I can't believe the difference it makes to be able to play outside again. I don't know how people any further north (than southern Tennessee!) do it! We tried to get outside as many days as possible this winter, but it's no longer a forced feeling. Being able to just step outside--with no hats, gloves, or jackets--is wonderful. If one more person on social media complains about the heat, I might just delete all my accounts (although I probably won't). Come on! This is what we all wanted during those icy, cold days when you could hear your heat bill rise with the warm air coming through the vents. It's not that I hate winter or cold, but it was really, really cold. If you need a reminder:
I know that picture makes the snow look fun, but it had its time. Now we move on to warmth, so no complaining!
Liam's favorite thing is playing on our deck. He loves bubbles and pouring at his water table, and recently, he really fell in love with playing with his river rocks (which I bought at Lowe's last year for his water table). He loves to put the rocks in or on his cars. He hauls them in his toy gator and occasionally tosses them around the deck.
I can't stress enough the importance of toy rotation (I wrote a bit about how we do it here). Yesterday I brought out Liam's tractor set, which has been put away for over a month. He played by himself while I made dinner for almost an hour. I loved watching him haul rocks to feed his toy animals and set up little farm scenes.
We've enjoyed week-long visits with my sister and brother during their separate spring breaks. We spent some time at the farm when my brother came into town. My sister came just before Easter and helped us really embrace the egg dying. Liam also loved hunting for the eggs, especially because some of the plastic ones had M&Ms. He would open them and poke the M&Ms into his mouth.
I love to spend the days leading up to Easter reading the crucifixion accounts from each of the Gospels. Then on Easter Sunday, I love reading each resurrection account. My favorite quote from our Easter service was this one `by Lesslie Newbigin. Newbigin answers the question about whether he is optimistic or pessimistic about the gospel in India with the words,
"I believe in the resurrection of Jesus and therefore the question does not arise."
It's such a powerful answer, and it gets to the heart of so many of our fears and arguments. And Luther's quote is often on my mind this time of year: "Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time."
We've also been continuing our writing time, learning tons of new words (I love this phase of toddlerhood), weathering some stormy toddler days, and baking lots of cookies. I recently read this book on writing and praying, and it was wonderful. It made me see how writing and prayer integrate and how important both are as spiritual disciplines.
My sister and I made it a goal over spring break to find the perfect cookie recipe. We didn't test out enough batches to ultimately find it (though I love Shauna Niequist's Gaia Cookies in Bread and Wine), but I did learn two new things. First, the butter-sugar-egg mixture needs to be really well-whipped. I knew that the flour should be just barely incorporated, and I've always applied the same to my wet ingredients. Turns out, the cookies are much better when the wet ingredients are whipped until they are smooth. I also learned that I prefer chocolate bars (chopped up) to chocolate chips. One site explained that they often melt better and are less waxy. I also love the slight variation that results in the size of the chocolate pieces. Most pros also say to refrigerate or freeze the dough (some say to refrigerate for up to a day or two but who has the patience for that when a cookie craving arises!?). I can't tell a huge difference when I chill the dough, but maybe I'm just pretending not to see it so I can eat the cookies sooner.
I've also been trying something new as far as workouts go. I learned about Ballet Beautiful from Reading My Tea Leaves, and I started doing the videos on Youtube. My favorite part is how quickly I memorized the routine. Now I can do leg exercises while Liam plays and then do arms the next day. Or I can do it all at once. I love how much better I feel and how it keeps me aware of my posture and breathing. I still love yoga, but in my years of doing the same yoga workouts, I've still never memorized them.
Jon and I finally finished Parenthood, and the ending was really as beautiful as everyone says. Anne wrote about the lessons her kids were learning from watching Project Runway, and I would say that the same concept is true of watching Parenthood. It has led to so many interesting discussions for us about marriage and family. I once read that it's a great idea to choose date movies based on the potential for conversation afterwards, and Parenthood lends itself to a lot of fascinating discussions.
In case you were wondering, Liam does not watch Parenthood. He is more captivated by funny cat videos on Youtube (thank to my brother) or Leo the Inquisitive Truck videos (you can search for them on Youtube). We're raising him to live in a world of short Youtube videos, I guess.
Everything Liam is doing now seems so amazing to me. I'm certain he's a genius, and at the same time, I almost don't want him to ever learn to say some words clearly. His sayings are so sweet right now. He says, "Al-dee" for "All done" and "Nah" for "No" when the proposition seems too ridiculous for him.
Speaking of his status as a genius, I found a fascinating article about not raising narcissistic kids. Some people talk about how we shouldn't tell our kids they're special or they will become entitled, But this article shows that the problem is more when we teach our kids that they are superior--or more special than others. It offered me some clarity. It's important that Liam see how important he is to us, but not in a way that makes him think he is better than other people or more important than them.
I switched out winter clothes and pulled out spring clothes, which was quite exciting. I love how streamlined my wardrobe has become from trying the capsule wardrobe. I generally have tried to make it work without buying anything or fully limiting my selection until a couple of weeks in, so I will share it then.
Other than that, we're just enjoying quiet spring days at home and dreaming about landscaping. Right now I'm pretty sure we look like the laziest people on the street due to our neglected yard situation. But... priorities. One day the yard will be a priority.
Right now, I'm loving this sweet season of life. It's amazing how having a child has taught me to notice things--from the worms that come out after the rain to the slow budding of the trees. My sister and I sat with Liam watching a construction site at work the other day, and it was so interesting. I would have never done that prior to Liam.
What have you been up to?