Wednesday, September 5, 2012

what's missing

So, I have to tell you about my weekend.

I snuck out with baby girl on Saturday leaving my flu-ridden husband and son to do some grocery shopping.

I went to two stores, strategically chosen based on price and availability of what I was looking for.  I decided that since the rest of my weekend would consist of cleaning up after the sickness of others, canning, and (although I didn't know it then) being sick myself, I deserved a special once-a-month treat of a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks.

I'm sure you agree.

So, an hour after heading out, I found myself in a line at Starbucks in front of 3 young women, all who looked approximately like this.


They were gorgeous.  Exotic faces and shiny dark hair, perfectly fashionable outfits, waists approximately the size of my left thigh ordering mochas with no milk, sugar or cream (ok, that part may be a bit of an exaggeration...).  But, if I were a man, I would've totally been drooling.

And, there I was.  Dingy shorts and t-shirt, flip flops, hair throw up on top of my head (I think I had recently showered, but I'm not too sure about that...) and a baby literally attached to me via sling.

I was thinking about canning and cleaning up sickos and the forty-seven times I had already washed all the linens this weekend and the girls were talking about getting written up for some risque adventure yet to come.

And it hit me.  I am O.L.D.  Holy cannoli.

Of course, I'm probably made older by using phrases like holy cannoli...

It really struck me, in that moment, how much has changed in ten years.  Now, I was never a fashion model, but ten years ago, I would've been wearing something much cuter that I would've paid ten times what it was actually worth and actually had my hair done and spent as much money as I wanted to at the grocery store because I ONLY had to worry about myself.

And I had a moment of missing that time.  No cares.  No worries.  Complete freedom.

But, the thought quickly fled.  That time wasn't free.  It wasn't empty from cares, they were just different types of cares.  College and volleyball and dating and future and myself in general...all unknowns.  I hated that.  And, it was lonely.

And now, my unknowns are knowns.  Or at least, more of them are.  I know I have a home and a job and a family and a life that I truly love.

A family.

That crazy bunch of people whom I love so much, I'm willing to clean up the most disgusting of messes for.

Those people waiting for me at home and that baby strapped to my chest that made me smile at those girls with a knowing smile rather than a jealous one, and think, "man, you guys just don't know what you're missing, but I sure hope you get to experience it someday."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

letting go

I just didn't think it would be this hard.

I thought I'd have years to prepare for these moments...graduations, going to college, moving away, getting married.

I never realized these sorts of moments would come so quickly.

I was watching Wardie at the playground recently and he was trying to talk and play with some bigger kids. The kids were totally ignoring him. They weren't being mean, they just had their own agendas, their own plans. And he wasn't in them.

And my mama heart hurt for him.

I mean, come ON!? Why weren't those kids noticing him? He was just trying to play!

And, why didn't they think he was the cutest child on the planet? And, didn't their parents teach them manners and how to be kind to younger and smaller kids!?

I mean, look at this face...

How could someone not want to hang out with that kid!?

But, I resisted the temptation to jump in and reassure him. And, after trying again and getting the same response from the bigger kids, he shrugged. He moved on. He survived. On his own. He called out to me to watch him and I called back to him, approving of his games and praising his new feats.

I have spent the past 3 1/2 years enjoying every moment I've had with him. Twirling to our favorite music. Cooking dinner. Snuggling in bed in the mornings. Reading. Tracing letters on his back with my fingers. Swimming. Picking berries. Weeding. Planting. Sowing.

And, now, reaping what we have sown.

Preschool starts tomorrow.

It's a good thing. I know he will learn there. I know the teachers and their extended expertise in Montessori style. I know that the best thing for him is being able to engage daily and really focus on his work. I know this will bring out the best in him.

But, my mama heart aches just a bit to know that he'll be gone in the mornings. Or, more so, that he won't be with me. Just a little papercut in my heart that I know will grow bigger over time, only to be made whole again someday, though never in the same way that it is now.

I know that this is just the first step in the lifelong process of letting go.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Friday Night Finishers

So, I read this book.

And I loved it.  

Not only am I particularly interested in crafty sorts of things, but the story of friends from so many walks of life all in different situations coming together was just really refreshing to read about.

And, of course, I began to think about my own girlfriends.

They're awesome.  And busy.  And I'm busy.  So, I don't see them near as often as I want to as finding the perfect date and time sometimes requires three trillion emails or texts just to be cancelled due to a.sick child, b.exhaustion, c.much needed family time or d.all of the above.

And then I read this book. And the solution occurred to me--why don't I stop complaining about how I miss my girlfriends and life is just too crazy and DO something about it!?  

So, I did.  I invited ladies that I knew well and just wanted to see a bunch more and those that I don't know hardly at all, but secretly stalk on facebook would like to for a twice-a-month gathering in our home.  The rules are simple: 1. bring any project you might be working on with the goal of finishing what we start, and 2. keep the conversation positive overall.

Thus, Friday Night Finishers was born.  (Thanks to Kathryn for the best name suggestion ever!)  The first night included homemade headbands, carving tile forms (holy cow, that one was cool!), knitting and sorting through hundreds of buttons.  I may or may not have spent the night talking and drinking sangria and enjoying 3 hours of kid-free time, but I promised to do more the next time.  The second meeting was equally awesome--we had people writing poetry, working on a prayer book, finishing thank-yous, creating flower-pens for a gift, making a super-cute wipes case and all the while talking about babies and cooking and husbands and life.  Awesome.

And, I actually did something more than drink sangria. (Although, I did that, too...)  I started and finished a project from my hoard treasure trove of projects: a chevron painted mirror for baby girl's room.  

I took an old mirror that my mother-in-law spotted at a thrift shop for $3.50 with a cute, curvy frame, and sanded off the old tan paint until it was bare wood.  Then, I gave it a coat of white, realized I needed to use a finer-grade sandpaper, and sanded it again a bit.  It came out sort of distressed-looking, which I loved, so I opted not to add another coat of white and to just go with it.

Next, after trying to make a chevron pattern without a template and realizing that every once in a blue moon, my husband is actually right, I used my super-awesome math skills and made myself a cardboard template to draw the stripes.  

Tip: make the stripe width the exact same width as your tape--you will save yourself HOURS of headache using only one strip of tape for each line!

After tracing the template repeated all the way down the mirror, pick your favorite painter's tape and tape that thing with as much anal-retentiveness accuracy as possible.

Just throw all of your tape scraps right in the center of the mirror since you aren't going to blog about this and don't care about the pictures you'll post as you go....sigh...

Anyway, once you've pressed your tape a billion times, you SHOULD take some white paint and put a layer down first to seal the tape and not get any leaks.  Because you know that's the right thing to do.  But, what you're actually going to do is paint the blue and then take the tiniest little paintbrush and white paint and have to go back and fix all of the mistakes...Then, take a sanding block and rough that thing up until you're pretty amazed at how awesome you are and determined that baby girl is not only going to LOVE this mirror, she is going to think you're the most awesome mom ever with great decorating style and she will love it so much that she'll want to take it with her to college.

The finished product:

I just love it, and it even made it straight onto the wall.  This project is 100% finished--what a great feeling!  

I'm loving this new group of awesome women who inspire me to finish projects in life and keep things refreshing!

Any projects you're determined to finish coming up?  

Monday, July 2, 2012

messy tomorrows

My husband is pretty awesome.  I give him a hard time quite often--not because it's fun for me (although I do find it frighteningly easy...) but I think because he has 'raised the bar' over time which tends to create even higher expectations of perfection.  At least for me.

But our life has been pretty chaotic lately.  I feel like I keep saying that, but I swear, it's even more than usual.  We now have a 4-week old precious girl joining her 3 year old brother and we've hosted two large gatherings in the past two weeks.  Crazy.  Really.  I promise there's a point here beyond my busy schedule.

One of the things I've learned from my husband as his personality has rubbed off on me over the years is that everything does not have to be perfect.  Seems simple, right?  It would be if I weren't one of those walk into a freshly remodeled room in our house and notice the things I would change or the undone parts.  Really!?  A room we've waited 5 years to demolish and finally got it done and it looks absolutely amazing and all I can do is notice the imperfections.  Blech.  I even make myself crazy sometimes.

There is hope here, though.  My attitude is changing.  This weekend there were around 20 children under the age of 5 in my backyard.  No, I'm not exaggerating.  Toys were pulled off the shelves.  Sticky hands crawled around.  Drinks were spilled.  Unsuspecting adults became targets for the hose (of course, that one was my own child...)  I had moments of high blood pressure.  I can say that now that I'm 30.

But, I let it go.  I embraced the chaos.  Instead of worrying about all of those silly, unimportant messes that life was hitting me with over and over, I let life happen.  I spent time with our families, 3 of my former college roommates and a number of my college teammates and all of their wonderful children.  The old trees in our yard brought wonderful shade in the sticky Ohio heat.  All of the families brought delicious food to share.  Our new baby was passed around from one loving hand to another.  Children threw poppers and lit sparklers and laughed and chased and watched hot air balloons rise with wide eyed wonder.

And, at the end of the day, I left the mess for tomorrow.

I guess that's the lesson my husband has really taught me.

Even in the midst of chaos, it's ok to enjoy today and worry about the messy tomorrow.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The BIG 3-0 Bucket List

Well, it's been almost 5 months since I've posted.  I have no excuses;)

But, quite a bit has happened in our life in that time.  I quit my job and began watching children in our home and besides all of the chaos and transition that comes with all of that, I am now 17 weeks along with Baby #2!  As we never thought we'd have children in the first place, this is a true blessing for us.

And, as of today, January 5, 2012, I have now entered my thirties!

It's sort of depressing.  I mean, 30 always seemed ancient when I was growing up.  But, being a practical lady (am I old enough to be called a lady?), I figured that I had two choices.  1. Embrace 30 and all that is yet to come in my life or 2. Be miserable forever.

Although the latter does have its appeal at times, as I reflected more and more often on all that has happened in the 30 years I've been alive, my heart is full and I am happy with my life thus far.

If my life can be as full when I look back on the next "tri-cade" (like that? Don't worry, I made it up.), I am content.

So, in the spirit of looking forward and making the most out of life, here's my bucket list for my thirties.

1. Tackle projects with confidence, even when I have no idea what I'm doing.
2. Learn to play the Charlie Brown song on the piano.
3. Cook real food with real ingredients as much as possible.
4. Embrace my life exactly as it is.
5. Snow ski for the first time.
6. Travel to NYC for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
7. Take a sleigh ride in Vermont in January.
8. Run a half marathon.
9. Sky dive.
10. Visit the Harry Potter park at Universal Studios.
11. Grow plants I love.
12. Complete my first quilt.
13. Finish projects I start.
14. Go swimming more often.
15. Decide what I want to be when I grow up.
16. Renew my marriage vows.
17. Make homemade ice cream and chestnuts on an open fire.
18. Get a real Christmas tree.
19. Take my children to Disney.
20. Travel to England.
21. Practice peace.
22. Exercise more.
23. Go to bed earlier.
24. Have date night with my hubby.
25. Take my kids fishing.
26. Have more no-boys-allowed (and no kids allowed) sleepovers with girlfriends.
27. Spend more time just hanging out with family.
28. Snuggle more, even when there's work to be done.
29. Ask for help.
30. Know God more fully.

"Maybe if we are surrounded in beauty, someday we will become what we see."  ~Jewel

Cheers to the next 30 years!!