Category Archives: our cabin
I am back.
What’s new, you ask?
Well, let me see….
Our little cabin is for sale.
We’re moving to a run down, but lovable farmhouse just a hop, skip and a jump away from my dad and step mom’s farm.
More on that later, I promise.
I made the leap and deleted 340+ friends on Facebook in an act of self preservation and in hopes of getting back to a place of creativity and productivity.
I will still be posting often on
And I can’t see myself ever leaving Pinterest 😉
I am sure there will be more on all of that later too.
I picked up my crochet hook again and taught myself some new moves.
I made a slouchy hat and had so many requests to make them for others that I decided to make and sell a few to do just that.
It feels so good to make pretty things again.
So good that I decided to unearth some beads and challenge myself to more making and story telling.
I will be tucking a pair of the sweetly simple Story Girl Earrings with the first 10 hat orders.
Each pair comes with a little story inspired by the woman who may wear them or the jewels themselves.
I have mentioned before that if I don’t carve out time to make pretty things, I will surely burst.
It feels good to be back.
Tell me what you’ve been up to.
This feels right.
go gently + be wonderful
This weekend we celebrated Poppy’s 5th birthday. Excuse the cliche, but my, oh my, where has the time gone?
On Valentine’s Day we went to watch the Lego Movie and pick up your requested birthday present; a Princess Anna dress. On your birthday, we had planned to go for a play at the YMCA, but they were calling for freezing rain so we stayed local, picked up some party favours for your guests, made pizza at your request, and watched the Disney Planning DVD that arrived.
On Saturday, you finally got to wear your birthday party dress. Clementine wore her Elsa outfit and Silas had to be bribed to wear his Kristoff/Hiccup outfit for a photo opp. You spent the morning twirling and singing “It’s my BIIIRTHDAAAY! It’s my BIIIRTHDAAAY!”, “Happy Birthday to Poppy!” along with “Let it Goooooo” from Frozen and you could barely keep your fingers out of the frosted blue cake we made.
Soon the house was filled with friends and family dressed as fairies, princes, dinosaurs, unicorns, butterflies, and princesses. Nana made a bunch of the cutest edible Olafs and brought fresh eggs for everyone to take home along with their party bags. You were rather confused as to why people brought gifts and asked who they were for. You were just so over the moon to have your dress and a house full of fun people. There were a couple impromptu story times and a couple crazy accidents (a cracked rib and a somersault down the stairs, but everyone is recovering well). Overall, it was a loud and happy time. It felt like an important party for you; as though you suddenly went from being a baby to a little girl. It made our hearts swell to see you so happy with your friends.
That night, and the next night,you slept in your party dress. You finally took it off and wore jammies to bed last night.
- Your love for your sister grows more intense with each day and you go to great lengths to get a giggle out of her.
- I had no idea you found a bow tie I mad a few years ago and placed it on your kitty, but I got a good laugh when he sauntered out of the kitty litter box what had to be hours later, looking very dapper indeed.
- You love reading the Scooby Doo books, Jillian Jiggs Treasury, and the Robert Munsch treasury.
- You love watching Barbie, Equestria Girls, Frozen, How to Train your Dragon, and Clifford. You love playing with your growing collection of My Little Ponies, Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Merida, Anna, Elsa, and Rainbow Dash. (There is a sentence I never thought I’d be writing when my parenting adventure began!!)
- You’ve been singing songs from Frozen nearly non-stop. When I ask if you want to learn more of the words to it you say “No, you learn it.”.
- You adore painting.
- We discovered that your 6 year molar (46) is making an early appearance!
- Last week, we traced your bodies and then drew onto your bodies whatever you pleased. You gave yourself chicken pox, because you’re rather obsessed with drawing chicken pox. You then drew the path your food takes through your body. You asked me to draw a heart in your chest.
- You love watching the Disney Planning DVD to see where the princesses and Captain Hook live.
- You’ve always been one to prefer household objects to toys and I’ve started documenting your rather interesting and entertaining sleeping buddies and quotes. It has turned into a little project that has been enjoyed on Instagram and Facebook. Daddy and I decided if we were to ever create a book out of these pictures and conversations it would be called “Bed Folk + Pillow Talk with Silas”.
- The other night, he wanted to sleep with Poppy. I thought it would be endless playing and giggling, but they fell fast asleep as soon as the lights were out. Silas hates it when the lights first go out and Poppy comforted him saying “it’s ok Silas, you can see me. I’m with you.” I love their love.
- You really do say the darnedest things. Here are a few more examples:
- Silas: I was talking to The Perogie Man.
Me: Who is the Perogie Man?
Silas: Um, just the yummiest guy in the world.
- Poppy: Mom, I want a brown baby.
Me: Well, we don’t have brown skin so we can’t make a brown baby.
Poppy: Oh, right. I love our baby.
Silas: I want some brownies.
- Me: Do you guys want some milk?
Silas: Does it have Vitamin D in it?
Me: Um, yes. I think so.
Silas: Oh, great! I love Vitamin D.
- You hate having your hair washed. The other night you said you didn’t want your hair washed “…because it would turn into a girl’s hair”. After it was washed, you were distraught that your hair “looked different now”.
- Just yesterday morning, you woke up early with Daddy and wanted to wear some red mittens and a toque. Once they were on you exclaimed “Look at me Daddy! I’m gorgeous!”.
- There is no jealousy or animosity, but you keep a safe distance from little Clementine. Every once in a while I see you two sharing a flirty little smile though.
- You love reading the Scooby Doo books, the Jillian Jiggs Treasury, and the Robert Munsch Treasury.
- You love watching Equestria Girls, Clifford, How to Train Your Dragon, Clifford, Barbie, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Dinosaur Train. You play with pretty much anything that isn’t technically a toy, but do enjoy playing imaginative games with Poppy.
- You remain super happy even though I think your teeth are coming in and you have developed a rash/eczema on your back and tummy. We are trying to get to the root of the rash, but can’t be sure yet.
- You don’t often make strange with people. You seem to take your time watching them carefully and then smile.
- You usually wake 1-3 times in the night and nurse right back to sleep.
- We finally captured some giggles on video. It’s adorable.
- You’re now wearing 6 month clothes.
- We’ve started giving you little bits of food (the rash began before food was introduced), but you’re not overly enthused.
- You love playing with the remote and crinkle-taggy blanket I made years ago.
- You seem to have super human ab strength and can do a full sit up.
- Mike saw a big moose sauntering down the middle of the road on his drive home one night.
- We had our big load of logs delivered. $875.
- We’ve begun planning and saving for our Disney Trip 2017. We are super excited.
- We’ve begun working through a grade 4 french workbook to see what we remember.
- Mike continues to enjoy playing his ukulele.
- I am struggling to find my balance in many aspects of life.
- I am starting to wonder if my hair will ever stop falling out.
- In an act of self preservation, I am not allowing myself to even think about spring right now.
- We are hoping to get a YMCA membership for the family. It is over an hour away.
- Our community is lobbying for a recreation center and indoor pool, but I won’t hold my breath.
- Making plans to get the kids and I out of the house more often throughout the week. I am thinking one day out locally (Early Years, Kinder Gym, etc), one day out in either Peterborough or Lindsay (Early Years, Chapters story time, YMCA drop in craft or gym time, groceries, YMCA land class etc.), and one day out as a family to do swimming lessons and other errands.
- I don’t regret moving to the country, but I still struggle with feeling so isolated.
- A second car is what dreams are made of.
- In all honesty and if we had our time back, we would have approached my parents about buying a tiny plot on their farm, and built a tiny home so we could help with farm work and they could spend more time with the kids.
- I often daydream about finding another family to build a tiny house in our woods so we could begin our own intentional village.
- I made my first batch of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It was delicious and simple. A game changer.
- I still hate meal planning.
- I crave meditation and jogging.
- I have grand plans of writing letters and sending care packages to friends and family.
- I suck at blogging these days.
Perhaps it is because we miss having a garden (some may even call it guilt for not putting in a garden). Or it could be that it appears to be a bumper year for all the things that grow. Or perhaps still, it is the most delightful warm Autumnal weather we’ve been experiencing since the deadly July heatwave. Whatever the reason, we find ourselves pulled into the woods and trails in search of berries this summer more than ever.
Of course, we made batch upon batch of tasty apple butter in our first summer here, but the jars that weren’t eaten right away went bad. There were a number of things we could have done wrong. We could have tightened the rings too much, I am quite certain I heated the lids more than once, I washed the jars, but didn’t sterilize them, and lastly, I didn’t “process” them in a boiling bath after sealing. We will do it differently this year with the help of Ashley English’s book (in fact, her whole Homemade Living Series is a wonderful resource) and some diligence.
In June we picked and froze 15 quarts of organic strawberries from Ellenberger Organic Farm and made a wonderfully large jar of garlic scape pesto from the large bag of scapes they graced us with. I made it just like a basil pesto and we ate it over pasta with tomatoes. With the leftover scapes, I blended them in the food processor with olive oil and froze them in ice cube trays for cooking throughout the year. It made about 35 cubes.
We own about 4 acres, but are surrounded by about 80 more which is owned by a lovely couple who only camp here a few time per year. I have fond memories of picking the abundant blueberries while we visited Mike’s home of Newfoundland, so we were quite excited to find a couple handfuls along the shore of the pond a week or two ago. They were no comparison to Newfoundland’s berries, but it was a bit like finding treasure.
We have both pin cherries and choke cherries here as well, but this is the first year they have produced like this. Chokecherries don’t taste like much when eaten off the branch and the seed apparently contains cyanide, but when made into a jelly, they remind me of childhood and fall. We were able to pick 3 quarts from the two small bushes behind the house and made 12 125 ml jars plus a pint. We went by the book this time and they all sealed successfully. We have plenty more on the property so another batch or two may be in order. I think they will make nice Christmas gifts this year.
While picking the chokecherries we noticed crazy amounts of blackberries (or what we assume are blackberries) growing fairly low to the ground on what we assume to be young bushes. We are a little unsure now as we found two types while we foraged for our dessert yesterday afternoon. In abundance, we found the smaller berries low to the ground, but then we happened upon some larger/taller bushes with the more characteristic shape and size of blackberries. Both taste similar, and both types came off with the rasp inside (unlike a black or red raspberry where the rasp is left on the bush). No matter how you slice it, they tasted decadent, still slightly warm, atop our Kawartha Daily french vanilla ice cream. The kids were in their glory despite the mosquitoes and scratchy bracken that was often taller than them. Berry loving Poppy was especially happy to pick to her heart’s content which she quietly did while Silas made sticks into swords, put rocks in his basket, and saved himself the tedious task of picking the berries himself and thieved from mama and daddy’s baskets. We covered a lot of ground and spent over an hour for only a quart and a half, but it was fun and we figure we’ll be going out each night for our dessert until they dry up.
The apples look a bit small, but oh so abundant and just beginning to blush. We’ve purchased a clamping apple peeler, corer, and slicer in preparation for our apple-filled fall.
So though we may not have a garden this year, and though we’ve only made it to one farmer’s market this season, we are still enjoying the fruits of the season and we’re ever so grateful that so much of it has been found in our own backyard.
go gently + be wonderful
We had a lovely weekend.
The heat broke with a downpour on Friday and it was a glorious relief. We could not have survived it without the fans, ice packs wrapped in tea towels tucked into shirts at bedtime and the beach. It has left me pining for Fall.
On Saturday we went to a local heritage day where they had all sorts of crafts people demonstrating their talents. The kids dressed up as a fairy princess and a pirate for the occasion. There were farm animals and wild animals, BBQ lunch, rock painting, a bee hive, potters, spinners, weavers, trappers, antique cars, letterpress, and face painting. The face painting was free and there was a 2 hour wait, but once Poppy saw this, there was no talking about anything else. Poppy chose to be painted like a flower fairy while Silas wanted to be Spiderman, but, at the very last minute decided he’d rather be a puppy dog.
We came home and sat outside where the bugs were almost nonexistent and the breeze beautiful. Everything seemed do-able. We talked about the third baby’s arrival and plans for the upcoming weekends while the kids stripped down and played in the sand and water. We then decided to take a little walk up to the beloved apple tree to see how big they are getting and also to hunt for wild raspberries. We only found a few berries, but the apple tree is drunk and heavy with apples this year. We must think of a way to preserve them so we can enjoy them throughout the winter months (We are thinking freezing, drying, and canning are our best bets). We also discovered the cherry trees produced millions of tiny ruby berries this year. That is the first time since moving here that we have seen berries there. Just not sure what to do with them and would like to know for sure if they are edible.
On Sunday, we worked while the kids donned their costumes once again and played happily. We did laundry, cleaned the car, emptied and re-organized the sheds, re-attatched the porch railing, and did a general tidy up of the outside. The last bit of wood was piled last weekend, but the grass may never recover from all the sawdust that is impossible to pick up now. We worked until late in the afternoon and ate granola bars for supper. My back and hips are still aching from all the bending and lifting.
I miss not having a garden this year. We had planned to visit the Farmer’s Markets each and every weekend, but it never seems to happen. I find myself craving a meal of green beans, chopped tomatoes with salt and pepper, and new potatoes with butter and salt. I hope to make it to the one in Haliburton tomorrow after my midwife appointment for sure.
go gently + be wonderful
Today we had planned to take the kids out to the free admission Peterborough Zoo and for ice cream.
Last night we found our car won’t start.
It isn’t the battery.
The car gods must have heard we are planning to trade in our car for a slightly larger family vehicle this Wednesday.
This sort of thing, this feeling of powerlessness and frustration, tends to send me in to a panicky tail spin.
Mike is piling and splitting wood to burn off the worry.
I thought it may be a good idea to count my blessings and compile a short list of what I am grateful for.
- We are all healthy and well.
- Two vibrant, happy children and another on the way.
- Mike’s wonderful job with wonderful benefits.
- Our house in the country.
- I get to be a stay at home mom and homeschool.
- Poppy’s empathy/sympathy and resislient nature, wild hair, and sticky-uppy toes.
- Silas’ intensity, eyebrow playing, story telling ways.
- All of our secondhand furniture.
- Free Slacker Radio (specifically the Billie Holiday and Classic Country Station).
- A freezer full of organic beef, pork, homemade quiche, and corn.
- Well stocked cupboards.
- Our line of credit which saves us in situations such as this.
- Being able to pay our bills.
- Our large front gate is finally fixed.
- The wood pile (that will keep us warm next winter) is slowly getting sawed, split, and piled by this wicked cool husband of mine.
- Only using 2-3% of our propane tank last winter.
- Our Hydro bill equal billing is going down.
- I found a way to shave $411 off our yearly home insurance premium.
- After much debate and research, we will be getting a white 2013 Nissan Rogue on Wednesday with a fair trade in price for our Versa.
- New cars, their warranties, and all their new bits and perks.
- Pachouli perfume.
- When Silas farts and grins a surprised grin while saying “Oops! I burped in my pants”.
- The return of our “honey bird” (hummingbird).
- Winnie the Pooh movies.
- The lilacs and peonies and apples that grow around our house.
- The two chickadees flitting about in the cedar tree as I write this.
- Nag Champa.
- I finally reached the bottom of dirty clothes mountain and found that was in fact the horrible smell lingering in our front room…ahem.
- Our two clothes lines.
- Every month, we get a little further out of debt…most of the time.
- Our interest free loans from parents.
- That the kids’ adoration and excitement for dandelions exceeds even my own.
- Being able to (slowly) build a new website and facebook page for Ellenberger Organic Farm. They help us in so many ways and we enjoy being able to pay them back in tiny tokens such as this…until we can pay them back for real.
- My anchor.
- Kind cottaging neighbours who don’t get mad when Huck goes for a swim at their cottage and tears around like an idiot.
- Our abundance of eggs.
- Lemon meringue pie.
- Play sand.
I know I am just scratching the surface here, but it does make me feel better.
Now, a no complaining + no whining policy is in effect for the rest of the day.
go gently + be wonderful
Firstly, I apologize for my absence and secondly, I thank you warmly for your kind emails to check in on me. At 5 weeks of pregnancy the all day nausea hit me like a tonne of bricks and the depression that always accompanies it followed close behind. Up until now, even the thought of signing into my blog account made me feel nauseated.
Alas, I am 19 weeks along and aside from feeling a bit gaggy in the mornings, I am feeling much better now. Phew, that was a rough ride!
I am a little ashamed and saddened that I have only a handful of ho-hum photos from the past 3 months, so indulge me while I attempt to record a few snapshots to remind us all of what these month looked like…
- We had our 18 to 20 week ultrasound on Monday and found out that we are having a GIRL! The kids have been saying girl consistently whenever we ask them so it was no big surprise to them. We waited to find out for our first two, but thought it would be fun to find out for our last one. It feels really nice to know…though I do have that nagging thought that they do make mistakes.
- The all day nausea lasted from 5 weeks until about 15 weeks. I made the whole 10 weeks without throwing up and then randomly at 18 weeks, I barfed my guts out. The same thing happened with Poppy.
- If I had picked up my camera you would likely see pictures of Silas dressed in a straw hat and lady gloves while exclaiming “Iiiiiit’s show time!” and you would see Poppy dressed in her flapper hat, lady gloves and a purse declaring she was ready to go to the bush.
- We spent a great deal of time laying on the couch watching movies. The funny thing is that I felt so guilty, but the kids were happy…likely because they had me all to themselves to snuggle and play with. I also realized just how well they get along and play together. They almost never fight and almost always share there food and toys with each other with a simple offer or question “You wanna share with me Silas/Poppy”. They really are the best of friends and I am so glad they will be homeschooled to foster that relationship.
- I wonder how this new little girl will fit into the mix and dynamic. Both kids are excited and ease my worries when they bring toys for the baby, kiss my belly, and shush each other so as not to wake the baby. Silas found a play stethoscope at the local thrift store and immediately held it up to my belly and said “I’m just checking your baby. I’m a doctor.”
- There was lots of lego, books, and puzzles by the fire.
- Evening games of Uno in which Poppy actually began beating us until she lost interest and left the game after 4 or 5 hands.
- The Waltons
- Poppy has become quite crafty and resourceful. When I take to long to fill a bowl with water for her to use her watercolour paints, she will spit in them and begin without me. She used the same principle just yesterday when she wanted water for the mud pit they love so much. She peed in it and I was able to stop her as she was about to proceed playing with her new mud. Don’t worry we promptly filled the area in with 10 bags of play sand last night. The black flies swarmed us, but with bug nets over their heads, they played happily for nearly an hour without so much as a single bite.
- Speaking of the mud pit, one warm day this week they were able to strip down and become completely coated in dark, rich mud. All was fine and dandy until Silas snuck inside, waited until I spotted him, slammed the door and ran squealing into the front room and onto the couch where he flailed around until I could get him off and into the tub where he surprised us all by pooping. He has never done that and I think he was more shocked than Poppy and I.
- Poppy has been sleeping in her own room, but Mike has been staying with her until she falls asleep, but about a month ago she started asking to go to bed and falling asleep by herself. This is a very big moment for us as we have never wanted to let her cry it out.
- We have been moving Silas to his own toddler bed in their shared room after he falls asleep, but most nights he finds his way back into our bed.
- Poppy loves to draw, but shows more creativity with paints. My favourite pieces are a portrait of Daddy and a colourful caterpillar.
- She has also begun spelling and writing her name by herself and has learned the sounds all the letters of the alphabet make.
- Our 9 hens are laying well and we can barely use up all the eggs.
- Our red headed rooster has started to attack us. It began with Silas, then Poppy, then Mike, then me. He isn’t brutally aggressive, but enough to be annoying. The good news is that when he attacked Silas and Poppy, Huck was there and gently pulled the rooster off of them by the tail feathers. We are hoping to find a new home for him or he may end up in the freezer.
- Huck has been a frustratingly stubborn dog, but he is wonderful with the kids and keeps a watchful eye on them. If they run out of sight, he will follow and sit with them.
- Our area had a lot of run off water, rain, and flooding this spring. We weren’t affected by the flooding rivers at home, but our basement did gather some water which was frustrating, but so many people were evacuated and likely have severe water damage to their homes.
- Mike and I will be creating a new website for Ellenberger Organic Farm. It will have a lot more comprehensive information on it. I will let you know when it goes live, but if you’d like to see more up to date photos, videos, and what is available when, etc, be sure to like their new Facebook page! It was a great maple syrup year for them.
- Mike’s Mom and her partner were up for a visit as they made their way back from Florida to Newfoundland which meant that Mike and I were able to get into the big city for our first night away alone in over four years. We visited the St. Lawrence Market where I nearly passed out due to low blood sugar. I sat on their lovely outdoor patio area where Mike fed me strawberries, cookies, meat sticks and water until I recovered. We then walked on to the Distillery District. Then up through a sketchy part of town and through Cabbagetown until we reached our hotel (An old Victorian house that Ernest Hemmingway lived in while in Toronto). Once talking to the kids and freshening up, we made our way through the posh, douche chill inducing streets of Yorkville to a little Indian Restaurant where we enjoyed a lovely, quiet meal while simultaneously remembering why we like and love each other. We then sipped on coffee and hot chocolate and strolled through aisles of books. In the morning we rose early and enjoyed a stroll back down Bloor until we arrived at the ROM. We sipped more hot beverages and ate a small breakfast while chatting and people watching until the museum opened. With one set of butterfly wings, one set of dinosaur wings and a dinosaur mug, we made our way back to Union Station by way of the bustling Yonge Street. My feet still hurt, but the simple memories are good ones that should carry us through to our next getaway in another couple of years ;).
- Turns out that making baby girls makes for a fatter sicker mama. With Silas I was able to wear the same pair of non maternity jeans throughout the whole pregnancy. With this one, I peed on the stick and my pants stopped fitting. Sweet lord, it is going to be a long summer!
- There are so many lilac blossom promises this year. How I love the wild flowers and perennials that grow around this little house…wild roses, peonies, poppies, lilacs, daisies, cherry and apple blossoms, and black eyed Susan’s, oh my! My mason jars shall runneth over this year!
- We are hoping to get honeybees next spring. I do love the dear little creatures, but would like to get the family allergy tested before we get them to make me feel better.
- Mike is still making his way though our giant pile of firewood logs which means Mike ventured into chainsaw ownership and use. He was pretty excited. We hope to save up for a much more efficient wood stove this fall.
- We were very pleased that we didn’t owe any taxes this year! We got a $10 return, but paid $80 to figure that out.
- Poppy has a new habit of posing very seriously for photos. It is hard to explain, but it often translates into a very sad looking little girl even though as soon as I take it she breaks into a smile and asks to see it. It is as though she is being artistic beyond her years. Just yesterday she spotted the patch of cheerful dandelions in the yard and ran out to pick them in her fairy jammies. She brought more and more in and then arranged them ever so carefully in a small mason jar. Of course there were some very stoic poses for mama and her camera, but I did manage to capture a couple candid joyful faces.
- Silas’ favourite new word is “dirt bag”. It is something we lovingly call him from time to time, but it likely sounds horrible to onlookers who watch Mike take him into the washroom of the restaurant to wash his hands while he hollers playfully in protest “Let me go you dirt bag!”. Funny stuff.
- I purchased a 5 year journal on our little getaway to the city and look forward to recording a little bit about our everyday days.
Well, there you have it. I know I’ve forgotten so many tiny good moments, but now I will have something to come back to this winter as we work away on our annual Poppy, Silas + Little Girl (We have a name picked, but will attempt keeping it secret for now) book for the grandparents.
I hope to see more of you these days and catch up on your own spaces again.
go gently + be wonderful
Our Sunday began in the darkness as it always does these days. We wake to a cold house, Mike rises and starts the fire and coffee. We huddle under blankets until the fire’s warmth reaches our toes. The snow blew wickedly across the landscape and I was grateful for the warm ember of our home with smoke tufting from the chimney. I was comforted by the fact that my sole purpose that day would be to make sure the chair in the corner of our front room (the one beside the wood stove) didn’t blow away and that the pulled pork (actually beef) was edible. I worked away on my scrappy cowl throughout the day and kept that chair in its place.
The sun was bright and the wind howled, but we decided to bundle up for some fresh air. The wind cut through our clothes bitterly. We decided to check for eggs and found 4 which brought today’s count up to 5! The roof is covered with sheets of Styrofoam which has always been fine, but the Wyandottes seem to prefer roosting high and pecked it down. I began cramming extra insulation into the breezy places in preparation for the cold snap coming this week.
Silas quickly fell asleep on my lap once we returned to the fire inside. He tends to fall asleep this way for naps more than he ever would if I put him in his bed for it, but I wouldn’t change that.
The pulled beef was delicious with candied maple yams, asparagus, and potatoes.
What did your Sunday look like?
go gently + be wonderful
lots of treats for the chickens
a good day spent with dear friends
homemade Jamaican patties
a mini snowman
a romp in the woods
guitar by the fire
go gently + be wonderful
Just in case you forgot, I don’t have all my shit together.
This morning I woke to find that the dog had tried to pull the homemade bunting garland off our tree sometime in the night. I looked over and he was laying on his bed, clearly exhausted from being up all night. Thankfully we had the foresight to anchor that shit to the wall or I am sure it would have been much worse than cockeyed and disheveled.
Before I had kids I would read blogs and articles about the insanity of motherhood and the peanut butter smeared on every imaginable surface and I thought I would be different. “Oh no!” I told myself. “I will be pretty and fit and always always shave my legs. I will never, ever give them sugar or processed foods. My house will be clean and perpetually smell like apple pie. Oh and I shall knit all their clothes and let them play only with homemade wooden toys.” Yeah, I was a douche bag. It wasn’t my fault really. I know friends and family members who have no kids are thinking the same thing when the read this stuff and witness it first hand. I just bite my tongue when I feel the urge to enlighten them.
I never thought I would be the frazzled looking mom with the greasy pony tail buying stupid toys because I just don’t want to deal with the meltdown. And yet, here we are. I can’t recall the last time I washed my hair. Monday maybe? Wait, what day is it anyway? I never thought my body would ever be this doughy. The other night I was going through old photos and I realized a few things; 1) just how much I had neglected my eyebrow manicuring since Silas was born; 2) I had no idea what a messy house was back then; 3) how perfectly wonderful my pre baby body was (yeah, the same one I loved to loathe back in the day) and 4) what the hell did we do with all our spare time and energy?!
Fast forward to today, and it would appear that Huck and kids are in cahoots to make me mental. After nearly four years of being a mom, I am still astounded by the damage they can do in very short periods of time. Every time I take 15 minutes to do something that isn’t perpetual sweeping, picking up, or tidying, any semblance of order quickly dissolves. It is ridiculous. I know my attempts are futile, but if I were to stop, I am quite sure our house would look like an episode of Hoarders in about 48 hours.
I am certain our children are no different than any others in their mess making abilities, though I like to believe they are rather gifted in this category. They paint windows and tables with their food and leave trails and piles of apple peel in every imaginable place. I have a pile of dirt, fur, glitter, cereal, and paper in the corner that I feel isn’t worth my while to pick up with the dustpan until it resembles a small mammal. What is the point, a new pile is only an hour away.
I brush Poppy’s hair at least once, if not twice per day, but you would never know it. It resists order just as much my two children do. I fold blankets and stack them on a chair to place in a cupboard only to turn around and see that someone has efficiently flipped them off and unfolded them while I was changing a diaper, sopping up spilled milk, or filling a snack request. I clean one side of the front room while they pull the opposite side apart. And so goes my day.
I’d like to get out more, but that is a feat in and of itself. Even when they are strapped into a double wide jogging stroller with books, toys, drinks, and snacks the demands are endless and I can’t fit through most store doors or aisles anyway. I always think I am going to be uber productive, but my nerves (and therefore, my brain functioning) are usually shot after about an hour or two.
I am a rumpled mess 98% of the time and I sometimes fantasize about what we would do if we didn’t have kids, but then I remember the wise words of my very favourite comedian Louis CK, “What the hell is an adult without kids? What’s the point?”. Someday my house will be quiet and orderly and my brain functions will return to normal and I know I will get weepy just thinking of their sweet little jam covered faces and the way they smell after a bath in their fresh jammies. My only hope is that they give me loads of grand kids, visit often and forgive my parenting blunders.
Until then, I have a glittery creature in the corner to either name or dispose of and a toddler who has unraveled a spool of thread and needs detangling.
There is a saying that wood warms a person three times; once when you cut it; once when you stack it; and once when you burn it, but we are quickly learning the other benefits of heating with wood.
Mike and I both have fond memories of wood heat in our childhoods, but there was a long stretch of time in which we lived without one. When we moved into this house it was early spring and shortly after, we had our insurance adjuster through for an inspection. He found that the WETT certificate we received during the purchase of the house was in fact for a different stove. He told us it would need upgrades before we could safely use it. It was going to cost over $500 dollars to fix it, so we decided to wait and simply use our propane furnace. After our first $600 tank refill in November we decided we needed a new game plan. We hadn’t ordered wood so we only had what the previous owner had left. We were paying through the nose to keep it at a chilly 64 degrees. The windows and ceiling upstairs was getting condensation on it due to poor insulation.
In January we shelled out the money to have it fixed and WETT certified. In February we ordered our $825 truckload of logs. In March, we paid $450 to have our furnace fixed when it conked out in the middle of the night. We ended up spending $1600 in propane last winter. We were using approximately 1% of the tank each day and refills usually cost about $400. It was an expensive winter to say the least.
In an effort to save money this year, our goal is to not turn on our furnace until we absolutely must. So far so good, though it has been a mild Fall. We still have some late winterizing to do such as creating a room around our water tank in the cellar basement, putting plastic over our drafty front door, and adding insulation under our floor.
Yesterday, my step-mom came to take care of the kids so Mike and I could get out for some Christmas shopping and time to ourselves. It was so very much appreciated. When we arrived home she told us she cooked supper (potatoes and sausage) on the woodstove. I was thrilled. After all, I had been meaning to try it, but thought it would take hours just to cook some potatoes due to the double plate on top of it, so it hadn’t been a priority. Today was a rainy day and it felt fitting to heat our lunch on the woodstove. It worked brilliantly.
It occurred to me how intricately wise the old ways can be. Our wee, basic, and rather inefficient woodstove warms our house, dries our clothes, resolves the humidity/condensation problem, and now cooks our food. At first glance one would think that technology has streamlined and simplified our lives, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here does it? For it has effortlessly replaced or reduced the need for our furnace, our dryer, our dehumidifier, and our stove. Depending on the type of day we often hold temperatures around 70 to 75 glorious degrees.
Over the winter I will be making it a new habit to turn our electric stove on less and using the woodstove to make what I can. I am thinking morning oatmeal, Christmas day cider, and hearty soups. The one “issue” would be that it is at the opposite end of the house to our kitchen so it means a lot of running back and forth. It also requires a bit of counter space. To fix this, I will be digging out my cast iron frying pan, creating a makeshift counter top on top of the woodbox, and gathering a few essentials such as a cutting board, oven mitts, salt and pepper, wooden spoons and a flipper to hang on the logs for easy access. Someday, we will upgrade our stove and I think a small cookstove will be in order, but that won’t likely be anytime soon.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have a rather perfectly rainy December Sunday awaiting me. Lasagna to heat up, crocheted washcloths to make, and two wee ones to cuddle. Perhaps we will end off with a little more Christmas caroling as Mike learns new tunes on the ukulele.
Happy Sunday, friends.
go gently + be wonderful