Monthly Archives: June 2013
On June 14th Mike and I celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary. We took the afternoon and ate at the local (rather yummy) chip truck, wandered and played in the beautiful park in Kinmount, then took the kids to see their first ever movie (Epic) in a theater. We may live in the boonies, but we are pretty lucky to have the coolest ever movie theater just 15 minutes away. It was really nice. This August marks an entire decade together.
I turned 33 on Saturday. It included some of my favourite things; cake for breakfast, sweet thifting finds (brand new Blundstones for $25!), and then a spontaneous stop at the Peterborough Zoo and Splash Pad (an awesome FREE attraction in town we do our grocery shopping and errands). We didn’t have swim suits for the kids, but it was humid so we just let them run in and we’d worry about the rest later. After they were soaked, we realized we had forgotten the diaper bag with extra clothes, diapers, etc. Oh well. The kids were in their glory and we ran into friends we hadn’t seen in years. afterwards, we stripped them down, a kind stranger offered us a diaper, rung out Poppy’s underwear, and gave them the blankets I had picked up at the thrift store. It was actually way easier than being prepared to be honest. A new summer ritual to end off our errand days in town.
Last week, with the help of my step dad and a little birthday money, we replaced out haggard living room furniture with great kijiji finds. You’ve all heard me complain about the state of our furniture before. We inherited my Gramma’s furniture about 4 years ago and it was/is pretty, but not kid friendly. There were two arm chairs covered in light floral material and a light coloured couch that showed every single spot, fingerprint, and wet bum mark. I would remove the cushion covers regularly to wash, but they were wearing out quickly and the zippers were giving out. I would scrub the arms and sides with spot cleaner, but the watermarks started to look worse than the stains. I knew we had to do something when Mike started commenting on the state of it.
Kijiji to the rescue! I first found a beauty ivory leather couch, chair and ottoman that was worth $4000 selling for $375. I was the first to reply and I even offered a small deposit to prove we were serious, but because we couldn’t get there with my step dad’s truck until Thursday they sold it out from under us. It was likely for the best as I thought about the inevitable day it met a pen or marker. So, staying true to our always eclectic style, we managed to to find three nice quality, though mis-matched pieces of leather furniture. An over sized chair for $70 ( a birthday present from my step dad), an 8 foot black leather couch that makes me think of Mad Men for $350, and a leather recliner for $120 (birthday money from my mom and father in law). All in all it was a good thrifting success!
At first it all felt like it stuck out in our home like a sore thumb, but with a few throws and pillows, they feel a lot more like my style now. Comfort and wipeability took priority in this decision, but I couldn’t be happier to have clean, comfortable, furniture to finally sit on again!
A few weeks ago, we adopted 2 sweet little guinea pigs. The kids named them Tony and Gus Gus. I am quite surprised at how sweet and tolerant they are. The kids are in love, in case you couldn’t tell.
Oh right! The letting go part of this post.
Mike and I recently decided that, at this season of our life, or priority will be enjoying the kids. For us, that means letting go of some of our big “homesteading” goals, ideals, and dreams…not forever, but for now. So, instead of spending our weekends doing chores and improvement projects while becoming frustrated with the kids, we will go to the beach, play in the sand, stop at the zoo,and let them run into the splash pad fully clothed. Instead of planting the garden and worrying about the weeding, we will get out early and roam around the Farmer’s Markets and hit up yard sales. Instead of piling the last bit of wood or cutting the entire lawn, we will opt for a dip at the beach or a play in the park. We will go for walks, fill up the kiddy pool, paint with watercolours, pick wildflowers and learn all their names, have picnics, and sit under trees.
Our house won’t always be tidy, things will take longer to get done, and some plants may die. All the things I want to paint and build won’t be done at once. The truth is, we often feel trapped between many worlds. One world in which we live up to our own high ideals of making our own food and clothes, living off the land, being more self sustained. Another world in which we take our kids to every available extracurricular activity within a 100 km radius, and have a beautifully manicured house and lawn. And yet another world in which we stop doing what we think everyone else thinks we should do and do what we feel is manageable and happy for us.
The beautiful thing is that we are blessed to live in an area and be surrounded by a varied group of people, family, and friends. We live in a wondrous time where we get to choose. Letting go feels right.
These young days only come once. Socks in pairs; dinner parties with jazz; a tidy, plastic free yard…all these things will return. Honey bees, a huge productive garden, canning, and putting down enough for the winter…will all happen as the kids get older and can learn alongside us. Right now, we choose to be present. We are recognizing and honouring our own limitations. We are remembering that our greatest investment are these crazy cute, often frustrating, sticky fingered, ever-loving, perfect little humans.
Our 30’s really do seem to be all about liberation, no?
P.S. I also realize this space has become undefined. And that is ok too.
go gently+ be wonderful
01) This. This photo. This beautifully told story… This is the reason I hope to one day befriend a crow.
That is all.
go gently + be wonderful
“Take or leave ‘attachment parenting’ as you wish but raising human infants is not supposed to be done in isolation by a single caregiver, and yet overwhelming levels of individualism combined with conservative gender roles have positioned us in exactly that place. In our suburbs there is no-one else in the room when a mother reaches the end of her tether – there is no-one left to negotiate with – it is just an adult and a baby, crying in each other’s faces, desperate.”
I read the above quote about a year ago and felt instantly understood; instantly heard. I have been seeing and reading a lot about anger and yelling in motherhood on Facebook and Pinterest lately. In the world of social networking, perhaps this is our way of breaking the silence and/or asking for help…or perhaps just starting a dialogue of support.
As this third pregnancy progresses into 24 weeks, I have the distinct feeling that shit just got real. All of this is really happening and though we know the love will be instant and true, with it being our third time around we know all the other stuff that comes along with it. The sleepless nights, the endless worry of sickness and injury, the guilt, the baby blues, the aching bleeding boobs, the baby weight that clings, the healing c-section wound, the adjustment period of jealousy and curiousity. Of course, in the end it will all be fine and dandy.
Earlier this week, I took the car and the kids for a full day (7:30 am until 5:00 pm) in town. I don’t know why I do this, but I am stubborn and sometimes the need to get out of the house wins out over wisdom. It was a gong show and as I chased a shrieking Silas through half the mall and halfway through a department store while dragging a giggling Poppy behind me I wondered 1) how I will ever leave the house without help again after baby #3 arrives and 2) Will we all survive this?!
I am not great at dealing with stress…or heat…or messes…or bugs…or not being listened to…or being pregnant…or lack of reason. Waaaaah! I know, poor muffin! Then why on earth would you sign up for the ultra intense gig of stay at home mothering in the country, dummy? The truth is, even after the most intense day, it still feels like the most natural and fulfilling thing I could ever want to do with my life. Most jobs are hard and tiring, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t right for us.
I have made my decision to stay home and to homeschool and I stand by it despite it being a struggle in almost every way. Blame it on the Ellenberger’s stubborn gene. That being said, I am also letting go of a few things I thought I never would. For example,
- I love a lot of the ideas (though not all) of Waldorf, but have come to the realization that I don’t see it as a perfect fit for us.
- I decided against buying the expensive Oak Meadow curriculum and went to Chapters where we picked up a large assortment of learning/teaching resources for the kids for much less money.
- I realized that we can be both homeschoolers and unschoolers because the days are long and varied and that is what sits best with us.
- I picked up some instant oatmeal for the kid’s breakfasts because they like it and because I don’t always want to make food they won’t eat or spend an hour making crepes or apple fritters each morning.
- I let them watch tv because sometimes I need the kitchen to myself as I make the meals.
- We have let go of the ideal vegetable garden with lovely raised beds, a solid fence and heirloom varieties this year. Instead we will plant mainly potatoes and a few basics that always do well. The bugs, the kids and the budget mixed with the fact that our harvests have been a bit disappointing since moving here and we are slightly disheartened all played heavily into that decision. Instead of paying out money for plants that would likely just turn into compost, I bought a Dutch Oven for 70% off so I could make more yummy Dutch Oven Bread.
Sometimes we romanticize the olden days and try to hold ourselves to that ideal, but forget life was also structured quite differently back then. Neighbours were your family and vise versa. There were often more generations living under one roof and they shared the work with each other. We are living in a very strange time in which technology and old time values are merging. We are inundated with blog posts and photos of picture perfect parenting/crafting/cooking/home decorating/partying/traveling moments and think we have to be doing something wrong because our kids/clothes/meals/homes/parties/etc sure as shit doesn’t feel or look like that. I am guilty of it too. I take pictures of the scrumdiddlyumptious, made from scratch chicken pot pie, but neglect to photograph the nights we eat Kraft Dinner or cereal and chips for supper. As much as I want rhythm in our house, it really is just perpetual motion peppered with guilt, frustration, giggles, apologies, tears, and heart wrenching love and affection until we all fall down again. I am coming to terms with the fact that that, in a nutshell, is what parenting feels like for everyone. We’re not doing it wrong, it just is what it is.
I know it isn’t ok to yell at my children or lose my temper because my expectations are too high for a 4 and 2 year old. It’s not them, it’s me. They are tiny and perfect and trust me completely, and yet I still yell. Why? Because I am always alone when I “…reach the end of my tether…”. And that isn’t about to change in any drastic way anytime soon. Our small extended families are quite spread out and busy with their own lives. All we can do is keep doing the best we can with what we’ve got while trying not to wish it was anything different (though we often do).
As I try to tame the Orange Rhino inside of me, I fully realize that anger is a part of life too. It is important to teach our children the big emotions and how to apologize when we’ve hurt someone. I don’t get angry when Silas tries to hit me or tells me he doesn’t like me. I feel nothing but empathy, I soften and tell him it is ok to be angry with me, I let him know that sometimes people get angry with each other, but it doesn’t mean we have to stop loving them. I also let him know it is not ok to hit. I see an instant and remarkable change in him when I say this. His face changes from anger and he always comes in for a hug. When I yell, I always seek them out and apologize within minutes of it happening. I tell them in the simplest way I can that I was frustrated or hurt or scared and that I never want to scare them. We hug and often cry on the floor together until it feels ok to get up and move on with our day.
It isn’t a perfect system by any means, but it is what we have right now. I hope that through it all, they feel the immense love, devotion, and respect I carry for each of them. I hope that they learn how to be gentle with others and themselves.
go gently + be wonderful
rain + sun + repeat
a dirty playful dog
thinking the kids would get more use out of an old tractor instead of a swing/slide set…perhaps with a slide dismount
nana’s popsicles, jello, + homemade ice cream
some raspberries + horseradish to transplant
iced tea outside
lilacs + bee bums
bringing the giant horses in + the kids begging to ride them
grading potatoes with toddlers is laughable
dirty, happy, tired kids
go gently + be wonderful