Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thought for the day

"Writings of light assault the darkness, more prodigious than meteors."  ~Jorge Luis Borges

Monday, September 26, 2011

Multitude Monday...#91-100 (Yeah!)

Thankful for:

91.  A good heart-to-heart talk with my sister, even though it was over email.  Katie and I are both writers by nature so we actually embrace the opportunity to communicate in this way (you know, the Austen sisters wrote very sweet letters to each other, too!).  We are both experiencing lots of aha! moments (sorry for the Oprah-ism but it's apropos) lately and I'm relishing hers as she is relishing mine. 
92.  My instincts as a mom.  Last night I heard the tiniest moan come over the monitor and where I'd normally dismiss it (when not followed by cries) or cross my fingers and hope said child would fall back asleep, this time something told me to go investigate.  I found Will in his crib, uncovered and laying at a weird angle.  I started to readjust him but he held up his arms to me and said "Ma?"  I can't resist that.  When I sat down in the glider with him, I saw a sort of upset expression on his face.  I settled him in with his silkie (blanket) and he put his arm around me and sighed the most precious sigh of contented relaxation.  For whatever reason, he just needed me and I'm so glad I felt that instinctive need to respond.
93.  The aforementioned glider.  If rocking motions could be measured in miles, I think Marty and I could have circumnavigated the globe several times with our children by now...
94.  Dunkin' "Turbo" coffee.  It's our new addiction.
95.  The Indianapolis Colts.  Go ahead and laugh -- I'm kinda laughing, too.  But honestly, with Peyton Manning sidelined with an injury, and being led by two really really NOT GOOD (and that's being nice) backup quarterbacks, my team still went out there last night and played their hearts out.  They even had the game tied up with 2 minutes to go -- versus the Steelers, y'all!!!  I love fortitude and sportsmanship and work ethic and integrity, even in the face of certain loss.  I even had a couple tears in my eyes, as the camera showed the exhausted and sad faces of these big linebackers who I've come to love.  (I used to despise football.  Now I love it.  Just goes to show you that you should never say never!) 
96.  The anticipation of an afternoon out shopping with my kiddos today, as soon as they awake from their naps.  We're just going to do window-shopping but I relish the chance to get out and take a stroll with them in this late September sunshine.
97.  The fact that no one guilt-trips me over running the dishwasher twice (sometimes 3!) times a day.  It's the only way I can keep up with my kitchen, but because it is *MY KITCHEN*, I'll do it this way, thank you very much.
98.  The chance to teach Will new words.  His speech/language development is coming along slowly, and we're even a bit worried there might be a delay (his vocabulary falls in the normal range, but he isn't phrasing yet).  But he tries, God love him, he tries so hard.  Last night we were working on "arms," "towel," and "toothpaste."  His little eyes light up as I sound out the words; it's almost like I'm canting a magic spell and he's excited to have a front-row seat.  I just love the opportunity to teach him, period.
99.  Progress made in The Great MEGA-Clean of Autumn 2011.  I got all of Will's clothes organized this morning, along with some kitchen clean-up and several loads of laundry.  It's coming along!
100.  This being a big number, I'm going to make this item auspicious and say once again I'm thankful for my darling husband.  We fell in love in September (of 2007) so this time of year is extremely special to me and to us.  I love you, my Marty.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Great MEGA-Clean of Autumn 2011

(Image from Hyperbole and a Half, a truly hysterical website that you really *must* visit from time to time...)
So I've been a bit scarce lately.  Due to several things actually, not the least of which has been a time of silent reflection for me, which I've enjoyed immensely.  I'm doing some serious thinking about "the next stage of my life," whatever that might be.  I'm racing towards 35 with no eagerness, yet I'll be there before I know it.  My twenties were something of a wash.  Okay.  My early thirties were spent dating and marrying my Beloved and then carrying and giving birth to our children.  Awesome!  But now that I'm happily ensconced in marriage and motherhood and facing down mid-life (WHAT?), I'm feeling the need to at least take stock, review, reflect, and PLAN.  And like I said, I've no idea what exactly I'm planning, but I'm taking the mental effort to do it.  So wish me luck on that!

The other thing taking up my time has been the onset of what I'm calling The Great MEGA-Clean of Autumn 2011.  Yes, I don't do anything small or halfway in life.  (My friends are all chuckling at this point.)  I have drawn up a list of all the rooms in my house and I'm going to visit each one with every cleaning utensil I own and all the organizing tips I've gleaned and I won't cross it off the list until it's sparkling and efficient!  See, we're coming into a season of hosting lots of company (okay, not "lots" per se, but even a single person after a drought of nobody feels like a lot!) and even some holiday celebrations, and I want the place spic-and-span.  And I don't want to spend an eternity in prep work before each visit.  So I want to do a major clean and then brush it up before company arrives.  Sound like a plan?  I think so!

I'm currently in KITCHEN mode.  I thought I'd start here because, of course, it's the hardest room.  Isn't everyone's kitchen the worst place to keep clean and well-functioning?  So I've bitten off the biggest bite for starters, but I've already made some good progress.  I hope to move to the Master Bed and Bath, Closet and Laundry by mid-week.  I hope to have everything finished before the second weekend in October. 

It's grueling.  It's exhausting.  But I'm gonna have a clean house before snow flies, to be sure!  And that excites me enough to keep me going.  Is anyone else in "Clean ALL the things!" mode?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Multitude Monday...#81-90

Thankful for:

81.  The fact that Will ate a good lunch today.  And a decent dinner last night.  We've been struggling so much with his appetite and finickiness (is that a word?) that any improvement is enough to sing about.
82.  This blog.  This blog post.  I asked for voices similar to my own and I have both found them and they have found me.  This woman is not afraid to be unpopular, to listen to her own mommy voice first and foremost.  She won't peddle a "system" to you; she just tells you to listen to your instincts and love your children.  Period. 
83.  The feeling of relief emerging from a period of much personal growth.  I just listed to my BF all the ways in which I've changed in the last year and frankly, it is *startling*.  But good changes.  Lots of them.  They didn't come easily, either.  (Do they ever?)
84.  One of the best weekends we've ever experienced as a family.  Yummy meals, lots of cuddle and play, going to church, going to the park, going to the store -- just all the hubbub of life experienced with smiles and laughter and very few upsets and tears.  I'm so grateful for all these precious memories.
85.  An improved complexion.  I was going to buy some Origins products but at the last minute, opted for Mario Badescu products instead.  I bought the $15 cleanser, and used a $3.50 off coupon at Ulta and was given a free sample of the collagen lotion, so I got two products for $12, which ain't half-bad, kids!  And they have worked wonders.  My skin is much improved and *softer*, an added benefit!
86.  The book, Jane Eyre's Husband, mentioned in my last post.  I "liked" the author on Facebook and ended up in a conversation with her, and she told me how to download free software to read a book on a Kindle for the PC, so I could also take advantage of the Kindle price ($9.99).  Although the writing could use some editing (can't help saying it, I'm an editor and always will be), the story is *good* and I like where she's going and how she's filling in the blanks about my much-beloved Mr. Rochester.
87.  Reconnecting with friends I once thought were lost to the maelstrom of my divorce.  The best things -- and people -- really do survive any test or hardship.  (Even if it takes a bit for them to rise to the surface.)
88.  A lovely time at church yesterday.  Will had a blast in his class, Lucy was held and rocked and loved on for an entire hour by doting grandmotherly ladies, and Marty and I were so blessed by the sermon and shared thoughts about it over our meals yesterday.  (Even though they were oft-interrupted thoughts...you don't exactly have deep theological conversations with two toddlers about.)
89.  The unmistakable onset of autumn with her plunging temperatures and angled sunlight. 
90.  Apple crisp.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dear Reader, I might curl up and die if I can't have this

If you are a Jane Eyre fan like myself, please go here.  Look at the Table of Contents.  Commence drooling.  Swooning.  Participating in other, similar amazing-literature-inducing physiological phenomena.

Then, loan me $25 (stupid budget!).  Better yet, just buy this for me.  Better still, flood my husband's inbox with requests on my behalf that he buy me the book and give me a weekend away from hearth and home to read it and re-read it and then read it again.  Yes, this latter is the best option.

Oh I might just up and D-I-E if I can't have this book...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Multitude Monday...#71-80

Thankful for:

71.  The fact that our country has been kept safe from terrorist attacks for 10 years, as of today.  I have no idea how much effort, worry, and even blood has been spent to ensure this, and I know I will never know.  But I'm grateful nonetheless.  I will never again take our safety for granted!
72.  Watching 9/11 memorial shows and documentaries yesterday and feeling my own part in the white-hot surge of patriotism that once flooded our collective national spirit and does so again, at least on every 11th of September and every 4th of July.
73.  Reading these words from Thomas Jefferson, in his reflections on the 4th of July (which feel so apropos in light of yesterday's anniversary):
"All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man...
For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh
our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them."
74.  The new "fast uploader" for pictures and custom-path photo book software on Shutterfly.com.  I'm having an absolute *blast* creating a photo album for Will.  Not only do I get to enjoy seeing him again as an 18-month-old, but I also get to use "stickers" like cars, planes, and trains throughout the photo pages, just like a scrapbook.  Plus I have several coupon codes to use and they're offering free shipping on anything over $30, so my creation won't cost me a fortune!
75.  The Wiggles, Angelina Ballerina, and Berenstein Bears, all on Sprout TV.*  This channel is a new discovery in our household and we find its shows to be just as fun as Nick Jr. and PBS, and it offers some variety to our kids.  Both Will and Lucy start dancing when they hear The Wiggles' theme music, and they look to me to watch them with twinkled merriment in their eyes and faces, and I just absolutely delight in *their* delight.
76.  The way Will squeals with pleasure to play with his pull-along wagon (for Megablocks).  We bought this for him no less than two Christmases ago, and he's all but ignored it until this past weekend, and now he plays with it constantly.  Kids are funny with their toys!
77.  Lucy's fearlessness.  Although I will have to teach her caution (especially on stairs -- hello, heart attack!), I'm glad she's no shrinking violet.  You can teach caution but not courage!
78.  Patient friends.  I owe a ridiculous number of return messages.
79.  Hot baths.  Advil.  Tums.  A husband who takes over the bedtime routine when I'm about to drop.
80.  Powdered donuts ("nuts") for Will in the morning.  He's going to be over the moon.

*Lest anyone think I'm a big ole hypocrite (due to this post), our plan is to always have a very basic cable package in the fall/winter and then cancel again for spring/summer.  Why?  Well, FOOTBALL of course!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Daybook

Outside:  Outside my kitchen window, I can see the white picket fence (I kid you not) that separates a neighboring house from my condo unit, and just beyond it is a pink dogwood tree.  In the spring, that dogwood was the first to bloom and did she ever have a beautiful display for us.  Now it looks as though she is going to be the first to begin turning color for the fall.  There is the faintest hint of red to her leaves and I know she won't disappoint us with her show!  (I wonder if anyone would notice if I dug her up and moved her with us when we [eventually] leave east Tennessee?)

Thinking: About the burden that husbands/fathers carry, especially if they are the sole providers for the family; it makes me want to renew my efforts in providing a clean, warm, beautiful home and tasty food for my beloved.  It's the least I can do.  Also thinking when I can get away with turning on my (gas) fireplace for the first time this fall!  I can't wait to cuddle up in my chair, wrapped in an afghan and only slightly trying to read a book, dozing while I watch the flames dance. 

Thankful: For spray-on Lanacaine.  I burnt my arm while carelessly flipping the chicken in the skillet for last night's fried chicken salad.  And. it. HURT.  Reason #697 to always have a first-aid kit stashed away in a closet.  (I assemble my own; I don't rely on the pre-fab ones because a) the items tend to be cheap and b) they don't seem to cover all possible emergencies!)
Also thankful for my new group on Facebook -- "Project Runway Rants and Raves."  Friends are adding friends and so far, it's a fun place to discuss PR and peripheral topics.  I really enjoy "meeting" new people this way! 

From the kitchen:  Perhaps something from the Pioneer Woman's cookbook that I'm trying to win?!?  Cross your fingers for/with me!

Going:  Back to the new church this weekend.  We had an enjoyable experience and I felt comfortable leaving my kids in the nursery, so big answer to prayer there.  Although we have to get there much earlier this Sunday because it takes so long to check them in and chat with the workers.  I missed almost all the praise and worship service and I'm just desperately needing some P&W time!

Reading:   Have to wait until next week for pay-day (how anti-perfect am I to admit that!?), but here's what's in my shopping cart on BN.com:  The White Queen, Philippa Gregory; The Red Queen, Philippa Gregory; The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield; and American Sphinx:  The Character of Thomas Jefferson, Joseph J. Ellis.  The first three books are part of a deal that BN is having right now -- buy 2, get 1 free.  And because I'm spending over $25, I get free shipping!  My total comes to $34.  Four books for $34?  YES, I think so!  (Marty knew when he married me that there will *always* have to be a "new books" category in our monthly budget...) 
Notes about these books:  I've read almost everything else that Philippa Gregory has written.  She writes amazing historical fiction and her baileywick is the Tudor era (my favorite).  In this new series she ventures back further in time to the Wars of the Roses, and since I know next to nothing about that time in England, I'm excited to read and learn.  The book by Diane Setterfield is a NY Times bestseller and I've *almost* bought it a handful of times now, and for some reason always opted for something else at the time.  Well, no more!  And the book on TJ -- well, the nerd in me needs to be nourished.  :)

Shopping: (again, next week) at Old Navy for clothes for the kids and at Ulta for some new skincare items for Mama (my choice from Origins).  I'm struggling with acne again for the umpteenth time in my life, and I think it's my old nemesis, hormones.  I think I'm still dealing with postpartum hormonal chaos?  Has anyone else had this lingering problem after giving birth?

Hoping:  For a silent night tonight.  You hear that, children of mine?  Mommy and Daddy need sleep!

Hearing: Dora and Boots and BackPack and Map having an adventure in the living room, while my kids mostly ignore it in favor of play.  Will just told me he wants to "cuh-nor" (color) so I should probably turn it off...

A favorite thing:  Waking up to a clean kitchen.  Worth the extra effort at night, especially when I wipe down the highchairs and sweep the floor.  French vanilla coffee.  The way my husband looks in an oxford shirt and tie (he's changed out from his usual wardrobe of Polos and khakis now that the weather is cooler).  Fridays!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Because I want to win

In my quest to find new, more *real*, better-for-me and in-the-doing -type blogs, I've stumbled upon Sacred Mommyhood.  And right now, Candace is doing a giveaway of the Pioneer Woman's cookbook, and y'all, I want that cookbook.  I think she'll fit nicely in between my new Gwyneth Paltrow and my go-to Barefoot Contessa's, don't you?

So here's my shameless plug for this blog (but for real, I think my fellow anti-perfect mommy bloggers would really enjoy her!) and my even more shameless bid to win a cookbook.  Or any prize for that matter, to be quite honest...  :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Multitude Monday (making its regular appearance on Tuesday)...#61-70

Thankful for:

Mr. Crocky
61. My Crockpot and whoever invented it. Our Rib Fest yesterday was a huge success, due in no small part to Mr. Crocky. And today I have chicken breasts slow-cooking in a made-up broth (meaning, I threw about every herb and spice in my cabinet into the bowl!) for chicken pot pie tonight.
62. Reminders to be thankful for all that I take for granted, like electricity. We lost our power on Sunday night for about 45 minutes, and it showed me how much we rely on electricity for comfort and convenience: without her fan going, Lucy woke up after having been put down for the night; I started worrying about keeping cold all the groceries I'd bought the day before; the house was slowly warming up to the muggy night outdoors, etc. Next time we have another hurricane blow through our country and deprive folks of power, they're going to get even more compassion from me! (It also makes me think generators should be cheaper?)
63. Finding a stash of pacifiers in Lucy's room, where they fell behind the crib. It is honestly like finding gold.
64. That Will said "thank you" for the first time last night. I've coached him on this phrase many times before but it didn't "take" until yesterday. I almost jumped up and down in excitement...I'm determined to raise polite, well-mannered children! Now, when he says "yes ma'am" like a good Southern boy, I probably *will* jump up and down in excitement.
The other baby in our house
65. A quiet night -- all through the night -- last night. Both, yes BOTH, of our kids have been teething but thanks to a preemptive strike of Tylenol, they slept through. We needed some uninterrupted sleep!
66. Storytime at the library starting up again next week. I think Will is going to be so much more into it this year, as he's finally in the target age group! It feels all fall-ish to go to storytime again.
67. Speaking of fall-ish, I pushed my summer perfumes (Beachy, Acqua di Gioia) to the back of my tray and brought forward my cool-weather scents, like Cashmere Mist. I've been spraying this a bit too liberally but it truly does smell like a warm sweater.
68. The fact that Marty is becoming something of a gardener-putterer. My mom gave us a tomato plant that we keep in a big pot and cage on our deck, and I swear Marty babies that thing like it was another infant. Our second "crop" is near to ripening now and he couldn't be prouder than if he'd "plowed the lower 40" to achieve it. It's extremely cute. 
Ready to go!
69. The dark, almost black clouds on the horizon. I hope it storms again tonight! (What can I say? I'm a romantic!)
70. (and on that note) The adorable pink-and-white raincoat Mom gave me for Lucy. It's all ready to be worn for the first time this fall!

Monday, September 5, 2011

On my mind, Installment #2

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

We are starting a tradition here in our home and having our First Annual Labor Day Rib Fest!  I found a recipe on the CrockPot Girls' Facebook page for slow-cooking baby back ribs for 8-10 hours (using a brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper rub and cooking them with sliced onions and a can of Coke) and then basting them with BBQ sauce and running them under the broiler for a few minutes.  I'm salivating just typing this!  Marty and I thought it would be fun to always have BBQ ribs on Labor Day -- sort of giving a tribute to summer as we say goodbye to it for the year.

It's pouring outside or we'd try to get the kids out to the park, but instead we are enjoying a lovely quiet day indoors, just reading and watching cartoons with the kids.  Honestly, every weekend should be 3 days:  one day for chores and activities (Saturday), one day for worship and rest (Sunday), and one day for just being together (Monday)!  Perhaps I should start a lobby for this... 

As I sit here with my family, here's what's on my mind:

  • We had a fabulous experience at the new church yesterday. The security measures for the kids were incredible: kids are given a numbered tag to wear on their clothing, and parents are given matching numbered tags on a wristlet to wear. Then, parents are given pagers set on vibrate, so you can be summoned in case of emergency (or even just a meltdown). THEN, all entrances and exits are kept locked, with church members monitoring the doors at the beginning and ending of services to let parents in and out. When you sign kids in, you're asked for names, ages, allergies (awesome!), special concerns/requests, etc. All of this would be great but throw in the fact that the nursery workers are just *so nice*, and you have a perfect atmosphere for parents to leave their precious babies for a bit so they can go worship without worry. What a gift! We went to the early, contemporary service (I was hankering for some P&W songs) and we were done and pulling back into our garage at 9:55 a.m. Having grown up doing church *all day long*, I loved this. No offense to anyone who chooses to do church activities all day, but it's not for me and it's my personal opinion that you can't get the rest that God intended for Sundays at that level of involvement. Anyway...the only thing I would have appreciated more would have been a more theologically challenging sermon, but the pastor did a great job on his chosen topic of angels. We're definitely going back next week!
  • I'm on a bit of a Thomas Jefferson obsession kick (this is what nerds do, by the way; pick a topic and read endlessly until the obsession naturally tapers off).  We watched our second documentary on TJ last night (thank you, Netflix) and of course I proceeded to dream about some of the things I'd heard and seen.  For example, one of the commentators said that no other president is so tied to a geographical location and home as TJ is to Virginia and Monticello, and that no other presidential home is such an accurate reflection of the man's identity.  Anyway, I dreamed that Marty and I were building a home and that I was being very particular on each and every detail, because I knew this would be our "forever home" and I wanted everything just right.  I think this has always been my dream but watching the documentary really helped hone that dream.  You see, Jefferson had gone out into the world -- he lived in New York, Boston, and Paris, besides Washington, D.C. -- and he'd made his indelible mark as President.  And even though he loved his work, he would become exhausted by it and want to retreat to his home.  He went through cycles of work and retreat throughout his life, until his retirement, which was a 17-year retreat at the end of his life, said to be his happiest years.  I love this idea:  that we all have work to do and a contribution to make, and that we should live in (or at least see) other places and do important things, but always to have a home to return to.  I want this for us and for our kids, and Marty and I have talked about it and decided that we're happy renting various places until we're ready to commit to *the house*.  It doesn't have to be perfect -- we've got a renovating itch thanks to HGTV -- but we'll buy as long as we like the location and the bones of the place.  And we're not going to buy until we're ready!  So, thank you TJ, for that. 
  • Funny, I thought I'd have more than 2 bullet points of thoughts, but I don't!  I've got my nose in a book about Jefferson (shocker) and laundry going, which needs some attention now, come to think of it.  So, that's it from me for today.  I hope everyone has a lovely holiday spending time with family and friends!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday Night Daybook...er, Saturday Nightbook?

Outside:  Well, it's pitch black.  But earlier today we had a pretty violent thunderstorm and afterwards there was a strange kind of warm and still silence to the air.  It felt mysterious...

Thinking: About the ebb and flow of joy in my life, and how I can be purposeful about retaining it once I've discovered it, by making habits out of good-for-me activities and tasks and casting away that which is harmful, no matter what it might be.

Thankful: That Marty let me sleep in this morning.  It's been a truly heinous week in many ways, but just a few extra hours of sleep and my day has been a marked improvement.
From the kitchen:  I've been writing out weekly menus and posting them on the fridge for quite some time now, and I think I've decided to go ahead and be all Trendy McTrenderson and put together a framed chalkboard for my kitchen.  You know, because I'd actually use it (and I think in that case, it's okay to follow a trend?).  Anyway, here's what's coming up this week in our kitchen!

Creating:  I think I'm going to permanently delete this category.  The only thing I'm good at creating is messes all over my kitchen countertops. 

Going:  To that new church tomorrow that we've been considering for months now.  Have to put my brave face on and leave my babies with strangers (although this church runs a daycare out of their facilities, which seems to imply that safety procedures might already be in place and I can just relax and worship?).

Reading: Still working on Elizabeth Berg's Escaping into the Open (I'm actually a very quick reader but, you know, two babies and all...), and I want to share a passage here that resonated with me:
"Most writers, by nature, need a lot of time by themselves.  It's important to write alone, at least some of the time, but I think it's important for us to be alone a fair amount of the time, too.  Then we can often get rid of a kind of internal scorecard that makes us compare ourselves to others, and that makes us do things according to the way we think others would have us do them.  We need the chance to draw from our unique selves, to act according to our own beliefs, without any interference from others.  I believe that solitude, perhaps more than anything, breeds creativity, breeds originality."
Get rid of the internal scorecard...act according to our own beliefs without interference...hmm, you think this might have felt good for me to read?  (If you aren't a regular reader of my blog, this comment won't make sense; sorry 'bout that.)

Shopping: My children done went and grew like dem weeds in yon field!  Seriously, I have to buy a slew of 18-month outfits and 24-month sleepers(!) for Lucy, and a bunch of 3Ts for Pup.  Thank goodness their growth spurts actually coincided with changing of seasons -- that's one good thing!
Hoping:  Always.  Today, with a little bit more oomph, thanks to the extra sleep.

Hearing:  Perfect silence.  Lucy is in la-la-land and Marty is upstairs rocking Will to sleep.  Yes, we still rock our 2-year-old to sleep.  Want to know something?  Marty and I both love it and we don't look forward to the day when he's just too big to be rocked and/or doesn't want a thing to do with it. 

A favorite thing:  PBS documentaries.  We're watching an older one about Thomas Jefferson...what an extraordinary man, so full of complexities and paradoxes.  He's always been my favorite (and it turns out he had a daughter named Lucy Elizabeth?  Marty and I almost fell over when we heard that!!!).  Also, easy-to-make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that are far and away much better than my recent oatmeal chocolate chip versions.  (If anyone wants the recipe, I'll be happy to send it.) 

Well, Will is down and I'm off to go finish our TJ documentary and eat some of those aforementioned cookies.  Goodnight, y'all!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Soulful eyes

My son is not a typical 2-year-old boy in many respects.  Oh sure, he's extremely picky about foods and he can pitch a grand fit when he doesn't get his way.  But loud and boisterous?  He is not.  Hurtling headlong into play and activity?  He does not.  He is quiet, careful, thoughtful, and incredibly sweet. When I was pregnant with him, I got such a powerful vibe of sweetness from him, even in the womb.  I would tell people this, and I think only Marty believed me.

Will was a late bloomer when it came to walking, but even our pediatrician knows him well enough to point out that it's his personality to be cautious and thoughtful.  Exactly...it's like he really wanted to think about it for a while before committing to this walking thing.  I've often watched him in his quiet moments of play; he really gets lost in his own thoughts and imaginings and has to blink a few times to come back around if I need to get his attention.  Yes, he's a thinker, my Will.

And a feeler, too.  Sometimes, when I have to wipe his face with extra fervor because the peanut butter has dried on his chin, he'll say "Ma?" with a question in his voice, wondering why his Mommy is scrubbing at his face until it almost hurts.  Because he wants all to be well and for me to be happy, and happy with him.  Even the few times I've had to punish him, I'll be giving him my stern eyes and my lecturing voice, and he'll put his hands on my face and lean in to give me a kiss.  I've had to try so hard not to laugh when he does this, because sure, he's manipulating a bit, but I also know where it comes from -- a soft heart with sensitivity to emotion.  Yes, he's a feeler, my Will.

I've been struggling with some things this week.  Trying hard to get past a few obstacles that seem determined to stay in my path.  Just this morning I was having a quiet moment with my coffee at the kitchen table, reading the words of a dear friend, when I started softly crying, feeling overwhelmed with these roadblocks.  My kids were in the other room watching cartoons and playing, or I would never have given in to my emotions -- I hate crying in front of my children and I will do just about anything to avoid it or hide it.  But just then, Will walked into the room and came up to me, almost like he had busted me.  He put his arms up to be picked up, and I settled him on my lap where he took in the screen before me, the coffee cup, and the tears on my face.  He seemed to think for a moment, then he fixed those big green soulful eyes on me and gave me a look of such love and adoration, almost like he was saying, "Don't worry, Mama, it can't be that bad because see?  I love you!"  And I couldn't help but smile and wipe the tears away and return the tight hug that he was giving me. 

I love how children teach us so much.  I love how caring for their basic needs and meeting their demands for attention can take us away from whatever we might be doing that might be unnecessary or superfluous.  I love how kids force you to be in the moment.  And I love how my son showed me this morning that despite what else might be going on, I have him and his precious love for me.  I know some might read this and think I'm ascribing too much to a 2-year-old's capacity for understanding, but I can assure you, he understood enough to know that I needed some love.

My sweet boy. My thoughtful, feeling boy. My Will with his soulful eyes.