Monday, May 28, 2012

Playing In The Rain

Mother's Day weekend we planned to grill for dinner but wouldn't you know it, the grey clouds and rain rolled in.  Our grill is under the patio, so we decided to cook up our meat outdoors anyway and eat inside.  

Now let me explain to you what happens when James goes out to grill (which is right next to the sliding glass door) and the kids can't go outside with is as though James has gone out to play in a giant pool of melted chocolate and is mockingly waving to our sugar-loving children from the other side of the glass door...or maybe as if he's gone out to some secret party full of bouncy houses, ice cream buffets and an inviting pit of dirt (for Jack).  They lose their minds.  There is crying...desperation as they attempt to maneuver that darn lock keeping the glass panel between them and bliss closed...lots of pounding on the glass...and crying.  Did I mention that one already?

You get the idea.  So yeah, we let them out.  We said they could go out and sit at the table under the patio while Dad grilled. But the lure of the soft rain was too much for them.  Three sets of shoes and three hoods later, off they went.

Mia, who had been wearing a bathing suit all day (there was no swimming, just wishful sunshine thinking), happily twirled around in her swim cover up and rainboots.  They she says, "Mama!  This is so great!  We've never ever ever played in the rain before!".   Don't be silly, of course you have....oh wait.  No you haven't! 

Nothing like a "you've robbed us of our childhood for the past 4 years and are finally letting us be children!" line from your 4 1/2 year old, to send you into a mommy-guilt stupor.

I guess this just reinforces the theme of our Boys Will Be Boys post....we've spent a lot of time saying "no" to things because it means there will a mess to clean up later, we might get a little wet/dirty/slimey ourselves, it will be loud, something (or someone) could break, or it just requires effort from us that we aren't up for giving.  There are also times we say "no" out of a genuine concern for safety or because it's not the right time/place for the acitivty.  

We are trying to be more conscious of those times we are saying "no" from a place of selfishness, laziness or fear.  "No" is not a bad word for our children.  They need healthy boundaries.  But they also need the freedom to be children and say, play in the rain.....even if it means muddy shoes and soggy clothes.  Because even though it leads to a dirty, wet pile at the end, it can also lead to this.....

That sweet, snotty-nosed boy was simply giddy.  They all were.  And you know...the cleanup wasn't too bad and they all slept great. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the women called to this beautiful vocation of mothering...whether for your own children or for the other children in your life.  I'll share some thoughts on motherhood in a later post but for now here's a peak at our day.

We went to church as a family this morning and attempted a Mother's Day photo shoot afterwards.  Yeah......

Those are my monkeys!  Who says perfectly posed is better anyway :)

Then we all changed clothes and donned our garden boots.  Once upon a time there was a tomato and flower garden along the side of the house, but the weeds took over and we never got around to clearing it out last year.  Since we hyped up the garden to Mia when we bought this house a year and a half ago, we figured we better not let it go another year.  That baby is finally cleared out, prepped and ready for seeds! 

So in they marched...

...and let the planting begin!

Jack was just pleased as punch to have free reign in the dirt.


Sully was really into patting the soil on top of the seeds. 

After everyone was good and dirty, it was time to call it done!

I'm not sure what to expect growing this garden from seeds (especially with three bambinos in charge of the plating), but if any living thing pops up from the ground as a result of their efforts today, I think we will all be thrilled!  We novices may not have done it all correctly but it sure was done with a lot of love. 

I hope that your day was filled with much of the same: lots and lots of love!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Boys Will Be Boys

Cue the music to a soft, sweet lullaby and let me take you back to Mia as a baby/toddler...

One of her favorite activities was to sit and read her books.  For more than 30 seconds. 

She never felt the urge to stick her finger in an electric socket.  Or up her nose.

If I told her a cupboard was off limits, she moved on to something else.  And didn't come back when I wasn't looking. 

She never mistook herself for a monkey or our furniture for her personal jungle.

But my boys are different.  We did not change anything in our general parenting approach with them...there's just something written on the spirit of a little boy that seeks adventure, and will create it when there isn't any readily to be found.

For example...Mia would have been thrilled to strap on her seat belt and be pulled for a ride around the yard in the wagon.  Sully had a different idea....

I'm not sure what song was playing in his head as he busted a move on the wagon but it must have been a pretty good groove.

The other one looks innocent enough playing on this truck...

even flashing me a smile,

and blowing some kisses,

 But you already saw how he likes to go against the grain...or just against whatever we would like him to do.  Such as sitting down while eating a meal. 

 In fact, all that standing on the wagon started with him...

Yup.  He's trouble. 

Sweet, sweet trouble and full of more mischief than I ever bargained for...but I'm learning.  Learning that this is what boys are made of.

The other day Sully stood on the ottoman in our family room, flung his body into the air and landed in a heap on the couch.  He stood up with a smile of pure joy on his face.  The same smile was not on mine, and James and I both reacted the same - don't even think about doing it again. 

We've been stuck inside for quite a while due to colds and a horrible allergy season.  I told James that I feel like we've been dishing out a bunch of "no's" lately and have not given a lot of opportunities for boisterous play.  We don't want to squash the "boy" in him.  So James went back in the family room to Sully and said, "Hey Buddy, can you show me that again?".  You would have thought we handed the kid an invitation to a room full of chocolate donuts.  He was beyond excited. 

Of course his sister wanted to join in too, so we set some guidelines they had to follow. It was the most fun-filled 20 min of play they've had in a long time.  Now, I'm not advocating you let your children jump on the couches or the furniture in general, but sometimes breaking the rules and having a little fun is just want a young (or old) heart needs. 

I must remember that a fearless, adventure-seeking heart is good and not to crush my children's every creative attempt to have some adrenaline pumping fun out of fear of a broken neck (or damaged furniture).  The spirit of adventure, mischief curiosity, and fearlessness is what makes them boys and will one day make them good that desire to live a passionate life with purpose and significance, with a desire to learn and grow, and with a courage that leads.

I have a feeling these boys will keep my quick-reaction-ninja-Mama skills in check and that the days of leisurely play are gone.  But if I can resist the urge to create a risk-free environment by squashing every form of play that makes my heart jump, then maybe we can all benefit from living with a little more of that adventurous spirit.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Birthday..... me!

It was a perfectly beautiful day outside yesteday.  I requested steaks for dinner, so my amazing husband grilled out back for us....and brought me a glass of wine while he cooked up our steaks.  This might be my idea of perfection - out on the patio with a glass of wine (or cup of coffee) and a blank page to make a list.  Any list will do :)

We ate on the patio and for some reason there was a lot of standing from these two...

Especially this one.

Who really liked his pasta..

Don't worry Bud, I won't try to take it from you

Then there was dessert....cupcakes and cake pops that James picked up from a local specialty bakery. 

That one in my hand would be their "Half Baked". YUM.


In fact they were so messy afterwards that we decided to forgo the napkins and go straight to the hose....which proved to be even more fun.

Jack's latest thing is to put his hand to his mouth whenever he's laughing with excitment.  Silly, sweet boy :)

It was a wonderful day and thanks to everyone who sent birthday wishes and songs my way! 

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