Thursday, May 29, 2014

Roots of mint

On the windowsill sits a small glass jar that recently held peppercorns.  I keep it there for the heartfelt plant offerings the boys carry inside with them from the yard.  Lamb's ear is always represented (it's soft like you Mommy).  Bright yellow flowers often make an appearance, too (I know they are weeds Mommy, but they are so beautiful).  Chive blossoms sometimes show up (it's pretty and you can eat it because you like the taste Mommy).  I kiss the sweaty heads and thank the boys for thinking of me.

One day a sprig of mint made its way into the jar.  I'm not sure who put it there, but when I looked a few days later I noticed it had sprouted roots.  I admire mint's ability to make a home wherever it is placed.  I imagine it spreading out a few tenacious roots and thinking, yep, this spot will do just fine.  Mint isn't going to wait around for the perfect paint color or new couch to complete a certain look.  Mint just sets about the business of making a space a home. With no fuss it spreads roots and starts growing.

I could learn a lot from mint.  The past year has been one of constant of change - new house, new baby and adjusting to being a family of five.  Change has always left me feeling unsettled and rootless.   We still have boxes in the garage and basement that are yet to be unpacked.  Most of our walls are unadorned and large sections of our new to us house seem temporary simply because we haven't had the time to make them our own.  In this way I have not been like mint.  I have waited for the perfect time to get started on making our house a home instead of just digging in right away.

In other ways, though, we've been very mint-like.  Only one (small) wall of our house may be painted, but we have made many memories in our new space.  Mornings of crafting.  Afternoons of puzzle building and Lego guy playing.  Walks around the new neighborhood looking for wormies on rainy days.  Plus we have begun planting our outdoor space and gardening always helps establish roots (literally and figuratively of course).

So with each small reminder of a rooted life that comes through my back door and lands in the little jar, I remember the mint and how it is at home wherever it lands.  I reflect on the little hands thrusting fistfuls of plants at me and realize this is the home we are all creating together.  This simple little jar on the windowsill contains roots that run deep.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Catching up - Leo is now 17 months!

Since I've last updated, things have been very busy for our little Leo:

  • He got his first haircut.  He wasn't totally sure about this and cried most of the way through it.  It took me a few days to recognize him without this baby wispy hair.
  • He took his first steps one Friday night.  Then he spent several weeks mostly crawling, but doing some walking too.  Now he is mostly walking.  He's been very proud of this accomplishment.  We are too!  Milo is still amazed each time Leo walks a long distance. 
  • Leo still loves animals and bugs now too.  Whenever we see a dog he excitedly yells DOG and really hopes to pet it.  He also loves being outside for any reason, but especially to play in the sand box, dirt or grass.  Leo spends a lot of time entertaining himself with sticks and pebbles and other little treasures he finds along the way. 
  • I went away for a few days and used that opportunity to cut out our last nursing session.  Leo wasn't quite ready for that and has refused to sleep in his crib since that time.  So he takes naps and sleeps full time in our bed.  
  • We've found out that Leo is no longer going to be the youngest kiddo, but instead will be an older  brother to a baby due in November!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Check it Off the List

Just in the nick of time earlier this week as the calendar indicated winter was leaving and spring was beginning, we checked off the last of our Winter Fun List. You wouldn't know it by the super cold temps and occasional snow flurries around here, but it is officially Spring so we were excited to finish our Winter list with a trip to the ice skating rink.  Milo did great on the ice for the first time!  Leo had to stay in the stroller although he kept putting his feet out wondering when he would get skates, too.

It was a fun afternoon of exercise, a few falls and lots of smiles.

Now we are on the Spring list and hoping the weather cooperates soon!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Leo - 14 Months

I recently told someone that Leo is really growing into his toddlerhood.  By this I meant he has been quite a handful recently - he has accidentally flipped himself off the side of the couch, he has stuffed graham crackers in the detergent area of the dishwasher and he is still enthralled with anything and everything he can throw.  It's busy keeping up with the little guy and he's not even walking yet.

Thankfully, Leo does have some fine points, too.  He still gives the best and most heartfelt hugs.  His belly laughs fill up the room with joy.  Even Milo has been won over by Leo's charms (although he will often yell trouble is on the double when Leo is heading his way).  The two boys like to play cars together and Leo makes a vroom vroom noise that Milo is very proud of him for.

We added a fish to our family (Swimmy the Beta) and Leo loves to watch him swim and eat his food.  Each morning he wants to wave to Swimmy and spend some time watching.  Leo is also always excited to see and pet dogs or cats on our walk.  He seems to really like animals.  Although we have offered several stuffed friends, Leo hasn't settled on one lovey (other than a stuffed snake he intermittently steals from Milo and carries around).

For the past few months, we've been going to gymnastics on Friday mornings.  Technically the class is for Milo, but Leo gets to join in too.  He loves it!  He crawls all over the big gym and up and over mats.  He gets me to help him hang onto a bar and then I tell him how strong he is.  He loves the singing and claps along during circle time.  At the end of class he is intently watches the parachute moving up and down.  This week I let him out of the baby carrier for parachute time and he was able to join the other kiddos crawling around on the brightly colored fabric.  He had a huge smile on his face the whole time and Milo watched out to make sure the other kids didn't step him.  It was fun to watch!

I can't believe how quickly Leo is growing up and also how much like a baby he seems.  It is clear Leo would like to be talking - he is constantly babbling and trying to repeat words.  He gets his needs across to us through pointing and grunting, but I know he has so much more to say.  And I can't wait to hear what is going on in that sweet (and stubborn) little head of his.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Year Back, A Year Ahead and a Reminder of Now

A blog I often read for mom advice and other information, too, today asked what is different about your life from this time last year and what do you hope to be different at this time next year.  I hope it's not a copout to say I can't even remember this time last year.  Leo was not quite two months old and Milo was beginning to give up his afternoon nap.  If I had to guess I was a very tired Mama.  And where tiredness starts, cranky often is right there along for the ride. 

This year I am still tired, but not so soul-crushingly so.  Plus it was sunny today so while I had moments of cranky, they didn't stick around along.  The boys and I made a house for bugs out of bark we found outside.  We were able to breathe some fresh air and use our imaginations. 

Next year at this time I hope to do more of that and more remembering of it all.  This life often seems like a blur of days and dinners and getting out the door and sweeping the floor.  I'm trying to stay more present.  To remember to stay in the moment and not get caught up in the details.  

It seems like a buzzword and so very of this time and yet the idea of appreciating the small things of life, of accepting and embracing each moment as it happens is so very timeless.  So I will briefly look back and briefly look forward, but I also want to stay grounded in the here and the now. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's February

This is the time of year when winter in Ohio is no longer fun and the drudgery sets in.  Playing in the snow has lost its luster.  The beauty of snowflakes becomes hard to find after seeing so many of them.  Most of all though, I miss the sun and spending time outside.  Of course on somewhat warm days when the sun is shining we play outdoors.  Quick trips to the playgrounds and late afternoon with the sandbox open sustain our need for fresh air.

I've tried to create some interesting games and experiences while we've been playing inside.  We have played many many rounds of hide and seek (Milo tends to the hide in the same spot each time).  Today the boys had a lot of fun having rides in a laundry basket.  Overall though we are watching way too much television and it is starting to wear on all of us just a bit.

February is the time of lingering colds and cabin fever.  Luckily it is almost over.  Tonight at dinner we talked about what we were looking forward to in the spring: walks, parks and splash pools and Popsicles   It's really just around the corner.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Leo - 13 Months

This has been a busy month for our little one-year-old.  Leo has morphed from a baby into a sweet and lovable, albeit mischievous toddler.  He can make it all the way up the stairs and thinks it is super funny to do so.  He can purposefully only go down four or five steps at a time though.  So the math doesn't really work out on that one and we watch him carefully.

Other favorite mischievous behaviors:  pressing the menu buttons on the television while Milo is watching it, unplugging the computer and emptying drawers of clothing.   He also loves to throw things (food, sippy cups, books) just to watch them fall.

Leo also now gives high fives!  I love this.  He also has a word/sound associated with each high five: bah!  Speaking of words, Leo has a few he used regularly, but is now trying to repeat many other words.  This morning he said "buh bye dudee" to Chris as he was leaving.  It was super sweet.

Leo is a sweet little guy.  As he is playing throughout the day he will often crawl over and give us a hug.  He is also cuddly   If there is a blanket or pillow on the ground, Leo will crawl over to it and throw himself on down for a quick soft cuddle.  He kicks his feet when he is happy and exciting and this is definitely a kick-worthy occasion