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

Leave a comment

My First Garden

american gothic
garden 2
garden 3
garden 5
garden 4
garden 1
I have always considered myself a person with two black thumbs. I have always managed to kill off every houseplant I have ever tried to grow. And yet, I love having growing things around. If it were not for my naughty kitty-cat Molly, who devours plants, I would have them all over the house. I have also dreamed all of my life of having land of my own to grow a garden on. Since buying the house in September, this is now a reality for me.

Several weeks back, the snow thawed away enough to reveal green shoots underneath. These have since grown tall, and revealed themselves to be daffodils. This week, just in time for yesterday’s celebration of Spring’s return, a few of them bloomed. It makes me smile every time I pass the garden to see the happy yellow flowers there.

There are new things popping up in other places around the house. Time will tell what they will be.

So here I am, experiencing my very first Spring with a garden, and with absolutely no idea what I am doing. I have zero gardening experience and a miniscule amount of knowledge. Thankfully, I know many people who do know what they are doing, and who are willing to offer info and advice. I also have plans to pore over some gardening books from the library. And there is always Google.

Today I finally dug in. I raked out all of the dead leaves and twigs. Grass had overgrown into the garden, and was surrounding the daffodils, I began digging and pulling it out. I unearthed some bricks, and used them to extend the boundary around the garden, where the wood border ended. After a while, I finished for the day. There is still a lot of grass remaining to be pulled, but it was a start for someone who has never gardened in their life.

I have plans, lots of plans. I am contemplating peonies or sweet william to join the daffodils in the side garden. Bushes are being removed from the front of the house, and a whole new gardening area will be created there. I want to grow container tomatoes and cucumbers and an herb garden on the deck this year.

Someday we will convert the car port into a greenhouse and grow oodles of things. We’d love to focus our energies mostly on edible things. This year though, it is our first in the house, and I am pregnant, so I am keeping it simple.

If you have any tips or anecdotes about gardening, or aspirations of your own, I’d love to hear from you in a comment!


Leave a comment

Around Here

thinking about green
simons room progress 4
Simons room progress 3
patched hole
molly on the stairs
jeramy scraping
sam with boxes
paint colors for simons room
We live in home renovation madness. So many projects, so little time. When we prepared to move in, Jeramy and I agreed: Simon’s room comes first. Not only did we want our little guy to have a brand-spanking new room that he could be proud of, but it also happened to be the room that was possibly in the worst shape, at least visually. Stained yellow wallpaper, holes cut in the wall from when previous owners did insulation or electrical work, and peeling paint and paper made a room not cut out for a three-year-old. We have been spending a bit of every evening in there, peeling, sanding, priming, and cleaning. The room should be ready by the end of the week.

In the meantime, Simon’s bed is in our room. This time reminds me of when he was a baby, and shared a room with us. I find myself afraid to even cough, for fear of waking him. I believe we will all sleep more soundly when he is in his own space, but I do love seeing him, zonked out in his footy pajamas, when I go to bed at night.

Downstairs is chaos too. Boxes, boxes, everywhere. Large furniture that needs to be relocated. As I type I sit at the Dining Room table, which is, unlike many things we own, in the room where it belongs. However, there is a bureau on my left, another bureau and an uninstalled dishwasher in front of me, three bookshelves, a television, 2 baskets of clothes, and some painting supplies on my right. Not very Dining Room-like.

The kitchen is the most put together room, and the room that will someday be our Library is the least. These two spaces are right next to one another, yet provide me with a much different level of inner peace as I walk through right now.

I am trying to seek a sense of serenity through all of this. The realization that this is all temporary, and that this is our home, that we can do whatever we want to, makes it easier.

We will get there, little by little. I cannot wait to share all of our progress along the way.

1 Comment

Our New Home

House Listing Photo
Backyard before septic
We have moved! I have been away from blogging for a bit as we have gone through this whirling dervish of packing up our life and beginning the new adventure of home ownership. We closed on the house on Friday the 13th, and moved in the rain, and we all caught colds– with Simon getting very sick and having to spend a night in the hospital. I underestimated my readiness and ended up with more cleaning and packing to do than I thought at the last minute. We were grumpy with one another at times, and didn’t get enough sleep. We are living in a pile of boxes and furniture that doesn’t yet have a spot. It is hectic.

However, it is beginning to feel like home. I have gotten the kitchen mostly unpacked, and have managed to cook and bake here already. We have been doing renovation projects right off the bat to get the house to be right for us. Our two kitties walk around like they have lived here all along, and weren’t traumatically brought here in a car, screaming their heads off. When I am not home, I find myself worrying about my house, like I would a child.

Simon and I went for a walk the other day in the new neighborhood. Further down our road we can take a right and end up at a horse farm. Just beyond that is another farm with some domesticated deer. As we looked at the animals, chatted with friendly neighbors who were also out walking, and strolled past houses with the grassy and tree-filled yards, I reflected on what a change this is for me. We moved a lot when I was a child, and I lived in a variety of home types, but mostly we were in apartment buildings in urban settings. I am much more used to the sounds of traffic and construction than I am chirping crickets and the neighbor’s rooster.

It is definitely not as important where you are. It is what you make of it and who you make it with that creates a sense of home. However, I am brimming with thankfulness in my heart that we have all of this space to work with. I have always dreamed of living more rurally, with chickens in the yard, trees to build a fort in, and a bit of land to work and grow food on. That dream has come true and I am feeling so incredibly blessed.

1 Comment

Where My Brain Is At

Hi there. Things have been a bit all over the place lately, both literally and mentally. I wanted to stop by tonight and give you an update to fill you in on all the goings-on of my recent days.

~We are buying a house! I need to repeat that. We are buying a house! I am thrilled, but it is also exhausting. Paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. Home inspection, appraisal, meeting with our lender, calls to our realtor, arranging for a move and notifying our current landlord, homeowner’s insurance, etc. You are probably bored just reading these last couple of sentences. I don’t blame you. That is part of my lack of blogging lately; as excited as I am that we are going through this process at last, it is mostly mind-numbing.

~I have been daydreaming of decor and home improvement projects. I am suddenly interested in learning to tile. I notice other people’s landscaping in detail I never cared to before. I have started mentally plotting the garden that I won’t even be able to begin working on until next Spring. I find myself using trite phrases like “curb appeal” and “resale value”. I have wasted hours online, browsing through virtual home tours. Yeah, I have become a home decor nerd. I am looking forward to the time when I can share some before and after pictures here on the blog.

~Simon starts part-time preschool just 2 weeks from today! I know he is going to love it and have a blast. His teachers sent him a letter that arrived today with some enclosed stickers. It made him feel really special. Even though we are planning to homeschool, this will give him some time out of the house to make friends, socialize, and learn while I begin a new schedule at work.

~I am going to be presenting Storytimes for babies and preschoolers at the library where I already work as a Library Assistant. I have spent almost as much time daydreaming about this as I have the house. (Almost.) Choosing books that are perfect read-alouds, selecting songs and fingerplays, creating visuals, and plotting crafts and activities has trickled over into my time at home and not just at work, because I love my job so much. I am really hoping that I will get appointed to do this in an official capacity, but for now I am just filling in as a substitute while I tweak my resume and cover letter.

So….there is my bloggy brain dump for the evening. I am such a scatter brain lately as I process all of this. However, I am feeling like I have broken through to a bit of calm at the center of the storm. I just need to wait, breathe, and try to seize these last days of Summer.

Whatever will be, will be.

Leave a comment


painting time“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013.”

Simon: A moment of toddler zen with paint.

Moments of zen have been few and far between this past week. The good news is: our offer was accepted on a house and we are now under contract. However, there are still a few hoops to jump through before I allow myself to become truly excited. I have been indulging in the perusal of interior design on the internet, but I am refraining from thinking of it too much as “our house” in case I become permanently attached and something goes wrong.

I have also been preparing for a new role at work, and Simon will be starting part-time preschool at the end of the month. My brain has been reeling with all of the plans for moving, redecorating, budgeting, scheduling, etc. Please bear with me if my posting is a bit more all over the place as I go through so many changes at once.

I must remember to pause and seek moments of zen when I can.


1 Comment

When Life Hands You Graffiti, Make Pie

chocolate coconut pie 2
chocolate coconut pie

Our home was vandalized with spray paint and gang signs yesterday. We are not sure if it is really a gang moving into our neighborhood, or local kids pretending and trying to prank the neighborhood with symbols they found on the internet. Either way it is troubling, and set the tone for a fairly on edge day yesterday, especially as we kept finding more graffiti on our street with the same gang symbolism.

We also put an offer in on a house yesterday. This is our third time making an offer on a house, and we are hoping the expression is true: “Third time’s a charm”. We are keeping our fingers tightly crossed, and hoping and dreaming that this search for a home and yard of our own is finally coming to an end.

I am also struggling with a search for part-time preschool for Simon. I have found a place that we all love, but the hours they have there don’t fit with my new work schedule. I only have a few weeks to work this all out, and therefore, my stress level is high.

With all of these goings-on and things weighing on my mind yesterday, I decided the best course of action was to bake pie. Smooth dark chocolate pie, on a coconut crust, with almonds and sea salt sprinkled gently on top. Originally a Martha Stewart recipe, tweaked and passed along by a friend who loves to bake, and further tweaked a bit by me. Measuring, mixing, licking the spoon…all of this gave me something creative to focus on instead of stressful matters.

The next time you have a lot on your mind, causing you to fret, I highly recommend this course of action. Words to live by: “Just make pie.”



Searching For Our Nest

I have written before about our search for a home. The search that began in March, 2012 when we first made the decision that we were ready, that we could really do this. Over a year later we are still at it.

We have been to see so many homes, and have probably driven our realtor to madness. We are almost mad ourselves, from the frustration of it all. Twice, we have found a place that could be the right one for us, and twice been turned down because we just couldn’t quite pay asking price. Sellers aren’t budging because the market is turning the corner.

Today we went to yet another showing, saw a home that could have been right except for one major flaw. A flaw big and permanent enough to be a deal breaker. As we left, I found myself wanting to cry. More disappointment. I’d had high hopes for that one.

We aren’t even very picky. We don’t need a big house, just a big(ish) yard. We don’t need a fancy house, just one that doesn’t leak or have any toddler dangers. Our requirements are fairly simple; yet, in our price range it seems difficult to find something that meets them.

I know a lot of people have looked as long as we have, or even longer. I know Simon is still young, and has a lot of childhood ahead of him to run in our eventual backyard. I know that as long as we have a roof over our heads, and we are healthy and together, it doesn’t really matter where in the world we are. I know that we are lucky to even be in the position to look for a house. I know all that. It still gets discouraging to see place after place and have them all be wrong for us.

Someday…hopefully soon…we can look back on this journey and laugh at how bumpy it was. Right now I am disappointed, but I am working on being happy where I am now.

“Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself……”
― Paramahansa Yogananda