Summer Journal: our summer so far






Summer is in full swing, and as usual I am struggling with guilty angst over having to work. I have this recurring issue: if I’m not working enough, I feel a sort of withdrawal and I’m distracted and I get impatient with the kids when I can’t find a spare minute to check my email or make sure the blog hasn’t blown up (which sounds pretty ridiculous when I type it out, but there you go). On the other hand, when I’m working too much I feel like we’re missing out on summer and everyone else is having fun while I sit inside and stare at the wall and my poor children sit in camps or daycare staring out the window. I’m being completely overdramatic here, because of course they’re having a great time; I’m just trying to give you a sense of how it plays out in my head. It’s the never-ending quest for balance…or, maybe more accurately, to find contentment amidst the unbalance, a struggle that so many others share. My friends are already sick of hearing me blather on about it (And: I wrote about finding balance here on the blog last fall, and will surely write about it again…though, since that writing, Mr Rae’s startup got funded and is going gangbusters…and, um, can I say HOORAY for THAT!!?!).

I’m sure in a few weeks we’ll finally get this summer transition down, you know, just in time for summer to be over and for school to start. I have to try and laugh at myself a little about this…it’s such a silly bourgeois problem, when so many parents don’t have a choice about how much they work or spend time with their kids. Get over yourself, Rae. It’s really more about adjusting my expectations than anything else. So we can’t reproduce the free-range sort of summer that we remember — only in the best light — from our own childhoods (leaving the house at breakfast and wandering around all day unsupervised with the neighbor kids) for our own children? So what? We’re still creating a happy, albeit different, kind of life. Our mothers are the first to remind us of that.

Meanwhile, some pictures of our summer so far, demonstrating that, good grief, we have had plenty of fun this summer! The ones at the beginning of this post are from the Carp Carnival (above) a few weekends ago (hilarious name, right?), and below are a few from a trip to the Toledo Zoo:



…some pics from our family vacation to North Carolina (which happened in May…not technically “summer,” but oh well):

beach girl


beach kids

wearing arrow dress

clementine and grandma

playing games

…a visit to the Peony Garden at the Arboretum here in Ann Arbor:

kids with peonies

E and C

…a fun playdate:

playing with A

…and just bumming around the house:



Meg‘s keeping it simple this summer with short blog posts that she entitles “Summer Journal.” I like that idea, so I’m playing along today,Β and maybe more as the summer goes on. Feel free to join in: post to your blog with the title “Summer Journal” or add pics on Instagram and Twitter with hashtag #summerjournal.

My goal for the summer? Try to get out of my head and enjoy it. So far, so good.

21 thoughts on “Summer Journal: our summer so far

  1. Love the summer journal idea, because frankly we’re not going to get much sewing done around here with a newborn. So maybe we’ll be doing that too. I love this update Rae. I love getting to know what’s going on inside your mind, and that so many of us feel the same. My kids I feel are especially having a crummy summer, but they don’t think so! Kids are awesome like that.

  2. Looks like a fantastic summer so far! And I love the sun hats your kids are wearing at the beach. Did you make them? They almost look like Oliver + S hats with a larger brim. Thanks!

  3. I remember those feelings of guilt so well. My kids are older now but sometimes it felt as though motherhood alternated between absolute joy and absolute guilt. However, kids don’t feel like that luckily. They don’t sit there counting how many hours you have spent one on one with them and comparing it to how many hours you spent working. I used to take mine to work with me, trying to kind of hide them, minimise their presence and feeling guilty, of course, and now they talk about those times as some of the best memories ever. Running to get stuff from the staff canteen, tidying up drawers, sticking down boxes etc.If every day was an adventure, the good times wouldn’t stand out! Don’t beat yourself up – from what I see on your blog, your two beautiful darlings have a great life with plenty of good times.

  4. And here I see all your great IG pics and think what a fun mom you are πŸ™‚ I heard a popular blogger say once that she feels like the continual search for balance shows you are doing ok with it… It’s when you’d too working towards it that things go awry. Kinda liked how she put it.

  5. I totally get it, especially since j unexpectedly started to work from home last summer. I am so glad I took inspiration from one of the bloggers I follow and made a summer bucket list. It helps me feel better about being sure we have all kinds of fun this summer, when I see more fun ideas checked off with a date beside them. (And it helps that I don’t have to keep looking for new ideas of something to do). I also need to get out of my head and enjoy it. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Our kids are 6 and 8. We own a restaurant. Work 6 days a week and we actually do find the balance of time with our kids. Summer is difficult but we are going to do it with camp and family and friend visits. I think when you work from home it makes sense to have work hours. Our children spending time with other people is the best thing for them and for us. Took me a long time to understand that. I was lucky enough to stay home with them for their first 5 years. They didn’t go to day care and you know what they probably would have enjoyed it!

  7. Oh do I know how you feel. The curse of having too much work or not enough, while juggling a family. You’re not alone… it helps me to just abandon the internet for a few days (or hours) and just be. Hope you can enjoy the rest of your summer πŸ™‚

  8. The man that started the company my husband works for calls it the work-life wobble. You just wobble back and forth from one to the other and adjust as time goes by. It is misleading to call it balance because it’s never balanced.

    I love that you can have fun with your kids and take pictures of it! (and blog about it!) When I saw the title of this post I thought, “Yay for a life update post keepin’ it real.”

  9. I like your goal: to get out of my head. That’s just what I need!! I always feel like I need to do more–something else, though I don’t always know what. I will work harder at enjoying the moment.
    Lovely pics, as always! Hope you all enjoy your summer πŸ™‚

  10. Yeah, don’t be too hard on yourself, girl – it’s definitely summer and there are fun summery things to do, but I toooootally get the whole “I should be working on the blog” bit too. I have this urge to just shut the blog down entirely for a month in the summer, but then again…I know as soon as I did that, I’d want to blog, and projects would pile up and I’d be annoyed they weren’t blogged yet, and I’d get annoyed my stats dropped, and blah blah blah.

    But hey, you just released a new pattern, so you can’t be THAT summer lazy, eh? πŸ˜‰

  11. Hello Rae; I’m a reader from South Africa, got such a fun surprise when I saw The Boy who cried Ninja on your lap! My cousin Alex wrote it πŸ™‚

  12. Did you make the dress with the lace at the top? If so, did you blog about it? Thanks!

    • yes! it’s the Oliver+S bucket hat from Little Things to sew — I think it was A Little Gray who posted a tutorial on how to extend the brim?

  13. I cannot believe I have been a stalkery fan for-EVER and now I find out (not sure how I missed this) you are from my home area!!!! I am from Monroe, MI currently transplanted to TN (retirees). My son and his family are still in Monroe so I am up there all the time. Such a small world! You have visited one of my all time favorite places to take my kids when they were small – Toledo Zoo. We spent many a hour there in the summers.

    I have had the Washi Dress pattern for quite some time and just haven’t made the time to make it because I have never made a “big girls” dress. I make clothes for my granddaughter all the time but shes 2. Seems so much easier! Maybe this connection is just the courage I need!!

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