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April Favorites + The Summer Lineup
It's here, friends!
Can you tangibly remember a summer day from your childhood? Not necessarily the things that consumed your senses. I know it’s easy to conjure memories of taste— hot bowl of sugar grits on an even hotter countertop in my grandmother’s kitchen in Houston. A slice of watermelon dribbling down my chin and staining my tank top in a patch of shade in the backyard. A still-scolding s’more by crackling campfire overlooking a lake turned into a bed of diamonds by moonlight.
It’s easy to remember the sounds— the lawnmower puttering a different sort of tick-tock, the thing standing between your work and play. A splash, a squeal, a squirt of sunblock at the pool.
But can you remember how you felt? As if time would go on forever? When you asked your mom how many days left of summer and you couldn’t even believe it had only been three weeks since you were signing yearbooks and eating dixie cup ice creams in the parking lot. The way each day felt absolutely, positively endless.
That feeling never settled deep into my belly the way it did during my Chicago summers. Maybe because we moved to the East Coast when I was twelve and I had things like instant messenger and a phone I could play Snake on to pass the time. I crave this feeling more than I care to admit. Honestly, I ache for it.
Because with each passing year, time has passed faster and faster. I know we all feel it and this is not a profound or unique revelation, but it never becomes less unnerving.
The fact that the first four months—18 whole weeks—behind us is making my stomach swirl like a lava lamp. 18 weeks from now, Lord willing, I’ll have another baby in my arms. My third baby will have turned three years old, my two oldest will be well into their summer break. I’ll have turned in something very important and will be navigating the unpredictable waters of the postpartum experience.
‘Stop This Train’ is on repeat in my mind. The next eighteen cannot possibly go by as quickly as the last.
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My goal for this month is to channel my inner self the June of my eight summer. Laying on the trampoline, watching clouds crawl by while blue otter pop syrup dripped down my wrist. Maybe, just maybe, if I can focus on today instead of tomorrow I’ll be able to slow it down for all of us.
(This is the linen set pictured above along with my trusty belly support band—another MVP of the month.)
This podcast episode with Laura Tremaine and Shauna Niequist was such a delight. Ashlee and I had the privilege of getting an early copy of Laura’s book and I felt her perspective on the importance of friendship deep in my bones. I just so happen to have grown up attending the camp where Shauna and Laura were both counselors/staff for a decade of my life so that was a fun way to start the conversation.
I got these timer bookmarks for the kids because one of them needs to set a timer to read more while the other needs a timer to remember to actually put the book down and live life. They’ve loved them the past few months…just make sure you don’t let your toddler press the buttons and have the bookmarks “ringing” at odd hours of the day. You’re welcome.
O and I have been extremely grateful for the podcast Parenting with Ginger Hubbard. We have been a little bit more lax than usual in the area of discipline the past few months and have used the exact phrase “we’re going to give you grace…” a few times so naturally, the episode titled ‘Discipline and Grace’ hit really close to home. I cant express how wonderfully, beautifully, gently convicting it is and we’ve already made such a shift since listening. It might just spur you on as well.
It’s officially summer for the Atogwe crew. Yesterday was the kids’ last day of school until mid-August (!!) and I can’t help but get weepy at the thought that Kindergarten and Second Grade are behind us. To have a First and Third grader feels a bit too grown up, doesn’t it?
I realize some of you have just finished Spring break and are in it for the long stretch to the end of June. For my fellow Southerners who typically follow a similar schedule to us with the last day of school falling some time in mid-May, Summer might be on the brain a bit sooner than the rest of the country. I love few things more than getting inspiration for ways to pass time and thrive during summertime and thought, what better place to do that than here? I just wanted to jot down some things we’re looking forward to these next few months and my favorite kids’ tools and tips for break.
Favorite Kids’ Toys, Tools and Tips for Summer:
this water table is such a source of joy even for the big kids, these water balloons always, these are our favorite workbooks to do daily, this customizable chore & routine chart is the most helpful for daily rhythms, these car organizers to store ziplocs/sunscreen/bug spray/waters/wipes, these hoodie hash guard shirts and these matching towel beach dresses for the girls, perler beads for rainy days, this wagon for sports/park days/beach days and everything in between, and allll the bath bombs. I’ll be back with more later in the summer but that’s a pretty solid place to start!
What We’re Looking Forward to:
+ We’re headed to Houston to check in on some of our properties there and decided to make a little trip of it rather than O just making the eight hour round-trip drive himself like usual. We rented a sweet Airbnb and honestly have no plans outside of finding a great splash pad, visiting our favorite Antique store in the country (Chateau Domingue) and eating at our favorite paleo restaurant, Ruggles Black.
+ O and I will celebrate 12 years of marriage in a few weeks and look forward to a couple days alone in Austin. I’ll also be 34 weeks pregnant so it’ll serve as a babymoon and last trip before we become parents of four. Wondering when that’ll actually sink in.
+ My baby is turning 3 at the end of the month. (CAN WE BELIEVE THIS?!)
+ I cry every year at Keogena’s dance recital and this is the first time Zeameh will be joining her with a performance of her own.
+ Lord willing, I’ll give birth to another Baby Atogwe and O’s mom will come stay with us for a couple months to help in the transition. After Zeameh was born in May 2020, it was the thick of the pandemic and we did every single thing—every meal, every day, every moment—alone. For months. Canada’s border restrictions didn’t life for two years which means his parents didn’t meet her until she was 22 months old. I just can’t express how special the support feels to me and how grateful I am for it this time around.
+ Our house will continue to get closer to the finish line and I foresee many, many days where we spend hours putting the work in to get it to the finish line.
We’ll do lots of workbooks and reading, I’ll be cooking double time in June to fill our freezer and we’ll be shifting the whole house around to accommodate another human. There will be no fancy trips, no extravagant outings, but I do think it might be our sweetest one yet.
What are you looking forward to this summer, friends? I hope you had a beautiful April and that your May is full of great books, wonderful food, healing and hoping and tacos galore.
Have a beautiful weekend, friends.
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