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    At this moment

    Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

    It is gorgeously overcast and *almost* gloomy outside. It’s the kind of weather that makes me want to hole up in my house, do art projects, and maybe (maybe!) venture out to the library. Maybe. Which is perfect, because that’s what we have planned for the day.

    The girls are dressed and fed, and playing with their “strawberry girls” – the newest obsession at our house. We get obsessed easily around here, if you hadn’t noticed.

    The laundry basket is full of clean clothes, waiting to be folded and put away.

    My desk is a complete mess, but on the very top of the mess is a portrait of Z’s favorite stuffed animal, drawn by one of our dear friends (who is a brilliant artist), so that makes me happy.

    All around the house, things are *almost* tidy, but not quite. There are dishes in the sink, a pile of papers on the counter, leftover breakfast and a butterfly identification guide on the table. The floor needs to be vacuumed.

    I’m thinking about preschool, which starts next week, and what last minute things need to get done.

    I’m thinking about friends, one who just had a baby, one who had a baby 2 weeks ago, and one who is sad, and wondering what I can do to help.

    And now I’m reveling in the beauty of my life.  There are moments (hours, weeks) that are so busy and chaotic, but at the core it really is simple, clear, and often shiny.  :) And exactly what I want.

    What’s going on with you, at this moment?

    Outdoor Challenge day 2

    Monday, April 12th, 2010

    Did you get outside today? We did, even though it was raining torrentially throughout the day. We didn’t let that stop us, it just meant there were puddles to jump in, and worms and snails to meet!

    If you’re taking part in the Outdoor Challenge and posting pictures, let us know so we can check them out! If you’re not taking pictures but just getting outside, tell us about your adventures!

    Who’s looking back at you?

    Monday, February 15th, 2010

    Yesterday I posted the following status on Facebook:

    “Ever catch a glimpse in the mirror and not recognize yourself? That totally just happened to me.”

    My hair is in the process of growing, and I think it’s hit its teenage years, because it is completely doing its own thing. Luckily I liked what it was doing yesterday, it just caught me by surprise.

    But this is incidental to my point. My uncle, in response, wrote:

    ‘Wait until your sister, mother, aunt, or grandmother looks back at you. I’ll post a picture of your great grandmother  — perhaps she is looking back.”

    I hear people worry that they’re starting to look like their mothers;  I’ve always looked like my mom, and I love it.  I love the parts of me that remind me of her when I look in the mirror.  When I was little I looked exactly the same as one of my cousins, and in turn one of my girls looks just like her cousin did at her age.  Farther than that, I don’t know where my face comes from. I haven’t looked into older family pictures enough to know who resembles whom among my assorted grandmothers, great aunts and 2nd cousins.

    But I love that image of women from my family’s past looking back at me, as the one who currently carries the trace of their eyes, or smile, or nose; keeping an eye on what I’m doing.

    Or maybe it’s not a physical trait that we share, but a talent or skill. I think of the Mary Ann  for whom I’m named, who snuck a cutting of her beloved yellow roses in her purse back in the 1800s, and kept it alive all the way across the Altlantic  and through a treacherous trek over the US to finally plant them in her new home in Hyde Park, UT.  I like to think she smiles as she sees our balcony garden, (or me doing something sneaky). :)

    So, on this President’s Day, as we celebrate important people from our country’s history, let’s celebrate those from our own individual histories as well. Who do you look like? Who do you act like? Who’s looking back at you? And how do you preserve the memories of them, to share with those in your family who are younger?


    Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

    The balcony garden has returned! After the mass death of our annuals, (and a tearful discussion about the life cycle of plants), we cleared out all the plant corpses and hit the plant store.


    The tomato managed to survive, as did the Kalanchoe, which is thriving. We added Nagoya Rose,  Lithodora, Panda Plant, and Purple Scallops.  The last two are also types of Kalanchoe, which hopefully bodes well for their survival rate.

    Z chose all of the plants, and has the responsibility of watering and singing to them.  (It’s her own honed technique, I’m not gonna mess with it.)

    My favorites are the Panda plant:

    100_6449the leaves are fuzzy! And the brown spots look like panda eyes! (Z chose it because the leaves? petals? protrusions? look blue in person.)

    and the Nagoya Rose:


    It’s a kind of kale, and is really gorgeous.

    It’s wonderful having living things in the view out the window again.  I love having a very visual reminder of small and simple daily growth and progression. The girls have already spent significantly more time playing out there, despite the cold.

    Long live the balcony garden!

    My Christmas Was Lovely…

    Sunday, December 27th, 2009

    The Girls

    There was much eating of food and spending time with family.  I was reminded of what is really important–not the gifts, but the reaffirmed bonds.  I’m grateful for that.

    How was your Christmas?


    Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

    While washing my clothes this morning, I started thinking about all the things I was grateful for today (check it out on my blog…)  Too often I focus on what I’m frustrated with (“I’m feeling too poorly to go to work today”) and not the silver lining (“I get to see my doctor today and sleep in”).  I don’t want to go all Pollyanna on you, because I know not every situation has a silver lining, but I know that there is much to be grateful for.

    I stole the list idea from Hilary (who may have “borrowed” it from Oprah…)  What are some other ways we can be grateful?  And how can we encourage gratitude in our homes?

    Housework as Meditation

    Monday, October 26th, 2009

    I’ve been thinking this morning about Maryanne‘s Amish quotes, especially the one I’m “sitting with” today…

    A task takes as long as it takes.

    I have a concussion, and it is hard for me to focus or do much of anything.  My house is messy and I have a splitting headache.  I decided, in the Amish proverb spirit, to do just one task, and take as many breaks as necessary.  I chose laundry.  Laundry is good because for long stretches, the machine does all the heavy lifting :)

    As I slowly checked pockets and tried to remember which settings to have the buttons on, I was totally focused on that.  It almost felt like a Silent Saturday; I could hear Joey snoring, the fan in the living room, the cats scratching in the litter box.  Even my headache abated and I felt at peace.

    I’m grateful for that experience today.

    Taking a gratitude walk

    Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

    “I’m just sooooo sad” has been a constant refrain in our house for the last week or so. No matter what is happening, my 3 year old feels the need to express:

    “I’m just sooo sad I don’t get to watch another show.”

    “I’m just sooo sad I have to eat my beans.”

    “I’m just sooo sad I can’t have a pirate ship.”

    “I’m just sooo sad Daddy has to go to work.”

    “I’m just sooo sad my cousins can’t come today.”

    I’m just sooo sad I have some ice cream.”

    Yes, that last one is real. That’s the point we’ve gotten to around here, everything is a cause for being “sooo sad”, even when it’s no cause at all.

    So yesterday I decided to take charge of the situation. I explained that we’re here on Earth to have joy and happiness, and that there were some ways that we could do that.

    #1 Get out in nature.

    #2 Be grateful.

    #3 Serve other people.

    I decided that we’d tackle #1 and 2 concurrently, and we suited up and went for a walk. Z was to look for anything she was grateful for, and take a picture of it.

    So here, for your edification, are the things for which 3 year old Z is grateful. (There would doubtless have been more, but the camera ran out of juice.)


    Our car, “Cool Car”.


    A dumpster. I have no idea why, but really, why not? (I think really this shows her gratitude for being able to take pictures.)


    Her lion Mimi, who helps her to be brave.


    The sun.

    On the way home Z told me that finding things that she was grateful for did make her more happy. So you’ve got a 3 year old’s word for it, and why would she lie? Head out on a gratitude walk and tell us  how it goes!

    (I’ll post on our service attempts another time. But just so you know, the 3 pronged attack does seem to be working.)