Monday, October 20, 2014


We do a lot of super fun activities and events with Cole. It's awesome, but sometimes, simpler is better. 

A few weeks ago, we went to the park to play a game of horseshoes.  Simple yet fun.  Relaxed, unhurried, just some quality time as a family. 

 Played some catch, too!
I know my kids will always remember those big, fancy events: theme parks, vacations to Hawaii - but I hope they also remember those relaxed, simple afternoons in the park, warm under the sun, with smiles, laughter, and good conversation.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Every once in a while, during our monotonous days, there's a quick snippet of life that is beautiful and miraculous.  It might be just a few seconds, just a snapshot, but it's a tiny piece of our life that brings me joy.

Here's a few happy snippets from our day:

-I finish nursing Chase before his nap and lay him in his crib.  He lies there, peacefully sucking his bink, as I walk to the doorway and hold the door open so everyone can leave.  First Cole files out, then Chloe, then Nala...a happy and quiet little procession.

- I'm dressing Chase in his pajamas before bedtime - it's one of his least favorite things, getting dressed.  He immediately starts to fuss as I pull his shirt over his head, so I start serenading him with "All the Pretty Little Horses".  He ceases fussing, his eyes watching me closely as I sing.  I love knowing just the right thing to do to help him feel better.

- Desperate for a shower, I put Chase down for his nap and ask Cole if he'd like to play while I shower.  "NO THANKS, MOM.  I WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH YOU. CAN I READ BOOKS IN THE CLOSET UNTIL YOU'RE DONE?"  I peek in our walk in closet after my shower, watching Cole happily flip the pages of his books.  I love that he still wants to spend all his time with me.  I cherish it because I know it won't always be so.

- I'm nursing Chase and observing his busy little hands.  They are always moving: stroking my neck, grabbing my nose, patting my cheek.  His pudgy, soft, starfish fingers traveling over my collarbone, occasionally smacking my face in excitement.  I lay him down when we're done (and his sweet little hands have brought his bink to his mouth) and watch as he rubs his face with those impossible tiny grasping fingers.

- It's our crazy time of day: 4:00 pm, everyone's tired, fussy, on edge, and eagerly waiting for Chris to get home and dinner.  I'm trying to hold onto my last shreds of patience while preparing dinner for everyone, but Chase is crying and clamoring to be held.  "Just a minute, Chasher!" I tell him.  But then Cole jumps in.  "IT'S OK, MOM.  I'LL TAKE CARE OF CHASE. I'VE GOT HIM."  He hands Chase a toy, then chooses a book and sits next to him, reading slowly and patiently so Chase can follow along.  My heart overfills as I watch Chase calm in the presence of his loving brother.

-Finally Chris arrives home.  My favorite part of the day is to watch our boys' faces when he walks in the door: each one lighting up when they see their daddy.  So much love.

Every snippet, all the bits and pieces that make up our day, there's the recurring feeling of love weaving its way through the threads of our lives.  When we dream of the future, we don't always think of the small things that will add up to equal our days... yet those are the moments that I often cherish the most.  I don't know when the last time Cole will wait in the closet while I shower will be.  I don't know if this time is the nursing session when Chase will no longer wave his little hands about.  So I cherish each special moment, the snippets that create our everyday.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bits and Pieces


Every night, I ask Cole what his favorite part of the day was and what his saddest part of his day was.  One night, after we moved Chase's car seat to the middle, right next to Cole's seat to make room in the car for some chairs, Cole told me his favorite part of the day was having Chase in his seat right next to him.  And I believe it - those two did not stop laughing and giggling the entire way home!


One of our little neighbor girls (she's around Cole's age) was riding her bike and fell off.  Cole ran to her and asked her if she was ok.  "Yeah, I'm ok." she said.  "Do you need a kiss on your owie?" Cole asked.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I sort of thought I wouldn't be in for too many surprises when it came to Chase.  After all, this isn't my first rodeo, right?  How much more could I learn the second time around?

Apparently, plenty.  And what information I already knew, I can now appreciate and value that much more.

Take last week, for example.  I was giving Chase a bath while he was playing with a little cup.  He dropped the cup and it floated away, just out of reach.  I immediately went to give it to him, but I stopped  - it took a few tries, but Chase eventually figured out that if he splashed his hands enough, it caused waves that brought his cup back within reach. 

The look on his face, you guys. So, so proud of himself.

And not only that - what did I teach him by letting him figure it out on his own?  That he is capable.  That he can try and fail and it's perfectly ok.  That sometimes when he tries, he succeeds. 

A huge part of parenting for me is trusting the process.  Letting our kids figure things out independently, uninterrupted. I love stepping back and observing their brains at work.

Just another reminder of how much of a reward stepping back and simply waiting can be.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thoughts on Preschool

Gosh, it's so hard.

If I could sum up how I feel about parenting in one phrase, it would be the quote: "Parenting is like walking around all the time with your heart beating outside your body."

So, so true. 

And it's even more apparent and applicable for preschool for Cole. 

Don't get me wrong, I've been totally excited for Cole to go to school.  He needed more stimulation than I have time to give him.  He needed more time around other little friends.  It's a great experience for him to be away from me for a few hours every week.

But there's always that niggling little concern: I love Cole so, so much.  I want to keep him protected and safe from any harm.  I never want him to get hurt and I'm not there to hug him if he needs it.  I never want him to feel left out or embarrassed. I never want him scolded by a teacher.  I never want his spirit broken in any way.

I know I'm biased, but he's SUCH an amazing kid.  He's bright and sweet and generous.  If he understands why the rules are there, he'll follow them.  He's polite and kind and an AMAZING listener.  He has lovely manners and a great easygoing attitude. 

Earlier this week, three things happened that totally reinforced this feeling for me:

1. Cole's been playing a lot with our little neighborhood kiddos.  An eight year old girl, a seven year old boy, and four year old girl, and Cole are pretty tight during these long summer evenings.  But a few days ago, we pulled into our driveway from doing an errand and Cole spotted his friends out playing - he eagerly asked if he could play, and the seven year old boy immediately said "NO!".  Cole handled it really well, but I was ready to go a little crazy on that kid.

2. After his first full day of preschool, I asked Cole how his day went.  "Something sad happened today, Mom." he said.  "I asked some boys if I could help them dig their hole and they said, 'NO! You can't help us dig! Go away!'"  My heart just about broke when I saw the tears in his eyes.  Nothing like has ever happened before to my sweet, sensitive little guy.  All he knows are loving, kind words and being included with lots of friends.  I asked what he did in response, and he told me, "I just went over to a different spot and dug my own hole."  A perfect response, exactly what I would have suggested and guided him to do.  But how do I guide him through those sad and hurt feelings?

3.  The next full day of preschool, Cole didn't want me to leave.  He clung to me and burst into tears when I gave him a five-minute warning that I was leaving.  The teachers had to literally hold him so he wouldn't run after me in a screaming, crying panic.

You guys.

It was the worst - the WORST - I have ever felt as a parent.  It was absolutely heartbreaking.  I was sobbing just as hard as Cole was as I walked out to my car.  I was totally unprepared - the first couple days had gone so well.  It was all I could do to leave my poor screaming child.  I trust his teachers.  I know he stopped crying within ten minutes (because I called to check on him).  But it was still the longest two and half hours of my life.

Undoubtedly, this is the most difficult by FAR part of parenting for me.  I just want to protect my child from ever feeling this heartbroken.  Yet, I have to prepare him for life.  And unfortunately, in life, people are going to leave him out of things.  People are going to ignore him or not allow him to join in.  He has to practice.

But - oh my heart.  All I want to do is keep him home and safe and loved for all time.  I hope our love is enough to counteract all the nasty things that happen out there in the big, bad world.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Apple Picking

Our yearly traditions continue!  Last year, we had so much fun apple picking, we couldn't wait to do it again!






Best Buds!

Mama Gray held Chase so I could take pictures:

 Group shot!  Those smiles are real...the kids (and grown-ups) had so much fun!
Cuddles with Mark!

Weighing the apples - we brought home almost nine pounds!
Snack break!  Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, and lots of horsing around!

Chase REALLY wanted some:

A perfect yearly tradition - and I love that it's the first tradition of the fall season!  Autumn, here we come! 
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