Last weekend, we dressed up the family in festive attire and met our dear friend Lyndsay of Lyndsay Hannah Photography at Mistletoe Farm in Stow to do a little family photo shoot. At the end of the shoot, I realized that Lyndsay has captured some of the most beautiful moments of our family since Henry joined our tight twosome three years ago. We never thought we would “invest” in photos but I am so glad we do! First, it supports our friend Lyndsay who is not only a talented and inspiring artist but also is someone who can somehow get even the most difficult of toddlers to smile while she captures that instant and she is a kick-ass boss mama building her business, brand, and style with every shoot. And, to top it off, our home is filled with photos of our little boys growing up and frozen in playful snapshots of their childish spirit and quirky little personalities. No matter how much I want to convince myself that I will remember the details of these days with my babies, I know memory is a thief and that these photos will help bring me and David back to these moments over and over again. This weekend David is away visiting with his family in Florida and I am planning to design some photo books for the home and select some prints to blow up for a fun little project idea I have to decorate our bedroom. Despite living in our home for almost 10 months, we have not committed to hanging up enough decor to make the home feel more cozy and like “us.” But regardless of this, I am so grateful to have these photos from Lyndsay. She has been there for birth, life, moving and has helped capture our past three busy busy years and helped us slow down, look around, and remember these are magical.
Fall memes get me every time. I can be scrolling along my social media and some silly meme about pumpkins comes up and the laughing is uncontrollable because gosh darn it those memes are SO TRUE. I think once you have lived in New England for 10+ years, Fall inevitably becomes the very best season of all time. The second that first leaf falls somewhere in Maine, I totally want to slip into a sweater, drink pumpkin lattes all day long, and prance around in a scarf and riding boots.
Every part of the states has their season. My brother and brother-in-law love to remind me of their beautiful weather in SoCal and Florida while we are being buried in snow in February BUT they have nothing on our Fall. It is super cliche but the changing leaves does something to my brain! When walking with David and the kiddos, we suddenly start saying things like, “wow look at those leaves!” Not once did we note the same leaves during their summer green lushness. People around us predict how stunning the foliage will be based on a slew of ridiculous indicators and we marvel at the reds, oranges, and yellows as though we have never before seen this happen.
We are just on the very very brink of this enchanting New England season and already I have stocked up on Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Almond Drink. I literally buy these in bunch because what if I get to November and they are all sold out? Seriously this happened last year. And to kick off the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year, we did our pilgrimage to the apple orchard. Yes, yes, one weekend a year all New Englanders must pack up their lunches and kids and descend upon a grossly over-priced apple orchard to climb into the trees and pick bushel upon bushel of apples. At any other time of the year, perhaps we consume 2-3 apples a week. But when you are going through those rows with dozens of other fall famished neighbors, you get apple crazed and pack as many of those little delicious globes into your “medium” bag which could carry about one’s pet dachshund. In previous years, my New England stamina was not up to par and we never made it quite through all the apples we picked in time. This year though I was ready for our manic apple picking and had dough prepped for apple pie as soon as we got home! Not only was it super sweet to watch our boys run around the orchard, eat their weight in apples, and climb as high as they could into the trees, but it was sweeter eating that pie together as a family. So say what you will about those silly memes or about how obsessed we might be with this current season, but I will revel in Fall until my heart is truly content!
The norm for three years has been a 5AM wake up. Either via alarm for work or via baby cries every other time. Waiting for the sun to rise all those mornings, I would say my sister-in-law’s words of perspective change, “the days are long but the months are short.” This morning routine seemed endless and the coffee bottomless. Now we are on the cusp of change! From 5AM we have moved into the realm of 6AM and on some days our littlest even pushes the limits of our imagination with a 7AM wake. It is exhilarating to get some more regular sleep!! My dark circles and bags are maybe disappearing and all I can think is: wooooooooo hoooooooo!!!!!! We made it out of the wilderness and into the promiseland!!!
Can I still drink all my coffee because my excuse isn’t so relevant any more? HECK YEA!
The hardest day of going back to school is the first Monday after the first school day. The few days of that first week are exhausting but there is an excitement that fills the air as kids reconnect with their friends and as faculty navigate the transition with their classes and colleagues. It is probably one of the best times of the year because everything feels fresh, new, and inviting. I love when I buy a brand new planner and those first days are living life like a brand new planner: a clean slate and fresh start. The first Monday after though….
It is still exciting, it is still new, and the energy definitely has me thinking big picture planning, like when will I get my classes into Research + Design Center to use the 3D printers and laser cutters. BUT it also hits me that we are doing this for the next ten months. There will be an alarm going off at 5AM now regularly. There will be grading stacks that get bigger before they get smaller. There will be parent meetings, emails, and to-do lists around every corner. This casts a little shadow over me. I know my mantra is “one by one it all gets done” and I know I will get into that mindset and just do what needs to be done, but today I am pausing a little in the reality ahead. I am taking a deep breath, drinking my coffee maybe a little shower than normal, and telling myself that it is okay, it is going to be okay, and you can do this.
By October, these feelings will have subsided (I hope)and the routine of it all will just be. Until October, I need to brace for the roller coaster of emotions that have me flying high after an awesome class but running low when tackling the “after hours” work of a teacher. And, of course it takes time to figure out how to carve out the most important space of the day: that mental space to put everything down and just be present with my family from the time I walk through the door to the kiss goodnight for Owen and Henry. And then giving myself permission to not forget that David and I need to make time for each other through this chaotic return to life during a school year. That our house and home is only as strong as our relationship which also needs to have space, time, and a kiss. I would love to find a podcast where working moms share their life-hacks for “doing it all,” knowing that we cannot really do it all but we can sure as heck try and get pretty close to a balance that leaves us feeling good about who we are and what we are doing and less like we are mediocre at it all. Do you know of any?
Until then…one by one it all gets done.
In less than 24 hours the official start of year nine of teaching begins. Am I ready for it? Yes, I am excited about the start of the year. The students are always buzzing with excitement as they reconnect with their classmates and settle into their new classrooms. Am I sad for my summer vacation to end? YES! This was a good summer. With each day and week that ticked by, we got “better” at being mobile, heading out, packing the right number of snacks, tackling fun with errands or house chores, and reveling in our time together as a family. I always worry about rebuilding my teacher muscles. It is hard to go from talking with my kiddos and husband to talking to dozens of students and faculty a day. It is hard going from tackling laundry, cooking, and fun times with the kids to doing all of that AND working full-time. Tonight I feel overwhelmed. Tomorrow I am sure things will feel normal-ish but right now, I am anxious to see how we manage it all again and just keep telling myself, “We did this only 12 weeks ago!” Instead of dwelling on these tumultuous feelings, I am going to focus on my boy squad and sneak away to swing at a playground because tomorrow will inevitably arrive. Today though is for summer vibes.