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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

a sicko mama Tuesday bla day kind of poem

I will try
Not to die
But the kids are crazy
And I am lazy
They won't rest
So I do my best
To drink more tea
And let them be
And hope they nap, eventually

Ha ha ha. 

Oh! I just remembered my sister left chocolate covered espresso beans in the freezer! And oh! baby just crawled onto my lap for "more milky mama" and she is now asleep! 


Monday, July 29, 2013

farmer family and a little summer unit study

Perhaps the sweetest cutest quote of our recent city to farm move was this past February, when the spinach started poking up inside of our hoop house, surrounded by snow. I ripped off a leaf and offered it to little man who took a nibble and then lit up in a huge smile and said "WE DID IT! WE ARE FARMERS!"


And so we continue.

I've started making cheese with some local farmer milk, butter too, in anticipation of our own dairy goats someday. In case you were wondering freshly made mozzarella is DIVINE and really nothing like the plastic-y stuff you buy in the store. You all totally need to try it. (I will share how I do it if you are interested!)

So, now we are heading into August and like millions of denim-jumper-clad-homeschooling mamas before me I am feeling its time, time to start school.


So, going of the farmer theme, I plan, perhaps too excitedly, a little unit study for the month. Including:
-The Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (please mom can you read another chapter?? he says)
-Among the Farmyard People, by Clara Dillingham Piersen (sweet little stories about farm animals, found here for free!)
Today we started reading both, and I got out the farm animals and little gnome house and wooden blocks and had the kids build fences for the animals while I read. So, we will read these every day and then do related circle time verses and songs (The Farmer in the Dell, and etc) and crafts (like making dolls out of long stalks of straw) and then at the end of the month we will go to a nearby historical farm (I'm a little too excited about that one) for a tour.

Fun right?

And the below photo, well, I am not one for naked bebe pics but I cant help myself with this one. Her latest phrase kills me, everything is "with my heart!" She wants milky "with my heart!" She plays with her sister "with my heart!" She is calling now, "Sister, sister of my heart!" She says "I help you mama! I do dishes too! I help you with my heart!" And chickens too, she tells me, she loves, "with my heart!"

Also fun. Also amazing. My little baby farmer.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

road trip crazies, again

We leave on our first more than two hour road trip as a family of five tomorrow morning. I'm trying not to be worried, but I am. Trying to be RA RA THIS IS FUN! GO TEAM!! But inwardly I'm freaked. Like, laying in bed as I blog on my iPhone unable to sleep because of the lists of things to do that keep swirling in my head. 

Did I mention baby gets carsick?

And both kids have been rather, er, grumpy this week? 

And dada is exhausted from work? 

And the carsick thing? 

But it's fairly short and our dear auntie who has been visiting will make the drive there with us and dada bought snacks and its been nice and cool (no AC in the van!) and darn it, it's gonna be great, right?

And then today little miss cuddles into me as she is falling asleep for a needed nap and looks up with her big blue eyes and says "I love you so much I have tears!" 

Sweet girl. Sweet babies. 

It's gonna be good. Cause I say so.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

so, this happened

So after my day yesterday afternoon, this happened. I got out my brand new never touched oil paints and just painted. And while its certainly not anything spectacular I just did it and didn't worry about whether it was just right, or what I had imagined, just let it happen and felt happy with the results. A lesson I need, we all need, in life. Not just right not exactly what I thought I wanted but beautiful all the same, right?

So here is to anti-perfectionism, cheers! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

today, ah yes, today.

Mondays have been cruel to me lately. I think we miss our school year rhythm. But what with family in town and vacations coming up and gardens to work in and so on and so forth, I cant realistically see getting that school time schedule back. Maybe?


Today was a day. And its only 2pm. Baby refused to pee in the potty, even for a bribe of candy. Big kids shrieked all morning, why didn't THEY get candy? They pee in the potty all the time! Mommy gave them candy. Fine. Baby refused to pee. Baby screamed hysterically. Baby got candy. Baby then refused to nap. After mama worked on scrubbing down the stovetop, working out angry energy, baby was found outside 15 minutes later covered from head to toe in mud, courtesy little miss. As I walked out to her she says, "Mama! I do potty here! On my yeg (leg)!"


Baby in bath. Kids swinging. Mama blogs, after sneaking spoonfuls of ice cream straight out of the carton.


Ah yes. Today.

And then an hour later and baby finally goes to sleep. And I pour myself a giant glass of sweet tea and sit out on the deck to write. And the kiddies are happy playing under the deck on the swings. And I throw them candy, and yes, say sorry for losing my cool. And all is well.


Ah yes, today.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

hazy lazy July

I seem to do this every July. I get totally ramped up for SEIZING THE MOMENT. DOING IT ALL. And then early July warm days turn to mid July scorchers and my visionary go get 'em turns into hazy lazy squinting into the sun.

Sunny and hot. AGAIN????

Ha. I wish I could bottle one of these days and stick it on my pantry shelf with last year's pickled vegetables and applesauce and take it out again in January. Ahhhh. Sun.

For now though. We haven't really been outside in three days, with crazy humidity and wicked heat and then, oh Lordhavemercy, a week long on and off tension headache. I wake up and the kids timidly say, how is your head today mom, I squint at them, um, okay? So far? I think? And then it creeps up on me later...eeeeehhhhhhh......

But. I am geared up to go tend to the garden a bit this morning. Gardens of course love wicked humid heat. Dada thinks we could have tomatoes by next week. We are going to be up to our ears in tomatoes. Its gonna be nuts.

Yay. Ketchup. Tomato soup. Salsa. Sauce. I've got huge plans.

So, all that to say, I have nothing inspiring to say. Just hazy lazy mid-July thoughts swirling around my brain.

In any case. Off to garden, until I cant take the heat anymore, in which case I just got a giant Tom Clancy novel at the library that might need my attention. Here kids. Have another popsicle. Cartoons? Sure. Ha. Ah, July.

Monday, July 15, 2013

thoughts on (not) being perfect

It occurred to me today as I was sewing a hem on a quilt that I am a perfectionist, in recovery, of sorts.

Hello. My name is Sara. I am a Perfectionist.

There. Now it's out.

For a long time I let the fear of the imperfect terrorize me. As a child I can remember trying to think in my head how I would draw a perfect picture of my mother. I saw my hand, in my mind, tracing each line perfectly smooth, the arch of her brow, the ear, her hairline, only to wake up the next morning and feel devastated that the actual attempt looked nothing like that drawing in my head.

Of course, I have mellowed (somewhat) as an adult.

Case in point.

More than ten years ago, before babies and such, dada and I lived with my parents for several months in between school gigs. While I was there I pieced together a quilt. Quilting is tough for a perfectionist. Especially a perfectionist that likes to GET THINGS DONE but with little patience for the tedious. It really does require perfection (and patience) to turn out right. The pieces have to fit together just so. The seams have to be the same width. I managed to get it all together, stick in a batting, and lay down a backing and then. Crap. Now I have to quilt this thing? I am never going to be able to do it just right! I choose instead to make it a tie quilt. Using yarn to secure the top and back in place. And then. Now I have to do the edging. HOW DO I DO THAT? By this point we had moved back east for school and I had no quilters to show me what was what. I bought some bias tape, thinking that was how you did it. But it would require basting and ironing and pinning. Millions of pins. Not my thing.

So the quilt sat. And sat. And sat.

A few years ago I pulled it out of a box, thinking hey, I could just fold over the edge of the backing that sticks out. So I should find (buy) the ironing board? (I don't iron. EVER) But then the millions of pins and etc.

And the quilt sat and sat and sat.

But then today. I decided it was high time baby dear have her own bed. We rearranged the tiny kids room, folded up a down mattress cover, but now, she needs a quilt. She has her own blankie (found at a the thrift store) but it's a small crib size one.

And then I remembered. The unfinished quilt.

I sat down at the machine. Folded in the hem as I sewed, tried to fold the corners into nice neat triangles (a few worked, one did not) and fifteen minutes later the quilt was done.

Why did I let this project plague me for literally A DECADE??

Fear of the imperfect.

I thank kids, and time, and a few grey hairs I suppose, for curing me of this. (I found some greys the other day. Time to buy the Sun-in. No seriously, I am going to.) Not "cure", because I certainly am not cured of it. I am able to overcome the tendency, most of the time.

Last night I sat up, after laying baby next to snoring dada, blipping all over the internet, from blog to blog, looking at all the amazing homeschooler moms out there. Reading lists of "how to do it" and "what your child should know by age six" and so on. After an hour of this downward spiral I was miserable and ready to wake up little man to quiz him, did he know the names of six birds, could he recite the story of the American Revolution by heart, OH, we need to memorize a poem in French! We only have 6 weeks until he isn't six anymore!!

Perfectionism, like a snarling beast, came out and took over. Why am I even trying to do this?? I have GOT TO DO BETTER!

But, as many in recovery, I recognized what was going on, took some valerian, and crawled into bed next to baby, hoping that tomorrow the beast would be back in its cage.

This sounds rather alarmist at this point. Keep in mind I barely slept last night. My point is coming, I promise.

Because, here is the thing, mommies. So many of us let this fear, fear of the imperfect, keep us from attempting things we want to try. This isn't just mommy culture thing, this is throughout society. I can only run a mile, why bother running at all? Or even the "expert" mentality. I don't know how to spin wool/make cheese/brew beer/fix a car/teach my kid, leave that to the experts!!

We are afraid we won't excel. So we don't even try. And its all over the place in our mommying universe. Ask the pediatrician when I should give my baby solids! Go to a craft class so someone who "knows what they are doing" can do a craft with my kids! Read a book where an expert can show me how to get my baby to sleep! Every Night! All Night Long!

We read blogs and sigh at the pretty pictures. We click through pinterest ideas and file them away on a "someday" board.

Painting with oils on canvas is another for me. It will look like crap. It will be a waste of time. I really should be doing laundry. (Yes, the oils dada got me for Mother's Day are still sitting, unopened, on a shelf.)

And here is my point. And really its the reason I started writing in this space, I just forget sometimes...




Plant a garden.

Learn how to spin wool, WITH your kid.

Write that book. And then SEND IT TO A PUBLISHER (here is looking at you Miss Sara.)

Make cheese.

Take that road trip with the kiddies piled in the back of the car. (I'd suggest investing in a portable DVD player however, HA HA HA)

Don't let the fear of the imperfect experience hold you back.

You might have a lovely day at the lake and be glad you attempted it, even though you were terrified of taking three kids to the lake by yourself. (Ahem. Sara.)

You might find out you really don't care for homemade soufflé. But you tried to make it anyway.

You might find someone who LOVES your book idea.

You might find out you don't actually WANT to be able to run a marathon.

You might find a bigger, bolder you under all that weight of the fear of the imperfect. And maybe, just maybe, that quilt with the crooked hem will lull your baby to sleep in her first big girl bed, crappy corner seams and all.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

sleepy arms

After a long fun-filled, summery week of outdoor water play and running in the garden and friends visiting and late nights my children are running on fumes. Which means mama and dada are totally exhausted. Which means, as you know, little patience at the bedtime hour.

GO TO SLEEP. Mama wants a cup of tea and SILENCE.

Tonight as dada tried to convince little miss to go to sleep in our room and I was up in the living room with Wide Awake Baby I hear little man calling to me from his bed.




Yes, yes little man, coming.

I put on my Happy I am Not Tired Voice. Baby dear tags along. Mama I come too. Check on bruver.

What can I do for you buddy?

Sleepy near limp arms reach up for my neck and wrap around me, pulling me down into a headlock. As he nuzzles into me he says,

Its just that I love you SOOOOO much I want to be with you ALL THE TIME. And you are the most beautiful, wonderful, patient and kind mom EVER and I just needed ONE MORE HUG. Oh, I LOVE YOU MAMA.

As my heart melts like goo I realize, one, I must be doing alright and two, these are amazing little people I have been entrusted with.

Happy (almost) Friday mommies.

(So, he totally broke this board at tae Kwon do class the other day.... Whaaaaaa???) 
Sunday, July 7, 2013

the nursing toddler

The nursing toddler is a funny creature.

"Milky" as she calls it, is a friend to her. She talks to milky on her play phone. Okay Milky. See you later! Buh bye!

And then, her version of the knock knock joke.

Knock knock! She says

Who's there? I say

MILKY!! She says, laughing hilariously, because of course, this is hilarious to her.

And tonight my little Baby Green tucked play silk flowers into my shirt as she reached for "her milky." "Der," she says, "flowers safe and cozy and warm and cozy." "Come on Ah Ah" (monkeys make an AH AH sound when they talk, after all) she says to her Curious George doll, "my bankie, my milky, cozy mama."

Because of course, to the nursing toddler "milky" means "safe and warm and cozy mama".

So, I haven't been shy on this blog about the nursing and the "extended" nursing, as they call it, and etc. Not really. I mean, I am not by any means so "lactivist" type that is going to attend a "nurse in" or anything, again, just not my personality.


Yes, we are very supportive of breastfeeding here.

I try to smile right at moms who are nursing their babies in public. I talk about it in a casual way. Encourage mom's who are struggling. Its what we do to take care of babies and we don't need to be all hush hush about it. You know? Its just natural. Its part of babyhood. It seems like its either something people are "lactivist-y" about or something people don't want to talk about.

Sometimes though, one needs to make a stand and say, "hey y'all its okay to talk about this!"

I am feeling like this lately about the extended nursing thing. The nursing toddler.

All of my babies have nursed until two, two and a half. And each time I got to about four or five months pregnant with the next baby and I was like, okay, dude, I cant do this anymore. DONE.

Yes. Nursing past two.

Yes. Nursing while pregnant.

And, yes. I was the one to say "ENOUGH." But, they were mostly done, and we replaced it with cuddles in the rocking chair and saying over and over that "milk-a-milk (little man)" or "milk-a-side" (little miss) was ALL DONE. I just couldn't do it anymore what with the intense contractions I always would start getting at four or five months pregnant and the up at night with toddlers and etc.

In any case, with little man I was terribly concerned with hiding the fact that he was still nursing at the age of two. It seemed weird. I felt weird. I am sure other people thought it weird.

But, by toddler number three. Eh. NORMAL. It feels normal. She is such a baby. My baby. Not to say it is for everyone but, you know, I figured, well, I wonder if other people out there feel the same and maybe sometimes just saying it out loud is okay. Nursing a toddler is sweet and normal and good. These little tiny people and their crazy antics and dear sweet moments.
And she daringly walks up the stairs, one careful wobbly step, and declares "I biggie baby!!" and she jumps around the house like a little grasshopper and she shakes her head of curls in defiance and twirls in her skirt saying "I Queen Baby!" And yes she is our queen, and we are charmed. And she cuddles into me and I smother her in kisses, cherishing these last precious baby months.

 Safe and sweet and cozy and warm and mama.

Just as it should be.



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

anti-recipe #63 a healthy mama "cocktail" for a hot day

So. I'm terrible at drinking water. I do it, begrudgingly. Especially when pregnant, FINE more WATER. (No, my gosh, I'm not pregnant!! Ha!)

In the summer especially I have to make nice drinks to entice myself to get more liquids in. Two summers ago (when pregnant) it was sugary iced tea and honey sweetened lemonade.

Last summer, when living on my parents farm, I discovered a great way-less-sugary substitute and this summer I think I have perfected it.

(Are you bored of this post yet? I am. How super boring of me to write about this. But this is one of those need to write it down so I don't forget things. You know? You can totally stop reading if you want to though, unless you are looking for the actual recipe, in which case, I will cut to the chase ASAP. HAHAHAHA)

Its basically my honey lemon kombucha tea we guzzle in the winter, (kids too!) but iced. (Honey lemon kombucha tea = teapot full of hot water, juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup honey, and about a cup of kombucha. Also amazing with sliced ginger and/or mint leaves.)

So. The iced version is thus. Grab your trusty water bottle (I've had mine since college! EEK!) Pour in about a cup of kombucha. Add a splash of lemon juice. Add a good shake of powdered ginger (I've done around 1/2 tsp I think) Also add some real apple cider vinegar (the kind with the mother still in it) for some extra enzyme/probiotic goodness). I saw these last two things on a Facebook crunchy mama post somewhere and it really add a great zing to what I usually make. I also have to confess I add a tsp of sugar or two. And maybe one of these times I will throw in a mint leaf. Yesterday I added some cooled black tea I had brewed separately.

Now fill to the top with water and ice and shake it up. With the powdered ginger you will need to shake frequently as you drink it.

SO, what do you think??? Yum, right?? Way better for you than Gatorade and sugary iced tea.

Mix, drink, repeat. (And then you will be nice and hydrated for an ACTUAL cocktail when the kiddies are in bed. HA. HA. .... Or before. HA)

ah, the sacred college era water bottle.

hi. I am cute.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

crafty WITH kids for the Fourth

So, I thought I needed to try my hand at being crafty WITH the children this week. Not FOR the children, or NEXT TO, as is often the case, I confess, but actually WITH.

Here are my tips:
-Be prepared for a mess
-Be prepared for them losing interest
-Be prepared for them creating something entirely different than what you had in mind
-Be prepared. That is, get EVERYTHING ready, paints set out, brushes, paper, and etc and have a plan. If doing this with varying aged children be prepared for having a plan of what the toddler can do, what the 4 year old can do, what the almost 7 year old can do. ETC.

With that in mind...I did not take this advice, having nothing laid out and just a general idea that we would "Make flags for the Fourth of July" and that we would use paint. Then as the children gathered around frantically tearing into the art supplies (Mom is gonna let us paint!!! YAY!!!) I thought, hmmm, a stamp for the star would be nice...hmmm...out of a POTATO! I am a GENIUS!!

SO I cut a star shape out of half of a potato. Then I remembered my above guideliness, everyone needs a job. So we got out a large sheet of paper and I drew out the lines to make a flag. (I didnt draw in the right amount of stripes somehow. The toddler was, at this point trying to paint herself and I got flustered although it totally gave me flashbacks of trying to make a perfect flag in gradeschool and obsessing over getting the stars and stripes exactly right. Funny right?)

Little miss got assigned stamping the stars, out of yellow (yes I know they arent yellow) Then she helped me paint the red stripes in while little man outlined all the stars in blue and filled in the square. Baby did not get a job, and I almost lost it as she tried to 1) eat the potato 2) stamp the table 3) paint the table 4) eat the paintbrush. And this is as little man is getting worked up about the stars not being in straight lines or the right number. And meanwhile little miss is whining for her own paper to do her OWN flag. I promptly got her her own paper, and baby too, so little man and I could finish the big flag in peace.


Little miss had fun stamping her own paper, making an abstract version of a flag. Little man asked me to please draw a flag for him to color in, with all of the stars and stripes like the real flag, a precise/perfectionist child after my own heart, ha.

All in all, it was a fun craft. We read the below story about the boy who helpedd his grandfather ring out the bell to announce the acceptance of the declaration. I have to confess the poem made me a little teary eyed. And then we read the story of Cornwallis' defeat and the ending of the war, per little man's request. You can find it here.

Of course after we made our flags and wiped up the pain (ETA: typo, that should say paint, but...PAIN...HAHAHAHA. this made me laugh as I edited...)the kids decided to start cutting paper. So I said, hey, when I was little we used to cut paper up into paper dolls and make clothes and hats for them and everything and the kids said, HEY, WE WANNA DO THAT. So, for the next HOUR we cut out dolls and dresses and overalls and baseball caps and little man even made beds and blankets for them. Adorable.

Yay crafting! And, Happy Fourth my friends!


At the beginning of the war the colonists had not expected to be free from British rule: indeed they did not wish to be. All they did ask was that they might be treated fairly. But since they had begun to fight, they grew more and more convinced that now nothing less than perfect independence of the mother-country ought to satisfy them.

Then the leading men of the colonies met together at Philadelphia to draw up a writing, in which they declared themselves no longer subject to English rule. Five men, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingstone, were appointed to write it out; and when this was done every man in the Congress signed it.

It had been agreed that as soon as the Declaration was adopted the old bell-man should ring the big “Liberty-bell” that hung in the tower of the old State House, in order that the great throng of people outside might know it. This, as I suppose you all know, happened July 4, 1776.

The old bell-man had taken his place up in the tower, and had told his little grandson to tell him when the time came to ring the bell.

Messengers were sent in every direction to tell the news in every village and town; the boys lit fires, the cannons blazed, and everywhere the people—men, women, and children, tried in every way to show their joy that they were now all to stand shoulder to shoulder, a free nation.

There was tumult in the city,
In the quaint old Quaker town,
And the streets were rife with people,
Pacing restless up and down;—
People gathering at corners,
Where they whispered each to each,
And the sweat stood on their temples,
With the earnestness of speech.
"Will they do it?" "Dare they do it?"
"Who is speaking?" "What’s the news?"
"What of Adams?" "What of Sherman?"
"Oh, God grant they won’t refuse!"
"Make some way there!" "Let me nearer!"
"I am stifling!" "Stifle then!
When a nation’s life’s at hazard,
We’ve no time to think of men!"
So they beat against the portal,
Man and woman, maid and child;
And the July sun in heaven
On the scene looked down and smiled,
The same sun that saw the Spartan
Shed his patriot blood in vain,
Now beheld the soul of freedom
All unconquer’d rise again.
See! See! The dense crowd quivers
Through all its lengthy line,
As the boy beside the portal
Looks forth to give the sign!
With his small hands upward lifted,
Breezes dallying with his hair,
Hark! With deep, clear intonation,
Breaks his young voice on the air.
Hushed the people’s swelling murmur,
List, the boy’s exultant cry!
"Ring!" he shouts, "Ring, Grandpa,
Ring, O, ring for Liberty!"
And straightway at the signal,
The old bellman lifts his hand,
And sends the good news, making
Iron music through the land.
How they shouted! What rejoicing!
How the old bell shook the air,
Till the clang of freedom ruffled
The calm, gliding Delaware!
How the bonfires and the torches
Illumed the night’s repose,
And from the flames like fabled Phoenix,
Our glorious Liberty arose!
That old bell now is silent,
And hushed its iron tongue,
But the spirit it awakened,
Still lives—forever young.
And when we greet the smiling sunlight,
On the fourth of each July,
We’ll ne’er forget the bellman,
Who, betwixt the earth and sky,
Rang out our independence,
Which, please God, shall never die!

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