Wednesday, December 21, 2016

fall bits

over the last few weeks,
as we have entered this new season,
everytime i tell the kids
"put your coat on, it's winter"
"you can't wear shorts, it's winter"
"you need a hat, it's winter"
i get the immediate
"it isn't winter yet, moooooommmmm!"
well today that game is over.
winter is officially here.
mom is always right, but now mom is officially right.
so here on the first day of winter, 
i thought i'd share the last of our fall bits.
also, because my phone is about to 
blow-up with christmas pics, so time to put these 
in the bits and bobs memory bank.
bundle up friends, it's winter.

fall hike
blankets of leaves
doing the dab...all.the.time.
golden hour backyard campfire
shoes and bag that match the pretty leaves
handsome boy who also matches the laves
coffee sipping and photo taking on the dreamy swing 
monkey bar graduate with the blisters to prove it
homework routines in full swing

warming up by the fire in between wood stacking and leaf blowing
putting the leftover halloween candy to good use
the tumble bus visits the farm for some birthday fun 
janie's 4th birthday
a friday night proposal to his mom
the last of the garden harvest
cowboys on a roll 
pumpkin carving
scarecrow stuffing
scarecrow snuggling
chili cook-off tasting
ballot casting
morning chores on the farm
sister playing a tune
a friend sharing her cranberry harvest

leaf pile jumping
golden grass trekking
fall family hiking

Thursday, December 1, 2016

advent calendar

a little look into this year's advent calendar.
oh how we look forward to preparing our hearts
and making these memories together each year.
a bit more about our tradition herehere & here 

day 1: isaiah 41:5 /christmas lights walk @ fatima shrine
day 2: isaiah 52: 7-10 / go out for donuts before school
day 3: isaiah 40: 9-11 / mail letters to santa
day 4: genesis 3:15-18 / food pantry & shelter donations
day 5: genesis 15: 1-6 / make ugly sweater cookies
day 6: deuteronomy 18: 15-19 / decorate bedroom doors for christmas
day 7: psalm 89: 1-4 / christmas crafternoon
day 8: isiah 11: 1-10 / sing silent night by candle light
day 9: zechariah 6: 12-13 / listen to christmas music really loud
day 10: michah 5: 2-4 / watch home alone
day 11: malachi 3: 1-6 / go to christmas concert @ church
day 12: john 1: 1-8 / go christmas shopping for each other
day 13: john 1: 9-18 / wear pajamas and drive around to see the christmas lights
day 14: mark 1: 1-3 /wrap presents
day 15: luke 1: 5-13 / make cards for teachers
day 16: luke 1: 14-17 / go to jane's christmas concert
day 17: luke 1: 18-25 / make gingerbread houses
day 18: luke 1: 39-45 / caroling
day 19: luke 1: 46-56 / make treats & deliver to neighbors
day 20: luke 1: 57-66 / open one present
day 21: luke 1: 67-80 / cookie decorating with friends after school
day 22: luke 7: 10-14 / christmas movie marathon & sleepover in the living room
day 23: luke 1: 26-45 / start the 1,000 piece christmas puzzle
day 24: isaiah 9: 2-7 / christmas eve open house
day 25: matthew 1: 18-25 / celebrate jesus' birthday

Monday, November 28, 2016

squats on a monday morning

today's bits & bobs advice.
when volunteering in your son's 
7 am before school gym class on the monday after thanksgiving,
do not try to impress your son and his 2nd grade buddies 
by doing more squats than they can in a 5 minute period of time.
even if you kill it in the moment.
even if you show them you can do them while lip synching and squatting 
in coordination with the tunes being played on the teacher's boom box.
even if you show them you can do them with your eyes closed.
even if you show them that you can squat and really hold it.
even if you eventually inspire them by throwing in a few squats while doing the dab.
don't do it.
don't do 200 squats on the monday after thanksgiving.
don't try to beat a bunch of 2nd grade boys.
don't try to inspire them with the dab.
don't try to be a cool boy mom.
just don't.
like me, 
you won't be able to walk, 
or get in your car,
or climb the stairs to your daughter's pre-school,
or catch your dog when he's getting into your trash barrel,
or pick-up trash that is blowing around your yard,
or go to the bathroom,
or tuck your kids into bed,
or look your son in the eyes,
or tell your husband what you did, and why you did it.
just don't.
take my advice.

Friday, November 18, 2016

instrument bits

yesterday i got the first "mama i forgot my instrument" 
call from the middle school.
just two nights before this, 
dear mama friends and i were talking about
this exact situation, and ones like them.
about our parental role to decide  when
to let them fail, and when to bail them out.
we mamas together affirmed
a commitment to ourselves and each other
that it is our role, not to always bail them out.
that there is more learning and growth in letting them fail sometimes.
that we can't be driven by how this reflects on us
as humans, women, parents.
that the decision to let them fail is not being harsh, but wise.

so when i got that call two mornings later,
i first had a little chuckle.
remembered the mama & sisterhood commitment from the two nights before.
then kindly, but firmly, told her i wouldn't bring it.
that being prepared for school is important.
i reminded her of our conversation before 
signing the contract for the instrument.
i told her i loved her.
i told her to have a good day.
i hung up.
then, almost immediately, 
i decided to bail her out.

you see i remember so clearly the day 
we picked up that new instrument.

i remember being in new york, the day before, 
when the rest of her classmates got theirs 
at the school program designed for new band students and their parents.

i remember her disappointment that we wouldn't be able to attend,
because i would be in new york and dad needed to be at football practice with bennett. 

i remember her saying she would be the only one without one on friday.

i remember her teary eyes.

i remember my massive mama guilt.

i remember emailing the teacher for details on where i could get the instrument.

i remember deciding that i would surprise her when i got back from new york
with a little after school adventure to get the flute.

i remember it making her day.

i remember it ruining bennett and jane's day,
who did not want to get in the car.

i remember promising slushies on the way back for good behavior.

i remember it taking way longer to get there than i thought.

i remember driving and realizing we really, really didn't have time for this adventure.

i remember thinking, no worries, it was going to be a quick in and out thing at some small little instrument shop.

i remember finally getting there and the parking lot was packed.

i remember walking in the front door and there was a line.

i remember that this line was next to a handicap ramp.

i remember bennett's eye roll and look because we both knew this wouldn't be quick.

i remember hearing many, many instruments being played 
in private lesson rooms in the back of the store.

i remember seeing lots of bright and shiny instruments hanging on the wall.

i remember these instruments seemed to be shouting at jane saying,
"hey little girl, i'm bright and shiny and have lots of buttons...come push them."

i remember not seeing jane dart for them, while i was having a word with bennett about not running up and down the handicap ramp.

i remember hearing a concerned musician speaking sternly with jane.

i remember the tears.

i remember the sweat.

i remember the clock ticking.

i remember almost bailing.

i remember sticking it out.

i remember the conversation with ella.

i remember how my mama guilt transformed to me guilting ella.

i remember making it clear that it was her instrument commitment that brought us here.

i remember her understanding.

i remember the joy of this afternoon adventure was beyond fleeting.

i remember it was almost our turn, and jane had to poop.

i remember asking the mom behind me to please, please save our spot.

i remember her saying yes, and giving me the mama wink.

i remember getting back in line.

i remember it finally being our turn.

i remember signing the contract with ella.

i remember the musician store clerk handing ella the black case with shiny buckles on it.

i remember the look then in jane's eyes...shiny, black, case, buckles, handle...i want it.

i remember telling ella, that we were going to have to 
let jane carry the instrument case to the car.

i remember telling her this would be the only way we would 
get out of this bloody store without more tears.

i remember telling jane, she may carry it, but that she was not allowed 
to open those shiny buckles.

i remember the look of deep concern in ella's eyes.

did i mention i remember the tears? the sweat? the clock ticking?

i remember getting in the car and bennett saying "time for slushies."

i remember looking at the clock and realizing we had 30 minutes until soccer & football practice.

i remember the traffic.

oh how i remember the traffic.

i remember the deep breaths i took before telling kids 
we didn't have time to stop for slushies.

i remember the groans.

i remember the tears.

i remember the defeat.

i remember my mama apologies.

i remember making promises of future slushies.

i remember calling wes to tell him we were running way late.

i remember asking him to have all the gear ready for a quick change.

i remember him telling me my new soccer cleats arrived so he'd get those ready to.

i remember thinking, oh yes, kicking it around the pitch w/the girls is exactly 
what i need after this stressful afternoon.

i remember lacing up and running out the door.

i remember reminding wes that he had to pick ella up from practice, 
because i needed to go to jane's pre-school orientation.

i remember taking the field with my new boots.

i remember how obnoxiously bright they are.

i remember the oohs and ahhs from the girls on my team.

i remember how good it felt to kick and shoot in my new cleats.

i remember having so much fun i lost track of time.

i remember dashing back to the car to scoot over to pre-school orientation.

i remember getting there and realizing i forgot my change of clothes...and shoes.

i remember seeing all the other parents all dressed up, looking lovely.

i remember telling myself that no, no you do not have time to run home and change.

i remember, walking (no click clicking) into orientation 
with my bright green cleats and #goals tank on.

i remember the curious look from teachers and surrounding parents.

i remember having to tell them that no, i don't play professional soccer, 
i just came from running my 10-year old daughter's practice.

i remember i most definitely smelled. 

i remember sitting in the back.

i remember remembering being one of those nicely dressed parents when i was at this same orientation during ella and bennett's pre-school days years before.

i remember thinking, oh this is that 3rd kid thing.

i remember thinking while yes this may definitely be a 3rd kid thing, this is more than that.  
this is the
guilt driven,
over committed,
promise broken,
discipline given,
shiny button pressed,
click clicking,
 cherry on top on this thing called motherhood. 

so yes, i brought ella her flute yesterday,
even though i said i wouldn't.
because, i remember what it took to get that flute.
because, let's face it, sometimes we just don't have our acts together.
because, some days just don't go our way.
because, those are the days when family sticks together
because, this is love.
and because that's where wisdom, growth and learnings are found.

happy friday dear ones!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

thankful tuesday, election day

thankful tuesday brought to from my car before heading in to vote.
while i don't anticipate chips and salsa being on the ballot, i'm full of gratitude just the same.
that this toxic campaign season is over.
that we are american.
that we live in a democracy.
that we have the privilege and right to vote.
that whether we are for her, or against her - there is a her on the ballot.
that we can have peace, in whatever the outcome.
that we can love, no matter what the decision.
that we can hope, in the kingdom to come.

here's to gratitude and how
it turns everything into enough.

Friday, October 28, 2016

horse shirt confessions

patriots fans know this line well.
"do your job."
new englanders may know it better as
"DO ya joaoaoaob!"
you know...with the boston accent.

well can i confess that these three little words have left
me inspired and a whole lotta cranky.
i'll explain.

you see, the varsity soccer teams in our town
got to play a game under the lights at gillette stadium this season.
so exciting.
the high school program, player parents and the youth program
did a great job promoting the game through selling tickets and these t-shirts
with our town's mascot mustang and the "do your job" inspiration imprinted on the front.

we see them all around town.
we see them on facebook.
most of my soccer team has them.
our babysitter has one.
my kids are basically living in theirs.

it's been so great.
it makes my heart happy to be part of a
town, program, community
where these things happen.
love that.

but, then there came the

because, the few weeks leading up to and through the game
were also some of my most jammed packed days this fall.
when 2017 program planning for wwt was in full swing.
when i've been in planes, trains, taxis and carpool lanes a lot.
when many of our solid "back to school routine"
schedules and commitments started to crack and not look so bright & shiny.
you know...the annual, hooray we made it through september,
but then look up and realize that october is even more full than september.

so put that together with seeing
"do YA joaoaoab"
around every corner.
in the community.
on the computer.
at soccer practice.
running around the backyard.
in the laundry.
on my precious children.
and i felt like all these horse shirts were talking to me.
no, yelling at me.
bossing me around.

such that the crack in my routine, schedule, brain, heart
made me shout back in my mama head...
and under my mama breath...
and in the car by mama self...

NO, you do YOUR job.
i AM doing my job.
WHAT job do you want me do?
no seriously, what JOAOAOAOB do you want me to do?
i'm doing SO many jobs.
so, stick it (with a few #$%! it)  horse shirt.

flash forward to this past week.
when my husband and sweet friends,
 loved and laughed me through my ugly t-shirt confessions.
oh sweet grace.
and again yesterday when the shirt popped
up all warm and smelling like downy during a laundry session that brought me to tears.
oh sweet gratefulness.

for this job.
that i get to do this joaoaoab.
that this job is life.
that this life is precious.
that this life is not my own.

take that horse shirt.
oh and gooooooo medway, mustangs, patriots.
i think i can cheer for you again.
if you'll still have me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

thankful tuesday, 10/18

i was driving around this afternoon,
with the windows down, sunroof open, jamming out with the kids.
it was awesome.
i honestly thought there might be a movie camera following us.
that maybe we were on a movie set.
the scene, the falling leaves, the autumn glow,
happy kids, rockin' out mama, sibling kindness, joys of motherhood.
man o' man it was pretty magical.
thankful moment.
thankful tuesday.

  • a date night back in new braintree
  • ringing the camp putnam bell with the girls
  • wonderful babysitters
  • ashland farm pumpkins
  • raw, honest tears with my boss
  • a rescued wallet
  • soccer day and this community
  • friday night lights and jane's moves to the marching band
  • our football family
  • our soccer family
  • spanish vocab around the dinner table (kinda)
  • fever snuggles with b
  • walks that fill your soul
  • toddler leaf jumping
  • a page turner
  • apple cider and treats stand
  • gus' 1st birthday and that we are his family
  • clean water bottles
  • jane's 1st letters
  • good morning songs
  • braids for the win
  • harvest moon
breath in. breath out.
 before the movie producer yells "cuuuuutttt"
and the yelling, crying, showers, laundry, dishes, emails starts up again.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

neighbor's advice

our next door neighbors are pretty wonderful.
kelly and mike.
mike and kelly.
like us, they have 3 kiddos.
but their 3 are all grown up.

they tell us often how seeing our family do life brings them back,
how fast it goes, and how much we need to remember that.

a few weeks ago during a mailbox chat,
kelly sweetly asked how the start of school was.
i shared it was going well,
though the calendar on the kitchen wall was a wee full.

she said she remembered those calendars.
then she said, "save your calendar pages".
that she did this.
that she has a box of them in her attic.
she said that when i look back, i won't be able believe what we did,
what life looked like week to week and month to month.
that i would miss it crazy like she does.

i meant to do that.
to save the september big wall calendar.
it was a good one for sure.
but we were away for the weekend,
and while away my eager helpful kids ripped it down.
maybe in anticipation of what october holds.
maybe just because ripping something off the wall feels pretty darn good.
especially if it's mommy's.

so i will hold on to the october one i think.
and along the way capture and hold on to more of the bits and bobs like these one here.

final golden hour ice cream outings
and warm golden hour walks
morning walks to the bus

ella loving middle school
and bennett loving 2nd grade
even if phonics is soooo booorrriiinnggg
and janie loving pre-school...riding the bus on her 1st field trip
and loving time with her friends so much, she barely eats her lunch
anniversary outing to the apple orchard...grateful to be his mrs.
our little apple crisp bakers
last of our backyard farm tomato haul
ella and her cuddle buddy george
boys who are bonded
chicken chores in her chucks and nightie
a piece of the farm coming to practice...soft touch girls, soft touch
coach mom and coach dad who maybe wish they could use whistles at home too
shorter days with lights out for practice
cheering for the home team
packing for san francisco, thanks to dear fashionista friend
wedding weekend get away to san francisco / berkley
a beautiful wedding
and the beautiful couple
happy bridesmaid, happy couple
and time with the redwoods
and an afternoon in wine country
we heart you san francisco
then back to wrangling kiddos...mama headlocks and lots of LOVE
living, wrangling, adventuring, loving.
yes, kelly it sure does go so so fast.

here's to gratitude
and how it turns everything into enough.