This morning, as soon as the hubbs got home from rounding at the hospital, we donned our orange and black, hopped in the car, and headed out to the pumpkin patch!
This was definitely the best pumpkin patch I've ever been to! Fun activities were around every corner, the mountains surrounded us, and the temperature was heavenly! The first order of business, as dictated by Big Bro, was to buy a huge bag of kettle corn.
I did not enjoy any of the yummy popcorn, because the hubbs brought a huge coffee and muffin home for me this morning, and I swear I'm still stuffed! No telling how many calories were in my breakfast today!
Poor Little Bro didn't get any popcorn. He wasn't too thrilled.
Isn't he just the cutest!? I can't wait until he's walking! He's at that awkward stage where he really wants to get down and roam around, but I don't want him to get filthy dirty crawling everywhere. Just means more snuggles for Momma!
After the toddler consumed an insane amount of kettle corn, he was ready to go!
The first attraction he spotted was a big John Deere tractor pulling a bunch of little cow carts. He loved every "bumpy" (his words) second of it! [You can watch a video of it on my Instagram--embryan487.]
Next, we spied a spider web! Yikes! Of course the boys had to go play in that!
Next, the toddler went on a cool tunnel slide that went into the ground and back out! Daddy and baby boy watched the toddler!
And then, it was off to the next adventure!
A giant bouncy bubble!
Of course my animal-loving child had been wanting to go pet and feed the animals from the moment we arrived. We had to oblige. (Me, in my head: Must secure hand sanitizer. Germs. Everywhere. Cringing. OhLord, where is the sanitizer!?!?!?)
Some copious amounts of hand sanitizer later, we were off again!
This time, to the corn maze! The toddler wanted to do it "BY MYSELF!" So, we let him. He loved it!
We had so much fun at the pumpkin patch! This was one of those ooper-super-duper rare times when after the money had been spent, and we were tired and cranky and loading back into the car, the toddler was actually still saying he was having fun! Praise be! ;)
Few things does the toddler enjoy like fishing with his Daddy.
He loves it.
So today, in the crisp, autumn weather, the hubbs and my sweet toddler went fishing.
They picked a spot they'd never picked before, and I knew what was going to happen.
It was just shallow enough. . .
They waded, barefoot, out into the middle of the river. (Did I mention it's October in Virginia!?)
But, the toddler ate up every second of it. He worships the ground his Daddy walks on. It made my heart swell with gratitude--gratitude for a husband who takes time out of his crazy busy schedule to have adventures with his son, and gratitude for my Heavenly Father, who has blessed me beyond belief with three wonderful guys.
The toddler wanted to catch a fish so badly. He told me, "I'm gunna' catch a fish, and we're gunna' have fish sticks for dinner!" Ha!
Everyone who walked by smiled and laughed to see the two of them out there in the middle of the water. The baby and I went back and forth, back and forth with the stroller, enjoying the fall weather, the sound of the River, and a hot, delicious caramel latte (that was just me--not the baby). :)
In case you were wondering, we did not have fish sticks for dinner.
Today, at the recommendation of one of my friends, we drove to Rocky Mount, Virginia for Farm Day! We had so much fun!
The toddler was super excited that he was going to pet some animals. On the drive down, he even asked me, "Mom, is this how you pet an animal?" So precious! :)
The baby was not quite as thrilled about Farm Day, but I'm sure he will be next year (ahem--next year, when Mommy remembers to bring sunscreen! Oops!).
We've seen LOTS of Daddy lately! Our hearts are so happy when he's around a lot! I was very glad that Daddy was around for Farm Day, because there were big crowds and lots of tractors!
We decided this will become an annual tradition, but that we will get there earlier and try to beat the crowds! Amid the crowds, the farm equipment, the shouting children, the farm animals, and the vendors selling yummy apple cider, homemade ice cream, and apple butter, I felt so happy to have my guys with me. I even ran into a couple people I knew--I said a quiet "thank you!" to Jesus, because it made me feel like I belonged in this part of the country--like I'm not quite the newby that I most certainly am. :)
I get lots of phone calls, texts, and e-mails--now that we've moved to Virginia--that all contain the same question: "How are things?"
My answer is, "Good!"
And, good they are.
I've lived here for two and a half months now. Crazy. And up until we purchased our home, I had the feeling you get when you're away at summer camp. You miss your family, but you're focused on your new adventure. You know that you'll be back home soon.
But here I am, in my house that I love(!!), and I'm realizing that I'm not at summer camp. (Do you buy cute fall decor for your front porch when you're just at summer camp? Negative.)
We have found a church that we love. This was a very big deal for me. The boys (and I!) were getting very tired of being in a different church setting--with new teachers, classrooms, and children--every Sunday. When I found this church, I knew almost instantly that it would be our church home.
My Bible study is going great! I've joined CBS (Community Bible Study), and all the girls in my group are moms with young children. This year, we're studying the book of Genesis. Coincidental? I think not. When I signed up for CBS shortly after moving here, I smiled and I thought, "Okay, God, I get it. This is where I'm supposed to be." To top it off? On the first day of Bible study, our leader held up a sign, she said, "In case you were wondering," that said, "YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HERE."
I smiled. I think God probably smiled, too.
The toddler is going on month two of swim lessons. He loves them! His coach is great, and he has become friends with one of the boys in his class.
After about a month and a half of some rocky behavior from the toddler (I expected it with all the major changes going on), I finally feel my momma heart settling down. He likes it here. He loves his school. He has friends. We've got playdates. He's got a big yard to run around in. He feels settled and at home.
And the baby? Oh, my little chunk is just getting cuter and cuter every day! Now that we're out of the apartment, he's actually napping! Hallelujah!
I've got to put this out there: Residency is not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be! (And do not roll your eyes at me! My husband started off residency with two straight months of nights, while I was living in an apartment, and I was breastfeeding, emotional, and adjusting to a new city!) My husband is happy. So happy. So much happier than medical school ever made him. He feels fulfilled. He's doing well. And when he comes home, he's tired, but he can't wait to tell me about his day. Makes me full of joy! Part of why this transition has been easier is because my other half is so happy--how can I not be, too?
I heard something once--in the midst of a philosophy class at Baylor--that stuck with me like few things ever have. It was a quote by Aristotle. Aristotle defines happiness as "activity of the soul in accordance with virtue." And although you could write an entire book unpacking what that quote means, to me, I heard this: "Happiness is an activity." And that has always been my motto. I don't think you're ever going to be happy just sitting at home--you've got to get out there and make things happen!
So, we're busy--very busy! Not as busy as we were in Little Rock, but we've got a pretty jam-packed schedule.
Everyone I've spoken to says that it takes a year to feel "at home" somewhere. It's still odd to me that my dad, my brothers, my sister, my Nana, my cousins--they haven't seen where I live. As someone who has deep roots in Arkansas, I feel both freed and terrified to have NO roots somewhere. It's freeing in that I'm now not concerned to do things as I was in Arkansas. Try a new spin class at the Athletic Club? Sure, why not! Raise my hands in church? Go for it! Carry a calculator while I'm grocery shopping to make sure I stay in budget? Good idea! All things that in Arkansas I might have been too intimidated to do, because I might run into somebody I knew! (Gasp!) *eye roll* I know, barf. You think God wants to teach me a few things while I'm living hundreds of miles away from "home"? Yeah, I think so, too.
But, is it also terrifying?
I miss watching football games and drinking Coronas with my dad on Saturdays. I miss my office and my coworkers. I miss taking meetings. I miss knowing the back ways to get everywhere. I miss my childhood friends. I miss my church that I grew up in. I miss grabbing Firehouse Subs with my parents every Sunday after church. I miss the front porch swing where my babies were so frequently rocked to sleep by my momma. I miss my Nana's couch and fish pond where the toddler would always get to feed the fish. I miss Arkansas.
But I'm not in Arkansas, am I? God had a different adventure for me. And I'm not one to wallow. I'm the kind of person who throws around phrases like, "Come Hell or high water!" So, we're here. And we're soaking in the unfathomable beauty of autumn in Virginia. We're making memories and creating new traditions.
I think everyone has something in their lives that reshapes the way they thought their life was going to go. I thought I was going to stay in Arkansas forever, and basically be the carbon copy of my mother.
But, that's not the case. And for now, I'm living in the moment with my babies, and I'm staying busy busy, and I even get to play a game of chess or two with my husband in the evenings. :)
So, how are we doing?
We're doing good! (Not "well"--good!) We're taking new steps every day into new territory. And in the meantime, I'm remembering that God is much bigger than I can fathom. He knows what's in store for me and you fifty years from now. He doesn't exist in time. So, I'm going to relax on my new cute front porch, and soak up the cool temps and the warm sunshine. I am enjoying my adventure here!