Byron is a year and a month (almost). Do you keep counting months past a year? It just seems a little complicated to me. Well back when he was just a year old, we spent the day celebrating him and he had no idea, but I think it was his best day of life so far. Byron has 5 girl cousins. The two oldest spent the morning at school (1st day back after the summer…blah) and the youngest slept in a stroller. However, Kenzi and Elizabeth spent the morning with him enjoying the warm weather at the splash pad. We tend to visit the splash pad regularly because it is walking distance from our house and Byron loves looking at more people than just me in a day. Jason, the rockstar husband that he is, made lemon cupcakes with lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream frosting…all from scratch because it is fun (??) for him!Byron liked the sugar (on his face and not on his hands…until later), but he couldn’t contain himself when he saw his cousins riding in the trailer. This boy loves to move. He quickly gave up the rest of his cake and attempted to squirm his way to join them. As is typical of every good party, he ended the night riding circles around the backyard with his cousins. I made Cordell carry the balloons so that we could never confuse these pictures for any other normal night with backyard lawn mower rides. Truth be told, it happens often, but typically it is the adults piled in the back (1200 pound limit.. woot woot).
*Please know that what I am about to write is not a criticism of anyone else. It is instead a personal evaluation and reflection of things in my own heart and mind.
When I woke up this morning, I did the thing that I do every morning: I scrolled through my Instagram feed. It has become more habit than desire to see what is going on in the social media world around me. However, like often, I saw these perfectly bright bedrooms with happy children dressed for the day frolicking and it made me feel (for an instant) discontent with my dimly lit bedroom in my jammies sprawled on my bed. Though I quickly catch these thoughts and remember how amazing and fun it is that i get to be a part of my own life, it doesn’t stop that little thought stream that lingers.
I have heard my whole life that “comparison is the thief of joy” and i completely agree. But I would go one step further and say that it is also the thief of simplicity. Maybe this is just me, but “social media lives” (what i lovingly call the strangers’ well photographed lives that i follow on Instagram) make me want to lug my Nikon and all my fancy lenses to the market and playground and splash pad if only to capture the perfect example of all the fun that we also have on a daily basis. As I was examining my thoughts, it seemed as if I didn’t post a picture on social media for people to see then it was like our little adventure wasn’t as fun. How crazy is that logic (I am still half grimacing and half laughing at myself)? Is this just me or is this the problem with social media? Seriously, it is like that saying “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” That is how I started to view our days. Play time then is no longer messy, silly, imaginative spontaneity. It becomes perfect placement, cutest clothing, clean surroundings and biggest smile in the light time. And that to me is exhausting and complicated and everything that isn’t simple.
Therefore, I will gladly continue to look and smile at those social media lives, but only to appreciate the beauty and unique talents that surround us. Those thoughts might still come to mind, but I will address them for the silly complicated nonsense that they are and continue on with my simple daily activities.
I Just cannot believe that it has been almost one year (Next Tuesday) since Byron was born (Insert ultimate shocked face emoji). I have not LOVED every minute of it, but these days I am having the best time of my life. I am the first to tell anyone who asks (or doesn’t) that the first 6-10 weeks were super difficult for me
I remember thinking several times during those first few weeks: “why would anyone have more than 1 kid? This is just miserable” Jason would constantly remark that he just didnt feel like Byron was that hard of a baby. However, his comments would just upset me even more. I felt like i was drowning in lack of sleep and hormones. My gasping breathes were taken in the form of reading everything I could google or grab. I was attempting to do everything that every blog and book was telling me. I was overwhelming myself with contradicting thoughts and practices. Although this seems like common sense, I wasnt able to stop my mind until I stepped back and realized that Byron was not my newest hobby. He is a little version of Jason or myself. He isn;t going to be the same day to day and he is going to have little feelings and experiences. Moreover, he had only been a part of our world for 6-10 weeks prior. It wasnt until I remembered those things (and reminded myself) that I was able to sit back and actually smile and laugh and RELAX.
Now, almost a year in, I barely remember that debilitating feeling. I find myself jokingly (sorta) positing the idea of having our next baby or even 10. This has been the most messy, emotional and increasingly beautiful year that I have ever experienced. Though I still have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy my day to day with my little baby boy, I am overwhelmed with excitement of all that is to come. I had NO idea what this first year would/could hold that Sunday in the hospital.
It has been amazing to me to be able to sit outside at night. We try to eat outdoors as much as possible. The weather is beautiful and it stays light late into the evening. Luckily we moved into a home with an amazing yard already. There is a giant apple tree, roses, and wild flowers. We have just added a small grill, a few lights and the garden. It is a great place to celebrate the 4th of July.
Growing up when asked who my role model was, I would typically answer Mia Hamm (I played soccer at the time) or my grandmom. Now the only constant answer is Tirzah Glonda Marie Claiborne Counts (aka Gmom). I grew up in the same town as my grandparents. They were constant fixtures in almost any major or minor event. I like to joke that we grew up together because she exuded youth. My Grandmom would host birthdays, slumber parties and just about any other gathering she could. She was and is the life of the party (though I cringe using such a common phrase to describe her…she was the definition of that phrase). It became my goal to get her to laugh so hard she cried. I always wanted my friends to partake in the joy that consumed her when she was “tickled”. If my siblings or I were ever in trouble, she would scold us by saying “if you don’t stop, I am going to paddle your canoe” or “I am going to clean your plow.” <– I asked her often what those phrases meant, but she would always respond with a sly grin and say that she would tell me when I got older…I still don’t know. As she gracefully ages, I hear more and more stories about the fire cracker she was growing up…which just serves to shed more light on her feisty personality now. Shortly after college, I lived with her for about a year. She was my roommate. Needless to say, we share a special bond.
Therefore, I am so thrilled to be visiting this beautiful woman this weekend. Though she is recovering from an injury, I know that I will be the one constantly reminded to have joy in every experience.
I am so happy about my bike, but I think Jason might be even more stoked than I am. He has been looking for a road bike for me for a long time. We just happened to stumble upon an amazing listing on craigslist Friday and picked it up that night. Though I am not into all the brands that Jason is, I am excited that my Romic was handcrafted in Texas back in the 70s. We took it for a spin over the weekend and I was amazed at how much easier it was to ride. I have a wonderful Raleigh in a pale pink with mustache handlebars….that I love. Unfortunately, it is heavy and not fit for traveling on the roads. I have tried to ride it long distance with Jason, but I always tire super fast. Basically I am super pumped about riding my bike and Jason is too.
Jason is currently trying to convince me to bike with him all the way to Texas!! I have only committed to short trips into the mountains to camp. I just love the idea of actually strapping things to the rack on my bike.
With all the craziness going on with Commonwealth (moving, getting the bags, business trips), the cart has been in storage for the past few months. However on Saturday, Armitage & Mcmillan (a local men’s clothing shop) was throwing a party and asked if the guys would serve coffee for it. It was fun seeing Jason and Ryan in their element, but the most exciting part was debuting our new bags. There were fun drinks, Long I Pies and plenty of merriment to go around. If you would like to order coffee in these amazing bags you can go to Commonwealth’s website