But first, a few days in Seattle…Back in June, we had the chance to stay in Seattle a few days with good friends the Wilsons plus see out-of-town friends, the Baileys. We always have a great time together. They are those kind of friends, you know, the ones where it doesn’t matter how long it’s been, being together is the same and as great as it always was.
We spent one morning picking strawberries. Lucia and Zeke worked very hard picking the red, ripe ones—not even stopping to eat many along the way. Lucia with friends Zeke and Ellie. And me with my friends and our kids: Ashley with Ellie and Janine with Zeke and Annika.The spoils + my bulging belly making it into the shot.Lucia loves to help with baby friend, Annika. So cute plus great for prepping to help with her baby brother.And then we were off to Chicago! Lucia was such a great little flyer. This was the first trip where she was old enough to ‘get it’ and be excited about being on an airplane. She kicked off her shoes and got cozy with her in-flight magazine.Lucia loved rolling her own suitcase which was super helpful for this 8 month preggo mama with too much to carry.
We had some quality cousin time right away with the Baileys (oops, no pics) then the Johnsons. They were all so excited and giddy to be together again after so long.Lucia was so excited to be with Naomi that she cuddled, wrestled and kissed her like this for about 20 minutes straight.
Gwen and LuciaAll the girls helping Renee open her late birthday gift from us.Lots of shows, routines and karaoke to work on.And we tried to have a big cousin sleepover but Lucia got a little scared once the lights went down and she chickened out. At least the rest of them had fun.Hanging out with Christine in her neighborhood
After some quality time in Chicago, we were off with the whole extended fam to northern Wisconsin. We made a few hotel stops on the way up.One of the hotels had a sweet pool where the kids had a blast.We had an open day in Green Bay and were able to stop at this great old-school amusement park with lots of rides for young and older kids. Lucia enjoyed her first merry-go-round ride and had a very strong opinion about which animal she wanted to ride, no surprise there.Naomi, Renee, LuciaLocated on the actual Green Bay, it was a beautiful spot for a park…and a mini train ride. Onto Rhinelander, WI and a necessary trip to Culver’s with Renee, Addison and Caroline. Then we made it to our final destination of Scott’s Resort up by Eagle River. Our family of 30 plus, including 11 kids, descends on these 6 cabins for the week, taking over everything in our path. It’s tons of fun. Quality family time, sleeping later, lounging and reading by the lake, kids swimming and running around all day and campfires at night. I especially enjoyed taking a break from checking my phone/email/etc. and being disconnected from the ‘real world’..
If the saying goes something like “integrity/character is what you do when no one is looking” then I would add that “life is what is enjoyed when no one is posting”. About 5 hours into the drive from Chicago up to northern Wisconsin, we reached the point where my phone lost service. I was cut off for the week and it got me thinking about the real influence of devices in my everyday life. Besides using my dad’s phone to call Matt a few times, there was no phone, no Facebook, no internet whatsoever. Now– even as I write this, I feel like an idiot. I mean, am I that attached to devices that a week without them is something even worth pondering? Well, yeah.
I got to thinking about enjoying moments because, in fact, I was particularly enjoying the current moment: driving in the car, good music, beautiful countryside out the window, Lucia dozing off, a whole week by the lake with my family stretched out before me. Then this simple, blissful moment was cut short by an invasive thought…”how would I post this?” My mind was then forcibly transferred into the world of Facebook, thinking over what picture I would use or how I would describe the moment to make it sound the best and most glowing. I’m not even much of a Twitter or Instagram user but flashes of hashtags flood my brain without warning, turning a soul-filling moment into a #word or #cleverwaytodescribethemoment. I had no plans of actually posting anything, anywhere– even if my phone was working. Nevertheless, the pervasive thought takes root. Ugh, moment over. How often does this happen? A pure and simple moment is taken hostage from the mind and catapulted into the outside world with hopes that validation from others will somehow make it more meaningful?
I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not the only one here. I’m sure most of you can relate to this sequence of thinking. And if not, then keep doing what you’re doing. I want to be more like you. This way of thinking is a big deal though. When I have a blissful moment but then my mind is taken out of that moment and starts thinking about how it might appear to others, that is not good. The moment doesn’t belong to others. I want to fully inhabit each and every one of them. If I need to share it with the world to more fully enjoy it, then maybe I’m missing the whole point.
All I know is that after a week of not paying attention to others’ lives but thoroughly dwelling in my own, the clutter in my mind falls away and I am left with contentment. It was a good reminder. I’m not planning to stop posting altogether or cancel my online accounts but writing this out makes me more accountable to myself–to not let invasive thoughts take captive of the simplest, most lovely moments of life. Instead of needing others to validate them, I’ll give myself permission to fully dwell in them and let that be enough because ‘life is what is enjoyed when no one is posting”. And now I’ll go back to hypocritically posting about the week…
Much time spent at the beachLucia got really into pushing people on the hammock. I was treated to a lovely surprise baby shower by all the Wallgren ladies. I didn’t notice that everyone was off getting ready and when Sonja asked to come ‘check something out’ in another cabin, I thought she was going to put spiders on me, so….surprise mission accomplished. I was touched that they all thought of me and the baby. It was so fun to celebrate and receive some much needed boy clothes. Addison, Lucia, Caroline (maybe the other way around)
We had dinner together every night which usually looked something like this- lots of people waiting for lots of other people to show up so we could eat–usually ending in chanting the names of those we were waiting for til they came.
HOW TO BE A POET
(to remind myself)
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
After we took off, we stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast. Before even going in, Lucia asked for ice cream to which I replied with a firm ‘no’ (‘we’re here for breakfast, not ice cream’). Once in the store Lucia slipped on the floor while waiting for food and when the manager realized what happened and the fact that there was no ‘slippery when wet’ caution sign present, he promptly offered her some ice cream to get her to stop crying. So she did get her ice cream for breakfast after all. It was a great trip home! I even managed to sneak in a trip to Ravinia with my family. Here are all the Wallgren siblings. And we didn’t mean to, but we’re in age order (Linnea, Greta, me, Eric).Not sure what we were laughing at but I love this picture!And here we all are—thanks to all for a great trip!