Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our Year In Review And Wish For You

I can't believe that 2011 is only a few short hours from coming to a close.  It seems that each year flies by quicker than the one before it.  When we were kids it seems like years (and summers!) lasted forever, and now as an adult they seem to go by in the blink of an eye.  As a mama I wish that time would slow down just a little.  But I know it can't.  Time will speed by and my babies will grow.  And although I am looking forward to seeing who it is that they are to become, I can't help but wish that I could hold on to these precious childhood days just a little longer.

2011 was a pretty great year.  Sure, we had some bumps in the road, but compared to how crummy 2010 was, this one was downright stellar! 

We saw Grace leave preschool and never look back.  We saw her blossom and grow by leaps and bounds over the last several months.  There are so many times I have wanted to pull a "Pretty Woman" on her preschool teachers and show up and say to them: "Remember us?  Remember all the doubt you had about this kid?  Well, big mistake!  Big!  Huge!" and walk back out, but I am pretty sure it would be lost on them.  We have seen her spread her wings and become confident and sure of what she needs and how she learns best.  We have seen her advocate for herself and remind us that we need to trust her and follow her lead (as the unschooler that she truly is). She remains. as always. our sweet, caring, wonderful first born girl who adores her side kick, partner in crime and best friend Emma (who she truly believes is her twin).  For those of you who know My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, she is our Fluttershy.  She is a gem and I am so honored that I get the priveledge of being her mama. 

We saw Emma become a Cricket and never look back.  While she was nervous those first few weeks she quickly found her footing and became a much beloved member of the group!  She looks forward to sharing all sorts of things with her "Cricket friends" and she always comes home with wonderful stories about her adventures there.  Red Rover is one of her favorite games to play.  We have seen her language blossom and her confidence soar!  Was there ever a lack of confidence with that little one you may ask?  And yes, there are times when Miss Em becomes very shy and quite (surprising I know)!  She sees herself as an equal to Grace (which we love) and gets frustrated when she can't do something that Grace can.  She is determined.  When she puts her mind to something she makes it happen.  She is confident in a way that I wish all of us could be.  She knows what she wants and she goes for it.  I hope that this is a trait that endures forever.  She too reminds us that we need to trust her and follow her lead (as the true unschooler that she is).  In the words of her Cricket teachers: "She is delightful- a true individual with her own personal style- and I look forward to our explorations the next part of the year."  She remains our sweet, spirited, spunky, with her own sense of style baby daughter who adores her sidekick, partner in crime, and best friend Grace.  For those of you who know My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic she is our Rainbow Dash (and yes, I do believe she does believe she is 20% cooler than most people).  She is a ray of sunshine and I am so honored that I get the priviledge of being her mama. 

And then there is David.  Without him and all that he does we would not be able to live this incredible life that we are blessed to live.  As the only guy in the house he has had to deal with more than his fair share of the colors pink and purple.  And he knows far more about My Little Pony than I am sure he ever thought he would.  He adores his girls (all three of us) and is always excited to come home and hear about our many adventures. I know that he wishes he could be home more and I know that he gets bummed out about not being a part of all these cool things we do.  This year saw him leave his position as Director of Rehab and return to being a staff therapist.  He is much happier now that he is able to return to treating patients instead of doing paperwork and attending meetings.  He is my best friend and cheerleader. He is the encourager of my crazy dreams. He is the Chandler to my Monica, the Marshall to my Lily, the General Holden to my Claudia Joy.  We have been through so much and yet seem to have come out stronger because of it.  We are looking forward to an amazing 2012 complete with our ten year anniversary celebration in August!  Let's just hope that it's not nearly as hot as it was the day we got married! 

This year brought me much peace and joy.  I was able to finally feel that we are truly living the life we were meant to live.  With Grace no longer at school and Emma at Crickets (where we are not the only homeschool family!) I have felt a greater sense of peace this year than I had in the last couple.  I adore each day with my girls and I love that we plan our days together. The only thing that determines how we spend each day is whatever each of us wants to do.  I love the freedom that comes with this lifestyle.  I love that there is nothing that we are tied to unless of course we choose to be tied to something.  We were meant to be an unschooling family and I am so happy that we get to live this amazing life.  Not only am I so happy that we get to live this amazing life, but I am so honored by the three people that I get to share the dailyness of it all with.  David, Grace and Emma are more than I ever could have hoped for, and yes, while I still do wonder on occasion about the baby I thought would have completed our family, there are many more days where I am left just feeling eternally grateful for the three souls who I get to share this space with.  I spent the last half of the year looking for "my tribe".  Hoping to find like minded mamas/unschooling families for us to connect with.  I am hopeful that 2012 will bring some kindred spirits that fit that description into our world. 

I hope this year has brought you love, peace and lots of joy!  We are spending our final moments of 2011 basking in the glory of our family and preparing for a wonderous new year.  We are sharing with each other our hopes for 2012 (more on that tomorrow) and trying to come up with our watchword for the year.  I am thinking it will be love, as this past years was clearly joy (and "enjoying the joy". Our mantra that so many have heard throughout the year).  Enjoy the joy of the last few hours of 2011, dear friends, and may 2012 bring you all the things in the picture posted at the top of this post and then some!

Friday, December 30, 2011

{This Moment}

{This Moment} - A SouleMama Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. We wish you a very happy New Year. May the last couple of days of 2011 be wonderful and we hope that 2012 is your best year yet!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas At The Beach

After all the morning fun of opening gifts and exploring the lovely new puppet theater, we all headed over to Kaitlyn and Eric's place in Rhode Island.  They live in this fabulous house right on the beach.  It is such a magical way to start out!  Really, it's such a magical way to live in general, and one that I know my girls could totally get behind.  It brought back tons of memories from my own childhood, as the first ten years of my life were spent on the water, followed by the rest of my growing up years in a lovely small country town. But I digress.

Note to self: remember to use the dusk/dawn setting next time.
After our walk on the beach, which we all agreed we should have taken sooner, we headed back to the house for dessert (poached pears!) and an impromptu fashion show by Kaitlyn and her nieces.  By the end of the show we were all wearing some fabulous hat, wig, or piece of jewlery and I was bummed out that my camera flashed it's "exhausted battery" message at me.  Some things are better left to the imagination I suppose!  It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.  Many thanks to Kaitlyn and Eric for hosting all of us.  You two totally outdid yourselves!  It was so strange for Dave and I to be guests instead of the ones hosting, but it was a welcome reprieve too.  It was indeed another wonderful day full of memories that we will all carry with us forever.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thanks Gramma and Grandpa!

A few months ago my Mom mentioned to me that she and my Dad would like to give the girls a puppet theater for Christmas.  They remembered that our neighbors had made one for their children back in the day, and how much Alex and Bobby love it, and thought that Grace and Emma would really enjoy one too.  They chatted with Michael and Luann about how to create one and then got to work.  My Dad was the carpenter and my mom the decorator, and as you can see from above the theater came out more amazing than we ever could have imagined.  They have, once again, totally outdone themselves!  To say it was a hit is an understatement!  This will without a doubt be something that is the backdrop for many wonderful childhood memories and many wonderful productions.  Thanks Mom and Dad for adding even more wonder to their already wonder-filled childhoods!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Morning

After the traditional "picture in their jammies in front of the tree" we started (as always) with their stockings. 
Each year Santa leaves the girls one gift of his choosing.  No letters are written.  No sitting on his lap to give the request. 
Nope, we kick it old school around here!
Last year we began using the poem "something you want, something you need, something you hope for, something to read" as shared with me by my friend Jannine from A Jar Full of Kitty Beans.  It is such a lovely way to keep Christmas beautifully simple.  This year the gifts we chose for the girls came from Magic Cabin and Bella Luna Toys.  Two companies that (along with Nova Natural) are always a part of our family celebrations.  Not only are these fabulous high quality classic toys but we also get to support  some wonderful local small businesses too!
Something to wear
Something to read,
Something you want,
Something you need.
Not that we have any snow yet to use them in. 
It was such a lovely Christmas morning!  Full of laughter, love and joy.  It's always such a special day of reconnecting as a family after being without Dave for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  So happy to have all four of us under the same roof on a weekend morning after many weekend "girls only" mornings.  We hope that each of you had a most wonderful Christmas morning too!