Thursday, October 28, 2010

Click or Treat


With every holiday comes the obligation to pose children for pictures. If we don't capture, blog and scrapbook every time our kids hold up a new Christmas ornament, show off their Easter dresses, or wave little American flags on the front lawn, surely we have failed as a mothers. Right??

In our family, pictures are always taken a couple days in advance of the actual festivities. When the kids grow up, I want their holiday memories to be all about the traditions, good food and celebration, and not about their mother snapping at them to look at the camera and get their finger out of their nose, or tossing out threats like, "Smile big, or no birthday for you!"

So. We took our Halloween pictures yesterday.

In order to check blogging off my list as well, I present -

Jolie.

Jolie knew by September that she wanted to be an angel, which couldn’t be more appropriate. She is calm, sweet, loving, angelic. This also makes the third year in a row she has chosen to be something that flies. Perhaps next year we'll be trick-or-treating with a little President Uchtdorf.




Leah.

We took Leah to the thrift store this year, and promised to buy whatever she picked out herself. Then we unleashed her, crossed our fingers, and hoped for the best.

She came back with something pink and sheer and glittery, and affixed with the face of a Japanimation character I’m not familiar with (as opposed to all the Japanimation characters that I AM familiar with).

I started dreaming up cartoonish Japanese hairstyles, when she spotted a 39¢ pink foam hat that she couldn’t live without, and the look took a left turn, and headed west.



Cal.

Cal is at my favorite stage. Which is, the stage where they have no control over what you put them in. We wanted his costume this year to be some homage to our new hometown, so...



If I were President Obama, or at least Joe Biden, or at least Jill Biden, I would want Cal as my top Secret Service agent. He is trustworthy and loyal, and can bite people in the arm until they bleed. Ask Leah.

Unfortunately, he refuses to keep the sunglasses or earpiece on for more than about a minute. So, when we actually go trick-or-treating, he will instead be wearing this sad little hand me down.



(That oughta teach him)

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Slow Down a Little


Wow, fall came quickly. The leaves are changing every day, while our routine is becoming more consistent. Each morning starts at 6:00 (which is 3:00 Pacific Time, which is what I sometimes like to announce as I’m stumbling out of bed). Then follows a steady rush of packing lunches, tying shoes, and walking to the bus stop (me and the kids), biking to the metro, riding the metro, a full day of work, and another commute back home (Jack), first grade (Jolie), preschool, playgroups and soccer (Leah & Cal), dinner, dishes, and the perpetual task of settling into the house (me, and my boyfriends at the Fairfax Home Depot). I think it’s safe to say that our fall has become as busy as our summer was lazy.

Thank goodness Columbus got lost on his way to India, and gave all of us the day off on Monday. I had really been looking forward to Columbus Day, as had my mile-long list of neglected projects that could finally be tackled – Refinishing the entertainment center, hanging the living room pictures, sorting the winter clothes, catching up on blog posts, etc. etc. etc.

And then, the night before we were to roll up our sleeves, I read a message, given last week by Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

He talked about the rushed pace of life, and about refocusing on what matters most. I adored his simple advice. So much, that I tossed my to-do list (gulp), and we instead spent the afternoon with the kids, on a 1920's farm, accomplishing absolutely nothing.

As we did, his counsel resonated in my mind.


"One of the characteristics of modern life seems to be that we are moving at an ever-increasing rate.



Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We can all think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list.



They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives.




It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. There comes a point where milestones can become millstones and ambitions, albatrosses around our necks.





The wise resist the temptation to get caught up in the frantic rush of everyday life. They follow the advice “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” In short, they focus on the things that matter most.




There is a beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions.




We would do well to slow down a little,





proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances,






focus on the significant,




lift up our eyes,





and truly see the things that matter most."


-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

President Uchtdorf is a German aviator, a former airline executive, and a man I believe to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. His full message, "Of Things that Matter Most," can be seen here, or read here. It takes 10 minutes to read, and if ever you have felt overwhelmed, I highly recommend that you do. If you haven't, at least read up to the part about ballpoint pens in space. That part is my favorite.

Penny For Your Thoughts

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