Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Today, we...
- packed up a house worth of baby gear and babies for a drive down to C-town
- took the first dip in the pool of the year with a very excited, green-and-white polka dot and stripe-clad girl
- ate birthday cake
- enjoyed family from out-of-town and family about to leave town
- had so much fun, naps were a distant memory
- got a touch of sunburn
- had a joyful, reflective, windy, reverent, sunny, sticky, loving Memorial Day.

Wishing everyone just the same today and in the future!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


This morning, it is actually in the 60s with low humidity... a rarity, especially considering how close we are to June! With both kiddos still in dreamland, the morning chores handled, a pot of oatmeal bubbling away on the stove, and the crisp morning air coming through the kitchen window, I couldn't resist a walk through the garden. I (almost giddily) headed out before the sun had totally cleared the house, with coffee in one hand and camera in the other, to soak up some of that magical early morning light. I wasn't disappointed.

One of my favorite ways to spend some 'me' time is to take a walk through the paths that represent so much work, and watch as things blossom and grow. I almost always discover something new, pick something lovely, and come away feeling simultaneously accomplished and humbled. Oh, and did I mention the other visitors that have been eying my cultivations?

They've stayed on the other side of the creek so far (yes, they), and it better stay that way! This garden only has room for one hungry admirer!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Usual

This was a Tuesday of many little celebrations. Celebrations of the everyday, usual, and boring, but all the same, celebrations of the things I hold so, so dear. Celebrations of moments that will fly by faster than we know, like...

Sleeping babies

(This little guy's sleep training is starting to pay off... 6 weeks old and sleeping 5-6 hours straight at night!)

Blurry toddler fairy wings

Fresh green bean cassarole

Steaks searing in 100-year-old cast iron

Spring thunderstorms

It may seem cliche, but these everyday things that surround me... well... every day, are the most important things in my world. It is easy to get caught up in to-do lists, plans and procedures, and even routine, and miss out on the very things you're working for. Every once-in-a-while, it's good to just stop, look around, and celebrate the usual.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Moment Spent in Appreciation

This afternoon, the stars aligned and both babies went down for a nap at the same time. While they were playing together in dream land, I took a stroll through our little garden plot out back. It is doing quite well, if I may say so. I have already picked pounds and pounds of green (and purple!) beans, which is pounds and pounds more than I got out of the garden last year. I have already had the pleasure of enjoying an eggplant, two yellow squash, a zucchini, lots of radishes, and even more beets. Then there's the herbs in their aromatic bounty and the pest-deterring flowers blooming at the gardens' borders... it is truly uplifting to walk the narrow paths and peek at the growing plants in the beds that represent so much hard work and love!

The toils of loving garden labor have yielded fuel for a secondary hobby I started dabbling in last year: canning. I have searched many a website and have read many a book learning about canning, preserving, and even drying garden produce. I tried many different recipes in my initial attempts at these methods, many successful and some not! This year, my garden has finally yielded enough spring goodness for me to pick back up and continue the craft! Today's endeavor: beets!

Three pounds of scarlet-red lovelies

To launch the canning season(s), I am trying pickled beets from Put 'Em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton. There were actually two versions, and I settled on the more traditional recipe with dill and white vinegar. The prep would have been easy had it not been for my two little darlings, who forced me to stretch it out over several days. However, they made up for it this afternoon, allowing for the resolution of this 4-pint project! 

Funny thing about sleeping babies and old-fashioned projects... they allow your mind to wander while you loose yourself in the task. I found myself thinking about the past, and the countless mothers and grandmothers who performed the same chores that I was fumbling through for generation after generation. What really got me thinking, however, was the contrast in circumstances.

I was filled with a sense of appreciation for the hard work of ancestors who, let's be honest, got us all to where we are now. How amazing is it that, while I garden and can as a hobby, not two or three generations ago families relied on that work to make it through the year? It's not a big deal if my seeds don't germinate or I accidentally let something bolt or go bad, it's just a learning experience for the next season. My family won't starve, be malnourished, or miss a rent payment because of it.

Then I started looking around... I was able to steal this nap time to pickle my beets with peace of mind because I could glance at my digital monitor and know instantly the status of my babies. I was able to procrastinate up to today because the beets I picked last week were safely resting in my ice cold refrigerator. I was able to accomplish my chore because I could push a button and instantly have heat under my pots and pans, I could clean up in a few minutes by throwing everything in my dishwasher, and I could do it all in relative comfort because my air conditioner was working to keep my kitchen cool. Heck, I could also simultaneously do a few loads of laundry, too.

There is so much to be thankful for, and still so much taken for granted. What a beautiful life we have today because of the hard work of so many people before us, and how quickly we forget that hard work... and how to do it!

What started out as an afternoon bent on completing a procrastinated project turned in to a reflective, reverent, and humbling moment for me as a mother and as a homemaker... all at the hands of a few pounds of beets!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spring is for Galoshes

We are exploring new angles of independence and personal preference around here lately. Most of the time, it is sweet and enlightening, as we often wonder what is going on in our little toddler's head. Occasionally, though, it is a bit tedious and frustrating... but raising an intelligent and spirited child will always bring its moments.

The most current activity that must be done "By-ya self" is picking out shoes, and on special days, choosing the whole outfit. Most of the time, everything comes together in a quirky and adorable way, and as she learns more and more about dressing herself, we can only imagine what we will see!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

This Moment

This moment, captured in the quiet of the morning as the sun slowly made it's way through the blinds, while the house smelled like coffee and the rest of the fam slept, was too good to keep to myself. Sweet one-month-old Baby Ball.

Monday, May 2, 2011


This morning, we woke up to a cold, rainy day. Well, OK, we woke up to Henry crying for an early breakfast, but it was also cold and raining. What an odd way to start May... 46 degrees, howling wind, and sideways rain. This kind of day screams for a little something homey and as few trips outside as possible!

A little something homey

Warm, homemade, home-canned applesauce

Sleeping babies

Rainy backyard

Today may be the day we stay in our pajamas, drink lots of coffee (decaf of course), and tackle the organization of the landing and the design of the playroom! I love rainy days.