Weekending

Since we’ve moved to Michigan at the end of April we haven’t had a weekend without visitors. Have I mentioned how lucky we are to have so many family and friends willing and able to make the trip up to see us? Last weekend the Klipsch contingency arrived with my two brothers-in-law, their wives and children. This weekend marked the arrival of my parents and our good Bajun friend, Marlo. I would say the theme for each weekend is “eat too much, drink too much and stay up way past my bedtime.” But I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

The weather here has been so beautiful. Hasn’t gotten so hot that we can’t be outside yet (does it get that way in MI?) so we are taking advantage of every moment!

My kids are finally at an age where they love “competitive tubing”. No more of that drive slow and stay straight boring stuff. 😉 My entire childhood was spent challenging siblings and friends to tube battles so it feels like the best kind of deja vu to now have my kiddos doing the same.

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Though the older kids were mostly unseen because of all the excitement at being together again, we did get some QT in with the littler cousins. I kind of can’t help but gush about my nephews and nieces. It’s just that they are so incredible.

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I also can’t get enough of watching Zach and his brothers together. I hope beyond hope my boys are able to have as much fun as Z and his brothers do as they get older.

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I recovered from their visit on Thursday, which is exactly when our friend Marlo showed up. 🙂 Saturday we went right out on the lake. Though Zach is a great boat driver it’s just really hard to beat my dad-the man with 30 years of experience! And I must tell you my world got a little more perfect when I sat in a boat with my dad as the driver. So many memories of my childhood involved my dad driving the boat while we tubed and skied/wake boarded so imagine my delight at recreating that magic! I even brushed off the wake boarding skills and went for a few runs.

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Dailah HATES tubing. Thankfully she’s got a mom who will not be raising a daughter to just sit around and sun bathe while all the dudes are out enjoying life. 😉 We negotiated and I allowed her the request to have her daddy ride with her. Daddies have a way of making us feel safe and loved don’t they?

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Then Dailah hopped off (not true, my dad actually dumped her and Z) and it was back to competitive tubing for Marlo and Z.

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I also force encourage all of my kids to wakeboard/ski when it’s time. Yesterday was the first day that all of them got up (except Trysten who gave it a good D effort. 😉 )

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Last night ended with some card games, cigars and drinks on our covered porch while the rain came down. It was absolute perfection. (You know you are a yogi when you tell your son to get down in the front and he does this. Oh Trysten.)

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Hope your summer weekends have been just as full of love and laughter!

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School’s out for summer!

School’s out for summer!

Today my 5 officially finished their school year. Though I was thankful Michigan went longer than Iowa when we decided to move because it gave them longer to make good friends before the summer, I was getting pretty bored at home the last week or so and was itchin’ to have all my babes at home with me during the day!

This was them on their first day of school this year. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.

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And today. Officially 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders.

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Truth be told I think our various graduations now celebrated (preschool, kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade, etc) are a little overzealous. I think we can all agree it doesn’t take much for our kids to graduate preschool and kindergarten, right? 5th grade is still a little goofy if you ask me, there just doesn’t seem to be anything special about graduating 5th grade/elementary school. That said, I do believe Trysten is special and so I was totally ok with getting to see him in his element on his last day of elementary school. 😉

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He was one of the main reasons we decided to move towards the end of the school year. I wanted to make sure he would have enough time to make some friends before heading into the twilight zone that is middle school. And man did he. The male 5th grade teacher gives out candy awards every year to the 5th graders. He picks different candies that fit the personalities of each kid. Trysten got M&M because he’s “Magnificent and majestic and he just oozes cool.” Any mom can tell you it’s so nice hearing your kid accurately described by teachers. It means the teacher has taken the time (in this case just a month!) to really get to know my kid and my kids trusts that teacher enough to show the real him. That’s a pretty big deal.

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Afterwards we had to go for ice cream to celebrate summer, for obvious reason.

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I am just incredibly proud of all 5 of them. Some have to work so, so hard day in and day out to keep pace with their peers and they do it. Of course there are tears once in awhile but those are mostly just from me. 😉

My favorite story from their new school was from a teacher. I was talking to her on one of Dailah’s field trips and she said, “You know I just have to tell you, coming here has been a really big deal for A (Dailah’s best friend). Before Dailah moved here A would get kind of picked on because she’s just quiet and sweet and never really stood up for herself. But Dailah doesn’t let that happen to her and in turn A has gained this whole new level of confidence we had never seen from her. On top of that, everyone in the school knows if they mess with one Klipsch or any friends of the Klipschs the others will be there to help out so A falls under that Klipsch umbrella too.”

I freaking love that. And I freaking love them. Off to hang with that ragamuffin gang I call my children.

My birthday

So I had a birthday last week. I can totally see how women in their 30s say things like, “Oh man, 30s are so much better than 20s.” And then women in their 40s say that about their 30s, etc, etc. Because life just keeps getting better. Especially when 5 little babes and a handsome man woke me up singing the HBD song and presented me with these little tokens of love as I watched the lake wake up outside my window.

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Also doesn’t hurt to check the mailbox and find a good friend sent 2 of my favorite things all the way from Colorado.

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I often feel like I am making decisions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What we eat as a family, organic or not organic, what to do with this room or the outside of the house, how do I stop this smell from happening, etc. So on my birthday or on Mother’s Day the only thing I ever want (ok, I love presents too, let’s just be real here) is to not make any decisions. Not a single one. I know it’s not always awesome for Zach since I typically give him 0 guidance but it’s totally awesome for me. For my birthday lunch he asked me to meet him at the lodge for a delicious meal provided by someone else which sounded exactly like something I would be interested in. What I got after that delicious lunch was 30+ counselors singing happy birthday and delivering cupcakes over and over and over again. Every year I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten better and better at being by myself and I now realize I require a lot more alone time than ever before. So all of that left me feeling quite awkward and embarrassed but one of my favorite parts about being a camp wife is how often it reminds me not to take life so seriously. I mean look at their faces!

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I’ve also learned to appreciate the little things more and more every year. Last week a few plants that had yet to bloom decided to show me their beauty. I took it as a sign the world was telling me it’s going to be another beautiful and bright year.

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I was stepping out of the shower the other day and noticed my stretch marks on my stomach and thighs. It turns out as I get tanner (ahhhh lake life) my stretch marks become whiter and more pronounced. If our culture wouldn’t try to tell me stretch marks are ugly I would actually believe they are quite pretty in their stark contrast to my tan belly.

Anyway I was kind of caught off guard by my reaction to them. I think having been around a little longer and been more purposeful than ever about learning from and loving people who have completely different life experiences than mine has made me really appreciate those stretch marks. Because those stretch marks are there only because I was able to hold three precious lives (and give birth to two) within my body. This is not something I will ever take for granted. I’m not saying if you hate your stretch marks you are taking for granted the reasons they are there, I’m only saying every year I gain a little more understanding that life is a trade off. Very rarely do you find something in life that is a real blessing without trudging through some uglier bits to get there. Of course there are days when I mourn the loss of my perky boobs (and dammit I earned the right to mourn those! 😉 ) but it’s becoming increasingly harder for me to stay in my mourning for long without memories of nursing Trysten early in the morning and studying for my Women in Cinema class at the same time. Or the first time Dailah was taken off all of her machines and I got the go ahead to try nursing. Those happy memories far outweigh any momentary sadness about my physical body.

And of course I look at my hands and am sometimes startled with the lines that have recently become a little deeper. But I can’t look at my hands without thinking about how they held the hands of special people in Ethiopia. Their hands rough from the years of hard labor. I can’t see my slowly aging hands without remembering them being kissed and blessed by people that hold so much of my heart in their hands.

I guess I’m just so thankful to be getting older because perspective seems clearer and clearer every day. I don’t look at people in their 20s and think “Man they have no idea” because 1) it’s patronizing and 2) it doesn’t help anyone. Of course those older than me probably look at me with the same look (though I hope not, we should probably stop doing that to each other) but I’m ok with that because I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I’m alive y’all and I know too many people who would be my age but never lived to see their 30s. I’m infinitely grateful every year and every day that I wake up and get to experience another day in this life.

I hope you guys are too.