Motherhood, Art, Creative Play, and Finding Joy in Everyday Life



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February is almost over. There has been snow, snow, and more snow. And freezing cold temperatures. I am incredibly thankful to my wood stove. Yesterday our ceiling in the kitchen sprung a leak, and Jeramy spent the greater portion of his evening on the roof, breaking up an 8-inch thick ice dam. I made supper and sang “Raindrops keep falling on my head!”

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Days lately all seem very much the same. I am home with the children. Two days a week Simon goes to preschool and I have some one-on-one time with Malcolm, who is now almost 5 months old. Jeramy comes home, we make supper, put the big kid to bed. I read, Jeramy plays a game, the baby nurses and falls asleep. The three of us go to bed. It all starts over the next day. It is that part of winter. The doldrums.

Thank goodness for books and tea, coffee and chocolate, occasional sunshine even on the coldest of days.


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Spring Days

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Spring is moving along, finally feeling like it is here to stay, despite some chilly and rainy days scattered here and there. But it does get easier to get out of bed each morning, with everything outside being so new and fresh. As the days pass, my pregnancy is also getting a bit easier. I have felt a return of some energy, and my constant nausea has eased up some, though not left completely.

The results of some blood work ordered by my midwife revealed that I was very low in vitamin D. I should not have been surprised, given that I tend to struggle to get enough of this vitamin, and we did have an especially long and difficult winter that kept me indoors. Since taking extra D daily, and making an effort to eat certain foods that will help, I have felt a definite shift for the better. I am finding my daily motivation much more easily, my mood is better, and my husband has even noticed, and said I seem a bit more like myself.

Simon and I have been on a big reading kick lately. We are a family that is very fond of books all of the time, but lately, even with the increased time we have been spending outdoors, we have been reading even more. At the library last week Simon discovered a particular comic book, which he will spend an hour or more at a time poring over silently. We just finished our second chapter book read-aloud together in the Beverly Cleary series about Ralph mouse, and he is eager to get started on the third. He asks me all the time to read to him “our Ralph book”. Of course, there are also always piles of picture books to read together as well. Having his Mom work on the Children’s floor of the library is a definite perk for Simon.

As for me, well there are books on pregnancy and childbirth that I am reading and re-reading. A couple of my favorites include Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. Both of those are books that I read when pregnant the first time around, and they inspired me so much that I had to read them again this time. I am also currently enjoying Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper. I have many more on my to-read list before this baby arrives. Of course, I am also reading non-birth related books as well. I always have a small stack of three to six books in progress.

We have been going outside whenever possible, and Simon and I both even got little sunburns on our noses last week. I have been working to remove grass and weeds for another section of the garden, and discovered that I have peonies growing. On Easter, the weather was beautiful enough for an egg hunt, and Simon loved it so much that he wanted to hide and find eggs over and over again. I believe we had dozens and dozens of egg hunts that week, both inside and out. It feels terrific to be able to throw open the windows and let in the fresh air and sunshine most days. The cats are loving that part too, as they growl and chatter at the birds and squirrels.

My to-do list is quite overwhelming right now, with spring cleaning, Simon’s birthday approaching, home renovations, and a garden to discover and care for. Despite the clutter, the projects, and the pregnancy related tiredness, it feels so good to be spending our first spring season in our new home.

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Blue and Green on a Stormy Winter Day

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little ninja
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…and a few other colors too.

After two days in a row of terrible, terrible pregnancy nausea despite the medication, I felt great today. I woke up feeling good right off the bat, and could tell I wasn’t even going to have to take anything. After breakfast I put on some peppy music, fixed myself a cup of tea, and did some housework. I made a fresh salad for lunch, loaded up with veggies, nuts, and a bit of mozzarella. I spent a good deal of time on the couch, with Simon snuggled on my lap, reading aloud to him. And I took a bunch of random snapshots with my camera.

Instead of taking pictures of the snow, I decided to capture little spots of brightness around my house. Mostly greens and blues, which are colors I am sorely missing from the landscape outside my window (too much grey and white still out there). Hunting for these bits of color gave me a happy feeling, and definitely helped ease the winter “blahs”.


A Clean Start

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Now that I am taking medication for the crippling nausea, I am able to get through my days so much more productively than I was for almost the entire first two months of this pregnancy. I am still very exhausted most of the time, but a cup of tea, or a dose of sunshine have been helping me out there.

It isn’t quite Spring yet in this neck of the woods, but more of the snow is melting away* each day with the temperatures being up into the 30’s and even 40’s. Changing the clocks ahead may have robbed us of an hour of sleep for one night, but for me, it means an increase in hours of sunshine, which also increases my energy. The timing of seasonal change along with my transition from first trimester into second is perfect and much appreciated.

So now I turn my focus from just surviving each day to improving my environment at home. Almost two months of being behind on the chores (for someone who is not exactly the word’s best housekeeper to begin with), has been making me twitchy for some deep cleaning and organizing. I started the other day, at one end of the house-the kitchen, working my way around, really cleaning everything: pulling things out and wiping and dusting behind them, clearing surfaces, working to finally find a place for everything (something I have not done since moving in).

It feels good to see a completely clear kitchen counter, or toys put neatly into a basket where they belong. Completely reorganizing everything is going to take time, especially when I get tired so easily right now, but it is making me feel good. Instead of looking around me and seeing clutter that stresses me out, I am seeing our new home transform into the place I have always wanted it to become.

*A snowstorm of 10-16 inches is predicted for this week. Winter has not had its final say.

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My Winter Reminder

This part of Winter has been rough for me. I have frequently felt sick, we have had loads of snow and ice, and things feel a bit stale. I find myself repeating: “One day at a time.” as a reminder that it will get warmer, I will feel better, and routines will change again.

Sometimes I forget to appreciate Winter for what it can be. If I let it, it can be an opportunity for connection. We are forced inside, we spend more time together in close proximity. Sometimes, we take turns caring for one another when we catch colds or illness. We learn to seize upon the days when the sky is blue, and the temperature jumps above freezing for a while, because we don’t know how long before it will happen again. And when it is snowing, and sleeting, and freezing rain for the third time in a week, we hunker together and try to be in awe of nature.

It is hard for me to do this. To put a positive spin on Winter and find the joy in it, when it goes on for months and months in this part of the world. But I have to take the time, for my own good. I need to stop, take a moment, and remind myself that Winter is a season in nature, and in the flow of life, when I must work a bit harder to be mindful and seek the positive, but the reward of doing so is crucial to my soul.

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Winter Nature Table

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Last week, Jeramy and my Brother-in-law installed the woodstove in our living room. This is going to help us cut down our heating costs, and add a feeling of coziness to our home. This has also required rearranging our furniture. While the work was still being done, everything was just shoved to the center of the room. We had to squeeze around furniture to get through the room, and everything looked a mess. The other day, once the installation was complete, I became motivated and began moving things into place.

I placed this awesome little rough edge table (which I bought from the previous owners of this house for eight dollars at a sale they had before they moved out) under the window and decided to turn it into our little nature table. I have been wanting to create a nature shelf, table, or corner in our home for ages now, and I am so glad I have finally gotten around to it. The plan is to change the items that are on it with the seasons. In Spring we might have a branch with buds, and some seeds. In Summer, seashells and flowers. In Autumn, bright leaves and some twigs and pinecones. Books that tie-in with the current season will also make great items for this spot.

This is an excellent opportunity for Simon to be hands on with nature, and to learn more about our changing seasons. He is allowed to play with and touch everything on there. He feels proud to showcase his treasures that he collects when we go on walks.

I have many more ideas for this little spot of the living room. Quotes about nature or photographs that I would like to hang on the wall right nearby, baskets to place under or beside the table for collections of items and more books, a little swiveling light to shine in the evenings here. For now though, I think it is a good beginning.