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Vacation

9 Aug

We packed up the family, baby’s antibiotics (*sigh*), and seemingly half our household goods and headed to Vail, CO for a family vacation.  Instead of doing their usual 3 weeks in Vail, my parents opted for 3 condos for 1 week (they have a timeshare there) so that my sister’s family and my family could all go on holiday together.

It was wonderful.

While Steven loves his job, he was ready for a break.  And even though I still had to make some meals and do laundry and attempt to keep chaos and clutter from drowning us in our condo, it wasn’t anywhere near the same as being at home with a 4-bedroom, 2-story home to clean.  So yes, it was very much a break for me, too.  Sometimes when Alex took his afternoon nap, I read a book.  Bliss!

I don’t think I mentioned this before, but my sister’s family, who has lived in London for the past 7 years, moved back to Texas this summer.  Alex got to meet his cousins for the very first time in June when he and I went home for a wedding.  He adores his 4 beautiful cousins, who adore him right back.  So a week spent with them in Vail?  He was in heaven.   Those girls doted on him and all vied for his affections, and he ate it right up.  We often went swimming with the girls in the evenings.

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In the past when we’ve vacationed in Vail, Steven and I were childless.  So we went spelunking (on a tour), whitewater rafting, hiking.  With a toddler, things were very different.  Sometimes we’d head into town just so Alex could ride the bus.  He thought the resort’s shuttle bus and the in-town bus were the most fun things ever.  I guess when every other ride you’ve ever taken has involved being strapped into a carseat and riding backwards, the freedom of a bus ride is exciting.  Who knew that making a 22-month-old kid happy could be such fun?  Oh, how life has changed!

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We did buy gondola tickets and ride up and down the mountain.  That wound up being a whole-family activity.  Alex was quite nervous about the gondola at first, but then he got comfortable and loved it.  Even better, he was with his grandparents and cousins!

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Steven spent a morning hiking, I got to visit a fun little bookstore (and bought a new cookbook to add to my other 50 or so cookbooks), we ate out a few times, took Alex to a children’s garden and various playgrounds in Vail, and just generally had a nice time being away from home and in the beauty of the mountains.  We are so blessed to have opportunities like this.

But it’s always nice to come home.  I missed my cats like crazy.

Oh, and if anyone wants to know a great way to keep a toddler entertained in a hotel room, just blow up a bunch of balloons and toss them into his pack-n-play.  This seriously kept Alex happy for an entire hour one day!  And he wanted to do it every day, never tiring of his makeshift ball/balloon pit.

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Days of Duck Ponds and Bubbles

14 May

Spring has hit with all its glory, and we’re spending time outside more and more frequently.  Alex has taken to bringing my shoes to me and attempting to mash them onto my feet.  It’s his way of saying he wants to go out.  I’m loving our little town in Oklahoma for its outdoor beauty and opportunities.  We walk the Pathfinder, a trail that goes through town.  We visit the duck pond to feed the ducks and geese.  We spend time in our backyard and the field beyond.

I have days that being the mom of a toddler wears me out.  It’s easy to feel inadequate.  My child was born to older parents, and he has a mother with chronic migraine and an autoimmune disorder.  To say that I’m tired is an understatement.  And often I have the doubts that plague modern mothers: Am I teaching him enough?  Is he properly stimulated?  Is he doing what other kids his age are doing?  Why doesn’t he have more teeth?!  (That last one might be unique to me.)

But somehow, when we’re outdoors, I’m unaware of these concerns.  Instead, I’m entranced watching my child experience the world around him.  Seeing his delight as he tosses bread, and ducks swim up to eat it.  Blowing bubbles for him to chase, as he giggles with the sheer joy of it.  Tossing maple seeds so he can see them twirling back down to the ground, then watching him try to make them spin, too.

He is busy, always busy.  He grabs his bucket, which I’ve conveniently taught him to fill with weeds, and he wanders the yard, picking dandelions to place inside.  Sometimes he brings them directly to me, grinning with the praise  he receives for picking the little yellow flowers.  He finds sticks and wanders the yard, waving them about, as if conducting a symphony that only he can hear.  He bobs his head a little, then his whole body follows, as he dances spontaneously to the music in his head.

This is the stuff of childhood.  These are the days that will be seared in my mind to become precious memories in the future.  Because I know that someday, the world will cease to be new to him.  It won’t be a big deal to see a duck eat a piece of bread.  Bubbles will not be worthy of chasing.  And he may stop noticing the seeds and sticks and dandelions all around him.  But I hope the music he hears, the song in his heart, will never truly change, and he’ll still want to dance for the sheer joy of it.

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I See the Moon

24 Apr

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I see the moon
And the moon sees me
God bless the moon
And God bless me

That little rhyme is from one of Alex’s little nursery rhyme books.  I think of it every time I have a moment outdoors at night when the moon is visible.

There’s a comic strip called Rose Is Rose, which I used to read in The Dallas Morning News every day.  It’s about Rose’s life with her little family of a husband, son, and cat.  Every once in a while, the husband, Jimbo, goes outside at night and has what he calls his “garbage moment.”  He gets quite upset if anyone or anything disturbs his garbage moment, which is when he takes out the trash.  I never understood that.

Then we moved here.

Steven usually takes the trash out to the bin for me, but sometimes, it falls on me.  Because we can actually see stars here, unlike in Dallas where you can only see three stars on a clear night, I find myself standing at the garbage can, looking up in awe.  Especially when it’s a clear, crisp night with a bit of a chill in the air and the neighborhood is quiet.  Wow.  Just wow.

My garbage moment.  I get it.  Finally.  And as I stand there, just taking in the sight of stars lighting up the sky like glitter, I find myself wishing that for just a moment, the world would go dark so I can see the sky as God meant for it to be seen.