…this is what it looks like around here.
It might look like chaos, but all I can see is scientific experimentation, creative endeavors, math class and the remains of a cozy day spent indoors.
I look only fondly at the years that I spent at Gordon College. The relationships that were forged there and the memories created live on, even almost 12 years after graduation.
Living so close to campus has afforded us many opportunities to visit campus and engage in the many activities there. We hike in the woods and swim in Gull Pond. We chat with professors and swing in the trees at Homecoming. We sing carols and pray with the community during the Christmas season. We’ve just recently attended some basketball games. And, best of all, we regularly swim in the Bennett Center Pool.
This is where both girls have learned to swim. It is where they eat picnic lunches, that they pack themselves, in the concession area. It is where they chat with college students and professors and staff members (and both parties leave with smiles on their faces). It is where we have deep, and not so deep, conversations in the locker room sauna. It is a welcoming and friendly place for them to polish their ‘interacting with various people’ skills.
I caught this view from the fitness center before I headed down to join them in the water. The snow might have been blowing around outside, but inside was warm and welcoming- both in temperature and temperament.
Thanks to a Valentine’s package from Grandma and Grandpa containing a handfull of heart covered pencils (needing sharpening) and a decades old manual pencil sharpener that once hung in my grandparents house, we are now completely set for any pencil or pencil related needs that might arise in our household.
When we surprised the girls with an evening trip to the water park I was prepared for their excitement. I was prepared for a late night and potentially grumpy kids. I was prepared to leave early should the necessity arise.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how grown up and independent and capable and brave the girls were.
Catherine measured in just above the minimum height for the full scale, three story water slides. She was unsure about trying them, but eventually tried on a tandem raft with me. Just before we left, after several tandem runs, she decided to try on her own. She went first while I waited my turn up top. It was a breath-stopping couple of minutes and this Mama was relieved to see the lifeguard’s thumbs up when she came shooting out the bottom end of the tube!
Esme started the evening on the tiny water slides in the kiddie pool. She very bravely went down the biggest and the fastest with no hesitation at all. When I realized that the medium sized slides didn’t have a height minimum I suggested she try. A literal 35 minutes later she stopped for a break. She climbed two stories worth of stairs and slide down continuously for over half an hour! I could barely believe her stamina. All I did was stand at the bottom and watch.
I was unprepared for the bittersweetness of their growing up. Brave smiles and waves from the top of the stairs and huge smiles and shouts of “that was awesome!” remind me that they’re learning, they’re growing and they are inching their way toward becoming the women that they are destined to be. I am blessed to be part of their journey.
I very rarely knit anything for myself. Not because I don’t want to, but because there is so little that I need and so many little ones that I can’t help but cover in handknits!
At Christmas my parents gifted me with some beautiful wool yarn. We have cousins that keep sheep on their farm in Maine and this yarn was spun from the fleece that kept them warm last winter. I searched Ravelry for days before I finally decided on this pattern: Estelle. I’m hoping to finish this sweater so that it can keep me warm as we finish out this winter.
As you can see, I’ve only just completed the lace yoke portion. Since I am unaccustomed to knitting for myself I decided I had better try it on before I dug into the body. Looks good, so far, I think. At least, it looks better than I do in that awkward “hands full, in the mirror, crazy elbow, weird mouth” shot!
These girls of ours have found a winter love. We’ve jumped toe-pick first into the world of ice skating and they have taken to it like little penguins. What I have discovered, though, is that a love of skating does not necessarily mean that it is the main attraction when we get to the rink.
They usually want to check out the vending machines. Then they need to see if the “roller coaster gum ball machine” is still ‘out of order’ [it is]. They often poke their heads into the pro shop to say hello. Once we finally get geared up they take off on the ice, but it doesn’t mean they won’t be stopping soon to sit on every inch of each of the hockey team benches. They’ll probably try opening and closing the doors once or twice as well.
The highlight of the trip is watching the Zamboni. They give the driver a wave every time he passes by and they ooh and aahh at the trails of smooth, wet ice he leaves behind. They are usually silent observers, but today Catherine turned to me and said, “He’s doing a really good job today, don’t you think? The ice looks great!”
What adventures and discoveries would we miss if I stuck to my plans to “go skating” and hurried them into their skates and onto the ice? What relationships would never be built if I kept them from chatting with the rink employees and the other skaters, both children and adults alike? What observations and compliments would never get made if we retreated to the car as soon as our feet were back in our shoes?
As usual, my plans to “go skating” were so narrow. And my children’s plans to “live life” were so wonderfully broad. Their experience is not my experience and I am so thankful for their perspective.
Yesterday, during the snowstorm, Catherine took it upon herself to create a beach in our living room. She used a blue blanket for the water, there were yellow construction paper dunes, and she made sure that there were seashells scattered around the room. On the wall she had taped a bright yellow sun, and this fellow- a sea star.
We ate dinner last night sitting on a picnic blanket at the water’s edge; dreaming of sand in our toes while the snow settled outside.
Now tonight, a mere 30 hours later, the beach has been disassembled, the dunes have blown in the wind and the shells have been collected up into a bag for more adventures, but the sea star still hangs on the wall. I can’t help but smile a wide, goofy smile whenever he catches my eye. I think we’ll leave him there for a while.