Archive for May, 2010


Kris wrote a post today about her beautiful life, of course, but also about “blog envy” and how looking at the amazing scenes from others’ life creates uncomfortable feelings in herself, of inadequacy and scarcity, and it got me thinking. Blog envy is real. I know that I feel it. On my very best day I do not do/create even half of the things I see in the blogs that I visit. I see clean houses, super cute home-made outfits on kids and mamas, crafty home-made decor, incredibly innovative and industrious home-schooling projects, and I can’t help but spin away from the computer and look at my life differently, negatively.

I wonder why I am not making home-made sour cream like Kris, and even though I fairly quickly realize that I am not genuinely interested in food creation, I can’t help but criticize myself for not being interested in food creation. And what am I doing instead? I tend to hope that what I do in exchange for home-made dairy products is worthy, but I’m not so sure. In fact,  I wonder what it is that I do at all, especially if I do not have beautiful photos to prove it.

I don’t shear my own sheep, spin the wool, and knit myself a sweater while un-schooling four kids and running a farm. I don’t make my own laundry detergent. I don’t even sew. So I actually can’t read most blogs without some form of envy.

Kris actually does do a lot of these things, she actually does make her own sour cream and a million other delicious home-made goodies, she actually does knit cute sweaters, and sew adorable clothes for her children, and she still gets blog envy. Maybe we could all help each other out. Maybe we could launch “Messy Corner Mondays”, or “Seriously Not Photo Worthy Saturdays”, in which we post a less than beautiful shot, one that captures a bit of our lives we don’t normally share.

In the spirit of this new idea, I opened my freezer to see what I could see. I did not see a bounty of last years berries, preserved skillfully to enjoy through he winter. I did not see meals for the coming week, craftily prepared ahead of time. I did not see anything useful at all. Instead I saw: a three-year old placenta, tempeh patties that moved in when Nathan did six years ago, a couple of bread loaf butts, and several frozen fairies.

Is this helpful to anyone?


May 31, 2010 at 8:37 am 6 comments


It’s sweeping season.

Here is the main culprit:

It is mind-blowing the amount of hair that comes off of this canine. I’m not kidding. If I swipe my foot across the rug, even slightly, a hamster-sized clump of hair balls up under my feet. If you are unwise enough to look at the floor from an oblique angle, you can see snowdrifts of hair backed up against table legs, assembling in corners, massing beneath the couch. And, seriously, if you plan on wearing fleece, particularly black fleece, you might want to choose a different house to visit.

But more than seasonal dog shedding, it seems our floor is collecting more debris than usual as well. Or the kids are dropping more than usual. Or, this foolish mom is choosing more crumbly snacks than usual. Whatever it is, it’s insane.

One morning I swept upon waking, gathering a large dustpan of hair and mysterious bits. Then friends came over and the kids ate popcorn. I swept again. Later we went for a dog walk and returned home with Spring debris attached to our feet. I swept again. Another friend came over in the evening and hamster food was “refilled” by zealous toddler helpers. I swept again. By the time the kids were asleep the floor needed it again.

Writing this down, I wonder, what’s insane, the amount of stuff on the floor? Or the lady that repeatedly sweeps it only to watch it fall again?

May 30, 2010 at 9:07 am 2 comments


We now have a second story developing in our remodel, and it’s at the stage of wide open-ness. There are walls, vaulted ceilings, a roof, windows, and nothing else. It feels vast and airy without any of the inner walls that will carve the space into bedrooms. So we’ve been dreaming a bit. What if we left it open?

With the three girls sleeping we spread the plans out on the living room floor and analyzed. We currently are sleeping, all five of us in one bedroom, and the girls love it. At bedtime there is almost no resistance, no ill-concealed attempts to linger with the parents because the parents are in the same room. The older girls, who have been sleeping in their own room until the remodel, especially seem to like the close proximity. So … would they mind continuing to cohabitate in this way?

We continued to scoop the cat off the plans and erase walls in our minds. We imagined sunlight, and tree tops and….


Holy shit. At some point we will have three teenage girls. And teenage girls travel in packs, so that means that each of our girls might also attract two or three other girls. Nine teenage girls all in the same, albeit large, loft with the parents? Our dreams of warehouse-like space and open floor plan were not looking that plausible, well actually impossible.

But we continued to lounge and brainstorm. I found myself designing collapsible walls that could be pulled across for teenage privacy and then tucked back in when not in use. Nathan began imagining canopy beds in which each girl could maintain a privacy pod of their own. We considered leaving it open for now and then building walls in four years when Bella turned the magical age of thirteen.

Our conversation lingered and then flowed onward toward the events of the day. I described to Nathan the mysterious game that Xi and her little buddy Elliott have been playing. Kris and I have only been able to catch glimpses and glean minor details, as the game is played purposely out of earshot of the parents. We know it involves a dungeon, a glamorous dress, and handcuffs. So intriguing! Nathan and I giggled and then realized…. ah snap.

They ALREADY want privacy.

So walls it is.

May 29, 2010 at 11:05 am 2 comments

empathy delivery

There really is nothing like pure empathy, not sympathy, not “oh that happened to me once”, not a pat on the shoulder, but an authentic understanding of your feelings. Empathy can change your emotional state completely, and it frees you to give empathy in return instead of fiercely defending and describing your own situation again and again. Real empathy isn’t common, at least not yet, so chances are that a few of us could use some. So here goes,

I hereby declare a large dose of empathy for anyone:

  • that has a partner that doesn’t seem to enjoy parenthood as much as you’d like
  • that is overwhelmed by the work in their life, by the long list that seems to never get shorter, or more fulfilling
  • that is apart from their family, or parts of their family, and yearns for everyday connection with those dear people
  • that worries where the money for the cell phone bill is going to come from
  • that feels alone, like there isn’t anyone that truly knows them, or cares for them, or notices them at all
  • that is feeling fat
  • that didn’t get enough sleep last night, or the night before
  • that has a sick child and is tired of the seemingly endless run of sniffles, fevers, and coughs
  • that is ready for Spring; picnics, sandals, and skirts, but keeps waking up to clouds and drizzle


Have a wonderful weekend. If you’d like to add anything to this list and forward it to someone you know that could use a little empathy, let me know.

May 28, 2010 at 9:27 am Leave a comment

better than I thought

You can always tell when my dad has been here because Echo is very well groomed. The older girls are too busy with fairy games and elaborate fantasy set ups, but Echo takes full advantage of her grandpa’s ministrations. He trims her toenails and fingernails, files them obsessively, and because they are so teeny tiny he pulls out a magnifying glass to check the progress. He brings the same worn leather manicure case he used when my sister and I were little, making the process all the more endearing to this mama’s eyes. The ears are next, each wrinkle and crevice is inspected, massaged, and cleaned. Lotion follows, and  is smoothed over elbows, heels, and knees. Echo participates fully, admonishing my dad for missing any particular spot. By the end she is fairly gleaming, certainly moisturized, and smells heavenly.

She still carries the scents of those grooming sessions even though Dad left yesterday. Though not happy to see him go, I was so filled up with our time together, that I managed to come away from the airport in tact. And, almost as a conciliatory gesture from the Universe, Echo has been in the best spirits of her life. For seemingly weeks now I have woken to her curt demands and grunty protests first thing in the early and dark morning. Her mood, at times, has been alarmingly demonic. But the last two mornings have been halcyonic. Good morning Mama! It is a skating day today. It is a LOVE day today! My weary soul unfurls when I hear greetings like this instead. And the mood has continued through the day, she skips, she laughs, she tells jokes. So even though I expected to be heavy and sad, I couldn’t help but be lightened.

It is a love day after all.

May 27, 2010 at 8:09 am 1 comment

my first “wordless wednesday”

May 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

and so it begins

This is the last day with dad. If today is anything like the other last days of his other visits it will be filled with laughter and smiles that are tinged by sorrow and dread. We will make the best of it, but unlike the first day of the visit, full of excitement and anticipation, the last day is heavy with knowing what lies ahead.

My father will return to his life that he loves, his beautiful house, his routine walks in the woods, and his rich career, a life that is awesome, aesthetically pleasing and accomplished, but something will be missing. He won’t have granddaughters in his midst and the permanent grin they bring to his face. He also won’t have his daughter to walk beside, to calm his soul by being near.

And I will return to our normal life. We will go grocery shopping, to play group, and to the river, loving our girls, our friends, and this majestic valley we are nestled within. But we won’t have a grandpa in our midst. We won’t have that extra comfort of one more person that loves us with all his considerable might.

It’s great having a dad that loves so much, so willingly. Every father’s day I thank him for how he has been with us, for providing a model to follow. I have thriving adult relationships because he has shown me what it feels like to be loved in a complete way. He has always been a large, powerful figure, smiling achingly in our direction. He pumps his fist in exhilaration when we reach our goals, he grabs his heart in pain when we meet with sorrow. He has always been this way, a current of undying love.

To be near him feels good. It’s really as simple as that.

May 25, 2010 at 7:56 am 3 comments

Older Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 31 other followers

%d bloggers like this: