Different Season of Mothering

I can remember thinking that our baby, toddler, and preschool days were everlasting.  Getting our babies to sleep through the night, the first steps of our journey of parenting, seemed like an eternity.  Breastfeeding and dealing with spit-up, diaper explosions, and meltdowns were parts of my daily to-do list.  I was not just needed, I was coveted.  The daily demand for me was off the charts.  I remember feeling that weight and some days not knowing how to see the positive in it.  Motherhood was different then.

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As I am removed from that period in my mothering, I must say I miss it.  Call it my biological clock or not, I miss the cradling, neediness and, yes, even the around the clock demand.  I can recall the exhaustion.  I will never forget the exhaustion.  But, in those moments when I felt as though I was my most poured out self, I can recall the deep satisfaction of being a stay-at-home mother and homeschooler.

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Just this morning I was in Whole Foods and saw a mother with a baby in a sling, toddler in the front of her cart and busy 4 or 5 year old marching along beside her.   I took a quick moment to study this mother’s face.  It was an expression I knew well.  Her face was serious and focused, a mask for the joy I know was hidden at the time.   She was getting through, juggling all needs at hand.  She had conquered so much just getting to this place.

I love being a mother.  I always have, just not always embraced the nitty-grittiness of the job.  I crave my mother/child interactions.   I am finding my role with my kids  and the interactions we share is ever-changing as they grow up.   I am a baby lover.  I am one of those that oohs and aahs at children I see out in public that I want to squeeze and snatch for keeps.  I somehow felt having babies and toddlers was very natural to me.  I was no expert, but I was confident.  As Julian, Madelyn, Kalen and Brayden grow and change, I must admit I am not always confident.  New parenting curveballs are thrown pretty frequently.  I give a swing at my best thought-out responses, but I do not feel as though I know what I am doing.  I am learning though.  I continue to learn.

As I study our ever-growing children, I am learning that I will still be nurturing and caring, just in different ways.  Our Julian needs space, but embracing.  He needs firm expectations, but loads of grace to go with it.  He is no longer our little 6-year-old homeschooler quietly squirreling away his Legos, drawing sharks and dinosaurs.  He is a 13-year-old young man with opinions, likes, and definite dislikes.  Madelyn is growing at rapid speed, it seems.  She is not the shy little one she used to be.  She is pretty outgoing, happy to be with people, and needs quality time with me.  She watches me, and I see much of myself coming out in her.  I seek to be a good example for my daughter now more than ever.  She enjoys being unique and I want to foster that love of self she has.  Kalen I am still figuring out.  I think I am always trying to figure out the best way to love this guy.  Of course, as a fourth grader, he is rather independent and playful.   He needs me to be a good listener, present.  He is a dreamer, more free-spirited, and will always be the one I need to reign in.  Brayden, our youngest, still needs a lot of nurturing.  Although funny and the life of the party, he has a tenderness to him that requires careful love.  He is a quality time person, too.  He needs me to sit with him, over snacks, and play games with him.

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All our kids still need to be pursued.  You know what I mean?  Sought after, relationally.  When they were babies, they were in my face all the time.  No need to beckon them, they were already right under my nose and attached to my breast.  Those baby, toddler, and preschool days were certainly not a cake walk.  However, there was no doubt what my job was.  Needs were pretty clear-cut.  Now as our kids grow, I am choosing the way I am present in their lives.  Obviously, I am the washer of their clothes, the person that mediates their sibling conflicts, more often than not… their cook, lunch packer, nurse, chauffeur and such.  I am talking about the other mothering stuff, the best stuff… the mothering that pours myself out.

Kalen just approached me and asked if he could use the computer.  He told me he has a lot of ideas for a story.  I had to ask about what kind of story he was thinking of writing.  He spilled out a flood of ideas, feelings and descriptions.  He needs me.  Just in a different way than before.

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Favorite Kindergarten Quote of the Week

I was sitting with four new kindergarten kids on the rug on the first day of school.  They were all making marble tracks.  Sunny haired Bram looked into my eyes and said, “Hmm.  You know what is interesting?”  Of course, I said, “What?”  His eyes telling me before his words, “I really thought Kindergarten would be boring.  But it isn’t.  It is pretty fun! ”  he exclaimed.  He smiled widely and got back to his contraption.

Back to School

DSC00771Brayden, Kalen and I started back with school yesterday.  Brayden is now a second grader and Kalen is a fourth grader.  They both had a wonderful start to their new school year.  I was able to assist our Kindergarten teachers and meet our new Kindergarteners.  Just like when I was a kid, I love the start of a new school year.  I enjoy the newness, a fresh start.

 

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Favorite Family Games

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We are a game playing family.  Getting together, around a table, playing games has been an anchor for us.  Rarely does it lead to tears, instead a feeling of togetherness, laughter, conversation and memories made.  In the picture above, our kids are playing a game called In A Pickle.  It is a very cute word game.  I thought I would make a list of our favorite games if you want to try some and partake in some fun family time.  If you have any other recommendations, I am all ears.

Morrison Family Favorite Games:

Scrabble

Tenzi

Yahtzee

Blokus

Apples to Apples

UNO

Spades

Bananagrams

Rat-a-tat Cat

Dixit

Scattergories

Quoridor 

Farkle

Spot It

Othello

Cranium

Chutes and Ladders

Monopoly

Clue

Boggle

Mancala

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Madelyn just whipped us up a batch of cookies, so we thought we would share the recipe.  DSC00760

 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup softened Earth Balance

1 cup cane sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 egg substitutes ( 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp soymilk whisked = 1 egg)

2 tsp vanilla

2 1/3 cup sifted unbleached white flour

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

How to:

Preheat oven to 375.  Whisk egg substitute together then cream together softened Earth Balance, sugars, egg replacer, and vanilla until fluffy.  In another bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.  Add dry ingredients to sugar/butter mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Add 1 cup of chopped walnuts if you want.  Drop on oiled cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

Sandy Feet Again

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For the third year in a row, my Dad and Sally have treated us to a week at the beach with the rest of the Kirby family.  This year we drove down to Myrtle Beach, SC, and met up with my Dad, Sally, my brother, his wife and two kids, Scott (stepbrother) and his wife, Laura (who married last summer).  We had a blast and the weather was gorgeous, even our rainy friday allowed for the kids to all go see a movie with their grandparents and go to the arcade.

I am so thankful for family togetherness.  Our time with family was life-giving and meaningful.  We made lots of happy memories!  I have to share some photos.

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This is one of Kalen’s, and my, favorite things to do at the beach.

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Madelyn

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Grayson, Kalen, Brayden and Julian

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Madelyn with her cousin, Anna Kristin.

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Julian

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Putt-Putt with PaPa!

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Kalen was very proud of this find.

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Playing skee-ball together has become a family tradition.

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What a trooper!  Sally was our official ticket holder and counter.

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Oh what a prize!  Yes, this is really what our 7 year old chose at the prize counter.

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