Early gratitudes and an update

I have a moment here, and rather than work more I just want to take this opportunity to just catch my breath. Here are my gratitudes, because I won’t be around tomorrow to list them off.

-I’m sore every day, and I find myself stretching out my muscles each night knowing that I’m building strength. It’s that good, healthy kind of ache that makes me aware of my body and so glad that I can do all I can do.
-My children are healthy and joyful and rosy-cheeked, and every day I think I’m close to bursting because of how full they make me feel. Vera, with her big words and concepts- I feel like we’re getting to know each other in a new way. The other day we found a dead frog and she was really interested, and so we talked for a while about it all and had a little funeral. We talked all about how everything dies and we all return to the earth… it was so amazing to watch her think and be sad and accept it. Then later I heard her talk about it to other people, and I just swell knowing that she’s in this life just as much as I am. She’s not just my kid… she’s herself, and I just dig. it. so. much. And Asa! Oh my, little squishy bundle of joy. He’s starting to understand my signs, I can tell. And he says "Mama". Such precious lives in my care, for real.
-How much I’m learning as a parent. Parenthood is serious business! I’m figuring out what’s working for us, and how that might not be what I was raised with or am used to. It’s been really good for me, to work at this, to stay open and thoughtful and willing to be wrong.
-I’m totally in love with my partner, more than ever after 7 years together. The other day we made out in the kitchen. It was exhilarating and yet completely ordinary- with the dirty dishes piled up around us, and the kids coming in moments later just before he ran off for work. It was this silly little blip that left me buzzing and thinking "This is living…"
-I have dirt under my fingernails more often than not. I tend to notice this most when I’ve arrived at a social event and am sipping a drink… I look down at my hands and see dark lines beneath my fingernails… One of my essentials might end up being a nail brush in my bag. So much dirt, so many plants, so exactly what I want to do with my days.
-I’m making good solid friends. Good people, some new and not so new, all coming together in this little community of ours. I’m feeling really good about it.
-For my little sister and her beautiful music. You must give it a listen. ( http://clarabalmer.bandcamp.com/album/songs-to-be-heard )
-For coffee. Because it is so good.
-For so much more, but I’m ready to have a date with a cup of tea and that cozy corner of the couch, so I’ll finish up with some pictures…
Eggs! We’re getting 5-6 a day now, so it’s a good thing we like eggs. It’s one of my favorite chores, going out to gather eggs and check on the ladies. Although I have to be careful now that we have one of those latches that just click when the door shuts… I locked myself in with the chickens the other day. Thankfully I’ve got super skills and got out in just a few minutes. But at first I just stood there with chickens clucking at my feet thinking "Oh my. I am such a city girl, locking myself in this coop…"

The other day I went to grab a spoon and was alarmed to find that 90% of the silverware was gone. I only had to venture to the living room to find Vera’s carefully arranged collection. She asked that I take pictures of her with it.  🙂
Those that know me know that I like to change things around. I’ve changed my living room more times than I care to admit. People always come over and say "Whoa, you changed it all around again!!", which initially makes me feel a little self-conscious until I remember that I really like to do it and, hey, isn’t it great now?! I mean, there’s nothing like kicking up the dust and putting things in a new spot. This time it was because my parents got rid of their old couch, and so we took it, and it just kind of forced things to move around… I like it. 
We’re working on projects around here. This is the start of the awning/patio project. Jeff and a friend got down to business and dug this enormous hole out to create the foundation of the patio. I guess they have to use some kind of sand or something to level it all off or… I don’t know. That’s his domain. But anyway, I looked out the window to check the progress and this is what I found. Giant hole, beer bottle, eggs. It made me smile.
Giant hole.
It basically outlines the whole extension of the patio. I’m excited. Now we just have to find really cheap used pavers out there… Universe! Pavers for our patio! Okay, it’s out there.
What are we doing with all that dirt? We’re repurposing it, of course! It’s going up against this fence and it’ll be for lots of fruiting goodness. Serviceberries, currants, a variety of things… I’m excited to be putting in more perennial things this year.
It snowed the other morning. Bizarre, but I don’t know why I was surprised. This is Michigan, after all. I think I was bummed because I had just gotten all these great plants (mostly Michigan natives!) from a friend to put in my front yard. 20 different varieties that will all do well in shade. 
It all melted quickly and today was just gorgeous, so I studied them all and made a map of just how they’ll be put in.
I set them all out in their relative spots and started pulling up sod. I only got to a little planting today, but I figure I’ll just do some every day until it’s done. So excited to have this front yard be beautiful and help to improve the diversity of our little spot. I’m hopeful we’ll get a lot more fun and helpful insects with all these great native plants, and that I can learn about it all with Vera. Also, no more mowing the front yard! Hooray!
The plant shelves at work. Hundreds of seedlings.

Onions. I got kind of poor germination with these, so I’ll be planting sets as well to make up for it.

So many tomatoes… So many.
Peppers. I’ll be transplanting these to bigger blocks tomorrow.
Anyway, that’s all. I won’t be around much until next week- I’ve got our first big volunteer event at work on Saturday, then there’s Easter with the family and all. I hope you all have a great weekend. 

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