Friday, March 29, 2013


This Friday morning...colder than most mornings in December. Our breath is huge in the air. There is frozen water. Is it really spring? Why is it taking so long? Why does this late-to-show spring remind me so much of my life?

                    sickness   sorrow    mistakes
                heartache   suffering   weakness

Not quite...

see it's Friday... Sunday is coming.

"And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." -Revelation 21:5

Hold on!
Have faith!
For the hope of spring.
For the promise of new life.
There will be a resurrection.

Oh I need a resurrection! Don't you?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How Changing a Cloth Diaper Changed Me

***There isn't much going on around here to make for good writing material, unless you wanted me to write a comedy about Nora, puke, and diarrhea (Round 2). Ava did cut her first tooth last Monday, March 18th. I feel that it adds to her cuteness. But see, that's all there is to say about that. So let me write about something unrelated to current events!***

When David and I found out that we were expecting our first baby, we were not exactly well off, financially speaking. In fact, we were both in school and working part-time. When people asked me how we would manage, I would tell them that I planned to breastfeed and cloth diaper. I then received all kinds of funny looks from everyone but Grandma, who said cloth diapering was the only option available to her and it worked out just fine.

 Well, we were blessed by numerous showers and gifts during my pregnancy. I had more diapers than I knew what to do with. They literally were stored in the attic for a while. Nora was almost 3 months old and we still had not had to think about purchasing diapers. Then there came the day when I realized we were down to the last box. Where do we go from here?

It was during this very week that I realized we would soon have to buy diapers that we had dinner with our then acquaintances, now dear friends. Our baby girl was about three months old, theirs seven months, and would you believe it...they used cloth diapers! Of course I was thrilled to talk to another mom who could encourage me to try it out, and even had experience to boot! After a few days of thinking and calculating, we ordered our "stash" (don't you just love that word?) of cloth diapers and have never turned back. Now that isn't to say I haven't LOOKED back, but we haven't TURNED back. See the difference? Okay moving on...

Cloth diapers started out as a purely economical decision for us. But it didn't take long for the novelty to wear off. First there was a transitional diaper rash. Then it took me months to figure out the perfect wash routine. We would (still do) forget the wet bag. While I was in nursing school, we would run out of clean diapers and have to wash at odd times of the night. Nora started eating solids and things got messy. Then there was the stink issue...It didn't take longer than six weeks to realize that this was certainly NOT less hassle than disposables. I almost threw in the towel. But I just couldn't. (And, for the record, things have gotten lots easier as I've gained experience!)

Baby Ava in one of my favorite newborn cloth diapers

Cloth diapering has seriously changed me, in more ways than one. First, they have helped me find my way as a mother. This may sound like an exaggeration, but I can explain. I still haven't figured out how the "baby industry" finds an expectant mother's mailbox, but once they do, there is a flow of solicitation. Coupons, savings, samples, advertisements...having a baby means a huge list of THINGS you have to buy. Diapers and formula are just the beginning of the commercialism, but separated from the necessity to purchase those items, I have found simplicity in motherhood. It seems the only thing my newborn baby really needs is her mother's presence, arms, love. We can both survive, even thrive, without the bucket list of accessories.

Second, cloth diapers have changed my lifestyle. One day during one of the previously mentioned "we're out of clean diapers" episodes, I changed a disposable and went to toss it in the trash. I don't know what came over me, but I HATED the way I felt throwing that diaper in the garbage. It wasn't just the money. See, using cloth diapers was my first real experience with novel ideas like "reducing waste" and "re-using." Tossing that diaper in the trash just felt wasteful, and I didn't know how we would handle a situation where we didn't have reusable diapers and ran out of disposables. What if the store wasn't open? What if there was a shortage? What if we fell on hard(er) times? Cloth diapers gave me a sense of security. 

I like to say that I want to live a simple life and get back to my roots. I have a long way to go, but I have come a long way, too. Using cloth diapers was the first step I took toward that goal. In fact, cloth diapering led me to set that goal. I haven't always been into this kind of back-to-the-basics lifestyle, but using changing a cloth diaper has changed me.

And who doesn't love this sight...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sister Act

Colder Weather

Well the weekend was BEAUTIFUL! We had perfect, pull-out-your-shorts kind of weather. Saturday morning we had friends join us for some garden work. Which basically means my friend and I watch our four girls play together while our husbands garden. I did work on transplanting our little tomato seedlings into separate containers so their roots will have more room to grow. We have about 40 tomato plants, in three different heirloom varieties. Looking forward to giving them away when they get a little bigger!

Yesterday was even warmer in a perfect Sunday kind of way. Then there's today. Woke up to Monday morning, cold and cloudy. Got this spring loving girl a little down. I think a pot of potato soup is in order, and maybe even the smell of a fresh loaf of bread. Those things feel like they may help us cope with this colder weather we're stuck in for a little bit longer. Spring is coming!

We are now a very eager and excited beekeeping family! Actually, David does all the beekeeping. But we support him 100%!

Busy bees

Their new home

Ava Pearl, the baby beekeeper
Well the girls just dumped an entire can of baby "puffs" all over the floor so I think my blogging time is done for the day!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why You Should Never, Ever, EVER Store Your Vacuum On The Back Porch

So, this post will disappoint those of you who want photos added to this blog, like, yesterday (Hey, Mom, I'm talking to you!), but it is sure to be helpful to you if you should ever find yourself trying to decide where to keep your vacuum cleaner OR if you just need a laugh. Now, photos are coming. I promise.

I live in a small cottage. After years of struggling to enjoy trying to find a place for all the belongings of two, then three, then four people, I have finally come to the point of embracing day-to-day life in a small space. I have learned that I don't NEED a bunch of the STUFF that finds its way into my home. I have learned to appreciate life apart from the big dream house with its wraparound porch and gracious Southern drawl. That house is tucked neatly inside a three ring binder in my hall closet. It may come out of its binder one day, but it doesn't necessarily have to. God has shown us that success is not measured by the size of the roof over our heads.

Now, as I say all this I need to offer a disclaimer: My life has just been made easier by the purchase of a 10'x12' storage building. In addition, I am counting down the days until the contractor comes to start transforming the back porch into a second bedroom. This is actually what brought me to this post today. David has been out cleaning off the porch, getting it ready for said transformation. I stood out there with my camera posed for some "before" pics, and I could not stop thinking about the night I brought that vacuum cleaner in off the back porch. Here goes...

Ava was a little baby. I decided that it had been much too long since my house had a good floor cleanin'. Nora is terrified of vacuum cleaners, so David decided to take her outside while I ran the machine. Ava laid sleeping on our bed. I retrieved the bulky machine off the back porch. (My house lacks a space for the thing to hide, and I really don't want a vacuum cleaner as living room decor.) It came right on and ran beautifully. I admired the clean(er) carpet and decided to clean the bathroom rug too. Just as I wrapped up my vigorous vacuuming of the bathroom rug, I saw it...

A huge spider on the wall! Well I am not, I assure you, as terrified of spiders as my mother. But I do not relish them inhabiting my house. So I thought it best to turn off my vacuum cleaner and kill the spider. Easy enough, but a little messy too. I walked to the kitchen for a rag to clean my wall. Picked up the rag. Turned around. Saw movement just beside the vacuum cleaner. Wait...what eyes....OHDEAROHDEAROHAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH....A RODENT....there is a MOUSE and this is NOT okay!

A million thoughts ran through my head in less than half a second. I thought about the night I sat around a campfire in Botswana listening to the high pitched squeal of a mouse in a burning log. Any sympathy I felt for the little critter soon faded as this mouse, I kid you not, ran out of this log and straight toward me. The mouse ran UP MY LEG, seeking refuge in my skirt. I will never forget that creepy feeling as long as I live. I shudder even writing this story. Adrenaline is pumping through  my veins. Fight or flight. Okay back to my living room...

"There is a mouse. Where are my kids? Oh yeah one is outside. One is sleeping soundly on my bed. The door is shut. The mouse cannot get her. She is fine. I'm fleeing!" I ran out my house, yelling loudly for David to get his tail back up the road and into the house to do what has to be done. I got up on the hood of the car and held my knees, rocking back and forth. Spiders are okay. Most animals are okay, but not mice. Mice are my vice.

Well of course the mouse ran and hid just as I slammed the door behind me, figuring his home in the vacuum cleaner was no longer safe. David wasn't able to locate him and finally coaxed me back into the house, but I assured him I would not be able to sleep without him taking some further steps.

The story ends this way: we rode to town to purchase a mouse trap, which proved very efficient at its duty. I sold the vacuum cleaner at a yard sale for $10. We have since purchased a Eureka Quick-Up, which is a solid crumb picker-upper in a very sleek package. Sleek enough to fit INSIDE my house.

That, my friends, is why you should never, ever, EVER store a vacuum cleaner on your back porch. Especially if you live in the woods. Don't think they're not around. They are, and they're looking for a comfy home!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ava Pearl

Yesterday Ava turned 8 months old. Today she clapped her little chubby hands for the first time. She wants to play patty cake over and over and over. As I write this she is sitting in the floor, singing and clapping her hands. She also learned to make noise come out of a recorder today. Exciting, but not quite as cute as the hand clapping.


Nora and I have been reading The Year at Maple Hill Farm. We both love this book. It explains what happens on a farm each month of the year. I was hoping to read just one month per day, but of course Nora wants to hear the book from cover to cover each time we open it.  

"March is a windy month. It is still cold outside but you can tell spring is coming. There are signs of spring in the barn. March is windy and rainy, but when the sun does shine, it shines more brightly and the days are longer. There are signs of spring everywhere."  

The page is filled with illustrations of baby animals and melting snow. When we finished reading about March, Nora was chanting, "Spring, spring, spring! Yayyyy spring!" I couldn't agree more. We talked about things around our house that mean spring is coming. It's not quite a farm, but there sure are many signs that winter is giving way to something new. Here are a few:

David is out working the garden soil with his new broadfork.

The baby chicks are growing bigger and bigger, getting feathers on their wings.

The beehives have a piece of ground to sit on, and come Tuesday they will have inhabitants!

I have the urge to clean my house, up and out. And this year I can not blame it on "nesting!" As an added bonus, I have energy this spring because I am not running the halls of a telemetry floor full time and pregnant! (Hmmm...I need to remember where I've been when I get too caught up in the woes of stay-at-home mommyhood!)

Some of our summer vegetable plants have sprouted from their seeds and are growing bigger and bigger every day. There are four different types of heirloom tomatoes, two varieties of peppers, and six different herbs. These herbs are the sprouts I am most excited about, because last year some of them did not germinate. We have lavender, chamomile, sage, oregano, thyme, and basil all showing promising signs of growth. 

I share Nora's sentiments. "Yayyy spring!"

"Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth. Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." -Isaiah 43:18-19