It’s a Season

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I have often heard it said, or read that produce should be enjoyed in season and locally. I think the first place this truth was communicated the most clearly and effectively for me personally was through Barbara Kingsolver’s tender, informative and thought-provoking memoir, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I loved snooping in on the way their family lived off of their own garden and those within a close radius for a year, recording the pitfalls and successes, challenges and memories of the experience. As I brought home cherry tomatoes and strawberries from the Carpinteria Farmer’s Market yesterday…and later bit into those treats, the juicy sweetness and full flavor was truly startling. A marked difference from what you grab off the shelves of the local Von’s or our Trader Joes store at home.

Over this trip to Southern California, the same concept, “It’s a Season”, has been on my mind. Like last year, I created a loose plan for naps and our schedule. Really loose. Last year, this plan worked so well, and I figured we should try it again.

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As I mentioned during our trip last year to the Central Coast, I love {read between the lines….AM OBSESSED} with planning and preparing for our summer trips. I love to research the archives of Sunset Magazine and email friends, polling them for the best kid-friendly spots and restaurants NOT to be missed. We look for playgrounds to explore, beaches that are safe for kids and eateries that withstand loud, messy children.

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This trip has benefitted from some of those same strategies as previous years, but we truly are “in a season.” And this season, the season of a 22 month old and 5 year old, is different from last summer’s season of a 10 month old and 4 year old. Not only is the youngest much more “conversational” {that term is used VERY loosely!}, but he also is exerting his desires much more strongly. On the flip side, the two boys can play together, without constant vigilance, even at the beach.

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When updating last year’s packing list, I was surprised at the things I could take off the list: formula, baby food, night diapers for Alex!, binkies, and the Moby Wrap. There were things to add, but indeed….last year was a season, different and unique from this one. Since last year, the eldest has been indoctrinated into the world of Star Wars. Toys and quiet time activities have needed to be segmented so youngest doesn’t get “into” creations.

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But….the season, the “tradeoff” is that the youngest can entertain himself too—-hours of cars, trains, Richard Scarry “Cars, Trucks and Things That Go” reading & watching out the window for the latest sighting of Amtrak whizzing by. Even household tasks like dusting! Ha ha.

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Certain things have sustained me on this trip. One simple, silly one has been preparing the coffee each night before bed and setting the timer to start percolating at 6am. Hearing the boys start to giggle and rustle at 5:50am or 6:14am has been much easier to stomach when accompanied by the smell of Peet’s brewing from the kitchen.

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Our nap supervision “schedule” was a life saver last year, but this season has meant only one nap per day for Drew, and a LONG one at that, usually averaging between 3 and 4 hours. We have chosen to all be home in the afternoon for the most part, relaxing and catching up on the Olympics or cable tv channels we don’t get at home. I’m sure that sounds sacrilegious to some, but it’s pure indulgence for us! Project Runway marathon!

As I comb the teaching websites and Craigslist postings each day, completing job applications and interviews over the last few weeks, I am coming to terms with it “being a season” in my life too. In some ways, the schedule we enter into this fall is even trickier than past years. Lots of drop offs, pick ups and little “windows” to be covered with the boys. Working, for me, is an even bigger maze and puzzle. Money aside, working, exercising my professional muscles, is life-giving. I’m coming to terms with the reality, though, that until the right fit comes along, it’s time to embrace this season. Not kick and scream and whine. But rather “be in the river” and get swept up in the season that God is accompanying us on. Micha of Mama Monk, expressed this concept of abiding so eloquently.

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So, the seasons turn and change and shift. The boys grow from this…

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…..to this….

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Our menus rotate. Our routines slowly morph and change. The needs of our schedule and lives evolve. Maybe this seasonal living really is a call to being cognizant of our current season, clinging to flexibility while holding onto the raft of a loosely held schedule.

For you parenting veterans out there, friends in the “fray” of this state right now, and faithful observers and supporters, what do you cling to? What do you consistently let go of? What season are you swimming in?

Today’s moment, our last day at the beach, will involve sand time paired with cleaning up and wrapping up our time. Enjoying this season for what it is.

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One thought on “It’s a Season

  1. And next year you will be looking back at this post and photos and marveling at the changes that have come and gone! As a mother of an almost 13 and 10 year old, I look back and see that routines were fluid. They changed with every growth spurt and job and house. I still cling to dinner times together, and night time routines: showers, pj’s, books, prayers, kisses, sleep. Even my 12 year old still likes to be “tucked in”. 🙂

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