Friday, January 12, 2018

Winter Break Adventure

For the first time in a long time, there is sweet silence in my home.

All I can hear is the gentle whir of the washing machine. Winter break has come and gone and I have reclaimed my free-day Friday. Although I do believe there is a conspiracy that is stretching winter break a little more each year, we actually had a great one. This week has been tough getting back in the swing of school and work and routine, but today I've found some peace. And with that... time to blog! Today I'd like to share an adventure from our break.

Before the kids stepped onto school campuses for the first time this calendar year, we wanted a little family fun. We originally planned to catch a movie last Saturday, but Jonathan flipped the script by suggesting a Hot Springs day. The kids voted Mid-America Museum and off we went. The last time the five of us visited the museum, Nora was weeks old. I carried a diaper bag that was beyond regulation size and we had two strollers. This trip was much easier.

Nora had never truly experienced a museum before, so it was fun watching through her eyes. She bounced from exhibit to exhibit and her overuse of "so cool" made her seem older than four. Highlights included the permanent shadow poses, shrinking beside a mastodon skeleton, bravely testing electric currents, and trying to get plastic balls through a water maze. We probably even learned a thing or two.

It was surreal that both Nathan and Owen were reading the instructions and descriptions to us. And before too long, Nora will join them. All three kids crowded around a microscope, watching the tiny rocks become fossils before their eyes. They explored and we watched. Yeah, it was just basically the opposite of that 2013 visit.

In my last post I listed family adventure as one of my goals for 2018 and I think we're off to a great start. As the kids grow older and get involved in more activities and our jobs start to evolve, I know how important this will be. I can already feel time slipping faster that I want it to, but all we can do is make the most of it.

... Which is why today I am doing nothing. :)

Happy Friday, friends! Have some fun this weekend. You deserve it.

Monday, January 1, 2018

January To Me

Cheers, friends! Today starts a 365-day journey into the unknown and I, for one, am here for it.

Today's first act of business was to shake off sleep and greet the morning... then get slapped by the bracing cold. This year is apparently taking winter seriously. Once the car was warmed to bun-toasting levels, the kids and I headed down the work commute {the McDonald's business waits for no one}. I was the solo car on the highway this morning, weaving around the familiar turns, carefully navigating them for the first time this year. Thoughts danced in my head as the hum of the road put the kids back to sleep.

In recent years, I have used this blog to write a letter to every month. There have been a few times I've dreaded impending days, but mostly I've used those posts to detail my highlights of each season. I think we're going to flip it a bit for 2018. Today I'm starting my personal prompt of treating each month as if it were a place. Read on for my quickly jotted first try. Cheers to new beginnings!

January, to me, is a door beside which my size pales in comparison. It is the threshold to a year of experiences I can in no way predict. On the other side is a place I've only seen in my dreams. I have thought long and hard about where I want the New Year to take me, and from this side of things it's incredible. It's a place where I can smash goals, have a more relaxed and lighter attitude, and live a beautiful life with my family.

I know it's cold and bleak on the other side of the door, and the grey skies match the sad living rooms now missing Christmas trees and holly berries. I know the colors are drained at the start of the year. The trees show no sign of life and animals hold still to huddle together in warmth. I know I'll curse the wind when its chill is in the single digits, and I know beyond January's door is a lifeless garden, not willing to be turned.

While I know what the other side of the door looks like, it's still a place that holds hope. The empty fields and empty calendars lie waiting to be filled. I can either dwell on the emptiness or set into motion a course of planning.

I look up at the door, standing so small beneath it. I know what it looks like on the other side, yet I still don't know what I'll be inspired to do with it.

All I can do now is turn the handle and push it open.

I'm not always a fan of resolving change each January. I believe in the constant slow-burn kind of change, pushing forward while giving myself grace to step back, too. I suppose if I type them into the universe it probably makes them resolutions, but following are a few of my plans for the year:

1. I want to write more often.
2. I want to take better care of myself.
3. I want to devote more time to adventures with our family of five.
4. I want to let go of anxiety and be present in my life.
5. I want to keep sacred my time alone with Jonathan.

Those are the focuses I'd like to keep for 2018, and they all have a similar theme of ME. That may sound a little selfish, but it actually feels perfect. Let's take care of ourselves so we can take care of each other this year.

Here's to the start of 2018, friends! Make it a good one.