Friday, May 29, 2009

A bunch of stuff.....



This past Memorial Day was my daughter's birthday party. She's a year old already and growing so fast. She doesn't walk yet, but she's already talking! I'm not kidding, either. She says, "Hi, Dad" when hubby gets her up in the morning and "Thank you" when she hands you something or takes something from you. She also has a very cute and growly, "Yeah, Daddy" when she's being silly. Here's a picture of her and the ladybug cake I made her.

There were lots of families there....mommies, daddies, kiddos and BABIES! I'm on the right carrying my daughter and my friend is on the left carrying her daughter who'll be a year old towards the end of summer. I love that we have a circle of friends and family who've all had babies around the same time. Hubby was teasing us in this picture because we both have the "Mommy Hip" jutted out to support our bairns.
It was a grand picnic, but it wiped us out. My bronchitis returned and I'm worn out. I went to the greenhouse today and bought two Echinacea plants for my herb garden. However, I found out that the roots are the best thing to use and the flowers are next. It's going to be a while before I can harvest either, so it looks like I still have to hit the store for some capsules.
My mom gave me her old writing desk. At first I didn't know where to put it in our tiny little cottage, but it now has a home in my front porch looking out the big windows. Rather than fill it with bills and bank statements, I'm going to leave those elsewhere and fill the desk with stationary, journals and art supplies. It's going to be my haven. I want to get one of those desk toppers from Victorian Trading Company and I can't decided between a really feminine desk lamp or the frog lamp I saw at Lowes that I fell in love with.
I am just holding my breath in anticipation of God's movement in our lives. Excitement is just vibrating everywhere like a child on Christmas Eve. Hubby has so many applications out and in other areas God has presented us with a few things. However, it's a test of faith because we're being made to endure some things and we're pretty much broke. We can ONLY rely on Him and trust in Him. I'm not sad about it. I'm excited! I'm kinda like, "Bring it on!"


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sweat Equity

I'm actually looking forward to a rainy day. Just not on Monday because we're having a picnic. The weather has been spectacular lately, so I've been outside gardening and landscaping. My poor little house has gotten a bit neglected on the interior. But who can deny going outside in this beautiful weather!?

My son is just loving it, too. We had picnics and he helped with the yardwork. He has his own kid-sized John Deere wheelbarrow and garden tool set, so he gladly works alongside me. My daughter just loves to pick dandelions and chew on the stems. Today, she ventured around the yard discovering this and that. She even climbed the newly dumped sand pile.

Hubby and I wandered the yard admiring our sweat equity and discussing future projects. Hubby has a great idea for extending one of our stone walls and creating a shade garden grotto of sorts. The nice thing about our sweat equity is that it's cheap. We have a pie-shaped piece of property that was lined on two sides with an old, tumbled down stone wall. We've been repairing the wall and the farm next door gladly supplies us with more rocks for it. When a tree company was taking down trees in our neighborhood, I was able to receive a free truckload of chips and used them in the mulch landscaping around our yard. Upon cleaning out the yard of over growth, we discovered hidden treasures, such as a rambling rose bush that's weaving in and out of one of our stone walls like a tiny portion of an English secret garden. Wildflowers abound and we have an abundance of English Ivy, which is a non-native, invasive weed, but actually VERY pretty. We have wild morning glories, too in a delicate white. Daffodils, lily of the valley, and various ferns round out our little slice of God's Creation.

I love being so involved in the blessing of our property that God gave us. As I added English lavender, rosemary and pennyroyal to my herb garden, I noticed that it's such bliss to walk down the little paths and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I can't imagine that anyone who just had their land professionally landscaped and never so much as got a fingertip in their own dirt enjoys their property as much as I do. Admittedly, I drive by these McMansions with vast expanses of grass, just grass, and I could wring their necks for not doing a thing with such a blessing! Plant a tree!

We put sweat equity into our little cottage, too. My newest freebie blessing is that my mom has offered me her desk. I've been wanting a writing desk and now I have one offered to me. I just have to figure where to put it! God has provided so much for me. Now, I wonder if He'll provide me with a small piano? I know He can. There's no question of that. But, oh, to find a small piano that'll fit in my house, like the piano fortes of Jane Austen's time. Hmmmmm.....

Friday, May 22, 2009

Motherhood Musings

Today I saw a clip about a mom who got a well-deserved make-over. The hostess of the clip kept going on and on about how busy this mom is. Indeed, she is a busy woman, but a busy mom? She works 3 jobs, is working on her master's degree, coaches soccer and is training for a marathon. She bemoaned the fact that she hadn't been to a stylist in 11 months! I couldn't help but utter a sarcastic "boo hoo." But snarkiness aside, the first thing that popped into my mind was, "when is she a mom?" Self-admittedly, she said that some days she works from 4 am to 7:30 pm.

A busy mom changes diapers, reads stories, settles arguments, soothes booboos, cradles a sick child, helps with schoolwork, sings silly songs, does housework, chaperones, chauffeurs, cooks, grocery shops, etc etc etc. I just don't see her being much of a mom when most of her time is spent away from her children.

Then, the judging stopped. When I became an adult, God started doing this: whenever I judge, He's got a lesson for me. I could hear Him whispering to me, "Yeah, you're home and that's great, but you're often too busy with housework and things to be the mom your children need." Ouch!!

Admittedly, I'm busy! I shoulder a LOT of this family's life, more than many women. I try to include my children in what I do, but sometimes it's just easier to put in a DVD and throw the baby in the pack and play. Yes, there are times when we do have to do something like that. After all, the toilet needs to be cleaned sometime. Dinner needs to be cooked safely. Or sometimes hubby needs help with something that's a bit urgent. However, when it becomes a more common practice to put the children away, something needs to be re-evaluated.

I'm learning to eliminate the metaphoric "soccer coaching" and "marathon training" until the important stuff is done. I'm learning to better organize, prioritize and include my children in the metaphoric "3 jobs" and "college classes."

This woman in the clip is probably sucked into the world of perceived success through doing it all. Sure, I stay home, but I get stucked into that world as well. We read about some mother of a gazillion children who's house is spotless, children homeschooled, garden weeded, bread baked, widows helped, husband satisfied, God worshiped, pantry stocked and baby nursed until 3 years old all while wearing dresses and smiles and dealing with a debilitating illness. We feel we need to measure up.

Balance, ladies. We each have different circumstances. God broke the mold when He made each and every one of us. We can't expect to fit into the mold of someone else's life. It ain't gonna work!

It's time to stop looking around and comparing ourselves and our abilities to others. It's time to look to God. He is the ONLY constant. He is the ONLY wisdom-giver.

I'll tell you one thing the mom from the clip had going for her....she smiled and had fun with her kids when she was with them. I could be home with my kiddos for the rest of my life, but if I don't smile and have fun with them, I might as well have stuck them in daycare.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Garden is in!

My garden is all planted! Today, I feasted on some radishes (which I'm trying to acquire a taste for). There's nothing like fresh veggies from the garden. I've also already had turnip greens (which I hate, but choked down anyway, but little girl loved them) and will be able to harvest spinach soon. One of my currant bushes has one little swag of tiny, unripe currants. I'm surprised because I just put them in this Spring.

I'm considering teaching sewing classes to make some extra money at home. We could use the extra funds, but my only concern is that I'm already maxed out. I'm so maxed out, I've been having trouble remembering things and I'm always rushed. How in the world am I going to fit in sewing classes?!

Actually, I wish the farm next door could hire me part time. For what, I don't know, but at least I'd be able to take my children with me.

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out how to cut back on spending as much as possible without affecting hubby's comfort.

Well, I'm going to finish up and get some sewing done while I do something I rarely do....watch TV. So You Think You Can Dance starts tonight.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Fine Highland Weekend

The cold, the rain and the high winds all contributed to the authenticity of the weekend. We went to the Battle of Culloden re-enactment. For those who aren't familiar, in the first half of the 18th century, Scotland was divided by who was the rightful ruler. The Jacobites believed James Stuart was. James Stuart sent his son, Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) to raise up support to take back the throne. The Battle of Culloden was a turning point in the war where the Jacobites were massacred.

Saturday was the best day. I was invited to attend a tea given by the Dowager Lady MacIntosh in honor of His Royal Highness Charles Edward Stuart. I was able to personally meet His Royal Highness. As I curtsied, he took my hand and kissed it. When I told my son that the Prince kissed my hand, my son protested and kissed my hand until he was sure he overruled the Prince's kiss. Then, he kissed my other hand just to be sure. :)

Just outside the door to the tea room, the highlanders gathered for some highland games. There was some excellent caber tossing going on. I watched only a while because help was needed for dinner preparations. It was announced that His Royal Highness was joining us for dinner!

Dinner was an immense feast that included:

Beef loin
Ham
Bangers and Mash (sausaged and mashed potatoes)
Salmon
Peas
Beans
Oxtail Stew
Meat pie
Onion Pie
Breads
Fruit Pies
Brandied cherries
Rhubarb Fool
Rum balls
Oatcakes
Shortbread

We had so much food that we had enough to feed the Prince's guards as well and still had plenty of leftovers!

Unfortunately, the weather became quite foul with high winds and a cold front. We did not sleep Saturday night and spent the night on watch making sure the children were warm enough and the tents did not collapse. Thankfully, the tents stayed upright and the children stayed warm and slept through the hubbub. The storm lessened enough for hubby and I to catch a few winks before morning. When morning did arrive, it was 34 degrees out (for those who are used to celsius, that's just 2 degrees above freezing!) 34 degrees with no heat, and a windchill in the 20's. I put on every bit of wool I had and confined my daughter to her Peapod (a modern amenity for her safety and security) and my son was wise enough to stay in bed under the covers. The Peapod holds body heat very well, so my little girl stayed warm in there. Later, I had my mother come and take them to her house. The winds were relentless.

I was happy to return home, but like every other crazy re-enactor out there, I can't wait until the next event.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This and That

I have a confession to make. I look forward to my kiddos going to bed and I don't feel guilty about it because I look forward to seeing them in the morning. I've read a few things here and there online that if you look forward to your kiddos going to bed, then there's something wrong and selfish about you. That's laughable. What's so wrong with looking forward to tucking my wee ones in bed, praying over them, reading them a story or singing a lullaby? What's so wrong with looking forward to a little downtime before hitting the sack? What's so wrong with looking forward to spending the rest of the evening with hubby? I don't love my children any less because I like the 2 hours between their bedtime and mine. I like the time I spend with them, too. I even miss them soon after putting them to bed. One of my favorite things to do is check on them before I turn in and just admire their beautiful, sleeping faces and thank God for them. So, yeah, I do look forward to them going to bed.

I'm pretty proud of myself. I turned my secretary desk into a "kitchen" for my re-enacting camp. I sawed off the top of it and fitted an oak plank as my cutting board counter top for it. Now, it's perfect for a camp "kitchen!" I also repainted and covered the cushion for the wicker loveseat I picked up off the side of the road for free! It looks so nice now!

Today, my son and I planted flowers and herbs and I thinned out my radishes. I used the thinned baby radishes in a spinach and radish salad for supper. I'm not terribly fond of radishes, but smothered in balsamic vinegar....

Well, I better get off this computer. I have to make a petticoat for my sister and I'd like to finish it tonight!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More Plants, Furnishing on the Cheap

Happy Mother's Day!

Yesterday, I went to a local greenhouse and purchased even more plants! The greenhouse is run by a conservative Christian family and they have a huge variety and very good prices. I purchased flowers, herbs and Amish paste tomatoes and only spent just over $33.00. I wish I went to them first, but am keeping them in mind for next year.

I got some alone-time today as I took an hour drive round trip to pick up a chiffarobe I purchased off of craigslist. I paid $45.00 for it. On the way home it dawned on me that most of my house is furnished on the cheap. I like to buy things off craigslist, or I scour garage sales, antique stores, Goodwill, or just get blessed with gifts and giveaways. Sure, I have a mishmosh of items, but it works.

The chiffarobe is going to be used for storage of things like music, art supplies, stationary, my exercise equipment, CD's and such. It's in the living room. It looks a little daunting because it's big and dark. I don't think it would be too bad except that we already have a big, dark armoire that holds the TV in the very same room. It's not a big living room, so they kind of compete. To remedy this, in the future, I may paint the chiffarobe the same color as the walls. This'll help it blend in and not stand out so much.

Friday, May 08, 2009

All Around Better Day

There was a beautiful surprise of sunshine and warmth today! Also, I woke up feeling better. Still sick, but better.

We made a trip to Lowes where I bought a bunch of plants for the garden: 5 bell peppers, 1 banana pepper, brussel sprouts, german thyme and sweet basil. This afternoon, I painted a wicker loveseat I picked up for free that someone was throwing out. I wouldn't trust 2 people to sit in it, but now that it's painted, it looks lovely on my front patio. Now, I just want to find a nice outdoor fabric to recover to seat cushion with.

Dinner was lemon pepper garlic talapia with a lemon chive butter sauce, seasoned brown rice and mixed vegetables.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bronchitis

Yep, I've got it. Bronchitis. Thankfully, it is fairly mild. Still, recovery is always a bear.

I did get a really REALLY good night's sleep last night and this morning coughed up a lot of stuff, so I was able to do more today. However, I took the kiddos outside this early afternoon and did just a little gardening. Within half an hour, I was exhausted and coughing so hard, my lungs felt like they were pushing through my chest. It looks like I'll be convalescing for a while.

I plan to eat simply, drink plenty of healthful fluids, rest lots, and slowly build up activities again. Exercise will start with simple yoga moves and some pilates.

I take bronchitis seriously. Lungs are nothing to mess around with. Pneumonia is easier to get than you think. Besides, I'm kinda liking this God-given (God-forced) vacation I'm on! Last night, I finally had an excuse to just sit still and watch The Donna Reed Show DVD I rented from Netflix over a month ago!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Springtime Cold

While I don't expect anyone enjoys being sick, I tolerate colds in the fall and winter far more than I tolerate them in the spring and summer. Alas, I have a cold, and a doozy! Usually, I can murder a cold by mega-dosing Vitamin C and drinking some scotch or brandy and a day's rest. This one is a bit tougher. Probably because I ignored the early signs thinking my sinuses were just irritated by the incense burning at my parents' house.

However, in an effort to just take the days as they come and enjoy my favorite month (which on top of the virus, it has been chilly, damp and rainy), I am using this cold as an excuse to just laze about. After all, a mother has to heal! The housework will be there when I'm better. So, I'm enjoying my time laying on the sofa in my jammies watching Veggie Tales with the kiddos and flipping through old magazines. My son loves this turn of events. My daughter would rather climb all over me and hug me, but I can't let her because I don't want her getting sick, too. She's a little cranky.

When I'm stuffed-up like this, especially if it goes in my chest like it has with this one (but it is staying in the sinuses as well) I indulge in steamy showers..2 or 3 a day. Accomplishing that with little children is tough, so I just don my bathing suit and bring us all into the tub with plenty of toys and bubbles. While the kiddos sit and play at one end, I'm breathing in the steam at the other end.

I've had 2 days of rest like this. I'm hoping tonight offers me good sleep and plenty of healing so I can be a bit more functional tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm glad I can rest.