Category Archives: spring

everything starts messy

Spring was so slow to get here that when it finally came, we clapped and did cartwheels.

Oh, we were happy for days with sunshine and warmer temperatures.

And then my nemesis – the black fly – came out in full force. Tried to wreck spring.

Swatting flies, I caught sight of the yard. Spirits plunged. There was just So Much Work.

I suddenly felt depressed. I couldn’t do it all. I just wanted to hibernate another winter.DSC_0637Every garden bed was covered with winter yuck, dead leaves and sticks. Weeds were threatening to take over the home land.

DSC_0715And though I knew the blueberry bushes wouldn’t always look like sticks, all I could see were weeds and…sticks.

garden And the garden. Why are we supposed to grow food when it’s so hard?

seedsWeeks earlier I was ecstatic about the seed packets received in the mail!

DSC_0720And now weeds dare to grow.

Instantly, I felt guilty. Me, who just weeks earlier was wishing for spring.

plantsInside, plants are bursting, so excited to go outside and put down roots in soil.

DSC_0134I have to take deep breaths often. Everything starts messy.

DSC_0140Actually, it’s messy for awhile.

DSC_0709Everything starts small. Even though, inside, things are happening. Changing.

Babies, families, habits, novels, dreams, exercise goals, eating regimes, household management…everything starts messy. And is really hard.

DSC_0703It just so happens, I started reading a book called, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Pressfield talks Resistance. Resistance is your adversary. It’s all the doubts, fears, you can’t do it, it’s too hard moments.

Resistance is not your friend. It keeps you from doing what God put you on the earth to do.

I may or may not have been put on earth to be a farmer, but it was the next right thing. Because I want vegetables this summer.

So I made myself go outside with a bucket full of seeds. And I planted something.

And it’s still messy.

chickensAnd if you’ve ever had chickens, you know how full of poop life can be.

But did you also know, that chicken poo is such a fantastic fertilizer that they sell it in 25 lb. bags? Mmm hmmm.

Perhaps a little mess is how the best things grow.

DSC_0699When the seeds were finally in, I fainted from exhaustion. Or maybe it was all the black flies sucking my blood. Either way, I was down for the count. Down on the grass. And I saw these small, white flowers. Hundreds and hundreds of beautiful white petals. They only bloom for about a week. And then they are gone. Easy to miss unless you’re knocked over on a field of weeds.

DSC_0647And years ago, I couldn’t get asparagus to grow. Mad, I gave up. But something must have been done right because Gregor told me to go look on the other side of the hill. There, on a neglected patch of grass was hundreds and hundreds of asparagus.

Take that, Resistance! (Want to come over for lunch?)

DSC_0773The darlings don’t know this thing called resistance yet…they think the dandelion weeds are gorgeous flowers. Gifts for their mother.


I’m going to call them my beautiful bouquet of resistance.

And isn’t it the truth that these children I get the great privilege of raising are also my biggest messers…which makes me ponder why we think that everything in life has to be so perfect, orderly, and tied up with a bow?

I’m going to stop making my bed!

DSC_0398These eggs from the most messy creature on the planet lays a perfect food every single day! Believe me, they don’t come out looking so pristine. I won’t tell you what analogy my son likened that too this morning, but you know…ow. wow.

Everything starts messy.

Especially the things worth anything.

The time is now. Get your hands dirty. Get messy. Make mistakes. Start again. Grow 🙂





Unplugging and Seeing Signs of Spring

Did your mother ever order you out of the house? To go play outside and enjoy the good earth? It’s been hard to do that in New Hampshire as we’ve been living in the movie Frozen. But hark! On Sunday, spring began to tease….

Mom ordered all minions outside to investigate if it really was true.DSC_0111The boy lugged over the trampoline so he could dunk.

DSC_0113Look who’s been busy…the voles. They are like big mice that burrow little highways underground. Doggie is in heaven, nose to the ground, sniffing them out.


We hauled out the bikes and began a walk, finding trees that stretched high and dry

DSC_0133New England soil is full of big rocks. So when settlers needed to plow a field and build a home, these stone walls were built by hand. The stone walls go on for miles and are so artfully built that 21st century children can run across without a rock toppling. I’m in awe of the craftsmanship.DSC_0145Two will still smile for the camera

DSC_0150Finding puddles of mud to write messages for water buffalo neighbors

DSC_0153 DSC_0154 In just a few months, these apple trees will be in bloom

DSC_0164 We switch sides of the road and walk on the other stone wallDSC_0165This is the start-up vineyard up the hill; a hard thing to do in New Hampshire with so much cold. Will the trees survive?

DSC_0170And at the top of the hill we turn back around DSC_0177And follow all the melting water that flows down to where our house sits. Well. It came, flooded our basement, forcing us to pull up baseboards and part of Cope’s new bedroom wall. So frustrating. We’ve pumped the water out, but I block out all the work that still needs to be done. Let’s go back to enjoying Spring.DSC_0175This is an old hay machine. You’ll find this a lot out here; abandoned farm equipment no one knows what to do with. These relics around the neighborhood could fill a museum.

DSC_0171 Countryside as the sun starts to set

DSC_0180As we headed down the hill we saw a sight we don’t often see…four children playing together?DSC_0189It made me smile to see the older kids with their hands in the mud, dirt, and water. The boy got that devilish look in his eyes as he said, “Do you want to see our DAM?” “Mom, we’re making a DAM. Do you like our DAM?”

DSC_0202Proof! There were four who played. In mismatched pajamas. Perfect.

DSC_0215And then they were off again, headed home, flying fast.

I had to close my eyes and breathe in every oxygen molecule, bottling up the fresh spring air. Because I am a wiser New Englander: who knows when spring will come again?

Good thing I grabbed it. Tonight, the forecast predicts snow!


May Came

At least that’s what the calendar says…and now June is almost here. School activities are keeping us running and busy with field trips and end-of-year celebrations.  Mother nature is keeping us busy with planting, weeding, and tree climbing.  Make sure you get that last on in.  Life was meant to be enjoyed in a tree!

Last month was barren and cold and suddenly it’s blooming and beautiful.  

We decided to put the chicks out so they could get some fresh air.  But really, it was all about me; they are so smelly and stinky I needed them OUT.
Tenny, of course, was going crazy.  The sight of a bird makes him lose all rational thought.  He spots a robin and is off like a race car, speeding and careening until the robin cheeps with delight before flying away.  Such a tease.  We put a chicken fence around the chicks as a safe guard.  The natural dog inside Tenny has not yet been overcome.

“Mom, I think we should put Tenny inside,” Brynne said.

“He’s fine,” I said.  They can’t get out and he can’t get in.”

You already know this isn’t going to end well, don’t you?

Aren’t they cute?

I am not going to tell you the end of the story yet, because it’s a tragic one that will detract from the lovely blossom pictures I’m now going to focus on:  
Today I’m focusing on the happy things.

But in my mind I can still hear the screaming…

Let us now focus on the running in our lives.  There has been lots and lots of running this month – wahoo, it’s been so exciting.
This was Cope’s last year at her little elementary/middle school, and her last year running track (no track at her high school…so sad.)  She was a super star, running the mile run.  She won her first race (I may have been a little teary-eyed b/c watching my children run does something terribly wonderful to me), and here she came in third.  She gained A LOT of confidence this year, was well-coached, learned strategy, and how to find her pace.  There are so many great lessons learned from athletics.

She qualified for the state meet and ran her personal record of 6:09.  What a great season!
Nellie, also on the track team for the first time, bonded with his sister on long bus rides, and ran the mile, the 800 (2 laps), and threw javelin (the highlight of his life – a long spear he was actually encouraged to use.)  He missed qualifying for the state meet by .2 seconds (like the snap of your finger).  

This boy is so fast, he has a long running life ahead of him…he may have even beat his mother this weekend at a 5k.  Twice.  He ran a 21:50 5k today…I just couldn’t catch him!

I tend to be more…vocal at track meets.  Here, Daddy watches with that phone in his ear.

The girls were always super-excited to stay for long track meets.

Last month was blah and barren.  And now the world is lush and beautiful.

I found a turtle in the middle of the road.  Did you know that keeping a snapping turtle in NH carries a $10,000 fine?  I sent one to school and was promptly told this information.  Why does this make me laugh?

While older kids went to track practice, girls ran home to Mama.  One of my favorite parts of the day.

Apple blossoms bloomed

Dandelions bloomed and were picked in big bouquets

I can’t seem to do a million things at once, and lost my mind several times.  My dear mother-in-law had to turn off the oven after I was 40 minutes away and realized I was cooking English muffins.  Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

Brynnie boo had a birthday!  Donuts on a string….

The black flies attacked Paige and her ear swelled three times its normal size

And the girls ate the donuts with gusto.  Happy Birthday, Brynnie!  This is kind of a lame birthday post, but I love ya, girl – you know I do!

I’m not sure why this is so fun, but it has been vastly entertaining.

Especially when it pops repeatedly in sister’s face

Waah!  My ear hurts.

In bloom

The climber of trees

I’ve been after the kids for running outside with their dirty feet and then coming inside with their dirty feet and then running up the cream carpet with their dirty feet…

Sometimes I think I just need to let it go.  But something inside of me just can’t do it.  My solution is…they WEAR shoes when they go outside.  Is that so wrong?
This is supposedly a weed

For one week out of the year, this crab apple tree blooms the most beautiful pink blossoms

And we must pick them and swing from tree’s branches.  And the tree is happy.
I like this quote:

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction. 
-Rachel Carson

Why does the sight of Daddy mowing the lawn make me so happy?
I can’t stop loving them, either.

May came.
Happy May.


Starting Seeds (it’s so easy)

Materials Needed:
1. Cups
2. Seeds
3. Dirt
4. Water
Poke a little hole in the dirt and put 2-3 seeds in.  Cover.  Water.  A little.  Even if your little girls drowned the poor seeds, they’ll manage to sprout anyway.  

Little tomatoes.  Every year I wonder if it’s really going to work.  And it always does!
I don’t love the egg shell containers – there’s not much space to grow, but I ran out of cups.

Little seed grows into little plant grows into big plant grows into lots of food.  
Even when inside, these little living things all ready grow toward the light.  I like to turn them around and watch their heads swivel, bend, and seek the sun.
It’s not too late…to get your planting on.  Some vegetables are just really Cool.  (Words I just never really thought I’d say.)


Jumping into Spring

Although snow flakes were falling just yesterday, they say that next week will be warmer.  NH will finally start to feel like spring next week…it’s been a long winter.  
What are we doing?
Paige is working on her letters, days, and borrowed this calendar.  As far as preschool goes, I’m pretty laid back.  The kids go to kindergarten knowing their letters and how to spell their names.  I don’t do workbooks, computer games, or sit-down school.  I read to them a lot and try to point out words, numbers, shapes, and sing songs.  
So far, whatever we’ve been doing has worked well.  We’ve decided Paige will just have “school” with Mama instead of a more traditional setting.  Cope and Nelson had a few hours in a school but Brynne had play groups and a once week rotating co-op preschool with some other moms that was extremely laid back.  Both options worked great for us! 
A few choice children are working on Civility.  Writing was an employed tactic when death stares and repeated “Stop!” was not enough.  But I thought it was funny and showed them what their uncle Peter used to do in school.  I told them the abbreviated version didn’t count!  One child had to write, “I will not burp at the table.”

We got to watch General Conference the first weekend in April.  I always look forward to it as we get to listen to our spiritual leaders give talks.  One thing that sets the LDS church apart from others is that its members believe in a living prophet.  There is no paid ministry in the entire church; it is completely volunteer-based.  You can’t help but feel a great spirit when you listen to men and women who have decided to dedicate every single day to teaching others the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are no talks on fashion, how-to’s for budgeting, painting the house, gardening, etc.  It is completely based on how we can become closer to God.  I always feel so good after watching. I feel more peace in our home, my marriage, and have a clearer sense of how to be a better parent.
 We are lucky BYUTV is on satellite; they broadcast it twice a year.  My mollycoddled (new word!) children will have no memories of lying on a church bench while their parents try to listen.
Sometimes it’s hard for kids to listen to one talk after another, so I was happy to find this idea.  For each selected word spoken, I had a food (I prefer the delicious but healthy variety) they could eat.  If “Jesus” was said, they got to eat the celery with cheese.  They helped choose the foods, so we had some interesting ones – marichino(sp?) cherries (Brynne) and shrimp (Nelson).  It was fun, a new family tradition!  You could use this for anything you wanted your children to listen to.  
Not everything should have a food/treat reward, but I like this activity for conference.
The past week it has rained and rained and rained.  For birthdays my girls usually get their own umbrellas, they love them so much.  They also love flashlights – another good gift.
We just filed our tax return.  Who has any money for home improvement with it?  We’re having work done in our basement to stop water from coming in and are in the beginning stages of building a room for Cope.  This will take a few tax returns and summers, but she’s super excited.  Someday it will all be finished…play room, food storage, clothes & Christmas decor storage…yes, very exciting. I highly recommend local Doug Bent.  He’s a jack of all trades, extremely reliable, and is so willing to work with your budget.  Yes, we have many many plans for Doug!
The forsythia bushes probably won’t bloom this spring thanks to Peter’s superior chopping job, but they’re going to come back beautiful!
Spring always reminds me of HOW MUCH work owning a home is.  Good work projects as a family.
The snow is almost entirely melted
These sticks will grow and bloom a beautiful purple
Nelson has been kept busying flying his remote control into people’s heads.  He is in heaven.
We colored eggs using food coloring and vinegar instead of buying the kit.  Who knew?

We had a great time 
Except for this girl who was coming down with something and recovering from a track meet.  We’ve all been fighting something but finally feel on the up-swing.  The school sent home a note that said flu-like symptoms are still going around!  Wash your hands!
Even more fun than coloring eggs was experimenting with the colors, painting the newspaper with brushes, and making soup out of the colored newspaper – a good 45 minutes of activity.
What has mom been doing?  Working on the budget!  Coupons rarely work for me so I’m planning better and writing every single expenditure down.  I’m compiling lots of tricks that work for me which I’m excited to post.  Until then…
Happy Easter Weekend!

Not a Rockstar

A whole week without a post!  That hasn’t happened in awhile.  It was school vacation week this week.  That’s my excuse.  I feel I’ve been in the car driving kids around and cleaning the kitchen.  I hope this isn’t a foreshadowing of the coming summer.  It’s quite exhausting.  I said to Gregor, “I have gotten nothing done this week!”  But then I had to amend that statement b/c I have gotten a lot done.  I’ve been a mom all week.  More than usual with all of them home.  I suppose my other little projects shouldn’t be the only things that count as “getting something done.”

“My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work.” – Henri Nouwen

My children are my work, not my interruptions.  Just like I always wanted.  

I had no energy this week.  I’m pretty sure of the culprit:  Mr. McGregor.  Ha ha.  We call him that b/c we love Peter Rabbit so much.  My husband is such a night owl.  And I give in way too easy.  But then I’m barely functioning the entire next day.  We like to watch a show every night before bed but I always say, “before 9 o’clock!”  But this week we’ve started shows at 10.  And I’m a wreck!  I write this down to remember why I sleep:

1)  Child Abduction.  My brain thrives on tragedy without sleep.  Abduction is in my head with the finishing of John Hart’s new novel, The Last Child.  It was very well-written but sad.  Twins.  Girl twin has gone missing.  And I’m a twin and start freaking out a little bit and think…know…I would go absolutely crazy if I didn’t know where one of my children were.  If they were snatched.  Then this morning my alarm went off and Madeline McCann’s mother and father were being interviewed.  It bolted me right out of bed.  Brain turned right on.  I think it’s genetic.

2)  The weekly running mileage has severely suffered from the late nights.  My goal is 20 miles a week.  For a runner this is very manageable and actually considered a little “low.”  I don’t care.  It’s what I can do.  But 3 days in a row I couldn’t get up in time before Gregor left for work.  I had to do 7 miles this morning to meet my goal but I was so tired.  I had to walk up both giant hills.  Seriously?  You don’t walk on a RUN!  And then I couldn’t do the 7.  I got home with 4.5.  If you don’t run you are rolling your eyes, aren’t you?  But if you do run you are shaking your head in shame. 🙂

3)  Andrea (my sister) and I are putting together energy recipes.  What do I got this week??  Nada. No energy to think about it.  Irony.

4)  When I am tired I start thinking I’m turning into my mother physically.  She has a lot of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.  Oh my gosh, I knew it would happen.  It’s caught up with me.  I could only hold it off so long…And just in case I forget – “I’m so tired,” I said the other night.  “I think I have mono.” Gregor says, “Maybe you’re turning into your mother.”

5)  When I’m tired this question plagues me:  Am I “reaching my potential?”  And what exactly is “my potential.”  Shouldn’t I know by now?

So at 11pm when I made Gregor pull me off the couch before I fell asleep he said, “You just can’t party like a rockstar, can you?”  It’s true.  I can’t.  I’m too tired.  I need a 10 o’clock bedtime.

This guy on the other hand knows how to party like a rockstar:  

Mr. Matt Nathanson spent the night this week before heading over to Proctor to eat some of Art’s rolls and Edna’s waffles.  He arrived at our house at 1:15a.m., got up at 7, was mobbed on campus by the teenagers and their cameras and tweets – “Matt Nathanson is in my English class right now!”  Took off for Manchester to play a show that night, then flew to Kentucky for another quick show before a 4 a.m. flight back to California.  Whew.  He’s a rockstar.  We LOVE MATT!

But I was mortified because of our bathroom.  I figured b/c the toilet upstairs is STILL leaking (yes I have the parts we just need to DO IT) Matt would use the downstairs bathroom.  And remember I was really tired? so I didn’t even LOOK at the upstairs condition of things.  But he said no big deal, he’d shower upstairs.  Such an accommodating rockstar, that Matt.

See this door?  We just barely got the entire bottom shaved off since it wouldn’t fit over the new tile.  So the door wouldn’t even close.  Matt had to angle it so no one could get it.  Of course Brynne did.  “There’s a boy in our shower,” she says.  “Stay OUT!” I tell her.

After Matt left I went in and found the sink in disarray, toys on the floor, towels around the toilet just in case someone forgets and uses it.  Oh yes, I was embarrassed because Matt is a clean rockstar.  I know he is.  And yet he keeps coming back to our house.  Note to self:  Work on hostess skills.  Clean bathrooms.  Even when tired.

I will say I did not drink any of the cold dark yummy energy juice in the form of Diet Coke.  And no coffee.  No jolt.  But if I knew what a hangover felt like, I think it would be my mornings this week.  What’s a wanna-be-rockstar girl to do?  I think it’s sleep.


One Week of Bloom

There’s this great crab apple tree in our backyard.  It blooms once a year, the bright pink blossoms only hanging around for a week, maybe two at the most

Up a tree

Cope, pondering life as a 9 year old

What does life bring for me?