Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Contradictory dreams.

In my daydreams, I am traveling in Europe by myself. If I’m being really honest, I imagine I am suddenly single, have just moved to a new city, have absolutely no friends, but a job at a cafe with cute little tables outside on a busy, picturesque street. I start to make friends through the interesting customers that come through. I am invited to quaint wine nights lit by candles (I think I may have internalized Eat, Pray, Love a little too much in my early twenties).

The other thing I daydream about is being home alone all day in a clean house, binge watching some easy show like This is Us, and ordering in sushi for lunch, all of which sounds kind of pathetic and yet really appealing. People post pictures of Netflix asking them if they are still watching, as if Netflix is judging their binging, and that sounds exactly like the type of judgment I wouldn't mind welcoming, just for one day.

Finally, I dream about having a third kid. I can't help it. Amidst all of the chaos, I enjoy being a mom more than I thought I would. I love to adventure near and far with my kids. The photographs in this post are of Everett and Cambria at a Waterfront Park concert. Everett insisted on wearing his pink superhero mask in the water. They exhibit pure joy at running through the fountains, and then dance their hearts out while watching the live musician. These types of magical moments are the norm in this season. Also the norm is interrupted sleep, tantrums, and incessant messes, but those things are small in comparison to the joy of parenthood. I just can't shake the feeling that our family isn't quite complete, but we'll see. We aren't making a decision one way or the other just yet, and I'm hoping clarity will come soon.

For now, we're just trying our best to enjoy the season we are in.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday night family dates.

Now that Matt has been back at work for a month, we are in more of a routine, and it makes me happy. I love the free for all chaos of summer, but I also like weekly rhythms and predictability.

One of the new traditions we are trying out for the fall is Friday night family dates. Everett knows that Matt and I go on dates, and that it is a special time, so he is pretty excited about family dates. I'm already trying to figure out how we can keep him excited about this concept even when he is a teenager (but there's no hope for that, right?).

It's only been a couple weeks, and it might be something we totally fail at, but it's been fun so far.

Our first Friday night family date consisted of a walk on the pier, eating pho, and then we happened upon the most magical bubble show at the golden hour at the beach. I have never seen such impressive bubbles, and the kids were so excited we happened upon them.
Watching the waves from the pier:

She found bubbles:

This series of photos made me laugh out loud:

Just in case you need to see more bubbles at sunset:

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

What has been inspiring me as a parent lately.

Parenting for me has been a lot about letting go, realizing that my children are not a blank slate waiting to be drawn upon, or a ball of clay waiting to be shaped. They already came to us as amazing people with distinct personalities all their own. They are creative, kind, fun, strong, silly, brave, and beautiful. More than trying to shape my children, I am trying to learn to let them be who they are, and to be an encouragement, support, and a safe space.

In a way, it takes some of the pressure off of being a parent; it allows me to be more present and to simply enjoy them. It also allows me to learn from them, rather than think that I am the one who has things to teach them. It allows me to be inspired by them on a regular basis.

Rather than shape their spirit into something I think it should be, my hope is that they can preserve their spirit.

If anything, we become less like our true selves as we grow older and more “mature.”

I love how kids can’t help but be the truest version of themselves.

Everett wears no masks, unless it is to be a superhero. He has not adjusted who he is to be who he thinks society wants him to be. He runs around and jumps up and down at the thought of going to a museum because he can't contain his excitement. He wears a skirt because he likes it. He looks through piles and piles of books for fun. He loves making art every day. He loves deeply and unguarded. The library is one of his favorite places. He asks constant questions so he can learn about every little thing.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it is that causes kids to lose their sense of wonder and magic and love of learning, and what my role is in helping them maintain and cultivate these parts of who they are. 


Here are some things that have inspired me lately on my parenthood journey, that I think would resonate with every parent:
  • Brene Brown's "The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto": beautiful and inspiring words
  • NPR's Hidden Brain podcast- The Carpenter vs. The Gardener: Two Models of Modern Parenting: This is about how parenting is more like being a gardener than a carpenter. A carpenter controls all variables to make a perfect product. A gardener creates a rich environment to grow life, but there are so many factors in gardening that cannot be controlled. There are surprises and successes and disappointments in gardening, but there is only so much that the gardener has control over. Often, there is growth that is beautiful in unexpected ways. There is so much goodness in this podcast.
  • Oprah's Super Soul Conversations- Dr. Shefali Tsabary: Conscious Parenting Can Change the World: This is an interesting conversation about rethinking what success looks like for our kids and not putting our expectations and ideals on them, but instead supporting them to live into who they are. 
  • The New Children's Museum: This is my childrens' current favorite place to go, and we recently got a family pass. Every time we go, I am inspired by the space and how much my children love climbing, painting, playing, creating, and just fully being joyful kids. 
  • "On Children" by Kahlil Gibran: I read this poem before I had kids, and it inspired me, but now that I have actual real life children, it has become something I keep coming back to, especially recently. For now, we have a version we created displayed in our play room (see below- Everett did the water colors, and I wrote the words).

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Snippets of summer.

"Summertime, and the livin' is easy..."

Except let's be honest. Nothing is ever easy with kids in tow, and yet, this might have been my favorite summer yet. 

Some days, our biggest accomplishment was walking to the store, buying some popsicles, and then eating them in our backyard. 

Other days, we were a bit more ambitious, but I think that when this all-consuming season of life with little ones is over, it's those simple moments like having a conversation over popsicles in the backyard that I'll miss the most.  

And then, to end summer, his first day of preschool photo, above.