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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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.


Chasing Balloons

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This was the weekend of our town’s annual Balloon Festival. The timing was never right for us to actually go to the festival location to see the balloons filling up. But Saturday night, after supper, we decided to take an impromptu drive to see if we could “catch” a balloon, by which I mean find one landing. When I told him where we were going Simon excitedly asked me if he should bring his bug catching net to capture the balloon with. I explained that his net was a bit too small, and he would see why.

It didn’t take long to find a balloon touching down, and we found one descending into the parking lot at the local mall. We pulled our car into a parking space, and got out to join the gathering crowd as the balloon team managed the deflating balloon. Simon was absolutely thrilled to witness this. There were other balloons, still making their way across the sky, as well as a group of powered paragliders zipping overhead. It was definitely a spectacle.

Despite the crazy traffic that it causes, I am always glad every year to live in a town that has this event. Many balloonists arrive early, and fly their balloons over the city throughout the week. It makes a quick walk to the store seem magical, when a giant balloon is coasting over your head. Like seeing a rainbow, it never fails to bring out my inner child when I spot a hot air balloon in the middle of my day.

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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.

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Postcards From Rangeley

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Hello! I finally found a way to access the internet after almost 4 days here in Rangeley, via the internet cafe in town. I had previously thought I would be able to access from the Main Lodge at our camp, but I turned out to be wrong. Now that I know there is free internet available in the village, I will have an extra excuse to sneak down here for a bubble tea. (If one ever needs a reason for more bubble tea.)

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beach day 6”A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013.”

Simon: Near and Far

More photos from our beach adventure. I loved both of these shots and could not choose between them for today’s post. They are so different despite being in the same setting, so I chose both.



A Rainy Beach Day

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If you have never gone to the beach on a day of clouds and sprinkling rain, I highly recommend it.

Yesterday, as Simon begged and begged me to go to the beach, I looked at three different weather reports with a furrowed brow, trying to convince myself that the overcast sky would magically disappear. I tried bribing him with a trip to the playground just around the corner with a friend instead, or baking together at home…but I had mentioned the beach on the day before, and so the beach it had to be. I explained to him that it might rain, and we might not get to stay outside for a long time in the sand. He simply looked up at me and said: “I don’t mind the rain Mumma, I promise.” I could tell he really meant it.

So we packed our beach things, and headed off. I wondered if I was being foolish for giving in to his wishes. I decided to stick to a local beach that is very inexpensive, that way if we did end up having to leave after a short visit, we would still have gotten our money’s worth, and there would not be a long drive to get home. As long as there is both sand and water, Simon is happy.

Despite all of my weather worries, it turned out to be one of the best beach days I have ever had. There were not very many people there, because of the weather, so it was quiet and we had plenty of space to ourselves. We drove plastic trucks in the sand, made castles, played in the water together, collected bits of nature, had a splash fight, and bought a picnic lunch from the snack stand. In the end, we stayed for almost five hours. There was gentle, sprinkling rain almost the whole time, but it didn’t matter at all, because we were wet anyway. As long as I kept the camera covered, we were all set.

At one point, when we were out in the water, deep enough that I had to be holding Simon in my arms or it would have been over his head, he leaned in, gave me a kiss and said “I love you Mumma! I like going to the beach with you.” I melted, and I knew then that I had made the right choice letting him talk me into a beach trip. Often, toddlers really do have the right idea about how to live life.

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Outdoor Spray Art

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Simon saw his spray bottle on the top shelf of our art cart the other day and, remembering how much fun we had using it to spray paint the snow last winter, asked if we could “please go spray some snow.” I explained that there is no snow right now, because it is Springtime, but that we could find a way to make some art with the spray bottle anyway. Thinking of our day at Smudge Art Studio, when we sprayed paper shapes, I grabbed some big sheets of paper and we headed outdoors.

I used wooden clothespins to attach the paper to some low hanging branches. I asked Simon to choose which color he wanted to use,  and then mixed some non-toxic, water-based paint with a bit of water in the spray bottle. After explaining that he was not to spray the house or people, I let him have fun spraying the paint onto his “canvas”. Of course, there was also some decorating of the surrounding greenery and some rocks too. After he would finish with a color, he would pick out another one, and I would mix him up a new bottle of paint. (I am thinking I will have to pick up a couple more spray bottles so that next time he can use multiple colors at once, or share with a friend.)

We had a lot of fun making art together this way, and will most definitely be doing it again. It was a terrific way to spend time together, be creative, and enjoy nature.

Note: I am thinking the finished paintings are going to make terrific wrapping paper!


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