October 28, 2014

Don't Call Him Shy

The highlight of last week was attending Aaron's first piano recital. He was so brave and proud, and my heart literally bursts at the thought of it. My little boy - the one who cried every. single. day when I dropped him off at day care, who would bury his face in my legs rather than speak to a person he did not know - is growing. He's taking risks, learning, pushing himself. 

We were always careful not to label Aaron as "shy", because although he was at the time, we didn't want him to believe that it would always be so. We also tried not to push him to do something he wasn't comfortable doing. He had the opportunity to play in a recital last year, but he didn't want to do it. We didn't force him to; instead, he and I attended the recital together to watch the other kids, so he could see what it was like. When the opportunity came up this year, he hesitated a little, but he came to the decision on his own that it was something he should do.

He is still relatively reserved - he's not going to be the one in the front row, raising his hand and begging to give the answer - but his confidence is growing. He will look people in the eye, answer questions when asked, speak his mind, and he will get up in front of a whole room filled with strangers (and his family) to introduce himself and play piano. And I couldn't be prouder.

October 21, 2014

A Few Things...

I just love this picture posted to UNC's instagram.

Beyond Work/Life Balance - Living the Life You Want.  I think this post speaks to my thoughts about the word "balance".  There is no such thing.  There's no right amount of time you're supposed to spend at home versus at work.  No set time guidelines on playing with your kids or achieving a personal goal.  I don't want to think about it that way any more.  I just spent two years at home, and it was wonderful and great for us as a family.  I'm back at work, and even though I'm spending less time with my boys, I believe it's good for us as a family too.  And I'm working to make sure that the time I do spend with my boys is quality time, that they still know that I will always be there.

Bill Murray is doing a Christmas special.  This news just made me smile.

I've always been a little conflicted about GMOs.  I mean, since the beginning of farming, humans have cross-bred species and come up with ways of making crops stronger.  I remember learning about the guy who won a Nobel Prize for coming up with a new species of wheat - it was shorter, so they could grow more of it in a smaller space and therefore feed more people.  Brilliant!  So when all the uproar began about GMOs, I didn't understand at first. I get it now. I found this report to be especially interestingBill Nye the Science Guy summed it up very reasonably in this short video.

25 Feminist Lessons for My Sons.  Yes, yes, yes. I work so hard at this. I know that I am not the only influences in my boys' lives, but I do want to stay the loudest for as long as possible. At least until some of these lessons are firmly ingrained in who they are. They are already influenced by so much at school, and I have to push back. I remind them that girls can like legos and superheroes, and boys can wear purple. And I am certainly making sure they know how to do laundry, cook, and put the toilet seat down.

I saw Gone Girl last weekend.  It was just as good as the book - creepy, twisted, strangely captivating, and ultimately disappointing.  I do adore Ben Affleck, and this clip on The Ellen Show made me laugh.  Oh and speaking of Ben, did you see Jennifer Garner confirm her baby bump on Ellen?  I have had a huge girl crush on Jennifer since she was Sydney Bristow on Alias.  This just made it stronger. 

I loved hearing Ryan Adams' cover of Alice in Chains. Such a great song.

A Cure For Hyper Parenting.  Another good article reminding all us parents to calm down. Let's just do the best we can. It's all good.

October 20, 2014

Taking Stock

Savoring:  Every moment of Fall.  Little boys jumping in leaf piles made my heart smile this weekend.
Eating:  Vegetarian Chili. I used this recipe, given to me by a friend. I made it just a tad too spicy - note for next time - but it was so good and perfect for a chilly Fall day.
Drinking:  Pumpkin ales.  It's that time of year.
Deciding:  It's the end of ice cream season.  Lest you think I deny myself, it's the start of pie and cookies season. 
Watching:  Nashville and Parenthood when Kevin's out of town (as he was last week).  Friday Night Lights together. We've both seen the entire series, but while we have Netflix...  There's nothing like a little dose of Tim Riggins.
Wanting:  Shoes that are stylish, look good with suits and work trousers, and comfortable enough to walk in all day.  SO hard to find that. 
Listening:  To my iTunes library on shuffle. Finding old favorites and bringing back memories.
Needing: To start planning for the holidays. Halloween is next week! Time really starts to fly after that.
Smelling:  The "Autumn Leaves" Yankee candle burning in the dining room.  And real autumn leaves outside. 
Feeling:  Optimistic. It's coming more naturally to me these days.
ReadingDefending Jacob. I'm about a third of the way through and totally sucked in.
Making: Lists. Trying to get back into a routine of managing my to-do lists and staying on top of everything.
Needing:  A cool-but-not-cold weather trench (or other lightweight) coat.  I've tried dozens at this point but haven't found the perfect one.  Pretty soon it's going to be cold enough for my winter coat, so whatever.  But I'll keep looking.
Wishing: My family lived closer. I've never mentioned that before here, right? ;-)
Missing: My sisters. See above.
WearingThis sweater.  I was worried it would look bulky or old on me, but I absolutely love it.
Enjoying:  Homemade granola.  Turns out I can still find the time to make it happen.

October 17, 2014

Smelling the Roses...

Time is a funny thing.  The days seem to rush by in a hurried mess of exercising, cleaning, working, playing, cooking, parenting, doing...and then I stop to take a look around and realize a whole month went by!  On the other hand, it already feels like I've been back at work for a lot longer.  I am still meeting people and learning my new environment, but the work part came back very quickly and easily.  I am confident I made the right decision, so hurray for that. 
Things are going well, but I do recognize the need to stop and take a look around more often.  This week, I decided to take more scenic back roads to work for no other reason than to admire the beauty of historic New England towns in Autumn.  It's almost too difficult, because I want to stop and walk around Walden Pond and admire the foliage, but the drive alone is spectacular.  I've also left the music off at times, appreciating the silence.  I am reminded of the daily meditations that I used to enjoy at the end of my work days, after the kids went to bed.  I haven't done that since I stopped working, but I didn't miss it.  I was finding many moments of peace throughout the day.  Now I think I'll have to go back to being a little more purposeful about making time for it.  Life is too short not to appreciate and savor every day. 
We are all settled into the school and work routine.  Nathan read his first entire book to me last night, and I am still smiling as a result.  Aaron is learning about butterflies and knows more U.S. state facts than I do.  School is fun, and it is a joy to be able to go through it again with my children.  Aaron also started reading Harry Potter, and I must admit I am excited to experience the series again. 
The boys have been working on their lists for Santa - yes, already, I think they started them in August - and we've been discussing plans for Aaron's 8th birthday party.  He's thinking Lego, which is awesome and fun.  But up first - Halloween!  And a very full house for Thanksgiving!  That most wonderful and busy time of year is upon us, and I am so looking forward to it all.  It's time to start planning...
We are in the parenting sweet spot.  At 5 and almost 8, my boys are firmly out of the baby/toddler years.  They eat well, they sleep well, they are independent in so many ways.  But they are several years away from the pre-teen/teen years that can come with confusion and angst and rebellion and emotional distance.  They still snuggle, and they run to me when they get hurt.  They hold my hand.  They like to help out around the house.  They say "I love you" without reservation and not only in response.  They ask for permission (most of the time).  They want and expect to spend time together as a family.  Hopefully most of these things will continue through the teenage years, but for now, I'm choosing to soak them all in.  Every sweet moment with my boys. 
This weekend, we plan to go pick out our pumpkins and start raking the leaves.  And as I watch my boys run and jump in the resulting pile, I'm going to make sure I stop what I'm doing and appreciate that moment. 


October 15, 2014

The Best Part of My Day

Fall in New England
I'm enjoying work, I'm meeting people, I'm going out to lunch, I'm getting up early (like still pitch black early) to exercise, I'm still mostly managing to get my mug of ice cream and dose of Jon Stewart at the end of the day.  But the best part of my day is dinnertime. 
I can't believe I just wrote that. 

It was just a few short years ago that I spent the 5 o'clock hour balancing a baby on my hip while trying to prepare food for a toddler who was most likely going to eat two bites, grimace, and declare himself "all done". I spent years making dinners when it seemed like more of it ended up on the floor than in their bellies. But I kept at it. I did the best I could to make mostly homemade meals, with a few frozen fish sticks and some pizza thrown in. The important thing was that we sat down together every night, even if it took an hour to cook dinner and four minutes to eat.  And now...

I have boys who like to help make dinner.  They actually fight over who gets to set the table.  They are still young and are sometimes picky in the ways that kids are, but in general they eat well.  They understand that they have to eat vegetables with every dinner.  They may whine a bit when it's not one of their favorites, but they mostly eat them anyway.  Most importantly, they know that dinner is a time for us to sit down together. 

I had tried playing High-Low ("The high of my day was..., The low part of my day was...") a couple years ago, but it didn't stick.  I think the boys were too young and simply couldn't sit still long enough at that point.  When we visited my friend Sara in Amsterdam, she and her family play it and asked us to participate.  Since then, it has become a required part of our dinnertime conversation. And it's wonderful. (Sara - Thank P for me!) My little guy, who doesn't share information unless specifically asked, has shared some important feelings and thoughts about his new school and new friends. It serves as a conversation starter, and we take it from there.

Now that I'm back at work, dinnertime has become even more important, because it's a time for me to connect with my boys. So when it's my turn for High-Low, I always start with "My High is right now..."

October 3, 2014

Delta Spirit - Hold My End Up

This week's music pick is Delta Spirit.  I am growing to love this band more and more with each album, and after watching some of their videos, I am convinced of what I've heard about them (here and elsewhere) - they're even better live.  Hopefully I'll get the chance to see them in person one day.  In the meantime, I'll keep listening...

October 2, 2014

A Few Things...

Yep, that's my mantra at the moment.  I'm getting shit done.  I feel productive and fulfilled.  I do question our ability to keep it up, but one day at a time...  In the meantime, here are a few things that have hit my reader lately...

How would you describe yourself in five words?  I love this.  My list just a year (or even a month!) ago might've looked different.  I've been thinking about what my five words might be, and it's harder than it sounds.  Perhaps:  mom, yogi, planner, optimist, juggler.  (You all understand the type of juggling I am talking about.)  What would be on your list? 

Jeff Tweedy on why the album still matters.  I feel the same way.  I know most people don't buy albums.  Honestly, most of my friends don't even buy music at all.  But it still matters to me.

Why I Want My Sons to See Me Naked.  This perfectly captures my thoughts on the subject.  I'm starting to enjoy more privacy in the bathroom, but Nathan still walks in unannounced on occasion, and neither of them flinch if I'm getting dressed in front of them.  I'm happy that I'm able to model self-confidence and a healthy body image to my boys.

The only way I will ever cook broccoli again.  A post that provides me with a tip that gets Aaron to stop whining about broccoli?  Yep, that's worthy of sharing.

And another one to love from Jenny.  This reminds me - it's almost time to start thinking about Aaron's birthday.  The end of the year festivities require a bit more advance planning.  I already love his initial ideas, though, so I think we'll be able to get it done.

Being a Stay-At-Home Parent is a Luxury...For Your Spouse.  I love this.  I still remember the day, last summer, that Kevin made a comment about how we seemed to be having a lot of really fun weekends.  It took him a while, but he realized how nice it was not to have errands and chores filling up our weekends.  I was free to keep up the house during the week, so our weekends became open for fun family quality time.  It was definitely a luxury.  One that I will miss, no doubt.  But I hope that perspective stays with us as we attempt to balance everything going forward.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...