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Monday, August 27, 2012

now we are six

My baby is turning six. How did that happen?

He is lovely and happy and sweet and crazy and he is sitting next to me as I type, the night before his birthday, sweaty little boy arms wrapped around my neck and he leans over and sighs and says to me he is sorta sad because, well, he liked being five, and he'll never be five, when he is six he will be one year closer to dying, and he doesnt like dying.

Isnt he amazing?

Little man. Thank you for being ours, for choosing us. We love you.

When I was one I had just begun
When I was two I was nearly new

When I was three I was hardly me
When I was four I was not much more

When I was five I was just alive
But now I am six, I'm as clever as clever;

So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.
                                            A.A. Milne
(and with this last picture he told me "mom, that's it. i dont have any
poses left in me." HA. good grief i love him.
Thursday, August 23, 2012

dreaming my dreams

I am a dream-y kind of person (not "dreamY" mind you, ha.) I need to have a vision of "the next thing" to keep my mind in the game, here is what we are working for, here is why we are doing this. I suppose I am not the only mama who does this. And its not a mama thing, its a human thing, really. To have those motivators behind us, driving us, its a good thing.

But it also means several things 1) I have a very hard time staying in the present. Oh, I am so much better than I was! But its still a struggle. And, 2) I need to have a "thing" to be thinking about...

Cutting to the chase...

We found a sweet little (read, needs a ton of work and is way too small) house on the edge of a small town with an acre to do a bit with, near trails, a park and a river...and we made a bid on it...and they said no.

Which sucked.

Because I had the place renovated, remodeled, rejuvenated in my head, down to where we put the tree for Christmas.


Woe is me.

And now its edging into September.

And the commute is killing dada (he has had bronchitis already and still has a terrible cough.)

And I miss my own dishes.

So, what is a little family to do?

With dwindling time and dwindling options (we need an empty place, and not a foreclosure because it takes too darn long!) we have decided to fall back on renting again, for the winter.

And then we are thinking, land, find a little bit of land, and build something up ourselves. No falling apart foundations, no drafty windows, no low ceilings of old homes and in the newer houses no ridiculously large unuseable spaces or stupid granite countertops (WHY does everyone care so much about granite countertops and stainless steel appliances?? I dont get it at all. So many more things I'd rather spend money on in s home!)

And really, this is better, we can rent, do it slowly, camp on our own land until we do build, build, maybe even put up a yurt!

The dream is alive.

And this is what I need, to carry on through the long winter.

We are reading the Little House books this summer, nearly done with the first one, and I find myself sympathizing with Pa. Moving on, pushing forward, building a new life for your little family in a new place. Dreaming the dream, without letting setbacks get you down.

(Can you tell I am pep talking myself? I totally am. Good golly I dont want to rent again!)

All good things are worth waiting for, and this goat farm/vineyard/writing yurt dream is worth it! DAMMIT, it is.

So folks, there you have it. There is where we are at. Not giving up, but going after the happy dream.

May your dreams be happy too!

This is not the Cranberries song I was looking for but in a way it fits better...Dont you just miss the 90s??? I totally do.

This is the one I meant. Oh this makes me think of teenage years in California, driving over the open rolling hills...ah...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

viva la revolution!

So the other day a long time reader, whom I shall call Viva, posted a lovely "I feel where you are at sister mama" kind of comment on my first post ever.

Its got me thinking about mama-ness and this journey I have been on for nearly 6 years now. (Can you believe little man will be 6 soon??? SIX YEARS???)

As I type right now, just for a frame of reference, I am sitting in the semi-dark of our attic room, nursing baby to sleep, still in my nightshirt (at 1:23pm) and yes, wearing yoga pants. Not where I thought I would be at my current middling-30s age when I was say 12 or 15. Oh, the plans! I want to pat that little girl on the head. And really, she had no idea how much better it could be, would be! So much.

And all this makes me think three things.

One. First off. Am I reallly a hippie? I dont know. Sure. A new-era hippie I guess. Every mother I know has some element of this hippie-vibe though, or perhaps its just my circle of friends? We talk about the best baby carriers and learning how to can and night weaning and breast feeding toddlers and home birthing and essential oils for reducing tension headaches and making kefir and raising chickens and cloth diapering and and trying (cringing at) limiting tv time and so on and so forth.

Two. I like that this is where mothering is in my time of mothering. I like that I can be a part of this generation of mothers, I guess I am saying. Where so many many mothers are choosing to be at home, for a few years, ands its okay to do so, even with master's degrees hanging over our heads (and the corresponging loan amounts, eek!) and we get respect for it, for the most part, from other mothers around us. But we can turn to commiserate alongside these working-outside-the-home mamas about cutting teeth and cloth diapering leaks in the middle of the night and trying to find sippy cups that dont collect mold on the inside of the lid. I like being a part of this sisterhood. This generation of girls that grew up on Strawberry Shortcake and Star Wars, that watched Sally Ride rocket in to space and Laura Ingalls fight with Nelly on TV. Look at where we are today! We are the revolution.

I like us.

Also, three.  I like where I am. Oh, I know I am homeless. Who knows what is next and all that. I know I bounce around in despair about my life (I am dramatic, I cant help it.) OH PLEASE MIGHT I HAVE A BIT OF EARTH??? But, all that to say, deep down, and right now on the surface, bubbling up in me, is this very real sentiment - that I like where I am in life. I have three beautiful babies, a rather dashing husband, and to add to that and what is almost more - I like who I am becoming.

Its essential I think to keep moving, to keep discovering who you are, as a mother, a person, a friend, a soul. I am not "a mother" and therefore done with who I am to be. Right now, I am mama, but still, a mama in progress. And really, I like the journey. Oh do I ! I like who I am, in the moment (maybe not tomorrow, HA). I am crunchy. Sure. But I am multi-dimensional. I mean, we all are if we dig around a little. I am a new-era, "Reality Bites" and "Friends"-loving, and yes, dreaded and home birthing, faith inspired, home schooling, one-time around the world adventurer and now some day homesteader who once wanted to be an astronaut and now wants to be a goat-raising artistic writer person.

All rolled into one.


And I like that. Oh, I am becoming more, and oh, do I have plans and hopes. But for now, I am who I am and rather happy at the place I am at in that growth.

And that is a good thing, my sisters, a good thing. To claim it, right? Do you know what I am saying? You have to claim these moments of positivity about ones self every now and then. And then use those good vibes to keep growing and moving and stretching and hoping. There, I said "vibes," I must be a hippie. HA.

And all of this? Well, such is the stuff of life... womanhood, motherhood, sisterhood.

We are all pretty great.

So thanks Viva, for the inspiration.
Viva la sisterhood! Viva la revolution! Go us!

Friday, August 10, 2012

might I have a bit of earth?

"Play out of doors as much as you like," he said  "It’s a big place and you may go where you like and amuse yourself as you like. Is there anything you want?” as if a sudden thought had struck him. “Do you want toys, books, dolls?”

“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?”

In her eagerness she did not realize how queer the words would sound and that they were not the ones she had meant to say. Mr. Craven looked quite startled.

“Earth!” he repeated. “What do you mean?”

“To plant seeds in–to make things grow–to see them come alive,” Mary faltered.

He gazed at her a moment and then passed his hand quickly over his eyes.

“Do you–care about gardens so much,” he said slowly.

“I didn’t know about them in India,” said Mary. “I was always ill and tired and it was too hot. I sometimes made little beds in the sand and stuck flowers in them. But here it is different.”

Mr. Craven got up and began to walk slowly across the room.

“A bit of earth,” he said to himself, and Mary thought that somehow she must have reminded him of something. When he stopped and spoke to her his dark eyes looked almost soft and kind.

“You can have as much earth as you want,” he said.“You remind me of some one else who loved the earth and things that grow. When you see a bit of earth you want," with something like a smile, “take it, child, and make it come alive.”

“May I take it from anywhere–if it’s not wanted?”

“Anywhere,” he answered. “There! You must go now, I am tired.”

Do you know this book? The Secret Garden? I loved it as a child, and this passage has always stuck with me. Mary, the sick little orphan from India, pale and skinny and much too smart for her own good, is sent to live in a big English manor with a distant relative. She had traveled about so much, been under the care of governnesses, hardly knew her parents, and for some reason, the idea of her own little garden took hold inside of her. Her own place, that she could nurture, in secret, that she could watch bloom, where she could dig and plant and tug at weeds and watch the world unfold.

Well, you see where I am going with this.

I have always felt keenly they need for "place" my place in the world. I have created that space out of wherever I am, out of necessity. Whether its an outdated dorm room in college or a tiny little house in the city or a sweltering room in the Amazon jungle. I put up my pictures. Put away my coffee mugs. And call it home.

I am feeling, now, the need for deeper roots. That need a woman of a certain age gets I suppose, when you realize suddenly that your children are the age of which your earliest memories bubble up. I have vivid memories of a little rose garden in my back yard in Wisconsin. I was maybe 7 or 8 when I first read this book and I found this little rose bush, claimed it as my own, and poked and prodded and prayed over every little bloom (no really, I did. Please God, dont let this bud die! Are you rolling your eyes? This is a sappy post, I know, I am rolling my eyes and myself, but it is the mood I am in, so, there you have it.)

And now, here I am. My oldest is just a few years away from this age. And he is definitely at the age I was of my earliest gardening memories, sneaking two inch carrots out of the dirt, eating bell peppers like apples in the summer sun.

I want them to have memories of a place. A place that we pour our love into. A place that is our little world, one we create together. A place that brings stability, warmth, memories. A place where we bloom, along with the flowers. Where all of this goodness swirls around us as we bake and laugh and sing and learn.

And so, universe, this is what I ask for, a bit of earth to take for myself, and to make it come alive. Please?

Monday, August 6, 2012

anti-recipe #51 summer veggie and sausage skillet

So. Its really late. I am upstairs in our little attic room, baby asleep on my lap, dada and kids snoring on the big old king bed.

What I really want is chocolate. Badly.

I would weigh a million pounds if I werent a mother. All of those opportunities to eat! Or maybe I would read books. Imagine that! Reading! Without interruptions! For hours on end! Oh the things I would know! I would be so damn well-informed!

We went on a little family retreat this weekend. It wasnt really a retreat. Mainly we holed up in a hotel for three nights in the city we just moved out of, and swam in the pool, and watched the Olympics on cable. I love the Olympics. And, not to be whiney (who, me? whiney? NEVER.) But the farm doesnt get the Olympics. No cable. And for some reason the local NBC channel dropped off of the air via antenna a few minutes before the opening ceremonies. (Conspiracy I tell you!!) So yes, we watched, late into the night, sitting on our white duvet covered beds (where the kids ate chocolate chip cookies, no really, they did, and pizza. HA) glorying in the stories and the coverage and the room service.

But then dada's cold got worse, much worse, and he kinda crashed and burned. And the kids got bored. (Do we HAVE to watch the Olympics mom?) And we came home. Only its not home. Its my parents home. And that is starting to feel very disorienting. Does it make me materialistic to feel like I need my stuff to be "home"? Possibly, but, it is what it is. I suppose I ought to be learning stuff about "things" and "home" and "family" but right now I am just whiney. As I mentioned already.

In any case. Before we left, Thursday night maybe, I made this fabulous dinner, inspired by leftover chicken sausages in the fridge and pinterest. Ah, pinterest inspiration. If I had time to cook all the meals I have pinned! And oh, the crafts! But now I am just torturing myself. Some day I wont have three kids under five, right? And, oh, all the time in the world for crafts!

So, the meal.

Really super easy.

Two potatoes, precooked in the micro for maybe 3 minutes. Do you all know about precooking potatoes in the microwave before trying to pan fry them? I dont know why it was such a revelation to me but I learned this a few years ago from my mother in law. After making many batches of pan fried potato with some burnt, some mushy, and some undercooked, I now swear by this method. The trick is to pan fry them BEFORE they get too cooked, that is dont put them in the micro too long. (Can you tell I am tired, this is ridiculous, on with it already Sara!)

After the potatoes were microwaved then chopped then frying in a tablespoon of butter I added some chopped onion (red, a third of an onion) and carrots, maybe a handful. I also threw in several banana peppers which for some reason grow like crazy in my moms garden. You could do summer squash or bell peppers or whatever else you need to get rid of, even tomatoes.  Mmmmm smells good already, right??

So, once this is good and sauteed, remove it from the pan, into a bowl or something, then chop up your sausage (I used three chicken herb cheese sausages, brats would work too I guess). Now fry this up. Once these are good and fried add the potato mixture back in and some more butter (YES, MORE BUTTER) and some fresh herbs, whatever you have around. I used parsley and rosemary and basil and thyme. And salt and pepper. Now chop up an entire good size zuchinni. Yes. The whole thing. Did I tell you to use the big skillet? You need the big skillet. Now sautee this all around. Maybe some more butter. And in five minutes. Done. Yum. I need more of this now. Or some chocolate.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

a country drive

Another perk about being in the country, the summer drive. Windows down, breeze driving away the mosquitos, sun flickering through the leaves of the trees, the smell of grills and mown grass (and yes, farm animals) wafting through the air.

We love a good drive.

With kids of course, this is more challenging. I must admit we have on more than one occassion handed off the Ipod to the kids for a good round (or two, or ten) of Angry Birds, the only video type game we have allowed them to come close to...(for better or for worse)

Sometimes the golden silence is worth it.

So this weekend we took a drive.

Its been a hard few weeks folks, it has. A member of my extended family passed away, rather suddenly. The banks are putting us through the wringer, trying to get a mortgage. Renting is suddenly looking really good again. And now all three of my babies are sick. Again. All of them. At the same time. Grandma just walked in with homeopathic remedies. Ah, reinforcements! Yay! Summer colds are the worst. That sweaty feverish snot dripping hacking feeling. UGH. (Of course I have it too but mama's are not allowed to get sick so....) We are drinking my cold remedy tea (1/4 cup kombucha, or more, fresh lemon juice, raw honey, in a pot of hot water)  and drinking down spoonfuls of elderberry syrup.

In any case.

But we went for a drive this weekend. And it was perfect. So here are pictures of that.

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