Copied From A "Catchup" Post in My Mom's Group

Tuesday, February 7, 2023



I recently checked in with my longtime online Mom's Group and asked for life updates. Here is what I shared on my own behalf.... Kind a a good checkpoint summary, so I wanted to add it here for posterity.


Quick updates from the Southerland house:
First, here's our most recent family photo. I took the kids and Joe out to get photos of them specifically, and everyone was actually cooperating and chill, so I jumped in a few at the end and am shocked at how I don't hate them. haha!
Life is pretty good here. Nothing spectacular, but also nothing very miserable. Joe and I finally bought the house we live in, about 1.5 years ago. It's stressing Joe out to have to adult so hard, but it's a good thing overall. As long as you don't notice how the slab addition side of the house is starting to break away from the rest of the structure. Those big dark crevasses are fine as long as we spray them for spiders, right? 😱 
Joe is working at SIUE in Illinois--- he started the job right in the middle of 2020 nonsense, and it's a good job. It came with a promotion in position and a raise. But now he is restless that there is no room for growth there, so he is beginning to contemplate the next degree-- a PhD or Ed degree. Whew!
Noah continues to blow us away with his quirky interests and passions. He is one of a kind for sure. He loves his engineering class, loves his Rocketry and Politics clubs, and is in two non-school choirs, one of which gets to go to Carnagie Hall this June. He is opinionated, hyper-intellectual, and a fountain of random knowledge. He wants to live in Finland. He wants to be a Renaissance Man in that he doesn't want to have to specialize in his life, he just wants to embrace it all-- music, languages, geo-politics, engineering, science, writing, etc. He's 6' tall and funny and a little "old man grumpy", and really just a good kid.
Lucy has been thriving in her first year of middle school! She has been medicated for ADHD since the beginning of the school year, and she really seems to have a handle on her anxiety and her inattentive ADHD issues. She got a 4.0 last semester, WHOA. She is growing into herself and I can see it, and it brings me a lot of peace and happiness. I have spent way more than my fair share of parenting energy worrying about this girl. But for now, all is well. 
Quinn is the one I am currently worrying about. I just want to make sure he doesn't get lost in the crowd of big personalities in this family. I want to give him opportunities to be a leader after spending his whole life following Noah. I want to make sure he gets to practice voicing his own opinions and ideas. And I just want him to feel seen and loved just the way he is. I also want to get him a leopard gecko. I think he needs something to take care of, and our attempts at a betta fish two years ago just kept ending in tragedy. I don't have the heart for more attempts. 
Larkin is as Larkin as ever, and that's really all you need to know. Cats are still basically 56% of her whole personality, she is bright and happy and helpful and clever and creative. She's a classic baby of the family too-- doesn't clean up after herself and doesn't like to be told NO. But mostly she's a gem. Kindergarten can barely keep up with her. 
And I am chugging along. I began a daily walking habit when they started the school year--and have only missed two days since August. It's been fulfilling in ways I could not have imagined when I set the goal. In some ways, it's like I'm parenting my inner child in that I am nudging myself to get outside and breathe the fresh air more, and I get to be read to (storytime!) when audiobooks are in my ears. Weirdly healing. I also joined my first official choir since being married, and it is bringing me so much joy. I should've been finding a way to sing all along. I mean, technically I DID sing all along-- just in my car and to my kids at bedtime. Not enough. It's such a lesser-visible part of my world here, but I really was born to sing, and it means the world to me to get to do it again so regularly. Photography is still going strong, and I still love it 90% of the time, and it definitely helps keep our family afloat and keeps my kids in new shoes and such. I am finishing up the paperwork to become a sub in our school district, but I really only want to take a sub job maybe once or twice a week at most. 
And that's us! If I could change anything, I'd have:
1. a new minivan
2. an addition added to this house, plus those cracks repaired.
3. two more solo hours a day, which is greedy because I already now get 7 a day as it is. 
And that's it. Life is pretty good.♥

Field Notes #1:

Tuesday, October 11, 2022


I decided to listen to Beethoven's 9th, 4th movement, for my morning walk. I'd just read a little essay titled "Come Back Joy" from Rachel Macy Stafford and I decided to treat myself to the Ode to Joy, knowing it was a personally potent antidote for low moods. It started out rocky-- I didn't immediately find the full movement in Apple music and that was annoying, so I had to stop in the middle of the sidewalk to carefully plug in the precise terms, "Beethoven Symphony No. 9, movement IV" to get what I needed. But once I was back on track, and listening to all 25 minutes of goodness, it was a powerful as ever, even in the too-sunny, too-hot morning. I mouthed along to the German words I still remembered, let tears leak out in the places they needed to, and even allowed my hands to conduct the last 45 seconds or so, because you just HAVE to. It's Robert Fulghum's fault. Oatmeal Days and all that

So... Essay. Walk. Ode to Joy. Tears and tiny conducting movements.... Yeah. It's all working. This warm fuzzy feeling in my chest confirms it. 


This morning, when I put in my earbuds, I accidentally tapped "play" on them and Mumford and Son's "Not With Haste" started playing. YES. I opened the music app and had it create a station based on the song, so I was also treated to Dave Matthew's "Crash" and "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers. It all fit so well with the new chill in the air and the fallish breezes I was gifted with for my entire walk. I saw a holly bush with plump clusters of berries starting to color up. I passed the most perfect nook of a neighborhood where impatiens were spilling out of ever possible spot and crevice. One dog barked in a faux-watchdog way but her mama said she was harmless. Another dog gave me a friendly look. A little baby-kid on the playground and his mom both waved at me. It was 61 degrees and it was so perfect. 


I will always associate this date with Bonnie Fairbanks, my first best friend ever, because it's her birthday. And tomorrow is another of my early-years best friend's birthday, Emily Whitman. Brains are weird. The temperature for my walk this morning was 57-ish degrees and I LOVED it. I spent today's walk listening to the last 35 minutes of my audiobook, "Becoming", by Nora Roberts. It's the second in a trilogy, but the third one isn't coming out til November, so now I have to try to retain all the details of what I've been listening to all month so I don't feel lost come November. It has been a perfect set of books to walk along to... a fantasy world with modern aspects, very Nora Roberts in that it delves a lot into the main character's inner world and growth, and the external "adventure" aspects are good fun, but not terribly complex. Overall a pretty simple set of stories, but good fun to escape into. Guess I'll need to find an interim book until that November release. 


Kids were home yesterday for a teacher workday, so today is my "Monday"-- the fresh start to a new week. I relish the solitude in the morning, when the day is ripe with potential and the sun is fresh and bright. Today I drove to a nearby neighborhood to take my walk in a new setting. This was the neighborhood I used to drive to to take Lucy to her first preschool, a home preschool by Tassa B. That was such a sweet time for Lucy and for me. Our Parents as Teachers educator lived in this neighborhood, too. Probably still does? I hoped, more than a little, that I might run into her taking her own walk on the same streets today, because I remember she used to take her dog around her neighborhood all the time. Alas, no sightings today. But I got 2.2 miles in and opted to not check my progress at all until I was done, jst letting the streets and my audiobook lead the way. I am 89% done with Pet Sematary, and it is smack in the middle of the climactic last bits, and it's chilling and gripping and so so well-written. I have thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook experience!


I had my first chance to hold to my promise to myself that I would take a daily walk no matter what the weather. This morning it is rainy rainy rainy. Temps aren't bad--- high 50's-- and it's not pouring buckets... It's just a steady light-to-medium rain. So I put on one of Joe's baseball caps, grabbed my new workout jacket, and headed out. I decided to try to get to my goal-- 30 minutes-- but not push further than that. With the exception of a handful of minutes where the rain got heavier and I paused under a tree, it was generally pretty easy and pleasant. By the last quarter of my walk the brim of the hat was dripping, and my long-sleeved arms were sort of chilly from the damp. But I did it! And I would do it again-- no big deal! Upon reaching home, I made sure to stuff my slightly-damp shoes with newspaper so they're ready and dry for tomorrow. And I needed to change out of everything, including the underthings, because it was all dampish. And that is the report of my first rain-walk. 1.8 miles and feeling great!

CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan