Tuesday, April 29, 2014

simple home

We had a lovely time with my mom last week.  It was nice to see her after too long apart.  We enjoyed some beautiful sight seeing, some board games, some eating out, some relaxing, and even just a little thrift shopping.  My favorite was just to sit and chat, about anything and nothing at all.  I should also confess that I may have got her addicted to Pinterest.

Our baby chicks are here and I am over the moon!  These little creatures have just swept me off my feet.  My youngest son is captivated as well.  They are fascinating to watch and even better to hold and snuggle with.

We brought five home, of four different varieties.  And against my better judgment we've already named them.

Braveheart and Nugget were sold as Americauna but after some research I suspect they may be Easter Eggers.
Elsa is a Golden Laced Wyandotte.
Mintie is a Rhode Island Red.
Pearl is a Buff Orpington.

We took our chicks on an outing to the backyard this afternoon.  They love grass and dirt and bugs.  


Checking in with the garden shows the first hints of sunflower plants (two twin leaves per plant).  Tiny little lettuce leaves have sprouted up and a cluster of leaves that I believe is a watermelon (or a cool looking weed).  The thyme I planted inside is the first of the herbs to make an appearance.  And my mom helped me discover an Iris out front!  This is a lovely surprise as Iris are my favorite!

The boys are enjoying the first popsicles of the season.  The weather is gorgeous!  I'm going to make Mint Lemonade with my homegrown mint.  Dinner will be pork chops, mashed yellow potatoes, asparagus, and mixed fresh blackberries and strawberries.  Warm brownies a la mode for dessert.

The willingness to be and to have just what God wants us to be and have, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else, would set our hearts at rest, and we would discover the simpler life, the greater peace.
Elisabeth Elliot

Saturday, April 19, 2014


There is a pigeon nearby, calling over and over again.  What is he saying?  Whatever it is, he is adamant about it.

The cherry tree is in full bloom.  White blossoms.  I thought cherry trees always blossomed pink.

We are going to a new dentist next week.  This requires an hour of filling out paperwork which I am breaking down to 10 minute increments over the course of a week.  Got to pace yourself, you know?

I planted thyme.  It takes 120-180 days to harvest.  4 or 5 months.  I think I know how it got it's name.

Blake and I went to the Country Store and saw some adorable little turkey chicks.  These little chicks were so inquisitive and very playful.  One craned it's little neck to watch me and it's big eyes just made me laugh.

I made this:

This is not a picture of mine although mine looks almost identical.  It is a potato tower.  I planted 4 different types of potatoes in my tower in rich chicken manure soil.  When I was through with that, I planted some spaghetti squash seeds elsewhere.  I think I'm done with spring planting now but I'd love to try a late summer planting for a second harvest.
We finished first semester this week.  18 weeks in, 18 weeks to go.  And always the question: am I doing enough?
Tonight's dinner:  Pioneer Woman's Sloppy Joes, corn on the cob, fresh fruit salad.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

a little lot in town

In the sunshine of a spring afternoon I planted my garden.  While listening to cello ballads on Pandora through headphones I sewed little seeds and covered them with soil I had been preparing for weeks.  Birds sang with all the hope and faith I felt as those seeds went into the ground.

My gardening methods are haphazard.  Seeds get into the ground and receive water and lots of love.  If that is enough, they will grow.  If not, they will not.  And so it goes.

What I've planted so far:
  • yellow heirloom tomatoes
  • lavender
  • red corn
  • sunflowers
  • peas
  • moon and stars watermelon
  • zucchini
  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • carrots
What I've yet to plant:
  • indoor herbs
  • potatoes
  • spaghetti squash
The chicken coop is nigh unto finished.  There are a couple finishing touches yet to be done...as time allows.  The chicks will be purchased in a little over a week.  The local Country Store sells chicks but their Friday shipments go so fast.  There are online sources for chicks but I think we will be trying to get some local babies.

Our little farm would be complete with a goat.  My husband is not on board with this idea, yet.  I know goats can be persnickety but it'd be so awesome to have a milk source.  And I'd learn to make cheese.

All of this on a little lot in town.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

my yoga

I practice yoga with a few different instructors.  Each one has their own way about them, like different yoga personalities.  By practicing with each of them I feel like I get a really rounded practice. 

I do have a favorite though.  She's a gentle presence with immense strength.  Her voice is soothing and encouraging.  It is, in part, because of her that I have found my own strength.  She has inspired me.  With her I feel like the karate kid with Mr. Miyagi.

As with most good teacher student relationships there comes a point when the student must try out their own wings, apart from the teacher.  When the teacher stands aside, out of view of the student and just lets them fly.  This is the idea I am embracing since hearing that my favorite yoga instructor is leaving.

A good yoga practice is not about the instructor at all.  It is such an individual experience.

This too, I tried to remember as I practiced my downward facing dog (a yoga pose) in class, my yoga mat next to the mat of a beautiful blonde yoga Barbie, the very epitome of yoga with the flexibility of Gumby.  The very yoga Barbie that is to be my new instructor.

But seriously, the idea of yoga is not competition or comparisons.  It is how I can challenge myself to be more than I was yesterday.  It is strength and weakness and the ability to embrace both equally.

Mr. Miyagi is leaving but his inspiration and strength have rooted themselves in my life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

another birthday eve

It was a beautiful sunny spring afternoon when we took our first baby home from the hospital.  I'd never seen a day as colorful, nor have I since.  That baby changed how I viewed the world, how I viewed life, how I viewed myself.  And still, 15 years later, he challenges me, changes me still.

Tomorrow we will celebrate our Austin and his 15 years.  We bought him a brand new bike, a really nice looking set of wheels (shhh...it's a surprise).  He requested chili dogs for dinner.  And cheesecake.

Every day with him breaks new ground for us.  We've never parented a 15 year old before.  Every stage is a learning process, an adventure.  I've been breathing prayers unceasing for wisdom.  A mother's heart can sense things, see things in her child that are under the surface, not readily visible to the naked eye.  These things cause me to run to God and beg for wisdom. 

The boy turns into a man.  This is an uncharted wilderness.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

birthday eve

It is the eve of my youngest son's thirteenth birthday.  How this happens, I do not know.  I mean I do.  Know how it happens, I mean.  But that doesn't make it any easier. 
If I am the twenty-three years old that I feel, then math would show that he was born when I was ten.  And while this is not impossible, for me, when I was ten, it would have been.  Alas, I am a thirty-five year old mother reflecting on the eve of her baby's thirteenth birthday.  If he read this he'd be embarrassed.  That's where we are now.  He loves me, but I embarrass him. 
I've made his favorite chocolate peanut butter cream pie.  He requested BLT's for birthday dinner which we'll have with sweet potato fries.  And I'll look in his blue eyes and see a newborn, a chubby baby, a toddler, a quick little boy, a pre-teen, and a thirteen year old...all at once.  That's how motherhood sees.  All the memories, all the scenes of life, and even the scenes into the future, the what-may-be's, the hopes for life.
Happy birthday my boy.
In other news...I caught a fish the other day.  We spent the day up at our favorite lake.  I built a campfire and we roasted hot dogs.  Austin and I rowed around the lake, admiring a big heron that we startled out of his fishing post and a magnificent osprey, also spooked by our presence.  Aaron and I took a turn in the canoe for awhile, fishing.  I hooked a really pretty rainbow trout and impressed my husband.  That's all I set out to do anyway.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

show and tell

I have to start off by saying, my husband is wonderful.
When his wife gets silly ideas like, say, let's get chickens, she probably thinks there's nothing to it.  Like, you just get chickens and they lay eggs and everyone lives happily ever after.
Of course, chickens must have a place to live and lay said eggs. 
Of course.
My sweet man browsed Pinterest with me, listened to my desires concerning a chicken domicile, and crafted an idea in his mind.  He spent the last couple days building his idea into real life.
This is what our chicken tractor looks like so far:
Blake and I spent hours painting every nook and cranny of that thing today with a primer coat.  It will have wheels and chicken wire.  It will have roofing shingles and a nice coat of sage green semi gloss paint, you know, chicken necessities.  I will show pictures here in a couple days when it's all done!!
The garden is coming along swimmingly.  This is another of those areas where my husband's ingenuity comes into play.  I told him my ideas for the fence and that I really, really, REALLY wanted to build it myself.  No help.  Just me. 
I went to Home Depot and wandered the aisles realizing in short measure that I had no clue how to go about building what I envisioned in my head.
Aaron helped me.  Of course.  He's so good at making things.  And I'm so....haphazard and flighty about stuff.  I insist that he just slap something together and he insists on using a level and proper tools.  Psh.
Anyway, here's the beginning stage of the fence:


Here is our beautiful driftwood fence all completed.  I love it!
Today I began planting, just not IN the garden.  I planted some little yellow tomatoes in a big pot with a tomato cage.  These are from seeds not from starts so we'll see how they fare.  I also planted some lavender seeds in the front flowerbeds.  These beds are full sun and I'm afraid they may be too dry for the little seeds to really catch on.

A beautiful little male Rufous Hummingbird stopped in this evening.  His body was rust colored with a lighter underbelly.  I read that this variety of hummingbird is the smallest bird in our region and that these little guys winter in Mexico with the males showing up here in the early spring, earlier than the females.  Isn't it funny that it's usually the guys waiting on the gals?  I think it's really cool that maybe just a month ago that tiny little body was in Mexico and now he's taking sustenance at my feeder.

Happy spring everyone!

Friday, April 4, 2014


Outside my window...
Spring is here, Spring is here, Spring is here!  It's our first Spring in our new house so it's fun to see what sorts of things come up out of the ground and also to see how the bushes and trees change.
Today it is nice and sunny but still a little chilly (56).

I am thinking...
Work was really busy today.  As the months progress it gets busier and busier.  I'm thankful for a job.  Thankful for the gas and grocery money.

I am thankful...
Lately I've been really thankful for the town we call home.  It's just a small town but I'm really, really happy here.  The people make it nice.  The location is beautiful.  I just miss my family so much.  But still thankful.
In the kitchen...
By request of my youngest son, this is dinner:
baked chicken
baked sweet potatoes
French bread

I am wearing...
Loose fit jeans (they are too big but I can't get rid of them!)
my new favorite tee from Old Navy, it's almost as soft as a baby's bum (vintage style, heathered blue, with 3/4 sleeves)
blue K-9 Rocket flats
And rocking a fresh haircut.

I am going...
to relax this evening and watch a movie with my family (Gravity)
I am looking forward to...
a good morning workout (love Saturdays) and the rest of the day at home.  I have a big list of to-do's...why do I always have this list?  BUT, I have a to-do list app on my phone that I adore.  Seriously, this has become my most present companion.  And when I complete a task, I just slide my finger across the screen and it draws a line right through it.  Love this technology.
Also looking forward to getting my garden planted next week.  NEXT week!  And we're getting chickens this month.  Woot!

I am learning...
This 35th year of mine has certainly brought with it some clarity.  Inward reflection has revealed parts of myself that were forgotten or just not yet found.  The revealings unearth great things but I've spied some dark corners that had been covered over.  I know that this realization is a good thing ultimately but it also scares me a bit, knowing that I can't just leave things be.  As I grow in grace and wisdom, I must face the ugly shadows within myself.

From our schoolroom (aka: the dining room)...
We're finishing up week 17 this week and we're taking next week off of school (Spring Break!).  One week beyond that and we'll be done with the first semester.

A favorite quote for today...
"A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it.
It just blooms."

Just bloom.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

my people

She's a 22 pound spitfire.  A blue eyed bundle of personality.  Ruffles and twirls and pink and the confidence to pull it off.  She's one of the reasons God gave us boys but filled our life with some really amazing nieces.  Really, I think we have the best nieces an aunt and uncle could have.  I love them all so much.
And she is no exception.

We spent a nice afternoon with our little niece, her mom, and her grandma (my mother-in-law).
We took them around our town (the five minute tour).
We took them to the beach and rock picked.
Uncle Aaron obligingly gave the little princess a lift.

She even commanded a lift from the almost fifteen year old!  This is really something as he usually avoids anything small and pink!

She ultimately chose Blake. 

I love family. 
This particular family lives in Colorado now and we don't see them often enough.  My mom and dad-in-law live a few hours away and we don't see them often enough.  My mom and brothers live a state away and it's been a long while.  My sister lives two states away....you get the idea.
Maybe it is absence that makes the heart grow fonder, or it is wisdom gained through the years but I've come to know with my whole heart that FAMILY has deeper running roots than just by name or marriage.  These people, my family, occupy my heart and no matter how long we are apart, when we are together it is as if no time passed at all.  I just want to sit and drink coffee with them and laugh and be quiet together. 
They are my people and I am theirs.