Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Patiently Waiting...

Life with little ones seems to be full of waiting.

A four year old waiting for her Fourth Birthday--the long awaited moment when she can have "Bubble Gum At Last!" (And wear her Merida dress FINALLY.)

Or have chocolate cake for breakfast.

Waiting and waiting for the birthday party where Princesses and Princes gather together to bounce in the bounce house...

...or smash the iron-clad piƱata in the 112 degree heat of the porch, while 20+ kids wait their turn...

...or have a dance party...

...or the 9th costume change of the hour...

...or to blow out the candle before diving into the "Sparkle Shoes Cupcakes."

Sisters waiting for the Spray Ground to "clear out" before making their grand entrance into the sprinklers.  Unfortunately, waiting too long without acting sometimes results in unanticipated consequences--like their mother saying, "Well, if you're just going to stand there and be dry, we might as well head out and be dry at home." Maybe that's just me being impatient.  

A two-year old waiting for her birthday is a different type of waiting.  It seems she exhibits more patience in waiting.

Or maybe she just decides to enjoy each day while she's still waiting to turn 2.  Maybe I can patiently wait, but just have a harder time enjoying the wait?

Shiloh realizes some things are worth waiting patiently for--like eating a donut for breakfast.

Or having Grandma come to your birthday party because you know she has brought the funnest presents for you.

It's worth the wait when your 2nd Birthday Party is themed "Dunkin' and Donuts" since Shiloh prefers a good donut to any other form of food out there.   

The Dunkin' part being the kiddie pools and sprinklers in the backyard.  Complete with bathing beauties, enjoying the time.

Every kid has to learn the art of patiently waiting in line at the Slip-n-Slide.

Waiting to see if the kid in front of you actually stops in the "pool" at the end or careens out of control getting skid-marks from sliding an extra 10 feet in the grass.  When you're only 30 pounds though, you're lucky if you make it to the end of the slide without having to get up and run the rest.

And who doesn't love home-made donuts for party favors??! Mom learned the art of patience when she realized she'd be facilitating Donut Creation for 20+ kids under the age of 4.  Thanks, Aunt Cassie, for sensing when your best friend needed some help and patience was wearing thin.

We've all heard that Patience is a Virtue, but how is it that a 2 year old has that virtue more than her 31 year old mother?  Here she is patiently waiting for her sister to bring her "the bottle" while I tend to scramble around, getting 18 more things accomplished while I'm waiting for the microwave to warm up my coffee.

How can she JUST measure out the oatmeal and be content to leave it strewn on the counter top without trying to "multi-task" the eggs and pre-heating the oven and washing a dish or two at the same time?

There's a lot I can learn from my kids about patiently waiting.  While it seems like the question of "When are we going to Chag-a-noo-ga??!?!" when asked 47 times a day is NOT patiently waiting, once we get there, they don't seem to be waiting for anything else to happen.

They just live it up--they're not waiting for the next big thing to happen.  

Maybe that's where I go wrong--once we get to whatever we were waiting on, I suddenly seem impatient to get to the next thing.

Instead of hugging and smiling and laughing and enjoying the moment.

By taking family vacations to places like "Chag-a-nooga", I hope to re-train myself to wait patiently, and then patiently enjoy the moments.

I would imagine a doctor must learn the art of patiently waiting for med school to finish and then enjoying the fact that you get to check your dad's heart and wrap up his broken arm.

A lizard may also learn that virtue--patiently waiting to use the face paint, then patiently enjoying it while your mother lets you paint away without saying, "That's enough--now let's go wash it off."

On each vacation, we get slightly better at patiently enjoying the moments we have.

Waiting for holidays is another lesson in patience.

"Is THIS day Halloween?" Shiloh asks every day for three weeks.

It's not officially Halloween until you either buy a pumpkin or take a picture next to a pumpkin that is four times the size of you.

Yahoo Farms:  a pumpkin place that makes patience an easy virtue to attain.  No lines, no exorbitant pumpkin pricing, free parking, lots of actual pumpkins, and best of all--a corn cannon.

After the usual "sit here, smile at me, look over here, hug each other, not so tight, now let her breathe, ok look at me again, one more time" pictures, I was finally able to patiently enjoy the day.

Tim is a champ at helping me patiently enjoy each activity, rather than rushing off to do the next.  Corn Maze in particular: "No, Maureen, we're not going to look at the map to get through the maze really fast.  The point of the maze is to figure it out and get lost a little and have fun." So we did that.  And I enjoyed it.

And we enjoyed the pumpkins, too.

Whenever the holiday arrives, the person who most struggles the most with learning the art of ENJOYING each activity rather than impatiently rushing to do the next thing or take the next picture or fix that stray hair-do or make the next craft: me.

So my kids and hubby remind me to relax and enjoy.

Enjoy the opportunity to trick-or-treat each year with the family favorites: The Clark's.  Astronaut Andre, Captain America Colton, Selah the Cutie Witch, Amera the Skeleton, Shiloh the White Puppy, and Canaan the Brown Puppy.

And for their mother to not worry so much about face paint smudging off and loosing the other glow-in-the-dark-wand...

...and only hitting seven houses because little legs and wagon-pullers just can't make it another block...

...and that it is OK to ease up on the Sugar Communist Manifesto for one night and let the kid eat 18 pieces of candy.  It is ok to patiently enjoy the moments.

And so I continue to learn from my kids and learn from my husband to not only patiently wait for the next big thing, but to patiently enjoy the moments as I'm living them.

Like watching the girls drive their Power Wheels, imagining the day when they're 16 and trying to drive for real and reminding myself to enjoy these little moments (and also pray really hard for when those big moments finally come.)

And the biggest Wait Patiently Moment in our lives now?  Probably the biggest one I have ZERO control over??  The baby.  I am forced to patiently wait while the baby is baking, hoping each day is "The One" and being ok when it isn't.  Reminding myself at least I won't be pregnant in February.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Days are Long but the Years are Short

As a young mother, I have heard the mantra meant to keep us trucking during these little years of growing our family, "The days are long, but the years are short."

On top of that, I'd like to add, "The summer is short as well, but when the heat and humidity kicks it up to a eyeball-scorching 148 degrees, it makes the days feel like you're living in eternity--and not the good kind we all hope to live in."

So we have to fill the days with fun things--like Piedmont Park, our favorite spot in Atlanta. 

EVERY time we go, I envision flying a kite in the beautiful blue sky, but when it comes down to it, I just can't spend more than $4.99 on a kite.  

Thus, Shiloh and I end up laughing as Tim and Canaan run amok trying to keep it afloat.

Just another memory we log away for the years ahead when we look back thinking, "Those little years just flew by..."

And to create memories for our kids during these little years, we indulge them (sometimes.) With giant lollipops and Braves games.

And "Treasure Hunting" (also known as Geo Caching.)

Also known as "How Far Will You Reach Into the Dark and Ominous Underbrush To Retrieve The Elusive Box" game.

A favorite summer memory of mine was spending three months every year at the lake in Minnesota--one which we've begun to recreate for our kids. 

Minnesota's mantra was, "The Days are Long, but the Nights When the Mosquitoes Are Swarming In Your Ear Are Even Longer." 

We love the Minnesota Cousins.  A true Girl Posse.

And the Fourth of July--another family favorite to make memories for our kids.

Including the Boat Parade, where our family and friends think of a theme to decorate the boat and float around the lake for hours, shooting water balloons at unsuspecting passer-bys.

Some may think of themes like, "The Stars and Stripes Forever" or "Freedom from Al Qaida"

But my Aunt Beth and Uncle Roy think bigger.

They think, "Red Solo Cup"--with actual solo cups floating in the breeze and matching shirts for all 30 of us to wear on the Big Day of Freedom.

We realized that the memories we are building for our kids now will become a part of their story later.

So why not let them smash cupcakes in each other's faces every now and then?  

Or ruin their brand new white shirts while wrangling their Aunt Cindy's horses at the farm?

We've only got a few years to create a home that they'd want to return to when they're grown.

So we live it up with friends like Uncle Michael and Aunt Amy.

Running in the mud with bare feet and getting buried in the dirt.

And when your kids cash out in the middle of the floor, I take it as a sign that some good memories have been made for the day.

While those "short years" quickly add up to the "expensive years," Dave Ramsey has helped us learn to live life with an open hand, freely giving, freely receiving (and freely paying off the rest of our student loans as well as the monthly gymnastics fee.)

We love the days we're living now, but honestly, we look forward to the years ahead when we own land.  

So we go to the Art Barn and pretend that we have goats...

and baby chicks, naming one Shiloh since it was born on her birthday.

And pretending to drive the tractor and harvest the fields.  Looking fabulously cute the whole time.

So we go home, reminded to keep pressing forward in our goals so we can get there one day.

For now, we fill those "long days" with naked Barbies and one-armed Ken dolls.

Zoe, the cat, wishes the long days weren't filled with so many "snuggles" and tiny girls disturbing her sleep by "tucking her in with this blanket" and constant barraging by "her best friend Shiloh."

Long days don't seem that long when you have your closest friends to play Robin and Merliah, the Super Princess Mermaid with.

Or when you have your sister to sit on the curb and enjoy the evening with.

Or when you have your best friend who happens to be your hubs with you every day of these memorable years.

Or when you are awaiting the arrival of your third baby, a surprise due in November.

That makes those long days seem a little shorter, in the hopes that these little years will last a bit longer.