Monday, October 27, 2008

"the busy years"

i've been doing myself some serious thinking of late as i am of a philosophical deep thinking nature in addition to being a natural born insomniac with many late night hours to lay in bed and think and think...which leads to further insomnia, etc. etc
and i just feel grateful
we had stake conference last weekend and our stake president shared on observation he made of a young mother trying to keep up with her young children and he said something along the lines of, "i remember those years, those are the busy years."
and yes
these are the busy years
and i love them
i've been journal writing and leaf collecting and home decorating and picture taking and old friend contacting and trying to capture all the moments that seem to pass by too quickly. it seems like sometimes i work so hard at recording a moment that i miss the moment all together. i had to resist taking a million pictures of the changing leaves last sunday on our evening walk along the emerald necklace because i find that all too often i am only looking at the world through the lense of my camera instead of looking at the world with my actual eyes. instead i collected leaves, and scanned them, then added them to my fall decor. *exhale*
i've been taking snap shots of the moments instead of stressing about the right lighting, the right composition, the right smile and instead just enjoying the moments.
i loved president monson's talk about enjoying the journey in conference a few weeks ago. how often do we get caught up in checking off our to do list and planning for the next stage of life that we miss the one we are currently living? i don't know about you but i seem to spend too much time either thinking about the past or dreaming about the future and i sometimes forget that today is the future i drempt about last year and the "good old days" i'll be missing next year. living in the present is a common theme of president monson's talks i have heard over the years. often i quote him to myself,
"learn from the past
prepare for the future
but live in the present."

we hosted a play group yesterday with seven babies (9-11 months) and seven adults. needless to see our little apartment got real crowded, real fast and all the toys, books, remotes, shoes, keys and puzzles got passed from child to child all afternoon. i loved it. i loved having a full house with so many baby cries, laughs and babbles. atticus couldn't figure out what in the world was going on as more and more kids arrived. he sat and stared, then cried, then played and played
then we cleaned and tidied and cleaned and tidied
and i thought about a conference talk i read recently about motherhood
"The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make...I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs...I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting done a little less."
Anna Quindlen, quoted by Elder M. Russell Ballard, Daughters of God, Gen Conf. April 2008
we also had a lesson a couple weeks ago in relief society where we further discussed president uchtdorf's talk from the relief society session of general conference. he talked about our inherent nature to create and show compassion and hit the nail right on the head when he said that we women are too hard on ourselves. for real! amen! i had to laugh at his cooking example because i can not, can not get through dinner without saying, "sorry, sorry, sorry - too much salt, too little thyme, too blah, blah, blah." in the meantime darek is chowing down and loving every bite! he has no idea what i'm talking about!
it's so important that we learn how to create without attaching judgement to it
create for the sake of creating
don't be afraid
and show yourself some of that compassion that you freely give to everyone else ~ sheesh!
and read this talk - it's great
oh, and if you have a chance - check out dream dinners, because it's a dream...come true
you go, you make your dinners, you pop them in the freezer, and dinner making is never a hassle again...and it's affordable, so do not delay!
atticus is busy producing his eigth tooth, or trophy, rather, as he works very hard for those little puppies. he loves finger foods and i love figuring out new ones to give him. and yesterday he tore the spoon from my hand, this is nothing new, and picked up a banana chunk and spooned it into his mouth, this is something new. such small sweet moments. and so important to remember to enjoy the moment instead of food, feed, clean, wash, sweep, repeat at each meal...enjoy the doing and not the getting done.

we always have some very hyper play time after dinner and during the get-ready-for-bed routine. this may be my favorite time of day. atticus giggles and giggles and races around the apartment begging to be chased. he's like a little puppy that follows me around panting, i can't get enough of it.
this is my action shot of atticus crawling, so speedy he's blurry.

and perhaps there is no happier moment during the day then the moment darek walks through the door
i've also been thinking and thinking about the so sad tendency we have to compare ourselves to each other, the result of which is often not feeling very good about ourselves. i know i've chatted with a few of you about blog envy - this phenomenon of reading about the lives of friend, acquaintances, strangers, whoever and feeling like their life looks so fun and glamorous and important and happy and it sometimes makes my life feel...small...mundane...blah. when this happens to me i have to stop myself from reading those blogs and instead, count my blessings. and remind myself that we all put our best selves on our blog and regardless of our cute blog selves we still have to clean our house, wash our hair and shave our legs among other real life-ness. you know what i mean?
which reminds me i had to laugh and i have to share, the moment tonight when i had atticus pinned under my leg so i could get his diaper on him and he wrestled and wrestled and tried to get free until he reached up and felt my unshaved, spikey leg...and the wrestling stopped and he just laid there, fascinated, stroking my spikey leg! ah, ha! i've discovered the fool proof diaper changing method and shaved off ten minutes of my morning shower routine...pun, intended. guffaw, guffaw.
so anyway - i don't ever want my blog to make people feel bad about themselves. i hope i can uplift you and remind you that you are great and beautiful and special and unique and hooray for that - we don't have to match! (that's a little shout out to likely, if you'd like to read her wonderful insight, click HERE)
speaking of likely and her wisdom one time i read a post on her blog about a talk she heard in church. the speaker said something similar to
"at the end of the day, i've always accomplished exactly what i wanted to"
i think about this all the time. at first you think, "wow, that person is so lucky. they accomplish everything they want to everyday! i wish i could do that!" but then you realize that you also accomplish exactly what you want to everyday (disclaimer for sick days, unexpected schedule changes, etc.) how often do i go to bed thinking, "i wish i had gone for a run" or "i wish i had read my scriptures" or "i wish i had whatever whatevered?" but in all honesty - i wanted to sleep more then run, read my novel more then read my scriptures, whatevered more then whatevered and it's exactly right - at the end of the day, i've only accomplished EXACTLY what i wanted to. i think of this often and then i remember what i REALLY want to accomplish - it helps me get my priorities straight. thanks likely! i heart you!
and sometimes what i want to do most is take a break from the busy years
and just watch atticus play
and so that's what i do

and the time came, as it inevitably does at some point in the busy years, to turn the toilet paper roll around so that atticus can spin it and spin it and never unravel it. genius!

and if only bath time was all the time, he would never be happier. i have to leave the bathroom door shut because atticus would never do anything other then stare at the bath with longing eyes if he were able to go in there any time he wanted.

so that's it folks - some of my deep thinking. some of the many thoughts that occupy my supposed-to-be-sleeping mind. i hope they make you slow down and remember to enjoy the journey, live in the moment, don't be afraid to create, be nice to yourself, don't compare yourself to unrealistic standards, feel good about doing what you want to do and don't feel guilty if sometimes you just want to hang out. there's a time to clean and a time to unclean, a time to play and a time to sleep, a time to laugh and a time to cry, and a time to blog and a time to wrap things up!
enjoy the busy years
sweet dreams...
ps - i added a follow-this-blog button on my sidebar for your this-blog-following convenience. please feel free to follow along...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

the little pumpkin
atticus at birth minus one month

and one year later
thank you to my sister for sending these so cute pumpkin sweats
atticus will pretty much be wearing them everyday this week

we went to babies r us today to upgrade the carseat for baby-zilla. this is what the boys did while i spent way too much time wandering through the store admiring all the goodness we neither need nor can afford. i'm afraid (literally) to say that i was admiring all the pregnant bellies bobbing around the store...brought back such fun memories from a year ago when it was my bobbing belly...

it is a rare moment when atticus is mellow enough to just sit still like this but i love it when he does. tonight i bribed him with a graham cracker just so he'd cuddle with me on the couch for 30 seconds.

sweet dreams...

e.l.e.v.e.n ~ m.o.n.t.h.s ~ o.l.d
and has the battle wounds to prove it!

walking is close...though not quite yet, hence the bruised eyebrow!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

let the record show that today i

did not leave the house
but showered, so that's good
saved atticus from eating a mouse dropping off the floor
even after i had swept up the mouse droppings off the floor
and set traps for the culprit mice leaving droppings on the floor
missed my dream dinners appointment
so sent the hubby instead to make dreamy dinners
made melting pot stew
because what's fall without melting pot stew?
rocked atticus to sleep a million times
because it seems another tooth is a-sprouting
and sang to him
and chased him around the house
because that's his new favorite game
got in touch with some O.L.D. and D.E.A.R. friends
and now feel giddy and nostalgic about it
turned off the tv
because sometimes you just gotta do that
read a talk about enjoying motherhood
because i *h-e-a-r-t* motherhood
wanted to take a nap
but couldn't
because the bug needed some rocking
but now i won't go to bed
even though the bug is finally asleep
day dreamed about moving somewhere warm
and near family
and where we can buy a house
but still loved boston
because boston is so easy to love
and pressed some fall leaves in a book
brought out some fall decor
to spruce up the house
wrote in my journal
and ate RKT's right out of the bowl
would have won $20,000 on family feud
because i always get the #1 answers
and felt inspired
and discouraged
and sad
and happy

and now it's time for bed

sweet dreams...

Monday, October 20, 2008

fall traditions

we went to the head of the charles regatta last saturday which has become a tradition since we first moved to cambridge in 2005. it was beautiful as usual and i was loving the fall weather. we met up with the coxes for lunch then headed downtown to the jack-o-lantern carving festival at government center.

the boys watching the regatta

this was a dream come true for atticus as he usually has to admire pups from afar. this dog's name was rusty and they were instant friends.

i probably throw atticus in the air at least 100 times a day. i just love how excited he gets about it! this picture was perfect because he looked over at darek just in time for it to be taken.

the twins...

boston attempts to beat the world record for the most lit jack-o-lanterns in one place at one time each year. they hold the record from 2006 with 30,128 jack-o-lanterns that were carved and lit in the common. i haven't heard whether or not they beat their own record this year but here are some of the photos of the 1000's of pumpkins.

we even had a celebrity sighting

happy october

Thursday, October 16, 2008

this kid is cruising!

life sure has changed since atticus has become so mobile and i suspect it will only get crazier with time. i think he's only seconds away from walking as he is pulling up everywhere and starting to take steps. i can't believe it. his increased mobility has brought on a bout of anti-restraint which translates in to never wanting to stay put for long in his stroller, high chair, carseat, etc. etc. we've taken lots of walks and runs this week trying to enjoy the nice weather while it lasts but have to stop often for atticus to get out of the stroller and explore around. i had my camera with me on just one such occasion a few days ago so we stopped every few blocks for mini photo shoots.

i've also mastered the feed-atticus-while-he-is-distracted-and-slip-in-bites-when-he's-not-paying-attention move (which is quite a feat as he prefers to feed himself of late, peas and black beans are his current favs, not just for eating but also for throwing.) as well as the daipering-of-a-crawling-baby technique. i haven't used the changing table for weeks now as the instant i lay him on it he rolls over, pushes onto his knees and starts reaching for anything within arms length, namley the artwork on the wall or the shelf above his head. i've resorted to changing him in front of the t.v. so he's distracted (kind of) long enough for me to at least remove the messy daiper and clean him up. this often requires the placement of my leg across his chest to keep him still long enough. the new diaper is usually being strapped on as he is crawling away. oh boy...

he's babbling and chatting so much that i'm sure he thinks he's saying real words and telling me all kinds of interesting stories. his voice melts my heart everytime. and he cut two new bottom teeth (um, more like 1 1/2 actually) this week as well, so it's so long to those two little teeth that have graced his lower gums alone for months now. he's growing so fast, it's making me start to wonder when his first sibling will make his/her arrival...scary...but tempting...

and just because i take too many pictures and can't resist sharing - here are a bunch more...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

apple picking
we went to smolak farms in north andover last saturday to do some apple picking. once we got there, however, there was so much to do that we never got around to picking even a single apple. oh well...we never use all the apples anyway!

it was incredibly beautiful. the fall foliage was amazing on the drive up and at the farm. this is absolutely one of my favorite things about new england. fall has never been so beautiful. as always i felt sentimental and smooshy at the farm as it reminds me of my idaho roots. all i needed was a rodeo and carnival and i would have been all set.

atticus was in true form, hyper and happy!

we spent time wandering through the pumpkin patch and atticus was very much lamenting the fact that he has yet to learn to walk. he had to be happy with being carried around and set down every now and then to play in the dirt.

they had the farm all decked out in autum decor, this being among my favorites of the decorations

they had a little animal and petting zoo area. here atticus was sitting on the fence looking at all the little bambi deer they had. at one point he started waving to them which was real cute!

and the chicken coop

i love how he placed his hand on darek's arm right here, just cute

perched atop the chicken coop

and so so excited about the llama

freaking out every time he touched it

the llama was by far his favorite. he couldn't stare hard enough!

atticus wants to be a pirate for halloween and has been practising his pirate face, which he felt necessary to share with the swans.

sidenote: this huge swan tried to peck out darek's eye - literally! we were warned on our way into the zoo to not provoke the swans because they were in heat and feeling quit hormonal. well in darek's excitment to see his son's reaction to the big birds, he forgot the forewarning and leaned over the fence to see atticus' face - only to be greeted by a wide open beak coming straight for him. i looked over just in time to see darek jump back only escaping by a hair. it was really hilarious, and kind of scary...and ended our time with the swans.

and a close up of the pirate face

time with mom

and eating the scenery

and as it turns out atticus would have been just as happy had we hung out in the car all day since he's discovered and fallen in love with the stirring wheel.