random


It seems every time a new year rolls around, I find myself regretting the fact that I haven’t kept up with my blog; and, I promise myself that I will try to do a better job of it in the next year.

So here we go again. 2017 and the same thought tickles my brain.

Sitting, feverish, hacking up a lung the way my two girls have in the past week and listening to them argue, mostly healthy again, with each other in the basement. I have no voice left; no strength to go down and separate them or try to help find resolution. And so I take the opportunity to sit and try to compose some sort of blog post.

My thoughts run the gamut, but I have no clear-cut topic to analyze or discuss. The only thing I know is that it’s time to take writing a little more seriously.

We are growing a garden this year!  A vegetable garden!!!!!  I am beyond excited.  We have, for the last three or four years, grown tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and herbs in faux terra-cotta pots on our patio.  We have also been members of a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for several years (I have lost count on how long we have been doing this).  My dream, however, has been to have our OWN garden, where we can grow a host of different vegetables to support a healthier diet and greater self-sufficiency.  Unfortunately, that would require a much larger backyard.  Ours is about the size of a postage stamp.

But, alas, we are not moving anywhere anytime soon.  Our children are so very attached to this residence that our younger daughter would like to “buy this house as a vacation home” when it is time for us to sell and move to single-floor living (when our joints are crackly and dusty and fail to move us up the stairs).  How about that.  The townhouse we were only going to spend “two or three years” in has become an heirloom.  Who would have thought.  NOT ME.  EVER.  I have been planning our “next house” since the day we moved in!!

Anyway, my adorable and adoring husband promised (of his own accord; without my begging and pleading) to build me a raised bed for growing our own vegetables.  And he fulfilled this promise.  Several weeks ago, he built this fabulous raised bed that just fits in the area we have reserved for patio gardening.  It truly is beautiful.  So beautiful, in fact, that he has asked me many times, “Are you SURE you want to put dirt in this thing?”  My answer, of course, is always a resounding “yes”.  It is finally full of a robust mixture of organic soil, organic compost, a bit of vermiculite and a bit of organic manure. Our seedlings are finally planted and we have prepped the trellises  for the young sugar snap pea plants. I am very excited to see what our beautiful garden will yield. I hope, although I don’t expect, that it will be enough to can and put away some of this fresh produce for the colder months, much like Ma Ingalls once did. To be honest, the girls are almost as excited about this prospect as I am. We are homestead wannabees in our little townhouse. And we cannot wait to see what our hard work produces.

This is the coldest winter I can remember.  Ever.  In all of my nearly 41 years.  But we are on the “light” side of the Solstice.  It has come and gone and our days continue to grow lighter and longer.  And the sun through our windows feels a bit warmer.  Just a bit.  Even so, the wind seems to find its way through any crack or crevice around every window and door. To warm these coldest of winter days, I find myself baking crusty loaves of bread, boiling water for tea, heating milk for hot cocoa, knitting leftovers into cowls and hats, and doubling up on our layers of socks and sweaters.  The greatest warmth I have found, however, is the warmth of this family of mine.  Much as I know it would do us all good to run around outside, it has felt comfortable and cozy to be tucked into our home together, not venturing out into the frigid, frozen land that is just outside our windows. Written January 28, 2014

I love snow days.  Outdoors and indoors.

Indoors, the quiet play of my girls, background music by Taylor Swift and remnants of a cozy breakfast…..warm cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate…on the table.  They are homebodies, my girls.  To them (and to me), a snow day is a gift.  A day they can stay under the toasty covers a few more minutes and wake at their own pace.  A day Mom isn’t rushing them through breakfast and tooth-brushing to make it to school before the bell rings.  A day they don’t have to worry about doing or saying the right thing in class.

I watch the outdoors from the kitchen table as I write.  Wind-whipped snowflakes rush to blanket the grass, while a pair of juncos and a house sparrow take turns at the birdfeeder.  Much to our kitty’s chagrin, I don’t think we’ll see too many more, as the winds continue to pick up.

Soon it will be time to start clearing the driveway and sidewalks, a task I don’t mind in the hush of snowfall, interrupted only by the simple scrapes of my shovel.  Once the jarring sound of snowblowers breaks that silence, it becomes a chore.

I am grateful for another day.  One that happens to be a snow day.

For the first time in my life-as-a-mom, I am caught up on our laundry.  If that doesn’t say much, I have a nine year-old and a six year-old.  So that’s nearly ten years that I have been behind on laundry.  Yes, TEN YEARS!  I can’t believe I’m publicly admitting this.  I wish that I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard one of the following:

“Honey, do you have clean socks for me somewhere?”  And by “somewhere” he really meant “is there a laundry basket in this house with CLEAN laundry in it?”

or

“Mom, I’m out of pajamas.  Do you have some for me?”

or

“I’m all out of clean undershirts.”

Unfortunately, this probably happened once a week.  Fortunately, for every occasion I heard this, there was always a load in the washer or dryer that contained whatever it was they were looking for and I was able to hand them something clean and dry.

But for me being caught up on laundry doesn’t mean that our hampers are completely empty.  What it does mean is that no one is out of anything and the hampers are not over-flowing.  Not only are they not over-flowing, but they are less than half-full!  Clean laundry is folded and put away, not sitting in a basket somewhere waiting for me to plop on the floor and spend quality time folding it.

The thing is, it feels amazing.  Liberating.  Who knew being caught up on laundry could be so fulfilling?  I mean, right?  I get up at 5:00am and throw my first load in.  If there is a load from the night before in the dryer, I fold it then and there.  After I drop the kids at school, I throw in another.  And if it’s necessary, I toss one in after dinner.  The past few nights, it hasn’t been necessary.  I have been able to sit on the sofa with my love after the kids are in bed and enjoy an evening without that nagging feeling of “I must get some laundry in”.

I love reading.  Loved it as a kid, love it today.  And as a parent, I’ve always hoped that my love of reading would be something my children would inherit.  Little did I know that hope might one day become a battle.

My seven-year old LOVES reading.  It is, perhaps, her favorite activity.  Every night it’s a struggle to get her to put down her book and turn out the light.  “Five more minutes…please?”  The plea of five more minutes turns into ten which turns into fifteen and then twenty.  It would quickly become three hours if I let it.  Fortunately, she’s not quite gotten to the devious stage, where one might grab a flashlight and read under the covers (as though reading could ever be a devious undertaking!).

Tonight we battled again, although a bit less of a struggle than usual.  I gave her fifteen more minutes and told her exactly what time she needed to put down the book, press play on her alarm clock for music and turn out the light.  Seriously, I know her M.O. and still placed the responsibility of putting the book down into her hands?  Have I not learned anything?  Thirty minutes later, I walked past her door and found the light still on.  Should I have been surprised?  Uh, no.  I feigned it anyway. “Why on earth are you still reading?”  I asked.  “Mom, I was just so engrossed in the book, I completely forgot to look at the clock,” she told me.  “Well, it’s time, honey ” I told her as I pulled up her covers and tucked her in.  For once, when I went to take the book from her, she did not resist.  And after she used the word “engrossed”, I could do nothing but squeeze her to bits.  How cute is that?

And guess what?  She chose to listen to stories rather than music as Jim Weiss’ enchanting voice whisked her away to a Tropical Island in Good Night.  I am not surprised at all.  That’s how I got my bookworm to sleep.

This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated recommendations for car seat safety.  I am thrilled to see that this is finally being addressed by the AAP.   The question I have is: why did they wait so long to issue these changes?  It’s not new “news”.  My children are nearly eight and five years old and both remained rear-facing until they were two years old.  And I know many families who kept their children rear-facing for even longer periods of time.  Both of my children will also remain in booster seats until they meet the height and weight limits.

I’ve always believed that car seats are our last line of defense for our children against reckless, distracted drivers.  And, let’s face it, drivers are more distracted, rushed and reckless than they have ever been.  And we are on the roads with our children more than we have ever been.  Let’s keep our children safe.

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