Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This Weekend We / Took It Outside

This weekend I did something pretty out of the ordinary for myself: I scheduled my time. I knew that there were lots of things that I wanted to do, a few things that I needed to do, and some other things that I should do.

Generally, I am not much of a list maker or a scheduler. I usually have a rough idea of what I want to happen, but  it is never put pen to paper.  I am easily distracted, and sometimes, the time just gets away from me, or my energy gives out, or the lure of doing nothing overcomes me.

But not this weekend. I wanted to keep my resolve to get outside, and I made sure it happened, and then I packed in everything else around those hours I carved out for fresh air and dirt.

Some families seem to have figured it out, the whole living life out of doors thing. I admire them but sometimes feel a little inadequate, like I'm failing, afraid we might spend too much time within four walls. But the truth is, I really like these four walls. And I like the time spent within them. But I know that it's better for our moods and our health and our overall wellbeing to get the heck out. So that's just what we did. 

Friday afternoon was spent at the beach that feels a little like an extension of our backyard. Saturday we spent time wandering my sister's farm before a birthday party that impressively featured lots of great outdoor fun for kids, no small feat when it comes to January in Maryland. Sunday we snuck in an evening marsh walk after the rain cleared.

The beauty of this resolution is that it gets easier as the year marches forward. Come spring, we end up outside without much thought or effort, but for now, I'll do my best to schedule it in, to make the effort to be one of those families.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ode to Saturday Mornings

The mornings when you don't have anywhere you have to be.

The mornings when nothing needs to be done.

The mornings when your bed is invaded by smiling faces, ready to wrestle or curl up in your arms or hide under the blankets.

All week long you look forward to them, try to plan your upcoming weekend to accommodate them, knowing that in a few short years some of the cast would rather sleep until noon or will be too embarrassed to barge into their parents' room before everyone is in a state of full dress.

Mornings you have trained yourself to be rid of thoughts of dirty dishes or floors that need to be swept.

You stay until they are ready for milk or other distractions. You stay until they leave you in a crumple of blankets with the morning light shining in.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Optimism Isn't Fading

Everything feels possible right now. It feels like I can make any change I want. I'm remembering the reusable bags every time I go to the store. I'm eating healthy and drinking water. I'm organizing closets and dressers and drawers. Projects are getting finished. Plans are being made. Contentment abounds. I have moments of feeling almost manic.

I read other people's goals and resolutions, and I am eager to take those on too. A clothing/ purchasing challenge? Sure, I'll do that. Efforts to get outside despite bad weather?  I'm on it. A push to organize and declutter? Definitely happening.

I am full of hope and excitement, inspired to do all the little things that I love. This weekend I might make another batch of elderberry syrup or try mixing up a batch of fireside cider. I'll keep sippin' on apple cider vinegar drinks and playing around with essential oils. I'm looking up new recipes and trying to rehash old ones. Life feels full and wonderful. I'm amazed how once you get started on making good decisions, it breeds more good decisions.  When I stop paying attention, I find myself sucked into a iPhone hole in the midst of messy house ordering pizza for dinner.

I'm quite certain my borderline euphoria is a pregnancy hormone induced, but given the fact that usually the pregnancy hormones seem to swing the other way, I'm going to ride this mood swing out for as long as I can.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

No Budget Nursery

My kids have never had particularly wonderful nurseries. Sena's was the most put together, but back then I wasn't all that interested in home decorating / design, and I didn't really know what to do other than the things found at department stores. I ordered something uninspired and relatively neutral for her room and hung a bunch of artwork my mom gave me. Gus used the same things, but somehow it seemed even less his space. I never loved any of it.

When Arlo was born, we were living in a smaller house than we are now, and we had to find space where we could. His crib was tucked into Sena's bedroom (although he never slept in it), and his dresser was in the living room, which I promise was less pathetic than it sounds. However, even after we moved when he was six months old, I never really decked out his room because I always figured we would have a fourth childand Arlo wouldn't be in the teeny, tiny little bedroom long.

Now here we are, standing on the edge of a fourth baby, and this time I actually want to design some sort of baby space. And despite the fact that the room is very small, chances are the baby girl will be in there for a very long time to come since I don't plan on moving, and our house only has four bedrooms. The room needed to be able to easily transition from a baby space into a child space, and it needed to be done on almost no budgetSo I found myself robbing Peter to pay Paul. I stole the plants from my classroom at school. I hung one of the mirrors my sisters bought me for my bedroom in the baby room instead. I moved a wall hanging that had been in my room to the baby's room since it matched the quilt that had been on the guest bed for the past year. I inherited some Nabsco bird plates from my mom, and shuffled dressers around. I moved a wooden crate from the living room to fill with books. My mom made the curtains and bought the curtain rod (thanks, mom). The only thing I actually bought was a bamboo shade.

I'm not quite sure how I became so dependent on my mom. I am certain that I would get about 1/3 of all house projects done without her help or inspiration. Not only did she make the curtains, as I mentioned, but she also came over and gave the walls and trim a fresh coat of paint and helped me hang everything that requires skill beyond a simple wall hanger.  I guess I'm going to have to learn how to do some of these things because some day I might need to help my own children with these sorts of tasks, but for now, I just lean on my mom.

I'm pretty happy about how the new baby's little space turned out,   I'll be even happier once she's in it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

This Is

This is me, 34 weeks pregnant, completely uncomfortable in front of the camera, trying to appease my mother's request for to actually capture myself in a photograph every now and then.

I look at the picture and feel those pangs: the things you want to change about the image, about yourself. And I force myself to remember that this is who I am, flaws and all. I will never be younger or more beautiful than this moment. This is the photograph of a thirty year old woman carrying her fourth child. A woman who is quite happy with the way her life is being lived, despite the fact that she appears to be so very serious. This is a woman loved by her husband and her family and her friends and her children.  A woman who loves her husband and her family and her friends and her children.