February 12, 2016

The Groove


Look at this! One post after another. I think this is called 'blogging'... although I did start out 2015 with fire, only to have the most flagging year yet. Still, I'm not going to let that bit of history get me down. This is happening people, you wait and see! ;)

It was a good week overall, we hung shelves in the bathroom, which has me freshly motivated get back to all of the house projects that have been on perpetual hold. We did a bit of cooking and baking and painting Valentines for Smith's preschool class (I took pictures and can't wait to share. It's always one of my favorite projects). There are also a few big 'things' that are up in the air for our family right now, one of which is our faithful Kitty's health. I don't know enough yet to even summarize, but I'm hoping for the best (behind these puffy eyes that are always preparing for the worst). 

We got Kitty at the tippy beginning of James's and my love affair, and she really feels like the first piece in our becoming a family. She was super feisty in her younger years, and when Smith was a tiny baby she actually scratched his face pretty badly. I remember the pediatrician suggesting we get rid of her, and while that wasn't an option, I spent the better part of a year obsessively latching doors in our old house to ensure the baby and the cat were separated at all times. Then he learned to walk. And pull tales... and the tables turned, real quick!

These days Kitty has truly mellowed, and I'm amazed by how well she tolerates Roo wrapping her up in an overzealous hug to start every single day. These kids love that cat beyond measure. I'm hoping they will torture her with affection for many years to come.

I am looking forward to a quiet week-end, and to my favorite holiday! Chocolate and flowers get such a bad wrap for being cliche, when it should be obvious that they are perfection, squared. Wishing each of you a sweet celebration. It's fun to have any excuse to give an extra hug and kiss to loved ones, human and animal alike :)

XOX

February 9, 2016

Winter's Start


I'm growing familiar with these delayed winters, and while I'm not holding my breath for the monster snow of February 2015, it certainly feels 'right' to kick off this month with a blizzard or two. Smith was out of school last Friday and today, and my evening class was cancelled as well. The storm fell a little short of the predictions, but I'm so grateful for a four day week-end (of sorts- James still did have to work), and a slower pace. We made snowballs and cornbread and chili, James came home early and shoveled the driveway. Winter done right.

I've been reflecting a lot on school and work. When I started this journal, four years ago, there was very little of either in my life, outside of the hard work of parenting that is. Now I have double scoops of everything, and I feel fulfilled, and overwhelmed with gratitude... and also, just overwhelmed. Period. 

Smith starts Kindergarten next fall, and I'm already nervous and wistful. Roo will be in preschool a few mornings a week as well. I will have more time than ever to work on design projects and prepare for classes... and yet I find myself wanting to pull back, to do less. All the balls are already in motion for the coming months, but it's something I'll continue to sift through as summer nears.

For now, I'm steadied by the snow, and spread a little thin. It all seems about right for February. Welcome winter.

February 5, 2016

Sweet Snow


Our winter, so far, has been ridiculously mild. It's no secret that we are snow lovers (I even have a hashtag on instagram #smithslovesnow, and I don't do hashtags, so that's true commitment!). I always say that if it's going to be cold, it might as well snow. But here's the thing, it hasn't been cold. It's been sweater weather and muddy and downright spring-like. Even I can't complain about that. Still, when we woke up this morning to giant heavy flakes and the scraping of the plow, I felt like a little kid. A good snowfall just never fails to excite.

I layered up the kids and headed out to play. I've been noticing with our last few snow-escapades that Roo isn't quite as enthusiastic as the rest of us. She is such a trouper in general, and much more up to try new things than her big brother... but when she is done, that's it. 'I want to go inside!' usually comes far before Smith is ready to head in, and all of our efforts to change her mind are just useless. She is done.

So today I decided to take advantage of our fenced yard, and let Smith continue to play while I set up a fancy little tea party indoors for Roo. She is a true girlie-girl at heart, and it's easy to overlook her interests, because James and I are such nature-lovers. Smith's appreciation of bugs and plants and animals is so painless for us to accommodate. Princesses and unicorns and tutu's come a with a little less ease. But I'm working harder to channel my inner little girl.

I scooped up a big bowl of snow and she decorated it with sprinkles. I set out a cloth and napkins on her playtable, she was quick to add her tea set. We used our favorite berry bowls. She was overjoyed, it was so simple and really sweet to see our feisty baby girl in her element. Smith later came in from the cold and spilled sprinkles all over the tablecloth, which melted and stained it... but it was nice while it lasted.

If the snow has found you this week-end, enjoy! I am hoping for some sledding and a snowman (or maybe a snow princess ;)


January 29, 2016

Headspace


Smith asks a lot of questions that strike me as dark for a preschooler; what happens to our bodies when we die? why do we have to get old? mama, are you going to be ugly when you're old? why don't people like ugly things? when will my body stop getting bigger and stronger and start getting smaller and weaker? am I going to get old and die one day? 

The responses that bring him comfort are the ones that are the least spiritual and the most literal. The idea that a body breaks down and nourishes the earth so that it can provide new life is a winner. Explanations of spirit versus body, or God, or as one aunt tried to explain, 'up in the clouds with the angels'... all that seems to confuse, frustrate, and even frighten him. 

His brain is so scientific, so focused on the physical, and so very different from my own. I often struggle to find the 'right' way to have these discussions, but somehow we muddle through, and I think (hope) he is getting what he needs. 

Our minds stir over things differently, but what we share is a hefty helping of headspace. When I was in Kindergarten, and only a few months older than Smith, I remember peeling off the thin membrane from a segment of grapefruit, and studying all of the juice-filled crystals inside. Each one was slightly different in shape and size, and they all nested together like a flawlessly organic jig-saw puzzle. I hadn't been raised with a lot of religion, but I knew in that moment that there was something, that the degree of design in this seemingly insignificant piece of life was greater than the force of nature. Over the years I have questioned that conclusion again and again, but I do know that I was certain at the age of five.

By contrast, James doesn't remember five. He remembers almost nothing from his entire childhood, safe for a new bike or a ski trip; a thing or an event here and there in the span of a decade and a half, but zero 'thoughts' have been archived. He rolls his eyes over most of my self inflicted mental crises, and it's not because he is a simple or unintelligent man. He is driven and loves problem solving and will do no end of brain gymnastics to reach a goal. But questionably productive soul searching, truth seeking, anxiety dwelling, deep reflecting... he simply doesn't have those settings. 'You think too much', is a phrase he throws at me often. And I probably do. My son probably also thinks too much, or maybe his father thinks too little ;)

If given the choice, I'm not certain that I would pass down to my children 'heavy thinking' as a trait. So many sleepless nights and worries and fears could be lifted if my head didn't hug them so tightly. But this is who we are, it's why I am writing these words and why my son often runs the other way when someone unfamiliar offers a simple, 'hello'. We are lost in our heads. It's inherently lonely, but there is comfort in being here together.

January 20, 2016

A New Year


I'm not sure if I am already setting a tone for this new year by finally addressing it as January draws to a close, by I am really hoping for a more even pace in 2016. Last year was great for our family, but exhausting. We accomplished virtually nothing on my list of resolutions... really, not one! 2015 was full of unexpected twists and blessings, and now I'm cozying up for 12 months of peace and quiet (maybe?). Probably not given a few changes that are already underway, but denial works for me, now and again.

My biggest goal this year is to 'work on myself'. My eyes automatically roll as I type that. I've put on a lot of weight in the two years since having Roo, and this past year was particularly unhealthy. I have never thought much about or struggled with weight, and it's a very strange thing to feel out of sync with your own body. I also need to finally even out my sleep issues, get back to cooking, not wear my hair in a bun every single day, and overhaul my clothes (although I will say that I did a pretty decent job of editing when we moved, and my closet is now very streamlined. Just not all that inspiring). I always cringe when I hear the advice for mothers to 'do for themselves'... but I've reached the point where I am going to try, cringes and all.

I have a million goals for our house, our garden, our work, our family... but I am going to keep those off record and just see how it all falls. I'm either getting lazier, smarter, or more realistic, but I have given up planning too far in advance. 

Welcome 2016, may you be delightfully boring!