Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On the Horizon


More changes are on the horizon.

I feel a little bit as though this is the last curve of the racetrack, before we hit the ground running with Cole in school.

He'll be starting preschool this fall, and I have to admit I'm equal parts super duper ready and excited...and also incredibly sad about this rite of passage that means my little boy is growing up and away from me.

I'll miss him, you know?  And preschool's only three mornings a week, but the next year is kindergarten, and then first grade...before I know it, I'll be planning a high school graduation party.

But you know what?  I am truly so excited for him.  He's going to LOVE school.  He's going to have a blast playing with new friends.  His confidence is going to grow, his learning is going to take off, and I can't wait to be a part of that. 

I can't wait to share our fantastic, amazing, smart, kind, and generous son with the rest of the world.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Nom nom nom

Chase, being adorable while he eats his carrots:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Music Time

The other night, Chase was having a really fussy time. 

So Chris pulled out his guitar.

Chase is our music-loving baby.  If he hears anything musical, he stops and listens.  He listens with his whole body attuned to the music, his eyes watching, soaking it all in.

Chris tuned his guitar (he only pulls it out a few times a year, usually) and tracked down a pick.  With Cole perched next to him on the sofa and Chase lying fascinated on the floor, Chris played and sang. 

Our boys were entranced.  Chase stopped fussing, Cole begged to have a turn, and my heart warmed at the sight of all three of my boys with each other.

Those moments.  Not a big milestone.  Not a fancy occasion.  Not an expensive vacation.  Just a daddy showing his kids how he plays the guitar - THAT'S one of the memories I will treasure forever.  That quality time and undivided attention.

I think it's a memory our kids will treasure as well.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What Remains

What Remains
By Lisa A. McCrohan

I see now how this life is fleeting.
Every breath,
every time my little ones
wrap their tiny arms around my neck
and shout, “Mama!,” every gleeful plea for
“one more story” at bedtime
is holy
ripe and ready in this moment to savor,
then it is gone.
Like a breeze that flutters the curtains in my room,
kisses my skin on a warm summer night,
then returns to where it came
and only stillness remains -
I see how fleeting my life is.
Suddenly from darkness I am born,
I caress this world with my gentle presence
for only a short while,
then I return to where I came
and I am no more in this form.
What remains?
I want it to be my thousand gentle kisses on
my children’s forehead before going to school,
my slow caress on their backs they’ve felt
a million times as they drift off to sleep,
my voice of steadfast encouragement
at decisive moments to leap and
follow their hearts,
their inner prompting to notice suffering
and respond with compassion
as they’ve seen my hands
and heard my soothing words
hundreds of times on ordinary days,
the everyday moments of me returning to
my holy stillness that slowly filled them –
like sweet, sacred drops of holy water -
with an inner quiet that sustains them
when life shakes them,
the words I’ve whispered into their being
a million times a million times,
“you are my delight.”
This poem, these thoughts have been on my mind lately.  I wonder often, now that Cole is getting older, what will be his first memory of his mama?  What will be the overwhelming "feeling" he has when he remembers his mama during his childhood?
What do I want to remain with my children when I am gone?  What do I want them to remember me as?
Patient. Loving. Kind.  Gentle.  Understanding.  Empathetic. Passionate.
This is what I need to strive for as a mother.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Still a Shy Child?

Last week, I got to meet up with a dear old friend I hadn't seen in a while.  She chatted up Cole for a few minutes, then turned to me and exclaimed how outgoing he was.  Much different than he used to be even just a year ago.

Cole was always so very shy.  He rarely felt comfortable venturing into new territory on his own.  Speaking to someone he didn't know?  No way, not gonna happen.  It took days for him to feel comfortable enough to speak with any of our extended relatives when we traveled back East for a family wedding.

And I always wondered, is he going to be a shy introvert like me the rest of his life?  How can I help support him so he knows he is loved and valued just how he is, while encouraging him to not let the shyness run his life?

After a lot of soul searching, I came to the conclusion that, as his parents, we needed to be Cole's safe place.  Only after security can come confidence.  The world is a big and overwhelming place for a tiny little person - we should let him delve into it at his own pace.  As a result, we never pushed Cole to do an activity he didn't feel comfortable with.  At the splash park, we went many times before Cole felt comfortable enough to even touch the water splashes.  He would spend the majority of every single birthday party and gathering on the sidelines, simply watching and observing.  Chris and I made it clear that he was always welcome to join in, but that it was fine if he didn't, too.

And now?  Cole is a friendly, outgoing little fellow.  He's quick to speak politely when spoken to.  He LOVES to play with his little neighborhood friends and our family friends.  He's delighted to make new friends at the park.  There's hardly any of that lingering shyness that dominated his personality for so long.

I'm so proud.  I'm proud of him and I'm proud of Chris and me as his parents.  I think by supporting him, instead of pressuring and pushing, we allowed him to grow socially at his own pace. 

And the reward is that, a few minutes ago, a couple of neighbor girls rang the doorbell and asked if Cole could go play - and he couldn't get out of our house fast enough.  Our little social butterfly.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Second Child Syndrome

Poor Chase.

Only half a year old and already he's a victim of Second Child Syndrome.

You see, this poor baby rolled over for the first time the last week of June - on Chris' birthday, to be exact.

But, um... nobody saw it.

Yup.  We ALL missed it.

I was busy cooking dinner, Cole was reading a book, and Chris went upstairs to change his clothes after work.  As he was coming downstairs he said, "Dear?  Did you see this?"

And there was my baby.  On his tummy.  When I most definitely put him on the floor on his back. 

(He was quite proud of himself.  And a little confused.)

Not only that, but he rolled over AGAIN the next day.  And AGAIN nobody saw it!

Finally, the third time he did it, I finally saw it (even though I failed to get photographic evidence).

Poor Chase.  With Cole, I'm pretty sure I was so petrified of missing any milestone, I followed him around with a camera for weeks so I wouldn't miss his first smile, laugh, roll over, ANYTHING.

But! I did get photographs of Chase's first solid food!  And what a face, right? 

After the first bite or two, Chase realized that this is exactly what all the big people around him are doing all the time and he started to get really excited about the solids! (He's been watching us SO intently for months when we eat - it was starting to make me feel really guilty about not offering him a bite of whatever we were having!)

And so his food adventures begin.  Hopefully we'll have as good an eater in Chase as we've had with Cole all these years!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jacksonville Splash Park

Always around this time of year here, I want to curl up in a hot sweaty ball and never ever leave my house.

When every single day in the weather forecast involves three digit numbers, I am NOT a fan.  I don't do heat.

But! When my dear friends invited us along for a morning at the splash park, I emerged from the air conditioned beauty of our house and joined the land of the living (with plenty of deodorant). 

And boy, am I glad we did.  It was a ridiculous amount of fun.  Nothing like hanging out with amazing friends and sweet kiddos to make the horrendous temperatures feel a little less horrendous.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Links to Love

1. Nothing gets me going more than fun dancing.  Seriously, how cool is this guy?  and in a suit?!

2. Cole and I recently read "Song and Dance Man" (in a summer goal to read all the Caldecott winners), so I showed him some tap dancing clips on YouTube.  These were two favorites:

3. Michael Jackson impersonator for the win:

4. Cole's latest favorite!  It came on the other day when we were shopping, and he impressed our fellow shoppers by loudly declaring, "THIS SONG IS MY FAVORITE!! I YUV 'COUNTING STARS!'"
5. Um, so Chris shared this with me on Facebook, and I literally can't stop thinking about them! Why are we not funding these?!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Look Mom, No Training Wheels!

Now, I am not the most sentimental person. 

Most baby/childhood milestones are exciting and fun, but don't really get me choked up.

But for some reason, watching my little boy riding a big boy bicycle, sans training wheels, really, REALLY got to me.

Maybe it's because it's such a rite of passage, being able to ride a bike.  Maybe it's the independence, the growing away from childhood and the family unit that bike riding symbolizes.  Maybe it's the many happy times I myself spent on my bike with my friends. Maybe it's just because that's such an iconic symbol of childhood - real childhood, not toddlers or preschoolers.

Whatever the reason, I was a total blubbering mess at the sight of Cole riding a big boy bike.

I can't believe my tiny little baby, the sweet energetic toddler, is growing up into such an amazing little boy. 

I don't think I'm ready - but at the same time, I just can't wait to see what else he becomes!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Maui, Day 6

Our last day in Maui we wanted to make sure to take full advantage of the beach and pool - so after some quick pictures decked out in our Hawaiian clothes, we headed to play play play in water:

The sun was pretty bright and Chase was not amused:

So much fun swimming!!
The resort had a koi pond that they would allow the kids to feed every day at 4:00 - we missed it this day, but Cole still loved checking them out! 

He dressed himself :)

What an amazing trip we had!  Much thanks to Gram and Pap for everything - it was an experience of a lifetime!  
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