Real Life with Rita: April at it Finest

Oh spring time, how happy were are to have you in our lives again! 

April has been a wonderful month. We’ve been outside a lot in the 70-80 degree days and fully enjoying watching the world come back to life. 

It did not take me long to realize something that will make this spring/summer extra exciting (for me). It will be the first time in three years that I will not be carrying a baby. 2013 was the last year I wasn’t physically toting a baby with me everywhere. In 2014 Dorothy ranged the age 6-10 months. (She started toddling in September at 11 months.) Last year Jacob was an infant and got mobile (crawling) by September at 8 months. This year they are both biped little people!

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I know I’m still going to be chasing them everywhere, trying to keep them out of all sorts of trouble. When you live where we do, trouble is just about everywhere—the same way exciting adventures are everywhere. Unfortunately, toddlers don’t know the difference too well! (mud puddles, creeks, critters, bugs…)We really need to choose an area to fence in with a gate for outside play. That would put my mind at ease some, but that has yet to happen… So many projects on the list since moving into this house.

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In many ways a baby would seem simple, because it can’t wander and get into that kind of trouble, but managing one around here? Easier said than done. Let me paint you a picture…

For Dot, she was past the age of sleeping much and wanted to be moved around, go-go-going… And we were building a house. Not too safe of a place to have a baby crawling and exploring. 

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Dorothy in her (now) bedroom, 2014

The next summer? Jacob did sleep a lot, but it still meant having to wear a carrier or have a stroller nearby and sometimes the heat got to him. Speaking of carriers and getting hot—yes, having a little person wrapped to you in 90+ degrees (plus humidity) is not too enjoyable. Add to that the fact you’re chasing a toddler under the age of two who sometimes needs carried over ditches or grabbed before falling in the water, etc. Tricky business. 

Then there is the whole breastfeeding aspect. You never know when that little babe is going to cry with hunger, which means stopping what you’re doing to nurse. Obviously, where I live “privacy” isn’t much of an issue, but, consider nursing (stuck sitting in one place and trying to be comfortable) when out at the garden or at the creek with the other kid. It’s kind of hard to manage the other tot while nursing.

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Summer 2015

We’re about a month into spring, but it feels like a little more with how much nice weather we’ve had since the end of February. We’re definitely enjoying the outdoors a lot, and I love seeing BOTH kids on their feet and entertaining themselves. It helps that our home is settled more than last summer. The grass has grown into the yard more and we’ve added both a play set and a sand table for the kids, plus I have a tub of ‘outside’ toys. The current outdoor issue near the house is the area we leveled for our future garage. (The plan was to have it done by now, but you know…  Life happens and the project has been on hold.) It tends to be a mud hole—heaven for kids, right? Not so much for the mom. Don’t get me wrong… I am all for letting a kid get muddy, but having to worry about it every time outside? Sometimes you just DON’T want to have to do a full change of clothes and mud cleaning before coming back inside.

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On the flip side… There is the creek. We’ve been lucky to have already had some hot, sunny days that allowed for water play. Like anything, the kids need monitored, but for the most part, the creek is not too deep so, unlike a pool, I don’t have to worry about them falling in and being over their heads. The rocks, sticks and nature in general provide for endless entertainment at this age. My most recent trip definitely told me I need to commit to some summer reading and take advantage of our creek trips by bringing a good book with me.

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Our garden is in its youth right now, so we haven’t spent a lot of time there, but I am SO hopeful I will actually help in the garden this year. It’s been hard in the past to be there for too long for previously stated reasons. The limited times we have been down there this year, Dorothy (sort of) understands what the garden is all about, so she wants to participate. That doesn’t mean she is really good at it yet, but it’s a step in the right direction. Keeping Jacob out of the wrong things will be an ongoing challenge, but I think he’ll keep himself much more entertained with the rocks, weeds and dirt than she did last year. I’ve even considered blocking off an area to be “theirs” where they can be free to dig, “plant”, whatever.

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I’m not fooling myself into thinking I won’t be on kid-duty all summer when outside, but I am hopeful about having my hands a little less tied. Plus there is the fact Jacob is developing like crazy and each week my heart is melted by seeing them play together more and more. By August he will be 18 months! I have a feeling their time of play outside this summer will only encourage and nourish their relationship as best buddies and to say I am looking forward to that is an understatement. Knowing they will be such close friends friends has filled my heart since the moment I found out I was pregnant with Jacob.

Bring on the warm weather and adventures. Bring on the messes and dirt. Like always with quickly growing children, this summer will be a special era of our lives that will never be repeated, so I plan to cherish it for all it’s worth.

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Want to see some of the outdoor madness in my life this April? See it in my April vlog on our YouTube channel.

Check out what’s been happening in Holly Jo’s world the last month, too! Check out the first part of April here and the latest few weeks here.  Always something exciting going on in the Johnson family!

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