Thursday, August 20, 2015

Camping







One of our favorite past times is camping. Or is it RVing? I don't know that I have ever take our Camper RV-ing. I associate RV-ing with cooking indoors in a kitchen and watching TV. It's along the same lines as "hotel camping" except you bring your own room, which is all fine and dandy except that is not the experience we enjoy. Since we do have a camper I wouldn't say that we rough it but most of the bells and whistles in our camper are neglected on our trips. We have never used our cable hook up nor have we watched tv while camping. Even with a sink I do find it easier to wash dishes outside and then bring them inside to rinse them in the sink.

For us camping is about being outdoors experiencing nature and new adventures. We are the dummies who fit everyone under a tarp including the dog while the rain pours down around us rather than going inside where electricity and a comfy couch await us. More often that not we cook either on the grill or over the fire, scrambled eggs on the grill is always fun.

We use the time to connect together. I get the best stories out of the kids when we are sitting by the fire. I get to see them wander off a little further in unfamiliar areas and test new skills. We have explored many different terrains and learned about the animals and plants in each area. Camping has given us an opportunity to relax with old friends and meet new ones. The kids get to play with kids from all over the country and learn about what games are cool and what words are common place in different areas.

I love the chance to just escape reality for a short period whether its 15 minutes from home or hours away. Another really great thing about camping is that it can be very inexpensive. One year we went away on vacation to the beach and spent a ton of money on just a hotel room and eating meals out. The next year we purchased our first camper (secondhand) for about the price of that one vacation but had six camping trips to look back on.

I do miss the days of tent camping but I have to be honest with 3 kids one of them an infant it is nice to have the camper when the temperatures and humidity are super high. We also have been camping where it has rained for three days straight and that camper was such a blessing because after a day of playing outside in the rain we were able to escape to some where completely dry to sleep. This year we will be using our camper for the first time in the  "off" season to try out some cool weather camping which should be fun. Oh and my favorite part of camping is that no matter where we go and what adventures await us I always get to go to sleep in my own bed which is one of the greatest feelings in the whole world. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

No Excuses







When summer first started I had ambitious plans for all of the cool adventures we would take and fun things we would discover and then the reality of having an infant in the house knocked me right off my fun wagon. I longed for the day when leaving the house did not involve making sure that I had wipes, diapers, a change of clothes, pacifier, toy, car seat, blanket, carrier, and maybe a stroller. Oh and lets not forget to make sure that I am wearing something that not only fits halfway decent but allows me to nurse without feeling like something is hanging out of place. When it takes this much thought and planning for getting one child out of the house, managing to get all 3 out for something fun just seems nearly impossible and I find myself holing up in our own little home and garden area feeling like the world is having fun without us.

My husband has this saying that he is always telling one of us, be it himself, me or the kids. "If you want something bad enough, you will do what ever it takes to make it happen. If it's not that important that you want to make it happen then you can't complain about it not happening". Touché husband, touché.  So yesterday I decided to make fun and adventure happen. We all loaded into the mini van with wipes, diapers, change of clothes x3, pacifier, toy, carseat, 3 water bottles, 3 granola bars, 1 blanket, 4 bandaids (just in case), and camera. We packed enough for a whole day but we set off to enjoy one hour by the creek.

Moments after we arrived creekside the oldest was stung by a bee and the youngest pooped through her diaper and on to her clothes. A few deep breaths, one diaper, one onsie and a few tears later we all regained our composure and went on to have a fun day. The big kids splashed in the water and jumped on the rocks. They skipped rocks and chased fish together while enjoying every wet, muddy second. The baby was placed on her blanket in the shade on the grass where she promptly rolled into the grass and gathered it by the fistful. She was dirty within seconds but she was so happy. I took the time to enjoy the trees blowing in the breeze while inhaling the fresh warm air. I enjoyed the sound of splashing kids who amazingly did not fight once and sound of the cicadas and birds provided background noise. We left after a little more than an hour feeling refreshed with a fun story to share over dinner that night. There was the harrowing tale of the battle of the bee and adventure of rock climbing through the 'rapids' to tell. I also got to tell my other half thanks for reminded me to stop making excuses and go for things I really want.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Early Mornings







Little Squirt has been gradually waking up earlier and now her routine is to wake up in the 6 o'clock hour.  I am not going to lie, the change in routine has been difficult for me. I love mornings but I have a hard time getting up early as my body tends to really function best between the hours of 9 pm and midnight. As a result of getting up early I have been forcing myself to bed earlier and earlier which cuts down on the amount I can get done at night but I have been enjoying the mornings more now that I am more alert and less grouchy. I am not convince that I will ever be a true morning person just more tolerant of them for the time being, especially when the little one who wakes you up feeds you smile after smile. The good thing about a baby who wakes early is that she also naps early which has given me a chance to accomplish somethings before the day gets away from me or I get too tired. Writing has been one of the things that I am gradually working back into the routine which is calming for me and sets me into a rhythm for the day. My oldest works on her own breakfast enjoying the time with me in the kitchen before my little guy wakes up and causes the general chaos that is in a word, boy. He and I have started to read Tom Sawyer together in attempt to show him that his behavior is very common among characters in books and that even though it may feel like he is always getting the stern look or reminder to use his manners, he is in fact a good boy who rises to the occasion when needed. It is hard work raising a boy, heck it is hard work raising any child, especially when it's early in the morning.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Change is coming








For the past two days the weather has cooled off a bit, a reminder that the change of seasons is not that far away. We are prepping for back to school already. The kids have their assignments to do each day and that time is allowing me to get back into the practice of writing while over seeing and helping them. Most of the work is review so that when they head back to school it will be fresh in their brains again but some of the work is fun stuff. All summer long I have been able to sneak in little learning sessions with cooking and baking projects and outdoor activities. My little guy, who is not so little anymore, heads to kindergarten this fall and I can feel the conflict in him as one minute he tries to be a big guy who doesn't need him mom anymore while the next he brings me a flower from the yard and wants to sit on my lap. After all of my encouraging hopefully he realizes that he can be both a big boy and 'my little guy' all at the same time.

Stormy is enjoying the cooler weather by sneaking up on the couch and snuggling in with the kids blanket. Poor dog lives a very uncomfortable life I'll tell ya. The break in record high temps has also provided a great environment for canning. The garden all of a sudden went crazy producing everything all at one time.  In an effort to keep the veggies from spoiling we made 5 pints of tomato sauce, 5 pints of hot salsa, and 7 pints of fresh fiesta salsa (our favorite recipe). I have also been amazed by the growth of our little squirt. She seems to grow by the minute these days. Now that she is 5 months old we are working on solids, right now it is more for her personal enjoyment than anything else. She loves to watch us eat and try to grab all the food out of our hands. I think she would do a lot better with learning to eat if she could sit independently but she has little to no interest in learning how to do that no matter how often we practice. I am happy with the fact that she is still very much like a little baby and I love how little her feet and hands are. Babies always look bigger in pictures than they really are so I try to get a shot once in a while that shows them in proportion to someone else, like her big sister.

I am looking forward to all the things my oldest will experience once the new school year starts but I am not looking forward to the crazy schedule that comes along with the fall. This time of year always feels like a big sigh to me. It is that moment when summer starts winding down and you take that big breath and exhale right before beginning the school year marathon.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Last Ditch Effort

I love our little yarden (yard/garden). We have made numerous improvements over the years but there is one area of the yard that has me stumped. I have learned some lessons from this area of the yard which for some reason I chose to ignore this spring.

Again I find myself looking at this desolate little plot wondering what to do with it as the weeds grow several feet high and become the bane of my neighbors. I decided to do some research and came up with a new idea, a rain garden. Yes! This is exactly what my little water logged plot of land needs to live up to its potential. 

A rain garden is a... I'll just let wikipedia tell you here

I looked at a list of local vegetation that would work well in a rain garden and I just happened to have a large day lily, and two volunteer hostas growing in one of the flower beds. I decided to move those into the new rain garden. In the coming weeks I will divide and move a phlox once the flowers are through and this little rain garden will be off to a great start. I decided to add rocks to help with soil retention and water drainage and the final touch is a piece of tree root that we dug up at some point that has been just lying around. Not to bad for a last ditch effort of making this area pretty and functional. I am still exploring the option of a dry well for the other side of the yard that will help this area as well.


Monday, August 3, 2015

JulyAugust 2015 Homestead Photo Tour





Zucchini for Days

My pile of weeds; my calling card much to my husbands distain. 

Ever faithful companion. 

Baby by the garden. 

The haul, all the work is worth it on a day like this. 

A rainbow of tomatoes. 




Happiness is Not Perfection

The summer air is hot and humid here in the North east. The days feel entirely way too long and entirely way too hot yet, at the end of the day the accomplishments feel short by comparison. The challenge of meeting the needs of a now 5 month old as well as two other children leaves me with a longing desire to be more productive on the home front. For a while I was voicing my frustrations to my husband and calling it things like, unhappiness and loneliness and incompetence.

It isn't until now that I finally got the babes nap schedule straightened out and have accepted that it is just easier to let the older two run wild (except for the periods of the day where they need to work on school work or help around the house) that my true thoughts on these feeling were able to float to the surface of my mind.

I voiced unhappiness at the fact that my house is "dirty, my kids are "crazy, "my baby "needs me all the time", and lastly "I have no time for myself". On a day of clearer thinking though I see that my house is not dirty, it is cluttered from a day of activities, camping trips, crafts, toys and other childhood debris. Underneath it all the house is actually quite clean. Sure my kids maybe crazy. They are crazy hungry all  the time (I swear I feed them every 15-30 minutes). They are crazy adventurous, crazy silly, they fight like crazy and they love each other like crazy. They are loud, and always dirty and this time I really mean it, they are dirty. Like sweaty, muddy, sopping wet, stinky, dirty kids. At least until bath time when we lather, rinse and repeat it all the next day. Each day my baby truly does need me all the time. She needs milk, love, reassurance. She also needs me to help her explore the world. To help her put her toes in the grass, poke her finger at the flower and then remove the flower from her curiously strong little fist before she eats it. She needs my hugs and smiles just as much as I need hers. Have you ever had a little one just grip you up and pull themselves into your body with all the strength they can muster? It is HEAVEN! The only thing in the world that beats baby hugs is baby kisses, those mouth wide open, slobbery, tongue up against your cheek while smiling at the same time baby kisses. Here I thought she needs me all the time but I am suspecting I need her more. Lastly lets not forget that I also complained of not having time for myself. This is a matter of perspective, I think. I may not have a whole day to myself but I do get a few minutes each morning for my coffee. I spend sometime each day working on improving my body by stretching, weight  lifting, or some other form of exercise.

The common theme in my own thoughts that I am finding is that the lack of perfection=complete failure. I am not lonely. In fact I am the exact opposite of lonely; I am out numbered. I long for adults who share common interests with me to spend a large portion of quality time with yet I  am guilty of not enjoying the company of the others who walk around the farmers market with me each Saturday morning. I am not an incompetent parent, wife, friend, daughter, employee. I am human. I have good days, bad days, and better days. In each of these cases and many others that I can't quite recall, the ability to achieve perfection inhibits my ability to enjoy the small wonders of each day.

I had a friend put up a Facebook status that read, "I give up on happiness, instead I am hoping for peace". What if we all gave up on peace or perfection and allowed ourselves happiness. Happiness is not a neat little package all wrapped neat and tidy. Happiness is more like the silver lining. It is the slight little feeling of contentment that we blow off because the details weren't just right.

For now I am going to enjoy the satisfaction of few quiet minutes spent gather some thoughts and stringing together some sentences. Just enough time and just enough words to justify the contentment I feel at the completion of this task.  I am happy with this imperfect little post that sets my mind right.