This is my view....a lot. I sit here and feed/eat with Griffin 3 times a day, 7 days a week. Each item has a little story. The bowl was found at a favorite thrift store in Michigan with my step-mom Cindy. It's filled with fruit, which we eat a lot of around here. Griffin alone goes through at least 2-3 pieces a day! The blue glass dish belonged to my Great Grandma Wright, who passed away several years ago now. When she lived on the horse farm, she always kept chocolate covered peanuts in this dish. Of course, this was my favorite dish in the house :) I still remember where it sat, never empty, in her home. The salt shaker was another thrift store find at a favorite place here in Columbia. Ah, thrifting. It's so....therapeutic and exciting! The metal bucket behind the salt shaker contains all our spoons. Why do I keep our spoons out on the table and not in the drawer like a normal person? My only answer is that my step-mom kept them that way growing up, and my Grandma Vy keeps hers that way as well. I guess when I got married and had to figure out where I was going the keep the spoons, it just seemed...right. It really is more convenient to have your spoons out, as they are the most used of utensils. Think of all the scenarios in which it is better to have the spoons out, close at hand! I suggest you try it for a week. You will see how fabulous of an idea it really is, how handy it is to have all the spoons you own in the world close at hand. You will be converted. I know it.
Well, our adorable little chicks have transformed into grown-up ladies! No eggs yet, but we expect it will be another month or two before they start laying. Now that our family is going through about 3 1/2 dozen eggs per week, we are eagerly anticipating these ladies paying for themselves! Whenever I open the door, Piccadilly is the first to come running. They are all quite curious, but Piccadilly, Camilla, Ophelia, and Attila the Hen are the most assertive of the bunch. I'm thinking I should have heeded the warnings that certain breeds were more aggressive than others, because Piccadilly (New Hampshire Red), Camilla (Rhode Island Red) and Ophelia (Barred Rock) can be downright mean. Doesn't Piccadilly just look mean in this shot? You are sure to get your hands pecked at if you reach in and these girls are around. Also, they are the most vocal; it's almost like you can tell they are complaining about something or other as you walk by. Hah. My sweetest ladies are breeds that are known to be more docile and friendly: Cleopatra (Americauna), Attila the Hen (Americauna), and Bo Peep (Golden Comet). They tend to be very meek and handleable (if that's even a word!?). Our neighborhood has been inspired, and there are several other soon-to-be chicken families in the works already!
Somehow, Griffin discovered my make-up bag and proceeded to "apply make-up" to himself, Oliver, his Buzz Lightyear, and I. These brushes entertained him for about an hour! I really have no idea how he knows about make-up application, seeing as how I hardly ever wear make-up since he has been in the world!
I'm 27 today, and it's hard to believe how quickly 26 sped by me. I'm pretty sure I only acknowledged I was 26 a handful of times before I turned 27! This past year has been the most difficult yet, and I believe this may be the first birthday where not a single picture was taken to remember the day. But I can tell you this: God is good to me and so, so faithful through every trial. I am so thankful for the life and many blessing He has given me, and I believe I can now honestly say that I am also thankful for the tough times/seasons my 27th year of life held. God is transforming me, molding me, helping my clouded eyes to see and my blocked up ears to hear the things He has for me. As painful as this process can be at times, isn't that the best birthday gift of all? I belong to Christ, and I am being made more and more into his likeness. What a gift. I've struggled with dread and fear for the future a lot this year, wondering what suffering, what pain, what challenges it will hold for my family and I. What does 27 hold for me? But I've had to let go of this fear, cast it upon the Lord, and ask for His peace today. Natural, unmedicated birth taught me a lot of things, and it continues to teach me things to this day. One thing you absolutely must do during labor, especially during pushing, is to take it one contraction at a time. You must live completely in the present moment and not allow your mind to add up the sum of your suffering though the labor. If you allow yourself to feel the cumulative effect of the pain and suffering of the entire labor process, you will drive yourself to utter defeat. Life is quite a bit like labor; there will be pain and suffering. There will be burdens, tears, and darkness. But we must live in this moment...now, today...not tomorrow, the next 5, 10, 50 years. We can't allow ourselves to attempt to view the cumulative effect of suffering in our lives. We cannot try to imagine what things we will have to endure. Allowing our minds to linger there will drive us to defeat. Someone pretty wise once said that "each day has enough trouble of its own," and we need not worry about what the future will bring. What really and truly matters is that the Lord loves me, cares for me, and will be with me through any and every situation I come up against. He has promised His children His peace and joy in the best of times and in the very worst of times. The Lord is helping me to trade the worry and fear for truth and love; despair and defeat for joy and peace; discontentment and hopelessness for rejoicing and thankfulness. As I turn 27 today, I honestly feel like my mind has undergone a renewal, and I am so very thankful.
We went back to Saluda Shoals today, and this time we came prepared with swim gear for Griffin. On our walk, we stopped at our favorite little cove on the river and let Griffin play. We have quite the fearless adventurer on our hands, and it was everything we could do to convince him that it wasn't safe to walk out onto the rocks in the river without our help! He loved picking up rocks off the bottom and throwing them into the water, climbing up onto the rocks, and playing in the sand on the shore. Good ol' outdoor fun. I like to think we have a burgeoning outdoorsman in our little Griffin.
We most definitely have a reader on our hands. This boy has loved his books from day one, and he continues to grow in his love for them. He regularly goes through them all, quietly reading to himself, book-by-book. He's started to refuse to be picked up out of his crib when he wakes up in the morning, saying, "Book! Book!" I'll bring him a stack of books, and he'll leaf through them for about 30 more minutes before he's ready to get up! He's even begun requesting to go to bed with books, although I'm afraid that might lead to undesired middle-of-the-night reading sessions. :)
Kyri was born 24 hours after Griffin at the same birth center! Cora, her mother, and I knew each other from CIU, and they came into the birth center about 5 minutes after we did. We've reconnected in our neighborhood, and our kiddos are great playmates. Griffin and Kyri have a very sweet friendship, and Cora and I really get a kick out of watching them interact.
For the past several weeks, Griffin and I have had a lovely new routine for our mornings. It all began when I realized that daily exercise really helped lessen my anxiety throughout the rest of the day. Usually, my mornings are the toughest part of my day, anxiety-wise, and things really and truly stabilize during the course of my morning walk. So, Griffin and I wake up, eat breakfast together, get dressed, and head out on our walk each and every day. We walk through our neighborhood for 30 minutes to an hour and spend the rest of the morning playing in the park! Other mamas began to notice me walking and in the park, and they began to join me. Now, on most mornings anywhere from one to 5 other moms will join me to walk through the neighborhood and for playtime in the park! Griffin and I have both made a whole group of new friends, and it has been fabulous. For so long, I've struggled with loneliness, and I know, looking back, that my lack of consistent, regular connection with other moms has been one of the many contributing factors to the explosion of my anxiety issues this summer. I thank God every single day for bringing these ladies into my life and for using them, the socialization, the exercise, the fresh air, and the playmates for Griffin to heal me, day-by-day. He truly cares for us, and I'm humbled and grateful.
This morning, we went to Saluda Shoals Park for a nice, long walk along the river. There was fog hovering over the water, and it was just beautiful. There is a spot on the walk where Oliver and I used to climb down to the river, take our shoes off, and walk across this narrow part of the river to an island out in the middle. Today, we took Griffin down to the water at that spot, and he promptly ran about 4 feet out into the river completely clothed! We grabbed him right away, but he absolutely loved it in spite of the frigid temperature. All he wanted to do was pick up rocks off the bottom and throw them in the water. Unfortunately, I didn't bring a change of clothes. So, poor boy had to go in just a diaper for the rest of our time at the park. Good thing I did have an old swim diaper with us, even though it was a size too small, because Griffin was able to play in the splash park at the park after our walk!
Oliver and I took Griffin to his first movie this afternoon! "Cars 2" is still in theaters, and we knew we just had to take the boy to see it. The first "Cars" movie became a bit of an obsession for Griffin because he saw it right about the same time he was becoming super interested in cars and trucks. There was only one other family in the theater, so I was able to snap some pictures after the credits started rolling at the end. Griffin sat through the entire movie, completely and utterly transfixed. It was adorable, and we all had so much fun!
When Griffin and I color, he always asks me to draw several things: a fish, a truck, and a train. After I had drawn several fish today, I gave Griffin a fresh sheet of paper. He began scribbling away in purple, made a few small dots, stopped, pointed, and said "fish!" I looked at what he had drawn and was so shocked to find that he had truly attempted to draw a fish! You can see the fish shape, the fin, the eyes (okay, so there are way too many eyes...but still!), and the mouth (albeit not exactly in the right spot). I'm so proud of my little artist!
Each morning, after our walk, Griffin and I stop and play in the park in our neighborhood. Today, he started going down the slide on his own, kicking a soccer ball around the park (for about 30 minutes!), and discovering bugs. This poor little beetle fell out of a tree onto the basketball court, and Griffin wasted no time picking it up. Once he discovered the beetle wanted to cling onto his finger and walk around on his hand, he promptly threw it down and began poking at it with sticks and trying to step on it.
We visited the zoo for a bit this afternoon, and it was a cooker! Griffin has been really into trains lately, and there just happens to be a little train ride for the kids. Well, that train costs a whopping $2. Fortunately, there is another "train" of sorts at the zoo for those of us who are too cheap to pay $2 every time we go to the zoo. It's really a tram that transports people between the zoo and the botanical gardens up the hill. We like to call it the "free train." :) In this photo, we're riding said "free train," cooling off a bit.
Just looking at this photo makes me want to take a nap. Old, broken-in quilts are so inviting, so delicious. This particular quilt is basically a recipe for insta-sleep. I should really rent it out to insomniacs and 3 trimester pregnant women for a good night's sleep. Enough talking about it...I'm off to curl up in it.
A part of my recovery process from my anxiety disorder has been daily exercise. After breakfast, the first thing Griffin and I do is go out for a nice, long walk in our neighborhood. I've never been a huge fan of exercise, but these walks have been so therapeutic for me that I absolutely cannot wait to get out on my walk each morning. I love everything about it, the sun, the morning sounds, the kids and moms out to play, and I can feel the anxiety draining away through every step, every bead of sweat. It's wonderful. Since we first visited the Village (our neighborhood), I have loved the entrance, pictured above. It always reminds me of driving into a campground, a cathedral of boughs. I look up into those boughs each morning and thank the Lord, maker of beautiful things, things that lift our spirits, reveal snippets of His beauty, and ultimately point us to our Maker.
Lately, Griffin has been very clingy to me, wanting to be right at my feet or in my arms. It's pretty sweet, actually, but can be quite exhausting. It seems to get much, much worse while I'm making breakfast and dinner. The solution: sink time!
Griffin loves to watch the boys play basketball at the park. He gradually gets closer and closer, and I'm pretty sure he'd join right in if I let him (although I doubt the other boys would appreciate that)! I can tell that Griffin wishes so badly that he could play with the "big boys." It's almost as if he is starry eyed and dreaming of the day when he is a "big boy" too. :)