So how do we reclaim our lives? I knew the answer the moment the question entered my mind. It's the entire purpose of this blog. We need to make each day the best it can be. As Thoreau would instruct, we need to live life deliberately. That does not mean planning big adventure each day--that simply isn't possible. It does mean making the most of the small number of free-time hours we have. At times that means recognizing the exhaustion and saying, "Let's put on our pajamas and watch Tinker Bell together." Other times it means having special projects that remind us of the season and make us stop and notice what is going on around us. A few weeks ago, on the day the Church celebrates the Mary's birthday, we made a birthday cake for Mary. The girls love decorating birthday cakes, so this was very special for them. Now that Halloween is approaching, we spent Tuesday afternoon making a Halloween Gingerbread House--thanks to a kit I found at Trader Joe's.
Ah, Trader Joe's...this wonderful grocery store has definitely helped in our celebration of Fall. They sell everything pumpkin: pumpkin pancake mix, frozen pumpkin waffles, pumpkin croissants, pumpkin bread mix. I stocked up this week and we are already enjoying our own pumpkinfest of sorts.
But again, it doesn't take much to make the day the very best it can be. During the afternoons, I've recently taken Clare and Baby Anne to Barnes & Noble, where Clare has taught Baby Anne about the Lego Table. Some afternoons we head to our community park. Meg is so excited that she can finally go the entire length of the monkey bars and her joy at that accomplishment makes all of us happy. One of the birthday parties over the weekend was for Clare's class only, so I took the opportunity for some one-on-one time with Meg at Starbucks. I even let her get chocolate milk, which I never do. We talked about her upcoming birthday party, though she mostly wanted to talk about a "feel better" party she was planning for a friend of ours who has been ill recently. I explained to Meg that our friend might not have the energy for such a party, but Meg assured me she could spend the whole party in bed if she needed to. That kid really does have a heart for helping people.
Of course in the midst of all of this living deliberately, I'm still yelling at kids to get dressed quickly in the mornings and I'm terribly stressed about getting everything done each day. But I'm hoping our new normal becomes less stressful as the months go by and living deliberately will mean more smiles and less anxiety. But if not, we do always have the pumpkin waffles to help us get through a day.