So it has become customary within Catholicism (and maybe Christianity more broadly? I can't really speak to anything other than how us crazy Catholics roll) to "give up" something during the 40 days of Lent between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. As I understand it - you take this period to make sacrifices (not of the fatted calf variety - this is not Biblical time for goodness' sake) to keep you connected to the sacrifices Jesus made to save the world. Whoosh. Heavy stuff, right? Side note- you more learned Catholics- please inform me of the "real" reasoning behind Lenten promises- as with so much of my life - I fear my understanding is at approximately the 3rd grade level!!!
Either way - I read an article written by a Jesuit priest a few years ago which encouraged "taking up" something for Lent, rather than "giving up". Prior to reading the article, I would go without Diet Coke (as I said this was years ago when I was in the thick of that habit), chocolate, dessert, or meat. I have appreciated the "taking up" side of this coin much more - and I think, have become a better version of myself in the process.
So this year, I decided to "take up" a kindness every day. Whether a random act of kindness or something that took more planning doesn't really matter, the goal is to do something thoughtful/helpful/useful/connecting/kind for a friend, family member, neighbor, or my community. So far I have done A LOT of litter pick up. It doesn't take any planning, but litter is (sadly) everywhere. Now that the snow & ice have melted, a whole winter's worth of litter has been revealed :( Lulu will sometimes get in on this one, which makes me quite glad. Also - some days I am the poop fairy. I try to look at these abandoned piles of dog shit without judging the dogs' owners - hoping that they forgot a bag or their dog pulled a fast one & pooped twice on 1 walk. I hate to admit I resent the dog poop more than general litter.....although it could be said that all litter is created equal! But poop. Ugh. More fun stuff has been baking treats, writing notes, sending all the good vibes I have to people going through hard times or great times.
I'm really enjoying it so far this season. I think it makes me a happier person to do something positive for the world each day. I'm open to ideas and welcome them in fact! Send me an email or comment below if you have random (or not) acts of kindness suggestions!!
2. The Bug's Swim "Graduation"
|Test day in coat & boots|
|Test day in sweater & shoes|
Whoosh! We started this 4 week session of swim lessons back at the start of February.......for reasons too many (& too boring) to list - we didn't finish until March 19!!! But, we are done for now! I love that we have committed to ISR for teaching Lulu to be safe in/around water, but the closest instructor works out of Lake Forest :( So it is an hour of round trip driving every day (M-F) for 10 minutes in the pool.
So I'm relieved to be done - and SO SO SO proud of our Bug for working so darn hard at learning to swim and practicing her float.
|Donut to celebrate!!|
|In the span of 2 short weeks we went from this huge ice/snow pile at the water's edge|
|to this - no ice/snow on the beach at all! Still in snowsuit & hat - but it was only 8am :)|
|Owenn thinks this is the perfect season for swimming in Lake Michigan!|
Its coming! Or is it here?? The calendar says it is here- I am not entirely convinced :) But it is certainly coming! As I type this, the birds are chirping outside - loudly, insistently, seem to be telling to me one of Lulu's fav lines from "Go Dog Go" by P.D. Eastman "Get up! It is day! Time to get going! Go dog go!"
Thank goodness our trusty spring bulbs are popping up in each of our garden beds around the house. I'm excited for the bursts of color to come forth - purple & white alliums, brilliant yellow daffodils, tulips of several colors. The tiny bits of green forcing their way toward the sun are encouraging enough for now - but oh it will be lovely when the yard/garden start to be awash with color.
|Spring means our 1st family bike ride of the year!!|
4. DIY Raised Bed Garden
|My DIY dream husband!!|
Chris took a 10 week long woodworking class this winter and it has really reignited his interest in this hobby. I am beyond excited that he gave me an early Mother's Day gift of a handmade cedar raised bed garden for our backyard!! He was incredibly efficient at making it - I think was done with it in less than a day! I was also grateful to my brother & Dad for helping move the bed from its building location on the patio to its "final resting place" along our back fence.
|Finished product - in place!! My first little weeds are growing so fast!|
I ordered seeds to start from The Seed Savers Exchange, I figure if nothing really works I can always buy seedlings (which is what I've done in the past). But I'm looking forward to the seed starting too. It feels exciting to try new things - lots of learning I have to do - but thankfully some family & friends are more experienced than I am in this regard - so hoping to glean some knowledge from them!!
|So much possibility!|