Serendipity, Sagacity, and the Senses

BabyO discovers the joy of a Christmas tree.
Today was windy. I was trying to herd my three babes quickly through the biting, cold air to the car when C(age5) made a break for the lawn. "Bluejay! Bluejay!" she shrieked. "Momma, did you see the bluejay?"

I didn't.

But our cute neighbor, S(age12), sure did. Camera around her neck, she was perched as high as the tree would support, sticking whole strawberries onto the ends of the bare branches.

So much joy over a bird I hadn't even noticed.


A red book caught my eye at the library this summer called Teaching Your Children Joy. Strange topic, I thought. Perhaps a more useful book would be Teaching Parents Joy. If you have spent any time with young children, you already know they don't need to be taught joy. While they are not always "little bundles of joy" [e.g. midnight feedings, grocery store tantrums, home demolition, so much vomit], I feel like children are natural, undeniable generators (and receptacles) of joy.

So I checked out the book and found the authors actually agree with this thought, and should probably have titled their work, Teaching Parents How to Not Snuff Out the Joy In Their Children. It was an interesting skim with some valuable insights, but for me, the biggest take-away comes from this quote:
There is such beauty in the earth. Joy comes through sensing it--with all five senses. I remember a poet I knew who wrote mostly of the earth, who saw so much in the world that I didn't see. He had a sign on his wall that said: "Five Sense Sagacity." I asked him about it. He said that serendipity, which means happy accidents, pleasant surprises, comes about through sagacity, which means acute awareness, appreciation, sensitivity, which in turn comes about through applied, thorough use of all five senses. Think about that for a moment; it is quite a message: Happiness comes through awareness. (pg 51)
Serendipity comes about through sagacity.

Happiness come through awareness.

Last week my H(age3) suddenly dropped her slice of pear, mid-bite, and ran for the playroom. She was too excited to say anything intelligible, so I just waited. And waited. Eventually she brought back a tiny, plastic model of a centipede she had found in one of the toy bins. With great pride, H showed me how she had unintentionally bitten her pear slice into the exact shape of the bug's head. Then she giggled as she gobbled up the rest of the pear.

A "happy accident/pleasant surprise" to be sure, but it only brought about such joy that morning because of the "acute awareness/sensitivity" of a little, three-year-old mind.

I can't say I climb trees or look for serendipitous shapes in my food for happiness these days. Nor do I want to discover the world by tasting everything I can get my hands on, as does my baby O(age7months).

And yet, a closer look at how my children process their surroundings helps me realize I am grossly underutilizing my five physical senses. The intangibility of my ongoing mental to-do lists, of my internet interactions, of my stilted ideas about how grown-ups are supposed to behave, are desensitizing me to so much of the physical beauty and potential joy that surround me. If I would just notice it.

How many moments of happiness do I skim over because I am merely existing, unaware?

Hello, hello?

How do you jump back into blogging after nearly a year off?

Ta-daaaaaa. With the dinosaur sweater, of course.

Hoping to wake up this old blog and try my hand (or head) at a little writing again. 

You're wonderful to still be here, reading it. 



So we've had this little dinosaur sweater in storage for five years.

I picked it up from the outlets based on my (mistaken) mother's intuition that I was expecting a boy. Of course, that winter we were bundling up our little bundle of joy primarily in pinks, so dino sweater was packed  away.

When baby two was on the way, I pulled out the sweater, again thinking (again wrongly) that it was a boy. Back into storage it went.

This third pregnancy I was SO sure it was a boy, that I had decided it must be a girl. A reverse psychology of sorts.

Aaaaaaand...strike three.

Ultrasound shows an undeniably-boy baby growing away inside me. At first all we could feel is shock. We love our baby girls so much! What do we do with a boy? But over the past few weeks the excitement has begun to build--especially when I think of that patient little dinosaur.

Only, do you think the babe will mind wearing a sweater in the sultry, sweltering summer I imagine our parched desert land has in store for us?

Cause he's gonna be...



Usually it's a pretty good life, being Victor.

But some days, some potty-training FAIL days, being a chair (even an orange one) is rather overrated.

Yep, that is exactly what you think it is.


When your middle name is Valentine, it's a bit pitiful to mostly skip over the whole of Valentine's Month on your blog. Especially when it might have been the sunniest, warmest Utah February in the history of my memory (sorry Polar Vortex friends!), AND we squeezed in a trip to Colorado, the Moon, and even Mars.

I mean, what else is a blog for? Right?

*Bonus photo: gigantic chocolates!!


"Why are you so jiggly these days?" 

That was Charlotte's kind query as I emerged from a relaxing shower last Sunday.

Before I could answer, she and Hazel were off again, giggle-wiggle-shimmy-shaking themselves all over the house in an uncanny imitation of their, well, jiggly momma.

But no hard feelings here; as a normally flat figured girl, I actually don't mind a few extra pregnancy pounds. It's the softening up in other places that sometimes makes the nine months of gestation seem a little excessive.

Like the loose ligaments--I think my hips are quite literally falling apart. Or the wobbly emotions---even Winnie-the-Pooh makes me tear up these days. And being in the temple? Fuhgetaboutit.

But the most irksome side effect of my little in utero companion is the mushy brain. I'm not talking about forgetfulness and disorganization; nah, I live with those cranial frailties every. day. of. my. life.

It's how during pregnancy, I can't THINK! I can start working on a good thought, but it just tangles up before I can get to the end of it. And then I get so many unfinished thoughts crowded up in there, it's like I have hurricane head. When I try to sort things out the usual way (pen to paper, baby), I get a busy signal...TV static..the curs-ed blinking cursor on a glowing white screen.

Hence the radio silence from My Orange Chair.

But even with the dusty blog, the brain blocks, the sappy sentiments, and the sore joints, I can't think of a state-of-being in which I'd rather be than eagerly anticipating the addition of another baby to our family.

Now please excuse me, as there is a post-breakfast-dance-party happening in the living room and I've got some moves to contribute.

Yep, extra jiggles and all.


These two little-miss-muffins of mine aren't perfect, but they sure have big hearts. Isn't it the best how toddlers and preschoolers can't hide their love? Their feelings just radiate from them in quiet giggles and squeeeeeze hugs and glittering eyes. This Valentine's Day I'm hoping I can become more like them.

Big slobbery kisses and all.