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Thursday, February 28, 2013

you are four

You are four.

You are amazing.

You are four.

You are sunshiny goodness happy skippy bubblyness wrapped up in a blue eyed blonde curled package.

You are my baby.

You are four.

We love you to the moon and back.

brother dressed her like a queen this morning
(his idea) last night he made a schedule
of all the birthday special things
he wanted to do for her.
right now he is making a fruit salad
for her...i could cry its so sweet.

yes, i stayed up until 1am making a mushroom house for her
gnome family. yes, i am ridiculous.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

homeschooling thus far, again

February. You all know my thoughts on February by now. But you know really, dressing children for outdoor play aside, it IS nice. Its cozy. There is the woodstove crackling and hot tea and knitting. All good things. And then of course, Spring IS coming.

So I tell myself.

And yet.

The snow is beautiful. It glitters on the trees as the sun rises. It glows on them from behind our little woods as the sun sets.

And yet.

Somewhere around the beginning of this month all of February in its February-ness got to me. Dour. Grumpy. Etc. And as I was kicking toys out of the way to find our homeschool supplies, yelling at the kids to COME AND DO SCHOOL I was kinda like...WOAH...What in THE HELL am I doing with this homeschool bit???



Is it okay to admit that?

I am not in this space now. But for a week or so (or more) I was, like,  um, looking at jobs and researching local child care/school options.

Here is the thing.

It is hard. Homeschooling is adding another thing to our day. Like a job's worth of a thing. And I have to prepare and research and plan and read up on things and organize supplies and ohmeohmylifeitellyouisoverwhelmingitslateatnightishouldnotbetypingishouldbesleeping.

But, here is the other thing.

I AM doing it. So. There is that. And we are getting into our groove and learning what we like and learning how we learn and I'm trying my darnedest not to be hard on myself especially when friends post pics of their kids reading full chapter books at the age of five and I WANT to compare so BAD. But.

Isn't parenting like this, homeschooling aside. We make it about us too easily, but in the end this is about him. And them. All three of them. And us as a family. And what we have determined to be the best route for them thus far. And this IS it.


I shall keep working. Because you know, I think I could be good at this. And truly its amazing how I am feeling myself stretched to be better, a better me, you know? And not for myself, but for them. Which, in the end makes me a better me for me too. Right?

Here are some pics.

after our alphabet journey intro we did several weeks
of copy work where we made our own readers based
on a favorite story from the journey. little man
chose the fisherman and his wife, by grimm brothers
and the golden bird, by the same.
after those two we started to do an intro of small
letters, reading a chapter of the book "The Wise Enchanter"
for each letter.

we are also doing the "Alphaphonics" reading book,
which is really simple and slow and perfect

this was today :)
my chalk drawing of the E story

a fun way to work on sight words, following
a path, taking a step forward when he gets it right
one step back when he needed too much help.
(little miss following along for fun)

teaching place value. notice my lovely (sarcasm) hand made math process gnomes in the corner?
why gnomes to introduce math? um, i dont know! but gnomes are fun and their 
obsession with gems leads to a lot of great math game options... ;)

and of course...lots of outdoor time!

proud of his number one page.

little miss had to do one too

roman numerals "secret symbols!" with corresponding gems
to teach amounts. they loved this game which
went along with the gnome math story we are telling
Friday, February 22, 2013

my thesis on proper steps for dressing children to go outside in frigid weather

It is snowing again.

Picture the face I am making. Keeping in mind its February and cold and I am growing bulbs indoors to give myself hope for green things to return to the world again. One day. Someday.

Okay, now we continue. Remember the face.

I would like to expound today on my experiences with a difficult mama matter, one that requires careful precision, planning, and exact timing in order to be successful.

I am speaking, of course, of dressing your child to go out to play in the winter.

You southern mamas that dont have to deal with this issue have two choices. Read on, for amusement's sake, or go pour yourself a glass of sweet tea and toast to your good fortune.

I very much believe in getting outside to play. This is why we moved out to the boonies anyhow. Therefore I feel obliged to go through the following - some might call torture - on a routine basis as soon as mother nature is kind enough to raise the temperature above 20 degrees or so. I have done lesser temperatures but one day last month I was horrified to realize baby dear had a patch of frostbite on her fat chubby chin, due to exposure and drooling, and so now I try to stay in unless its above 20. Or 18. At least 18.

So yesterday it was 18. And little man begged and begged. And the sun was shining.


Here is what we did.

And note, its very important to follow all the steps and in order, otherwise you might find yourself in any one of the following uncomfortable situations A) sweating by the time you get out into the frosty air B) dragging three year old back inside to pee after spending 20 excruciating minutes getting ready to go out C) not ready to go out by the time six year old comes back in declaring it is TOO COLD.


Here are the steps. FOLLOW THE STEPS.

So the first. Everybody pees. Including you. Seriously, trust me.

Second. I take a Naproxen. Mama has suspiciously developed achy joints this winter. The pre-emptive Naproxen is required.

Third. Silk underwear on the kiddies. We got ours, much too large, at a local outdoors store, on sale because they were snagged. Snagged silk underwear are still warm. Large sizes can be grown into and rolled up and tucked into for now so they stay on. Baby gets her wool shirt and woolie pants.

Four. CHECK BABIES DIAPER. Crucial. Nothing worse than a suspicious smell as you are heading out the door (finally.) I put her in somemthing with a fleece lining to keep wetness from getting on her little tushie.

Five. Everyone puts on their snowpants. You need snowpants too. Nothing worse than cold thighs that are chapped by the time you get inside. Seriously next fall I am getting old man style fleece or flannel lined jeans, for the days when its 30+ out. Maybe even overalls. Do you dare me? Ha. I totally will do it. You know I will. (Several sisters are cringing at me as they read this. Oh, God Sara. You are beyond help. Did I tell you one sister gave me makeup in my stocking this year? This makes me laugh as I write. Tears actually. Like lipstick and eye shadow and everything. I am beyond the help my dear girls. HA HA HA. Oh, I crack myself up. Little miss saw it the other day and was like, WHAT IS THAT? WHAT DO YOU DO WITH IT?? HA HA.)


Now put on your wool socks and boots. But dont put on anymore layers yet, until the last minute. THis is crucial. I have this thing that if I am hot and sweaty and wrestling children (or like a heavy bag or something) I just totally lose my patience.

Also crucial. Gather your supplies at this point. Put tissues in your coat pocket. (Runny noses WILL happen and you all have wiped noses on your sleeve before, right? Right???) Also a cough drop or two. And your smart phone (for when you get bored watching them make snow angels in the yard...Over and OVER and OVER.) I have also started carrying around extra gloves for the kiddies. Nothing is worse than being in the far meadow from our house and a kid falls into the snow and the gloves come off and are wet and the kid whines...then you can be like, oh hey! MORE GLOVES! YAAAAAAY!! Commence rejoicing.

So, where were we?

By this point you have snowpants on. Now get child A. Put on gloves (yes, before coat) Put on face mask. (Necessary!) Put on coat. Now boots. Tuck the ends of the snowpants into the boots. Make sure all sock seams are straight and no prickers are in said boots. (Child A is the child that will demand a boot and sock removed in the middle of the snowy forest because "SOMETHING IS STICKING INTO MY FOOT!")

Send Child A outside. Or alternatively just dress to the point of gloves and facemask and then repeat the process on Child B. Then do coats. This ensures the proper timing of outdoor departure, thereby minimizing risk of scenario C as mentioned above.

Now, coats. DONT PUT YOURS ON YET. Remember scenario A mentioned above.

Now send both A and B child outside.

Now chase down toddler, who is upstairs pulling all the wipes out of the wipes container. AGAIN. Stuff the wipes back in the box. Gather up her little puffy snowuit, facemask and boots.

We have a great down-filled snow suit for her, with turn down feet and mittens. We use the turnover cuff mittens. SO GOOD. Toddlers pull all mittens off. All toddlers. All mittens. OFF. Turn down cuff mittens are essential.

Put baby in suit. Put on her facemask. Put on her boots. NOW. (Arent you glad you already peed? Here is where I realized before, CRAP now I have to pee! Hence adding it to the above checklist.)

Okay, are you with me? Almost there, YOU CAN DO IT.

(Side note: I am still laughing about how someone gave me lipstck for Christmas. HA.)

Okay. Home stretch now.

Step number forty two. Put on your coat. Put on your hat. Grab a scarf. You dont think you need it but you will. (I dont have a facemask. Again, I am gonna get one...and I will wear it...)

Now. Strap Ergo on, over all your layers. My toddler naps in the Ergo on my back EVERY. TIME. WE. GO. OUTSIDE. (Hence the importance of the Naproxen step as mentioned above.)

Now. Take a deep breath, chase down toddler (who has likely tipped over somewhere in the living room and cant stand back up because of all the layers.)

Now go outside.

Now come back in 20 minutes later and do the process in reverse, and then make hot chocolate.

Fun times!!


Guess what little man just walked into the room saying? MAMA, CAN WE GO OUTSIDE!? LOOK AT ALL THE SNOW!


(Lipstick. HA HA HA HA HA)

happy and warm. five minutes after going out.

note child A. ready to melt down because his glove fell into the snow.

i look like an old russian woman in this picture. like siberia.
notice how the scarf casually draped around my head is now
covering as much as possible....

lipstick....HA HA HA

sleeping toddler on back. EVERY TIME.

conked out! and tranferred to bed! YAY!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

three little birdies

Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.

Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,

Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep

Singin' sweet songs


Of melodies pure and true,

Sayin', This is my message to you

Singin': "Don't worry (don't worry) 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!


Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing gonna be all right. Don't worry!"
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing" - I won't worry!
"'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."

Oh my three little birdies. You are so right. You have taught me so much. Isnt that what we learn in motherhood? Be here. Be now. Be in the sun sparkling on the snowy trees. Be in the wonder of the blue jay's bright wings flashing by the window. Be in the hugs and the smiles and the tears. Don't worry, every little thing gonna be all right. 
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right" - I won't worry!
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, oh no!
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!
Sunday, February 17, 2013

going out with dada

I've forgotten what dates are like. You know what we do now on dates? We go walk around the local box store. Heavenly to run errands without kids in tow, am I right?

We were thinking maybe the sitter forgot, we couldnt get a hold of her to confirm the time. And literally my stomach sank.



But she remembered. Phew.

Two whole hours! WHOOPEEEE!!

Now, maybe I should change out of my yoga pants. Hmmmm....

OOOO the sitter is here. Quick dada! Lets make a run for it!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

a love letter to the tired mama

So it's February. And in our little corner of the woods that means nothing. Just more snow. And then the occasional day like today where it gets into the 30s and you swear spring is around the corner and the icicles melt and all seems hopeful and good.

And then the temperature drops. And it starts snowing. Again. And dammit.

I'm tired.

Dada stayed home from work sick today. He hung out with the girls reading books while little man and I were outside for awhile. Then the whole clouds/snow/cold thing happened. And it was dinner time. And the kitchen was already a mess. And my three hours outside with a cold started making me tired and crabby.

Pizza? I say.

Yes, he says.

And as I look out into the swirling snow I realize. Dammit. Valentines day.

So Valentines Day is officially on Friday at our little house.

Mama Fail.

I know its not a big deal, but I've been super hard on myself lately. Those Pinterest boards of kiddie crafts and nifty school ideas mocking me. All those damn crockpot freezer recipes I've been meaning to try. And the "firm abs in 20 minutes a day" etc (20 minutes?? Maybe 2??) Then the kids colds. They are sick again? someone says. And I think geez. Why ARE they sick again? Not eating healthy foods maybe? So I flip open my favorite "I can never eat like this but it's a good idea to try" cookbook and start feeling the mama guilt creep in. And then there were Christmas thank you cards found underneath a stack of papers the other day. More guilt. And yes, I am ready to cry right now.

But here is the happy part, the love letter part. Because we need it. I need it. Sometimes we need to let our inner wise mama comfort ourselves I think.


To the tired out mama on Valentines Day:

Here is the thing.

YOU, you mama, are amazing.

You can survive without 8 hrs of sleep...for years. You can soothe feverish heads all night. Clean up puke ... without puking. Smile and laugh even when you have a headache and the car wont start. You take an hour to walk around the block just to crunch the falling leaves. You order cheese pizza. every. time. You smother sticky faces in kisses. Sweep and sing and inspire adventures. You know where the water bottles are. Always. You can soothe tears, repair ripped books, tell stories on demand, mediate lego guy wars, laugh at 3 yr old jokes, understand toddler speak, convince little mouths to eat vegetables, walk hallways for an hour singing the same lullabye OVER and OVER to get baby to sleep, exult in tied shoelaces and loose teeth, find missing puzzle pieces, marvel at crayon stick figures, clean up potty accidents, talk on the phone while answering questions, catching the toddler from falling off the table, and making Mac and cheese. While blindfolded. (Ha.)

You rock.

And it is hard. And you are tired. And it feels lonely somedays. But all good things are hard. And afternoon naps and Sunday morning papers in the sun and hours alone to write and think and create... all that will come.

For now. This beautiful crazy exhausting exhilarating ride called motherhood is in front of you.

And not only CAN you do it, you ARE doing it. And dear girl, you are doing it well.

So. Cry sometimes, sure. But know that you are valuable. You are precious. You are doing a kickass job. You are bringing a creation into the world with each wiped tear, each peanut butter sandwich, each kiss. Little souls who will make the world a better place.

For you, you are mama.

So. All that to say. Happy Valentines Day mommies.

Monday, February 11, 2013

keeping your head in the game

Sometimes it is just so darn easy for me to decide to tune out.

Like when its 2:48pm, dada isnt due home until 6, I have no idea what to make for dinner, the kiddos are arguing in the background, and I sit down to blog, ignoring it all. (WHO ME? DO THAT? RIGHT NOW? Yes. Fine. Yes.)

So, a pep talk for myself.

No amount of chocolate or coffee can do this. This is a head game. This is me needing to reengage. Get in there mama! Get back in the game!

But. But. But.

I slept like crap last night. The kids sniffles have turned into coughs and now I have it too. Blech. We tried to go outside but it was windy and cold. And the fresh foot of snow was whipping around us like icy confetti. And we gave up and came in.

And now they are wandering around the house, baby is going up to random baskets and shelves and tossing things on the floor, you know, what she does. (So delightful)
her stinker face.
no un-fuzzy pics of her these days because she WONT HOLD STILL

And little miss is hanging out in the chair making random toys talk to each other.

Baby is now at my knee, "UP, baby, UP, baby." (She refers to herself as "green" or baby these days, ha!)

And you know the solution (as I come back to type an hour later)? It is simple. Get UP and KEEP MOVING. Do not stop moving. Eventually you will get it all done.

listening to books on tape. SO CUTE. EEEEE.
Or it will be bedtime and they will go to sleep. Eventually. And then you can stop. With a glass of wine. Or a mug of tea.

And now. To keep moving.

Here is hoping you keep it moving too mommies.... And get your glass of wine tonight...

And then tomorrow. WE DO IT AGAIN!

Happy Monday!
Thursday, February 7, 2013

birdie birdie out my window

So, I've decided one day when I am done with my goat-farming-cheese-making-yurt-living-homeschooling-best-selling-author-international-do-gooder-and-etc life I am going to be one of those crazed bird watching ladies.

I tell dada this at dinner last night and he says, "well, you've got the crazy part down."


A few weekends ago dada and the kiddies built a bird feeder. He simply nailed it down onto the rails of the deck, right outside. I can see it as I stand at the sink, or as we are sitting at the table eating lunch. Right there.

At first we had only a few timid fly bys. Then one brave blue jay came and sat and ate some seeds and flew away after a few minutes. I told little man I bet he would go tell all his blue jay friends that we are nice and the seeds were good. And indeed, the next day there were FOUR jays hovering around. And then a friendly little group of dark birds that we found were called dark-eyed junkos. And then a few chickadees. Then, finally, a bright cardinal came swooping in one day. We were excited. And last weekend, we saw a giant prehistoric looking woodpecker, a pileated woodpecker, circling a dead tree right at the edge of our woods. Seriously freaky looking birds.

Baby dear loves looking at them as much as the kids. She is often the one to call out "JUNCO!" or "JAY JAY JAY!"
the little dark eyed junco

gorgeous tail feathers!

Of course this has inspired many pictures, entries in our nature journal, and yesterday a few poems. I cant wait for spring to bring us more little birdie friends!

(Yes, I jus wrote that. I am totally talking like a kindergarten teacher in this post. OUR LITTLE FEATHERY FRIENDS ARE SO PRETTY, ARENT THEY CLASS? HA.)

Dark Eyed Junco you are so sweet
a friendly little bird to meet!
Blue Jay Blue Jay
dont fly away!
Blue Jay Blue Jay
come to stay!

Woodpecker, woodpecker
pecks so loud
Woodpecker, woodpecker
arent you proud?
Cardinal Cardinal
in the snow
Cardinal Cardinal
please dont go!

Well, well, on my way to crazy bird lady.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013


That should be said like Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam.

Hi. I am super hopped up on caffeine right now. So much that I cant spell. Caffiene? Caffeine?

No idea.

I've been wanting to start getting up early. Like, dark early, for awhile now. Dada does it, why not me?

But then I tried it in the first week of January, and I was like, oh, right, I am totally not a morning person. I felt blearly eyed and tired. And after two attempts I gave up.

And then I rolled into February. February. Less pressure to "start afresh" and somehow it feels easier to then start afresh. You know? I packed up wintery decor yesterday and planted some indoor nasturiums (spelling??) no, not nasturiums, narscisuss. (cant say it, cant spell it.) (Lord, someone take AWAY the coffee) In any case. I saved a few bulbs when we planted them back in October (remember, F is for flower?) And I just stuck them in a large clear vase, filled with pebbles and water. (If they actually bloom I will be sure to share, HA.)

And so this past weekend I thought, I am TOTALLY getting up early. I need to.

Not being a morning person means I have a certain level of resentment toward my dear kiddies when the first thing I hear after I open eyes is something like "MOOOOMMM I'M DONE WITH MY POOOOOOOP"

Sigh, roll out of bed. Here we go again.

Much nicer to be sitting in the living room, sipping my (second giant cup) of coffee, to greet little people with a smile.

So, confession, Sunday night baby was up ALL. THE. TIME. Coughing, hacking. They have wee little colds, again. (Wee is a good word. I need to use it more). Hacking n coughing n hacking n coughing. Little man's has cleared up. Little miss is thtill talking like thith becauthe her nothe ith thoooooo thtuffy. (Arent I FUN hopped up on coffee?????? HA HA) Little toddler dear threw up she is so congested (yesterday, while she was strapped into my chest in the Ergo. THAT WAS FUN)

So. I wasnt planning to actually wake up.

But then baby toddler dear woke up at 5am (hackingcoughinghackingcoughing) and by 5:30 I gave up, and I got up. wasnt that bad. I made coffee for me and dada. Kissed him goodbye. Snuggled up baby dear into her "bwanket" and she went back to sleep before the sun rose. And then the sun came through the curtains as I was reading various inspirational books, that I otherwise have no time to read, and well, it was rather lovely. And then little miss woke up (hackingcoughinghackingcoughing) and then fell back asleep, snuggled into me in my chair.

Such a nicer way to start out the day.

And it all happened again today, for the same reasons, though today at 6am, after a much better nights sleep.

And. Here I am. Writing a blog post at quarter till 9. Kids dressed, fed. Mommy appropriately (over) caffeinated.

February. You are my friend.

Oh, and I got our first seed catalog yesterday. (Catalogue?)

March. You are my better friend. HA.

Happy mornings mommies. Dare you (non morning mommies) to try this too. Seriously. Pretty great.

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