Saturday, September 24, 2016

Beautiful Northwest

When we moved to Seattle I was super excited about being in range to go see the Olympic National Forest and Mount Rainier, but after two years we haven't made it to either one. Every now and then I feel guilty about this, like I'm wasting our time up here. Then I take the boys to a morning at a local park and realize that it doesn't really matter.

When you've got beauty like this 10 minutes away and kiddos under 5, they don't see any difference. Give Merry plenty of rocks and a body of water to throw them in and he's the happiest boy in the world. And Pippin? Mama's there and big brother is doing something interesting, he's good. 

Merry requested a "picture of the water"

The boys are happy, the scenery is lovely and those big fancy national parks aren't going anywhere. At least, they'd better not be going anywhere. Any imminent mega-tsunamis or volcanic explosions can just wait another decade or so, ok?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gratitude 6: Anniversary and Kindergarten Edition

46. Nine years of marriage!
47. The wonderful man I've been married to all of those 9 years
48. Pippin's dimple
49. First day of kindergarten!
50. Ice cream consolation prize with the little brother who didn't get to go on the school bus
51. Email from Merry's new teacher saying he had a great first day
52. The goregous, almost unnatural contrast between a bright yellow tree behind purple black trees on the drive home
53. Picking fresh blueberries literally right outside our front door
54. Merry's excitement: "I have school on Friday! And today!"
55. The taste of the air on crisp autumn days
56. Surprise hugs from Merry
57. The elaborate dramas that Pippin plays out with his Mario figurines
58. That moment when you look past a sleep-deprived grumpy haze and realize that these crazy up-all-night children are actually being adorable and amazing
59. Weekend walks with my boys
60. Golden autumn walks to the bus stop
61. Four uninterrupted hours of sleep!
62. A bus stop right next to a playground
63. Pippin's naps. They make scheduling complicated, but so worth it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Words are funny

My morning Facebook scroll turned up the following comic from The Oatmeal:

I won't post the whole thing because it's really long and I don't know the etiquette for sharing an entire comic from someone else. Just click through. It's excellent, like almost everything from The Oatmeal, but it almost made me laugh because it highlights just how imprecise the word "happy" can be.

Mr. Oatmeal's definition of happiness is almost unrecognizable--some pinnacle of comfort and triumph from which you look down on the unhappy masses? Some cheerful bubbly personality type or mood that he himself has observed but never felt, so therefore by default he is unhappy? I suspect we're confusing 'happy' with 'comfortable' or 'having fun'.
The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness. -- Pope Benedict XVI
We are meant to strive, to extend ourselves. With very little tweaking he could have titled it "How to be imperfectly happy" and it would have meant almost exactly the same thing.

In the midst of creating three new people, things get pretty miserable around here. I haven't had a full night's sleep in the 6 months since Bella has been born and I'm not expecting to for at least another 6. This puts me in zombie mode a lot of the time; I can almost feel the brain cells dying. I spend a large amount of time dealing with various bodily fluids, and my normal lack of concern for my appearance has dipped to such a low bar that I probably look like the absolute stereotype of the drab boring SAHM.

But I'm happy. In the midst of the fog, one of these kids will turn around and do something awesome or adorable or hilarious and it's all worth it. Or I'll read an excellent book, discover a perfect sunset or beautiful forest trail. A deep happiness exists underneath the grouchiness, the stress, the exhaustion and constant feeling of failure. I'm doing something worthwhile, meaningful, and it's making me better every day. And if I'm reading him correctly, Mr. Oatmeal is saying the same thing with the opposite words.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Gratitude 5

35. Coffee
36. Pippin's bouncy adorable 2 year old run
37. Discovering Merry combing his sister's near-nonexistent hair while she gazes at him with adoration
38. A bus stop that turns out to be closer than I thought
39. An understanding gymnastics coach, willing to let Merry stay in a younger class that fits his current ability and joy
40. Mom's night out at the new game cafe
41. 2 year old friends playing together
42. Faint strains of high school band practice as school starts up
43. Gigantic Bella smiles just for Merry
44. The sound of rain
45. A dark purple petunia that survived my black thumb all summer