Friday, December 30, 2016

my last blogpost

It is the Thursday after Christmas, and things are moving pretty slowly here at the Rice Ranch. Madison was up before any of the other children this morning… Sam and I took her out to the living room to play, as her baby babbling is loud enough to wake up Hayden and Lily these days. We had been sandwiched in between the three of them in our bed, and as soon as Madison started chattering, we knew she wasn't going back to sleep. Baby bunny is loud.

We wedged ourselves together into the big armchair in our living room, Madison sitting on Sam's lap and me curled up beside him. For twenty minutes we sat there, in the quiet of the morning, listening to Madison talk and soaking up her sweetness.

 I know I've said this here before with Hayden, because I really did think he was our last baby… but knowing Madison is truly our last just makes us appreciate her all the more. 

I feel like I have to qualify this, by saying that every single baby we've had has been loved and appreciated and valued. Every single baby I have said to Sam – this might be our last baby, let's make sure to enjoy every little moment of their babyhood, OK? 

And yet I'm sure there have been moments I have missed… Because sometimes life just has a way of interfering with our desire for things to slow down, for busyness not to invade, you know? I'm sure that if I had the chance to do it all over again there are things I would intentionally push off my plate to make room for enjoying what is right in front of me. In hindsight there were many times when I could have been soaking up the moment rather than planning planning planning for what was ahead. 

But I am thankful for wiser, older moms who gave me wisdom years ago, when Jason was a newborn: enjoy these moments, because before you know it that baby will be a man. 

(Jason and his wife have some exciting news, and you can go HERE to read all about it!)

Don't let the day's troubles weigh you down so much that you don't savor these moments when your children are little. 

date with Jackson

miss bunny, enjoying the tree !!

Looking back, I am grateful that (for the most part) I heeded their advice, even if there were times when I forgot it. Although there were days when all I could think about was bedtime, counting down the hours till I had some moments to myself... I am thankful that the words of those moms were always at the back of my head. Those morsels of truth, spoken by moms who had experienced them theirselves, were there to remind me that life is like a vapor and before I knew it, my babies would be having babies of their own.
my babies and my grandbabies

I'm sure I'm not alone in this – the days after Christmas always make me a little nostalgic. 

Maybe it's because things have finally slowed down for the month... all the planning and shopping and anticipation and festivities and excitement have crescendoed, and now in this quiet space afterwards there is room to think and breathe and ponder.

 And maybe it's the prospect of a new year before me…goals for the days ahead swimming around in my brain, hopes and dreams of what I want this next year to look like... Madison turns one next month and I'm deep in the throes of planning a party for both her and Lily, as their birthdays are only two days apart. I've spent the last few days reflecting on how quickly this year has passed since she entered our lives, realizing that this is the last time we will celebrate a "first" birthday, at least for one of our own babies.

Or maybe it's a combination of all of the above . 

But whatever the reason, this time of the year always makes me a little sentimental. 

north pole party I did for the kids in our church

(video credit : Mackenzie)

I'm not going to call it after Christmas blues, because blue is not really the true color of what I'm feeling this week. It's not sadness, or let down… it's more a feeling of gratitude mixed with a desire to do it all over again. It's a feeling of wanting to make sure I'm doing all of this right… hoping I am living out the words of those wise moms before me by enjoying and appreciating this season of life when I have little ones in my home.

Hayden is three right now, which is just about my favorite age for children at Christmas. He was old enough to know what was coming this month  – constantly poking at his presents under the tree and counting down the days until he could open them… and young enough to have a sense of awe and wonder at the magic of it all. I lost count of how many times I said to Sam - wouldn't you love to be three at Christmas again? I want to go back and feel what he felt this month - because it was evident to all of us what he was feeling. The look of wonder in his eyes on Christmas morning… the grin on his face when he saw that Santa had filled his stocking and eaten the cookies we'd left out for him… The excitement in his voice every morning until Christmas when he asked what our elf Flannery had done the night before....

There are few things sweeter than experiencing the joy of Christmas through the eyes of your child. In a year and a few months I will be fifty ... FIFTY!! ... but watching my little boy's wonder through the holidays made me feel like a child again. 

church Christmas village we hosted 

(Christmas morning video, again created by Mackenzie)

And then there was Lily .. she is turning seven next month, two days before her sister turns one. It hardly seems possible that seven years have flown by as quickly as they did - our baby is a big girl now. And yet there is still such an innocence to her, such a sweet and tender spirit, and watching her joy throughout the month of December made me wish she would never grow out of that awe. 

So I guess what I'm trying to say – and as usual I am a bit rambling in saying it - is that I don't want to lose that either. I don't want to lose my sense of awe and wonder at what God is doing in my life right now. There is a place for reflecting on and pondering and appreciating the past. There is certainly a need to plan and set goals and strive for better things in the future.

But in the midst of all that – I want 2017 to be the year that I am intentionally present. 

first snow of the year at the rice ranch

I want to purpose in my heart to enjoy every day, whatever it brings me. I don't want any worries about the future or regrets about the past to rob me of all the miracles that are happening today. Let's be real – there are always going to be things we wish we did differently. There are always going to be things on our to do list for tomorrow… bills to pay, meals to plan, appointments to be made, parties to attend... I just don't want to be in a hurry to get there. I want to make sure that I am present for those I love. Present for my husband, present for my children, present for those I love... I want to be fully present and aware and appreciative of all the Lord is doing in my life today.

jackson's tenth birthday

And now it is Friday after Christmas. Tomorrow is the last day of 2016, and the future is bright with promise. I'm writing this scripture down as my motto for the new year, and writing it in my heart as well ...

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

It's my last blogpost for 2016, and I really would love to hear from you... what is your "word" for 2017 ? If you could choose just one little word, what would it be ?

Mine is "present"... what is yours ?

See you next year !!

Xo Patti