"Stop the glorification of busy."
It happens every year around mid-October. Life.
It gets in the way of the best time of year. It causes me to forget the simple and the cozy - the calmness of shorter days and sheltered nights. It forces me to hit the pause button, reflect on what's really important, take notice of the little things happening around me and remember why I cherish this season so much. It's not easy - I'm running on fumes right now after a very busy few weeks, and each day I cross off on our calendar, I feel a little bit of sadness at how fast time is flying. Can you believe we'll be Christmas shopping soon? And I've yet to buy one can of pumpkin for baking. We haven't made leaf piles yet. And that chili party I so badly wanted to have... is probably not going to happen.
Case in point... these two weeks that we're smack dab in the middle of. I started this past work week at 3am on Sunday morning and didn't end it until 5:30pm Friday night. We've had a household full of sick people with coughs and short nights of sleep. My voice is almost gone. Two days ago was a football game, yesterday a birthday party, tonight a haircut for Brandon, Tuesday night a daycare open house and flu vaccines, Wednesday night my hair appointment, Thursday night parent teacher conferences and a book fair, Friday night a basketball game and Saturday morning Jaden's basketball practice. We are on the go all the time, and I know it will only get crazier as the boys age and our jobs continue to grow. None of this is bad, and we have so much to be thankful for. The problem -- and the solution -- comes in forcing myself to take a deep breath and take notice. Just because we haven't had family pictures taken in front of those pretty autumn leaves yet doesn't mean I can't look at them outside my living room window. Just because we haven't turned all those scattered leaves into a pile for jumping doesn't mean I can't appreciate the way they look when they blow around in the wind and sprinkle onto my deck. Just because his request wasn't for pumpkin muffins doesn't mean I can't appreciate the simple chocolate brownies I made last night after Brandon begged me for them for three weeks. Fall and seasons and holidays and traditions are all wonderful things... as long as we don't allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by them. Because when we allow ourselves to get wrapped up in what we SHOULD be doing to soak up all the good... we tend to miss out on all the good anyway. In a Pinterest world, my Christmas card picture would have been taken outside when it was still 65 degrees, I'd have painted pumpkins on my front step and I would have worn mustard colored tights to church yesterday. Reality looks much different. It looks like a suitcase yet to be unpacked from five days ago in the middle of my bedroom floor. It looks like a full dishwasher and overflowing kitchen sink. It looks like a dusty end table, an unchecked mailbox and bare kitchen cupboards.
So as October comes to a fast close, I'm re-adjusting my mindset. I'm going to be content to just BE. If that pumpkin pie gets made... great. If it doesn't... that's okay, too. If family pictures happen just in time to make that Pinterest-worthy Christmas card... awesome. If not, Christmas will still happen, and Santa will still come. Time isn't going to stop for me. I have to be free to ride along with it. And to be intentional about focusing on the impromptu good that happens freely and unplanned every day...
Just some of the unplanned good from lately...
*made from scratch peanut butter cookies. best. dough. ever.
*star gazing and late nights outside. It's getting too chilly to do that now, but September was made for it.
*catching tree frogs... we're getting good at it.
*missing the Fall colors but watching the sun rise and set on the Pacific Ocean for four days. Nothing like it.
*the way Brandon's voice sounds on the phone when I'm thousands of miles away. His sweet way of telling me, "I'm hugging you over the phone Mommy!"
*yoga on the beach at sunrise.
*the first full day of sweatshirt weather.
*our Fall book collection. Story time before bed is extra special around holiday time. Just a few of our favorites for Fall are: Pumpkin Soup, Peter Rabbit and the Pumpkin Patch, That's When I'm Happy, The Fox and the Falling Leaves and The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything
*Cody's chili. I love his so much that I won't eat it anywhere else.
*watching the boys try on their Halloween costumes for the first time. They are so excited. (And oh so cute).
*Brandon's "standing" hugs at daycare. Every morning when we drop him off, he has to have one last hug right in the doorway before he lets us go. And we have to be standing tall -- holding him. With an eskimo kiss to seal the deal.
*brand new bed sheets. Love.
*our deck full of leaves.
*birthday parties with daycare friends. We are blessed by a wonderful daycare - teachers, friends and parents.
*quiet Sunday afternoons at the library. I love that my kids love to go to the library.
*a tuckered out five-year old. He fell asleep all on his own in the middle of a noisy living room, and we didn't wake him until supper. Kindergarten and growing up wears him out.
*an un-planned Halloween craft on the living room floor... practice for our fine-motor skills.
*the sweet and happy little noises Lucy makes when she spots a bird from the window.
*a husband who cooks up a mess in the kitchen on a Sunday night. My favorite confetti chicken pasta. (The mess is worth it).
*watching Brandon get his haircut. He sat in the chair so proud and grown up and talked to his hair stylist like he was an old man in a barber shop. For 10 minutes, he filled Christie in on what he was going to be for Halloween, how many parties he gets to have, what his brother and friends are going to be, how nice his hair looks and that there's going to be a special Paw Patrol Halloween movie on TV in a few days. He made eye contact with her, approved his hair cut when she was all finished, hopped down from the chair and said, "Thank you!"
*helping Jaden fill out his "job application" to be the chair helper in his classroom. I asked him why he wanted that job and why he thought he would be good at it. "Because it would be a tough job. The chairs are heavy. And I am strong... so I can help those who aren't as strong as I am." (proud Mama moment).
*playing kitchen in the basement with Brandon. For 45 minutes, he cooked me cakes and cookies and chocolate fruit smoothies. He chatted the whole time, clinked glasses with me with a "Cheers!" and made our jaws drop numerous times for the grown up conversation he was initiating. When I told him I wanted one of his cookies, he looked at me with a long pause, put a serious expression on his face and said, "Mommy. Remember what my friends always used to say. (Long pause). You have to share your toys." We were rolling laughing.
*A pet cat... that refuses to be left out of anything we do.
*this moment right now as I'm typing. A band forming in the bathtub across the hall. Jaden drumming on tupperware in the water while Brandon makes up words to go along with the tune.
Pinterest has got nothing on us.