I like writing these posts every so often, because they feel effortless in a very positive way and because I, personally, love an actual insight into what people actually fill their days with. It doesn’t matter so much if it’s a work day, a weekend or – like now – full on summer and vacation mode. What do people do? We see snippets and highlights, pick up on random habits and get invited into selected routines through social media… but we all know that’s just a tiny fraction of what actually goes on and the actual time that, after all, makes up a day.
The last time I wrote one of these posts was in September, and even though I know there are many aspects of life to share that don’t change with Theo growing older, I think the majority of people with kids around them would agree most do in one way or another. With that said, life with a 2-year-old is quite different than that with a 16-month-old. His level of independence is of course the most defining difference, which in turn comes to shape more or less everything that fills our days. In September, he needed help to get up and down the stairs from our deck, for example, and would not ever be outside alone even for a moment. Now? Well, what starts our lovely July days is T skipping to the front door, putting on his rubber boots and heading outside – whether we follow or not.
But of course I do, in parts because I want to be with him and in parts because I can’t think of a better way to greet a day by than strolling around in perfectly broken in Birkenstock slippers and feel the sun, the slightly cool air, the flower smell…
So that’s how it starts. Sometimes it’s no later than 5am when our morning expedition gets going and sometimes it’s 6:30 or even 7 if we’re living a little (🤣), but it usually lasts some 30 to 45 min or so. We always inspect all the garden spaces and the greenhouse – we examine what’s ready to harvest, check if any unwelcome guests have been visiting overnight, smell the lavender and pop whatever berries we walk past in our mouths. We often also swing a little and lounge on the deck, and sometimes we even go for a quick stroll in the woods surrounding the house. Basically, we’re just checking the status of things and bask in the fact that it’s yet another summer’s day and that life is quite lovely.
Inside, one of two things will be going on depending on the time we get out of bed and out the door. If it’s pre-6am, Mike will be snoozing away in bed and I guess that means really nothing is going on. But if it’s post-6am, he’ll be making his coffee and shuffle around doing this and that. While not particularly chatty or communicative, you’d be surprised by the level of multi-tasking and productiveness Mike can deliver at this hour (something I give parenthood the entire credit for – before becoming a dad, Mike would sit on the couch and sip on his coffee for a whole hour every morning). So after his coffee has been made – which, by the way, he’s taking black these days – he’ll be folding and putting away laundry, emptying the dish rack, prep breakfast, do other forms of food prep (like boil beans or chickpeas that had soaked overnight, bake bread, make lunch etc.) and overall just get things going and organized for the day.
And then we tumble in through the door and it will be about breakfast time, which means we really only tumble in to immediately tumble out again – because breakfast this whole summer has been and will remain an outdoorsy affair. Ever since we got the most comfortable corner couch in the world for our deck, it’s become our breakfast hot spot. Curled up on it with a bowl of oatmeal in front, I’ll have to say life tastes pretty sweet.
Of course T only sits still for about 3 min and then he’s off, but we can usually enjoy our breakfast for at least another 3 min before we need to wrap it up too to go follow him. But I still go to bed thinking about those glorious 6 min the next morning! There’s something about sitting there with the morning sun rays coming in from the left, seeing birds swoosh past, hearing trees rustle and smelling all the summer smells that will never get old.
After breakfast, a couple of hours of undefined pottering-about- time goes by. This is when we check off some to dos, get going on projects big and small, get some garden chores out of the way and overall just care for home and family in various ways. There might be mowing, trimming and mulching happening, there might be big batch cooking happening, there might be random yard work and wood chopping happening… or simply cleaning the bathroom and taking the vacuum for a spin. You know.
And then around 10:30-11am something, we get ready to go for a run. T will have a snack as we get changed, and then off we run and roll, all three of us (there are also days when we run separately first thing in the morning or do a long run midday with mormor’s baby sitting help). The typical “nap run” measures some 15-16k and T is normally sleeping for about ~1 hr of it.
Now listen to this concept: provided it’s a warm and sunny day and we want to spend it down by the water, we will have prepped totes to just swing by the house to pick up as we end our run. Then we head right down to the dock, sweaty and all, and go for an ocean shower. But it gets better, because those totes contain lunch and afternoon snack/fika, beach towels, swimsuits and everything else a little family of three could need for some hours spent approximately 400 m from their home (still blows my mind how much that is.)
And then we soak up island summer life all we can and it’s usually pretty glorious. We share our beach and dock space with some neighbors and we’re so lucky to have lots of kids around T’s age here now, so some days it’ll be a little busier if lots of people are there and others it’ll just be us. Now if it’s not beach weather, per se, we love going for a bike ride and packing a picnic, just hanging out at home and continue doing this and that, hopping on the bikes to go to mormor’s for an impromptu fika or popping T in the backpack and heading out for a woodsy type adventure.
But let’s continue the ocean side theme. Usually, we feel about ready to wrap up around 4 o’clock and will head home, but if T wants to stay, one parent will take the bulk of the stuff and head up to get dinner prep going. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that we hate stress and stressing around and due to cooking dinner. Therefore we really prioritize getting started well before blood sugar levels are super low and time has flown by and it’s closer to T’s bedtime than anything else. (Mike is better than I am at this though – I fall for the temptation to stay “just a little bit longer” much more often than he does).
If Mike has started cooking inside, T and I usually contribute by harvesting the veggies in question as we come strolling up from the water. I get to practice my patience every time but we’re turning a more and more well-oiled machinery among ready and not-so-ready to harvest vegetables. A typical July dinner consists of zucchini fritters and a potato salad, a summery pasta with random veggies, white beans and tons of basil or a vegetarian moussaka, if we feel especially hungry and in the mood for something extra filling. We eat outside – again – but this time utilizing the table and chairs underneath the oak. We have an oak right in front of our house which has the most beautiful crown, providing shade and creating almost an outdoor room feeling.
I then usually clean up and do the dishes while Mike and T frolic around (if the garden needs watering, they sometimes get started on that), and around 6:30-7pm, we start getting T ready for bed. As the early riser as he is, he normally falls asleep somewhere between 7 and 7:30pm. After he’s out and the house has turned quiet, Mike and I have come to love tiptoeing out onto the deck and getting all cozy on that lovely couch again. We keep the front door open so we can hear T if he were to wake up, and then we just sit there and chat. Sometimes we read, sometimes we have ice cream, too. After an hour or so out there, we like coming inside and will often watch TV for a bit. We enjoy track and field a lot, and also the SVT show Trädgårdstider.
And come 9-9:30pm, I’m usually ready for bed and will say goodnight to Mike who typically stays up for another hour or so. I’ll crawl into the bed T has normally spread out across in a way I can’t fully understand given his moderate size, but I find myself a spot… and fall asleep. Probably thinking about that breakfast tomorrow morning.
And that, friends, is what a day in July looks like. Hope you’re having a wonderful summer ❤️
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