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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

operation peaceful parenting



Its been a stressful summer, a stressful fall. And as I type that VERY sentence five year old just dropped a giant tub of beads on the floor.

I smile and shrug. But a painful shrug that is something more like a wince. Something more like someone just pinched me. Hard.


Operation Peaceful Parenting at work.

Our lovely pastor this week spoke about peace on earth, as we enter the advent season soon.

Peace on earth, she reminded us, begins with peace in our homes. Peace in our relationships. How can we encourage peace if we aren't at peace in our day to day interactions with people we love?



And so. This week. With temperatures 20 degrees below the norm. Bright sunshine streaming in. Soothing Gregorian chants on Pandora (cant stop.) I pledge. No shouting over spilt beads. No yelling over kid shenanigans. Calm. I will be calm.


Anybody with me? A renewed effort to bring peace in our home.

I would write more about this now but five year old is now hiding in the fridge because big brother is chasing her, making grunting ogre noises. Their latest game is ogre. It's SUPER fun.




And not shoving it away, not ignoring, not NOT instructing, but, keeping it all in perspective. Sun is shining. Kiddies are healthy. Coffee is plentiful.

You know?

Also, Operation Clean Sweep is going to be part of this. Simplifying the house and actually GETTING RID OF SHIT. Not just throwing it in the boxes in the garage.

More on that later this week.

And now three year old is screaming for an Oreo.





(laughing/not laughing)

Sun. Coffee. Gregorian chants. Do your thing.

so its winter, which means our bird feeder is full and my posts are once again going to be full of pictures of birds
because one day I am going to be a crazy bird lady, tuppens, tuppens, tuppens a bag....HA HA.

Friday, November 14, 2014

where i am at

When you wake up, after going to sleep at 7:45pm with your two littles, and find all three kiddos plus dada in your bed the next morning, little man snuggled at your leg like a cat.

And you smile at the sunshine.

And you start humming this song.

Don't mind telling you, in my humble fash
That you thrill me through, with a tender pash
When you said you care 'magine my emoshe
I swore then and there, permanent devoshe
You made all other men seem blah
Just you alone filled me with ah
'S wonderful, 's marvelous
You should care for me
'S awful nice, 's paradise
'S what I love to see
You've made my life so glamorous
You can't blame me for feeling amorous
Oh, 's wonderful, 's marvelous
That you should care for me
'S magnificque, 's what I seek
You should care for me
'S elegant, 's what I want
'S what I love to see
My dear, it's four leaved clover time
From now on my heart's working overtime
'S exceptional, 's no bagatelle
That you should care for, that you should care for
That you should care for me

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

and so it goes, and so it snows

And we're the only one who knows...

I just had to say that. A song from somewhere? Where is that song from?

In any case.


Lots of it. And its NaNoWriMo again. And so I write. And write. All the feelings. All the everythings. Into this new little book project. Dammit! I WILL BE A WRITER, MAN. HA.

So, you all get weather posts today. Ha. Because all inspiration is leaked out elsewhere.

Also. It appears my children have forgotten to sleep. Have you ever gone through this at your house? Little man, our difficult baby sleeper, who takes an hour to fall asleep some nights, has now started waking up in the middle of the night. EVERY. NIGHT. I don't know why. Then there are the late night pleadings. Please, please, can I sleep in your bed? And inevitably everyone is piled in my bed by morning. And I GET NO SLEEP. Dada too of course.

We are both exhausted.

And for some reason Monday night when the kids finally did fall asleep it was like. WOOHOO they are asleep by 10PM! Lets WATCH A MOVIE. So we did. Which was a stupidly exhausting fun way to start out the week.

Yesterday I was so tired it felt like back in the newborn days. Please dear God. More sleep! Or more coffee! No, scratch that, BOTH.

So this is the post that is the result.

And then the snow. I saw on Saturday that a little flurries were predicted for Monday. By Sunday the prediction had turned into 12-16 INCHES. Apparently some typhoon in Japan is to blame.

So, we spent most of Sunday afternoon outside. Bringing in the cushions off the outside furniture. Corralling yard toys into the garage. Stacking wood in the garage for our wood stove. And then the garden. Poor garden. We had such a cold month in June I had broccoli plants that tried to produce in October! I gathered up the kale, and the last of the greens and tried to create a makeshift cold frame to keep a few baby kale and arugula plants alive.

The sky was dark and biting but the kiddies were lovely. Actually GASP helping, for an extended period of time too!

And so yes, Monday morning.


Monday, all day.


But it feels (for now) cozy and happy and nice. Plus, its pretty.

November. I still like you.

helper in church dress and "ninja mask"

oh kale. I love you

ninja princess

the strawberry bed

clouds moving in...

good bye garden.

this and most of the below pics are by little miss :)


so proud to be a helper

not the prettiest but hopefully it works!

my baby arugula and kale plants. I wonder if they survived out there...



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

lifting and pulling

So, I've been thinking about this for awhile.

Lifting. And Pulling.

Its a funny thing, on so many levels, when you come out of the baby baby years. You finally scrub the last of the spit up off the couch. You no longer smell like sour milk. You pack away the baby toys, the boppy, the play mats and cribs.

And you take a step back, and assess life.

Three things I think.



I write about those two a lot.

But I think there is another one, and it is this...

3) Who am I around the women of my life? Who are my friends? Who am I to them?

The fog clears and suddenly we are not just meeting in the park or at a house to carefully watch our small children learn to not snatch toys, not hit, not fall off of park structures, etc. Suddenly we are able to send them out to play and, GASP, talk. Talk like regular uninterrupted adults. Maybe even with a glass of wine in hand.

The first several...dozen...times I found this happening to me it was one of two things. I either talked the other (poor) women's ear off, like a verbal tap I couldn't shut off. Or found myself absolutely unable to communicate. Um, do I have any non-baby thoughts inside of me?

And then. THEN. We almost have to relearn interacting with each other.

Sometimes its lovely and bonding and we hold each other and cry about lost sleep, lost date nights, etc.

Sometimes it isn't so lovely.

Sometimes it is rough.

You know the kind of interaction I am talking about.

"Little Susie isn't sleeping well these days."
"Oh really, Johnny sleeps like a rock from 6pm to 8am! EVERY. DAY. Can you believe it?"

or this...

Watching your kids pick over their meals.
"Yea, she is going through a picky stage. Its been rough."
"Yea, well, you know, I read four books about picky eating in toddlers, so let me tell you what you are doing wrong."

or maybe its about career stuff, or lack thereof...
"So then I was thinking, I start a company! And I will sell all the little hairbands and tutus I've been been making for Claire! And I can do it from home! Wouldn't that be great!"
"Oh really? Have you ever looked at etsy? They have tons of that stuff, for cheap. But, yea, that might be fun!"


And this is what I have been thinking about. How do we, as women, come together, and face each other, and do this to each other?  Why do we insist on pulling, so many times?

Lifting though, lifting can take work. It can take peace and gratitude where there isn't any. It can take good humor and love when you feel drained.

Yes! You can do that etsy shop, its a great idea! Yes, I think those new skinny jeans look GREAT on you! Yes, your meatloaf is sublime and NOT AT ALL BORING.

So, this is my question, are we lifters?

Or do we have this need, in our place of insecurity, to be pullers.

Come down here, to where I am, in my feelings about myself, which are low down grey feelings. Stay here with me. Here, I will help you. COME. DOWN. HERE...


We've all been in both places. The puller, the one getting pulled down.

And sisters, here is the thing, we have got, GOT, to be lifters.

Glennon over at Momastery writes about this a lot, and started an organization to help women do just that, lift each other up, sisters rising together. She's amazing for it. Also, ironically, one of those women, in this journey, that I have been insanely jealous of in the past. LOOK AT HER BLOG. LOOK AT THE PRESS. A few years ago I was dying to have the big old blog and the articles on HuffPost. I couldn't even read her blog, it made me so crazy.

Pathetic right?

But you know what I mean. I know you know.

The girl you graduated with from college who now has the job you totally thought you would have. The sister who seems to communicate with your parents more easily and readily than you. The coworker in your office who is always on top of everything. The woman at church who is always on time, who's children are perfectly dressed every morning.

And it irks you to no end. And so, on occasion, you are snarky about said person. You might even, on occasion, be snarky TO said person.

And it eats you up. And whether or not it pulls them down, to the place you are feeling, it does do one thing.

It pulls you down. Further. Deeper.

And the funny thing is, when we lift, the opposite happens, we lift ourselves too. We do. We are stronger than our moments of insecurity. We are stronger than our bad moods, bad days, selfish moments. When we lift someone else, we lift our own chin up too. In learning to celebrate each other, we learn to celebrate ourselves.

Congratulate that younger sister about her stellar career. She'll confess her insecurities. You admit yours. You encourage each other through it. Together, you are lifted higher.

Love on that younger mom who is always letting her kids run amuck during library story hour, even just a chat or a "What a cute little guy you have" comment. Because, remember those days?? When you daren't go out for fear of being the one with the run amuck kids??? She is doing it. Being brave.

Or that friend who is struggling. Or that acquaintance who is always snarky to you. Or that relative that seems to question everything you do.

Lift. Find a way. Not because you are higher. Because you are standing next to them. And anyhow, tomorrow you might need a hand too.

Be  lifter, not a puller.

We moms, we parents, we have got to find a way through this life journey, however the walk takes us. And we are trying to figure it out. One careful tentative step at a time. One crazy helter skelter sprint at a time. Scaling those damned cliffs that sometimes seem insurmountable. And how we respond to each other on the journey impacts our own journey. Defines us. Molds us. And our kids too, as they listen and watch and learn from us - our mistakes and our successes.

Take the high road, if you want to think of it like that, sure.

But, lets take each other with us, walk the walk together, climbing those high roads, where, after all that hard work, the view is unsurpassed.

So, naturally I need to follow this post with pictures of my sisters who taught me as a child, and continue to teach me as women, about loving and lifting up. I LOVE YOU GIRLS.
(And also Brother. WE LOVE YOU.)


that tall guy with his arm around me (crazy dread hair me)
is our brother. Brother, we call him. He is lovely.

Monday, November 3, 2014

ah, November

As I child I can remember tremendously disliking November (not hating though, as good Midwestern Protestant children we were not allowed to hate anything).

It seemed pointless. Everything died. My mom's garden withered up. The lilacs leaves turned a papery grey and blew away. The apples plunked off the tree and lay in sweet stinking heaps around the orchard. The green golden fields turned burgundy orange, then dull grey.

Everything growing and green that I loved about our little farm was gone. My outside play world. There was no snow yet to make things interesting. Maybe just angry rain that kept us inside our tiny house too long. And Christmas was AGES away. (I was a dramatic child... Whaaaat?????? That doesn't surprise you????? HA HA HA)

Now, though, as an adult. Well, in college November became The Month of Hope. Finals were around the corner. Everything was scurry busy get it done. And lots of good cozy house parties with candles and huge fires in the fireplaces of the old New England houses we lived in.

As a mother, well, I straddle the line between the two worlds.

Good cozy house with a fire in the hearth (well, the wood stove) and candles (far out of reach of the children) I've moved from kegs to boxed wine however. Ha. And my background music has changed from wailing yet meaningful rock and roll (ahhhh, the 90s!) to Gregorian chants (I'm dorkily into it, just for the peace of Medieval music)

And, well, we now have the angst of the Christmas wait in three similarly spirited children. (Who ME, have SPIRITED CHILDREN? With ANGST? WHHHHAAAAA???) And there is no snow. They are sad about that. I am relieved. No really, I HATE driving in snow. (Also, I say hate now. But not in front of my children. HA) So I take them hiking. "Its not cold!" I say, "PUT ON A JACKET THEN." And we drive to grandma's. And I am living it up in anticipation of the snow that puts a damper on my willingness to haul kids around God's no-longer-green-earth.

And I drink coffee. And read. And write.

And yes, I am kind of a fan of November now. Even the grey days. I can do it. Because the sun of our glorious fall is still bright in my mind. Time to pick up the knitting (I aim to knit all the kids special hats for the winter) and bring in more wood to stoke up the fire, and pick the last of the greens and beets out in the garden, and breathe in the stillness of the woods (before the insanity of the holidays hit).

AH. November. I hug you. But first, of course, time for another pot of coffee.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

halloween week ramblings

We just took the kids to a Halloween party. Their second in the past week. (Non-socialized homeschoolers that we are. HA)

We all got home. Kids dumped out their loot bags. Mama poured a giant glass of wine. Dada his chocolate milk. Of course they were all hungry again, so I made dinner, again.

And now its 7:30. Dada and I are wandering around in circles staring at each other. Can we put them to bed yet? Is it time? Can I collapse?

Its been a long week.

A long haul.

And Halloween. Lovely. Fun. Fine. LOTS OF WORK. CANDY. SUGAR. EH.

And I have an ear ache. And I want to stay home sick tomorrow. Chicken soup, hot packs, the works. Adults are not supposed to have ear aches. Ridiculous.

Second glass of wine.

Hi. I am tired. The kids have slept terribly lately. Up and down and up and down. I imagine they sense the life stress around them, around us. TRYING TO NOT BE STRESSFUL MOMMY. Although, yesterday I cried in the bathroom more than once, feeling like a homeschool failure.


The kids are still snacking. Dada finally lets himself fall down on the couch in a heap. The kids decide to tickle him. I head for the computer to blog.

Perfect timing, right?

Last night little miss declared she "needed to spend some time with her parents" and proceeded to stay WIDE AWAKE until 11PM.


Dada and I were like, "Come ON." No grown up TV for us. I was about to say "adult" TV but that sounds dirty. I would laugh actually watching adult TV. Wouldn't you?


And we should've been hard core and made her go to bed but, how can you say no to that?

Now they are screaming about wearing their false vampire teeth in their goodie bag WHILE brushing teeth. HA HA HA. Dada is heading up this one. I trust him to manage himself. It's important to show trust in your parenting partner right?


I am laughing out loud. Dada just asks, are you coordinating about that meeting tomorrow? I'm all, NO, snorting into my wine. In fact I am avoiding the kids, wired on sugar. HA. They actually served apples covered in caramel, whipped cream, with choices of toppings at the party. Holy SUGAR Batman.

I always take the Almond Joys. I live for the Almond Joys on Halloween night. And dada is working this year. Which navigating trick or treating solo. UGH. But also, I GET ALLTHE ALMOND JOYS.

Okay. I can no longer avoid bedtime duty.

HUGS MAMAS. May all the Almond Joys in your kids goodie bag be yours! AND WINE!

Monday, October 27, 2014

this happened. again.

I should title this one "in which mama lays out a quilt and paints outside in the sunshine in what is surely to be the last nice day of fall whilst the children paint for five minutes with her in a picturesque manner and then run around screaming and fighting while mama blithely ignores them trying to get the bark of her birch tree painting just right."

But that would be too long of a title.

Although it did happen, just like that.

Look! Sunshine! Let us paint outside in a picturesque manner!

Mom. Why cant we use YOUR PAINTS?

Mom. She bumped me!


Oh, I say, that was very very mean. Come here baby. Are you okay? Good, now excuse me I have to try and get this clump of aspens just right.

Very bad mothering avoidance at its finest.

This is was oil painting has become for me I think. Two or so hours of IGNORING IT ALL WHILST MAKING HAPPY LITTLE TREES.


In any case.

I am still not happy with the tree but, ah, its now bedtime-ish and I SURVIVED ANOTHER MONDAY. So, there is that.


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