Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thoughts I Thought

Lately, I haven't had much desire to find time to come to this space. I don't exactly know what took the wind from my sails, but lately I have a hard time finding the words I'm looking for, and I have an even harder time finding the motivation to want to find those words. But then last week I read a pretty run-of-the-mill article on happy families, chocked full of advice I would never in a million years try to fit into our lives. But hidden among the prescriptions were two things that I could hang my hat on: the need to define your family's values and the  importance of telling your family's history.

Those two pieces of advice, plus a little gentle encouraging from Tom, made me want to work harder at finding the words that have been evading me as of late. This space has always been the place where I distill what it means to be a part of our family. It is the place where I tell our history, or at least my version of it.

It is also the place where I celebrate our joys, which has maybe been the greatest blessing this endeavor has brought me.

Among those things I want to celebrate and remember, Arlo out pushing the stroller while the big kids zip around him on their scooters. Our little one block, one way street gets loud and merry in the afternoons with kids racing back and forth. And Arlo runs among them, barefoot and slow and perfectly content.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

This Weekend We

This weekend was quiet, too quiet. And slow.  Under some circumstances, some people may have described it as relaxing. I will call it boring.

Tom and Gus went off on a weekend long bachelor party fishing trip. The fact that my seven year old son has already been invited to bachelor parties is fodder for another rant. My mom and sisters were off on the corresponding bachelorette party. Sena spent hours upon hours locked away in her room with her newly minted best friend. My dad was at a golf tournament. Arlo and I were left alone.

And man, were we bored. Arlo is good company, don't get me wrong. I can usually get him to laugh at my jokes, he generally enjoys my cooking, and he's happy to cuddle with me while I watch episode after episode of Friday Night Lights.  But he doesn't offer much in the way of conversation.  After two days with only occasional interruptions by Sena and her friend for food, Arlo and I were starved for stimuli.

I need my people around me. I need the house to be loud and lively. I need family streaming in and out, borrowing something, giving something, opening the fridge to see if there's anything to eat. Although sometimes I complain when they leave their dirty dishes on the coffee table and kitchen counters, I much prefer picking up after them to meandering through my days and hours without all of my people near by.

I felt so much better once everyone had returned home; I felt my energy return. I felt better after feeding them all leftover beef stew and apple cobbler. I felt better once I could hear all my kids out on the street riding scooters with the neighbors while Tom blew leaves across the yard. I felt better once I know I wasn't alone anymore.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

This Weekend We / Apple Orchards

For weeks, we had planned on apple picking on the sixth day of Septemeber. The cool fall has meant for an early apple harvest, and although I will always be a summer girl in my heart, I am excited for all the things that fall brings.

However, yesterday was the first day in over a month that felt like summer, honest to god, sweat while you're standing still summer. So our trip to the apple orchard was quick, *fruitful*, and extra warm.

The littlest boys loved the tractor ride, the medium boy loved engaging in his hunter/gatherer tendencies, and the biggest boys, who may have had more than a little whiskey before we went, mostly loved juggling.

And now we are left with bushels of apple to sauce, cobbler, chip, and munch. The doctor should be kept away for many moons. Recipes for all things apple related welcome in the comments.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Just What I Needed

I really needed a day full of good company and sunshine. I need to feel like myself.

Yesterday provided. A day on a lake with a dozen friends and a half dozen kids, plenty of things to paddle or pedal, farm grown food spilling from every corner, dance routines planned but never actualized. It was the sort of day that just felt right.

This summer hasn't been my favorite, but yesterday sure tried hard to make up for it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

This Weekend We: Bridal Shower

One of my little sisters is getting married in a little over a month. She's the first in our family to be having a traditional wedding with all the bells and whistles, or at least, most of the bells and whistles. 

I was excited to get to plan a party more elegant than most of the gatherings I put together. Most of my parties are potluck and rag tag, and perfectly suited to how I like things done. But for Claire's shower, I wanted to plan something really special. So we rented tables and chairs, plates and silver ware, arranged dozens of flowers and strung lights in an attempt to recreate this scene.  I was excited to craft a beautiful, perfect evening, and in my excitement I may have lost sight of the real purpose of the party: to celebrate Claire and the beautiful and sometimes overwhelming journey she's about to embark on. 

Because I had so completely lost sight, I did not handle the disappointment of unpleasant weather well. After weeks of nearly perfect weather, Saturday brought rain and wind and grey skies. It sent people inside, and meant that the big, sit down, family style meal I had planned and prepared was replaced with dinner plates balancing on laps and end tables. 

As I said, I did not handle my disappointment every gracefully, but luckily in the few photos that I did manage to get of the evening, I see that most everyone else was able to enjoy the evening as it was, not distracted by what it might have been. 

Although I did not fully appreciate it in the moment, I can now look back and recognize how special it is when people from all walks of life come to celebrate a single person, in this case my beautiful, loyal, strong-willed sister, the embodiment of a fiery redhead if there ever was one.