Saturday, January 05, 2013

"Maybe they're at the beach!"

Rolling with new adventures
Thursday we took our first family bike ride.  All four of us on our bikes. We set out to OSH hardware store in search of hooks for Josh's new tool shelves.  (Man oh man it feels good to be getting that garage organized.)

So there we were embarking on first venture and we had our water, snacks, Kleenex box for my girl's epic runny nose, yep we were ready.  The sun was bright and the air crisp. I was so excited to be back on my bike. As soon as I hopped on I realized how much I love to ride it. Riding as a family was oh so fun and offered yet another opportunity to take things slow and really notice the beauty of our little neighborhood.

Riding with kids gives you joy as:
* you watch the sunlight dance through new streamers that Santa stuffed into Ellie's stocking,
* they stop to take another drink of water from the super cool water bottle mounted to your big bike,
* you get a peek back from your daughter saying, "You right behind me mama?",
* your son slows down to say, "I want to ride right by you.",
* you notice an egret and pair of ducks in the creek that you didn't remember was even there,
* you stop for another drink of water from that cool water bottle,
* you stop to share some crackers you packed in your bike basket,
and the list goes on.

Our quick trip to the store was a grand day out and I just loved it.

The way home was a challenge for my girl.  She had pedaled her little legs off and was wearing down.  Daddy and Mason's lead stretched out in front of us until we could no longer see them.  Ellie informed me that we should have just walked because her legs were too tired.  Could I just walk her bike for her?  She began singing as she skipped along and then would find a burst of energy, hop on her bike and pedal like mad until, "I am done riding."  And off she would go singing, imagining, announcing, "When we get home will you help me find my doggie ears? I am a doggie now."

As we made our way along, she announced, "Where are Daddy and Mason? Why don't they come and pick us up?"  We decided to take a picture and send it to them and ask them where they were.

"Hi Guys, where are you?"
The sent us this back.

Ellie looked at it and said, "I think they are at the beach. That picture looks like they are at the beach. Come on Mama, let's go see." And with that, (and the lack of awareness that although we once bought surf shirts with our town's name on them for our east coast friends for laughs, we live nowhere near the beach,) we rode like the wind to find our boys at the beach.

To her surprise we didn't find them at the beach, but we did find them waiting for us at good ol' Mr. Pickles.  Our friendly neighborhood sandwich shop and landmark extraordinaire. So although it wasn't the beach it was a gem of a place in her eyes. We caught them and Ellie announced, "One home is a rotten egg."

It wasn't long before I was strolling with two bikes and watching my little doggie skip merrily along. I won the prize of rotten egg, but it is pretty grand!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

I hope this feeling lasts...

Mason's artwork for our Healthy New Year Breakfast display.
Kicking off the new year right with a little "Like Cupcake Wars" breakfast!

Love you dad!

The girls -  Love you Mom!
As this break began we were greeted with far away family members swooping in to join our local crowd and it was one celebratory gathering after the next in a whirlwind that seemed to be leaving as quickly as it came.  My heart was happy to have everyone near, and aching all in one as it realized the time I had so been looking forward to, had fluttered by in the blink of an eye.

Micah and Maddie traveled the farthest!

Walking to see the lights. They were beautiful and I was glad I went even though I was freezing and not feeling good. 
Hey babe, we actually did get a family photo!
Amidst all the festivities was a wealth of germs being lovingly passed from one another and somehow still lingers in my wee little girl.  Tonight she cried as her ears were hurting and my heart felt her pain as I have suffered through many an earsplitting ache!  I am guessing she must have an ear infection, but my last visit to the ER as I was wakened in the night with stabbing pain a few years ago the doctor told me it is best not to go on antibiotics if you can stand the pain for a bit.  I can tell she is not always feeling her best, but she is not one to simply rest. Luckily, she was able to hang in there and is sleeping the night away.

I love you guys! Hope you are feeling better.
With Ellie not feeling so well we have tried to stick close to home and are trying not to do too much.  Usually when the break comes I am thinking of all the things I want to accomplish and have my lists in my head.  Those first few days of break I realized how many things I had not done on my mental list.  I had so many ideas, creative ones, that sat there as just thoughts and what ifs.  What if I had found time to pull it all off?  Luckily, most don't know the ideas I have in my brain or I would have worried about how I had let everyone down.  Mostly I wanted this time of year to be magical for my kids.  With all the items on my lists, their items can't be overlooked.  Pieces of them perhaps, but the parts that really matter must complete their journey to reality.  The rest can wait.

Somehow today as I was sweeping out the leaves from the patio room and moving bikes around.  I realized how peaceful I finally felt.  I was cleaning and there was tons to clean and organize and make, but somehow it wasn't weighing me down.  I somehow found this feeling that I was being productive and I was okay.  I could stress about all I "should have, would have, could have" been getting done these past few days or making lists of all to do before next week, but I didn't want to.  I didn't feel the sense of urgency to.

My sister-in-law stopped by yesterday and said, "Yeah, I haven't done anything on my To Do List, but I have just been having fun hanging out with these guys." I agreed.  I had been doing the same.  There are so many times I try to get stuff done and end up feeling frustrated that I didn't get it all done.  I read or hear people say it doesn't matter if your house is messy and such, the kids won't care, they really just want you.  I know in my heart this is true, but sometimes I just want things to not feel overwhelming to me.  I want to be able to enjoy my time with my kids and not feel like the mess is closing in on me.

Today somehow I found it.  Perhaps it was the reenactment of "Like Cupcakes Wars" this morning as we made smoothies and egg tarts.  The playfulness overlapping the "have to" kinds of things.  I gracefully wove "mom time" into the "have to" time.

Our winning display complete with egg tarts and smoothies.

I cooked, did dishes, exercised as I walked and they biked around the town.  Mason took us to the nearby elementary school parking lot because "there are no cars and there are downhills that are really fun".  I sat on the curb a minute in the cold, sunny day and looked out on our little town from a new perspective.  Places I usually only see from the car on the road, I saw in a new way, from a new angle.  I thought how we should do this more.  Take time to see our town through their eyes.  Find the best spots to be.  To let the wind fly through your hair. To sing "The best part of life is LOVE" as you ride your bike with a smile from ear to ear.

This afternoon after a late lunch we made time for some "have to" stuff.  I swept the patio, mowed the lawn, filled the green waste bins with whatever else I could, and enjoyed the feeling of not worrying about all that was still looming.  I almost don't want to type that.  I don't want it to vanish.

Tonight I cooked and baked.  I don't normally do these things.  It feels good to be creative.  I watch a lot of cooking.  I eat a lot of things and admire the artistry, time, and love that allows it to be so satisfying, but today I embraced the art.  As with any art, it had its ups and downs.  To get to the ups though, one must take risks.  Last night as I jumped in head first to play with making those Peaches and Cream Cupcakes I found myself letting go of the stress of it all.  In what could have been my demise...the challenge of creating under pressure.  The playfulness of it all, the silliness of it all allowed me to let go of the worry and be open to the journey.

Maybe that is the feeling I think I may have found.  I have known it before. I have found it before.  I recognize its beauty.  It is the journey. Sometimes it is hard to see it because you are too far in it. You have to step back and take a look at the map, turn it a new way, and then get back on your path.  A stronger, more confident YOU leading the way.