Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Day of Thanksgiving

Had a fun day with the little lambs today.  We visited Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point.  Unless they're lying to me, they had a really fun time.   Here's the pictorial:

I just love how Lucas picked out the perfect-sized pony for himself.  So cute!

I was happy with how these next two turned out.  Their little faces look so innocent and sweet.

Are llamas not the stupidest looking creatures ever?

Umm, if you're smart enough to READ this, shouldn't you be smart enough to APPLY it without being told?

All of 'em locked up tight.  Oh, if only.

We barely got out of the place without taking home a couple of baby chicks.  The powers-that-be at Thanksgiving Point sure are smart.  They put the $2 baby chicks right in front of your face as you walk in.   Hard to resist the kids' begging, but a traumatic baby-chick-related experience from my childhood helped me to stand my ground.  (mom, you know exactly what I'm talkin' bout)

Why does this photo disturb me a little every time I look at it?

We ended the evening with a surprise visit from Uncle Jim and Aunt Beffy and the cousins who stopped by our park to fly a kite.  The kids loved it.   Thanks Jim and Beffy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sweating the Big Stuff

I'm coming up on a one year anniversary.  One year since I made a HUGE leap of faith and moved to a new state.  The move came on the heels of a life-changing event:  divorce.  

Looking back on it now, I wonder sometimes where I found the courage to do it.  And I also wonder if I was slightly--well--CRAZY at the time.  I came here only knowing where I WANTED to work, but not knowing if I would actually get that job.  I did.  I came here knowing I was moving into a nice house with even nicer landlords, but I didn't know if I'd like where I live.  I do.  I came here not knowing how in the world I would ever manage to work nearly full time (after having always been home caring for my kids) and raise four kids mostly on my own and do all that comes under that umbrella.  I have.   Have I excelled at it?  Probably not.  Most nights, when my head hits the pillow, I feel like I've done just barely enough to scrape by and keep my kids out of the foster care system. 

Hitting a one year mark like this causes a mom to do a little reflecting.  I've been thinking about what this year has taught me.  I'm sure I could fill a novel with all the lessons I've learned---some of them very reluctantly and some of them still in progress---in the last twelve months.   But the one thing that seems to stand out is that I've learned to let go of a good many things.   My house is no longer the cleanest on the block.  My car gets washed once a year...whether it needs it or not.  My clean laundry might sit in the basket for a couple of days before it gets put away (wrinkled) in the drawers.  My girls don't always leave the house with perfectly combed hair complete with rubberbands and barrettes.  My floors can go unswept for days and days and days and I'm ok with it.  Well, sometimes the ants force action on my part, but mostly I'm just ok with it.  I even leave dirty dishes in the sink for a whole day and night sometimes!  

I've learned that much of the stress in my life was manufactured in my head.   I've found that it can be liberating to let go of those things that simply don't matter.  So what DOES matter?  Are my kids safe and healthy?  Do they leave the house every day knowing mommy loves them?  Do they know how happy I am to see them when I pick them up from the sitter or when they get home from school?  Am I making time for them, collectively and individually, so that all of these changes that have shaken their little foundations will be easier for them to absorb?    Are we having fun together as a family?   Am I the best teacher they have?  Those are the every day things that truly count. 

I admit there's a big learning curve here.  It's only been one year.  Not nearly long enough for me to get this whole parenting thing right.  But maybe I can almost put a big fat check mark in the "letting go" box.   There are one or two things I'm still gripping pretty tightly, but I'll get there.  I'm still under construction.

So what about you?  What are you learning to let go of?  Or what would you like to let go of but just can't seem to loosen your grip?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


What my kids were up to in Washington this summer.