Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hodgepodge Wednesday

My computer-savvy quotient is dismally low. Therefore, I asked my tech guru of a husband to spice up this blog space. We are a book-loving family and I was adamant about having book lists with cover pictures on this blog. I know I always scan the book lists on the blogs I frequent, keeping a lookout for new discoveries. So, I certainly wanted to share the favorites we've stumbled upon.

So far, I have a new picture to go with my blog title and two new categories: Top Picks from the Library and Winter Book Basket (and a HUGE thank you to my hubby for being a good sport and devoting a portion of his day off to add these new features. It looks great, sweetie).

The Top Picks from the Library are pretty self-explanatory! :) Except, I'll add that these books are not necessarily my favorites, but the favorites of my children. You know the ones -- the books that they bring to you over and over again, neglecting the other books you so painfully reviewed and selected for their viewing pleasure. At least, that's what happens to me! lol.

The Winter Book Basket contains books we own that pertain to the current season and we keep out all the time. I have a large, grapevine branch basket that sits on the fireplace hearth. I fill it with whatever books from my stash (or new purchases that I saw and couldn't do without--that happens all too frequently!) correspond with the season/holiday; right now being winter, of course. :)

Today we spent the day as a family and we made a special trip to a large open space that we frequented when we had a furry, four-legged family member. Last month we had to put our dog Georgia to sleep. It was completely unexpected, and I didn't get the closure I needed in order to move forward without regret. Anyway, today we scattered her ashes along the route where she used to romp. I told our daughter, who is 3 and a half years old, that we were scattering "fairy dust" to carry Georgia's spirit up to heaven (I couldn't imagine trying to explain what ashes were, and she thankfully accepted the fairy dust explanation. She's 3 and loves fairies and all things magical, so it wasn't a hard sell!). It felt good to honor our dear dog's life and all she gave to us. I'm afraid she felt lost in the shuffle since our son's birth last summer. I hope she still felt loved by us, even though we did put her wants and needs on the back burner toward the end. Our Georgie-porgie was a faithful friend indeed.

Speaking of ashes, we also went to church for Ash Wednesday. Every Lenten season I aspire to deepen my faith and build more time in my daily round for God. I find this an ongoing struggle and I anticipate that this year will be no different. Especially since this year I have a very high-needs baby in the mix. But, I think I will try to incorporate this idea. My son still nurses every 3 hours around the clock, so if I peg prayer time to nursing him, goodness knows I should get plenty of quiet time with God each day.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Two for dinner?

I will be the first to admit that I am obsessed with my children. They pretty much occupy my every thought. I am focused (to a fault, if that's possible) on trying to make their every day as joyous as possible. I want to fill their memory banks with an abundance of happy experiences.

That being said, I know that a crucial component to a happy childhood is a strong family life. If I pour all my energy into planning art activities and interesting outings, but neglect my relationship with my husband, I'm not doing my children any favors. And the fact is, I enjoy my husband as a person. I want to be with him, not just for the sake of the kids, but because I genuinely like him.

My dear husband is a strong, tender, funny, generous, and giving man. He works so hard to provide for our family. He fully supports my staying home to be with our children. And while homeschooling was originally a little too "off the grid" for his taste, he now shares my excitement and listens to me babble endlessly about my homeschooling plans!

This past weekend, we went on our first date since having our second child 8 months ago. It was fun to just... be. Even the walk across the parking lot to the restaurant from the car was eerily simple and fast (no one stopping to pick up rocks from the pavement, no reminders about watching out for cars, no lugging a diaper bag that makes the restaurant hostess wonder if we're moving in). Then, once seated, we could linger over our meal rather than scarf it down before the inevitable small person meltdown. In fact, the family next to us had a few children sitting with them. When one of them started crying it was so nice to smile at each other and say, "Screaming child? Not our problem," and take a look at the dessert menu. (When is the last time we had time to stick around and order dessert? Or, for that matter, when was the last time we were at a restaurant that even had a dessert menu??)

But, before I had even finished devouring my chocolate decadence (and, trust me, I polished that puppy off in record time), my heart was already aching to get back to my children. I am just not the kind of mom who wants to be away from my kids. Alone time? Yes, absolutely! I do crave some "me time" every day. But I like to spend that time with the kids playing with my husband somewhere else in the house. Within earshot, preferably. I don't even like when my husband takes them out -- to a park, the store, etc. It totally ruins my "me time" because I am watching the clock and fretting about why they haven't returned yet. Yep, I'm that paranoid. I freely admit it. But, as I always retort when my husband brings up the paranoia issue: "You know, there are worse accusations. The world could stand a few more mothers obsessed with their children's well-being."

So, yes the date was fun and we should schedule more in the future. I'm definitely on board for that. My husband deserves to feel as special and as loved as our children. But, it would be fine by me if we scheduled our next date to take place on the family room couch in front of a rented movie, the kids sleeping peacefully (Ha! Our kids almost never sleep "peacefully") upstairs. Date night in! Oh, those apron strings are short, aren't they? :) Sometimes it's tough to remember that while the portion of me that is "Mama" feels astronomical, I am also a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. They are all me. The trick is allowing each one to shine.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

And so it begins...

I've finally made the giant leap into the blogging world for myself. I've been a fan of blogging, an inspired, enchanted bystander for some time now. There are many, many blogs that I read voraciously every spare minute I get. I've been toying with the idea of my very own blog for a couple years. But would I have the time to dedicate to it on a regular basis? I feel stretched to my limits just trying to cover the day-to-day basics of my life. How could I sensibly take on blogging too? I love to read other people's thoughts, plans, goals; I find their insights valuable to my own life. But do I have a voice worth sharing with the world? Would anyone find the things that rattle around in my head worth reading? Being exposed, being "out there" is pretty daunting. But...I'm going to take that leap of faith and just jump right in. Because even if my husband and my best friend are the only ones who read this blog, that's okay. I'm excited about having yet another writing outlet. A virtual scrapbook of our life. A way to capture the here and now. That has immeasurable value to me, and that is reason enough to do it. So, here I go!