the Rhodes summer 2015

I realize for a big portion of the world summer is not over. School hasn’t started yet, there are weeks of warm sunshine to still be enjoyed. But. For us, school has started and for many other reasons when summer vacation is over I feel a melancholy farewell to the season. But also this season of our life.

With this feeling I decided it was time to put all our summer memories in one video. This video is differwent than past videos because it’s capturing an entire season – and I did it in family home video style, not “here’s the highlight reel of one week!” With that said, I warn you ALL… It’s long. Twelve minutes long. Even when my family watched it and they are the people in the video they were all, wow, this video is long… ha! So, I suggest if you are a fan of multitasking and maybe you are sitting in a really dull class – put in an ear bud and watch. Otherwise, please realize you’ve been warned that twelve minutes of your life will be gone after watching.

I edited this with an entirely different approach. First of all, all the clips are longer – Myla had her wisdom teeth removed in June, and there’s an entire middle section (30 seconds) of when I was driving her home after surgery – she had a meltdown about wanting Korean food that we’ve been laughing about all summer and I wanted it in the video. There’s other moments like this too.

Also, Kiana has a plan to finish her senior year early – by December. She’s also making plans to get an apartment in January with girlfriends who all graduated this past Spring. Meaning: She is planning to move out in five months which has me feeling all sad and this summer meant more to me than normal with the fact our family dynamic will change in this next year. So – I had to make a video that captured everything I want to remember.

I couldn’t choose a happy, energetic song. So I went with piano music I am fond of by Chilly Gonzales – and the finished product turned out exactly as I feel. Nostaligc. Contentedly nostaligic.

There’s this fear that comes with motherhood – the fear of what we can’t control – and it can be paralyzing to the heart. I never thought I’d be a mom who would have a hard time with my kids growing up and moving on… But holy moly it’s hard. As deeply as I believe in being an individual, it’s hard to watch kids do just that – become individuals. It’s hard to encourage them and give them the freedom to do so.

I’m learning this fear will never go away, we just learn how to control it and how to keep it in it’s place.

For example, when I first heard Kiana wanted to move out in January my response was something to the effect of, hell no! she can’t move out in January. What is she thinking? she has to stay here till the day we pack her up and move her to college! and luckily Kiana didn’t hear that response. I believe I literally vented/closed my eyes/sent a few texts to my husband, spent a few hours thinking about it and when I finally heard the idea from Kiana my response was, Well, that’s a fun idea. Tell me more about it…

There is so much we can’t control in parenthood. But how we spend our days – our summers – how we make people feel – that we can control.

Just like our parents did.

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summer * hamboards

CL0A4918Technically, I LOVE every season of the year – which is one reason I love living in Utah. But. Summer is by far my favorite. It just makes me happier than any of the other seasons, and one of my favorite favorite things is the time we spend outside as a family.
CL0A4905 As each summer approaches I try to plan just a few things for each kid that they want to do. Just enough to keep them active, engaged, and yet enjoy as many lazy mornings and downtime as they can in-between. I’ve always veered away from “summer bucket lists” just to not feel like we have to be doing something planned all the time. With older kids I’ve found that they prefer the freedom and because I live for warm spontaneous moments. However, I do mentally create seasonal inspiraction boards – like an invisible mood board.
CL0A4632And this photo shoot was in my mental mood board all summer. Thanks to Mindy Johnson – on IG as @mindymoveit, she captured our outside family time perfectly.

This past Easter, our kids received hamboards (me thinking: ha! that’s the perfect EASTER surprise, get it? Dorky, I know. But that’s how my mind works…) and a good portion of our summer time has been spent trying to master them. My kiddos all love long boards, penny boards – but the hamboards are an all new game. Land surfing. WAY trickier. First of all, some of them are HUGE. The smaller boards – like the biscuit (Sela’s) and the fish (KJ’s) are easy to use – like traditional boards.
CL0A4814Kiana bear has spent her summer working at Pro Look Sports, and she also worked at Sundance mountain resort for their summer events. She spends lots of time by a pool with friends and endless outdoor adventures – she’s always hiking, long boarding down the canyon, or doing something fun somewhere with LOTS of friends. I think we hosted at least ten teenager volleyball/party nights at our house – I’m sorry (again) to our neighbors and all the noise that comes from our dwelling at times. late at night. Just try to remember – these kids could be doing worse things and we’re keeping them in one spot having clean good fun!!!
CL0A4704Laughing with my girls is the best thing in the world. I drink it all in, this could be the last summer they are all home with me if Kiana leaves for school somewhere else next year…  Read more…

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teenage depression

CL0A4666 This photo. It means a lot to me. Kiana has had a phenomenal year, or even more than that – maybe eighteen months which followed a few years of some real trials. When she was thirteen, we moved to Boston. She was thrilled to be going on the adventure – embraced everything we were planning. Then soon after we moved is when I found out I had cancer. Now – looking back all of her struggles make sense. But at the time, it was so confusing to feel like a daughter who had always been a happy overachieving soul was struggling with so many new challenges. With puberty (something my girls go through very fast and early) she had intense migraine headaches that came on suddenly and wiped her out for sometimes a few days/week. The headaches and missing school of course would snowball stress. She’d get behind at school, for the first time in her life she was getting lower grades on assignments and tests. This is also a two year period where she decided to stop training in dance. We felt like she was making decisions completely out of her character, and did our best to support her. She was particularly unkind to me at times, and my husband and I could not figure out what was going on.   Read more…

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our family at home

A month ago, Gabrielle Blaire of Design Mom featured our home in her Living With Kids Tour series. This was the second time she’s featured one of our homes – the first time was our Boston home. Here’s a few photos by Becky Kimball of our life at home that didn’t make the final cut – if you’d like to see the tour it’s right here.

SeeJane_BeckyKimballPhoto_06 Wellesley Baloo is so little in these pictures! She hadn’t had all her shots yet, so she wasn’t even being groomed yet! A fluffy little messy ball of cuteness!
SeeJane_BeckyKimballPhoto_13As some of you may already know I’ve been going through an anti-toy phase for a while. I’m just tired of organizing, storing, and buying toys!!! After almost eighteen years of being a mom. Anyway. I try to get creative to keep my momentum going – this past year my kids had mostly quit playing with their lego’s – unless it was a new kit to put together they weren’t sitting down to build stuff with our thousands of free floating lego’s anymore.

So. I spent some days and maybe weeks sorting out ALL of the white ones. And I gave away the rest. This idea was inspired by the all white lego architectural set that KJ owns – and I added those to the mix too. Then I found a faux cement planter bowl and filled it with all the white lego’s and I now leave it sitting on our kitchen table. It looks minimalistic/modern, and it appeals to all ages! I frequently have teenagers sit down at the kitchen table and build the coolest buildings/stuff with the white lego’s! Just sharing the idea – in case you’re in the same boat as me and tired of small toys consuming your homes!   Read more…

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Lake Powell 2015

When Dusty and I were in college – I was in the Alpha Phi sorority, and he was in the Sigma Chi fraternity. Each spring his fraternity would “marry” my sorority and go on a greek honeymoon to Lake Powell. In the early summer of 1995 we went on our first trip to Powell together and mutually fell in love with the lake… while we continued to fall in love. Cheesy? yes.

Since that year I can make a rough guess that we’ve returned to Powell maybe a dozen or more times. When our kids were all young we spent years going on “couples” trips – we’d fill 1-2 houseboats with about 15 couples sans kids and enjoy the time away from parenting littles. Once our kids were old enough to feel they were safe to be on the lake 24/7 we started going as a family, and as often as possible we make the trip an annual summer event.

Our kids love it as much as we do – whether that’s genetic or we’ve convinced them to love it, the entire week we are at Powell I hear comments like, “this is the best week of my life ever year!” “I wish I lived at Powell all year long!” and my heart smiles because – going to Powell is a LOT of work. Their passion included with ours always makes it worth it!

We make our reservations every year when there’s still snow on the ground. It takes weeks to organize meals, days to do the shopping, hours and hours to do the loading and unloading. And yet, we do it all for these lake filled days that are packed full of untamed laughter and time together. I am still unpacking after being home a few days, the laundry continues, my garage looks unrecognizable. And yet, I will watch this video over and over and over and all the while smiling shamelessly at the goodness. Life is so ruthlessly amazing at times.

We’re already talking about next year…

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