Picture Post: Summertime Chi Trip (with a side of Wisconsin)

But first, a few days in Seattle…DSCN0935Back 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.

DSCN0943We 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. DSCN0952Lucia with friends Zeke and Ellie. DSCN0953 DSCN0961And me with my friends and our kids: Ashley with Ellie and Janine with Zeke and Annika.DSCN0957The spoils + my bulging belly making it into the shot.DSCN0964Lucia loves to help with baby friend, Annika. So cute plus great for prepping to help with her baby brother.DSCN0967And 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.DSCN0968Lucia loved rolling her own suitcase which was super helpful for this 8 month preggo mama with too much to carry.

DSCN0970We 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.DSCN0973Lucia was so excited to be with Naomi that she cuddled, wrestled and kissed her like this for about 20 minutes straight.

DSCN0974Gwen and LuciaDSCN0980All the girls helping Renee open her late birthday gift from us.DSCN0988Lots of shows, routines and karaoke to work on.DSCN0994And 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.DSCN0995Hanging out with Christine in her neighborhood

DSCN0999After 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.DSCN1006One of the hotels had a sweet pool where the kids had a blast.DSCN1017We 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.DSCN1015Naomi, Renee, LuciaDSCN1033Located on the actual Green Bay, it was a beautiful spot for a park…and a mini train ride.DSCN1021 DSCN1030 DSCN1034 DSCN1036Onto Rhinelander, WI and a necessary trip to Culver’s with Renee, Addison and Caroline.DSCN1038 DSCN1061Then 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…

DSCN1065 DSCN1074This was Lucia’s response to me asking her to pose. DSCN1046 DSCN1044Some of our littlest cuties, Renee and Carson. DSCN1050Spa time on the pier with CarolineDSCN1060Lounging around with baby boy

DSCN1122I had to capture Lucia’s ‘just woke up’ look. One of those things that as her mom I love and everyone else is like “what’s the big deal?”.

DSCN1069Much time spent at the beachDSCN1083Lucia got really into pushing people on the hammock.DSCN1088 DSCN1092 DSCN1100 DSCN1113I 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.DSCN1098 DSCN1099 DSCN1104Addison, Lucia, Caroline (maybe the other way around)

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DSCN1110We 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.

DSCN1118 Celebrating great grandpa’s birthday!DSCN1126Our annual night out on the town. First up: Alexander’s pizzaDSCN1129 DSCN1137Then ice cream down the streetDSCN1138Lucia was super excited about her blue moon ice cream

DSCN1157We missed Matt for our annual family picture! He wasn’t able to come due to work.

DSCN1141Sommar was thoroughly enjoying her chocolate ice creamDSCN1147A bonus street fair meant the kids had some fun dancing in the street.

DSCN1150The big kids too!DSCN1152Next stop: candy storeDSCN1160And last, go carts and other fun. Lucia was content to watch and wave to the riders and not ride herself.

DSCN1163Hanging out with GG and great grandpa. Lucia was obsessed with GG all week, wanting to be by her all the time.DSCN1165

DSCN1166Lucia was most excited about the bounce castle after the go carts. She went crazy in there, bouncing and barreling down the slide with abandon over and over.

DSCN1199Addison-Renee-Caroline-Lucia-Naomi-Gwen-Sommar-Sonja-Carson-Nolan All the kids of the Wallgren cousins, minus Liam. A great time had by all. It’s so fun to watch them grow! Until next year…

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DSCN1205I’m not a poet but I love these words from Wendell Berry about sitting in the silences and letting them be, especially in light of what I wrote about earlier:

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.

DSCN1214After 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. DSCN1220It 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).DSCN1219Not sure what we were laughing at but I love this picture!DSCN1224And here we all are—thanks to all for a great trip!

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