Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving weekend

Phew! We had quite a weekend.

There was just something about hosting our first Thanksgiving, making (and carving!) our first turkey that really made me feel grown up. Having two kids and taking them on little adventures also has that effect on me.

This weekend was the perfect balance of laying low and getting out to explore. We set up the Christmas tree and enjoyed some TV. We ate out and ate leftovers. We found a new hiking spot. We trekked up to San Francisco. Mostly, we just enjoyed being together.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving.

This year we won't be traveling for the holidays. Not for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We won't be with extended family for either holiday. Part of me is sad about this. Another part of me, a bigger part, is happy.

Happy to avoid the chaos and cost of holiday travel, yes, but more, I am excited to begin our own traditions. I am excited to take the traditions passed down to us and meld them into something that is our own. We will watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and make the foods I grew up eating. But instead of my parents' dressing, we'll make Chris's parents'. We'll add corn to the table. We'll savor the pies I've watched my own mom make countless times, but with my own spin- a braided crust and lattice top. And instead of being surrounded by our own parents and siblings, we'll be surrounded by each other, our two babies and new friends.

I love Thanksgiving. I love the extra emphasis on gratitude, for there is always much to be thankful for. I love spending time baking. I love all the food that you only eat a couple times a year.  And for us, I love this chance to make it ours. I have such fond memories of Thanksgiving growing up. Watching the parade and then watching The Miracle on 34th Street after. Observing my parents work their magic in the kitchen. Seeing my parents open their home to friends- other people who, for whatever reason, weren't spending the day with family. I remember some quirky yearly attendees- weird, but it wasn't Thanksgiving without them. I remember loving the chance to have a day off, in the middle of the week, to spend extra time with my siblings.

Having chance to create the same for my children is such a blessing. Today I baked pies all day and encouraged Meredith to help. I was so excited for her to be a part of such a happy tradition. As I cut the extra dough from the first pie, I got so excited to make her the same treat my mom made for us.

Of course, she thought it was disgusting and didn't understand what all my fuss was about, but we've started.
    We've started making memories surrounding special days. Hopefully one day, she'll look forward to a day of baking with mom and the next day filled with food and friends. And hopefully one day after that, she'll look forward to days of baking with her children and opening her own home to friends (and maybe her ol' mom and dad).

It's fun to think about all that- what the future might hold for this little family of mine, but today and tomorrow I am focusing on what I am thankful for. This cup of mine is filled to overflowing- from the smallest of details to the biggest of gifts. I am blessed.

So wherever you are this year- enjoying an age old tradition, or beginning a new one, spending time with family, old friends or new- I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

And just because he's cute:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

little artist.

Meredith's interest in doing art projects is slowly increasing and I couldn't be more excited. It's so fun to see her creativity coming to life. I also love these quiet moments, just me and her.


This year, as Thanksgiving approaches, I have felt overwhelmed by all that I have to be thankful for.  Mostly, I am grateful for my family. I'm grateful for their health and their happiness. I'm grateful that my husband is also my best friend and that adding a second baby to our family has helped us work better as a team. I'm grateful that he works hard in his career and makes being home for dinner a priority. I'm grateful that after a long day of work, he doesn't veg out on the couch, but instead gets right down on the floor to play and entertain Meredith.

I'm grateful for this toddler phase. There are moments, of course, that frustrate and anger me. But those moments are heavily outweighed by the good. She has the most clever things to say. She yells, "Mama, waaaaaaait!" when I leave the room and she wants to show me something. She calls, "Baba, aaahhhhr you?" when she's looking for him in the house. She sings the ABCs, Jesus loves me, Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star and Hush Little Baby in the cutest garbled way imaginable.

I'm thankful for my little boy. He's a peaceful presence in our home (except around the 8pm hour). He's letting me sleep and giving us smiles. I haven't felt as strong an emotional bond to him quite as quickly as with his sister.  It's more like a slow burn- day by day, I love him more.

We've been in California a year now. I'm thankful for the people we've met who are helping this far away place feel more like home. I'm thankful for our friends back home who stay in touch and remind us we're loved and known deeply. I'm thankful that we live in such a beautiful place. That I can take Meredith outside to play on most days. That trees are heavy with fruit and mountains are in sight almost everywhere.

I could go on for ages, listing more and more, but I won't. We have been blessed with so much and not a day goes by that I don't thank God, especially for my babies.

Monday, November 19, 2012

a day off.

Last week, after a busy few days following our trip to Texas, I declared a day off. Now, how exactly does a stay at home mom take the day off? It mostly looks the same as any other day. Emotionally, though, it's different. No guilt over screen time. No pressure to get dressed, be on a schedule or accomplish anything. Of course the irony of that is Meredith had less screen time and I accomplished more around the house than on a normal day.

But it was a great day. PJs, hot chocolate, Cars, cuddles and baking.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mama Meredith & Potty Training

A few weeks ago, we attempted potty training. We were not successful. I was demoralized. Meredith was frustrated. So, we are taking a break. Yet, while we aren't actively talking about potty training, it's still clearly on her mind. I'm taking this as a good sign.

And goodness! How great are toddlers?! Sure, they have their moments. But mostly, I am laughing all day long at how clever she is.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2 months.

My sweet Mattias,
You are two months old. It doesn't seem possible that you have been here that long already. You've completed us, though. You've made our home feel more full and even happier than it was before. You are so easy going and just seem to go right along with the hustle and bustle of our days. I daresay you are an easier baby than your sister, but it could also be that I'm not quite as anxious as I was the first time. Either way, I find myself simply enjoying you. Not worrying about sleeping and eating and schedules and educational activities. You are a baby and I'm soaking up the moments I get with you- cuddling, rocking, nursing, cooing. Sweet boy, I love you. And thanks for taking it easy on me.

And for comparison's sake, Meredith at 2 months: