hope in the face of grief

Our neighborhood was shaken by a loss of a fellow mom nearly 7 months ago. It was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever been a part of. Not just because she was a friend of mine, lived two doors down and our kids played together all the time – but because it was (and still is) one of the most tragic things I’ve seen a family deal with.

But in the midst of it all, something small but good has happened that signifies HOPE. Our neighborhood has banded together.

People invite the father and two small kids over for dinner multiple times a week.

Neighbors set up a weekend playdate schedule so the dad and kids would have something planned to do every Saturday morning.

People shoveled walkways. Helped repair swingsets. Brought trash cans back up the driveway.

And much more.

It made my husband, who doesn’t typically show much emotion, cry as he told someone “I now know that if something ever happened to me, this neighborhood would help take care of my wife and kids.”

We are grateful to have stumbled upon this village that is now a part of our intertwined lives over the past 4 years since we moved here. But the sense of hope that I’ve now seen goes much further than that, and I’m grateful to witness it.

I see you my little

I can literally see you growing before my eyes.

Lately you’ve been into Rainbow Looms. You sit and make these bracelets and can’t wait to show them off. Your level of concentration at this newfound hobby is something I haven’t witnessed in you before.

The other day one of your friends was sad.  For the first time, I felt that you were really, really affected by the fact that she was hurt. That you couldn’t make her feel better. And so you wrote her a letter and asked me to walk it across the street to give to her mom.

Today we were at a friend’s house for a pool party. Daddy asked if he could come swim and play with you. You said not now – I’m playing with my friends, but you can come watch. And I saw a slight pang in your daddy’s eyes. “A short window,” he said to someone.  “You only get a short window.”

You are becoming fiercely independent. And I grow more and more proud of you every day. Not just at how hard you worked in first grade this year, but at the person, the real person you are becoming.

I see you, my almost 7 year old, and at the same time I feel you slipping away. I know you will fly on your own someday my little…I’m just grateful I have you here under my wing for a bit longer.

dad I’ve been watching you

C is now 3…and he’s at the age where he wants to do EVERYTHING that daddy does. I underestimated just how much sons want to be like the men in their life!

I mean he wants to eat what daddy is eating…if daddy wears a coat, he wears one…if not, nope. He tries to walk the same way. And most recently, he walked around our patio and used daddy’s leaf blower to “help.”

I’ve learned that letting toddlers help….even if they are making more of a mess than actually helping, is important. They feel productive, they feel like they are contributing. So this day, my little guy helped and cleaned up the back just like daddy. And of course the toy yard tools weren’t good enough – he needed the real thing. 🙂

It was a good reminder to me to be conscious of what we emulate in front of the kids as they are always watching and listening!

roots and stems – a great kids experiment

We recently did a fun learning project with the kids that they both loved. The school unit was roots and stems, so we found something that helped continue the learning at home!

What you’ll need:

-heads of romaine lettuce

-food coloring (not the gel kind, that type won’t work; get the old fashioned kind!)

-a tall glass

-water

Prepare the water by adding a few drops of food coloring until it’s pretty dark and stir. Then cut a leaf off (make a fresh cut) and put in cut side down. Wait 24 hours to see the max it will “drink” up!

Some colors work better than others as you can see here, so have fun experimenting!

He’s 3, just like that

My little one is 3.

It seems a bit hard to believe…I feel like just yesterday I was rocking you to sleep multiple times a night. Watching your every tiny milestone as the days flew by. Now, you’re turning into such a little boy, full of personality.

You’ve traded in snuggly lovies and pacifiers for fire trucks and legos.

Little ride on toys for motorized vehicles you drive around on our sidewalks.

Finger paints for colored pencils; veggie pouches for salads with grilled chicken (really).

My little sunshine is growing faster than I can believe, and I’m so excited to see the little boy personality flourish before my eyes.

(Just don’t grow too fast.)

seeing

Yesterday we took our annual family trip to the cider mill (in reality, we’ll probably go once or twice more). It was a picture perfect day. Slight fall feel in the air (but still very comfortable). Mix of clouds and sun, and we got there at a decent time to enjoy two full hours before lunch.

I took my “nice” camera vs. just snapping photos with my phone (a hobby of mine, I could spend hours with my camera).  The kids wanted to ride the train, so we got in line and hopped on. C decided at the last minute that he didn’t want to go; so hubby and C stayed back to watch S and I take a loop around the mill.

I was snapping away at S looking out the window…waving to people…getting excited about the train. She pointed out all the stuff she saw…”mama those pigs are stinky!” She’s 6, so it’s amazing how much they notice at that age.

The ride lasted maybe 3-4 minutes. Then it stopped. And although I had some cute pictures, including her getting SO excited about the tunnel it went through, I realized that I didn’t see ONE thing.

Not one. I was so busy taking pictures of her that I completely missed the train ride. And the scenery. And all the stuff she pointed out.

You see those articles about putting your phone down when playing with your kids to give them your full attention. I feel like this probably wasn’t much different.  Although I was doing what I thought would be nice for her (and me) to have later, my balance was obviously off.  I mean I did not look out the window ONE time.

Mental note – next time, I’ll need to put the camera down and see things through HER eyes instead of the camera lens. I see people at concerts missing the whole experience because they’ve got their phones up and are recording videos or taking pictures…and not getting immersed in the show. I sort of did the same thing.

Next time.

saturday morning

i love you because

…all is quiet

…i don’t know yet what the day will bring

…it means two nice long days of just us time is ahead

…i can sit with my cup of coffee before the craziness of the day begins

…there is no rushing, no place to scamper off to

…we can just do what our heart desires, all four of us