Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Break 2016.

It's spring!  Which in Montana means the fact that it was snowing sideways early this afternoon is totally normal.  I've always thought winter was my least favorite season, but I think I've changed my mind.  It's spring.  At least with winter you know what you are getting.  You can count on it being cold and snowy.  I actually welcome this in the winter because it always looks so pretty and perfectly festive for the holidays.  With spring most people would be expecting tulips to be popping up, birds to be returning and temperatures inching up.  Those people don't live here.  Yes, we have flowers popping up and the robins returning.  However, as soon as I get excited about these signs of spring the snow begins falling, the temperatures drop and the flowers get buried.  The robins hop around on the wet sidewalks with looks on their little bird faces, like " what the heck, why didn't we go to California instead?"  Spring in Montana is just a tease...she flirts with us...go ahead, get out your patio stuff, maybe have a beer out there one evening.  Just kidding, not quite done with the snow.  Ugh.  

Okay, okay.  That's enough of my spring rant.  We have had a couple beautiful days tucked in there...just enough to give us hope.  We also just finished spring break.  We didn't go anywhere warm, no vacation, no real plans.  Yet, it was just what we needed.  A break from the school routine, no homework, activities or bedtimes.  A slower pace.  I had to work most of it so Matt took a few days off to hang with the girls.  There was some cousin time, some playdates with friends and lots of indoor activities thanks to the not-spring-like weather (seriously, I'll stop complaining.)  To wrap it up we went with our friends for a weekend getaway adventure.  We had loose plans to go for a soak at a local hot springs and stay at their families cabin tucked in the mountains.  It may not have been Spring Break 1999 (the year in college we all went to Mexico), but Spring Break 2016 was still pretty awesome.  

There's something about getting out of town that instantly gives the vacation vibe.  Pack the car, hit the road and get away.  First stop, Fairmont Hot Springs.  The sun was shining, but the wind was freezing so we stayed in the warm water watching our little fish of children splash around for hours.  Finally when we were all so starved for lunch we were able to convince them it was time to leave.  Rather than eat there we took our friends advice and drove the short distance into Anaconda where she promised was the cutest little diner that had converted VW slug bugs as tables.  It did not disappoint.  

Stomachs full, we went from the dry roads in town to a winter wonderland at the cabin.  As much as I'm ready for spring, it was fun to go someplace where it was FULL of snow.  Not the wet snow storms we keep having in Bozeman where it sticks for a minute, melts and makes everything turn to mud...but real snow the kids could play in.  They traded their swimsuits for snow pants and jumped in.  The parents found their spots on the fantastic back deck and soaked up the warm sunshine that was reflecting off all that snow.  Visiting, laughing, engaging in snowball fights with the kids and just enjoying.  

The sun was so warm we sat out there until it set over the frozen nearby lake.  The light was gorgeous...


I think it's from all my happy childhood memories of going to our cabin that I love doing things like this.  It's nothing fancy, but cabins always feel so cozy.  Once the sun went down we were all tucked inside, eating dinner...kids played games and fell asleep watching movies.  Adults playing cards, drinking beers and laughing.  A lot.  I love it.  I love that we have been with these friends since those spring break days of 1999 and while things certainly have changed since then, the laughter and love is the same.  It makes me so happy.  

The next day we got up slow.  No one was ready to get back to Bozeman because that meant the real world had to begin again and spring break would officially be over.  There is a small Montana town, Phillipsburg a short drive away that Matt and I had never been.   Our friends had and said how cute it was.  The decision was made to take the long way home and check it out.  Oh my gosh...it is the cutest little place!

The main street is full of restaurants, coffee shops, stores, a brewery and the kids favorite...a huge candy store!


So many decisions!!  I loved the old buildings and the small town charm.  I loved that there was a pay phone, something our kids had never seen before...

I loved telling them how we used to carry dimes around just in case we needed to make a phone call because there were no cell phones.  Yup, we totally dated ourselves with them.  We wandered up and down the whole Main Street, made a detour to a pizza place that was closed but found a great park instead for the kids to run around.  Still not quite ready to let go, we headed back to the main street for lunch.  Sadly after that we knew it was time.  We made the long drive back to Bozeman.  Happily exhausted after the fun-filled couple of days.  

Spring Break 2016 may not have been filled with Corona's and night clubs, but I wouldn't trade them.  I love the memories we have from those crazy days, but I love even more the family memories we are making with our crazy kiddos.

Now if Spring would just stop flirting with us and officially come to Bozeman I'd be a very happy girl.  


Thursday, February 11, 2016

38.

I approach birthdays a little like I do New Years.  It's a time of reflection of the past year and a look into how you want this next year to go.  It marks another year gone of this thing we call life and I get all sorts of feelings about it.  Last week I said goodbye to 37 and welcomed 38...

I also believe strongly that birthdays are meant to be celebrated.  To quote Dr. Seuss..."Wake up!  For today is your day of all days!  Today you are you that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is youer than you."  It's a day just for you...not a day to be skipped over quickly, not a day to have to go to work...a day to do what makes you happy.  I like to keep it simple and surround myself with loved ones. I started the day with hugs and birthday wishes from my favorite girls.  They are figuring out this whole birthday thing and how special they are.  The day was spent with my family in the morning and a hike along with an afternoon brewery trip with my favorite guy...

It may be February but we had a gorgeous, blue sky day and the trail to ourselves.  Oh how I love the quiet in the mountains in the winter.  As much as I miss having the birds around, there is something about the peace and calm this time of year.  We topped the day off with a cheesecake lovingly made by Matt and Layla and a scavenger hunt made by the girls.  So sweet.  

I also believe in stretching birthdays out for a whole week so we kept it going through the weekend.  Matt had planned a night away at one of Montana's best places...Rainbow Ranch in Big Sky.  We kissed the kids goodbye and headed for this beautiful mountain resort.  It did not disappoint...

It is the most relaxing place.  We spent the next 24 hours drinking wine, eating good food, sitting outside on our patio listening the partially frozen river ramble by and then warming up by the fireplace inside.  Throw in plenty of time soaking in their amazing hot tub taking in the mountain views...

One night is simply not enough here.  I left feeling rejuvenated and oh-so-grateful for my husband.  He's so good.  

Now I'm in the next year of life.  38.  This is what I know...

-I am beginning 38 as a non-runner.  
This is difficult as I've been running for the past 20 years.  After hurting myself last spring, my 37 year old self kept pushing on.  I finally gave in and stopped to give myself time to heal.  It has been hard.  Now at 38 I have come to terms with it.  I will continue to try and heal and know that by being gentle I may be able to end my 38th year as a runner again.

-I am sad to see my thirties come to an end.  
I try not to worry too much about age.  Knowing each year continues to get better.  However, I have loved my thirties so very much.  I sort of wish I could rewind them.  I wouldn't do anything different I just want to do them again.  I found my twenties, like most, such a confusing time.  The contentment that has come with this decade makes everything so much easier.  Calmer.  I wish it would all just slow down a bit.

-I'm right where I want to be.
I'm so happy where I am in life right now as a 38 year old mom, wife, person.  Living in this beautiful community where the mountains are just a hop skip and jump away.  Near family and friends.  But...

-I wish for adventure.
As much as I love it here, I never thought I'd end up raising a family in my hometown.  Giving them similar experiences of my own childhood.  While there is so much good in this, I sometimes long for something else...a new place, a new adventure, giving them a totally different experience than my own.  Living someplace that perhaps doesn't have nine months of winter...where you don't even have to own snow boots.  Seeing how happy and thriving they are I can't imagine taking them away from it and I know adventure is still in our future.  It may just be a several years away.  This is okay.  I'm really getting into Matt's plan for "the year of the van" after Layla goes off to college.

-I am grateful.  Happy.  
I have always believed in looking for the good in things and finding gratitude in life.  In the past couple of years I've really tried to act on this rather than just think it.  Making it more a way of life...finding the happy in situations, meditating and taking time to feel truly grateful for things that happened throughout the day.  It's a constant practice, but it is becoming more natural.  Maybe it comes with age.  If that's the case than I am so grateful for my 38th year.  

Cheers to many more birthday celebrations.  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dealing with January.

So we're in it.  The smack middle of winter.  Deep in the grey of January.  No hope for spring for months to come.  I've been good with this until I went on a hike last week and I carefully tried to stay on my two feet while slipping up the hill (yes, it is possible to slip up a hill, it just has to be very icy).  I realized how much I missed seeing color.  Right now it's all shades of grey, white and brown.  I am missing the vibrance of green and wildflowers and brilliant blue sky.  I let myself feel bummed out about this as I stumbled up a few more switchbacks.  When I approached the top and took in a deep breath I was humbled by all those negative thoughts of this not being beautiful...

Of course it's easy to get sick of winter around here, but truly time flies by anymore. I might feel bummed that it's only January right now, when I should know April is right around the corner.  As someone who is really trying to enjoy these little moments each day I need to realize it means every day.  Not just the sunny, eighty degree ones.  It means the Monday morning in the middle of winter.  It was a good reminder.  

My kids love winter.  I have a suspicion they may like it more than summer (gasp)!  I get it.  They have way better circulation so they don't get cold and we end every outside activity with hot chocolate.  (I think I need to encourage more ice cream eating in the summer to counteract this a bit.)  In the summer we do a lot of what I love doing...hiking, camping, getting out on the water.  In the winter the activities are all about the kids and certainly not something we would be doing without them.  These girls are all about it...

That face says it all.  Flying down snowy hills or gliding across shimmering ice on skates.  Taking a break on the side to cool down with natures best snack, snow...

I do believe they would fill every weekend with ice skating, sledding and hot chocolate and skip right past the summer months.  I know as long as I get to be a part of this and still get into the mountains once in awhile I am happy.  Even if it means standing in the snowy side lines trying not to freeze my toes off.  I just wished I liked hot cocoa more.  

Speaking of getting into the mountains still, a couple of weeks ago Matt and I started off a date night with a sunset hike.  Talk about feeling gratitude for the snowy beauty...there's something very peaceful about being on a snow-packed trail in the cold.  Everything is a little quieter.  The colors of the sunset are somehow magnified by the blanket of white on the valley below.  It was pretty awesome. 

As we made our way back down the trail you could see the lights of Bozeman beginning to pop on, lighting everything up.  We left the peace of the mountain and ended up in a loud brewery.  It's funny to be in two such different worlds within moments.  Solitude one and then with friends sharing laughs and a beer in the next.  We are so lucky.

The next time I'm feeling down about the cold, snow and drear I'll remind myself how quickly it will be gone.  If I've learned one thing each year I get older, it's that time keeps going faster.  I often find myself wishing I was younger again (yikes, I have a birthday coming up that will push me firmly into my late thirties!) or yearning for the girls to be babies again and wanting to stop them from growing older.  Yet at the same time I wish away the winter months each year.  This is just craziness.  You can't have it both ways and while I know time won't slow down I do know I can embrace each day.  No matter what season.  No matter what the weather.  Embrace what we have today so I don't look back later wishing I could come back to this very moment.  Snow and all.  

Until next time...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye Christmas, Hello 2016

We are one week post Christmas Eve.  Things are settling down.  Tomorrow all the decorations will go back in the crawl space (not gonna lie I would have taken the tree down days ago but am making myself wait until New Years Day for the kids).  Our Christmas was happy.  Our Christmas was sad.  A beautiful blend of magic and traditions along with loss and a funeral.  On Christmas Eve my lovely grandma passed away.  She was my favorite grandma.  The one whose house we loved going to when we were little because it was full of toys and trinkets.  She was a die hard thrift store shopper so there were always treasures to be found at her house.  She was the one who was at all the birthday parties of my childhood,  at the hospital to welcome my babies and could always make you smile. She was an amazing woman and I am so proud to be her granddaughter.  As we gathered with cousins, aunts, uncles and friends to say goodbye and share memories you could see how many lives she touched.  She was the one who always brought us all together and this Christmas she finally got us in the same place again.  She would have been so happy to see this and I know in a way, she did.  After all the tears we sat around in a cheesy pizza joint laughing and sharing in the common love of family.  A beautiful celebration of her wonderful life.  

Even with loss, life goes on as usual.  Christmas was my grandma's favorite time of year so she wouldn't have wanted us to be sad throughout it.  She would want us to live it up so we made sure to do that.  In our house things begin on Christmas Eve with Matt's parents. A full Lebanese dinner and then gifts...

Feeling extra sentimental about grandparents this year and happy that the girls are fortunate to have four wonderful ones.  

Later that evening before going to bed, we spread reindeer food in the driveway and put cookies out in anticipation of Santa's arrival...

Oh, how I remember the excitement of going to bed on Christmas Eve...knowing something magical was about to happen.  Waking the next morning unable to even contain my excitement to see what Santa brought.  We are right on the edge of the girls still believing and each year I am grateful for their innocence.  Their energy is contagious and makes Christmas morning such fun.
Santa brought the girls an avocado plant from Mexico.  They were pretty excited since they have been trying unsuccessfully to grow one.  Silly guy even put big avocados in the bottom of their stockings.  

My favorite part of the day was how the girls were just as excited, if not more, to give us our gifts.  I love that we have instilled the importance of giving in them.  To see the thoughtfulness and time they put into making these gifts.  

Ava made me prayer flags for my mediation area.  Seriously.  Best gift I got.  She is the coolest chick.

The celebrating continued as we made our way over the river and through the woods to my parents house.  To gather with all the cousins and my sisters.  To sit under the tree where I have spent every Christmas and watch my dad play Santa Claus and hand out gifts to everyone there.

Not a Christmas has gone by that my sisters and I haven't all been at my parents house exchanging gifts.  It has changed and the family has grown over the years, but we are always there.  This year with one sister traveling from out of town and the other getting ready to leave town it was a quick hour we were all there.  What a wonderful hour it was.  

We went home Christmas evening exhausted from the days festivities.  I crawled into bed feeling happy and content from a beautiful holiday.

Now it is New Year's Eve.  The last day of 2015.  I love a new year, a fresh start.  I don't think about it as making resolutions that will only last a couple weeks.  I like to think of it as an opportunity to reflect on the past year and to set intentions for the new one.  I like the idea of intentions rather than resolutions.  I will write all of mine down in my journal because I don't think they need to be shared here.  By writing them down I feel like I will be more committed to them.  They will help start 2016 to be the best year.  I love the feelings a new year brings.  As the Christmas decorations come down tomorrow, life will calm and settle into a slow winter routine.  A time to reflect on the intentions made.  I love January for this.  

And, because it means a brand new day planner needs to be bought.  Matt reminded me I could just use the planner on my phone, but I'm old school.  I get all nerdy about day planners and can't wait to pick out the perfect one for 2016.

Happy New Year friends.  I hope it's the best yet.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tis the Season.

We are settling quite nicely into one of my favorite times of the year.  The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, the halls have been decked with boughs and holly and Jack Frost has been nipping at my nose.  Well, not really that last one, it's actually been quite mild for December.  But, the rest?  The rest is all true...we are in the middle of the most wonderful time of the year.

There are so many things I love about the holidays.  I'm a traditions girl and this time of year is all about that.  Traditions we've created over the years for our family that we look forward to each year.  Making memories I hold close to my heart.  For me it is about these special moments we have together.  Some people get frantic this time of year.  It certainly is easy to get caught up in the chaos...you can feel it in the stores, you can sense it from those around you trying to cram it all in, buy all the gifts, get to all the parties.  When I feel myself getting lost in it, I take a breath and focus on my holiday mantra...keep it simple and remember what it really means to us.  The memory making, the traditions....

Getting our Christmas Tree

Except for a few years here and there we've always headed to the mountains to chop down our tree.  There were the years we didn't live in Montana so it simply wasn't possible, the years when the babies were too little to trek out to the mountains and the one year we decided it would be easier to go to a local farm and pay to cut one of their trees.  After that $75 mistake we vowed we  would only go to the mountains and pay the five dollar permit to get our trees.  Hyalite Canyon is generally our choice and this year the day was perfect.  Bright blue skies, warm sun, fresh snow and numerous perfect-for-a-mountain-tree trees.  Throw in some sledding and hot cocoa and what we have here is a perfect tradition for the memory bank.
Once we have our tree we put it up in the garage for a week and let it thaw out a bit.  This is because I like to spread the traditions out throughout the season.  We can't get the tree and decorate it on the same day.  No, no, no.  We add to the anticipation by waiting until the next weekend.  Then it's time to deck the halls.

Decorations
The Christmas station on Pandora gets worn out the day we decorate the tree.  There really are only a handful of songs that are played over and over by various artists in various versions.  Some find that annoying, I find it part of the charm.  And the best because then you totally know all the words for singing.  Anyways...the tubs of decorations come out and the girls and I get busy while Matt observes and throws on the occasional ornament.  The girls start putting things in crazy places and I try to stay calm and remember having it look like Christmas threw up all over my living room is part of the fun. Years from now I can have all the decorations be in what I consider the right place and I can cut out half of the snowmen that need to be put on the mantle.  For now I want to see it from their carefree eyes.

Festivities
From the Christmas Stroll to the Nutcracker to school holiday programs to office parties.  December is full, but it is the good kind.  The kind that is perfectly balanced with lazy weekends.  It means one night we get dressed up, leave the girls with grandma and drink wine late into the night with friends and the next we stay in pajamas and all snuggle on the couch watching Miracle on 34th Street.  It means rather than going to every event that goes on this month, we pick the ones we love the most and say no thanks to the rest.  The ones we never miss are watching Santa light the downtown decorations and hot cocoa at the Stroll. 

Cookies
Baking and decorating cookies has been a tradition I've done with my mom and sisters long before we had kids.  It is one I treasure even more now that I get to have them be a part of it.  Cousins, sprinkles, frosting, sugar, laughter, more sprinkles pretty much sums it up.
This year the kids made gingerbread houses.  They worked on them for hours.  Each kid had dreamed up such a different idea and I was  impressed with how they turned out.  This crew is something else.  

There is more to come.  A couple more weeks to squeeze in more memories.  Driving around to check out Christmas lights, making reindeer food, wrapping presents and more holiday movies to be watched.  There is family to be with and old friends coming to town.  There are cookies and notes to be left for Santa and as Ava says "the magic feeling of waking up on Christmas morning".  These are the things I want them to take from the holidays...the magical feeling of the season.  The family time, the love, the traditions.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Yoga and Running...a Yin and Yang Relationship.

I haven't been running lately.  It used to be three days a week, no excuses.  Well, maybe an occasional one because of frigid cold mornings or snowstorms, I'm not that die hard.  Montana winters aside, for the most part I have been a very dedicated runner.  Several months ago I tweaked something in my hip.  I didn't think much of it, as a runner I've had various injuries that go away after a bit of rest.  This time I tried everything...rest, icing, ibuprofen, physical therapy and recently a full on running hiatus (going on week three-insert saddy face emojoi).  Nothing seems to be helping.  I am still hopeful.  Because of the running hiatus I have been doing a lot more yoga and meditation which used to just be a beautiful balance to my running.  The yin and yang of my overall health and mental sanity.  I've noticed a struggle with meditating and yoga that previously was going so smoothly...no longer able to focus on the present and quiet my mind.  Today I thought about grabbing my mat and heading to the yoga studio and then realized my heart wasn't in it.  Instead I grabbed my hiking shoes and headed to the nearest mountain.  As I started up the trail, my heart began to pump harder, moving heat throughout my body.  It didn't take long to realize what had been missing.  With all the yoga and meditation I had plenty of yin.  But, I needed my yang.

Hiking is not the same as running but today it was close enough.  Today I found that although so very different, I need the balance of yoga/meditation with running/hiking for so many reasons. 

Breathing.  When running or hiking I am outside.  I push myself and begin breathing hard but I don't have to focus on it.  In yoga it is all about the breath...concentrating on each inhale and exhale.  Feeling it fully go through you and releasing all the stale air.  Hiking the breath is just as important but there is no need to focus on it, your body knows what to do.  Just breath.  Taking in a deep breath means filling up with crisp fresh air and feeling it invigorate you.  Rather than the big yoga inhales and the shared air of those next to you.  This breath is still good...the collective energy of a room of yogi's.  Just different.  I want both.   

Thoughts.  In yoga and meditation the focus is on the present moment.  If thoughts come into your mind, as they always do, you are to gently push them away and bring yourself back to your mat.  I was having so many successful meditations and then in the last month I simply could not quiet my mind.  On the trail today I knew why.  When running or hiking I allow all my thoughts to go wild.  Nothing is off limits...from deep thoughts that have been weighing on my mind to silly little things like what I should wear to work the next day.  I let them go crazy...one thought leading right into the next without any rhyme or reason.  By spending so much time meditating and concentrating on staying present I haven't allowed my thoughts to be free like they need to be sometimes so when it comes to quieting things down they can chill out.  It was so freeing to let my mind release on the trail, as it always does on a run.  This has been missing on my running hiatus.  Two totally different ways of finding calm and peace but like the yin and yang...they need each other.

Strength.  Found in both yoga and running.  One as you push yourself to put one foot in front of the other.  The other feeling solid as you go through your tenth chaturanga of the class...arms strong, core tight, everything working head to two.  I want to be strong, physically and mentally, for myself, for my family.  I need the strength I pull from both...I simply can't get it from one.

Peace.  Calm.  Happiness.  The things everyone is seeking.  These create a good life.  A healthy life.  Whether I'm saying namaste at the end of a class or slowing my heart down at the end of an awesome run these things fill my body and soul.  I carry them with me throughout the day and come back to them when things get hectic or I feel down.  

After my hike today I know how badly I need the combination.  I need the running to blend with the yoga...I cannot do one without the other.  I am hopeful I will have it again.  

I need to stand in mountain pose while atop a mountain.  

Namaste.  


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Happies.

I haven't been writing lately.  Not sure why.  I could easily blame it on being busy with the kids back in school and working a lot and on and on.  However, when I really need/want to write I always make the time.  At night after the kids go to bed, a spare hour in the afternoon before I pick them up.  I'm trying to figure out if it's because I don't want to or I'm just at a loss as to what to say.  I may never know why, but I do know today I have the whole day free.  With that I decided I need to make myself sit down and write.  See what comes out.  Usually when I do this I don't do it in this space.  But, if I don't do it here then what's the point of still having the blog?  If I just want to journal I can do that.  This is a space for memories and a creative outlet.  I need to see if I still want it to be that for me.  So, here we go.  

Sometimes when I have no place to begin I like to make a list.  It organizes my thoughts and then suddenly things flow.  Today it will be things I'm feeling happy about.  In this moment.

Yoga.  
Last night Matt and I got the opportunity to go to a yoga class together.  It's something we both enjoy separately and once in a while we get to enjoy it together.  It's funny, during a class it's not like we get to hang out or talk.  However, there is something about having his energy there that makes me very happy.  After we both had the chill, zen feeling you get after a class so we continued our date night to a wine bar for some dessert.  It wasn't this big fancy evening out, but it was perfect just the way it was.  For a bonus, I went to a class this morning.  Yoga makes me very happy.  

Cousin time. 
Last week my sister was here for a few days.  That meant we got the gang back together. As a big family we don't get together very often.  Everyone busy in their own lives with thier little families so when the opportunity arose to hang out we all took advantage.  Spending the warm afternoons watching the kiddos play and the evenings having family dinners.  It was so very nice to see how happy this makes the girls and reminds me that it's all about quality of time together as a family, not quantity.

Fall.
Oh my goodness has it been lovely this October.  Warm, sunny days and glorious colors all over.  Never one to be crazy about this season, this year I seem to have gotten a bit of a crush on fall.  Perhaps because there have been a couple 80-degree day tossed in...it feels like summer getting stretched out.  I totally dig that.  We've been trying to take advantage by going to our favorite park where mature trees can be found making piles of leaves easy to make and jump in...

We brought a picnic, a blanket and a couple books.  All afternoon was spent watching the girls make piles, jump in and repeat.  Lazily reading books and watching everyone else strolling through the park looking equally thrilled to be outside on such a beautiful Saturday.  Feeling lucky to be a part of it.  

Other days seeking out the best hikes and trails for fall colors.  Maple trees are a favorite of mine with their bright red and orange but it's the golden leaves of the Aspen tree groves that make my heart sing...

Oh my.

Do-overs.
Parenting is hard.  Wife-ing is hard (totally made that word up, but go with it).  These two things are so important to me.  They are things I feel like I can be really good at and feel proud about.  However, some days I totally fail.  I get easily irritated and push away my sweet husband for no good reason.  I lose my temper and yell at the girls or let my frustration show.  It never used to be a big deal for my frustration to come out, but now my tender hearted, sensitive girls can sense it and then they end up feeling bad.  Last night while struggling through some 5th grade math I didn't have my best mom moment.  I was trying to rush her through because we were on a time crunch.  We had dinner plans and then Matt and I were supposed to go out after.  Knowing the date would have to be put on hold if homework wasn't done and desperately craving that one on one time with him.  Looking at the problems and knowing how easy it was to solve 146 x 7 but the way they wanted her to do it made zero sense.  Googling it and still feeling like I was reading another language so not knowing how to help her.  Her frustrated to the point of tears and my impatience showing adding to her anguish.  Matt coming home and taking my frustration straight out on him.  Struggling to find our happy family rhythm so we could make it out the door.  Finally listening to the words he was saying and letting that voice of reason calm us all.  Allowing the time to ease the struggle away and finally seeing her smile and giggle and all of us relax.  Letting go and leaving the girls with grandparents so we could take the ever important time to ourselves, but coming home earlier enough to give her extra hugs and kisses before she drifted off to sleep.  Telling her tomorrow was a new day, a fresh start and a chance to handle things better.  Telling her this but knowing it was really for me.  I needed to remind myself that I didn't do my best but I can't go back and change it.  What I can do is admit I didn't handle things well, but tomorrow would be another chance.  A do-over.  The beauty of a new day.

Halloween.
This is a holiday that is so fun as a child, okay throughout the teen and twenties and then becomes awesome again when you have your own kids.  School age kids in particular.  They love, love, love the make believe-candy-creepy world of Halloween.  And, it is contagious.  We've been busy visiting the pumpkin patch, crafting costumes and planning our annual party with the family.  

It is the kick-off of the holiday trifecta.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  Let the fun begin.  

This.
I wasn't sure what would come when I opened up a blank page on my computer today.  I had no intention of what I felt like writing about I just knew I needed to try.  I thought nothing would come out and I'm so happy it did.  It simply flowed and I am filled with the peace that comes when I get this outlet.  Sometimes you just have to start and let it go where it goes.  

Happy day to you.