I’ll dedicate a blog in the future to that, but it’s been pretty cool to get to know how that process works (because I had NO IDEA) and it’ll be a lot of work but it’ll be so rewarding.

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Alex remains a happy little boy. And I feel like a broken record while talking about his poor sleep habits. I’m constantly keeping myself in check, telling myself that our problems could be worse and we could have a baby who sleeps like 4 hours a day total and also is low on the height and weight chart and a bunch of other stuff, but like, STOP IT. Your problems are not invalid because they’re different than other peoples’ problems. I still need sleep just like everyone else, and 4-5 hours of sleep every night for 6 months is – not normal or healthy -. Unfortunately, this is just my reality for the foreseeable future, so I might as well cope as best as I can.

 

041317-39041317-40041317-41Now that Alex can sit up on his own and generally keep himself entertained for at least 20 minutes, I have more little moments during the day where I don’t feel as guilty for just zoning out on the couch, browsing my phone. Sometimes I turn on the TV and -GASP- sometimes I let him watch. Motherhood is exhausting, and on top of judgment from others (whether real or imagined), nothing competes with the judgment we give ourselves, and that sucks. Mothering a baby is one thing, but I think we also need to Mother ourselves.

💞

At the Zoo

ZOO041217-11Yesterday Alex and I went to the Minnesota Zoo to hang out. I hadn’t been myself in probably close to decades, and he’s only 5.5 months old, and it’s like $18 a ticket, plus parking, so it was a gamble. I don’t want to say people who try new things with babies are heroes, but there does take a certain amount of bravery. But you need to get out of the house and do stuff, otherwise you’ll go insane.

Luckily, everything worked out perfectly. The weather was cool and cloudy, but not cold or rainy. Alex was comfortable in a sweatshirt and I in a t-shirt (because you have to be ON YOUR GAME constantly with a baby and that makes you sweaty). The crowds were minimal, and Alex didn’t get upset once. He even seemed to get a kick out of it! Like, in the photo above, he’s literally just looking at a tank of water.ZOO041217-8ZOO041217-12ZOO041217-17I also wanted to go to the zoo because I thought it would be a good photography exercise. And in theory I was right, except I didn’t check my battery beforehand so I was running on close to empty the whole time.ZOO041217-1ZOO041217-4ZOO041217-6ZOO041217-19

By the way, I can’t recommend our stroller enough. It’s got super system of different seat configurations. It’s also got a massive basket underneath for storing anything and everything. I love it. It’s on the pricier side, but if you plan on having more than one kid (which we do), it’ll pay for itself.

ZOO041217-24ZOO041217-27My favorite part was “Russia’s Grizzly Coast” which kinda just felt like a nice nature walk. Plus, bears. ZOO041217-33I ended up applying my ticket price towards a year-long membership so a few more trips this spring while the crowds are low and the weather is still nice will be 👌🏻ZOO041217-30ZOO041217-29
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