Tuesday, March 31, 2009

pretty gardening

I feel pretty today. At least when I'm not looking in the mirror I feel pretty. I like it when I feel pretty. I washed my hair this morning and used my happy raspberry shampoo. And I'm wearing a deep red shirt - red makes me happy. And I dug out a necklace that was my moms - small earthy beads of red, brown, black, cream. Our son liked the necklace and had to wear it for a while before I was allowed to have it back. So anyway, I may be tired, but at least I don't feel ugly tried today. If I could just get some tone in my belly I'd feel even prettier. But I guess that would require more than wishing and actually getting my act together to do some exercises. Maybe I'll be happy with my mediocre middle for now.

Last evening we did some cold gardening. We got potatoes, peas, spinach, and kale planted. More of each to come, but at least a start. DS was a great helper until we tried to use "his" tent stakes to mark to rows. He eventually recovered when we replaced the tent stakes with pin flags. He did a great job of helping place potatoes, plant peas and spinach, and cover up the rows. Our daughter rode with me and tried to eat the camera strap.

(early norland red potatoes)

(covering potatoes, to be hilled later)

(planting Wando peas)

(more peas, please)

(spinach going in seeds)

(almost bedtime for the baby gardener)

Monday, March 30, 2009

singing the night away

(our little singer making her brother squeal. She Loves pulling his hair)

Our daughter is a singer. Has been since a very early age. I love to hear her beautiful voice, but I'm not so thrilled to hold a singing baby all night. Much better than crying baby though! Between holding my baby for 3 hours last night and very vivid dreams, I'm not feeling exactly rested today.

My dreams last night involved experiences that many women of the world have, but are way outside the realm of my life. It amazes me that I can have such strong dream emotions, experiencing feelings of a depth that are unknown to my real life - fear, despair, anguish, vulnerability. I think that it may be time for me to take a break from listening to news on the BBC World Service and reading the stories of women in developing countries. I feel good buying from Global Girlfriend in an attempt to help these women, but right now I think reading their stories is more than my subconscious needs. I feel helpless hearing what these women go through and not being able to help in a meaningful way. In looking at ourselves more and trying to be true to who we are, my husband and I have decided to try to do a better job of making our purchases help, not hurt, people and the earth. We don't have the time/energy/money for huge changes, but little things...like trying to buy clothes and products that are certified fair trade. Or handmade here in the US. We were already farther along on this than some, but we can always go a step farther.

Instead of listening to the BBC on the way to work this morning I listened to Sandra Ingerman's "Shamanic Journeying: A Beginners Guide" CD. Don't worry, I'm not journeying and driving, I'm learning and driving. With so little time to read, I think CDs are the way to go for me right now. I also seem more enthusiastic when I'm listening/watching her than trying to read. I'm sure I would get more knowledge from reading her books, but that just isn't happening right now, so this more direct and condensed route is better than nothing. I didn't want to get out of the car when I got to work this morning. Now if I can just fine time to practice what I learn.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

a bit of sunshine

we've had a bit of sunshine this morning, and my husband and son are getting ready to go put up a new clothesline. Yipee. never thought i'd be excited about a clothesline, but after several years without a decent one, i'm very excited. we have a nice big clothes line here, but it was obviously put in about 20 years ago when the trees were small, because now it gets more pine sap and wild cherry tree droppings than sunshine. i'm sure that our son will be delighted at the hole digging and concrete mixing for putting in the new clothesline.

we have had a productive morning. our daughter rode on my back while i worked in the kitchen and got meatloaf ready to go in the oven for lunch. we are having friends over for dinner, so we've been trying to clean up the house, and it will be a big cooking day. the are vegetarian, so it's a good excuse for me to make a big pot of lentil soup and cornbread. yum. i really do love cooking and miss not getting to cook more.

we are still processing from the break in last week. last evening when my husband went shopping was the first time i had been here alone after dark since then. i had trouble going to sleep - i wasn't really scared, but a heightened alertness. i don't feel bad energy or like we're unsafe, but still it's unsettling. and we are trying to decide if this had a larger message for us. is this what we needed to make us realize that it's time to move on from this house? not because we're afraid of another break in, but because it is time? is this what we needed to push us to make a big leap? is that log house or passive solar home on the farm appearing on the horizon now? we don't know the answers yet, but we have both been thinking hard lately.

we have two hold ups on going ahead with our dream of building on the farm. well, maybe 3 or 4.
1) lots of driving for me. we would only do it if i could work from home most of the time, but that's still driving ~1:15 each way twice a week.
2) people, personalities, space. is there room on the farm for all of us. 6 strong personalities on one piece of land? would it work?
3) money. what if this job doesn't work out long term. there are so few jobs near there. we would need decent income to pay for house we want to build
4) hmmmm....can't remember any other issues right now, but i'm Sure there must be some... ;) can you tell i'm biased today? it doesn't help that Sun Plans emailed me last week with new floor plans. There is one that we both like and is large enough we could have a big family (ummmm, or not...) or have friends come to stay.

so, i think we've narrowed it down to: build now, build later, build not at all. build log, build passive solar. build farm house. as you can see, we've almost got it all figured out. ;) maybe we'll just pull in a double wide.

(that's it. don't you see a house where that field of pines is on the hill across from the barn?)

we both wish that we were far enough along on our spiritual learning to ask for hep from our guides, but my attempts at communication have not gotten very far. maybe the time we are spending dreaming should be spent learning to get guidance?

on a different subject - a parenting area that i'm completely lost on....how on earth do you help a spirited 3-year old learn to share? it is so hard to have play dates at our house because our son gets very bent out of shape when another child wants to use his toys. we talk to him about it, but he has very definite ideas about what visitors into his domain should do. we put away his favorite things, but we can't put Everything out of sight. hopefully it will be warm enough this afternoon that the boys can play outside. but if anyone has suggestions or ideas i'd love to hear from you!

my husband just walked past the office window on the way to the garage and returning wearing his yellow hard hat. he indicated that our son (also wearing a hard hat) had required him to go get his hard hat for the construction work. safety first. and as you can see, the three year old likes to be in charge of even the adults. maybe we should refer to him for all life decisions.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

tired, teething, testing

I worked on this post through two baby naps, one unsuccessful nap attempt, and now that the kids are finally asleep maybe I can finally get it done!

Our daughter seems to be working on her first tooth, and boy is she grumpy about it. Crying, fussing, gum grinding grumpy. I didn't make it to the bedroom until 12:30 last night because my husband and I stayed up talking about life, and when I tried to go to bed our daughter woke up. 3.5 hours later I finally got to sleep. 4 hours after that we were all up for the day. So, I'm somewhat incoherent today. I finally gave the squeaker Tylenol at 3am. Then she got to talking and gave herself the hiccups, and that added insult to injury. I finally called in some animal help, and she went into lala land for a few hours. Amazingly the ruckus didn't seem to wake my husband and son sleeping next door.

In other news, since our daughter is 7 months old and loves to eat kleenex we thought maybe she was ready for something with a higher nutritional content. We gave her a large piece of steamed organic broccoli today. She was much more interested in kleenex. Maybe teething is not the best time to have an open minded baby, but I had already bought the broccoli so we thought we'd give it a try. She seemed rather put off by the different feel/texture of steamed broccoli. Really wasn't the least bit interested in eat it and preferred to check out a cup. Oh well. I ate the broccoli (with curried chicken in coconut milk over basmati rice...yum) and she ate the cup.

(my mom's a broccoli pusher)

Our son has also been having a difficult couple of days. Luckily his teeth are all in, but something seems to be going on with him. We're hoping that brain development is taking over his head and not leaving much energy for being reasonable, because he has not been one bit reasonable. How can something be both too big and too small within 1/4 second of each other? Too hot And too cold? Everything is wrong. The world is wrong. Mommy and daddy are most definitely wrong. And he's pretty bent out of shape over it. Last evening I came home to two crying children and a frazzled husband. Luckily I came bearing ice cream and a case of Guinness. I try hard to avoid tandem nursing my children at the same time since it makes me want to scream and run away, so the one who screams the loudest or is least consolable (usually the elder child) gets first dibs. So I sit in the middle of the kitchen floor nursing an irrational 3-year old who tried to interact with the not-very happy 7 month old with his feet while nursing. Somehow I never imagined motherhood like this. No running to hug me and say "I love you mommy! It's good to have you home!". Nope. Just "I want Boob! I want BOOB!". Sometimes I insist on politeness and asking nicely, but this was not the time for that.

So, after I had fulfilled me role as milk bar (and belly button toy), we had to address the issue of dinner. We had planned on chicken, but obviously my husband had not had much of a chance to get dinner going with these two on his hands. I don't mind cooking on Fridays since I get the weekend with the kids, and I'm generally faster at cooking since my comfort level is greater in the kitchen. Plus, cooking is easier that kid wrangler sometimes ;-) . So I pulled off that chicken curry pretty quickly (good I think considering we had to deal with near calamity in the 3-year old's world for much of the time. more holding of both children, and more nursing was required. oh, by the way, I don't think he's ready to wean.). I left some chicken pieces plain since I didn't figure our son was in a mood to be open minded. I gave him a bowl of rice and curry, but it was of course the wrong bowl. Switch to bowl like mama's. No go. Offer plain chicken. No go. Sit at table and cry and pout. I finally offered to let him sit on my lap if he would please be quiet. I did have to keep reminding that if he cried/whined I would put him down. So much for the rule of not sitting on mommy during meals. But evidently it was what he needed, because part way through the meal he slithered off my lap under the table and reappeared at his place and proceeded to eat all his dinner, broccoli, curry, and all. Wow. Following my gut feeling that he really did need me more than usual was a good thing to do. I wish I could do it more often, but it's hard when I only have a few hours at home each day when the kids are awake, and 75% of the time either I'm trying to get ready for work, we're eating, or we're getting kids ready for bed. I feel so bad that I can't give me children more of the emotional support that they need from me. My husband does a wonderful job, but he responds differently to their emotionalness, and they respond differently to him. It makes me ache that I don't have more time for them, but I have to try to focus on the fact that at least one of us can be home.

Today was a little better. The kids nursed a lot and needed a lot of attention, but that's okay. We had some good times and avoided major meltdowns (although life was still hard for the tot).

(he really can smile sweetly)

Well, I had planned to write more and make this post have a meaning, but I'm too exhausted now so I'm going to call it quits. I'm giving tylenol at the next waking tonight!

Friday, March 27, 2009

old barns

I love old barns. The old barn at my parents' place has seen better days. For several years they tried to salvage it - replaced portions of the roof, rebuilt a corner, etc. But the floor is rotting, the roof is going, high winds are taking a toll. So this summer construction will start on a replacement structure, and sadly, this barn will meet it's end. Last weekend my husband took a few pictures of the barn since it was a pretty day. We both want to capture the barn on film before it's gone. Someday I'll get a walk without kids and take some pictures myself. But here are some very nice ones to start with.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

not as planned

Well, yesterday did not go as planned. Not at all. While my husband and the kids were gone someone broke into our house. Forced open a locked door. They didn't take a lot (but enough to make us pretty grumpy), but the fact that someone was in our house and went through our things really bothers us. So, my husband did not get to go to the concert after all. He did not want to leave us alone - and I'm glad that he didn't! It was a good evening for our son to be gone since figuring things out with a 3-year old in the house would have been even more difficult, but he sure would have enjoyed meeting the nice police officer who came to check things out. Today I am tired, a bit sad, confused, annoyed, and trying to figure out what it all means.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

a special day

(a little musician with a maraca)

It is a special day for all of us. This morning my husband took the kids to my parents place, where our son will be spending the night. Our son was So excited this morning when we told him that Grandma and Grandpa had invited him to come spend the night. He has absolutely no problem being without us when he's over there. We become irrelevant when Grandma is around! Our daughter and I will get an evening all to ourselves while my husband goes to a concert. One of our very favorite musicians, Canadian folk singer Garnet Rogers, is going to be a few towns away tonight! We have seen Garnet several times in concert, and he's just wonderful. I would love to go, but I'm just happy that we worked out a way for my husband to go. He's really excited to get to see Garnet again - and to get a night out by himself. I had considered trying to do the evening at home on my own, but we decided that it would be a miracle if I was able to get both kids in asleep before midnight without loosing my sanity. So, sending our son to my parents place is probably the safer way to get my husband an evening to himself.

Garnet Rogers is one of those people I just want to hug and have as my own personal musician. When I was little I was around a fair bit of music, but very different music than my husband was around in his childhood. I was exposed first hand to Appalachian folk music. My mom played the mountain dulcimer (and for a while she too fiddle lessons), and my dad played the guitar - both played just for fun, but we were often around groups of people playing music for fun. We listened to a lot of world music, and some of my favorites were (and still are) Celtic music and Afropop that my dad had recorded off of National Public Radio. I have very fond memories of sitting in the dark (we did not have electricity) with my dad, listening to Afropop on the radio and watching the little lights on the radio move with the music. Even though we did not have a lot of money, my parents took me to concerts in a nearby town where we saw Celtic, Peruvian, Canadian, and other traditional musicians. It was wonderful exposure for a kid! Often I got to talk to the musicians and I remember Garnet Rogers commenting on the maple leaf necklace that I was wearing one time when we saw him in concert. When I was in junior high and high school I still listened to a very eclectic music selection and didn't care for a lot of the music on the radio. I have always felt a strong draw toward traditional and folk music. I like music with a good story, a good beat, heartfelt music, music that makes me move, music that makes me think, music that makes me bounce on my ball, music that touches my soul. When I listen to music while working I prefer international music sung in a different language so that I'm not distracted by listening to the words and instead just hear the voices.

But, I am not a musician. Not at all. I love music. I love good music. I love people sitting around pickin. But I can't do it. I can't sing, I can't hold a beat well, I'm just plain not musical. When I tried to play the clarinet in high school I was sent to the porch and the sheep gathered around. I think they thought I was an animal in distress. So I'll just listen to other people make good music. My husband on the other hand is a musician. Flute. Piano. Guitar. Good ear for music. Can pick up just about any instrument and make nice sounds. But his exposure to music was different than mine. He had been around the more formal music scene, with lessons starting at a very early age, music talent completions, high school concert band, impressive classical pieces, playing at church, music scholarships for college, etc. By the time he reached college he was kind of burnt out with being pushed in music. He chose a different path in college - which I'm glad of since that's how we met. ;) Music is a part of him, but he needed a different type of music.

In the years since we met he has developed a strong interest in folk music. In addition to the piano and flute, he now has a hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, and recently a new guitar. He is enjoying freedom from "performance" pieces and refocusing on letting music be an outlet for himself.
But back to Garnet Rogers... My family became huge fans of Stan Rogers when I was little. Stan had such a wonderful voice and his songs tell such poignant stories. I distinctly remember the first time I heard "Tiny Fish for Japan" in the car with my parents. Stan died tragically of smoke inhalation in a airplane fire (on the ground) in 1983 when he was only two years older than I am now. Garnet is Stan's younger brother. Both Stan and Garnet's music really touches me. In college I used to lie on the floor and listen to Stan's "The Field Behind the Plow" (there is a link on this page to listen to the song) before exams. That song put it in perspective for me and helped me to relax and find peace at stressful times. My husband now shares my appreciation for Stan and Garnet's music. It seems that for every stage of our life there is a song by Garnet that speaks for us. So, I am glad that my husband will get to see Garnet in person tonight, and I know that he will want to practice his guitar even more after hearing a great musician speak through his music. Maybe my daughter and I will put on a good CD this evening while we play at home.

(my other little musician playing the dulcimer in Oct 2007)

Friday, March 20, 2009

bounce, bounce, wiggle

Some days I'm full of ideas on what to write and have no time to write. Some days I have no ideas but want to write. This is one of the latter. I feel like just posting another picture and let that do the talking, but that's the easy way out. I can't do wordless every day. It's the end of the week and I'm tired of being in front of a computer all week. It's sunny outside and I want to be outside (from the comfort of my office I can pretend it's not cold and windy and just think about how warm and nice is might be).

Let's see what's on my mind if I just let it go... I like my new exercise ball. It's shiny and new. And actually clear instead of scratched and kind of clearish in a past life. It's fun to sit on a shiny new ball. I started sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair about 7 years ago. Wow, that's a long time! I have chronic back problems and it got so bad that there were times when I physically could not walk. I thought that my useful life might be over. I didn't know if I would ever be able to have kids, etc. I felt terrible that my husband had married me and ended up getting more than he bargained for. I didn't know if I would ever be the active girl I used to be. I went to lots of doctors and they did lots of tests. Major back surgery was recommended. Major, major! But we opted not do that, and I went into physical therapy for 10 months. My physical therapist was not a traditional American physical therapist -she was from the Czech Republic and did some muscle work and some alternative things. She recommended that instead of injections or major surgery I sit on an exercise ball, and low and behold the $30 fix worked very well! Thank you Radka! It wasn't a complete fix, but between the ball and exercises and PT, life gradually returned to "normal". I still was not able to sit on chairs, and ended up standing through my classes for the last few months. I toted a huge bright yellow ball around campus for a few weeks and got the strangest looks. But my large yellow ball seemed to make people happy. They smiled at me. Probably thought I was completely loony, but they smiled. I eventually discovered the Opit-ball clear balls and got several so that I could have one at the kitchen table, one in the office, one in the computer lab, etc. And I chose to change my lifestyle from a sedentary graduate student to doing a large amount of strenuous field work. What I needed was to rebuild the muscle that I had lost during college and graduate school (I was very active and helped on the farm in high school, and we think that's part of what kept things from getting too bad previously). So off to the woods I went, and I felt great. Then I finished my degree and had to go get a real job. That meant more office work. I held up well through two pregnancies, but the desk job takes it's toll. At my best time in the last 7 years I could sit for about half an hour in a chair without the pain taking over my brain. Now some days I am in constant pain again, chair or no chair. There were a few years there where I didn't have pain every day, and that was great! Now it's in the back of my mind most of the time again. But at least I know that it's not doing to completely debilitate me (at least not any time soon) and that if I can just find a way to sit less and exercise more things will get better again. I don't immediately see how to do that, but the pain it's as scary to me as it used to be.

So a little bit more about the ball. Evidently sitting on an exercise ball redistributes the pressure on the disks of your spine and so can reduce pain in some people that way. It is also an active sitting - you bounce, sway, wiggle, etc. That keeps things loosened up and builds muscle. I'm not an expert in all this, but it works for me and I've seen it work for other people. It's also very handy to have a ball around for bouncing babies to make them happy/sleep, etc.

So, here I sit on my shiny new ball. I got a new one so that I don't have to keep taking my ball room to room. Oh, and if you're planning to sit on a ball full time, I recommend buying a good quality one. The cheap ones tend to make your bum go numb more quickly in my experience.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

waiting for the garden to dry

We are anxiously waiting for the garden to dry so that it can be plowed. Last year we missed the first dry stretch and then got a late start on the gardening because it took a while to get dry enough to plow. This year we plan to catch it early!

Large gardens have always been a part of my life. When I was little we had two gardens. We did not have electricity, so my parents canned everything. Beans and corn are great cannned, peas not so good. ;) When my husband and I got married we bought a small house with a yard and grew our first garden together. That was my first experience gardening on my own (although I can't really call it "on my own" since I still called my parents frequently). We had a good crop of beans and carrots, but the squirrels got most of the corn. That's about all that I remember of the first garden. I remember it being relatively large, but looking back at the pictures it looks so small.

After a few years we moved to my home state and had a larger house, larger yard, and larger garden.

The first year at the new place we moved in May and got a late start on gardening that year, too. By the time that we moved "Crazy Harry's Greenhouse" was having a supper sale on plants, and soon all vegetable plants were free...do I remember that correctly?! Anyway, I ended up with something like 30 broccoli plants and Way to many peppers and tomatoes. So we made and canned salsa like crazy that year, and I froze broccoli until we were sick of the smell of blanched broccoli. My Ball Blue Book book was getting a good workout. We had to buy a second deep freezer for all the plunder, and we filled the cellar with rows of canned goods. We grew exciting things like yard long beans and the neighbor girls had fun helping me in the garden and sharing veggies.

Then came a summer when we moved 3 times. I didn't garden that year, but instead focused on my house plants. The following summer we moved again and so another no-garden summer. And repeat the following summer (oh, and we had a baby by then). Oh my, three summers with no garden! During those years my parents kindly provided us with as much fresh and frozen garden produce as they could, and we also started discovering farmers markets.

In the summer of 2007 we were finally back at a place (location, and place in our lives) where we could garden again. Oh how nice it was. And our son discovered gardens. He was a very late eater, and that summer he ate nearly all his vegetables directly from the garden. He would stop playing and run the the garden for a snack. He loved peas, beans, carrots, broccoli, and corn straight from the garden. We don't use any chemicals on our garden, and we allow him to graze freely. He even discovered squash flowers and baby squash were quite edible. He liked to help us dig potatoes and then help wash them in a big stainless steel bowl in the yard and then eat them an hour later as baked french fries.

Last year we enlarged our garden, and my 95 year old grandma and I (due with our second child in August) joined the ranks of "those who should not be gardening but are too stubborn not too". I claimed it was for our son, but really it was for all of us, especially me. Even when working an office job was too hard on my very pregnant body, gardening felt good. Again, our son grazed through the garden and we ate lots of fresh vegetables. The squash beetles discovered our garden and swarmed over our squash, melons, pumpkins, and watermelons, but we got to eat a few squash and melons before the plants succumbed to the invasion.

So what will this year's gardening be like? My husband has been talking about the garden already, and it's very exciting to me that he's excited about it this year. He helps in the garden a lot, but it has always really been my thing. It will be fun to see our son enjoy the garden and be even more involved this year. And will our daughter learn to walk in the garden? Quite possibly. I imagine that she'll be crawling about the time we plant, and I'm sure that she will eat way more dirt than many babies.

Last year our son helped plant. I gave him beans, peas, and corn seeds and he planted them with me. I usually had to go back and redistribute, but he really did quite well. And he was very good at helping to pat down the row after the seeds had been sown. He was excited to see the plants come up and begin to produce edibles. As each batch of green beans got past the point of being yummy as green beans we shelled them out and he planted those seeds again. Last year's garden had two digging holes, one at the back and one at the front later in the summer. This year I think we will specifically plan for digging holes since they were where he spend hours and hours.

So, what will we plant this year? We will sit out a year on the squash and melons because of the squash beetle invasion, but we will probably have spinach, lettuce, kohlrabi, carrots, peas, green beans, corn, red potatoes, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, broccoli, basil, parsley, radishes, tomatoes, and onions (several varieties of many of those things). Maybe if there is room maybe I'll add some lima beans and kale this year. I'll miss the squash, melons, pumpkins, and gourds, but I'd rather not use chemicals to control the beetles. :(

So, any suggestions on what else we should try this year? I am not attempting to can or freeze this year since I would rather focus my time on the kids. We give away the extras and enjoy sharing our produce with those who don't have such wonderful abundance of fresh veggies. We especially enjoy sharing our garden with visiting children and their families. One of our son's little friends is still talking about digging potatoes with us last fall. I love to share my excitement for gardening with others, and I'd love to help others give gardening a try. If anyone reading this wants to give it a go, I'd be glad to lend a hand in any way I can. ;)

Monday, March 16, 2009

everything but chocolate

i'm out of chocolate

got cashew butter

fruit leather
dried apples
dried plantains
a real apple

red tea
white tea
chamomile tea

zylitol gum

even have rice cakes. but no chocolate. and i already went to the grocery store.

what I like about the new office and our weekend

(how I felt a lot of this weekend)

I tired all weekend to write a post and got several composed, but I felt that they were all too glum to post so I left them out. We had a bit of "down" weekend with little sleep and gloomy weather.

Here are some notes from the yesterday...
I often wonder what it must be like to have children who sleep easily, long, and soundly. I'm sure I'll probably never know. It's nap time now, and my son and husband are asleep. I tried to nap our daughter - swaddled, nursed, and bounced, but she just sang to me. So how she's chasing toys on the floor while I type. I go over the retrieve toys that have rolled out of reach and she looks quizzically at my reading glasses. What's wrong with mama's eyes she seems to think. This morning began early - at 4:45 am for me. Our daughter was up for good by 6:00. My dear husband let me sleep for an hour, and then we bundled both kids into the van and headed to town for the first nap of the day. Neither my husband nor I wanted to be trapped inside with these kids today. Our daughter got a half hour nap before the combination of stop sign and 3-year old brother woke her. We went to the book fair and came home after changing a poopy diaper and nursing both children in the back of the van (our son wanted to stand in the rain and screamed at the idea of getting back in the van, so I offered a warm boob and that quieted him). Ten minutes from home our daughter feel asleep again. Argh. So I sat in the van for 20 minutes watching the cold raindrops collect and run down the window while she napped. But, I guess that half hour nap two hours ago ruined the usual afternoon nap. And all subsequent organization for the day. I guess it's probably obvious that my mood is about as grey and dismal as the weather this weekend. I used my yummy smelling raspberry shampoo yesterday afternoon when i got a shower - in hopes that the yumminess would perk me up, but it didn't work particularly well. I did manage to clean off (I mean clean, as in completely clean) off about 6 linear feet of kitchen counter last evening. I think that's going to be my big achievement for the weekend.

bouncing.....blank stares.....heavy eyes....going....going....gone! whew, that was hard work.... finally she gave in to sleep.

So, that's pretty much how our weekend went.

Today I'm back at work and trying to force myself to be positive. So, I thought I'd share a few things that I like about the new office....not that anyone really cares. I like it that my office door has a window. This weekend my husband installed a blind on the window so that I could take down the multi-colored tissue paper that I had covering the window. Now that I have a blind that I can pull down when I'm pumping and up when I'm not, I can close my door and listen to music without headphones. That's really nice. I have always tried to keep my door open in the past because the others in my office assume that when my door was closed I was pumping and wouldn't knock if they needed me. Now I can shut out the "world" and focus with my door closed but still be obviously available. I like that. I like listening to music without headphones while I work. I'm not a fan of headphones. They are good for listening to BBC Wold Service documentaries (another way to pass the time while I do mundane tasks), but I like music not directly funneled into my ears when possible.

I also like it that my desk is positioned so that people can't sneak up on me. I hated having my back to the door because I was always nervous that someone would "sneak in" and talk to me. I don't like surprises while I'm working. But now I feel that I can relax. The hardwood floors also help since I can hear when someone's walking around.

I like it that we have a somewhat real kitchen. Cabinets, a real sink, full size fridge, etc. Our "kitchen" at the last place was a tiny fridge and a utility closet with utility sink. In fact, now I can go do my grocery shopping in the middle of the day and put things in the fridge so that I don't have to face the grocery store after work when everyone is doing the same thing.

I like it that I'm on the second floor so I can pump with my window open. Yes, I'm not closing my outside window blind when I pump!! I got used to it the first few days in the new office when didn't have window blinds yet, and I've decided that I'm just not going to close the blind! There are no other building close by, and if someone going through the bank drive-thru really wants to look up this way and at my particular window and wonder what's going on, then so be it. But really, I don't think they could see anything. If I put my eyes down a boob level all I can see if the bank roof and and the road ~100 yards away. And with my pump between me and the window that view is probably blocked even more. So, maybe I'm nuts (the usually modest me who seldom even shows much of her collar bone, but I like light and I like my window.

I like it that the only things in my office are my things and that I'll actually get to decorate an office. In the old office the file cabinets in my office and the other computers were "public" so people were always coming in and out (leading to my paranoia of being "snuck up on"). So now I have to pick a rug for my office and find something for the walls. Fun.

And, big one, I like it that my family can stop by without feeling like it's imposing too too much on anyone. Granted, the little footsteps running down the hall to mama's office are a little obvious, but it's not quite as disruptive as before. Oh, and our son has to run to the kitchen each time he's here and get a plastic knife, fork, and spoon. He's gotta have em. Bad placement for those items, but I'll collect them in my office (when he doesn't take them home with him) and use the grubby ones myself when I don't feel like washing my silverware.

So, what else do I like about this office....I like it that the bathroom vent fan doesn't sound like it's going to suck me out the ceiling or give me hearing damage. Okay. I'm stretching it here...but really, it's a lot better.

Well, I think I'll go do that middle of the day grocery shopping now and grab a bite to eat since we didn't have leftovers for me to bring today.

Friday, March 13, 2009

need for change

(three generations of hands)

my body doesn't like office work. not one bit. i have been having a lot pain in the index finger of my right hand, and it dawned on me yesterday that it was from my mouse. a year or so ago i got a good mouse so that my wrist wouldn't hurt. but now it's my finger. maybe i'm just not meant to sit at a computer all day? i have chronic back problems and so i have tried to avoid sitting and office jobs, but 2.5 years ago i came here and have been sitting every since. with the return to work from maternity leave (i was not working full time for ~6 months), i have really noticed my body getting painful again. i felt great when i wasn't working full time. maybe it's a sign that i need to seriously consider getting off my ball and into a job that's not just sitting and computer work. if only i could figure out how. but probably i'll just have to go lefty mouse for a while.

tired mama

(my sweeties)

We seem to produce children that require large amounts of parental assistance to get adequate sleep. This week has been rough. I'm not sure if our daughter is teething, bothered by the cheese I ate last weekend (I've been dairy free for 3 years because our son was allergic to dairy), full moon, or none of the above. Bedtimes have taken two hours and involved crying for no apparent reason, wakings are frequent, mornings early, and naps short and light. And at the same time our son has decided that even though daddy usually does bedtime with him he now needs mama to come in and do the final goodnight kisses. Last night when I finally was able to put our daughter down for more than 2 seconds I went to the office and saw that our son was still awake - glowing eyes on the monitor. I went in to talk to him and he said "me have to wait long long time for mama". Poor boy. I had talked to him about how I might not be able to come tuck him in every night and how he and daddy could write me a goodnight note, but evidently that wasn't adequate. It's frustrating, but at the same time he's so sweet that I can't be grumpy with him at all. So I nursed him, snuggled, gave him "blooper kisses", real kisses, tucked his grandma made construction blanket around him and mama bear, and left him happy and snug. Several hours later when my husband went in to go to bed and moved our son to the other side of the bed, our son said "mama came in gave me blooper kisses tucked me in" and he immediately went back to sleep - or maybe he didn't wake up fully. Anyway, the fact that that was on the top of his head meant a lot to me. Sometimes I feel like he doesn't really need me these days since daddy can to bedtime and I'm away at work all day and seldom get time to slow down and focus on our son. But the little things he does show that I am still so important to him. And that makes me both happy and sad. So sad that I am not able to give him more of myself.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

a journey ahead

(~10 years ago)

My husband and I have started a journey. We are trying to recognize that it may be a long journey and that we need to enjoy the process, not just long for the destination (which is currently hidden from sight). As impatient, spirited, practical, engineering types, this "enjoying the journey" is going to be a big step for us. The first step is to uncover the path. I'm afraid that in the last few years we have neglected trail maintenance, and the true path meant for us has become rather obscured. For various reasons, including adjusting to parenting our spirited children and supporting our family, we have not always been true to ourselves and have often followed a cushiest path of least resistance. But we are now considering leaving the paved road (well, I guess maybe we left mainstream a long time ago considering that we are a homebirthing, clothing diapering, babywearing, tandem nursing family - so maybe now we're talking of leaving the gravel road for the muddy trail).

So, how do you find yourself when you're 30+, have two small children, and are either working full time (me) or home all day with said children (my husband). We are not sure of the answer to this, but recently we have been introduced to the spiritual practice of shamanism, and we both feel that this has much to offer us. So, yesterday I ordered several books and CDs in the hopes that we can continue where our teacher left when she had to go on an unexpected sabbatical.

In embracing our spiritual side my husband and I are also finding ourselves closer to each other. We have opened channels of communication that we have neglected and have found peace in talking for long hours (even if that means less sleep than we are already getting). A few nights ago our son spent the night with my parents (for the 3rd time ever) and we stayed up late talking. And then, listen to this ladies and gents, my husband went off to clean the bathroom at 11 o'clock at night. What on earth has gotten into him. ;) Evidently our journey will have clean pit stops.

Monday, March 9, 2009

today I am sad

Today I am sad. Mourning a loss. And hoping that the loss will result in greater gain for the other parties involved. I feel like a thread connecting me to another like minded soul was suddenly severed. It is not a decision that either of us would have chosen willingly I believe. But change must happen. I know that to hang on is selfish and that I must just hope that the new freedom will allow the other to develop more fully without expending energy in my direction. But I also am giving myself space to grieve. It is not often that I find kindred spirits in this world. But, sadly, we must each go our own way, and I can only hope that time and life will bring us back together in this life or another. Preferably this one. I hope that our spirits can continue to share a connection and gain strength from each other in times of need.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

random tidbits and one reason I'm lucky.

Have you ever tried to nurse a baby to sleep while you have the hiccups? It doesn't work terrible well. Each time my bosom would bounce with a hiccup she would look at me inquiringly. But my hiccups finally subsided and she finally gave in to sleep. So I'm here for a few minutes to try to put down a few thoughts. I am extremely tired today after getting very little sleep last night, so I'm not sure how much of this will be coherent.

A few weeks ago I thought my son might be going down the weaning road faster than I anticipated, but this weekend showed that he's still pretty attached to the boob - literally. I found this post by Pioneer woman to be very relevant this weekend.

I can't imagine what it will be like when I have two toddlers! Oh my! But I'll discuss tandem nursing another time I think.

I have been inconsistent about what I call my family members in this blog. I can't decide how to refer to them. I started with "code names", but that just didn't quite seem to fit as well for me as it does for some. Then I switched to initials, but that got confusing. I guess I should look around and see what others do on their blogs....hmmm....i'm seeing a little of everything. So, maybe I'll skirt the issue for now by just refering to them as my husband, my son, and my daughter. Fancy that.

I feel lucky. I feel lucky that we live in a place where our son can roam a bit. This evening when we got home from the day's adventures our son said he was going to go shovel snow. My husband helped him into his coat and hat in the van, our son grabbed a shovel from the garage, and he was off. He loves to stay outside when we get home from somewhere. We are fortunate enough to live on several acres in rural area. Our yard is surrounded by a natural barrier of white pine trees and then a dilapidated woven wire fence between us and the road on two sides and the neighbor on another side. My handy husband has built several play houses for our son (and I think secretly for my husband, too), and our son is relatively free to wander as he pleases. He checks in occasionally coming into the garage and in the kitchen door, banging on the sliding glass door, talking to me at the above-the-sink kitchen window, or waving from the playhouse window. My husband was in and out to unpack the van and help our son when his shovel got stuck in the snow/grass (our son comes and announces "I got into trouble" when he needs help), but we are able to let him be pretty independent. I grew up like that (probably even more so) and it seems natural to me, but I know that many 3-year olds do not have that opportunity - to be on their own for a few minutes in a safe, quiet, roamable place. In the summer our son runs straight from the driveway to the garden, where he had a large digging hole. We are all looking forward to defrosting the garden again.

(pregnant mama and one of the digging holes)

Now, was that way or referring to them too cumbersome? Be honest now....was it?

Before I go I want to add that a friend me a huge service this morning by helping to tidy up my spirit(ual?) world. I'm still processing and haven't figured out how to talk about what's going on, but I think this is one more step in the right direction.