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This Moment

September 23, 2011


{This moment: A special moment I want to savour and remember. A moment that captures the heart and soul, a moment that says it all.

Please leave me your moment if you are so inspired!}

 

 

My condolences…

September 22, 2011


For the last fours years our back yard has been graced with the lovely clucking of our chickens. Four years,  nineteen ladies in two batches, more eggs than we could use and many, many laughs at their antics and escapades have enriched our lives in more ways than I can share. Both Rudie and I learned about ourselves and responsibility as we cared for our ladies – keeping them warm in the winter, defrosting water in inclement weather, helping them keep cool in the summer and just loving them.

In the last few days we have lost all last five hens to some predator. The coop remains untouched – we really don’t now how it got in but one day two were dead and today, the last three. Whatever has gotten them is a nasty, vicious creature. I was able to handle the first two deaths but today’s massacre just sent my hormone ridden self over the top.

This last weekend, after the first losses, we decided to get six new chicks to up the egg production.  In the last few months our ladies had been ending their egg production years and we wanted to keep a few for pets – we had started to get attached to them. After a brief trip to the feed store (and many phone calls to see which feed store might have chicks in mid September!) we came home with three Barred Rocks and three Rhode Island Reds. Our days have been filled with a little boy asking to see baby chicks and to hold baby chicks. My favorite is his attempts to get them to eat (they don’t need much help!) and wanting to blow bubbles for their amusement.

I will never forget this first batch of hens – my back door step will be empty until the new babies are ready to take their place in the coop.

In my own skin

September 14, 2011


First Birthday

In a few weeks my little guy will be turning two. That means I will have been a mother for a whole two years – and while that is not a very long time in the grand scheme of things or in the eyes of many experienced, veteran parents, in my world this is a very long time. Many changes have happened since that early fall day when they put the little hairy guy on my chest – he looked at me, I looked at him and wondered,  who are you and now, who am I?

In the last few days he has changed once more, from easy going to a full blown two year old toddler. He suddenly has an opinion and an attitude about just about everything. Once a fantastic (and enviable) sleeper, he no longer agrees to sleeping without some assistance. To say my patience has been stressed to the limit is an understatement. And yet, as this new challenge arises and my parenting knowledge changes and adapts once more feel more comfortable listening to him and myself.

As an early parent I read the books, I read the websites, the blogs and the pamphlets. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on just to be able to “learn” how to parent. I had no clue what I was doing. Frightened with this tiny child who depended on me for everything, I cried and cried as he refused to breastfeed, as he slept more than he should have,as he got colicky, constipated, and as he got ear infection after ear infection. I looked for answers anywhere – except where the voice was loudest, in my own head and heart. In the last two years I have learned to listen to my own voice, my own mothering instinct and knowledge and learned to trust both him and myself.

By trusting him I have seen him tell me what he needs and wants. He tells me his moods, his attitudes and what he needs most from me as the days go by. This child is most capable to sharing his needs and his mood swings, and when I don’t listen and pay attention is when I pay for it. By trusting me I have learned to feel comfortable in my own skin, to trust myself and what I think is right and wrong. I listen and adapt our lives to what fits him.

It was that voice who told me that he would eventually gain weight.

It was that voice who told me to rock him to sleep when he cried night after night.

It was that voice who told me that while my family all thought he was fine, he was indeed very ill on an out of state trip and need to see a doctor.

And it was that voice that told me that this little almost two year old needs a little comforting from his Mommy, a little extra love and kindness as he rushes toward independence at a breakneck speed. I am beginning to like the sound of that voice.

This kind of a day…

September 8, 2011


 

Some days are the kind of days where:

~ you chase and chase and yet never catch up

~ daydreaming consists of all the sewing or knitting you wish you could do but have no time for

~ friends show up with four! massive bags of spinach in need of processing

~ toddlers seem to be in one of those moods

~  you pray for a nap for anyone and everyone

~ picking flowers can be considered exercise!

~ while you swore you would not eat out, sometimes it needs to be an option

~ you get handed two handfuls of poop, only to find there is a trail of it down the hallway. (ugh!)

~you find your little boy might not fit into his cloth diapers anymore

~ getting the stove wiped down is an accomplishment

~ having fun becomes a priority, making dinner not so much!

Hope your day is fruitful and fun filled. The summer heat has finally arrived in Oregon and we are out to enjoy it as much as possible!

 

 

Add a pinch of humility

September 7, 2011


I do not have any pictures to add to today’s post. I know this is a rare moment, it was a busy day but not in the way of doing things. During an attempt to get G to take an afternoon nap, a neighbor came over for a chat. She began telling me about her days as a Navy wife, living on base, raising two boys on a tight, tight budget and what it took to be a wife and mother back then.

She told me about feeding a family on what would today be less than $20 a week – a family of four. She told me of sewing, mending, darning and weaving, of using last years socks to re-knit into this years socks. She described the sense of community and how every family knew each other, how they would put food up for the winters and use every last scrap of materials to not have to buy anything.

This conversation hit a note for me today. Lately I have been having an issue with priorities – what, exactly, is the right direction for our family of three – soon to be four. I love putting food up, gardening, knitting, and cooking from scratch. I enjoy the frugality of our lifestyle, I enjoy knowing that I am being both kind to my budget and true to my own ethics.

Yet there are many days when I dream and stray to a more “convenient” lifestyle. Why couldn’t I use more pre-packaged meals, more frozen snacks and more store bought goodies? If I could just switch to a more ready made lifestyle maybe I would have more time to do other things – maybe get a gym membership, maybe run more, maybe be more stylish, polish my nails, visit trendy restaurants – yes, the list goes on and on.

The only problem is, that I’ve lived that life. I grew up living the convenient life with drive thru’s and nail salons. For many, many years that was all I knew – until I realized that there might be a different direction for my life to go. I dreamed of a farm, a family and a home – a real home where it was made and not bought. A home with consistency and a rhythm. It might not always be perfect ( in fact, ours is far from perfect most of the time!) but it is comfortable and cozy and easy.

My neighbor’s stories helped remind me that while it may no longer be the 1960’s, many of the family values still apply today.  She helped me remember to sort my priorities, remember what is most important to our little family and be present in today. She helped me remember that while we sacrifice for our children, the rewards are hundredfold the effort given.  And,  while sometimes the easy road looks shiny and fun, it is often the bumpy road that leads to the best swimming hole.

 

Ravioli time!

September 6, 2011


A few weeks ago a dear friend gifted us six gallons of milk. Six!! I was thrilled at the challenge of finding what, exactly, to do with all the fabulous milk. While some went into the freezer for later drinking (which, while the husband was rather unsure of the frozen milk, turned out absolutely perfect – thank you very much!) but it would be waaaaaay  too boring to just freeze it all – and I didn’t really have the freezer space.

We love to make mozzarella. There is something about the fresh taste of the creamy cheese with salt and fresh ground pepper on it that just brings you to a different state of mind. You take a bite and suddenly you smell ripe tomatoes, lemon balm, the warm Tuscan sun on your shoulders and some hot Italian guy breathing down your neck…

Calm down, Momma.

Mozzarella is really fun to make – except when you are chasing a toddler and have construction going on. When you’re not exactly primed for time, cheese is really not the thing to undertake. It takes TIME. It takes patience to get the temperature right and its a process. But ricotta… yes, the ricotta recipe seamed easy enough to undertake. Boil, add vinegar, boil again, strain and refrigerate.  I could handle that.

But with all that ricotta in the fridge something else had to be done – raviolis! Fresh made pasta from our ladies rolled out into smooth, elastic sheets, ricotta mixed with garden fresh herbs and eggs, salt and pepper and we were in business!

My mother in law gave me this lovely ravioli cutter that was a life saver. It saved so much time by not having to crimp every single piece by hand and by giving me really pretty (albeit large!) raviolis.

The best part of the raviolis? I have a bag full of wonderful, homemade fast dinner waiting in the freezer – and they are delish!

 

 

Early risings…

September 5, 2011


For whatever reason, I appears that I am unable to sleep in anymore. Whether it is new found energy (doubtful!) or just weird circumstances, my usual ability to rest and sleep in when the munchkin lets me seems to have left. After a few days of frustration and anger about this issue (why can’t I sleep in! I really, really want to!!) I have decided to embrace it and allow my days to start at the crack of dawn.

Dawn is a beautiful time in the Pacific Northwest. And for a parent, there is a tranquility of being able to get up and have an early start to the morning without a little one asking for hugs, food or cuddles. As I journey through my mornings I am realizing that these early risings allow my brain to awaken, to gather and plan for my day and what I wish to get done before my little one rises. This morning, armed with a piece of toast and a cup of tea, I was able to have some quiet journaling time, some time to reflect on my own state of mind and being – some time to lay priorities on paper to remind and remember what they are.

As the days goes by and summer becomes fall, I feel the seasons sometimes need to be recorded and remembered – both internally and vocally.

And as I finished this post I hear a little voice calling for Momma. And thus ends my quiet time!

 

 

 

 

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