...And I am a picture taking addict. Seriously. Many people often regret forgetting the camera to capture those precious family moments, a beautiful sunset, or that random silly act. Not me. I always think to have my camera, and I always take lots of pictures. Don't get me wrong, I love taking pictures. I love looking back at our family photo albums every so often. And I love that Anna and Ethan enjoy reminiscing with me. But, I've decided I need to cut back. Since Ben-Ben was born, I have just been on a roll. It's crazy, but I have to make a conscious effort to leave my camera at home. I also have to remind myself, really reassure myself, that it is okay if I don't get a picture of every thing we do and every thing we experience as a family. (So, I don't think I'm that bad, but I do think I could stand to cut back. Most of the pictures I take end up on here, or facebook, so you can be the judge. :)
In lieu of the highlights from our week, with pictures to accompany, this week I decided to write 5 things I have been thinking about, reflecting on, or appreciating lately. *Again, not because I believe many of you reading this will be very interested, but because this is also a journal of my thoughts.* Notice I couldn't bring myself to blog without any pictures this week...baby steps. (Although, these were the only pictures I've taken in a week or two which is good for me right now. :)
Numero 1) I only took piano lessons for three years, but I taught myself much more after that, and I have always been so grateful for the ability to make music. I feel peace when I play the piano. I have really missed not having a piano in our home this last year. (We left ours with some family friends in Marquette during our time down here.) I took for granted all the moments I was feeling stressed, frazzled, or down, that I could sit down at the piano and work through my emotions. It was a beautiful thing. Even when I was feeling especially joyful, playing the piano would magnify those feelings. I still have opportunities to play here. I am the sub for the organist in my congregation, and I play the piano for the primary children Singing Time every Sunday. The hymns and children's songs are beautiful and invite that peace into my life. But I do miss my own piano, and I miss playing other types of music.
Numero 2) Baby-proofing for Benjamin is never ending. Just when I think my little 750 square foot apartment could not possibly be anymore safe than it already is, Ben-Ben proves me wrong. I mean, it's such a small space, how does he keep finding mischief to get into?! New things - climbing on top of a small book case, standing on a little rocking horse to poke holes into his bedroom screen, and bringing a big toy block over to where I keep my keys so he can then proceed to climb up, press the car alarm, which I then have to rush out to turn off. (I'm amazed that it works from our apartment, since we don't park that close to our building.) Ethan and I often find ourselves describing Benjamin as being naughty, or naughty pants. A few weeks ago, we decided to stop using that word to describe him...avoid the whole self-fulfilling prophesy thing. I guess it would be a parent-fulfilling prophesy. Either way, it's been a lot harder than we realized.
On further reflection, I have come to realize that most of the time Ben-Ben is simply being curious, with a bit of mischievousness mixed in there. But other times he is being down right naughty: Pinching his older sister (it's only happened a couple times, but still!), looking you right in the eye and then quickly throwing all of his food overboard from his highchair tray, or running away from us as fast as he can, often endangering his life in the process. Moving on - I always feel like I must mention a few of Ben's sweetness's whenever I discuss some of the challenging things about him: his love-y, hug-y, kiss-y moods, reading time, he tries to help me by mimicking things I do, his big smile and even bigger laughs, and the list could go on. I love him.
Numero 3) Cooking is so satisfying. I have often told people that I don't like to cook, not to be confused with thinking that I am not a good cook. hehe It just wasn't a priority, and I saw it as a waste of time. (I was a busy combination of mommy/student/wife at the time.) Since I graduated almost two years ago, I have been cooking for my family so much more. I am surprised by how much I enjoy it. I still go for quick prep, I am a mommy of two little ones, but I find the process so rewarding. I love sitting down as a family, sharing a delicious, healthy meal together, and talking about our day. It's such a simple thing, but it seems so significant to me. Yes, some days I have to do a box mix, or a frozen meal, but the days that I cook (usually with Anna assisting me), I feel like I've accomplished something good, important. So, I try to stick with healthy meals - lots of fresh produce, whole grains, fish, lean meats, soups, etc. - but it doesn't always happen. Here are some of my favs right now - chicken enchiladas, Thai garlic beef (with mushroom, broccoli, and onion), rotini pasta with the works (meaning lots of fresh, sauteed veggies), chicken tacos with avocado, beef stroganoff, Italian chicken, chicken white chili, bbq roast, broiled salmon over couscous, and the list could go on... Hmmm, what should I make for dinner tomorrow?
Well, I was going to name five things, but the first three were so detailed, I think I'll just stick with that for the week. The fourth involved Anna's helpfulness/big sister role, and the fifth was about being creative (not in a 'crafty' kind of way though). Oh, and I want to record some of the conversations Anna and I have been having about appearance, and what true beauty is. I know she's only four, but she is the one initiating these conversations, and I keep it to a four year old level. But, I'll have to save these for another day. I'm sleepy! Hope you all have a fabulous week.
Bonus - A few new words from Ben-Ben: Echo, book, poopy, Bob (as in, Bob the Builder...a book he likes), Anna, Amen, ew (as in yucky), Rorie, ball, shoes, Ben, please, thank you, juice, and more. The learning to speak stage is priceless! *Many of these words would be impossible for the average person to decipher in Ben-Speak, but Ethan and I understand him, and that's all that matters. :)