Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Away we go!

Lola and I are packing up and flying to Grandma's house for my sister's graduation this week! We are so thrilled about this huge stepping stone in my sister's life and can't wait to celebrate this moment with her! Congratulations, Annalisa!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Age of Exploration

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. -- Pablo Picasso 

I'd like to believe that Lola has two very creative parents. Parents who see creativity as freedom of self expression, a moment to step beside one's self, to think outside of the box, to step closer to who it is we are meant to be. We think the arts are just as important as all the maths, sciences, and literary pieces in the world. We want to raise our child as a well rounded one, able and anxious about exploring new mediums and styles, subjects and topics, allowing her to choose whichever path makes her feel most alive.

I've been wanting to take Lola to Art Beast, a local art studio tailored for children ages six and under. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about this place. Local parents rave about how much fun their child(ren) have, adding extra emphasis on the extended naps they take when they get home.

Lola was a little shy at first, keeping close watch on the others from the dress-up room's stage. She seemed unsure, frightened even. She was still, examining the way the other children played, eventually feeling comfortable enough to interact with them. She watched carefully as a little boy ran around the room wearing the knight's horse costume. She studied him, or should I say his horse, watching as he galloped proudly in and out of the castle, waiting for her chance to try it on. I was amazed she was even interested in wearing a costume, but she did and she wore it proudly!
She doodled with chalk, strung vibrantly colored beads onto fuzzy pipe cleaners, and made a mess with the moon dough. She had a good time exploring and the mess, well it really didn't matter because I didn't have to clean it up!
 She dabbled in paint, allowing her brush to be her tool to create the beautiful masterpieces which flowed over large pieces of paper. She used her imagination in the play house, feeding twin baby dolls eggs and bologna, giving them milk and eventually putting them to bed. A little mommy in the making!
She splashed in the outdoor water section, filling buckets, pots, and pails with funnels and small espresso cups.
 And once we made the short walk home, had lunch, and rested for a bit, we were tempted by the beauty that is Spring. We packed the bag of park goodies, snacks, chalk, and bubbles, and spent the rest of the afternoon shaded by maple trees, cooled by Delta's breeze, and loved by one another. Lola continued creating masterpieces, gravitating towards the new big bright pieces of chalk she received for her birthday from her great-grandma, unknowingly creating the wonderfully chalky legs and bum masterpieces that I love so much!
Thanks for the new chalk, Great Grandma Van Tatenhove! Love you!
 Ah, the age of exploration!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Daddy's Little Helper

We've been neglecting the laundry baskets that line our closet doors for two weeks now. And we all know how our laundry of list things that need tidying gets put on hold and left neglected when the ones we love are under the weather. Last night, Pieter was nice enough to tackle the six weeks worth of clean and unpaired socks and Lola was kind enough to help her papa out.
Pieter worked with her patiently, trying to explain the varieties of white tube socks to our little sweetness. He would have her search for the ones with the gray toes and would continue pairing as she was on the hunt for the last few straggler- or so he thought. When he was focused on pairing, Lola would quickly scurry over and toss single socks into the bucket.
 Pieter quickly realized that this daunting task would not be done quickly because of the little saboteur on his team. He finally settled with giving her the task of dropping the paired socks into the container.

 She clearly was little help but her anxiousness to join in and take part in pairing socks was so cute, we couldn't resist but to let her help. She has been showing promising signs of being a responsible little human. She picks up her toys, most of the time, puts her dishes in the sink, most of the time, and throws her garbage away. This little family session of getting most of our dreaded laundry put away was more work for Pieter than it needed to be but was worth the laughter I received from it!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The little things we do

Before I found myself wandering along the winding roads of motherhood, I remember thinking, "motherhood can't be all that hard". And I don't mean this at all in any way to discourage you soon-to-be mothers. No one tells us, at least not to the extent, about the sleepless nights, the spit up covered (or in Lola's more recent case, vomit-encrusted) clothing, or even the sense of defeat when dealing with a sick and inconsolable child. And if they do let you in on this little bit of truth, this valuable bit of insight, they go easy on you. They fluff things up, using words craftily sewn together like, 'oh it's not that bad', or 'my child never cried', leaving our hearts a little more at ease. A little more comfortable. A little more confident about the wonderfully rewarding task ahead.

And the moment that little body comes out and into the world, something happens. It's as if we've spent the last however many years of our lives senseless, numb to the beautiful world that surrounds us. Our ability to think and feel become heightened. We become more loving, more caring, and more compassionate. We become better women. This whole new kind of love shines brightly, getting us through those late night feedings, those sleepless nights when silence seems so loud, and the days when sickness has left our children held tightly in our arms. It's in these moments, these long, exhausting, short tempered moments, that we are rewarded in abundance. When we finally realize that we are here to provide a service, to nurture, well these are the moments when the love we thought we knew so much about supersedes our own expectations and understanding.

We mothers travel to the moon and beyond fueled by this love in search of whatever thing may distract our poor little sickies from feeling the way they feel. We pull out all the stops, bringing out the special treats and going the extra mile. We work hard to bring smiles to those lifeless eyes, to lift their heavy hearts, to make sure they feel taken care of. We disregard the comments and reviews given by other moms and pull out the colored bubbles, making even this sad, little, lethargic chicken excited about bath time.
We find ways to distract them from moments of discomfort, listening to this same song time and time again, relishing in the stern-to-grin expressions that seemed to transformed right before our eyes.
We bend our own rules and make exceptions, utilizing a bubble machine bought for this little two year old's birthday party. Hearing to loud and enthusiastic chant of 'bubble, bubble, bubble' left us confident that progress was being made.
 We make soups to nourish and revive, sprinkling a little bit of care, a dash of hope, and a couple extra heaps of love.
We allow them to take ownership of our beds, knowing that a little extra snuggles could potentially mean a lot of extra sleep. Well at least that's the way I think of it.
We'd travel to the ends of the Earth if it meant our children would be well. That's a mother's love.
 By the way, Lola is feeling much better. I'm happy to report that after a week of being under the weather, my little spice muffin is back!
Happy Friday!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I think we're a colorful bunch

We had photos taken by our friend Dan a couple weeks back for Mother's Day slash Pieter and Lola's birthday. As usual, they came out fabulous as usual.

 Thanks, Dan!