Risk vs Danger

July 21, 2015 – Partly Cloudy, 65°, Sunrise 5:06 a.m., Sunset 11:05 p.m.

We are still in the beginning stages, really, of raising our boys – and it does feel like boys now – not just J and a baby. Every day there is dirt, noise, crashing, jumping, thumping, eating, and more eating. Any truck that goes by is a reason to rush to the window. J looks up to M and wants to copy everything Papa does, and N wants to copy everything big brother does. There’s more energy than can be contained within the walls of our house, and I am so grateful for the great outdoors to wear these boys out in!

It’s neat to see their relationship growing. There is sharing now, and fighting, playing and picking on. They’re steeling my nerves already for the adventures and mishaps to come; J took a tumble over the front of his bike riding down a hill, and came up with a huge bloody nose (but thankfully no other injuries) and N pushed over the baby gate on the deck, basically sledding down the staircase and breaking his fall with his head and nose on the stoop below (again, bloody nose and forehead, but thankfully nothing worse!).

As they are growing and starting to push the boundaries, I’ve been reflecting on risk vs. danger. There have been articles circulating lately about the subject, and highlighting the difference between the two: risk being something that a child can recognize for themselves and make a good decision about when and how to participate, danger being something that a child may not identify as a threat and it doesn’t pose any opportunity for learning. One of the reasons that we love Alaska, is that lessons on this are very natural. Being outdoors, learning how to hike and run and bike, creates perfect opportunities to teach the boys these lessons; choosing to climb the steeper hill=risk, bears=danger! Watching J ride down his bike down the hill, I watched him assess the risk. He had ridden 5 or so times safely, but went a little further up each time. The last time was more than he could handle, and he paid the price. As a mama who wants to keep anything from hurting her children ever, I wanted to stop him…but at the same time I want him to learn what he can handle, and that means there will be natural consequences.

I see this balance in M, and it’s one of the many things I love about him. He has an incredible sense of adventure, is willing to try just about anything, and I know I can trust his judgement. He knows what’s worth it, and when to walk away. I want our boys to learn that, to be able to trust their judgement. While that might create some white-knuckle moments right now, I hope it pays off in the long run and sets them up for a life of choosing adventures wisely!

(But learning from my brothers, I know my mama-white-knuckle moments won’t end just because the boys grow up! Greek cliff jumping anyone?)

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Seasons

IMG_0317Ecclesiastes 3:1

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Turn, turn, turn. Often in parenthood you use the term “seasons” to describe the stages with a child, usually as a coping mechanism to make it through the rough phases. If I were to continue to write the rest of Ecclesiastes 3 for a parent, I might say “a time for laughs, and time for tantrums; a time for obedience, a time for defiance; a time for sleep, a time to not; a time to eat vegetables, a time to only eat cheerios.” And on, and on, and on.

We cling to this expectation in the way we come to anticipate the changing season of our year.  Just when you have had enough of one extreme or the other, that first fall leaf drops and the chill whips through the air. The smell of the first fire and a fleck of snow decorates the window. Little light green pops up on the naked trees. The sun lingers a little bit longer each night and sunscreen and chlorine and barbecues become familiar smells. Ahh…we made it, you sigh. It’s time. Another year, another season. Turn, turn, turn.

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But there is more to that verse, a part I had not remembered, but need to right now.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

“He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.”

There is NOTHING better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live.

Yes. I needed to hear this. My season right now is all over the place. The “seasons” in our house change rapidly, leaving me spent at the end of the day hardly remembering one moment to the next. This past year was very much like that. I remember being pregnant, exhausted, broken. But what doesn’t stand out were all the smiles, laughs, adventures, and re-connections. My memory keeping these days is limited to the internet, and over the last couple of years primarily through this blog. Yet, this year, I lagged WAY behind. I want to move on.  There are many more adventures ahead. But I found before I did that, I needed to remember this year.  I want to see myself happy, for isn’t that God’s gift?

I waded through countless images this afternoon (thanks to my 5 o’clock hero who sent me out of the house on my own) rediscovering so many fun memories over each season. So over the next week (finger crossed emoji), I will be sharing the seasons of the last year along with some adventures and celebrations.  I am giving everything a purpose. Putting a sense of “past” in my head so I can make room for the “future.” Because there will certainly be many more seasons of eating and drinking and taking pleasure in ALL of my work. Amen for that.IMG_0314

Happy Birthday

April 19, 2015 – 42°, We’re expecting snow tomorrow! Sunrise 6:23 a.m., Sunset 9:35 p.m.

I’m writing this on Sunday night, sweet N, as you and I are hopping a red-eye to Denver on your birthday (you’re coming along to crash siblings weekend with my brothers – can’t wait!) and I don’t want to miss your big day! As I’m writing, I’m reflecting on a year ago. J and I were preparing to cheer on Papa, from home, as he ran the Boston Marathon on Monday; you weren’t due for another 2.5 weeks. However…you had other plans! 

Happy 1st birthday N!! When we were ready to grow our family, we were excited to meet you, but we couldn’t have imagined how much joy and love you would bring to our family. You are so full of laughter and love. You roll with the punches (sometimes literally) of being the second born, and yet you are carving out your very own, unique space too. You have a cackle/chortle for a laugh and it cracks me up every time. You are affectionate. When you want to give a kiss you are not shy, and full on grab whomever by the face and plant one smack on their lips. You have an absolute fascination with eyes and noses, and I have to keep your fingernails very short – but you’ve still managed to give both Papa and I bloody noses. You are drawn to electrical outlets like, well, electricity. You are finding your voice, and it is loud; there is no question when you want something, you let it be known! Your most recent accomplishment is going down the stairs; you are so proud and stop on every step to clap for yourself. You pull up and cruise around all the furniture, but seem very happy to just continue to crawl. For the sake of summertime and being outdoors, I hope you learn to walk in the near future. Maybe you’ll eat less rocks and wood chips if your hands are not in direct contact with the ground (probably not!) You eat more than J at most meals, and use that voice of yours to alert me when your tray is empty, and wildly sign “more!”. You love to explore; indoors, outdoors, doesn’t matter – you’re on the move and into something.  The list goes on and on… We adore, and are so in love with you! It has been an amazing first year getting to know you!

Queue the flashback photos…

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And because I can’t help myself…