Monday, September 30, 2013

Sweet September

Oh September, how you make us fall in love with you.
You tease us with colors and smells, and memories and feelings.
You fill our calendar with school and games and meetings, busying up every spare moment, exhausting us to our core.
Yet you beckon us to sit and enjoy the warm days. Deep breaths. Peace. Silence. Rejuvenating our spirits. Strengthening our souls. Comforting. Enveloping.
The nights cool and brisk. The sunlight fading.  Football games with field lights, evenings with a roaring fire, warm pajamas, coffee on a chilly morning.
Still the days are warm and delicious, calling us to the outdoors. Therapy for our hearts and minds.
Oh sweet September, how you make us fall in love with you...
and look forward to October's start.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Enjoying It While It Lasts

Someday, my dear children, I will have to remind you of this.  

Someday, Joey, I will remind you how mad you would get when you would come home from school to discover that dad had cut the grass without you.
Someday I will tell you boys how you used to fight over who got to cut the lawn. 
There were even arguments over who got to cut more grass.
Tears were even shed if one of you did not get enough lawn cutting time.  Time with the mower was closely monitored for fairness.
Two days after the grass had been cut you begged to cut the grass again.  Each day you'd offer to cut the still short grass.  When you finally did cut the grass again you did a careful job so that you would be the one chosen next time.
Someday I will remind you, Ben, how you cried and cried when we said that you weren't quite old enough to cut the grass yet.  To demonstrate your maturity, and to prove us wrong, you cleaned up all the grass clippings with the broom and the blower.
Never to be left out, Grace, you want in on the work as well. After deciding the brooms and blower were too big and awkward you took the dustpan and picked up the grass clippings by hand.  

Yes, I will have to remember this.  I'll take photos as proof.  I will treasure all of your enthusiasm now because I know it won't last forever.  And someday, when you are busy teenagers, I'll remind you how much you loved cutting the grass.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In The Blink Of An Eye

Sometimes life moves too quickly to enjoy it.  Days are filled up with must do's, need to's, and I don't want to's.  We get so bogged down with lists and chores that before you know it a week has gone by in a blur.
Now that we are back in to the swing of the school year I am making an effort to slow down.
Take time to smell the flowers.  Bring my life back into focus. Take a deep breath.
I want to enjoy this luscious fall. The smells, the sounds, the sights.  And yes, the activities. Enjoy my family. Enjoy myself.
Life goes by too quickly as it is.  I don't have time for rushing. I want to savor.

(The above pictures are of a white-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth that I have been trying to capture for weeks.  The beautiful little thing moves so quickly {it's wings as fast as a hummingbird's} it is difficult to catch.  Luckily, I have many of them in my backyard and they don't seem to mind my camera- or my hand being held underneath them, they have such fuzzy bodies!  Beautiful creatures.  Love them.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Shadow

It doesn't take long before it begins.  

I am on my early morning run.  It is hovering just over 80 degrees, heavy on the humidity.  My legs feel strong.  My shoulders are loose.  I take deep, even breaths. As I take off down my street I almost feel like I do in my reoccurring dream, lightening fast, strong, ready to fly.  

I settle into my music and the clutter filling up my day falls away.  I watch two squirrels running across the road, fighting as they go.  A cardinal dashes by me and I dodge a wasp heading right for my leg. I watch the construction crew working on the house down the street, and the man watering his lawn, and the dog who watches me.

I check my pace at the mile marker and I'm impressed.  Faster than I normally go.  And in this heat. Nice.

Then it begins.  "You're running much faster. You are going to tire sooner. You are probably getting tired already. You are not built for speed. You're going to have to walk soon. See how hard you are puffing now?" My brain is working overtime to get my body to stop.  

I spot my negative trend and try to turn it around. I even out my breathing again and make sure to keep the same pace I had on the first mile. I tune back into my music and run on. 

"Brave" comes on my iPod and I feel my pace quicken even more. I think about how I want my children be brave. Attack life head on with wild abandon. Live without fears holding them back. Put everything they've got into what they want. I want that for them. And for me.

"The wind is really picking up now. That always wears you out. This is a big hill coming up, maybe after that you'll have to walk.  You haven't had enough water for this heat and you don't want to get a migraine." My brain warns.

I physically shake my head to snap these negatives loose. Why is it that I can be everyone else's cheerleader but my own?

I feel myself begin to tire.  I feel sluggish.  Knowing my brain is winning this battle I run through my checklist.  

My legs still feel strong. My shoulders are loose. My breathing is even. My back feels good. I'm okay. I can do this. 

"You're not tired. You're doing great! You are getting stronger. You can do this!" I chant to myself.

Before my brain can interrupt I catch my shadow out of the corner of my eye. 

"Is that me?" my brain asks. "Is that what I look like?" 

My shadow doesn't look tired. My shadow looks strong. My shadow looks powerful. My shadow looks brave. My shadow looks fast and free. My shadow looks like me.  

I put my head down and barrel through. I can do it. Faster and longer than I have before.

I get out of my head, turn off my brain, and just go.

I can be brave too.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Way It Goes

You all know how I feel about it by now.  There really isn't much more I can say on the subject that I haven't already said here and here.  

I don't like letting go. Especially letting go of my babies.  But let go I must.  It is the way life goes. 
(First day of 3rd, 4K, 1st, and 5th)

It doesn't mean I have to like it.  They will always be my babies.  Not having them with me is tough.
But I'm excited for them.  New adventures, new experiences, learning and growing, making friends. I'm so proud of these little people I am sending out into the world. So proud. And so grateful.
Yes, this is the way it goes.  I just wish it wouldn't go so quickly.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Winding Down

It is the night before the first day of school.  The outfits are picked out. Lunches are planned. Backpacks are laid out by the door.  Lectures were given on the importance of kindness and compassion towards all classmates, being a friend to all, always trying your best, and being responsible and dependable. Showers are taken, teeth are brushed.  Prayers have been said. The children are now snug and in their beds.  

The kids are excited for school to start.  Part of me wonders if I failed them.  Didn't I make summer fun enough for them to lament the return of school?  Last year they wanted summer to last forever. 

Just as I begin to get that old guilty feeling I look back over our summer and see we had plenty of fun this past summer.  Sure, it may not have been the warmest summer, and very little swimming was to be had, but we still managed to have some wonderful times.  We took our first family trip to Chicago.  We went up north often.  We took a trip to Bay Beach.  The two older boys went to Boy Scout camp. The boys played baseball, Gracie started ballet. And, yes, we got in a little bit of swimming too. Even this last weekend before school we managed to get in some more fun.  

On Saturday we went to the county fair.  Of course, one of the kids' favorite summer activities. Tommy was finally tall enough to ride The Zipper and he and I braved the crazy ride together.  After experiencing just how wild that ride was Tommy and Joe (who is an expert at The Zipper now) encouraged Ben (who is already tall enough) to wait another year or two.

The kids ran from ride to ride, getting more and more daring with each one.  Gracie may just be the bravest of the group as she constantly asked for the ride to go faster and higher and spin more.  No more baby rides for Grace.  She likes the big rides. It is good to know that there will never be a shortage of riding partners for me when it comes to the big crazy rides and roller coasters.
Sunday was the first wedding our whole family was invited to.  It is difficult to get an invite for a family of six and we never expect it, so it was a pleasant surprise when my cousin went out of her way to make sure I knew the kids were welcome at this wedding.
The kids were so excited (mostly for the dancing and cake). Grace loves watching all the wedding shows with me on TLC so she insisted on going to the church ceremony while Todd and the boys sat that one out.  The wedding was about an hour away with a three plus hour wait in between the wedding and the reception, so I didn't think it was a good idea to bring four kids to a ceremony and make them sit around for close to 4 hours.  Instead, Grace, my mom, and I went to the ceremony and then came back home to pick up the menfolk for the reception.  
It was a beautiful, fun wedding.  As predicted the kids had a blast dancing.  We could barely pull Grace and Ben away from the dance floor at the end of the night.  Those two were dancing together for just about every dance.  Ben would spin Grace around and dip her.  Man, he is gonna be such a ladies' man someday, and she is definitely aptly named.  And bonus! There was a photo booth at the wedding that the kids became obsessed over.  It was definitely a good time for them.

Today was a bit more laid back.  Grocery shopping (remind me to NEVER go grocery shopping the day before school starts, EVER AGAIN), making cookies, riding bikes, playing outside, and stacking wood for the coming fall.

Now the kids are sleeping (hopefully) and I am busy prepping cameras and video cameras, filling out last minute paperwork for school, and writing special notes for lunch boxes on the first day of school.

I'm glad the kids are excited for school. I'm happy for them. But I'm sad to see our summer go so quickly. I would have liked a little more time.  A little more time with my littles.

The are little for such a short time.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson