September 12, 2015

Summer In September

September has long been a dreaded month for me; chilly mornings and dinner hour sunsets promising the return to school work, schedules, and responsibility. I spent so long as a student (thankyou graduate school!), and only took a few years off before plunging back into teaching, so the academic calendar has been grafted to my circadian rhythms. Summer means late nights and long naps, pajama tops and bathing suit bottoms, watermelon for breakfast and tomato sandwiches for dinner. Anything goes in the summertime where freedom reigns. 

Since having kids, I have always resisted camps and organized activities during these few sacred sunny months. 'You're crazy. What will you do with them all day?!', seems to be the common question. Some parents cling to structure as a means to survive the tantrums and constant need for entertainment, and it really does make sense. But my spirit just mandates a good fight for the preservation of a season with a whole lot of nothing penciled into the calendar.

I force my children to go along with my grand plan. 'What are we doing today?', topping my list for most forbidden phrases uttered before 8am. A whole day can be built around baking muffins, watering the garden, or a walk to Trader Joe's. I refuse to rest until they realize that a celebration of the mundane is one of life's greatest luxuries. 

And so this September, I stare at the maple tree outside my new bedroom, with it's brown edged leaves shedding more by the day, and I give thanks for a late labor day, and a seriously oppressive heatwave. I rejoice in a preschool that starts weeks later than the rest, and an August birthday that gives me one more year with my 'baby girl' at home. September may be breathing down my neck, but I'm squeezing every last drop of juice from this summer... something tells me it may be the last one I can execute on my own terms for years to come.

August 3, 2015

Dinner For Two

Roo turns two today, although if she hears anyone mention it she will insist, 'no I not two, I a big girl!'. She is so full of personality and joy and sass; scowling at anyone new with a look that could kill, barking orders to the whole family, throwing violent tantrums at the drop of a hat... but also erupting into the best belly laughs, dancing morning and night, and sweetly letting us know, 'I love you' in her raspy little voice that I wish I could bottle up and save forever.

We celebrated with a simple family barbecue and a lemon blueberry cake, as requested. We managed to clear the books and tools off of the table for the occasion and sat in the dining room for the first time since moving. It was very low key, but the kids were still super excited and I was amazed by how much Roo 'got it' at such a young age. She is completely determined to grow up as fast as she can and break my heart. 

Some of my favorite moments: she carried around an outdated restaurant guide all day claiming it was her 'birthday book' and asking James to read reviews / she was overjoyed by my pom-pom efforts (despite certain skeptics in the household) and lit up when I tied some in her hair / Little Smith decided it was also Foxy's birthday (his beloved stuffed animal), inciting lots of protest from the actual birthday girl / both of the kids sat glued to their seats the whole time James was overseeing the grill, just being silly and making eachother laugh / her favorite gift was a kit of babydoll gear thoughtfully selected by her brother with pretend food and diapers, she changed diapers all evening, she is so nurturing to all of her babies.

I remember the bittersweet heartache I felt when Little Smith turned two, and while it's unquestionably painful to see the baby rolls vanish and it's inconceivably fast, I am getting better at embracing the new milestones and the inevitable fact that kids grow up. I am so in love with her right now that it seems as though no stage could ever be better, but I know there is magic in every year and the connections only get stronger. I'm just holding my breath that she goes easy on me with the looming reputations of those two's and three's. This one is already ruling the whole house and giving me more gray hair by the day!

I think two is going to be quite the year for this girl. We love you so much baby. You are the perfect balance of sugar and spice, and we couldn't feel any luckier to have you around to start every day bright and early with full force. Happy Birthday sweet Roo.

*picture overload! what can i say, it's feast or famine in the blogging department these days... plus i am going to be up in three hours with the birthday girl, so it's no time for editing or coherent thoughts :)

July 28, 2015

Before Bed

I rarely bathe my kids. It might be laziness or a pseudo-hippie affection for funk (my own showering schedule is a little suspect!), but that window between dinner and bedtime is always such a chore that a bath is the last thing on my list. Instead, I fill that hour by getting outside. In the past we've loved walks around the block, collecting rocks and leaves, but now that we have a newly fenced tiny little yard of our very own, I can simply turn them loose. What a revelation! It may not be the fields and streams and forests of my own childhood adventures, but a hose bib and a few square feet of turf is plenty to save all our sanity at the end of a long day.

P.S. I know it's crazy how big these kids are. Where did my babies go?!

July 21, 2015

A New House

We are still deep in boxes and far from settled, but our new house is starting to feel like home. It's been hot, crazy heat and humidity and we have abandoned the single air conditioning unit that we used to keep in the kids' room. I think it must be some kind of New Englander's self-torture, but I am always convinced that we have all the more appreciation for the shift in seasons after suffering through the extreme winters and heat waves. Our big activity today was an afternoon bath brimming with over-sized ice cubes, we are ready for a cool front.

James and I work on the house and unpacking in every free moment, and I sometimes wonder what the kids will remember about this time. I think they are enjoying it, or they might recount in future therapy sessions the time they were forced to stay up late because mama was hacking apart a crib mattress, cutting out six inches from the width, and sewing it all back together again in the name of fitting a vintage 'big girl bed'. I have such a clear vision for every room, and I thought I was being very practical and time and budget conscious with my plans... but it's a lot. Someday we will have face plates on our light switches and the cardboard will vanish, but it's definitely going to take more time than I'd hoped.

However disorganized, I'm proud and excited by what we've done so far. We plan to stay put in this home for the long haul, and it's pretty surreal to bond with a place with that kind of commitment in mind.

Also, I picked up my camera! Thrilling! A few more 'smiley' kid faces from tonight to follow, and hopefully a sign of things to come.