Thursday, November 19, 2015

Acceptance and The Present

We are settling into a new routine of having both children in school, as we are trying to figure out the balance of activities, family time and leisure.  Anna Cate is not doing year round swim and just played one sport, softball, this Fall  and we wanted Molly to get used to kindergarten before we signed her up for anything.  Intentionally or not, it is a time for us to slow down, to figure this thing out. And, to be honest, BJ and I are still trying to cope and process with his health issues.

"Acceptance doesn't mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there's got to be a way through it." -Michael J Fox

Molly Mae started kindergarten and Anna Cate got the hang of 4th grade as well as enjoyed a softball season. I'm having one of the best school years I can remember in a long time. 

I keep lots of books by my bedside. Sometimes, it is a novel or a memoir I can't put down or a book I'm periodically trying to get into, but there are always some "self help" type books there -- a book on parenting, on marriage, on healthy eating.  Last night, I picked up A New Earth  and randomly read a chapter on understanding the illusion of Time, and the power of the present, where Eckart says something like: "Time isn't precious at all, because it is an allusion. . the Now -- that is precious indeed."

So while I want to write and scream and process my fears about the future, I have to focus on the now.

Molly loves her teacher, and I get the feeling Ms Welsh loves Molly as well. It really is a perfect fit, and I'm so thankful for the transition for Molly. 

 Anna Cate loves life and is such an amazing big sister, my heart almost bursts when I hear them play or talk when they don't know I'm listening. When she knows I'm around, Anna CAte often antagonizes the heck out of Molly. 
I notice in the above picture Molly standing on her tippy toes to be a little closer to her sister.
 Being a teacher is hard, and I don't make as much money as I wish I did, but I'm realizing daily this school year that  working with young people is my passion, and how lucky I am to get to be around kids daily.
 Life is good in the now.
We had a good Fall, enjoying the gifts of the season -- both of our life and of the year.

The Pumpkin patch:

In October, Mom came to visit for the weekend so BJ and I could go away. 
They went to a movie, bowling, got manicures and pedicures, 
and prepared a lovely Halloween tea party/brunch before they entered the Trunk or Treat at the neighborhood party. 

She completely spoiled the girls the entire weekend, and then wished them well on Monday morning (a pajama day at school).
BJ and I really enjoyed a weekend away.
We stayed at an adorable little cottage in a great town in southwest Virginia: Floyd. It is my type place -- old fashioned with a fresh flavor of new energy from people dropping out of the life on a hamster wheel (suburbia/city life with traffic, careers and children's activities). We listed to bluegrass, enjoyed a farmer's market and dreamed about stepping out of our busy life by staying here for 48 hours.

We enjoyed a Hokie game, even if we didn't enjoy the outcome (losing in quadruple overtime)

We treated ourself to a few wineries.

Halloween:  We enjoyed the tricks and treats this year. Our friend and neighbor makes these kids' Halloween by scaring them from his front porch, so the night before he scared them, we post-it-noted his car. Norah gave the kids a lesson in the garage before we stealthily walked over and accomplished our mission.

On Halloween morning, Anna Cate and I had a date to the gym while Molly Mae and Marion prepared a beautiful brunch.
 Our trick looked even better in the day light.

We had our dear friends over and the big girls, both dressed as Malificent actually enjoyed a Haunted House:

These girls looked great with their wigs and make up when the evening started, but I didn't get a picture of that -- this is all I got. A tired, worn out pose.

Horse Races: the best Saturday in Virginia. This year, we took the girls to the horse races at Montpelier and while the rain deterred some of the fun and our guests from coming, it was still a beautiful day with friends.

Molly and I invented a Shirley Temple mimosa -- sparkling water and Orange Juice.

Both the girls love horses, especially Anna Cate.

The girls continue to adore their baby cousin, Graham. I sort of think they look alike.

So, it has been a good Fall, and as I look back at these pictures I'm reminded that we are ok. . . in the now. 

While in some ways when I feel like my very breath has been knocked out of me as I think of BJ's future with Parkinson's Disease, I just have to focus on the ways life has stayed the same and the blessings of the ways we are changing. 

BJ has started Occupational Therapy and Molly loves to be his guide.
We have friends, healthy children and one more thing to add to our list of blessings -- good healthcare.
Oh, and a lot of wine for me! 
"Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the bottle." -- Paulo Coelho, Brida

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Season of Love

I am telling myself summer is over -- college football has kicked off, I have gone back to work and our dining room table is filled with school supplies.  In so many ways, this summer has been wonderful. It has seemed long and productive, as well as restful and restorative.  The kids have spent most of the summer in a bathing suit and I've gotten to work out almost daily, which is what I consider success. Anna Cate and Molly both did swim team, which is such a big part of our summer, keeping us on schedule and active.  We talked our best friends, Luke and Leana, to get King Dominion passes. We vacationed in the beautiful black hills of South Dakota with my family, and the girls and I took a three week road trip to the beach and my home town. We've been with friends, we've relaxed and I think it has been a summer of fun and of lessons.

In South Dakota,  we learned the lesson of how important family is. Sharing our vacation with extended family was quite memorable!
I enjoyed an amazing weekend trip with college friends to New York.
The girls were happy with a babysitter and Daddy, and I hope the lesson is how important girl time is!

In swim team, we learned the lesson of showing up and listening to your coaches. One day, Molly didn't want to go to practice and she said, "I just feel like they are always criticizing me." The lesson she learned is that what sometimes feels like criticism is actually just someone trying to help you.

And there are things more important than competition -- friendship. Swim team allowed Anna Cate the opportunity to see her friend Elise, whose brother swims for another team. 

Visiting King's Dominion with 4 kids of different interest on thrill rides at three different height levels taught the kids how to compromise. …I think.  One day, when I was felt defeated that the kids didn't exactly get what they wanted, I told Luke after the berserker, his favorite ride, was closed, "I just want everyone to be happy," and he said, "I am happy." So, I learned some lessons too.

In August, the girls and I made a 3 week road trip, including a beach trip and time with family and friends.  

 The lesson here is the scenery is always better with a friend!

We squeezed in a visit with my dear friend Mary Helen, whose hospitality and wisdom blends her love of spirit with love of cooking and it was so special to be in her kitchen. She helped the girls prepare a meal for our friend, Meg.
These are friends we have because of my brother -- they are family members of his roommates in college. Interesting how life opens up friendships in all sorts of contexts, providing connections. 

In the midst of all our experiences, we enjoyed extra down time and I took advantage of time to sleep, run, do crossfit and practice yoga. I hope the lesson for my daughters is not "my mom is high maintenance who needs a lot of sleep and exercise," but that Anna Cate and Molly learn the value in taking care of yourself and your body. 

In Tennessee, we enjoyed slower pace of life before our life picked back up to rush of the routine back here.  
Needless to say, I enjoyed the time with my family. 
The girls enjoyed time with family in Tennessee, too.

 We got to see Kitty find herself in a starting kindergarten, and we visited her for lunch a couple days. 

The girls experienced a lovely Sunday afternoon, listening to live music and enjoying good food with a bunch of people who'd gone to church Sunday morning.  Check out this amazing gal here.
 And this gal's music here.

We reveled in the time with our family friends in Kentucky. 

We wrapped up the road trip with an overnight visit with my aunt, where the kids were treated to a real flying Chinese lantern and special attention and care from aunt.

We spent the last Sunday before I went back to work with a last hurrah spending the morning honoring the baptism of our friend, Jackson and the afternoon at a Nats game. 

But just as I was thinking life was sad since summer was over, we went to bed  Sunday night, ready to put summer 2015 in the memory books, we received the glorious message that the girls have a baby cousin.

Life continues to unfold joy in the seasons of every journey.  More of our summer here in this video.

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I love my family, deep thoughts, pure feelings and a good time making lasting memories with people I love. I procrastinate, but love to plan. I'm insecure about my body but confident about my heart and mind. I grew up in a small town, but feel like I'm a citizen of the world. Being a working mother was not in my life plan, but neither was being poor so I'm using this blog to help me focus on the precious time I do have with my family. My husband is the most competent person I know, and in many ways, he is more motherly to our precious girls than I am, since I have the job of being the disciplinarian, more like my Dad. I love to work out, write, eat, drink wine, entertain, decorate and think.

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