motherhood · summer

When It’s All Over

I need a last day of summer do-over.

But that’s what happens when we heap a mere 24 hours of our lives with expectations and to-do’s and won’t-this-be-fun-it-will-only-take-a-few-minutes.

We simply can’t do it all. So I need to stop trying to live like we can.

Their list of activities was long and unreasonable and expensive.

Gus’s list was short: cry so I can be nursed constantly. All morning long.

Makes for a hard day and hard choices.

In the end, we wound up at home doing #58 on Rachel’s list.

Now they are wearing their Christmas dresses and my high heels (I do have some, shocking, I know) and parading around.

Guess what? They’re happy.

They’re over the abandoned park, the impromptu stop to buy diapers, the frustration of our early morning.

 Maybe I won’t need a do-over after all.

Faithful readers, I have done it again.  Overscheduled my life.  Someday I will learn.  Until then, bear with the sporadic posting schedule, because once I make it through this brief season, I am praying for the ability to prioritize and focus more on this love of words.

reflections · summer · thankful Thursday

A Slower Time

There’s nothing like a few days camping in the woods with the rain to remind me to slow.

Slow down.  Set a different pace.  Our only clock was on the dashboard in the van, because when cell phones can only be recharged by a running vehicle and electricity is for those folks “not real camping” as my children say, a specific time ceases to matter.

We measured bedtime by exhaustion and dinner by hunger.  I fed Gus when he seemed hungry and my full chest agreed.  It rained for hours or maybe less, but its hard to count when raindrops on the tent fly pulse out a rhythm ideal for sleeping.

It was chaotic,
but slow.

It was work,
but there was also play.

We camped at Davidson River Campground in Brevard, NC.  It’s a place that ushers you into Mt. Pisgah National Forest and invites one to stay for days exploring land that once all belonged to George Vanderbilt and his Biltmore dynasty.

Could you imagine owning a waterfall?

Last year we swam at Looking Glass Falls and plunged into the frigid waters of Sliding Rock, but this year the rain kept us exploring in Asheville all day and drove us to a hearty breakfast at a local Cracker Barrel.  When it wasn’t raining we stayed in camp, swimming in the icy waters of the river and watching the girls jump off the rocks countless times.  We talked to strangers like they were old friends and we all delighted in our little explorers who paddled upriver to see what they could see.  They sailed back down on inner tubes and rafts, shrieking summer as the sun struggled to peek through the clouds.

We had to pack up way too soon and back home in the reality of missed calls and emails, answering machines and deadlines, I longed for the woods.

For the pace of slow.

Linking up with my friend Julia who gave me the perfect excuse to cheat my “no dairy for baby” policy and eat amazing pimento cheese.  Also linking with Kate Says Stuff.

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// · motherhood · summer

Mothering Mania

I think we’re heading into overdrive for the next couple of weeks.  School starts in sixteen short days and we haven’t been to the water park, books are coming overdue at the library, and the state park pass needs to hang on the rearview a few more times.

The van somehow needs to hold our camping gear, four children and their bicycles, and Gus’s travel swing next week when we head up to NC for a few days.

The laundry is a never-ending cycle and until today, I was on a cooking hiatus.  There’s just something about summer that doesn’t scream casserole.

It’s more of a “let’s just eat sandwiches at a picnic table after we hike a mountain” kind of season.

I love sandwiches with a garden fresh tomato.  I never really got the difference until I grew my own.  Amelia and I picked a bowlful of big red beauties today.

Yesterday we had a big girl day.  We bought new shoes and socks and headbands and bookbags and Annabelle said, “I think tomorrow we should stay home and not spend any more money.”

Most definitely.

We’ve been to the new dentist.  They weren’t happy about switching but insurance is a luxury you just can’t toss aside.

The flat screen tv was winning them over until Madelynne had to have a tooth pulled.  Infected since the permanent was coming in where a baby still was.  And she has to go back in a couple of days to have another one take care of and a filling.  Apparently, enamel is an afterthought for her teeth.

Annabelle is cavity free, but she’s the one I have to inspect each morning because she hates to brush.  So how does this mama explain the fairness of that?  Or that the tooth fairy must have been confused that Madelynne switched rooms because she forgot to come!  Tragedy.

MOPS is gearing up and my to-do list is a mile long and I must beg the question of why I do these things to myself?

The wall behind the computer is covered in diaper points stickers I haven’t entered in a month and today for the first time ever Amelia fought me about taking a nap.

Mothering is mania.  It’s full-out all the time and sometimes I just want a minute to catch my breath.  Sometimes I just need a moment to look at the tangle of brown arms and legs and indistinguishable heads that cover my couch and remember why I let myself be run ragged by this time every summer.

I’m tired of the little arguments and the emotional meltdowns and the constant running in the kitchen that makes me dizzy but I’m not tired of swimming at the gorge or playing at the park or filling up the plastic pool.

It’s mania, but it’s blessings.

motherhood · summer

Looking Forward

I’m lying wide awake in bed tonight at 3 a.m. (welcome back, pregnancy insomnia) and start thinking about all that’s coming.  March and April are packed full of activities and plans and needs-to-get-done, and when they’re over, there will be a new baby boy waiting in my arms.

I’ve posted about this journey.  About my fear.  But tonight, for the first time, I thought maybe I can do this.

I started thinking about our summer, all the lazy day fillers the girls and I enjoy and how I could make them work with another little one, and I think I can.

Days at the Unicoi lake will look different, but Daddy works nearby now, so we can wait and go after naptime and stay through dinner time and he can actually come join us.  That’s never happened before.  And if that means we have to stop on the way home and have the best BBQ by the river in Helen, so be it.

Sometimes I think I’ll have to go to the grocery store alone.  As in by myself with four kids.  Which means I may have to save big couponing stock up trips for days when I have a little help, or I may have to use the sweet seven and six year old help I have.  Either way, those trips won’t be the (mostly) easy breeze they are now, but hopefully the won’t be horrible.

I can do this.  I can.

And there’s VBS and MOSAIC and art camp for the big girls and always popsicles on the hill with some of our favorite people.

Summer will be different this year.  But in this moment? I’m looking forward to it. · joshua · summer

Over the Ridge

The Blue Ridge that is.  Last week we took a mini-vacay to Asheville.  The best part?  Daddy went with us!

All summer the girls and I have been swimming and hiking and biking and camping and beaching and water parking without daddy.

Obviously I’m crazy.

Because it is SO MUCH EASIER to have another set of hands!  Especially one that helped make them so I don’t feel any guilt about letting him handle tantrums or bad directions or dirty diapers.

Thank you, Lord, I don’t have to do this motherhood thing alone.  And thank you that Joshua has two weeks worth of vacation at his new job, so we got to have this past weekend + two more days AND he’s off for the first day of school on Friday so we can start another baby in kindergarten.

Here’s some of my favorite moments from our trip
(because I know the pictures are all you care about anyway)

For more visual reminders that I have three drama queens and a sweet husband, you can check our our album online.  Love that Picasa.
Asheville Trip Aug. 2011
Friends · · summer · thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday

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There are so many blog posts bouncing around in my muddled brain right now that I figured I’d stick with something tried and true for my one and only post this week.

I know that makes some of you so sad.  Where are the Bracketts?  Has mommy finally cracked?  No…..we’ve just managed to fill our last three weeks of summer with events that take me far away from my landlocked computer.  Oh, how I miss my laptop.

Complaining aside, so many gifts to be thankful for this week.  I’m nearing 400 on my list of 1000 gifts but I could have so many more if I stopped in every moment to write them down.  Beauty and love and this messy life are all around and it’s not hard to count the grace.

Though sometimes in the midst of my girls not putting on shoes before we tried to leave for the park or Amelia shrieking like a banshee because I strapped her into the grocery buggy or Walmart not having the yogurt I wanted, it does get hard and I forget.  So before I leave for the MOPS conference and turn them loose on their daddy (I told the girls I had to go learn to be a better mommy), I wanted to take a minute to count our many blessings.

Like these crazy gals who spent two days in the Pisgah National Forest with Madelynne, Belle, and me.  (We decided Amelia wasn’t ready for girls-only-camping.)

This was taken after we did this….so thankful for natural wonders.

We’re heading back up to Asheville in a few days for a family mini-vacation, so Joshua will get to slide down the “big rock into freezing cold water” as described to him by the girls.

I’m also thankful that I chose a long and windy road to travel for this journey, so that when I had to pull over to fix Belle in her carseat so she could sleep better, I got to drink this in….

It’s hard to be mad about having to stop when this is the view.

Have a wonderful Thursday and link up with Julia and share your thankfulness. · madelynne · summer

Raining Blessings

It rained off an on all day yesterday and by evening was the light was pearly gray and the ground was soaked.  Love it.

I really do love rainy days, as long as they don’t come one after another and keep us inside for more than the girls can stand.  But the rain is soothing somehow, and makes me long for fall and coziness and hot chocolate and fires.  Well, the electric fire in our free-standing unit at least.

We did get outside some before the storms began.  Madelynne has finally learned to ride her bike by herself no training wheels.  Major accomplishment.  And I’m so glad the teaching is over because it was frustrating for all of us.  But once she got the hang of it–off she went!  In big circles all over the church parking lot at Bike Night.  Turns out she just needed the right motivation.  You’ll have to make the pics bigger to read my captions.

Later this week we’re hoping to finish a project we started last week…

and get lots of blueberries in the freezer to satisfy the blueberry pancake monsters at my house (that would be Amelia and her daddy).

And I think I’ve discovered why I’m low on vinegar, milk, worsterchire (actually I’m out of that), eggs, brown sugar, butter….ingredients used when you cook lots of deliciousness from scratch.  I also think I’ve discovered why my shorts sometimes seem a little tight.

I blame Pioneer Woman.

But everything I make from there is so good, how can I stop?

Hope your week is filled with blessings that come in showers or drizzles or storms or even sunshine.