Come August, and the conversation turns to pumpkin spice lattes, tall boots, football and bonfires. I, too, am a Fall lover.

But then Halloween passes and it seems everyone gets a little crankier about the weather. I, too, am not a fan of cold weather.

Seasons are always changing, but sometimes, no matter how many well-meaning gray haired ladies tell me how fast it goes (I know this, too), it feels like I’m stuck in this season of life forever.

Want to go to the dentist? Bring along 4,282 toys and still forget my kid’s favorite one. Plus, the dental tools are better toys, especially when mom can’t open her mouth to argue. Quiet time? Only before 6 a.m. Floors that stay clean?!

But before I start to focus on the negative (‘Cause really, I’m surprised it snows in February in Indiana?), I want to not only deal with the messes and the chaos, and the fact that I can’t go anywhere by myself. But I want to revel in it. I want to use every place and person we encounter when at the dentist’s office as a conversation with my daughter to prepare her for her grownup life. I want to meet the needs of my babies before I meet my own on-the-verge-crazy need to sweep the floor five times a day.

I just had a pretty bad case of jealousy over someone’s Facebook post about a day date she had with her husband. A day date? Huh? All the hours Matt and I have been out on a date in the last year don’t even equal a day.

I was thinking back to before we had kids. We did fun things like that, too. But I mainly remember stressing about the house we were fixing up, and not loving  working in an office all day long. We had the world ahead of us, but I didn’t see what we had right in front of us. I wish I would have enjoyed the newlywed years more instead of looking ahead.

I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to wish away time because I’m looking forward to something seemingly more exciting.

I just read an article written by a dad of a teenagers who claimed despite the stress, fatigue and frustration, child-rearing years have been the best of his life. He cited reasons like children (as compared to teenagers) are relatively carefree; you have more control over your preschooler than teen; you get more validation from your child than your teen; there’s more ‘fun/play’ involved in raising a young child than an older one; and you have more of a primary mission/sense of purpose as a young parent.

Not sure I 100 percent agree with all of that (but I don’t have a teenager, so who am I to argue?). But I am here to tell you that potty training and battles over what to eat for lunch and ‘why can’t I wear my princess dress to the store again?’ are REAL.

If you’d have asked me in college if I’d have loved any of that, I might never have had kids. And, as much as I love a shiny floor, I will never truly find purpose in or love sweeping. But I’ve learned to love where I am. I love that my girl wants to be a princess and that my toddler wants to use the potty … even if it’s on the living room floor.

I’ve even learned to like winter. A fresh snowfall is downright beautiful. Reliving some of my funnest childhood winter pastimes with my own kids: sledding behind the 4-wheeler and then coming in to drink hot chocolate, dancing as the snow falls, and cuddling up to watch a movie or read a book. Those things slow time down, if just for that moment.

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I used to whine about the cold and wind and ‘What were my parents thinking, raising me in the tundra?’ But now, I want to enjoy the seasons. The miracle of new life in the spring. The whirl of summer activities all day long. The smell of leaves (and pumpkin lattes) in the fall. The stillness and time to regroup of winter. And the contrast of the seasons that makes you appreciate the others more fully.

As fast as they change, we only get so many summers to lick ice cream cones, and so many springs to really feel the dirt in our hands.

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A surprising 60-degree day in November after a Halloween snow had me and the girls outside, raking leaves and playing.

“Can I run through that pile you just raked?” FireCracker asks.

Begrudgingly, I nod yes. Leaves go flying, and so does her blonde hair. Her sister laughs as she tightens her arms around my neck. They ‘wee’ as I push them on the swings and beg for one more under doggy. We stay out until it’s dark, and supper is late. They’re sleepy and hyper and I start to regret the late evening.

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I don’t carpe diem every moment. But the seasons, I can appreciate those.

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