Staycation week of things

I had the week off this past week. I had a HUGE list and was hoping to go beyond the overdue stuff to do some more, like cleaning out cupboards and hanging pictures, but we just had one of those weeks where one thing after another that should have been easy was not. In the spirit of thankfulness though, I’m thinking about all of the bright lights this week. It wasn’t the kind of vacation where you travel to a sunny place, sample excellent food and drink wine, gazing at the starry sky. But it afforded us a chance to get caught up on life a bit, and that was worth it. So here we go!

1.) We have a new modem. After going over our internet bill for the last few months I upgraded our package and got us a new modem. This is good, should be cheaper in the long run, and hopefully worth the snarky feelings I had towards the people who butted in front of me as I was trying to corral a toddler into waiting in line at the service center, the annoyance at the modem that was faulty and needed to be returned, the instructions to install it which could not be read as I didn’t have the program, and no internet to download this program, and the 2 useless service calls trying to get it all sorted. It took a full day but it is done. Done!

2.) Catching up on bills and forms and paperwork. We had a lot of little things to clear out, overdue and demanding more attention than an exhausted hour after workday/ dinner/ bath/ bedtime – and I think we got all of the big ones out of the way. Phew!

3.) We are all feeling better after the miserable stuffy heads, drippy noses, and achy limbs that kicked off the week. One after another we all caught the dreaded cold, and felt just wrung out. So I’m thankful that we had planned to stay home this week, and I’m glad we are all on the road to recovery now.

4.) Thankful for our family – Baby J has some fantastic grandparents and aunties and uncles that were happy to invite us over, feed us (I didn’t have to cook for two days in a row!), letting us relax knowing he was playing happily under their watchful eyes while we were sick. And then when we felt a bit better we made this fun video as part of Tyler’s song a day project:


5.) Family really deserves two waves of feeling thankful this week – to include the sweet, smiling cousin that pulled Baby J around patiently in a wagon all afternoon, helping him get out to pick up a toy, helping him back in, pulling him along again. And the great-aunt and uncle who watched him all day today so that we could catch up on some administrative things at the end of the week. We’re starting to peek out from piles of emails and make some plans for the next month and it feels great.

baby J and grandpa

wagon ride

6.) I was able to take Baby J to Toddlertime at the library during daytime (normally work hours) and despite being the youngest one there, he fit in fine, sat fairly still for the story, and even got up and bopped a bit to Old MacDonald had a Farm.

7.) Thankful that I was able to go over and snuggle my friend’s week-old baby, finding time to bake her cookies and cut up some veggies (snacks I adored in the first hazy weeks adjusting to motherhood) and bring her some infant sized hand me downs. Most people tend to buy bigger sizes as shower gifts, which is great too, but I loved getting newborn stuff, reliving me of daily washing (who know something so small would get so dirty, so often?) and I’m loving that I can get more use out of them by passing them along.

8.) The weather has been stellar the last couple of days – making me really enjoy fall so far, loving the last rays of golden sunlight, the crunchy leaves, the open windows during the day. It’s an unbelievable mood booster!

cornfields

9.) Happy that we managed to do some things just the 3 of us, this week, too. We visited Valleyview Animal Farm, this nice little area nearby that has animals to feed and admire, from goats to pigs, deer and ducks. There are lots of fake animals to climb on (we learned that Baby J has added a good horse whinny to his repertoire of animal sounds), wooden tractors, piles of sand and toys, picnic tables for lunch or snacks, and a ton of different play structures to climb on and explore. He’s a bit young for a lot of it, but he had a good time and it was a great way to enjoy a morning outside.

deer valleyview farm

10.) All the time in the day. I’m running around busier than ever before, but I’m also using my time more, I find – I’m up earlier, my head is always moving and scheduling the day, we get groceries and we play, we visit with friends or take 15 minutes to just collect stones and climb steps outside. I absorb all of the new words and funny things, and then I enjoy that time to myself at the end of the night even more. I’m thankful for this precious life I have and all the time I’m given to enjoy it.

dandelion

Wishing you all a marvelous weekend full of sunshine and happy things – they’re there, even when they seem hard to find.

Ten

Right Now

For just a few moments tonight I’m not thinking about work, or doing the dishes, about putting out the garbage or if the dog’s been walked. I’m just focused on the way his face fits perfectly into my neck, his weight settled gently on my chest, his small arm locked around my neck. There’s probably snot and drool dripping down on me, but I just close my eyes, humming idly still as the rocking chair sways, both of us breathing in and out in the dark, both tired, but we need each other – he needs my comfort and I need his trusting, soft body snuggled onto mine to make him feel better.

If I could I would keep him attached to me always, but I understand that the older he gets, the more he can run, climb, and play, and a happy running into your arms hug is a precious thing. So too, are these moments, few and far between, when he’s not feeling well and just wants to be soothed and rocked and lulled towards sleep and it’s something I can do better than anyone else in the world.

Afterwards, I did some laundry. Changed a lightbulb, and put some soup on the stove to calm my gnawing stomach. Checked email. Then as I brought a basketful of clothes up to pour all over the bed, I decided to check in on him, too. He hadn’t moved, was still snoring, but was slick with sweat. So I decided to take off his fleece pajama pants and accidentally woke him up.

Back to the rocking chair. Rookie mistake.

We’ve been lucky that Baby J hasn’t been sick too often. A handful of colds and tummy bugs, foot and mouth disease a few months ago. It seems to be cold season though and we’re joining the rest with our sore throats and runny noses. I wish I could take away his discomfort and make him understand that the dryness in his mouth is temporary, that he’ll breathe freely again soon, but in the meantime all I can do is rock and hug, and enjoy being needed just a little bit.

First Time at the Fair

Nothing signals the start of fall like the blue skies, crisp air, and the the sights and sounds of a fair. One of my earliest memories is running askew in a three legged race with a cousin at a local fair, getting a silver dollar as a prize from my Opa. I went back to the fair a few times in high school but since then not really.

It’s another part of having a kid that I forgot about: being able to see these things I did and felt as a child through his eyes. So when my friend Dawn suggested we pop over and walk from her house to the Richmond fair, I thought it sounded great. It was the chilliest day we’d had yet, and luckily I found a great jacket hiding in the closet, handed down to me from a friend, that seemed made just for him.

We met up with some of her family as well, and Baby J had a great time. He’s a bit small to do everything, but he enjoyed looking at the animals, imitating the loud moooooos of the gleaming cows, watching the ducks, rabbits, and even a donkey mingle in the petting area. He interestedly watched as a class of shrieking youngsters ran around, one girl stooping nearby to snatch up a handful of grass and shove it quickly towards a goat’s open mouth. He scooped some up himself, learning quickly that the goats would come over and nibble.

We drifted over to a guy showing science-y stuff to an enthralled crowd, then back to the animals. Baby J was happy to run around and watch every little thing, craning his neck to spot the airplane way above, grinning, feeling the sun on his face, before spotting a giant tractor and dashing over to run his hands over the glossy yellow wheel.

tractor

For lunch we tried out a food truck serving tacos and it was fantastic. We had the chicken tacos and shared the tangy meat, crisp tomatoes and the corn tortilla that was just soft enough.

tacos

I picked up some local maple syrup and we watched one of the older girls we were with go on the little dragon roller coaster, again and again. I threw a dart and won a little stuffed whale and then we ventured to the merry go round. He liked it well enough the first time, clinging tight to the horse after it had stopped rising and falling, but the second time we had to wait quite awhile as kids loaded up, so he was kind of over it before the ride started.

ferris

The biggest hit of the day was on the way out: the hay bales, just leaking enough straw strands to be picked up and strewn about, sturdy enough to climb on, and the assortment of fall gourds, just right to be placed here and re-arranged there.

A few hours was plenty for him in the morning, and he fell asleep about a minute after I pulled onto the street. Our first time at the fair was a success and I’m looking forward to doing some more outdoor fall activities with him this year!

gourds