Wednesday, November 25, 2015

With Thanks

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. It's certainly my favorite meal of the year. There are certain dishes that we only eat on Thanksgiving. The turkey, obviously, homemade stuffing, apple and sweet potato scallops, stuffed mushrooms, and more. My mouth is watering, so I should probably stop. Tomorrow's the day!!

I've always loved taking some time to be thankful during this time of the year (and really anytime of the year). The harvest is done, there's a warmth to be found within our abodes, there are loved ones to see & hug. I always have the urge to be cliche and ask everyone at the table to share what they are thankful for. The few times I've done it at my family gatherings it's met some eye-rolling and I get it.

In the last couple of months, during the time Ian's been at PMO, I've tried to be really purposeful with my hours alone. I've done more exercising, reading, journaling, and taken more time to just be quiet. It's been a blessing and a gift that I haven't taken lightly.

In two a half months, give or take a few weeks, life will be changing again. We'll be welcoming a precious baby into our family and life will move from somewhat predictable & routine to dynamic, full, and new. I find the time that I have now to regroup, focus, pour in, and savor the moments with only Ian as incredibly significant and I want to cherish and soak in as much as humanly possible.

I am so thankful that this breathing time is available in the here and now. It's led me to be much more content and much more present for Ian & Jim. Being a mama is all I've ever wanted and it brings me so much joy. I am so grateful for this purpose and opportunity to love our children daily and enrich their lives through activities and just giving them my time and energy.

This season I have recognized that during my "off" times, like naps and PMO, it's okay to take this time to replenish and thrive in my own way. I'm more productive and available in all faculties if I've taken some time for me. All other things will get done and DO get done faster.

This may sound obvious, but it's a lesson I've had to learn and relearn in the last months. I am so grateful for it.

While I am writing about being grateful, here's my 2015 list (in no special order!):

  • A warm house with all of the comforts we need (and some we don't!), with a glorious backyard, and a playground down the street. It's a toddler paradise and, for now, it appeases the urges Jim has to "homestead" (that term is used very lightly!). A garden, chickens, and very soon rabbits will be added to the mix.
  • My husband who works so hard for our family, our life,  and our dreams. For a man who daily walks into difficult medical situations and loves & cares for each patient with his humble, thoughtful, and knowledgeable skills. For an involved and passionate father who helps whenever he can, currently takes all of the nighttime sleep interruption shifts, and runs around the house in circles fifty plus times a night after hearing a simple, "C'mon Papa, run!" And for a man who just organized a weekend away for us as a couple to enjoy, pamper ourselves, and savor time together before life changes again (for the better).
  • For a toddler who seeks every opportunity to explore, learn, and create. As long as he's included, no adventure is too big for his little legs and heart. His love for music, singing, and being sung to, is a delight for us to behold. His language skills soar more and more each day, leading every day to be a gift of surprises and excitement. He brings more laughter, joy, and love into each day than we ever thought possible!
  • Our sweet baby, growing hearty and strong within my womb. Snuggling with me and reminding me of his/her presence throughout each day, making his/her way into our hearts and home. "Moosey" is so loved. As the season changes to cold, dry, and crisp, my heart only grows warmer thinking about the birth that is to come in the middle of winter, just before spring blooms around us. What a time to come into this world... just before all that's grey turns green and vibrant with an unlimited color palate.
  • Our families. Both sides don't live super close, but they make efforts to visit us when they can and we are grateful for the times we jet up to spend time with each of them. They love Ian so unconditionally and, in turn, fill our hearts as well. Thank you for being so supportive and encouraging through this residency & parenting journey!
  • The area where we live. Never would I have thought that we'd grow so attached to this location. Medical school brought us here six years ago and we've grown quite fond of it. There are many reasons... it's beautiful, full of outdoor adventure possibilities, is a multi-college hub, it has great cultural charm set in the Appalachian mountains, and great & healthy food and foodies abound. We have no idea how long we'll be here, but we love it and it will always be the first place that was really "home" to our life together.
  • Our community here is pretty stellar! We've made some wonderful, sure-to-be lifelong friends. For the first time since we've been married, we feel connected and embedded in a great group of people. Between potlucks, dinner dates, birthday parties, walks, play dates, craft groups, and rugby games, we hardly want for social opportunities. It's something we've expressed to each other time and time again this year... we are thankful for community and solid friendships.
We're about to hit the road for our Thanksgiving plans. I am sure there are many more things I should add to this list (and I probably will add them) but here it is for now.

Ian's first Thanksgiving craft.
He is so proud of this piece. Everyone who comes into our house
gets to see his "Turkey!" with "red, orange, green & yellow."
Made at PMO.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Good Night, Sweet Dreams, I Love You"

My family always said the words above before going to bed. In that order. It's a tradition.

I've been saying it to Ian each night, too. Tonight I added one more sentence while hugging him. See the exchange below.

Me: I love you so much, Ian.
Ian: I lob (love) you too much, Mama.


This whole parenthood thing is pretty amazing.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Family Hike!!

I was making breakfast and couldn't resist snapping
this photo of the two guys chatting away.
All this fall I have been wanting to go on a hike as a family. It's been a battle to find the time between Jim's work schedule, rugby, and our own social engagements. It's also been a battle to have the get-up and go on days when we know it's our only day together and at home.

BUT, not today!! Even though Jim was away Friday night and Saturday in Virginia Beach for a rugby game, he was still up for a day's hike. Today we seized the bull by the horns and got out the door. We are so glad that we did. What a fantastic day it was.

The leaves had fallen and the weather was quite cold this morning, but we still found beauty and warmth throughout the day.

Our little forrester did not disappoint. He hiked almost all of the two miles up and the two miles down. We are so proud of this boy.

 The two miles weren't all flat like this bridge. Most of it includes stairs, like the ones pictured in the photos below. Yup, he's a beast.
 Ian squatted to show me something and Jim snapped this picture. He was fascinated by everything; owned trees, the creek, moss, you name it.

The boys in matching blues.
27 weeks pregnant today.
 Two years ago and some change, I sat on the same rock while pregnant with Ian. I think I was about two-three weeks out from having Ian at this time. It's no wonder he loves this trail :)

 Ian's outfit brought us so much joy today. Look that those adorable Argyle leg-warmers. We called him our little Swiss boy.
Our Little Swiss Boy

So grateful for this family time today. 

And so grateful for a little boy who's so willing and able to participate in our adventures!!! 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Family Rugby Weekend

A few weekends ago we traveled to my parents' house for a visit and for a rugby game. 

But first-- before we left, Ian and I did a little autumnal activity. His PMO teachers told me how much he loved sorting leaves at school, so we collected a few to sort from our yard. They were right! He LOVED sorting the leaves and telling me what colors they were.

Back to the rugby game and family weekend!

We drove up on Friday afternoon, arriving after dinner at my parents' home in Paris. Virginia, that is.

The next day we hopped in the car and headed to the rugby game near Fredericksburg. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to spectate at a sporting event.

 While the guys warmed up, we spent some time with this beautiful lass.
 Ian & Bea, as some MOPS caregivers have stated, act quite like siblings. They love each other one minute and then fight the next.

 Soon the game started and Dad joined Mom & me on the sidelines. Due to having to keep track of Ian throughout the games, I still haven't really learned the ins and outs of the game. Jim and I plan to have a few rugby-watching dates in the future, so I can learn more. Dad, having taken a new interest in the sport since Jim's started playing, was able to teach Mom and me a bit.

In these photos, Jim is sometimes quite hard to identify. Most of the time he's the one tackling someone, and therefore he is quickly buried under a pile of men. Tips for finding him include looking for a black scrum cap (to protect his ears from becoming "cauliflower ears") and a small bun sticking out of the back of the cap and the number 5 jersey on the blue team. He is also wearing a pair of maroon spandex (what else do you call them?) under his rugby shorts and is wearing white cleats. Look for the maroon shorts. He has had them since high school, but unfortunately they ripped during the warm-up for this game. 
In this photo Jim is the one pushing closest to us, for the blue team.

This is Jim after protecting one of his teammates. He hardly ever gets the ball himself and mainly is a support player. He loves this job.

This is called a "scrum."

Here you can see Jim pretty well. 

 Jim is normally hidden within the scrum. Here's a set of pictures of them getting set-up.

 Here they started spinning the opposite team. 

 For some reason unbeknownst to me, they called a foul on the scrum the first time. So, they started again.
 Our friend Matt is normally waiting to receive the ball from the scrum and start the play down the field.

 It was so fun to be able to share the game and watch it with Mom & Dad! Thanks for coming!! They got grandparent awards for walking Ian around the field until he fell asleep in the stroller, as well as helping to take care of our friends' dog. Thank you for your help!!
The famous "Baby Dale."
I am so grateful to have Anna & Val, two other doctor spouses and rugby player wives, to watch the games with. They are great friends and I'm thankful to enjoy fellowship with them, while watching the games week after week.

Jim's team won by a great deal. I don't remember the exact score. He was thrilled with the game and really pleased that it was the game my parents got to see. At the very end of the game Jim made a great tackle and, for the first time I've ever seen, he got the ball and moved it close to the endline. I think he even made the final assist!

NEXT, we enjoyed a really nice family evening! Phoebe & James hosted everyone at their wonderful home for a soft taco potluck dinner. It was our first time seeing their new abode and it is so spacious and lovely. I am really happy for them!

Ian was quite intrigued by their new kittens, leading them to hide for most of the evening. He then tackled Äma into some pillows before singing a few songs with her on the floor. It was a very sweet moment. 

 And then it was time to play with Aunt "Beebee."

One of the kittens decided to be a little brave. 

Out of the blue, earlier that week, Ian walked up to Jim, looked him in the eye, shook his hand and said, "Nice to meet you, Papa!" Jim and I were both shocked and laughed and made a big deal out of it. That weekend he had fun showing off his new trick to our family. Here, he surprised James and did it. Thank you for the photo, Pheebs!!
I asked at PMO and they said that they hadn't taught this to Ian. 
One of the teachers said, "That's all Ian. 

Mr. Northrup, my principal in elementary and middle school would be so proud.

We waited until all of the beautiful natural light was gone before deciding to get a family photo. It's pretty dark, but captures all of our smiling faces.
So nice to be with family.

Thank you all for hosting us!!!

Here are my two ruggers. Ian is starting to memorize books and wants to read certain ones over and over again. This book is from Aunt Sherri and he wants to read it multiple times daily! Thanks, Aunt Sherri!!!