Monday, September 30, 2013

Contentment

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."  ~ Melody Beattie 

It is often hard for me to feel content.  It is something that I have always struggled with and I often find myself feeling as if I am searching or longing for something more than what I already have.  It is never in the form of monetary things.  More often, I feel as if I am missing some human connection or completeness even in the midst of all this beauty in my life.  

It takes slowing down for me to really be able to stop and see how full my life is.  I have to quiet my mind and remind myself that I do not need to fill myself up with more of anything.  That what I need is already  here.  I guess it is the human condition and a goal I have is to try to become more mindful in life, especially in this area.  I am lucky to have friends who are also trying to be more mindful in their lives and we help each other so much.
 As I've said, my gardening experience this year was not perfect.  But it was the best it has been yet for me.  I am proud of my accomplishments so far and I feel as if I have learned a lot this summer.  To garden, you must be patient.  Something that is not easy for me (as you can see from our early picked carrots!).  To garden, you must revere the earth which I do.  To garden, you must fail and try again.  You must accept defeat and learn to embrace the bounty when it comes.  

Our sunflowers have fallen over and are telling us that it is time to seed.  I've not yet done this but we are going to try to harvest our sunflower seeds this year.  From what I understand now that I have cut them from the stalk, I can cover them with a brown paper bag for a month or so until they harden and fall off.  Another adventure and learning experience that I welcome.  
With Michaelmas passed, it reminds me that this time of year is one of death and renewal.  Facing our dragons and moving forward with bravery.  It is my favorite time of the year and I always feel a readiness inside to begin again when Autumn arrives.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Signs of Autumn

Breathtaking.  My favorite season which needs no words to describe.

And this next photo is what I found on my kitchen counter one day last week.  Little gifts from little girls.  

Brianna's 7th Birthday

The end of summer has come and autumn has arrived.  With that change also brings my youngest daughter's seventh birthday.  Seven times around the sun.
Only seven years ago....
That time passes so quickly yet each year has been so extremely full and beautiful.

It is hard for me to think that my days of parenting a small child are over now.  There is excitement for my new life with big girls but a sadness in my heart too as I know for the rest of my life I will always look back on those times of littleness with longing and love.
 Brianna had all of the girls from her first grade class here to celebrate her special day.
We did crafts and played games together.  The weather was not the best so I did my best to keep them busy inside until things cleared up. 
When the rain finally stopped they were able to go enjoy the bouncy house outside and burn off a huge amount of energy they had bottled up.  I give so much credit to teachers.  It sure is not easy managing so many children at this age!
After Brianna's friends left, we had a family and friend party here for dinner.  The day was busy and hard work for me but Brianna really enjoyed herself and our home was full and happy.
And, as always, we had a special pinata.  This year it was a butterfly.
Happy Birthday to my sweet "baby"!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Second Year

Well we survived year two of dropping Dee off at college.  It sure doesn't get any easier.  As a matter of fact, for some reason it was harder for me this year.  We had a really nice summer together as a family and I'm sad to see it come to an end.  I think now that she is a sophomore it is all the more real that she is leaving the nest for good slowly but surely.  
We love a road trip though.  It's always so fun to pack up the car, blast the music and cruise to faraway places together.  The fact that Dee goes to school right near Philly is awesome and we were so excited to go check out their China Town and Little Italy...




 At first I was very worried about the idea of her being so close to the city and going downtown with friends occasionally via train and subway.  It still makes me a little nervous just because you never know what can happen but it is true that if you know the safe parts to go and are street smart and travel with friends, Philadelphia is really a beautiful place rich with culture and art.  I'm excited for her experiences and happy she is being exposed to new places and things outside of our small New England town.

We went to an amazing little Italian restaurant for dinner called Ralph's.  I highly recommend it for anyone who visits.  The food was spectacular and the prices affordable.  I love that it has been in the family for so many years and the owners and staff were so welcoming.
Unloading her stuff was a royal pain as usual.  I really wish someone would come up with a better (and not expensive) system... packing and lugging all of her belongings back and forth from PA to CT each year is horrible.  Storage is offered but so expensive.  It'd be so nice if somehow they could just stay in the same dorm room but I'm sure that could get pretty unsanitary with so many college students leaving things behind.



Oh her campus is just so beautiful.  I could spend hours and hours just walking around and taking it all in.  I am so thankful she is surrounded by so much beauty each day.
She will kill me for posting this but too bad :) - Piggy and Wolfy have been with her since she was a little girl.  They are very special and it both warms my heart and tugs at it to see that they are going to college along with my girl each year.  
We did our best to help her get unpacked and organized but of course there is still so much for her to do after we've left.  She's involved in so many wonderful projects and opportunities there and while it will never be easy letting my girl go, it does help to know she is in a safe and wonderful learning environment.