One of the best things about this time of year is getting to spend time with the people you love the most. For us, life slows down a little bit and we find ourselves with more time for things that are really important.
This probably sounds like it's in direct conflict with the impressive "to do" list that I'm sure we all carry around this time of year. Along with the holidays comes a ton of extra activites. (I refuse to call them chores.) There's extra shopping and baking and wrapping. There are parties and get-togethers and traditions. There is always something that needs to be cleaned or picked up or washed and folded. Someone, at least at my house, is always hungry. And with all these extras, it's pretty easy to let the stress factor make every little activity seem like it's 10 times bigger and 10 times more important than it really is. My sanity is often saved by the fact that I am choosing to refuse to let the "to do" list take the fun out of the holidays.
We do all these extra activities for (or hopefully with) people that we love. We do them because we want to make memories and we want to show others that we care. And if taking a little time to bake our favorite holiday treats or shop for some silly gift that one of the boys will love means that my floors are dirty and the laundry doesn't get done, then I'm super OK with that! If stopping a particularly productive Saturday afternoon streak to play Xbox means creating a memory, then sign me up. If letting the boys "help" make cookies means that I get half as much done in twice the time making twice the mess while bumping into elbows and heads, I'm up to the challenge. And while tackling all these activities, I will try my very best to keep a smile on my face, because I will only get to experience Holidays 2012 one time. I'm gonna make the best of them!
We purposely decided not to participate in any sports or other extra curriculars through the winter so we could take a breather. Our falls (and our springs) are so super crazy that, while we can, it's nice to take a little break. It's nice to have evenings with nothing penciled onto the calendar. And I think, based on the things we've witnessed lately, that the boys appreciate this time too. We've watched the littlest Bovy boy turn from baby to toddler - aka wrecking ball! We've literally seen him explode with new capabilities and interests and new ways to create chaos. And it's impossible to get upset with him because he does it all with a giant, dimpled smile on his chubby little face!
Zane has changed just as much lately, but in WAY different ways. He's still stubborn (and spoiled) and he still gets his way more often than not. Even though he can still be unpredictable and demanding, he gets a little easier every day. He can occupy himself for long periods of time now. He's really into a few shows that make me smile - Little Bear and Oswald. Zane is starting to understand his letters and has his own friends and is doing all those fascinating pre-school things that I take for granted in the big boys. He's growing up - fast. If only I could get him to stop calling everyone a "Pootie Tootie"!
Speaking of the big boys, they are pretty awesome. It's nice to spend some time with them, especially Spencer, and get to know him a little bit. Spencer's current favorite thing to do with me is sit side-by-side with iPod/iPhone and play Bloons Tower Defense 5. (Don't knock it til you try it!) He also seems to have more than his share of extra energy to burn in the absense of football and regularly initiates hallway battles with his brothers. Our foam swords and shields have gotten quite the workout lately!!! It never ceases to amaze me how awesome Spencer is when playing with the little boys. He's just aggressive enough to give them an idea of a real battle while being ever vigilent about not hurting someone (badly). I love his big heart! It's pretty nice when our biggest challenge with him is the fact that he's going through books on his kindle almost faster than we can load them up. That boy is a voracious reader!
And I can't forget Quinn... could never forget Quinn. He's probably the most visible of all the kids (except the wrecking ball). He's always in one of two places lately - either right beside us just to be around or downstairs playing Madden on the xbox. He's developed this new, and somewhat surprising, interest in the NFL and knows the players and the teams and who is better than who and what team should win what game. It's pretty fascinating. (Maybe moreso because Spencer could still care less about watching football on TV despite how much he likes to play!) Quinn continues to by my worrier. He worries about things being fair (which drives me nuts) and worries about everyone being OK. He makes sure that his little brothers are OK and happy all the time. His new favorite saying is "Oh dear", which just makes me smile. Lately Quinn has become Zane's favorite bedtime reader. There are many nights when Z won't let Bob read to him, insisting that his Quinn read. And that's just about the perfect proof that slowing things down and focusing a little more on each other was just what we needed!
So here's to taking a minute or two during the fast and furious last 12 days before Christmas to slow things down and enjoy what's going on around you.
"You will never have this day with your children again, tomorrow they'll be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift, breathe and notice, smell and touch them; study their faces and little feet and pay attention. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today, mama. It will be over before you know it." ~ Jen Hatmaker