Friday, May 13, 2011

My Mother's Day

First, I was awakened by my little guy, just like I am every morning. Judah is usually the first to rise, and he always stomps into our room and climbs into bed. On my side. Every time. Never wants to cuddle with anyone but Mommy. It's okay--he's quite the cuddler. Then Charlie quietly (which is more her way) tiptoes into the room and joins us in the bed, too. On my side, as well. So I entertain them for a while and then remember that it's Mother's Day and I get to sleep in if I want to. :) So I nudge Paul and ask if he would kindly enlist Charlie and Judah's help in the kitchen with Mother's Day breakfast in bed. Which he does.

I doze for about a half hour while Paul slaves away in the kitchen over fresh baked croissants with honey butter, scrambled eggs, perfectly crispy bacon, fresh berries, orange juice, and a cup of Irish breakfast tea. I'm sure the kids are helping, but all I can hear is giggling and occasional bickering. But I stay in bed, because I know Paul has it all under control. Breakfast was just lovely, eating alone in my bed and reading my new book, which was my gift from the family--The Handbook for Catholic Moms. I actually read a couple of chapters AND drank a cup of tea before it became cold!

We went to the later Sunday morning Mass so that we I could have a more leisurely morning than usual. It was nice. We ended up walking to church, since it was such a perfect day, and letting the kids play on the playground for a few minutes before the service. On our walk home, we retraced the path that I used to walk from the bus stop, back when I was a childless working woman in the city. The walk triggered my memory of those days, and I began to talk about what life was like when it was just Paul and me, before I was a mother. The days of office work, happy hours, last-minute weekend trips to the beach. I actually used to fix my hair EVERY DAY! While we were walking past our old condo--the one-bedroom on the second floor that we owned (and were perfectly happy with) before we learned of Charlie's existence--I pointed up to show the kids where we used to live. "Look! That's where Mommy and Daddy used to--"

"Hey, Mommy! Did you see that bumpy slide at the playground? It was so fun!"

Not only does she have no problem cutting me off while I'm on Memory Lane, but she has no idea that there was a life before she was born. As far as they know, we didn't even exist until they came around. There was no reason to, right?

It really is hard, though, to remember life before these guys. It feels like a lifetime ago. As if I'm remembering someone else's memories. Life was totally about Paul and me back then. We came and went whenever we want, slept as long as we wanted on the weekends, did pretty much whatever felt good at the moment. Now I can't even write this blog post without having to get somebody a drink of water or help settle an argument.

We came home from church, had a light lunch, and then headed outside to plant our little seedlings in pots to hopefully have the opportunity to nurture an abundant container garden of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and herbs. We had so much fun digging in the dirt and running away from the hose (this is how Paul gardens--chasing us with the hose).

We went out to dinner that night, though I wonder if we will next year. Mother's Day is really a crazy day to go out. No one wants Mom to have to cook on Mother's Day, but Mom really doesn't need to wait an hour for a table and then spend her entire dinner not only entertaining her own kids but having to endure listening to everyone else's kids be cranky and all that, does she? It's my fault--I really wanted to go out. But hopefully I'll remember next year that it's not all it's cracked up to be. :)

I spent the day completed delighted with my family. Life is certainly so different these days. I stay busy being at home, homeschooling, and making a peaceful environment for the family, with very little time to myself. It's really hard having to be "on" all the time. But life is so full, and I wouldn't want it any other way. These little guys are what I always wanted before I knew what I wanted. :) It isn't always so rosey (as I'm sure you know!), but if I weren't home with them like I am, I feel like I would miss so much. I'm so, so thankful for our simple life.

I'm also thankful for my own mother, who showed me what self-sacrifice is all about. She gave of herself every single day, and continues to do so, even though her children are all grown. Even when times were difficult, we always, always knew we were deeply loved. I hope that my own children will say this of me someday. Thanks, Mom, and happy Mother's Day (a few days late). :) Love you.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Springing forward

A few weeks ago, Paul was priveleged to travel a couple of days for work. He visited the district in SC that his boss represents--mainly the Columbia area--and toured several agricultural facilities like a cattle ranch, a farm, and the largest peach orchard in the Southeast. Ever since that trip, Paul has been reading and talking about supporting small farms and wanting to somehow be involved in community-supported agriculture. As a result, he and I spent some time with the kids over the weekend planting seeds for our first-ever container garden. We live in a small condo with not much direct sun, which is why we have never attempted a garden of any sort. But we started thinking that there's no reason we couldn't put a few things in pots and move them around where the sun is, right? Well, we're going to try it. So now we've got seeds for cherry tomatoes, basil, and cucumbers sprouting in egg cartons in the house. I have to move them from window to window during the day to make sure they're getting the sun they need. I also have a pot of cilantro outside, and just yesterday I gathered some seeds from a green pepper that I'd like to get started, too.

Paul shot this with his Blackberry yesterday morning. This is the cucumber growth just since Saturday!

There has been a lot of spring cleaning and nesting going on lately, too. I think the combination of the time of year and the time in my pregnancy has resulted in an obsession for me. :) I really like to clean already. But always, around 32 weeks, I get the bug to constantly organize, donate our unwanteds, clean, spruce up, etc., as if once the baby gets here the whole house has the potential to just fall apart. As much as I'd like to live in a larger space, having a small condo grants the opportunity to get it all done. In addition to cleaning, I've been able to make a few things like a new wreath and the bathroom curtains for which I've had fabric for about a year!

My front door spring wreath

We have been having such a beautiful spring seaason. Easter was just lovely, quietly celebrated at Mass with friends and then brunch afterwards. Our Lenten season was also very special, as I take inventory of everything going on in our family's life lately, and sort of streamline a bit. For Lent, in addition to giving up my late night snack (which I really don't need anyway but somehow always feel entitled to since I am, after all, pregnant), I focused on some wifely and motherly duties that sort of needed some "tightening up."
These ideas sound so archaic and repressive, in the modern world we live in. "Wifely duties." The duties that I've been working on are things like setting the table for dinner with a tablecloth (for example) and having family-style meals instead of fixing our plates in the kitchen and being sure to pick up the house, make the kids presentable, and fixing up myself with set hair and makeup before Paul comes home from work. I know these things might sound so silly to some people, but they have become very important to me. I feel like being in this mindset helps to create a place of peace. It's the little details that show a little more care, you might say. 
I'm also working on having a set time for prayer and quiet time, and especially praying for patience with the kids and Paul. It's not exactly natural for me to be patient. Being pregnant, mom to two, homeschooling, providing part-time childcare (just for a few more weeks!), handling almost all the household duties (Paul does do all the laundry, which is so great!), running a sewing business, and making sure to get the kids out of the house when I can, makes for very long days and not a lot of me-time, or God-time, for that matter. I do realize that it's a matter of priority, and if that means heading to bed earlier and actually setting an alarm clock, then it's what has to be done.
I love this time of year for the idea of waking up from the winter, shaking off the dust and cold, and preparing for the growth of summer. There is a feeling of potential in the air, and responsibility to cultivate that potential. So as we transplant our little seedlings, and I begin to close out this pregnancy, I'm praying that God will help me to always recognize what's most important--that while it's nice to have a clean, organized house, it's better to have children and a husband who are at peace, know they're loved, and are growing in God's grace. It seems that it's an ongoing prayer.
On a side note, my parents are giving me a camera soon, so I'll be able to get back to taking pictures and hopefully will then have more incentive to blog more often! Yay! :)