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February 2013

January 2013

feathered retreat


It's been completed for months, but I suppose I haven't made a public declaration of my love for this coop. Not only did we build it (and we all built it, lest you miss the little drill holes of evidence peppering the surface of the 2 x 4s.)


Though it was tempting to add some windows and extra woodworking flourishes, we honored our novice skills and made only superficial design choices. Throw on some lights, a decoration here and there, a twisted vine for a door handle and a natural branch ramp up to the henhouse, and we felt we had ample room to artistically "play." Staining our adirondack chairs and the kids picnic bench and adding them, along with our beloved cat tree, handmade by our friends in Mexico, to the patio next to the coop, and we have a great outdoor living space.


But the art wasn't complete without a mural for the chickens to appreciate.



"I'm painting eggs, Mama, so they know that this is where they should lay their eggs."





I think the mural is the chicken's favorite part, for sure. (And my, how they've grown! It's amazing how fast they go from fluffy balls to full-grown, clucky ladies.)



a week with boys + simplicity parenting











Do you ever wake up one morning and realize both of your babies can talk like pirates? Shiver me timbers! AND they can both open the refrigerator door!

Parenting has changed me in ways both vast and immesurable. I started off this gig with some experience teaching 3-6 year-olds and a familiarity with Montessori philosophy. I use what I can from that past life of mine, whatever I can recall in the (very busy) moment that jives with my children's needs and interests. I embraced attachment parenting, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding. Then my second spent his first month in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit and had to be sent home having my pumped breastmilk fed to him through a tube that went directly into his stomach.

There is much I admire about Waldorf philosophy, but as you can see we have Legos. We have both playsilks and hand-me-down pirate costumes.

There's a delicate balance between opening up your heart and letting in the wisdom and goodness that a philosophy has to offer and getting stressed out and disheartened because you either don't have the energy or the situation to implement it perfectly in your family. You do what you can. And that is enough. The middle path is one of forgiveness and healthy compromise.

Of all the parenting philosophies with which I'm familiar, I find myself returning to, and finding comfort in, Kim John Payne's Simplicity Parenting. So often, I need to reign myself in from doing more, more, and then more. Make this learning material! Come up with a complicated meal plan! Figure out how to get more out of the daylight hours! My mind is constantly luring me out of the present moment and into the future. Simplicity Parenting encourages me to do less, to enjoy life right now as a family, to be present to the people in my life rather than things and schedules. I love the peace the book has encouraged in my family's life.

And I also love that Kim John Payne is offering a free spot to on of my readers in his Simplicity Parenting Home Study Practice Guide for anyone who's interested in taking the wisdom of the book and really opening to how it might positively affect your family. The course is eight weeks long, and I'm excited that Kim will be answering our questions and mentoring us through these two months. And ... there's a bonus session on how to deal with defiance and intervene in sibling put-downs.

You can learn more about the course here, which starts on January 22nd.

Sign up here, if your name doesn't get picked (disclaimer - I do receive a percentage of the sale as an affiliate, just letting you know!)

Comments will close on Wednesday evening, January 16th. Good luck!


Comments are closed - congratulations to Erin!


the view from here









I didn't mean to be gone so long! A confluence of events - my parents sold my childhood home in California and were gone for a few weeks in December, then the holidays came and went - and through it all I struggled to find a place for myself. My writing, my photographing, my knitting, my yoga practice. None of it really happened this past month. Oh, yes - a lot of elving happened for sure - puppet making, needle felting ... little gifts for my boys. There were many moments of joy and laughter during my favorite season of the year.

However, it seems as though I am feeling a bit unmoored in my new role as full-time stay-at-home mama, not knowing how to fit in any time to get into a creative flow. Are any of you introverted mamas who need time for yourself but have a hard time making that need a reality? That's where I am right now. I'm hopeful that, with a few (albeit big) simplifying shifts, I can consistently set aside that time for nourishing myself. For now, in the few mornings a week when the boys are cared for by my parents, I tend to my pattern business. Management stuff. Emails. In short, not soul-quenching work.

I'm taking this one moment at a time, and am emerging into the new year with two words in mind: gratitude and simplicity. There's so much to be thankful for right now, and so little I really need to take on.

Also on my mind - Mary Frances, a kindred spirit, gave birth to her daughter Imogen just before Christmas. She was born with HLHS. (When Mary Frances and I talked on the phone, we joked that, perhaps, HLHS is caused by too much sewing!) Like Lachlan, Imogen is spending the bulk of her first month in the hospital post-surgery. Please keep this beautiful little one, her parents, and her big brothers in your thoughts and prayers.