Motherhood, Art, Creative Play, and Finding Joy in Everyday Life

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My First Garden

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I have always considered myself a person with two black thumbs. I have always managed to kill off every houseplant I have ever tried to grow. And yet, I love having growing things around. If it were not for my naughty kitty-cat Molly, who devours plants, I would have them all over the house. I have also dreamed all of my life of having land of my own to grow a garden on. Since buying the house in September, this is now a reality for me.

Several weeks back, the snow thawed away enough to reveal green shoots underneath. These have since grown tall, and revealed themselves to be daffodils. This week, just in time for yesterday’s celebration of Spring’s return, a few of them bloomed. It makes me smile every time I pass the garden to see the happy yellow flowers there.

There are new things popping up in other places around the house. Time will tell what they will be.

So here I am, experiencing my very first Spring with a garden, and with absolutely no idea what I am doing. I have zero gardening experience and a miniscule amount of knowledge. Thankfully, I know many people who do know what they are doing, and who are willing to offer info and advice. I also have plans to pore over some gardening books from the library. And there is always Google.

Today I finally dug in. I raked out all of the dead leaves and twigs. Grass had overgrown into the garden, and was surrounding the daffodils, I began digging and pulling it out. I unearthed some bricks, and used them to extend the boundary around the garden, where the wood border ended. After a while, I finished for the day. There is still a lot of grass remaining to be pulled, but it was a start for someone who has never gardened in their life.

I have plans, lots of plans. I am contemplating peonies or sweet william to join the daffodils in the side garden. Bushes are being removed from the front of the house, and a whole new gardening area will be created there. I want to grow container tomatoes and cucumbers and an herb garden on the deck this year.

Someday we will convert the car port into a greenhouse and grow oodles of things. We’d love to focus our energies mostly on edible things. This year though, it is our first in the house, and I am pregnant, so I am keeping it simple.

If you have any tips or anecdotes about gardening, or aspirations of your own, I’d love to hear from you in a comment!

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Feeding the Birds

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Yesterday, Simon and I decided to make some simple little feeders for the birds who spend a lot of their time hopping around in our front bushes. Months ago, he had made a bagel bird feeder as a project at preschool, and our little chickadees and a couple of cardinals really loved it. This time, we hollowed out an orange, and used the two halves of the rind as our bird feeder bases. (Simon very much enjoyed eating the orange as we worked.) Once we scooped them out, we spread a layer of peanut butter inside, and then sprinkled in a bunch of birdseed. (I forgot to put string through the orange before spreading in the peanut butter. If you make these, try to remember that step should come first, so your don’t have to deal with sticky peanut butter fingers.)

After a while, we looked out the window and our bushes were full of chickadee activity as they discovered our gift to them. This morning they were joined by some pretty red finches. When we first moved in, I wasn’t sure I liked the location of those bushes. Now I know they are in the perfect place for looking out the window and doing some bird watching. I definitely will be keeping them right where they are.

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Winter Nature Table

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Last week, Jeramy and my Brother-in-law installed the woodstove in our living room. This is going to help us cut down our heating costs, and add a feeling of coziness to our home. This has also required rearranging our furniture. While the work was still being done, everything was just shoved to the center of the room. We had to squeeze around furniture to get through the room, and everything looked a mess. The other day, once the installation was complete, I became motivated and began moving things into place.

I placed this awesome little rough edge table (which I bought from the previous owners of this house for eight dollars at a sale they had before they moved out) under the window and decided to turn it into our little nature table. I have been wanting to create a nature shelf, table, or corner in our home for ages now, and I am so glad I have finally gotten around to it. The plan is to change the items that are on it with the seasons. In Spring we might have a branch with buds, and some seeds. In Summer, seashells and flowers. In Autumn, bright leaves and some twigs and pinecones. Books that tie-in with the current season will also make great items for this spot.

This is an excellent opportunity for Simon to be hands on with nature, and to learn more about our changing seasons. He is allowed to play with and touch everything on there. He feels proud to showcase his treasures that he collects when we go on walks.

I have many more ideas for this little spot of the living room. Quotes about nature or photographs that I would like to hang on the wall right nearby, baskets to place under or beside the table for collections of items and more books, a little swiveling light to shine in the evenings here. For now though, I think it is a good beginning.

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A Walk In The Woods


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The land directly behind our property belongs to our neighbor. He owns 125 acres, most of which is wooded. Shortly after we moved in, we were given permission to go walking back there whenever we like.

How amazing it is, to walk out our door, through our yard, and have ample hiking and exploring space that is private. Wildlife to spot, nature to enjoy, and adventures to have, right there all the time. Right now we can soak in the beautiful Fall foliage. We can snowshoe this Winter. In Spring the stream will be full and flowing, and in Summer there will undoubtedly be frogs.

One of my goals as a parent is to teach my child to observe and remember nature. I was able to do that before, however, it required more effort when we didn’t have such easy access to the woods. For this luxury, I am so thankful.

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Postcards From Rangeley


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A final set of snapshots from our week of vacation in Rangeley, Maine. Tonight I am back home in the city, wishing we could have had another week there. Something tells me though, that no matter how many weeks we might stay I would always be wishing for just one more.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the time we did have this year, and for all of the memories we made together as a family.


At The Pond

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The Spring weather lately has been just begging us to spend time outside, and on Saturday we found ourselves with free time together as a family. Jeramy and I asked Simon: “What do you want to do today?”, and he answered: “Go to da beach.” My parents generously bought us a year-long pass to a local place that has hiking trails, fields, scenic spots to explore, and a sandy little beach. That is where we ended up.

The water is still very cold this time of year, and there was a strong breeze, but that didn’t stop my little explorer. He wanted to walk right into the water, chasing the little fish, splashing, and gathering buckets of water to bring up onto the beach and dump out on the sand. We had the whole beach to ourselves for a while, and then a few other families came with some older children who were armed with frog-catching nets. They brought over all kinds of creatures for Simon to look at, and Simon wanted to run off with them into the tall reeds. He walked up to a boy who is probably about two years older than he is, and proudly announced: “I have a bucket too. It’s pretty, see?” The boy smiled, and splashed past in the tall grass.

We started to build a sandcastle, but it changed into a volcano, and then Simon filled in the hole, so I suppose it was a mountain in the end. Jeramy and Simon went and walked the perimeter of the pond a bit, while I sat, relaxing on the warm sand and did some people watching.

After a couple of hours it was time to gather up the buckets and shovels, change our mud and water covered toddler into some dry clothes, and head home to make some supper. We all got a good fill of fresh air and sun, and had a great time being outside.

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little simon big beach

“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013.”

Simon: Tiny child, big nature.

This is how we spent our afternoon on Saturday. It was sunny and warm, and Simon asked us that morning to go to the beach. So we went to a nearby pond that has a bit of sand and spent time in the outdoors.

More about that adventure tomorrow. Until then, check out more from the 52 project this week by clicking on the image below:


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An Easter/Ostara Hike

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Some scenes from our nature walk yesterday as a family. Our celebration of Spring’s arrival, and a new family tradition. It was so peaceful to be in the woods, though we did come across a few other hikers. It felt great to breathe the fresh air, stretch and move our bodies, and take in the beautiful scenery. Not only did we reconnect with nature, but with one another as well.

Welcome, Spring!


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