When we had a baby, I had the assumption that a lot of things in life would be more complicated: errands, cooking, getting dressed, sleeping, etc. That assumption is based on reality, yes. Getting out the door takes more thought, more planning, and definitely more time than when it was just me. Going on little errands and getting out regularly feel like little victories.

All that said, I underestimated how much joy I would find in these errands and outings, so much more-so than before I had my little buddy with me. Here are some of our little victories of late:

A beach day!

I love the Great Lakes. And seeing as we are only a short drive from the coast of Lake Michigan and it's summer, I really wanted to make a beach day happen before the summer was over. My sister-in-law, Katelyn, took the day off and came over first thing in the morning. We packed up the car (and Cooper) and drove over to a local coffee shop to get iced oat milk lattes to go. It was a beautiful day, so we sat inside the coffee shop, feeling the breeze come in, since they had their large garage door open to let in the fresh air.

Our little guy napped in the carseat on the way from the coffee shop to the beach, and after we paid admission and parked, Katelyn wore Cooper and we walked along the beach until we found a spot with some space and a good view of the water. My favorite little parts of the day:

  • sandy feet in chacos
  • a snuggly baby in a wrap
  • lots of sun
  • a sleeping and awake/kicking/happy baby in a tent
  • blue water, ice cold
  • snacking on pretzels and fruit strips

Something about me donning a bathing suit, packing a beach bag, and getting in the water (and going under) felt therapeutic to me, somehow. It was a really good feeling (and the water was really cold). And to get to go to the lake with a baby and have him experience it, well, that felt so much more special. For the record, he loved it (from what we could tell). We brought a little baby-sized, breathable tent, so he could get the lake breezes and sound of the waves without the sun.

After the beach, we grabbed lunch at a local cafe (I had chicken salad, Katelyn had French dip) and we listened to Jonas Brothers in the car (as you do, since there's nothing more fun than pop music on a summer drive). It was a really, really good day.

The farmer's market

On Tuesday, instead of taking our usual walk around our neighborhood, I opted to head downtown to walk and visit the farmer's market. It was breezy and cooler than it had been the previous few days. I brought the stroller, so Cooper could nap, too. And we strolled around. I bought zucchini and watermelon and eggs (just enough that could fit in the stroller).

Other little victories

  • working out 3x week, even if it's broken up into three tiny sessions throughout the day
  • little evening walks with daddy when he gets home for work (even just a few minutes for them together and a few minutes for me to get a couple things done with two hands inside)
  • AM Bible reading. This is something that I haven't prioritized as I should. A few mornings this week, I've stayed up after Nicholas left for work and had some solo time to read/journal while Cooper is still sleeping. It's still hard to make this happen, but I want to emphasize the importance of it as I order my day.
  • getting dressed every day, even if we don't plan to go anywhere. "Dressed" definitely includes athletic shorts and a t-shirt, but sometimes it involves a cute top and a quick application of makeup.
  • fresh daisies, picked from my in-laws garden
  • meal planning! I'm finding this to be more essential than ever, since I can't just run out to the grocery store, unless it's premeditated. That said, I am finding that we are wasting less food and I'm able to better use what we have. I think this is because we eat at about the same time each night, and because I'm not working 12-hr shifts like I used to. On work days, it was so easy to not eat leftovers or cook and instead pick up food, and then we end up throwing away leftovers. Now we eat at home nearly every night.
  • enjoying coffee, even if it is later than I would typically drink it, or i have to reheat it multiple times. My friend, Molly, gave me this amazing northwoods-of-Minnesota-based coffee and gorgeous mug.
  • eating two-handed and showering while Cooper sits in the BabyBjorn. I have to time this strategically, when he's up for it, but I usually sit on the floor next to him and eat and talk with him during breakfast and lunch with just the two of us.
  • knitting in the evenings. I'll probably write a post about our typical day sometime, but after Cooper goes to bed, I scurry around, tidying, and packing Nicholas' lunch, cleaning the kitchen if it wasn't done earlier, throwing diapers in the wash, or stuffing them, if they're coming out of the dryer. But then, I'm able to pick up my knitting and knit a few rows, here and there, while we talk or browse online for coffee tables, or watch Parks and Rec or a movie.
  • sneaking in extra sleep, on weekdays, after Nicholas leaves for work, or staying in bed longer (all three of us)
  • baking treats, here and there. Usually, I prepare some ingredients with one snippet of time. And then mix and bake them in another snippet of time. But baking brings me so much joy! I'm loving "easy" bakes like granola, almond cookies, etc.
  • (rarely) knitting while a sweet babe naps on my lap. This is so rare and so sweet.
  • noticing sunsets, even if that means running outside while Nicholas is playing with Cooper to take a moment to observe and enjoy.

I share these things, not because we don't have hard days, but because the good days (and the good moments on hard days) are so, so precious to me. And little victories are like sprinkles in life, making everything a little more colorful, a little more fun, a little more sweet.