Tag Archives: musings

To the brim.

We’re two days out from Thanksgiving, and I’m already full, full right up to the brim.

dad and james

Full of love for the little (albeit growing!) family of mine.

family

Full of wonder at the force that is a two and a half year old little boy.

deets

Full of joy for a little girl who wakes me with a smile each morning.

evie may Full of pride – the good kind – at who Chris and I have become in the past couple years.

k and c

My heart feels so very full at Thanksgiving this year, and while we’re not a family that generally voices our thanks around the table each year, I think this year I might push it. A brief moment to consider that for which we are so very blessed. A small notion in the grand scheme of things, but a valuable one. I’m curious what everyone will say, given a year of ups and downs (and given the subjectivity of one’s thankfulness). Where does the value lie for each individual? I want to know, to learn, to understand.

And I also want to know if a two year old can muster up an answer to a concept he might not fully comprehend. I imagine he can…and knowing this particular two year old, I imagine it will be funny.

siblings

On keeping it all together…

 IMG_2789

I ponder this a lot…the notion of keeping it all together…if it’s possible, if I care to, if it’s even worth pondering.  I think I must care to if I spend so much time pondering it, but I’m uncertain about if it’s possible or even worth the thought.

Keeping it all together runs along the same lines in my mind as the notion of balance.  No one ever seeks balance when their world is too full of good things.  We seek balance when the crap outweighs the fun stuff…and is it the perhaps the same when I’m thinking about keeping it all together?  I wouldn’t worry about it if everything I was trying to keep together was all fun, smiles, and joy.  But welcome to life, it’s not all fun, smiles, and joy.  There’s the daily crap, the work crap, the house crap, the baby crap (I mean that literally more than figuratively – we have a lot of diapers to wash).  And it’s a lot to think about.

Most of it I enjoy thinking about.  Some of it I don’t.  Again, welcome to life.

But the feeling of juggling too much, being a hamster stuck in a wheel where if I miss one step, the whole thing crumbles into me tumbling along with the wheel?  That’s the part that gets me.

The thing is that I have created this hamster wheel.  I steer the ship.  It’s my world to do with as I please.  And in that sense, how do my daily choices affect the outcome of a week, a month, a year? And how do I shape them so that this wild ride that I call life looks just like that: a wild, wild ride full of laughter, joy, and memories?

I’m not sure…but one thing I am certain of is that I will never stop trying.

Rest.

How I say rest doesn’t necessarily mean rest as most of the world thinks of it. But it does mean time away. Time for a beach run. beach run Time for a walk in the woods.

shoulder ride Time for a million laps walking beach, followed by some time digging in the sand, splashing in the waves, running from the chairs to the sea to the chairs to the sea. beach So rest we do not. But enjoy? Savor? Embrace? That we do. All in, to the best of our abilities, with all of our might.  Because life is too short to squander the time spent together, the precious days we have to relax (we define relax about as loosely as we define rest!) and enjoy.

May we never change.

 

Adventures in…the simple.

These days our adventures take on a very different form than adventures of yesteryear.  We adventure in nothingness, which is not to say that we’ve ceased adventuring (never!), but it is to say that we adventure in the simplest of ways.

c and dad

The backyard.

Screen

The garden.

water table

The basement, oh goodness, the basement brings such delight. It’s a dungeon. With a washer, a dryer, and lots of homebrew.

The bathtub.

beach

The evening stroll down the block to meet Dad at his car.

A cup of goldfish.

ball

A new trick.

backyard

It’s all very simple by nature, yet somehow, through those tiny hazel eyes, the most simple becomes the most grand, the most mundane brings the most delight.

Life takes on new forms as we meander through it, and I have to say that the form in which we sit right now? I like it. A lot. I still yearn for big adventures beyond the everyday trips to the grocery store, sprints across the backyard, wanders around the block.  But those everyday adventures?  While smaller in scale, less likely to induce squeals of delight from mom (though not from James), and seemingly mundane…they are adventures nonetheless. Adventures that shape our days, provoke joy, define dreams.

Adventures in seeing the world through one year old hazel eyes: perhaps these adventures might just be the grandest adventures of all.

 

Holding on to a smile.

Why do I leave his smile every day?  I ponder this question more and more these days. How do I find something better suited to these lofty visions I have for what our world should be? Where do I even begin to look?

I notice that these thoughts are a pattern, and not a good one. When I look back into the archives of my thoughts, this notion is ever-present since the wee man came to be. It was so easy before James to scuttle along, following each whim, confident that what I chose need not be permanent. I maintain those same thoughts now – my current existence will not always be my daily routine – but somehow there is more to it.

The choices mean more, say more, feel more.

This little guy is at stake.

And you – no, I – only live once.

So what do I want it to be?

And why do I choose to leave him each day?

Realistically, there are answers. A paycheck, health insurance, retirement benefits, a bit of my life to call my own. A life outside of our little bubble at home.

But does it need to be every day? And does it need to be in this space that continually beats me down, wears me out, tries to make me believe I am not enough?  I don’t think it does. And I know that it does not need to be a place that makes me feel any less courageous, intelligent, strong, and kind than I am.

So what do I do?

The same thing I always have done: I create change.

The only question remaining is how.

A letter to 2014

2014, you will be a year in which I…

* Practice patience. Not as much with James and Chris – I’m generally pretty patient with them already) – but with myself. Be kind to myself. Whether I admit it or not, I’ve got a lot on my plate, and I’m my worst critic. Now is the time to take a breath and just let my world be.

* Along the same lines as the a lot on my plate notion, evaluate what’s on my plate.  Get rid of the junk, savor the good stuff.  Find more time for the good stuff by minimizing time wasted on the junk.  I kid myself with no elusions of finding more time. 

* Celebrate my son’s first birthday.  Bake him a cake (a wee one for a wee lad), buy some balloons, share in the joy. Reflect on what the past year has meant not only for him, but also for me and Chris.  Ponder just how far we have come, because, by god, we’ve come a long way.

* Earn another stamp or two in the old passport.  One will be Mexico in January.  Where will the next be?

* The four generations get away. Figure out how to make it happen. 

* Hone the camera skills. Read about it, practice it…learn it.

* North Dakota or South Carolina: make it happen.

* Same with you, chicken coop. Make it happen.

* Sew. Cushions for the kitchen chairs. Curtains. What have you. Be domestic. 

* Run another half marathon. This one with the husband. Part of it with the kid.

* Reflect on what this body of mine has accomplished in the past few years, because goddammit, it’s impressive. Ponder what it will accomplish again in the next few years.

* Bake more bread.  In the literal sense, not in the that’s-a-cute-metaphor-for-having-another-kid sense. NOT YET.

* Yoga. At least once a week. Because it feels good. 

* Smile. Laugh. Soak it all in (this should be an easy bullet to accomplish – I excel at smiles and laughter).

* Think gratitude. Maybe even start writing about it. Three things per day. So far today I have my morning smoothie, a free cup of Starbucks, and one more to go. What else will I feel grateful for today? The sun on my back. An up-coming vacation. Practice gratitude.

* Likewise, practice kindness. Always, always, always.

I think that’s enough for a year.

If 2014 is half as kind to me as 2013 was, goodness me, I’m in for a lovely ride. 

2013: a year in review

Reflections on my goals for 2013:

  • Finish growing Mango and become a mom. Learn what that means. Pay attention to the experience. Savor the precious times, and allow myself to truly feel the frustrations, the challenges, and the headaches that are sure to result. Learn. Love. Have so, so very much fun. Laugh. Laugh so very, very much and so very, very often.
  •  It happened.  Every bit of it.  Mango became Nugget became Buddy Bear became James, my sweet boy, full of joy and love.  I felt it all – physically and emotionally – and have been challenged in ways I could never have imagined a year ago. At times I still forget that I am a mom…and then I remember…and my heart swells with the enormity of it all.
  • Slow down. Do less of the stuff that doesn’t matter, and instead spend my precious minutes embracing what does.
  •  I’m not sure anything about this year could be considered slowing down, but I know for certain that we did a heck of a lot of the stuff that matters.  The less important stuff still crept in, but the important stuff?  Good lord, we embraced it.
  • Hug my family. A lot. All of them. Even if they’re not huggers.
  • Huggers or not, I buried them all.  Suckers.
  • Build a coop and…
  • Fail. To be completed Spring 2014.
  • Raise chickens! And cook Sunday morning breakfasts with fresh eggs gathered hours before.
  • Fail again.  See build a coop bullet.
  • Finally purchase a decent camera AND teach myself to use it.
  • Thank you credit card points, we now own a nice camera.  Learning to use it is still a work in progress, but isn’t learning always a work in progress?  If you do it right it is.
  • Join a CSA.
  • Veggies and meat: check.  Assessment?  Veggies: ehh.  Meat: awesome!  We even ventured to the farm that grows the meat to meet the pigs and the turkeys and the cows who would then become…dinner.
  • Travel to North Dakota or South Carolina, the only two remaining in my quest to visit all 50 States. Mango will join me. We’ll take nice photos using our new camera and camera skills. Chris can come too if he behaves. Maybe we’ll take the Vanagon to ND to celebrate our one year anniversary? Road trip.
  • Fail. Maybe 2014?
  • Learn to drive a stick. FINALLY. It will happen.
  •  CHECK.  And I love it.
  • Camp with a baby. Toss the kid in a backpack (with airholes) and hike a mountain. Sit by a campfire to snuggle said baby for a bit before putting the peanut to bed and pausing for a minute to reflect with Christopher about where this magical world has taken us.
  • July 2013. With a three month old. Love, love, love.  Mini man is a trooper.
  • Convince the parents to travel with us. Somewhere, anywhere. But get away for at least a weekend, at least three generations in tow (we get bonus points if Mimi’s in the loop and adds a fourth generation for us)
  •  Road trip to Montreal, September 2013: boo-yah.  We’re still working on four generations for 2014, but in the meantime we took one heck of a journey with the moms, the baby, and some big goofy grins.
  • Bake bread. Real bread with yeast and kneading and deliciously crusty crust.
  • Pretzel rolls, blizzard 2013: yes!  Not likely to happen again anytime soon.  Delicious, but so is bread from a bakery.
  • Live it up. More often than not. And never regret a second.
  • Success, success, success.  So many smiles, an abundance of laughter, and my fair share of tears.  I wouldn’t trade one single bit of it.

2013, you opened my eyes to a whole new world, so full of love, so devoid of sleep, and so very incredible. Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes, but life lesson of the year told me that the best adventure of all looks a little something like this:

So much.

This year can be summed up with those two words: SO. MUCH.

So much love.

So much growth.

So much learning.

So much joy.

So much sleep.  HA, just kidding on that one.  That would be classified in the so little category.  We’re tired.

But we have so much for which to be thankful.

Oh gosh, so very, very much for which to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving from our 34 pound turkey to yours (no, not the James turkey, the REAL turkey – James is only up to 18 pounds. The turkey showed him up without missing a beat…or a beak…no, wait, the beak is missing…whatever).

Pudge Knuckles for life.

Photos on Friday, ehh?

Well, we’re heading to Canada, ehh, yeah, you betcha.  Wait.  Not North Dakota.  Canada.  We’ll leave it at ehh.  Ehh and some photos to ring in a long weekend.

Check out the farmer’s corn:

It’s huge!  Oh wait.

You should have seen the bugs crawling out of it too.  Mmm, savoring the glory of the harvest.

Go Broncos.  And Patriots.  But mostly Patriots despite what this picture implies.

Much better.

 

And we’re off.  Road trip with a five month old.  For the record, it seems like a great idea right now.

We’re hoping for lots of this from the back seat:

Sunday drivers: open farm edition

So we created a goal of becoming Sunday (morning) drivers during football season.  As a means to distract Christopher from the football-induced anxiety he suffers from each Sunday morning and to prevent me from puttering non-stop, we decided that we will take Sunday morning as our time to enjoy and find ways to not simply pass the morning, but to truly enjoy it.

Sleepy Sunday morning pre-drivers

Yesterday marked attempt #1, and we can successfully declare the Sunday Drivers victorious.

Our day began early, with a 6:30am wakeup call from the littlest member of the group.  After some coffee for us, milk for him, and a bit of eye rubbing from all three of us, we piled into the car to head west (young grasshopper).  We had our eyes on Route 9 as the means to our end: Chestnut Farms in Hardwick, MA.   Chestnut Farms is where our monthly meat CSA (community supported agriculture) originates.

Back up: earlier this year we signed up for a monthly meat CSA, and since then we have received ten pounds of meat (cow, pig, chicken) fresh from the farm the 2nd Tuesday of each month.  In a word, it is awesome.  So delicious.  Especially the bacon.  Oh, the bacon.

Anyways, Sunday morning we headed west on Route 9, destination Hardwick.  Our first stop of the day was Rutland State Park for a brief stroll through the woods, by a pond, through more woods, and back to the car.  As Sunday was the first of my favorite types of fall days – crisp yet still warm air, cool breezes, shining blue sky – our walk through the woods was a delight.  We finished it off with a snack at the car – all three of us – before piling back in to continue our journey.

Next up was the Hardwick Farmer’s Market, pleasantly located on Hardwick’s town green.  We stocked up on beets, rainbow chard, poblano chiles, hearty breads from a local bakery, and some hermits to satisfy a sweet tooth.  And then we carried on smartly – next stop, the farm!

Let me pause here for a minute.  I’m fairly certain that at this point in time it was still before 11am.  No one can accuse us of wasting a day (remember, these are pre-football Sunday drives).

So the farm: it was a delight!  We wandered around, visited the new chicks, saw a few piglets (including the runt – he was so cute, poor little baby bacon), hung out in the fields, and sat under a shady tree.  Oh, we also saw our Thanksgiving dinner – s/he was busy growing into a delicious dinner, entirely oblivious to what is to come.

Anyways, after the farm we climbed back in the car to head home, Sunday drive complete.  We arrived home just in time for the end of the first games (we’re new to this and our timing wasn’t as great as it could be).  Thoroughly exhausted, we spent our afternoon watching football, cooking the bounty from the farmer’s market, eating the bounty from the farmer’s market, and relishing in the success of our first Sunday drive.

See you at Thanksgiving dinner, Turkey.