Monday, August 27, 2012

Enjoying the last of summer

August is coming to a close this week.  I can't believe our summer is almost over.  Of course, given that we live in southeast Virginia, we still have a few weeks (hopefully no more than just a few) of hot, humid weather left.  But teaching starts for Justin next week - this week it's all teacher work days- and his classes for grad school started today, making our summer way of life is come to a close.

Today we loaded up on picture books at the library and then played and picnicked at a local playground.  Justin was able to join us for lunch.  It was one of those days that makes you love summer, even though you're sweating like a dog.  The kids played so hard that Jackson even asked to sit in the shade and read while we waited for Justin to join us.  We were overlooking the river and it was a picture perfect moment...except I didn't have my camera, of course.  I hope I can remember it forever.

In other news, last week I finally started to feel well enough to start getting things done around the house.  After our vacation I have had a cold that won't clear up.  I'm still struggling with getting it out of my lungs, but overall I feel better finally.  I have found eucalyptus essential oil has worked wonders with getting my chest to open up when it starts to get tight again - it works better than any medicine I've taken!  Tired of doing absolutely nothing for at least a week, I painted a wall in our playroom with magnetic and chalkboard paint. That spurred us to also paint a wall in the kitchen the same way. Which then spurred me to paint more of the kitchen....funny how that snowball effect always seems to happen for me. I combined white paint, the leftover grey paint from our bathroom, and a touch of the blue from Jackson's room.  It's a wonderful light bluish grey.  I'm loving the new color and the kids are loving the magnetic board. We still need to get chalk so they can enjoy that part of the wall.

 Before close-up of yellow wall and wallpaper border that I was OVER looking at.
 This wall was the only wall in the entire kitchen with any color.  Everything else was white.
 I spent a lot of time working in this space (my baking "center") and I wanted to stare at something more than a plain white wall.  I still want to add more inspiring accents to it, but I'm not sure what at this point.  Whatever I do, it needs to be very easy to clean - this area is constantly covered in powered sugar and/or flour.

Unrelated, but, yes there's a jogging stroller in our kitchen.  After at least three weeks of not running with it, I went to get it from the shed this morning and found it COVERED in mold and mildew.  Apparently our shed isn't a good place to keep cloth items.  I scrubbed it down with a bleach solution, let it sit in the sun, and scrubbed it again.  I'm hoping it will dry well enough tonight to use it tomorrow morning.  I'm itching to run with the kids again, and run in general.  I guess I'll have to start storing it in the van until we can better weatherproof the shed - ugh, sounds expensive.

 Back to the more yellow! 
And I added a little color on this wall also.  I love the grey and red together.  It makes me happy and happy to be in the kitchen!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Today we celebrated Jackson.  Just the four of us.  Just the way it felt like a birthday should be celebrated - with special meals, the birthday boy's favorite place to go (Bass Pro Shop - he loves the fish and other animals), and s'mores around the firepit to finish the day off.  After all, a candle just isn't a large enough symbol of how much light this little man brings into our lives. 

 Opening a few gifts at breakfast.

 I still can't believe he's three.

 Jackson was more interested in the act of roasting the marshmallows than he was in the eating of them.  Not this little one.  She couldn't get enough.

 Pure sugar induced bliss.

 Loving the s'more too.

Happy birthday Jackson Blair.  Thank you for all the joy you bring to our family.  We love you to the moon and back little man.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dear Jackson

Dear Jackson,

Tomorrow you will be three.  Three.  How can you possibly be that old already?  I swear we just brought you home from the hospital last week.  My dad (Baba) always told me that I grew up too quickly and I would kind of laugh at him.  I get it now.  Your own babies grow up way too quickly.  Don't get me wrong though, watching you (and your sister) grow up is the most amazing experience your Daddy and I will ever have.

In this past year you have really become a joy.  Not that you weren't before, but this year you really let us see what makes you, you.  In January you started to put together simple sentences and say words with more than one syllable...and you haven't slowed down since.  I love hearing your thoughts and questions.  You are incredibly smart.  Your memory is impeccable - I'm a little jealous.  You are a perfectionist.  You are sweet, tender, and one of the most loving human beings I have ever come in contact with.  You are fiercely independent.  You think for yourself.  You ask "Why?" instead of just following along - please don't ever lose that quality.  Even though sometimes I've heard "Why?" one hundred times by 10:00am and I'm ready to go crazy, I don't want you to lose that desire to get to the root of the problem/situation/life...please stay curious.  You are inquisitive about how the world works and why it works the way it does.  You love nature.  You love to watch and study nature.  You melt my heart.

Two was my favorite year for you so far.  You became a little person that could participate in life and we had so much fun together.   But I also liked two because you were still my baby.  My sweet, precious baby boy that sometimes I wish would never grow up...but not really because every day you grow a little more and all the changes I see before me excite me for the person you are becoming.

You continue to love books and reading.  You love all big, noisy things that move - trains, buses, cars, trucks, construction vehicles, boats.  You love tools and helping Daddy.  You love your sister and you try so hard to help and teach her...and to be patient with her as she struggles to keep up with you.  You love to help cook and I'm impressed by how good you are in the kitchen.  You are great at puzzles.  You love to build things.  You love play-doh, coloring, and stickers.  You love to watch the trains in our neighborhood.  You love sports.  You love to be loud and rowdy, just like a little boy should be.  You love to cuddle.  I think you're starting to be afraid of the dark.  I think that means your imagination is really starting to develop - you come up with wonderful stories and get really involved in your own little world when you play.  You are potty trained now and you did it all on your own, at your own pace...and I expected nothing different from you.  You can count to 12, but then you jump to 14, 16, 18, 21.  It makes your Daddy and me smile everytime.  We know when you're ready, you'll fill in the gaps.  You love numbers and counting.  You still love noodles, but your other favorites are cinnamon rolls (I made some for your birthday breakfast), pears, salad, and bacon.  You love to help in the garden and are incredibly excited about the pumpkins growing out there now.  Your favorite colors are green and orange.  You love band-aids.  You sleep with Froggy, Ivan Jack, and your firetruck quilt (you call it "firefire sheet") every night.  This summer, we've gone to the farmer's market every Thursday and you call it the "Froggy market".  When you are figuring out how big something is, you ask if it's "big or super big like Daddy?".   When you talk about how you're growing you love to say "I'm a big boy, not super big like Daddy, but I'm getting there!".  You loved the beach this year, especially jumping in the waves with Daddy. 

Yes, your mommy has tears in her eyes while she types this.  If I type a letter to you every year on your birthday, I'm pretty sure I'll have tears in eyes each time.  Being a mommy and watching your babies grow up is bittersweet.  They grow into wonderful, inspiring human beings, but it's hard to see how quickly it happens.  You've taught me so much, sometimes I wish you weren't growing so quickly or that I could have a "re-do" on certain days/times of your life.  By the time I realize how I should have done things, that phase of our life is already over - and of course with your sister only being 14 months behind you, I didn't figure most things out in time to do them better with her either.  Some days it's hard to not be able to protect you as much as I could in the first days/months/years.  It's hard to know you're one year closer to being a grown-up and moving out.  Three years has passed so quickly, I know that before I know it you'll be off to live life on your own.  But it's ok.  It just means your mommy love you immensely, no matter what - don't worry, you'll understand one day when you have babies of your own.

My sweet, precious, perfect baby boy (you will always be my baby boy, even when you're married with babies of your own), you are PERFECT exactly the way you are.  Don't worry, perfection doesn't mean you can't get into trouble, because you do and you just means your Daddy and I are the most blessed parents in the world to have you as our son.  You are the son we always dreamed of and we love you to the moon and back.

Happy birthday Jackson Blair.

Mommy (and Daddy)

Yes, you will always be this little snuggle bug to me.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I am....

thankful my cold is finally clearing up, even though it is still difficult to breathe.

laughing at myself for finding it so important to make homemade granola, bread, and everything else in order to keep our diets as preservative free and healthy as possible...while I sit eating Oreo cookies.

loving the slight pumpkin spice aroma filling the house from the pumpkin spice/seed granola currently baking in the oven.

eagerly anticipating the arrival of fall - even if it is months away, seeing as we live in one of the hottest, most humid places I've ever lived.

excited to begin planting lettuce, swish chard, broccoli, onions, sweet potatoes, and garlic.

choosing to ignore how badly my floors need to be vacuumed. 

enjoying the quite of a house full of napping babies.

feeling a bit emotional that my sweet little man turns THREE in two days.  Time can't truly pass that quickly, can it?

frustrated with the scarf I'm trying to knit. 

happy with the other scarf I did make - my first with multiple colors and with a stockinette stitch.

missing my crafting/sewing space that was reclaimed by my baby girl for her own room. 

overjoyed that bedtime has returned to an easy event in our household.

bummed that sharing a room just doesn't fit the extremely opposite bedtime/waking personalities of my sweet babies.

wondering how long I can continue to refer to them as babies.

saying good-bye because it is time to knead bread!

"Right Now" post was inspired by Soule Mama's "Right Now" posts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our Peace

Summerlin and I ran a few errands this morning while Justin and Jackson played putt-putt. We rushed around from store to store, looking for a few items that everyone wanted, but (besides the milk and lettuce) no one really needed. We came home hungry, tired, and a little I'm fighting a summer cold and feel like crud. Justin and Jackson took life in the slow lane and had a blast. It was a reminder to me in why rushing, wanting, and buying do not bring happiness.  I used to spend at least two to three mornings a week running around doing errands.  Then I realized that I was wasting so much time.  If I would just slow down and savor life, I could do without most of what I was rushing around looking for, and life would be so much more enjoyable. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about the pace of life a large percentage of people live these days.  Everything is so rushed.  Two working parents, busy activity schedules for the kids, jam packed weekends.  No time to cook dinner at home (much less from scratch).  No time to craft and create things for those you love.  No time to spend outside, just for the sake of being outside and soaking up some sunny goodness.  No time to snuggle up with your spouse (and/or kids) at the end of the day to talk or watch TV together or play a game...or just be together in the same place at the same time both physically and mentally.  Life has become a rat race for so many.

But not in this house.  We are purposefully choosing to turn away from that lifestyle and embrace our beautiful, simple little life together.  We garden.  We play in the yard, all day, most days.  We make and eat dinner as a family nearly every night - and the nights we don't eat as a family are the nights we sit with the kids while they eat, put them to bed, then have a special date-night-in dinner.  And when I say we eat and make dinner together, I don't mean frozen meals from a box.  We make real food around here for every single meal.  I sew and create clothes, toys, and things for our house with my own two hands.  Justin fixes and creates things with his own hands - that man keeps this house running.  We dream of the day when he will build us our very own farmhouse (high on a hill with chickens running around in the yard).  I am very conscious about how many social engagements (playdates, classes, etc) I arrange for the kids.  I think it's important for them to play with others (and for me to talk with other adults), but I think it's even more important that they have plenty of time to run around half naked in the backyard.

Yes, all these things take time.  Yes, being a one income family can be make things tight at times.  Yes, we go without a lot.  Yes, sometimes I forget why we are living life this way and I have a morning like this morning to remind of what is really important.  Yes, there are days we fall into bed exhausted from all the digging/gardening, creating, or cooking we've done.  Yes, yes, yes.  But there is a peace that fills all of us from living life this way.