Thursday, January 9, 2014

The New Year slipped in quietly for us, another evening at home on the farm, snowed in and in quarantine as we recovered from a rather taxing bout of the flu.

Clay's parents braved the germ vectors (aka our coughing and sneezing children) and came over to share dinner, some bubbly drinks and a game of cards after the kids' bedtime. After their departure Clay and I set the cell phone alarm and "watched" some David Attenborough's Life of Birds (one of my all-time favorites). It is an on-going joke in our house that I persistently attempt to watch David Attenborough. Or Ken Burns. Both Clay and I love their documentaries, but since becoming a mom I just can't make it through a whole episode of their harmonious, and sleep-inducing voices. I usually succumb within the first 30 minutes. This is also why I haven't made it through many books of late. Clay and I try to have "reading" nights on a regular basis. These simply translate into me catching up on sleep, leaving Clay to close my propped open book and turn off my lamp for me. My usual page count is one. Sometimes two.

Recently we have started reading "Wind in the Willows" together, which has given me some extra motivation to actually stay awake. And I forgot how much I enjoyed that book. One particular line stood out to me in last night's reading:

"In the winter time the Rat slept a great deal, retiring early and rising late. During his short day he sometimes scribbled poetry or did other small domestic jobs about the house..."

That seems an ideal approach to winter, I think.

But I digress. So we "watched" Life of Birds and then woke up with a start to the buzz of the alarm at 11:59. We mumbled "Happy New Year" with heartfelt best-wishes and then promptly dozed off again.

We must be getting old.

All this to say. Happy New Year. Belated, as usual, on my blog. But, nevertheless, there it is.
And one of the reasons it is so belated on my blog is that, in short, I am trying to be more present for my children.

I am blessed beyond measure in the ability to stay home with our babies. I am thankful for every minute of it. Yet it constantly amazes me how easy it is to let each day slip by in the little minutes, consumed with chores and projects and school and cooking and eating and checking the email, and not really be with my kids. How often do I tell them to hurry and finish what they are doing so we can get on to the next thing. And at nap time I can feel so relieved to have the house "finally to myself".

Time to enjoy the little things in the daily routine. To appreciate the opportunity to teach my eldest and see her progressing in so many areas. To have fun preparing meals and including the children more in the process (or perhaps, more accurately, to have a joyful heart while letting them participate). To take the time to do special, fun, silly, and memory-making things with them.

Cabin fever? Time for a mud mask party! Amelia told Margaret she looked like a peacock.

With dear friends, circa 2003. I have no idea where my children get their mud-masking dramatic flair.

This is a theme one hears constantly... They grow up so fast, Enjoy every minute, Carpe the diem.
Yet it is still such a constant struggle. Time management has always been a work in progress for me. It is easy for me to float through a day with no definite plan and find that many moments are wasted. Many of these moments are wasted with my face glued to the laptop screen. I am not about to call it quits on specific internet, blogging, facebook, photos, pinterest.... rather, wiser usage. Everything in moderation, and all that. Less screen time and more prioritizing moments with our family.

One of our family's favorite quotes came from the highly esteemed Groucho Marx (surprise, surprise):

"I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book."

Only, at this point in my life, this will probably involve a "good book" like Dr. Seuss, or Beatrix Potter. Good books are better shared - especially while trying to balance four children on my lap.


  1. Beautiful post Elissa! Your New Year sounded a lot like ours, only I didn't even set an alarm!

    Thanks for the good reminder. "Being" with the kids is a regular struggle... even though I--and they-- LOVE it when I do.

    Get well soon!

    1. Thanks! So glad you enjoyed it!

      I've really missed seeing everyone the past few weeks, looking forward to hopefully getting back into the regular rhythm this next week with church and school :) Hope you guys are feeling better too!

  2. dear Elissa,
    it's so good to catch snippets of your life - the real, the funny, the hard. I truly love your blog & the heart that God has given & is giving you for your family. And for your awesome face-masking friends ;)

    I had to look up this quote from C.S. Lewis (my Groucho Marx, if you will) which came to mind at your mention of Dr. Seuss, etc....

    “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”
    ― C.S. Lewis

    :) Enjoy!!

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