Monday, November 25, 2013

One Year, One Candle

How can this little man be a year already?

Not that he isn't acting like he's a year old, because he definitely is. Just because it feels like a few heart beats and sleepless nights ago that we expanded to a family of five.

At twelve months old, Duck is...

Walking everywhere
Not talking much, but starting to say a few "words:" that, bye, done
Points at everything
Stares very seriously at strangers
Waves good-bye
Starting to sign a little
Intermittently gives up on the whole sleeping thing
Loves reading books, being sung to, going for runs with mom, and snuggles
Dislikes potatoes, sitting in shopping carts, and wearing shoes

Turning one deserves a celebration. I know he won't remember. But we will all remember. Every moment I get to celebrate this beautiful little boy, I'm going to take it.

There was cake and a candle and not a single attempt to blow the candle out.

There were presents and, wow, did that baby ever love pulling tissue paper and presents out of gift bags!

There were balloons and silly music and family dancing and a lot of cleaning up.

Duck is just what this family needed. I watch Bug and Monkey and think how wonderful this little brother has been for them. It's given Bug the chance to be nurturing. It's given Monkey the chance to be the example. It's given Hubster and I a sense of completeness.

Duck is the perfect last baby. He is cuddly and snugly and happy and fun and every reason I so wanted a third baby. He is also full of enough mischief, eating his brothers' school books and throwing shoes in the trash can, that I look at him and think - that's why he's the last!

I'm so grateful for him. This last year has been everything I wanted it to be. I'm glad we got to celebrate it over cake and a candle.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Still Busy, But Still Here

Three times a week, I go running. This hour in the chilly afternoons is rapidly becoming the only time I have to myself. Which isn't even accurate, since I run with Duck in the jogging stroller. But since Duck loves this, and spends the miles cooing to himself and then napping, it is uninterrupted mental time for me.

I use this time to recenter myself. Think about how things are going at home, at work, with my friends, with my family.  I think about weak areas and develop solutions.

I compose blog posts. Things I want to say. Posts about things I've learned while running, things I've learned in 11 years of parenting, about the crazy squirrels in my backyard.

This weekend, as my feet started moving and my mind starting writing, I suddenly realized how few of these mental blog posts were actually making it from my brain to the screen. And by few, I mean none. I couldn't remember the last time I had written, actually written. Not just updated about the fun activities we were doing as a family or how fast Duck was growing, but keyed out a heart felt post.

I had a small anxiety attack.  Was my blog dead?

I hadn't written about my second 5K, I hadn't written about Halloween, I hadn't written about my job, or Hubster's ongoing adventures in dental school.  I hadn't written about anything really. Had I let my blog that I had loved and nurtured for years, had I let it die?

Blogging has rapidly been changing. There are new ways to follow blogs, new ways to read blogs, new ways to stay connected and new ways to comment. I understand none of them. I've seen my traffic and my comments dwindle just as rapidly as my postings (which is to be expected.)  As this blog is not a source of income and purely for my own enjoyment (and hopefully a little for yours), I haven't invested heavily in keeping up with new technologies and new platforms and new formats. This is pretty much the same place it was when I typed out my first awkward post 5 years ago.

When I graduated residency, I thought I would have oodles of time, mountains of time, more time than I knew what to do with. After all, I would be working 4 days a week, taking no call, working no weekends.  I was going to organize my house! Craft! Read! Blog!

Instead, life has a way of filling every moment, seeping into every new minute it can get, like tide waters cresting a river bank. There was no extra time.

All that extra time I thought I would have became filled with meals and homework and running and story time with Duck and laundry and grocery shopping and vacuuming and parent teacher conferences and the generalized attempts at keeping my head above water while trying to enjoy the ride.

Work has kept me busier than I expected. Covering all the things that Hubster used to do so that he can focus on dental school has kept me busier than I expected. Three kids keep me busier than even I could have imagined.

In reality, this is just a long winded way to reassure myself that this blog isn't dead. I may have only posted once or twice a month for the last year, but that doesn't I still don't have things to say. I may not say them as frequently or to as many people. But it was never about that. I wrote for a year before getting my first follower, and at no point during that time was I discouraged because of the lack of an audience. I'm going to continue to write for the same reason I started. To empty my brain. To capture the memories. To tell a story.

To enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Taste of the Season

Fall is not my favorite season.

I love the changing leaf colors and the golden light as much as the next person. I enjoy playing in leaf piles and going apple picking. I enjoy fall.

But I just can't bring myself to join the throngs of people that clamor about autumn being their favorite season.

The reason fall hasn't won me over is that each day, the temperature drops a little, the days become a little shorter, the dark lasts a little longer. The cicadas no longer sing. Each passing autumn day, no matter how golden, how bright, how colorful, just brings me one day closer to winter.

There is one part about the season that I do love, though.

The food.

I love fall food more than any other food. Everything is apple, and pumpkin, and spice. And soup.  Oh, how I love soup. That is the one shortcoming of my beloved sweltering summer days: you just can't simmer soup all day on the stove in 100 degree weather.

Apple turnovers.

Pear tarts.

Caramel apple cake.

Apple cider marinated grilled chicken.

Pear spiced pancakes.  Pumpkin pancakes.  Apple pancakes. Cinnamon pancakes.

Butternut squash soup.  

My house smells delicious and fall like nearly every day.  I could cook and eat this food all year long.  Well, until the weather changes to summer and I go back to despising having to turn on the oven.

So until my beloved summer returns, I will comfort myself during the rapid approach of winter with warm, spiced, delicious food.