Tuesday, January 20, 2015


"The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it."
-Thich Nhat Hanh

January is always one of those months where we gladly slide into the hum of our routines. The bustling mornings of school days balanced with lazy days off. This particular January has been a little different. Between colds and stomach bugs and frigidly cold temperatures that warranted the need to cancel schools, we've spent much more time within the walls of our house than we'd really prefer. Restless bodies, feuding brothers, tired imaginations--lately, the redundancy of our days has taken its toll on our dispositions.

In between the sniffles and fevers and puke buckets, we've slipped in a few of our favorite things. Belated Christmas parties, movie dates, sports and swimming. Usually Ashton sits with us on the sidelines while we cheer on Spencer, but this year our little three-year-old gets to participate. The first day of basketball was more of a comical experience than a sporting event as we watched Ashton zip around the basketball court doing his own thing. He evaded the coaches, ignored his partner, and befriended any basketball that came his way. Bouncing it, hitting it, kicking it, chasing it. He is the smallest and probably the youngest on the court, and watching his little body out there among the big kids makes my face hurt from smiling so big. The second night of basketball was much less eventful--he seemed to get the hang of following simple directions--but my face still hurt from smiling.

Swimming lessons was also an experience of "firsts" for Ashton, as it was his first time in the pool without a parent. We signed the boys up for a class that combined level one and two so they'd be in the pool together. All the kids sat at the edge of the pool as the teachers instructed them to slide in. Spencer got in excitedly, an old pro by now, but Ashton flung himself at the teacher and clung to her. He spent the first half of the class with his small arms wrapped around her neck, tentatively withdrawing a hand to splash, dip his head to blow bubbles, and slowly he warmed up to life in the water as an independent swimmer. Finally, he joined the other kids, hanging onto the edge of the pool. We could hear him across the room screaming, "I'm doing it! I'm doing it!" A child's self-pride is amazing to witness.

This week we're experiencing a bit of a heat wave. After negative degree temps, 30 degrees feels like summer. Lately, the boys suit up in their winter gear, haul dump trucks and pull sleds to the big snow pile across the street. They take advantage of the reprieve from being held prisoners in our home. You just never know how long this warm weather will last.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The story yet to be written.

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Years Day."
-Edith Pierce

I like the look and feel of a brand new notebook or calendar, ripe with all the pages yet to fill and dates to scribble plans on. I feel inspired by the clean slate, all the possibilities. I have urges to hastily write, let the words flow freely on the clean pages, to begin, start anew. Yet the pen sits in my hand, the blank page suddenly sacred, scary, and the words locked inside my brain. Sometimes the idea to start fresh is more appealing than the actual process of doing so.

Like a new notebook, sometimes the new year feels similar to me. Maybe that's why I've never been big on resolutions. I'm a list-making, goal-oriented type of girl. I like to cross things off my lists. The idea of creating a list for the year and then never crossing the items off seems pointless to me. So, instead, I'm going to follow along the same avenue as last January and vow to approach this new year with a different attitude toward every day life. An attitude that allows the small moments to carry the same weight as the big ones. And to acknowledge and accept that every day isn't meant to be grand, many will attempt to drag you to your lowest points. But life isn't a series of celebratory big moments. It's the stuff in between--the small every day ones rich with frustration, excitement, anger, sadness, elation, irritation, exhaustion, humor--that truly make up the fabric of our lives.

I resolve to approach this new year like an open, unwritten book, the first chapter titled, "January." And I resolve to be okay with the messy pages soiled with spilled coffee and orange Cheetos smears. For, surely, those entries will be balanced with the pretty script detailing the perfect picnic or silly story or the wobbly, nearly illegible scribbles of a boy first learning to write.

Here's to a perfectly imperfect year in the rearview, and to the one off in the distance, that story yet to be written.

Before starting anew, I'd like to look back through some pages from 2014.

Snow, basketball, art projects, and a pirate day.

Monkeys, weekend getaway, and a holiday.

Cousins, snow, puddles, more snow, and grandmas.

Spring days, a wedding, and a holiday.

End of a school year, camping, more camping, and a picnic.

Yellowstone, shaved head, grandma, beach, and friends.

A holiday, cousins, bonfires, potty training, river, and a mommy photo shoot

Camping, a birthday, mommy photo shoot, and more camping.

An apple orchard, river, mud, another school year, and another apple orchard.

A birthday, a mommy photo shoot, a holiday, leaves, family, camping, and a pumpkin patch.

A vacation, snow, mud, more snow, a holiday, and a family photo.

Mud, a holiday, and another holiday.