It has been such a beautiful fall. It seemed to arrive a little later this year, but the trees finally decided it was time to shine and they made sure to impress. I will miss looking out our picture window at our neighbor's fire orange maple across the street, or turning on Greenhill every morning and seeing its golden foilage. The colors of fall never get old.
I keep selfishly thinking fall is lingering because it wants to make sure I don't miss it. It hasn't been a typical fall for us. It's been one full of transitions and decisions, questions about whether we're doing what's right and doing what's best. It's been a lot of taking-it-one-day-at-a-time and putting first things first and sometimes, things I used to be able to put first get shoved farther and farther on the list for the time being. Like afternoons spent baking pies and filling the kitchen with scents of cinnamon and nutmeg. Or weekly hikes at Hartman with scarves around our necks and the leaves crunching under our feet. Or Friday nights spent sipping wine, playing cribbage, or listening to the football game behind our house. We underestimated the amount of time, energy, and decisions that go into selling a house, building a new one, and relocating for our family, and it's been nearly impossible for us to set it aside and focus on our present. It seems I've jumped ship this semester, turned in my canoe on that calm, comfortable stream and hopped into a raft for one of the most action-packed white water rafting excursions of my life. Both are exciting in their own way, but no one can raft forever.
Through a lot of self-talk, I've truly found motivation in the tiny little glimpses of simple beauty sprinkled throughout our life right now. Moments where only God seems to shut your mind off for a moment or two, allowing you to notice something really beautiful right in front of you. These little moments exist throughout every single day and give me so much hope. Ordinary life still exists in our abundant chaos. It was there last night when Cruz was in the tub and Mila was propped on her knees watching her brother take a bath. Every so often, he would lean over to her, open his mouth and say 'ah' and she would promptly stick her finger in his mouth. He'd quickly clothes his mouth, trapping her finger inside, and hum a playful 'ha ha ha' at her. He'd giggle, which would make her giggle, and the two of them continued to play this sweet little game while I watched from around the corner. He'd get tired of it and begin doing something else, and Mila would just watch, quietly and patiently waiting for him to play again. These moments, the ones that stop you in your tracks, slow you down for a moment or two, and reset your compass needle, they are what will see us through this transition and into this next very exciting, and a little scary, chapter of our life.
A few more compass moments from our fall...
...a weekend of me and the kiddos. Beau and my dad worked at our house all weekend long which left me to run the roost on my own. I had no expectations or set plans, which may be why I was pleasantly surprised with our days together. Friday night, Cruz and I made marshmallow popcorn, compiled a little sleep fort on the living room floor, and watched Casper while a footie-pajama baby crawled around and in between us. We started our very first chapter book together, to which Cruz requested "just one more" when I finished the very first chapter. Saturday, we played at Kindergym, then spent the greater part of the afternoon on a leaf hunt around our neighborhood. Cruz pushed Mila in his old push-and-go car for most of the walk, running every so often which would send little girl into a fit of giggles and grins. We took our time, stopped to study leaf colors, and pressed them in books when we returned home. The next day, we crafted, painting with our leaves, and used the leftovers to create funny looking leaf creatures with googly eyes and lots of spots. The fresh air meant for a good nap for Mila, and Cruz and I took advantage of the opportunity to create and connect, just the two of us.
...Cruz's biggest request on Sunday was a leaf pile. After a breezy day Saturday, we had no problem raking up a pile perfect for jumping and exploring with our newest participant. Cruz didn't waste any time diving in headfirst, but Mila was a bit more skeptical. She whined at first, but soon realized that she could indeed make quite the sound when she grabbed a fistful of leaves and crunched them between her little hands. Soon, she became quite comfortable in the midst of her brother diving in and out, throwing leaves as if they were confetti, and stuffing them in Mila's sweater hood. She got her revenge, eventually, and the two of them could have stayed in that pile all afternoon long. And I could have watched them.
...Checking our progress. My parents built a house in my hometown just over thirty years ago, the house they continue to live in today. My brother was about Cruz's age, and I was about Mila's, and my mom vividly remembers carting us to the job site, dressed in our coats and stocking hats, moving in and out of framed walls, wondering if she would ever make it through to move-in day. I have loved bringing the kids, especially Cruz, to our house and watching his wheels turn as he explores this new territory. He's loved every bit of it from the very start, whether it was throwing dirt clods on our open, barren lot, picking up leftover nails to turn into our builder for his promised coin return, or now, moving in and out of the rooms, always announcing his own room first before independently exploring in his own little world. I love how small he looks inside its walls and I love daydreams I have about them growing up there. We've thought about it a lot through our entire design process. Discussions about what kind of bathroom layout will work best when Mila is 16 and has curling irons, blow dryers, and makeup everywhere, or how to best ensure Cruz won't be able to sneak out of his very large window in the middle of the night. :) Conversations that make this next step very real and seemingly not very far away. I hope I always remember how tiny they looked in the middle of this big pile of lumber.
...Groggy 5 o'clock wake up calls from Mila Carys, that soon turn into the best way to start the day. She fell back asleep after her morning bottle this morning, and curled up on my chest as if she was a tiny baby again. I could have laid her back down, but held her there 'til 6:30 while the boys slept. Just me and her in our quiet, dark house, smelling the top of her head and kissing that spot right above her ears. I didn't think about a thing, I was too tired, but hopped in the shower feeling more rejuvenated than I've felt in weeks.
...And watching him get the mail. That's it. I wish I had a button I could click and live in his head whenever I wanted.
Counting on more compass moments to keep me in the right direction from now until move in. Lots in store for the next several months. We will make it. :)