The Little Things

I’ve missed writing and think about it often, wondering what I would write if I chose to write each night I think about writing but don’t actually begin.

I’ve enjoyed the gift of time from not writing and also miss the days of continuity and focusing on what went well each day when I was writing. That yin and yang thing is always present and there are trade offs, aren’t there?

The little thing that caught my attention today was making the kids’ lunches again. I used to make their lunches, then Jeff made their lunches, and then they made their lunches, you know, practicing growing up and being responsible for taking care of themselves.  When we had our Japanese exchange student with us earlier this month, I was making breakfasts, lunches and dinners for everyone, including my BIG kids. After Kohei left, I kinda carried on and continued making lunches, gave up breakfasts and still make dinners. I realized I actually love making their lunches and the connection this creates, providing for them this way. I love that it makes them happy and takes a little bit of the burden away from their busy mornings, even if they could do it for themselves.  I love when Juliana texts me during the day to say how much she enjoyed what was prepared for her, or shares her gratitude and a moment of thought, connection, love.

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Thankful

 

This was the highlight of my day. My kids came out for a hike with me, even though some thought this was a horrible idea.  I wanted us to get out for some fresh air, to move our bodies and to share conversation along the way, away from other distractions. There was some complaining and whining at the beginning and I kept focused on being grateful and patient, thankful that we were all together enjoying the crisp, fresh air and muddy puddles.  I loved watching them taking pictures, bird watching and deer and squirrel watching too. They laughed and danced and ran up and down the hills, teasing each other too.

This was a great way to end our Thanksgiving holiday break. I am thankful for my family, near and far, for traveling and being together sharing meals and conversation and chaos, and for being back home again.

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday, making memories and celebrating with those you love and like!

nAMaste

Family Practice

The kids didn’t have water polo or soccer practice on this particular day. I had to run an errand at the mall and they decided they wanted to come with me. Both wanted to come along. I kinda wanted to go by myself. One wanted to come with just me and to leave the other behind. The other one insisted their homework was complete and that they really wanted to come along and to spend some time together. How could I resist?  But there was going to be some conflict. Isn’t there always a little conflict?

I decided to invite both to join me for some family practice time. We had to practice getting along and working together and figuring out how to get along without bugging each other.  Isn’t that what families are about?

They got in the car and I set the agenda, letting my captive audience know what to expect and requesting that they silence their electronic devices. Can you imagine no Snapchat? Tonight we were having a family practice night, instead of soccer practice or polo practice. Tonight we were going to practice listening and cooperating and being patient and kind. Boy, did we practice. And as you know, with practice, there is a lot of repetition.

We practiced several drills, such as choosing our words, taking turns, ignoring the endless snaps and texts that vied for our attention. We practiced patience and listening and not requesting everything we saw. We practiced waiting and not competing with each other. We practiced delaying gratification and not always getting what we want when we want it. We practiced not rolling our eyes and saying, “Gosh” all the time. We practiced holding hands, going with the flow, and putting our arms around each other. And we practiced breaking bread together.

All in all it was a good night, mixed with a little resistance along the way. I am thankful that my not so little ones wanted to join me on this night for some family togetherness and practicing all that is good.

After all, aren’t we all just practicing in this dress rehearsal called life?

What are you practicing with your family?  I wish you success, peace and love!

nAMaste, BeLoveRs.

Have a good week!  xoxo

 

Whatever Will Be Will Be

It’s been a week, no months, of pushing and watching and questioning and wondering and flexing and letting go and accepting what is to be and flowing with it.

On Thursday, it began. Christian, my high school senior, came home early from school for our lunch date, but I had a work meeting. He went and picked up lunch for us and while I was working, he decided he was going to finally work on his college applications. I’ve been pushing and questioning and wondering and exploring and asking him to own this process since the beginning of summer. He decided that he wanted to go to community college and didn’t want to go through the college app process, and that he was happy with staying local. I accept my kids’ choices and yet I always push them to the edge and maybe over their comfort zone and I question their motivation and intention. I am okay with their decisions and I want to be sure they think through the costs and benefits and risks, every step they take. I ask the hard questions, set up challenges, and then give them space to own their decisions and the path they choose to take.

Well, on Thursday he decided he was going to apply to the University of Iowa and he decided he was going to fill out the application that day. While I was wrapping up work, he requested that I push my computer aside so that I could look over his online application on his laptop. Let me just say I was surprised and curious and supportive and perplexed and thankful and scared. I helped validate the form and gave my credit card number to pay for the application fee, all while wondering where did this come from?  I was proud that he (finally) decided to begin the process before the almost deadline. We clicked send and then I wondered, “what if?”

Flash forward to today, when I was busy working again to put money away for the kids’ college fund, when I received a text: 



And just like that, our thoughts have shifted and the opportunity is in front of us and we are thankful and curious and shocked and excited for the possibilities. Who knows what will come next, but for now I am thankful for the journey and know that whatever will be will be…and I am proud of Christian and wish him well as he navigates this next stage. Congratulations!! Be still my heart. 

Observing

The rain came and it was a perfect day to nestle inside. I was thankful for the rain and for choosing to slow down and to let the day unfold.

I was looking through recipes in the family room and heard Charlie playing on his drums. I came to his room and invited myself in to listen and observe, which I normally don’t do. I’m usually telling him to close his door and complaining that it’s too loud.

He smiled and I think he enjoyed my company, even though he was confused when I told him I was excited for his performance. He asked, “what performance?”  Obviously, because he was just playing to play. I was joking, but I was happy to just sit and watch him play, and to be present in this moment with him, with no expectations. He had his headphones on and no one was telling him to be quiet or to close his door and we all let him play freely. He played and jammed and I smiled.

Soon Juliana came in to listen as well. She say me enjoying him and she soon wanted to play too. My little cutie let her in and tried to teach her a little rhythm and my heart was full.


I noticed how much fun they were having and it made me want to play too, even though I have no rhythm at all and was a little fearful to even try. He told me which drum to hit on which count and then praised my drumming attempt. We switched spots and it was really cool!


I was laughing my head off and Charlie grabbed my phone to take videos. 

This was a fun, morning,  pajama jam session!  Thank you Charlie for sharing your passion with us. You made my day. 

How was your day? What moment did you really enjoy? Hope you have a good week. xo

October

I’ve been hearing that October is coming for weeks now. Someone has been very excited and has been making plans for decorating our house for Halloween. He would probably start in September, but he knows I like to wait until the beginning of the month to begin celebrating any given holiday. He was well prepared and kept asking me when we could go up into the attic to get down the Halloween boxes and when we could go to the Spirit Halloween store.  He knew that this weekend was THE weekend and he had a plan.

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I told him that we could go into the attic in the morning, after we had our coffee. Of course, as soon as his eyes had opened, he was asking if we had had our coffee yet. Have I told you that someone in our family is quite determined and a little planner?

Luckily he waited for us, however he couldn’t sit still and kept tapping the stick that pulls down the attic door. He was so excited that he was bouncing off the walls.

When we finally got up from the table and Jeff was ready to open the attic, he was asking if he could go up in the attic too. Jeff had the typical dad answer, which was “no,” until Charlie worked his magic. He informed us that he could do it now and that he was no longer 5.  He was now big and wanted to explore and to see what was up there and he had us convinced.  I loved watching him carefully climb up the ladder and grow up in that moment. He definitely is no longer 5 and I could literally see him growing up, right there. And the smile on his face showed all his success.

My no longer five year old, still loves the holidays and for this I am thankful. I received joy by watching him love the experience, tearing open the boxes once again with wonder and decorating our home.

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I love that he is growing up before my eyes and that he still is my little boy.

Happy Fall, everyone!  I hope you enjoy October.

xoxo

I See Him Changing

I was sleeping and sitting up in my rocking chair because my head was congested and I couldn’t sleep lying down last night. 

My perspective was shifted, as he walked into the kitchen and I could see him through the darkness and dawn’s early light from my chair.  I liked this image.

I enjoyed this new view and waking up to him, watching him get his favorite morning meal, a bowl of cereal and milk by himself, which he normally does, but I’m usually busy moving and doing and miss the observing part.  He is taller now and I noticed him growing up right there, in this moment.

It’s not that I don’t recognize the changes normally, it’s just that I had a different perspective this morning and I wasn’t in a rush and I was just observing the morning and him being there, growing up just like, that and eating simple cereal.

I noticed the piles of laundry waiting to be sorted and the cat sprawled out in the bean bag chair. (It still seems strange to me that we live with animals.) The laundry can wait.

In this moment, I was content and thankful to be aware and to notice that my baby is growing up, even with my stuffy head!  Sometimes it’s cool to switch your perspective and to see things differently.

Life is good.