Sunday, September 30, 2012

Doings and Being

Last Sunday night we went to the park.

Anna Cate threw on a grey sweater she got from her Aunt Yvette that she can't quit wearing and asked me to button it, and it wouldn't stay buttoned so I said, "hold your belly in sweetie so I can button it,"

to which she responded, "I'm not as skinny as Barbie, ok?" God, I love her self acceptance and I will DO EVERYTHING in my power to keep it that way, including modeling it... which is sometimes quite difficult. While at the park, Anna Cate took a picture of me, and I was happy to have one since I rarely get shots of myself.
But after I looked it, I immediately cropped out my midrif, so I could use it, yet I still noticed my wrinkles. I think to myself...I look like someone has painted on wrinkles for some sort of movie affect. But I'm showing the orignal one that I don't really like of myself...putting it out there, learning from my kid. I owe it to her and her sister to march forward on this journey of positive body image and health.

At this time of my life when I see the pure value and beauty in the little beings God gave me as daughters, I know it is both about me and about them.

"We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light. " ~Mary Dunbar.  I would add that is a privilege and adventure to discover and help my daughters discover her gifts.
In this busy stage of life, it seems that real life moments, the teachable opportunities happen without the planning, amidst all that it is planned. We've kicked off the school year, celebrated both girls' half birthdays, started soccer season, joined Girls Scouts while I try to do crossfit four times a week and BJ is training for a marathon. But more than all this doing, I'm thankful to experience who these girls are being.

Anna Cate has started first grade and we are so happy with her school as well as the fact that she gets to ride the bus with her best friend. 

She is playing soccer...

Anna Cate's team hasn't won a game but they have fun.

We have squeezed in a little play date with old friends.

I love watching Molly Mae with older kids. She knows how to fake it and seems so mature.  I'm getting to know Molly's personality and I have to admit that I sometimes I feel like I'm flailing with how to best mother her.  I have even joked that I'm a little worried she is a sociopath because she will hit and not say she is sorry, or tell me she's not sure that she loves me...but then in the middle of the night, she crawls in bed to cuddle with me, or she give me this sweetest smile, and I know it's going to be all ok.

Yesterday, we went to the Virginia Tech football game...Molly's first VT tailgate and game experience and Anna Cate's half birthday. We were in line when the parking lot opened to park and tailgate.

BJ knows how to plan a tailgate. In fact, it was at a tailgate I knew I could marry this guy. 
Years later, our tailgates are less frequent but the additional company makes up for it.

It was a beautiful day and the girls were so good!!! Our friends were so nice to be around little kids.

Anna Cate and Molly seemed to make themselves quite comfortable.
Molly making herself a drink. Chik fila Lemonade, Uncle Doug. Although we did have to answer Anna Cate's questions about a beer bong. 

The highlight was a visit from legendary QB Tyrod Taylor. BJ has done business this past week with his father so he came to meet us and get a picture with the girls. He was such a gentleman and called me m'am.

The game didn't quite turn out the way we wanted, but it was a good experience. Our dear friend "Papa John" gave us the tickets.  Look at his fancy seats.

Molly enjoyed the game, the band, cheering for the white team and sleeping on Daddy.

Sometimes I struggle with the idea that maybe I feel more connected to Anna Cate. AC is an extrovert, a people pleaser and sometimes I think Molly just doesn't care.

Her Aunt Becki has pegged her personality by saying she is like a cat. Yesterday, she had on a little dress with bloomers that drew attention from Hokie fans.  At one point in the game, I took her out to the concessions area and we played and walked around while a couple ladies spoke to her and she, uncharcterstically, willingly went over to show off her bloomers.

As were walking off, she said as she grabbed my hand. "Mommy I wasn't shy, right?" It was such a moment of connection, and gave me a window to her personality. It was one of those kairos moments. 

I'm so thankful for both of my little girls and for the gift of getting to know them and connect with each of them.  I feel so trite saying that it goes by way too fast.  
But my goodness, it does.  I spend so much of my time as a Mom (a selfish one at that) doing.... spending energy on logistics, packing bags, unpacking, and preparing for our doings.  Yet those moments in between or in the midst of all the schlepping, I look into the faces or the souls of my family members, I am so grateful for their very being.  Time in general, like those precious glimpses of the divine existence, is fleeting but I hope when I look back at these pictures and these words I will say I noticed the supple joy in our lives and not all my wrinkles.

It's a moment that I'm after, a fleeting moment, but not a frozen moment. 
Andrew Wyeth 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Visit to the Country

Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid nature.
~William Cowper

Anna Cate started school last week and I'll get to that later, but she has an assignment to bring in 3 things to reflect her personality. She chose a lightening bug jar she got for Christmas last year from Daddy Doug, a swim cap and a tshirt from a church's choir performance. Last Christmas, Daddy gave Mom and Anna Cate each one of these jars to represent their summers in Centerville catching lightening bugs among many other memory-making endeavors.

We swim in creeks, go to church and enjoy a "meat and four" with home made pie for dessert in my home town.

These weeks my children spend in my home town, with their grandparents, is dear to me, and to them. The landscpape of my home motivated me to ask my friend Jennifer to take the girls' pictures in this muddy river on the edge of these bluffs.  I will treasure these pictures always, like I do these days in Tennessee.

We went to swim in Swan Creek and picnic on the banks twice. Once, on the way there we stopped to visit a family who lives on a lovely farm they call, "Almost Home."

A sweet family with a 13 year old girl has become friends with my parents because they arrange flowers for country church my parents attend. This girl seems quite responsibile in helping to take care of the place, is home schooled and finds companionship in nature. She raises these chickens and sells their eggs.

As we were leaving, it occurred to me that she might be lonely and would like to go to the creek with us.  When I asked if she'd like to join us, her face lit up.  I offered her time to go get her bathing suit on, but she went in her clothes and shoes (with holes in them). It was a lovely little trip to the creek.

I spend so much of my time trying to entertain my children. Sometimes, I feel a tad deprived of interaction that we live on a side of our neighborhood with not enough young families that Anna Cate doesn't have playmates in the street.  Then, I meet this young lady whose life revolves around her family, nature and her church and yet I didn't her whine and seriously doubt she ever does.

While I struggle with expesive taste and am cursed with the same ailment of my children, always wanting more, I find so much comfort in the simple things in life.  So much serenity in being around people whose tastes are simple and pure.....which is not the same thing as a simple person. Experiences like these are a big piece of why taking my girls to my home is so important....for them, and for me.

Being out in the country is so good for my soul.

And for theirs.  These 2 weeks...only 1/26th of their year help to form their spirit.

Or at least, I hope so. Anna Cate chose the lightening bug jar as one of only three things to describe who she is.

So if you live near a creek or near a trail or a place where there isn't a subdivision, say of prayer of thanksgiving and enjoy it.  There is so much we have here in Fredericksburg, so much my kids will have that I didn't have, represented by those other two things Anna Cate used to describe her personality (swim team and a thriving children's program at our church).  But I don't think for one second that appreciating these opportunities does not make them deprived of other experiences that we try to provide in a little window in the summer.
As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration.  I long for rural and domestic scene, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children.  ~John Adams

Thank you Nana and Daddy Doug, and that sweet girl whose name I can't remember and dear friends like Dana and Allston, and front yards on Perry Street with lightening bugs who help them experience creeks

 and the beauty of a bit of summer in Tennessee.

I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand.  
~Leonardo da Vinci