I really have nothing to complain about. This has been a very mild winter thus far and I have been able to run outside (my go-to mood booster) but that also means the snow is sluggish to hit us which makes it hard for skiing. We got some cold weather after Christmas as the ski mountains have been working hard making snow so the last few weekends we have gotten out on the slopes (my winter go-to mood booster) which makes us all happy.
I don't actually have much of a point to make in this post but I really wanted to write something so I decided I would just write a bunch of random stuff. Don't say you weren't warned.
|Me and Ella who is closely approaching my height and shoe size.|
My first big news is that I survived a move and 2 major holidays in a 6 week period. I found myself looking around at the chaos and thinking I am doing this. I have not lost my mind and I laughed twice today and I am making this work.
I love it when life gives you the opportunity to see how kick-ass you are.
I want to tell you, in case I have not beaten this topic into submission, just how profound the process of decluttering and simplifying has been. We have spent the past 8 months thinning our belongings and it still isn't complete yet the effects on my life are staggering. (I know you are picturing us on the show hoarders but I promise we were just a regular family with too much stuff.) I know where stuff is. If I someone needs it and I don't have it, I don't care. Cleaning is easier (which is always a good thing for a busy family.)
We are almost entirely unpacked and when I can't find a place for something or I look at an item and think you aren't making my life happier or better, out it goes. It is such a process because I am now able to chuck stuff that 4 months ago I thought I needed. My goal is to have our open spaces feel simple and clear and to have the cupboards and closets feel the same. And because we are living in a much smaller space, that means much less stuff.
My desire for a clear space now far outweighs my want to hold onto things I think I need. When I put stuff in the trash or drop it at Goodwill or give it to some poor unsuspecting person who has the bad luck to know me, I don't feel regret or loss. Instead I have a reverberating echo of YES in my head.
If you are thinking about doing this I can tell you that it is hard but it is entirely worth it. I feel different inside having less stuff. I feel less stressed. I feel lighter, unencumbered. Dammit, I feel liberated. I know it may sound nuts but I have even gotten rid of some things inside me that were unwanted. Burdens I've carried for years suddenly left me. True story.
In other news, Ella broke her arm 3 days before Christmas and 2 1/2 weeks before her first gymnastics meet of the season. She was doing a back handspring at gymnastics, of course, which means that she has an awesome story to tell strangers that ask in the grocery store. We asked the doctor if we could pretty please still take her skiing and he said, "Yes. Just be careful." I love that doctor.
|My three girls ahead of me. I love to be last in the line and watch them ski down the mountain.|
Maya is skiing with Maine Adaptive this year which is fantastic. This organization is made of up volunteer skiers who help people with varying disabilities ski. Maya qualifies because of her hearing loss. She and her guide wear a two radio (a Scala rider) like the kind motorcyclists use to communicate when they are driving. It is hard to express how this device improves everything about skiing with Maya. She can actually be taught because she can hear the instructions. We are working on getting one of our own to minimize frustration for all of us.
You may remember Noah who skis with Maine Adaptive because he is a blind skier. One of our favorite parts of going to Sugarloaf is seeing Noah and his parents.
Skiing is gear intensive and takes some effort and commitment to do but it truly is the first thing our whole family has been able to enjoy together. It makes it all more than worth it.
How can this be anything but good for you soul?
|Noah, Aunt Suzie, Uncle Buck, Noah's guides and the four of us in the pink and blue.|
Probably the girls' favorite part of living with their aunt and uncle is this black ball of love named Jax. It is the perfect way to have a dog. We can play with her and adore her but she isn't our sole responsibility.
Both our girls are on the competitive gymnastics team this year (for any parents who have their children in the toddler or little kid gymnastics classes you should be forewarned about where you are all headed if you proceed. Gymnastics seems to be equivalent to what I hear parents say about hockey- super expensive and very time intensive. If you aren't into it, turn back now!) But hey, at least gyms are heated, unlike hockey rinks.
And then there are the smiles that make it all worth it. (Ella couldn't compete but she went to support her team.)
Winter in Maine is as beautiful as ever.
Thanks to the inspiration of a very wise 8-year-old named Annalise who coined the term junk-free January a year ago, our family is going without junk food for the month. In true democratic fashion we have decided on some addendums to the plan. We are allowed to have hot chocolate. We are allowed to eat veggie chips and pretzels. We are contemplating whether Sun Chips are junk food. We all agree whipped cream is not. Neither is wine.
Snow day tomorrow! I plan to keep a pot of cocoa on the stove all day long. And I plan to eat it with whipped cream, yes I do.