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Thursday, May 29, 2014

joyfully yours, mommy

Last night, I flopped on the couch next to dada, novel in hand.

He is staring at a Shakespearean play (I'm not making this up), half asleep. Kiddies just in bed, house quiet.

And I say to him, "So, I've been thinking."

And he says, "yea? About what?"

And I say, "Well, about being more joyful. I mean, as a parent."

He kinda tries not to sigh and puts down the giant book.


And I say, "Yea."

And he says, "Like how?"

And I say, "Well, like today for instance. When the girls started arguing and instead of being playful about it - Come on now sillies! Its all good! - I totally flipped out and yelled. Or, when little man was supposed to be doing Multiplication flashcards and instead he was doing Addition flashcards and it made me SO MAD. [yes, I lost my cool over that. ridiculous, right???]"

He sighs for real and folds the book up.

"Yea, I know."

And I say, "And, well, I just want them to remember me in their childhood as their fun happy mom who had picnics on the lawn and painted on the deck and played in the water at the lake (without submersing her head...I don't do that) ...and....I'm not very fun these days. I want our house to be JOYFUL. I want to be like, wise, calm, cool mother and sure we mess up every now and then, we apologize, show our humanity etc etc but...I guess I want to be better, for them, more often than, well, human."

And, do you know what I mean mommies? Sometimes the work of mommyhood becomes SO ALL CONSUMING and so much WORK that I forget how teeny tiny these little people are and how fast it goes and soon it will be highschool and college and not that that wont be "fun" but that, well, the simple childhood wonderment years will be gone. And meanwhile, these are the years you remember, when you are seven and learn to ride your bike and lose your teeth and go camping and toast marshmallows and sled down the hills in the front yard and play Uno until past bedtime just because and....and....I don't want to let that slip by.

But its so easy to let it.

And to just lose your cool, and start thinking of these little people as your coworkers who need to hold up their end of the bargain. Does that make me sound terrible? Seriously. I have caught myself saying to little man. "Please STOP WHINING. you are ACTING LIKE A CHILD....oh wait..."

No, seriously, on more than one occasion.

Perhaps this is the curse of the stay at home mother? Our little people begin to seem like coworkers, because we don't have any, and we expect them to pull their fair share?

That didn't come out right. But do you see what I am saying here?

I want to revel in their childhood. Delight in it. Trouble is, delightful reveling doesn't come naturally to me, I mean, in a sitting in the grass making dandelion crowns sort of way. I do it, but I am not naturally playful. But I want to hug and laugh and enjoy. Have this be a true summer of joy for them, and not just this summer, but moving forward. The baby years are closing. The years of memory making, things of their childhood that they will actually remember (and hopefully they will be fun and wonderful things and not fodder for a therapist...HA. I joke. But seriously....)

And well.

Yea, so dada said he was in on that too. And I wondered if you all think like this. And not that I don't do it, but I want more of it. And not that I have it figured out, but I can grow into more joyful parenting. And not that I am doing it for the memories down the line, but, that its important for the NOW. For ME, and them. And, I just want to be joyful, not in a forced way, but joyfully me, who revels and delights in her three amazingly awesome kids.

You know?

Anyway. My thoughts for the day.

Monday, May 26, 2014

ho hey

We run out to the garden in the morning light, hands held, shoes skidding on the dust.

The air is thick with pollen, swirling around our heads.

Chickens peck and dodge under pines, chased by the shadows of hawks overhead.

Blue jays on the chase too, squawking at crows trying to rob their nests.

Green things out in the garden, popping up overnight it seems.

We inspect everything, we poke and water and pull on a few weeds. Oh that was a flower, I think, maybe? Shove it back in the ground and hope for the best.

The sun soaks into our bones, pushing out memories of frozen winds and packed snow up to our waists, close your eyes, looking up at the sun, trying to . "Do you see red spots when you close your eyes and look at the sun mom?" he said, once upon a time. "Well, yea, I do." "Oh, me too."

Breathe in the moist summer air. Breathe out the cold.

And then the sky darkens and clouds appear, mosquitoes swarming in response, the pitter of rain hitting the dust, thunder echoing on the horizon.

We run back inside, changing into cool clothes, some lunch, a game of Uno.

And it is now. And they play. And I type. And what a week. And what a life.

And, I like this song.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

getting away and dandelion crowns

Do you know what I did today?

I got in the car, at 7am, and drove down to the big city to have  meeting with a client, which went swimmingly well, and then drove back home, listening to music, stopping for coffee, just in time to enjoy the sunshine in the garden, plant the potato bed, and eat the delicious dinner dada prepared.


It was kind of amazing.

I think my ideal would be to do something like that once or twice a week.


Guess what I am doing tomorrow? So, my sister calls me and says, hey, I am flying in to your neck of the woods for a conference. It would interest you. You should come.


I am going to.



And bring my laptop. And write. Also, that.


I come home from my day being worker mommy as I pack to leave in the morning for another day away and the sun is shining and little miss dumps an armful of dandelions onto my lap and says, with a grin, "here mommy, flowers for you!" And I say, somewhat out of mommy guilt, "did you know I am really good at making flower crowns?" And so, we make them. And she smiles.

Whatever anyone else says, or how hard I am on myself, for that matter, the truth is, I can make a pretty badass dandelion crown.

Um, warning, picture overload below.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

summer school, June-style

Yes, clearly it isn't summer yet. 

But the 77° prediction for today really is close. 

And little man got out the water guns from the dusty bin in the garage, which in our world, means it's summer. 

Sidenote. Did I mention our new babysitters? Twins. Yes. Two. Teenage girls from town. They come. They hang out. I write blogs while sipping a sparkling water, dada on the deck, typing out briefs in the sunshine. I feel fancy. Like Angelina freaking Jolie. Ha. I might even go out to the garden, you know, plant seeds without children throwing random packets of radishes in the ground. 


And these girls, and the sunshine, well, they rejuvenate me. 

And so, I take this newly found energy, and plan out a most ambitious summer school agenda, because, you know, that is what I do with energy. 

Well, I say summers really my plan is to UNschool. 

You know, hey kid, what are you interested in?

Black holes?

Great, let's learn about that.

So I went to library and found a book about space and time, and we looked online and found a great series to watch on PBS. 

Clearly I've also decided to ditch my previously held beliefs about no media for school. Hey kid, you need to learn your multiplication tables? Try this iPad game! Etc etc 

It was kind of amazing to sit and watch this fascinating documentary on PBS yesterday, two in fact, girls cuddled up asleep on my lap, little man by my side enthralled. 

Ah, the summer of unschooling. I LIKE IT.

My thoughts are this....

Time and Space (also nicely coinciding with my current fascination with MULTIVERSE THEORY. Um, amazing.)

American (basic) history and geography (including this one song I found on Pinterest years ago to teach the states and capitols) 

Art, an artist once a week, copying a major work, out on the deck! In the sunshine!

Music, a biography out of a great book I inherited from my mom, and then listening to the music 

Nature studies, (walks and then writing in our nature journals) or a story from the Thornton Burgess book of bird stories.

Reading books and writing book reports every few weeks

Singing and French vocab

Lots and lots of princess coloring pages

Some read a loud books like "tiptoes lightly" and " The Secret Garden"

And then, BOR-ING, math skills and spelling...

Do you think I can trick my kids into doing this all summer? At least until the end of June, I think.


So how is this different than normal? Um...less school lessons from books, more doing. I think. A lot of these things we do, or similiar to, I guess, in the normal school year, but for now I am hoping to get away from books at a desk and a schoolish feel, also, not pressuring to get each done every day, that makes it a lot less school-y. 


Well, I am excited, and feeling reinvigorated to tackle those Pinterest projects that pile up. Unpoppable bubbles! Yarn wrapped twigs to form letters! A map of America made out of salt dough! Do you think they have something for the space time continuum and the theory of relativity?? Ha. ( I love that my kid loves this stuff!)

And then of course...lots of this...

And this...


Sunday, May 18, 2014

where i am at

The lyrics to this are kinda sad. But, man, what a song. So its not really "where I am at," but, you should listen anyway.

Where I am at is ...a blissful state of...anxiety? No. Not anxiety. Like, that happy place of tapping your feet in a restless energy. Shaking my feet in a too much caffeine, not enough sleep, too much to get done, but happy all the same, sort of place.


And I am sitting at home. Alone. Finishing. My. Book. No, really, I am going to. First draft anyhow. Three chapters left. Big scenes. And here I am. Blogging.

And this song is perfect.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

rainbow blocks and other misc. thoughts

The number one best thing, I think, for de-stressing is to look the stress straight in the eye, and say to it, yep, I see you, you exist. And you know what? So what?

This doesn't make it go away - which school to send your kid to? how to fix finances? how to make it to dinner time?

But, it takes the teeth out, so to speak.

I think this is what I did last week.

Fine yes, okay, that is stressful. Next?

What is more. Here is another thing that has happened.

Big news, really, so big, thinking about it this morning made me ridiculously happy.

No, its not to do with trotting off to Hawaii (back burner folks, back burner! The best things in life have a long gestational period, am I right???)

The big news is this, Dada and I have decided something monumental....


And with Friday being pizza night, and dada cooking most weekends that leaves me with a mere THREE NIGHTS to answer the age old question that plagues me all night, and tortures me every 4pm....WHAT THE HECK TO MAKE FOR DINNER???


And the reason being, simply, the little country steak house dada now works at on occasion has 1) ridiculous portion sizes, 2) ridiculous low prices, and 3) dada gets half off. So we can feed the family an incredible meal for less than a burger meal at McDonalds.

Worth celebrating, right??

I'd say. YES. Resoundingly so, YES.

I'm even thinking of forcing everyone to eat on paper plates tonight. So, NO DISHES!!

In other, less lazy news, we made these adorable blocks for the multiple two year olds in the family last week. Well, the blocks we have been making all winter (they take a lot of sanding!).

You could try this too, but we have access to amazing wood from a local cabinetry place, just the shavings of the longer boards, BUT, when cut to size and sanded make beautiful fancy looking blocks.

We colored them with oil pastels, I rubbed them in to even out the color, and then we finished them with beeswax polish.

I'm seriously amazed at how engaged the kids were with this. My latest crafty efforts with them have been, er, marginally, successful. Little man must've sat for an hour doing this though, thinking about each little cousin (oooh, lots of pink blocks for Baby Girl Cousin! etc.)

I do want to try doing them with good quality water color paints (the kind in tubes) but that seemed too intensive to do with the kids.

 Now, I hear you can buy pre-made wooden blocks at Michaels. So, you could try that.

In any case.

It was fun. The cousins loved them. And its sunny out today. And we worked a ton on the garden yesterday. And ITS TAKE OUT NIGHT. And I am pretty sure little miss has been sitting at the table making me a little love note, complete with a quarter taped to it as a present.

Life is beautiful.

we spent many happy moments sanding these in front of the fire this winter as a break from school...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Its been grey here for weeks. The occasional sun peep, that's about it. Which is good for my pensive writerly mood, which is not good for my mommy-getting-shit-done mood.

I confess.Yesterday I thought I was having some kind of attack, anemic maybe, allergies? I felt dizzy, weak. Maybe my thyroid is off again?

No, according to the doctor. Yea, his official diagnosis. I'm tired.

Yes, I went to the doctor to be told, Hi. Nice to meet you Sara. You are tired. So. Get some REST.

Okay. Sure. I will do that. Thanks.

Come home to laundry. Dishes (still in the sink). Errands to run. Toddler who for some reason decides to wake up for the day at 4:30 am. FOUR THIRTY. IN THE MORNING. Dada got called in for that one an hour in.

Guess my body as well as mind is telling me - RETREAT.

Still working on it. Ha.

I probably wont post this post. It will probably sit in my blogger queue with all the other lame-o posts I have almost written over the years and not posted. Not Spunky! Not Informative! Not Creative! Not Inspiring! All of those reasons I have surmised people read this blog over the years.


Some days we aren't those things though, us mommies.

Some days we go to the doctors office to be told "Hi. You are Tired."

And we say, why, yes, I do believe I am tired. Why, thank you doctor!

And we go home. And we write shit like this. And we wonder how we will get it all done. The book writing and the non-profit launching and then creative fun schooling. And we feel inadequate. And we put on our worn out yoga pants. And we make coffee. And we drink it. And we sigh, and get up, and do the dishes. And we know that we all know. And we hope the toddler sleeps tonight.

And that is all.


I swear I will post something super duper inspiring and creative to make up for this. In the meanwhile. Read it and think, whilst exhausted sipping coffee in your worn out yoga pants, WE ARE NOT ALONE. WE ARENT THE ONLY ONES. AND AT LEAST WE DIDNT GO TO THE DOCTOR TO BE TOLD WE ARE TIRED.


I love you guys.

Below are pictures of my garden, things that survived the brutal winter, to live another day.


peppermint SURVIVED

children NEEDED helium balloons the other day. here they are with them in the garden.


for some reason we've decided its perfectly fine for the children to dig large holes in the
yard and fill them with water and rocks and pretend its an ocean and they are giants


Friday, May 2, 2014


Retreat as in 1) admitting defeat and letting your enemy take the hill you've been battling on and 2) a bunch of moms getting together in a church basement to paint nails, eat seven layer taco dip, and talk about how many years its been since you've seen a movie in the theater and also 3) a spa in Bali where you are served salads for lunch and giant adult beverages for dinner, listening to the waves crash under the hot sun.

What do you hear in the word retreat?

FYI, I have never done number 3, don't get jealous, I don't know what I am talking about. Also never done 1 or 2 come to think of it. Although, my occasional sigh and handing over the Ipad to whiney children often feels like number 1.

HA. I know you know what I mean.

I don't know why, but I have been thinking about this concept lately.

Mainly because I have been thinking/daydreaming about taking myself on a retreat to a camp somewhere. Alone. So I can really actually finish my book.

Can you imagine?

For a sometime on the border introvert/extrovert it sounds magical to me. I need to not talk for awhile, to re-energize. I can handle yammering of children day in and day out, but there is a moment in a women's life where she needs to TURN OFF THE NOISE and NOT TALK. Like when you drive in the car, alone (gasp) usually to somewhere glamorous like the grocery store, and you think, WOW I could listen to NPR in peace if I wanted to and you turn it on for a moment but turn it off just as quickly because SILENCE is much more attractive??

Yes. That.

So I google writers retreats/retreat centers/etc.

And I find some. For a small fortune I could go to a lakeside retreat up north and have someone tell me when to do yoga and when to think deep spiritual thoughts.

For a lesser fee I could go to a church camp type place and rent a small cabin with  mini-fridge, eat in a cafeteria for dinner, and be left to my devices. (Clearly my favorite choice.)

Or I could go to a monastery type place, for near to free, and take a vow of silence for a weekend.

Attractive, in a strange way, but not sure if they would be cool with the clacking of the computer keys.

In any case.

Retreat to me, in this moment, feels like all three.

I need to admit that the hill is not lost, per se, but that I need a breather. I need to step out of the daily battle, not answer questions all day (is it just me or is the age of 7 the age, like 4, of constant questions ALL DAY LONG?? What does scowl mean? What about grimace? What does it look like? How about glower mom? Etc. etc. etc.)

Maybe this is more the concept of the retreat in #1 anyhow, right? Lets step back. Tend to our wounds and try to take this hill again tomorrow, fresh, with more fight in us.

Does anyone do this? How? I mean, I think it also a daily task for the mother. Right? Okay, we think, as the kids wage war against bedtime, one more hour, and surely they will be asleep and FINALLY I can watch that Grey's Anatomy special from three weeks ago! And eat the secret ice cream!

This is our retreat.

It is closing our eyes in the dentist chair, imagining that stupid bright light is the sun of a beach. It is blasting that embarrassingly familiar pop song from the 90s (instead of NPR, ha!) on the way to the store. It is a perfect cup of fresh coffee on a cloudy rainy day.

It is putting in ear plugs on a Friday morning while the kiddies watch PBS kids on an IGadget so you can write a post on your blog. (Yes. Earplugs. Yes. HA!)


Even for a moment.

And so, a few weeks ago, we reclaimed our need for space and rearranged bedrooms and moved the girls into our too-small-for-a-king-sized-bed room and we claimed the family room downstairs that seldom gets used in the day-to-day of our family.



Its amazing.

There is a chair, with a lamp and books nearby, my favorite books, collected from forgotten corners of the house, all in one place, smiling at me. There is a bright pink geranium in the window. There is a wall filled with paintings and pictures from favorite people and places, memories of past lives. The walls are a cool grey color. The woodstove crackles on cool nights. Rocking chair in the corner. And yes, we still have the kiddos school desk against the wall, but it works. For movie night the kids pile in our bed and we watch, cozied up under a quilt.

I don't think I have had a bedroom like this as an adult, one that feel like, well, a retreat, a space to be and think.

Of course, the perfect reading chair is mostly covered with laundry, 24/7. I haven't yet stayed up sitting in it to read. And I can't quite seem to figure out what to hang over the bed. Maybe one of those giant pieces of fabric from Ikea?

But, in any case.


My plan is to turn the school desk into my writing table, once we turn the garage into a new family room (with a  school corner!) and fill the corners of the room with ferns and lemon trees. Yes. I want a lemon tree IN MY BEDROOM. A little one, clearly. MUST HAVE LEMON TREE.

And yes, the retreat center for a weekend of writing still must happen. Selfish I know. HA. I'll let you know when. Maybe we can all do a virtual retreat together. Because its not giving up the hill, right? Its living to fight another day!



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