Wednesday, February 27, 2013


We had a house guest over the weekend. Casper is my brother's dog, and a bit on the shy side... something we don't get a whole lot of around here. Actually, before this past week, Casper hadn't been so thrilled about spending time with us, preferring his owner - hands down.

But after a day of living in our crazy (loud) household he put any fears I may have had to rest and started to adjust, becoming quite playful and friendly. Ellie was really pretty good too. She was cautious of him, as she is with all animals. (I think given her druthers, she'd avoid any and all animals completely.) But, if Casper was sitting quietly on my lap, or was confined to the entry way, behind the gate, she was just fine and would approach him and even try to pat his head. It was only if he jumped up (playfully, but too aggressive for her taste) did she have an emotional moment.

She has never, ever, been a fan of animals... although she's never had a bad experience. She's just naturally NOT an animal person... She's know our dog Jackson for her entire life, and yet she's still cautious of him. It's just who she is. She is Benett and Gavin's polar opposite in that regard.

When Benett was a baby, Monte and I made the difficult decision to move Jackson outside on a permanent basis. Even though both of the boys loved playing with dog (and vise versa), having a big, shedding dog in the house with a toddler was something we just decided wasn't the best for us. And given our location, and all of the space for him to explore, being outside was something that our lab has enjoyed.

But, having a dog in the house again made me realize how much I've missed that kind of company. With my change in schedule, I even caught myself daydreaming about what it might be like to have a small dog of our own, to keep me company during the day... There is something calming about pets, and for those of us with a habit of talking to ourselves... well, talking to a dog seems a bit more 'normal.'

There won't be a dog in our immediate future, but for now, I think I'll extend an open invitation to Casper. He can come to visit anytime... I just know we'll have lots to talk about.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Gavin loves to play board games, especially Monopoly. So when the new came out a few weeks ago that the game would be undergoing some change, Gavin and I took it upon ourselves to start a game and to each play with the game piece we thought would be retired.

I thought it would be a fun evening... A chance contain Gavin long enough to sit across the table from me and play a game, have a conversation and just be together. I promised that we'd play the game all the way to the end; to play until one of us goes bankrupt. I pinky swore.

It's two weeks later and the game is still going on. We've had a couple of sessions and when it gets to be bedtime, we take a picture of the game board so we know just where the pieces need to be when we resume. I have to admit, it's been fun.

And two weeks later, we know the iron is retired, but that piece still circles our board as we play on, followed closely by the boot. In case you're wondering, Gavin has both Park Place and Boardwalk. He now has several homes on each property. It's only with a lot of luck that I've been able to miss landing on those two properties.

I'm not holding back, we're both playing to win... but don't worry about Gavin. He's proving to be quite the savvy investor. He's frugal and loves to negotiate. Playing this game with him has been so very entertaining for me... in many ways.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


She's gaining this sense of self. Our little Miss is not just mimicking her brothers, instead she's establishing her own style, coming to her own conclusions and developing her own opinions. (Opinions which in some cases are quite strong.)

On this particular day, Ellie was of the opinion that underwear and a bandanna are perfectly acceptable attire. No matter how much cajoling and reasoning, she held firm. She was NOT cold... She did NOT need to put on a shirt. She was just FINE. It was only when everyone else was going to go outside to play that she finally decided more than just a stitch of clothing would be necessary.

I love this stage, each of the little people have gone (and are going) through this evolution into the people that they are growing to become. For Gavin it's not quite as easy... being in school means that he needs to conform to how other people think he should be, and their ideas of normal... and weird. I know he listens when I say it's okay for him to be HIM. I know he knows who he is... but being who we truly are isn't always easy, especially when under the scrutiny of others.

Home is a safe space for that kind of evolution, and the little people take advantage of that, especially Miss Ellie... As for the rest of us, well, we have a front row seat for the show. I think it's gonna be a good one. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, February 18, 2013


It's not everyday that a hen house is delivered via truck to one's front yard... but I have to say, it was a lovely sight indeed!

It's become very obvious that in order to be a proper chicken farmer, we needed a better living arrangement for the gals. Up until January, the gals took charge of their foraging, wandering any green space that was accessible, provided they weren't required to cross the snow.

That changed in January, when a cold winter wind blew in so quickly that it caught the gals out in the open. Rather than hustling back to their little coop to get out of the weather, they all huddled down and remained in those huddled bunches for the entire windy night.

The next morning, I couldn't believe my eyes... they were all nearly frozen. I fetched each and placed them one by one into the coop. I felt sick. I just couldn't believe that they didn't get out of the weather... and that I didn't notice them in their distress. 

Thankfully, none died; although many sustained severe enough frostbite to damage combs... one will lose at least one toe. This incident made it clear that something substantial needed to be constructed for the gals to pass the winter months safely.

A month later, this beautiful sight drove into my yard. The gals are now happily housed in their new digs... and that's just where I plan to keep them, under the soft cozy glow of the heat lamp, until the weather is more hospitable for our flock.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Valentines Day has become a holiday less about romance and more about the hustle of getting things ready for the little people. The school Valentine's party seems to be the highlight of February. And because none of the little people object (yet) we make our own valentine's instead of buying those from the store. I enjoy the opportunity to be creative with the little people... But that being said, getting the right treats, making fun cards for each of the classmates and constructing the mailbox for friends to deliver their cards and treats to, is not a small project.

By the time all of the goodies have been sent off to school, we're all glad the project is over.

And perhaps to highlight the fact that this holiday has become less about romance, Monte left this gesture on the bathroom floor. I'm not sure whether I should feel very loved... or as though I need to add an extra laundry day to my weekly routine.

Now, to be clear, Monte also came home with roses. They're lovely; he is so thoughtful... call me crazy, but the laundry heart meant just as much... maybe more.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I feel myself growing. I feel myself continuing to evolve into a different kind of mother... It's a daily process, one which is met with some difficulty at times; while at others, a mom seems like such an easy, natural thing to be.

I had unrealistically expected that when babies are born, mothers are born too... it's true, we become mothers at that moment, but a new mother is nothing more than a terrified woman who at the moment of her child's birth, wears her heart on the outside of her body. Becoming a person who gives continuously, patiently counsels and teaches with love and kindness is a transitional process filled with mistakes and victories. Both of which are counted in the stars...

I am far from what I hope to be as a mom. I'm not nearly as patient as I'd like. I'm still struck with fear at times... although I hope that turmoil isn't evident on my exterior... after all, moms aren't supposed to be scared of things. What I do have is this over-powering love for my little people... in my book, that love trumps the shortcomings. I know they feel that love. I also know that there is hope to improve the shortcomings. As time marches on, I'll continue this evolution.

Unrealistic expectations and mistakes and victories aside, this journey is a great gift; one not to be taken lightly. It's a gift I've given much thought to lately. My greatest role in life is that of a mother, but it doesn't define me completely. I have other aspirations too... aspirations that are beyond my role as mom, a deep-rooted part of me that is important for me to pursue. As I transition professionally, I've had a great opportunity to spend more time with my little people. I'm very grateful. Yet... I've felt a restlessness; a part of me growing stagnant. A part of me that requires intellectual stimulation; my little people challenge me here... for sure... but I feel the need for more of the professional variety of said stimuli.

I've wrestled with going back to school, changing my profession entirely... just starting over. And with all of that going on in my head, there has been this constant... like the steady beating of a heart... the little people, the responsibility as mom and the support of family has remained throughout. That steadiness has allowed me to retain the ever-important balance and set a course to reestablish a feeling of purpose, professionally. Although I have some trepidation, I'm content.

Time continues it's relentless march... but that's okay. We're all evolving, but we're also content and ultimately there isn't much more we can ask for, than contentment, especially when we have one another.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


More likely than not, the cushions are scattered around the family room on most days. They're employed to make forts, stacked to make great perches, which Benett will swear up and down that he DOES NOT jump from. And invariably these cushions end up on the steps to make a slide. (Although not a very functional slide, thankfully.)

Lately, with all of the time we've been spending inside, Benett takes them off the couch every time I replace them. My pleas to "put them back" are typically met with a scene like the picture above. Apparently, his idea of putting the couch back together, and mine, are very different.

It's tough to be upset with Benett for too long... he put most of the cushions back, saving two for a creative little space to play. It was so much fun to watch him, despite the fact that he was supposed to be in his room for quiet time... and I was supposed to be on the treadmill. Details, details.