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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Our Christmas Card



Merry Christmas! 

You are reading this letter, not because we have something profound to share, but because we value your friendship and want to nurture it! 

Our family life is at a point in time when much of our focus is directed inward… on each other, our own little family unit, and our home. It has been years since we had an abundance of “free time” to fill with motorcycle rides, fancy dinners out, crafty home projects and Pinterest finds, camping trips, and social gatherings. We occasionally miss those days, but know they’ll return again all too soon. Right now our reality sits within a much narrower focus... Marriage, Kids, Family, Farm and Work. I will turn 40 this next year and although that is only a number, it does carry a lot of meaning. It makes me think long and hard about what is important to me. 

This year, Cliff has dedicated an enormous amount of his energy to running our farm and creating the right balance between his roles as Dad, Husband, Farmer, Son, and Businessman. The kids are growing and changing from week to week and at times it feels like I can barely keep up and they were just babies yesterday, but then at other times I wish away these trials in hopes of a time when the kids are mature enough to be reasoned with. I’m working with great intention toward living in this moment and just loving on this family I’ve been blessed with. 

Gavin just turned 7 and he melts my heart. He is creative, thoughtful, intense, active, witty, artistic, mechanically-minded, loving, adrenaline-thirsty, introspective, and a little too smart for his own good. He loves drawing tiny complicated drawings and making up recipes in the kitchen. He loves creating and building gadgets and machines and systems. He loves riding his bike, roller-skating, and running up and down our road to and from Grandma and Grandpa’s. He loves building forts in the woods, helping Cliff on the farm, and hunting and bow-fishing with Cliff. He is really enjoying his new-found fluency in reading and recently started spending his down-time with his nose buried in a book. He loves riding his dirt bike, driving the lawn tractor, and virtually anything with a motor. He also loves giving back-rubs, making me a cup of coffee in the morning, and sharing love by serving.

Addison turned 3 in November and she is our little fireball. Everything she does, she does fiercely. She has a wild heart full of love, wonder and excitement. She has a voice that even at a whisper could still be heard over the sound of a thousand angels singing. She hugs with all her might until you nearly turn blue and she covers your entire face in kisses until she is satisfied that she has kissed you just right. If you ask her, she is never, ever, ever tired and she is almost always hungry. She holds her ground with the boys and plays tough with the best of them, but she loves everything that glitters, sparkles, or twirls! We are working toward her doing a few things more independently, and at the same time, wanting her to let us help her with some other things that she always insists on doing herself! She loves to play with her dolls, swing, play outside with us, “help” Cliff on the farm, color, play with play-dough, make her own sandwiches, and dress-up. She is opinionated and strong-willed, but there is still a bit of our little baby girl left in her too. 

This life we have chosen - these kids, this farm, our jobs, our parents, and our extended families… they keep us busy. Sometimes our laundry and our dishes pile up. Sometimes our gardens get overtaken with weeds. Often, we wish we could spend more time with friends. Sometimes we dream of a beach vacation (yeah!). But, beyond all those wishes, we find we are living a dream. We are blessed beyond measure with family who support us, friends who wait patiently for a window of time that we can spend together, a farm that is prosperous, and most of all, each other. So, from our crazy little piece of the world to yours, we wish you a season of celebrating what is important to you! 

With Much Love, Erin

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

School has started. Some people love the start of the school year as it brings them back to routine, to schedules and plans and normalcy. Some people dread the start of the school year as it signals the end of the precious and limited "family time" that they so enjoyed over the summer. To some it brings sadness, some fear, some relief.

I'm not 100% clear on how it makes me feel. I feel a little excited for Gavin as he enters first grade and gets to know his new teacher a bit better, has the opportunity to develop new friendships with kids who were not in his class last year and further develop his existing friendships. He will begin reading again - we failed miserably at keeping up the reading this summer. That is all very exciting. 

At the same time, it's a reminder that we are another year closer to the kids becoming more independent and although I know this is the ultimate goal in raising children, I really struggle with the distant thought of them not being in my house, not needing me, not climbing into my bed each morning. I have a real fear of losing my sense of purpose, my reason to get up out of bed each day. 

On another plane, although the school year (really it's just the winter months) seem to be so chaotic and feel as though we are driving recklessly around a racetrack just trying to get to the finish line (the weekend) so we can breathe, I do crave the routine just a little. I love plans, checklists, being prepared. I love getting lunch bags and backpacks packed the night before and hung neatly by the front door. I love setting out clothes for the kids and laying them out with socks and underwear all ready to go. I love putting their shoes and coats by the door and having a breakfast plan and getting everyone out the door with a hot fresh cup of coffee in my hand. I love having a reason to get the kids in bed by 8:00 and I love that the kids aren't in the house everyday making lovely little messes (bless their messy, beautiful little souls!)  If I clean the house one evening, it's still clean when I come home from work the next day.

I wasn't nearly as anxious, sad, nervous, emotional WRECK, as I was last year or even the previous two years. I know Gavin is just starting first grade, but he has already attended three years of school - Preschool, Pre-k (4k), and Kindergarten. However, even though we was an ace with the whole school thing by last year, it was the first year this little heartbreaker rode the school bus, and man oh man, was that ever hard on me!  This year though, is his third year at this school, his second year of riding the school bus, and now he not only has one grade of kids younger than him at school, but two whole grades of kids younger than him, so that is fun that sometimes he IS the big kid on the block.

He sure is growing into a kind, smart, funny, witty, gentle, compassionate little man right before my eyes.


Not even the slightest hesitation as he boarded the school bus this year. Of course, he missed the first day of school because he was home with a stomach bug, but he was ready to go on day 2. 

...and the little lady of the house? I'll have to share about her tomorrow. Wow. 2 going on 15! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Quitter

We all have our faults, right? I mean, some people appear to be just perfect - they're athletic, beautiful, fantastic cooks, kind, thoughtful, they always send birthday cards on time, and mail you photos of a fun time you had together, and run in every tough and muddy race there is, and their kids love poetry and puppet shows, and...  but they can't be perfect in every way, can they?  I mean even Mary Poppins was only practically perfect!

Well, I know that perfection is not the goal. I know that people's lives are never perfect, no matter how they may look from the outside. I know that everyone has things they're not proud of. Me? I have lots of them. But I also have things I am proud of.

One thing that gets me over and over and over? I'm a quitter. Really and truly. I don't finish anything. I am a great starter! I start all kinds of things, come up with ideas, plans, strategies... I even gather supplies! I plan, plan, plan and then I quit. I don't intentionally quit. It just happens and then I realize that it's been four months since I've written a blog post and...   wait, this isn't about blogging. But... it kind of is. I take thousands of photos, hundreds and hundreds per month. I organize them on my external hard drive and then there they sit. Remember those commercials that showed the people in the computer screens trying to get out? Yep, that's my family, my kids. 

Gosh, it seems like I have written this post before. Well, I'm not going to say I'm back. However, I do  really miss writing. I miss blogging... even if it is just for me. So, we'll see...