Wanna know what 10 minutes of eerie quiet from two rambunctious little girls produces? Yes? Dry cement all over the floor! This picture does not do it justice. If I had left them any longer I’m sure they would have found some water to mix it with… they were "cooking" after all. Sometimes I don’t even know how to kid-proof this place. This came out of a very heavy box that I was sure couldn’t be lifted by them, up on a high shelf, out of packages of thick vacuum sealed plastic… um. Yeah. It’s a kit to make a stepping stone for your garden. I guess I’ll be doing that project in the next few days (with a bit less cement mix to work with)! The amount of mischief these kids can get into is amazing sometimes. My "art nook", as secure as I’ve made it, is not helping the situation. I may end up putting up a little locked fence to keep them out. There’s been talk about kid-sized hamster wheels to put them in, but at this rate I’m fairly sure we’d still find them covered in strange dust with scissors in hand screaming about how it’s time for me to make them popcorn… le sigh.
What’s funny is they’d been asking me for a bath just minutes before, and I said no because I didn’t want to have to monitor both babies plus an open bathroom + tub full of water + diaper pail + crawling Max + potentially wet and fighting girls. I thought I was minimizing my risk of damage with that one- and they ended up in the bath anyway! Now it’s all cleaned up, and both girls were very sweet and apologetic after they saw me lose it for a minute. I mean, not yelling at them, but in a sort of "Why God, why!?!" and "How the? What the? I don’t know how to…!" kind of way. They both sat there covered in the dust, blinking at me with their big beautiful eyes. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having just a little bit of fun.
Now I’m sitting here with my cup of coffee that I’ve reheated about 6 times, Asa asleep next to me, Vera in front of a movie, the other kids gone, and just a little bit of quiet. Can you feel it?
I love it all. I do. I love this family and this busy mama-ing, and all of it. BUT, it’s a constant learning process, figuring out how to keep from running dry or succumbing to self-pity. Not just with kid stuff. Just the drama of life. The past few weeks have been rife with drama, and I’m happy to report that I’m still feeling pretty good about things. I mean, when you’re accountable to people you just take the good with the bad. You have to learn how to weather it all, and how/when to recharge, etc. I can tell I’m getting better at it all the time.
The other night Jeff and I went out on an alone date. Meaning, I left Vera and Asa with grandma for a few hours… So nice! We went for a short walk in his parent’s neighborhood, all dark and windy and freezing. We talked and peeked through the windows of his elementary school. Jeff showed me his old roller blading tricks (sans roller blades… it was funny). We shivered around talking about the old days when we’d walk through that neighborhood every night, feeling all romantic. We got in the car to go to dinner, and Jeff told me that I could put my seat back, there wasn’t a car seat behind me. I shot the seat all the way back, stretching my legs as far as I could. "Luxurious!" We then tried two different restaurants, but both had crazy long waits. After a little running around, we ended up at a delicious little Thai place we used to go to, and sat on this little couch to wait for our table. We snuggled and admired the art on the walls. "Luxurious!" we kept saying. We sat and ate a delicious meal, talking about whatever, smiling at each other.
I thought about this not-that-luxurious date afterwards, and thought it was telling. I mean, it occurred to me that it’s all about perspective. I am not always able to see the many opportunities for peace and gratitude that come my way, but they are there waiting for me. That’s comforting. I just loved that Jeff and I were able to take great pleasure in such small things. A couple of hours alone together (not exhausted!), a chilly night laced with so many good memories, a delicious dinner, sweet grandparents willing to help us out on short notice, and home to put our two beautiful children to bed. Luxurious, indeed.
I finally got around to harvesting the luffa gourds. I’m doing research today to find out how to cure them. Right now they’re just sitting out in the rain… woops.
I took one inside to check it out, and sure enough, it’s all spongy and awesome! This one is partially immature, but I can just cut that part off and use the rest. I’m confident there will be enough to last us through the year. I mean, how awesome is it if we can grow all our own compostable all-natural sponges every year? Really awesome, I think.
I’ve also been working this week… the kind for pay, I mean, haha. It’s been fun so far, and I get the feeling that I’m pushing the limit with this one. I went in for a meeting on Friday and there were definitely wide-eyes. After I presented my plan to them they said "Well, if we fail we fail!" and I just said "I fail every year. It’s never really a failure." It actually reminds me of when I first planned the my garden and presented it to Jeff. He actually came up with an alternate plan that was like a 1/4 of the size of mine, and I was a little insulted. I pushed for my plan anyway, hands on my hips, and now he’s super proud of what we’ve done. I’m sure it’ll be the same way here. All this skepticism I’m picking up on from other people will soon be replaced with pride over what we’ve accomplished. I’ll have to be sure to get pictures of the progress. Anyway, this has been fun, planning this thing. My plan covers just about an acre of land, complete with about 7,000 square feet of raised bed space for annual vegetables, then the rest being for perennial gardens- herbs, asparagus, berry bushes, rhubarb, strawberries. It’s gonna be great. Do I know what I’m doing? Barely. 😉 It’s just that it’s so much more fun to live ambitiously, especially when it comes to gardens…
As for my garden, it’s basically done for the year. Garlic is planted, and the chickens are finishing off the last of the brussels sprouts. Over the next few days Jeff and I are making it a priority to prep the beds for next year. We’re also going to be reducing the size of that big long bed in the back to make room for more compost bins. We’re going to do two more palate boxes for it, and we’re going to get serious about learning about composting- all we’ve really done is just stick the stuff in there and let it decompose with no real thought to it. But, we really do want to produce some of our own usable compost. I’m going to get worms from my friend to keep a little indoor compost bin in the basement. I’m interested in doing it for my houseplants, but also for the chickens. I hear the worms are prolific and I can use them to supplement the chicken’s diets.
Our neighbors have been giving us their fallen leaves, too, at our request. We’ve talked about it, and we realized that the best thing is really just to kill all the grass. We hated the idea that we were bound to mowing- not because of the work, but because of the crazy emissions! Did you know that mowing an average yard is equivalent to driving about 250 miles in your car in terms of emissions? There aren’t standards for these things, and it’s just crazy. We tried the old push mower, but it was too much work. Now we use an electric mower, which is great, but we just realized that we could do better. We’ll plant useful and interesting things all through the yard- we’re scrapping the idea that a family friendly yard has to be all green and flat. We’re going to be creative. But, first step is first, we’re mulching up all these leaves and just letting them do their thing this winter- both in the front and back yards, and hopefully we’ll have enough for the area between the sidewalk and street, too.
I plan to spend the rest of my day doing luxurious things, you know. I’m going to throw some pork ribs in the crock pot to slow cook. Then I’m going to read and relax on the bed with baby and dog. I think I’ll exercise during Asa’s second nap. I also think there’s a hot bath in my future, too. Good day.