Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snow Day

A funny thing about being a stay-at-home mom is there are no breaks. This first hit me over the holidays, when I rejoiced as Christmas "break" approached. I've counted down to it for the past 22 years of my life! This year was no exception, but three weeks later I was exhausted, and wanted my money back. We had a super time and I'd do it all again, but my pace only quickened as every now and then the house was descended upon, and all the perks of holidays were only add-ons to the the mom-job I have every day. When yesterday schools closed making it an official "snow day," I wanted in on the celebration. We decided it would be a snow day for the boys and I, too. We let go of our daily schedule (a little), and I kept a list of the ways the boys wanted to use our morning time. While I felt like a full and busy morning, it turns out the boys mostly wanted to read a lot (you won't have to guess their favorites), and watch the snow from the window. Here goes...

7:20 - up! Window Watching, Eggs and waffles, Blocks,Window Watching, Haydn's Symphony #44, Dancing, Out comes the tambourine, Blocks, "Pete the Cat," "My First Touch and Feel Book," Diapers, Blocks, "Pete the Cat," Rocking (this is Gabe rocking himself by lunging forward and back in the big rocker - he was happy there for like 8 minutes), Zeke toy vacuuming, Safari hats, "Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me," "Pete the Cat," "Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me," Wrestling, Window Watching, "Snack! Snack!" (Teddy Grahams) "Pete the Cat," 10:40 - Dressed for snow. 

And then, Daddy the Hero appeared (from his secret hiding place where he worked all morning on his qualifier) and we made some beautiful memories as a family out in the snow for the first time!


Friday, January 17, 2014

That's What It's All About

It's been a dream Friday...

Highlight of the day: spontaneous family breakfast at iHop before sending Dad off to work. Low of the day: cleaning said breakfast, + lunch off of the floor, myself, etc, after Gabe randomly threw up just before naptime. (Here's where it gets meaningful.) After initial damage control, I carried both boys up to their room, changed Gabe, and rocked my cuddly sickling who quickly drifted off to sleep. *Applause applause* for Zeke, who understandingly played quietly while I let Gabe's needs take precedent. Gabe had cozied right down in my lap, his little hand half under his cheek, his breathing getting steady... I waited for the moment that I knew he was sleeping heavily enough that I could move him without waking him. I looked up at Zeke, still playing contentedly, and watched for a moment - his little antics as he maneuvered his lego man in and out of his lego car. I looked back down at the warm ruffled chick, now snoring heavily into my chest. What was my hurry? (Ok, my hurry was this: today is the ONE day at the end of a full week that I had all of nap time to finish picking up my almost-clean room, finish my almost-caught-up Bible study, put away the almost-all-folded laundry, and respond to 15 unanswered emails before the weekend hits and then the fury of next week begins.) But y'all. The old man snore of my thermal snuggle duckling... the heavy breathing of my Zeke-Zak as he toddled back and forth across the room, dropping off the lego bag at the stuffed animal station, waving goodbye to lego man as he left to go pick up lego car... Intoxicating. Pure. Right. It's the part of life I want my mind set on. It's what I waited 9 months in anguish over ocean separation to experience. It's what I laid down my career for. So I stayed. And I rocked. And I watched. (And I cried.) I delighted in the one-on-one sleep time to hold close my little person who is very busy when he's awake. I laughed through my one-on-one awake time with Z who would slowly roll his eyes over in my direction just to make sure I was still enjoying him as much as he was pretty sure I was, and scrunch his nose with his "I'm adorbs" smile, just about every 30 seconds. And I think I'm healed. The rest is noise. Being present with my Mighty Men... That's what it's all about.

*Full disclosure* I also chose to postpone the throw-up downstairs and almost-clean room and almost-caught-up Bible study and almost-put-away laundry and 15 unanswered emails to blog just now; a little self-indulgent. But these are the things I want to get. And remember. And repeat. It's so Hokie of me to say (oh gosh, stop me...) "That's what it's all about."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Melkam Genna

Well the new year rang in, and the Hill family is holdin' on! We wrote and printed a New Year's letter which we'll send when our shutterfly package finally arrives, 3+ weeks later than it was supposed to because my luck has apparently followed us into 2014. (Please excuse the scratched out "Happy New Year" since I may be scribbling "Happy Valentine's" over it before I send yours.) Cary just began his qualifier, and will be researching a strategy for producing synthetic spider silk in his every waking moment for the next 3 weeks, and when I'm not teaching or cooking or diapering, I hope to be cleaning this mad house. Oh, you good reader, are already on your knees for us? Yes, please pray.

I can't tell you how joyful we are, midst the madness. On Wednesday, we celebrated Ethiopian Christmas (the same celebration of Christ's birth we observe in the US, but following the Orthodox Tradition it falls on Jan 7) with traditional attire, authentic cuisine *note to self: must order injera a day in advance next year to prevent the consumption of Naan invading our "Ethiopian" tradition,* and a coffee ceremony. It was fun, and it really stirred my affections for a country I haven't seen in almost a year. (Look at God, fostering fondness for a place and people I would never have known had He not rocked our world by writing such a special family story.)

So here's the festivity, for you to share. And hopefully by March, you'll get our New Year's Easter Card.

Melkam Genna!

The Ethiopian Princes approved of their Tibbs

Aunt Katherine screening her dish for anything that looked too authentic.

What's a holiday without some running and playing?

Group Shots!

(Check out the way Zeke is looking at Uncle Pete in this first one.)

As is customary, the boys held hands...

I think it's safe to say we had a good time...