The Courage in You

Dear Friend,

What you’re doing takes courage.

It takes courage to face each month again with hope while still reeling from last months disappointment.

It takes courage to pay for another round of pills, more vials and needles, more tests, ultrasounds and surgeries.

It takes courage to wait in those waiting rooms and drive to those clinics, so often by yourself.

It takes courage to remember to be happy for others.

It takes courage to remember to be happy for yourself.

It takes courage to remember that your marriage is not a means to an end.

It takes courage to say I need a break.

It takes courage to sign stacks of papers, have your life picked apart by strangers and wait for approval.

It takes courage to arrange classes and activities because there are no playmates at home.

It takes courage to remember to enjoy each day, guiltless, when you know it might never come again.

It takes courage to celebrate those days, those anniversaries, those holidays in a way you never would have imagined.

You are courageous even on the days you feel weak.

You are courageous even when you struggle with guilt.

You are courageous even when the stress is too much.

Here in the most unlikely of places I see the courage in you.

Dear Friends Who Walk Beside Us – 

Thank you for your courage.  Thank you for your courage doing what you have to care for those given to you.  Thank you for share your joys, fears and frustrations.  Thank you for reminding us that our dreams must still be realities.  Thank you for loving us, caring for us and mourning with us when our lives are so, so different.  We see your courage in tight budgets, long nights, aching bodies and short tempers.  We see your courage in those small, loving moments.  We see your courage in the messy floors and the deep laughs.  We see your courage in your acceptance and your fear.  Thank you for loving and supporting us this week.



Nothing seems to sum all this up better than lemons.

Imagine you want to make some orange juice.  Go to the bowl, grab some oranges and make orange juice.

Now imagine every time you go to that bowl, the orange bowl, that special bowl that is on everyone’s counter, and every time you go to that bowl you find lemons.  Maybe once in a great while you find a orange or two and you get to make orange juice, sometimes you find oranges but they’re rotten or you drop the glass before you’re almost ready to drink, but most of the time you just find lemons.

Oh, sure you can make some lemonade.  Of course it takes more lemons because they’re small and it takes sugar because lemons are bitter and you have to get the sugar just right or the lemonade won’t taste right and then it’s just waste of everything.  Perhaps your neighbor really appreciates that you made lemonade because she’s had it up to here with orange juice, she has more orange juice than she knows what to do with.  So you serve her up some of your lemonade while she waxes on about all the great things you can do with those lemons and all the while you’re hating lemonade all the more because all you want is a simple glass of orange juice.

I’m a lemon.  I’m not a fruit, I’m the other kind of lemon: “a person or thing that proves to be defective, imperfect or unsatisfactory; a dud.”  The dictionary doesn’t hold punches.  Thanks dictionary.

I’m a lemon who has been handed a big pile of lemons who makes lemonade for other people so they can further appreciate their orange juice.

It’s Infertility Awareness Week and I’m aware that I’m surrounded by lemons.

Signs of Spring

A little bit of real nature in our fake flowers on the front door.

Sedum,tulips, daffodils, butterfly bush and hollyhock seed sown; waiting for the hostas to come up and the hydrangea bush to get bigger.  The rocks will hopefully make a good path for water drainage.
That’s a good sign.
Weeded and mulched.  Hostas just starting to come up.

Not much going on here yet, but gates and “sentries” are set.

Morning glories planted along trellis, Sunflowers in the back.

Coreopsis, Cosmos and Shasta Daisies sown between the peonies.

Have a lot more volunteer raspberries coming up this year, don’t know if I have enough mature stems for fruit though.

Moved the rocks back around the house in back in front to help with drainage, mulch and columbines around the tree.

Everyone loves tent season.

Everyone loves open window season.

So glad I took an extra day off this week.  The yard is good to go for the year, now I get to sit back and wait impatiently to see if any of the seeds I planted will come up.  Here’s hoping.

Vanilla Ice Cream Or More Thoughts on Preschool….

We were all set to make a final decision on preschool a few days ago.  If you socialize with me away from here it’s all I’ve been talking about for weeks – who does it, is it necessary, what on Earth am I going to do?

Thanks to a change in our childcare situation this fall we thought we were all in line to buck the system and not do preschool.  We’d do some classes and activities and some extra stuff next summer and be fine and then I ask the four year old what he wanted to do….

“I want to go to Pre-School!”

I was a little surprised.  But, I told him, you’ll have to go every day, every morning, on and on and there he sat resolute that he wanted to go and spend more time with his friends.  He’s a social little creature and spends a lot of time at home lamenting the lack of people to play with so it’s not totally surprising that he’d jump at the chance to see his “best friend” Lucy more often.  So there it was, we’re keeping our enrollment in preschool in place because in the end the last four years of “follow the child” would be pointless if we didn’t follow his cues now.  We’ll give it a try and see what comes of it – we don’t deem it crucial to future success so if it’s too much we’ll stop.  It’ll be two and a half hours a day, five days a week during the regular school year and it seems odd that we’re here and it seems a little odd that we’re not going other routes…. I think.

I know a lot of great people who’ve gone the non-traditional route, so many it seems that homeschooling is the traditional route and what we’re doing seems a little odd.  But what if that’s okay?  What if my son is one of those kids who likes going to school, regular ol’ brick and mortar school.  I know I did, my husband did and we seemed to escape with our creative and critical thinking juices intact.  But nowadays it’s so en vogue to do the opposite it feels like I’m subtly being told that … well… maybe my kid just isn’t that special, maybe he isn’t that unique.

Not that I’m actually hearing that talk from anyone I actually know – none of my real life friends who do alternative schooling have ever suggested that, it’s just this feeling I get.  When you’re looking at being a public school kid when all these other options are so popular – private religious, specialty Montessori or Waldorf and five thousand ways to home-school – it kind of makes those public school kids look a little simple, like if they were naturally more creative, more pious, or more intelligent these other options would be calling our names, but because we’re not we get the vanilla ice cream of educational choices.

Honestly, I’m not sure where this is all going and it’s definitely not to accuse anyone using alternative education of being elitist, it’s just me trying to figure out our place in the grand scheme of things.

I know, as we start to dip our toes in this new current, what I believe and expect a public school education to be.  I think I’m realistic in my expectations of where it succeeds and fails.  I really look at a public school education as the foundation of a building, and that it’s up to me as a parent to oversee the rest of the construction – walls of morality, turrets of critical thinking, and spires of creativity.

I guess one good thing about vanilla ice cream is that in the end it’s all about the toppings anyways….

What a Difference a Day Makes

Sowed two types of Columbine seed around the base of this tree.
Raspberry corner.  Sowed a few pockets of Columbines in front of the gating.  Already have volunteer Columbines from the neighbors garden coming up.  Still needs weeding.

Spray painted about 60% of the trellis.  Planted Hyacinths in front; Sunflowers will be put in the corner behind it.  Morning glories planted to climb trellis.  Wine barrel tubs will either have tomatoes or just left with soil so the kids have somewhere to dig.
These smell so good.

Went ahead and got the garden beds started.  Spinach on the left.  Three types (three mounds each) of different color fingerling potatoes).

Front garden bed:  Broccoli in back.  White onions in front (two rows for cutting, two tightly spaced rows for green onions)
Back garden bed:  More broccoli in back, red onions in front.

Daffodils and Tulips (reds, orange and varigated) spaced along curve.  Butter fly bush seed planted.

Trying to fix our drainage problem, need to move more rock on new top soi.  Hollyhocks planted to the left of stone wall.

Friday will be a mulch and weeding day, family style.  And then a little wait until May and it’s warm enough to lay down the rest of the flower seed.

I think, except for the possible tomato plant, carrots and maybe a few pockets of basil, I think the vegetable garden is pretty well set until the onions can be the pulled the broccoli is done for the season.  I’ll probably see what fall veggies I can start when those start coming up, but broccoli, onion, spinach and potatoes serves us quite well.

In the Garden

My single Daffodil and the Peonies are arriving

So excited that my Hydrangea Bush survived!  This should be a blue hydrangea bush, it was an anniversary gift last year because it was our wedding flowers.

I have plans this year.  Plans that will hopefully keep us out of our house until around September.  Things to do around town and outside.

Henry is finally old enough to take part in more activities around town.  While I’m a big proponent of not over scheduling kids I’ve also been feeling the need for us to get out a little more, socialize with more than just whatever family is at the playground that day.  So we’re signed up for afternoon nature days offered (free!!) from our local Children’s Museum, and some nature classes at a Nature Center a little bit north of us.  There’s soccer starting in a few weeks and hopefully a kids art class over the summer (both of these are an hour a week, for 6-8 weeks and don’t over lap each other).  Our calendar is a little fuller, but not overwhelming.
Then there’s the backyard, and oh do I have plans for it.  Of course I don’t have ready funds to overhaul everything that needs it, but it’s a slow process.  A little by little each year until it feels right.
This year it will be about expanding a few flower beds and getting some perennials in.  Next year, funds willing I think we’ll need to tackle the drainage issue.  But for now it’s all about flowers.  Last year when I let some of our broccoli go to seed I noticed that our bee population seemed to explode, in a good way.  Just lots of happy, fuzzy bumblebees and I looked around.  Except for our peonies our yard (and most yard around us) are really devoid of anything that would attract bees and pollinators.  Sure we have our share of hostas and things, but there’s not much variety.
So this year I was determined to get a better variety of actual flowers in our yard, both because I love them and dream of going to my backyard for cuttings all through the summer, but also as a way to support our micro-ecosystem.
So my kitchen table is full of seed packets and notes on paper and plans.  I have an order of fall bulbs ready to be sent in for some beauty next spring and some frost hardy vegetables ready to get in the ground.  So I hope you’ll excuse me for a little bit.  It’s time to roll up my sleeves and get to it.

There’s Always Next Year

Ugh, it’s over.  That’s really all I’ve got for summing up Lent and the Easter weekend.  It all just seemed like too much work without a lot of pay off.

Because of lurking would-have-been due dates most of Lent was either spent in anticipation or dealing with the feelings of said events.  I barely had the desire to pull together much for Easter.  We barely did anything, read anything or focused on learning anything.

That yellow Easter book in the back… yeah regifted this year unaware that we had done some of the stickers last year.  Also should have actually read that copy of Peter Rabbit before I bought it…. way to simplified for my taste.  I win Easter.

My Easter weekend was not bad, but it was just slightly off.  We didn’t manage to go to any Thursday or Friday church services and visiting family meant we didn’t really spend a lot of time at home.  We celebrated as a small family on Saturday due to my husbands work schedule. Easter morning I spent by myself dog-sitting so the rest of the family could go to church only to have said dog bolt on me out the back door.  I then spent the next hour trudging around the ravines behind our street.  There was no perfectly decorated house; the week before was my long work week and my parents house is partially under renovation in the kitchen and dining room area.  We didn’t even manage to take a picture together, regardless that there were no cleverly matching spring ensembles.

It just all feels a little off and a little strange.  Not bad, the weekend was fine and we had lots of fun and the dog was found 2 miles away later in the afternoon.  Just not what I would have wanted even had I had the desire to work on it all.  It just didn’t feel special or intentional and that’s not the way I like my holidays to happen.

I suppose there’s always next year.

We did splatter paint and put stickers on cardboard.  Instant Easter Banner.