Monday, October 22, 2012

once upon a pumpkin

We've been super limited this month due to Kevin's traveling for work. Being a single mama over a couple of weekends has limited us on our pursuit of our annual traditions. So what does one do in such a predicament? 

Why, you cram them together in one weekend, of course. 

It started with arriving at a local pumpkin patch. You won't find bounce houses or petting zoos, but you'll find pumpkins still attached to the vine and a homey atmosphere. It is another opportunity to show our children the benefits of living in a small town. I never thought I'd write those words when we left this small town.

However, 3 years after moving back to our hometown, I have to say that taking our boys to such places like Lavender Hill Farm, makes me content with our decision to move back to the "we will never move back there" neck of the woods.

Yes, "never say never" has been a humbling lesson for me, but a lesson that has given me the opportunity for gratitude, too.

 Each boy had a method true to their own self reflection. Luke observed, contemplated, and took his time.

Lots and lots of time. 

My natural inclination was to rush him along. However, I restrained myself and let him work through his process. He looked for the most unusual pumpkins. I love that he didn't want to settle for just a regular old, orange pumpkin.

Meanwhile, it didn't take Charlie long to enthusiastically pick-up a pumpkin and declare it his new prized possession. However, after a few seconds that pumpkin was tossed aside for a brighter and bigger pumpkin. Our rule is, as long as you can lift it, you can buy it. He puts us to the test.

Homeboy was on a mission.

He had to stop and think about it for awhile. Our Charlie is quite pensive about life. He had to make sure it truly was the biggest he could fit in the barrel.

Well, and then there is Jack. I find myself saying that often about this kid. His energy is overflowing and he may or may not have sat in the car for a portion of the pumpkin picking. 

While I could gripe about how he pushes every button or zaps me of all my energy, I am going to tell you that I love that kid more than life. He is dramatic, fearless, and the life of the party.

You can trust that Jack is always going to bring his A game. He may just bring his B and C game too; he's got a lot of game.

As the boys studied each pumpkin, I studied them. Sometimes in the rush of each week, I forget to truly look at them. Each one is so uniquely their own person. Who knew a misty morning in a pumpkin patch would provide such reflection?

 To prove how much of a bonding time we had, I thought I'd make you jealous...

 I only hope our Christmas photo turns out as stunning.

Happy Monday, friends.

Much love,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

crystal cove

We piled in the minivan last weekend and headed north to Crystal Cove. It is located in Newport Beach, but is the exact opposite of modern day Newport Beach. There is no pretense to this location. It is a step into the past of a sleepy beach with aged, quaint cottages, expansive tide pools, and watercolor blue skies. I can simply tell you that I have found my happy place.

It was certain that Luke, Charlie, and Jack found their happy place, too. The have a special room in their hearts for tide pools. They have a natural inclination for exploring. When you combine exploring and the ocean, their happy buckets are brimming.

Being with these four guys in such an overwhelmingly beautiful spot, caught me off guard. At one point, as I watched Luke splashing in the waves, tears welled up in my eyes. I have to tell you that I'm not a crier. I guess the Crystal Cove experience does that to a gal.

 After a full day in paradise, we stopped to get shakes. Chocolate shakes speak to me.

We are off to the beach today, to celebrate my dad's birthday. I hope you have a fun day!

Much love,

complaining on facebook

It is a common thought that we are destined to be happy in this life. Ask a parent what they want for their children and they will most likely answer "happy" as one of their top hopes.

As I check my facebook daily, it is always loaded with complaints. Someone is suffering the worst sore throat ever or enduring a life hardship and expressing a "why me?" sense of helplessness. 

I get it. I do feel empathy when someone is struggling. However, it seems to  be the same person who is posting life downers daily.

I agree, sore throats suck and life throws us curveballs. Happiness is not a constant.

And I hate to admit it because it probably does make me seem a bit callous, but I feel like typing into the response feed, "Take the focus off yourself."

Perhaps my life experience gives me this perspective. I live with a chronic disease. There is not a single day that I'm not in pain. I have daily migraines, my joints hurt, I have extreme fatigue and what is called  foggy lupus brain where  can't seem to process the right words to say.

Try dealing with that for a single day before you complain about your allergies for the hundreth time.

Although I could take my complaints to Facebook, twitter, and the rest of the universe, I don't.

I choose to push forward and live my life in joy instead because I know that someone, somewhere is suffering way more than I am. 

I can sleep safely at night without worrying about my village being burned down to nothing.

I can walk to my kitchen to get a drink of water.

My children have full bellies throughout the day.

But, that doesn't mean that life isn't hard. Because it is. 

When I was diagnosed with lupus it was a blow. When Luke was diagnosed with Asperger's at age 4 it hit us hard. When my husband, Kevin, was diagnosed with stage 3 metastatic melanoma at 30, I thought life was crashing down.

For a moment.

But, I never questioned "why me?" or "why us?"

Life is not a guarentee of happiness and comfort. Suffering is part of the human experience. How you choose to respond to it, is what matters most. You can either push on or let life push you down.

When you push forward, even through extreme pain, you may not find your sought after happiness, but you will find strength. 

Much love,