Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An Adventure is Brewing

This is what my living room looks like...

And this is what you will have to sit around if you're going to take a seat.

But we're all very excited this time around, because it means that we're going camping! The girls and I (plus three other girls we love) are leaving early tomorrow morning for a beachside camping adventure. I can't wait to report back with some stories and pictures.

And Ben is going to spend his time without us girls shooting at (inatimate) stuff in the country. Can you feel the sense of adventure that's been building in our household?

Sorry, Selma, no dogs this time around. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I love to dance with the kids. In the best of times, that's what my life feels like: effortless, joyful, energetic. Punctuated with hilarity and stillness. Sometimes I close my eyes and smile, wishing I could just capture that instant for eternity.

Of course there are times when struggles meander into our days, making our life together feel like more of a march... rhytmic and directional. A march is so close to a dance, isn't it? Only without the freedom and joy, without the choice to pour our whole selves into the moment.

Lately, I've been choosing to dance. It makes everything more fun.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This Moment: Shower Tower

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
-Amanda Soule

Have you joined in?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Color Week: Green

I'm terribly behind for the week so have just decided to jump in with today's color: green. So much green outside and in to choose from! I can't wait to see what everyone else came up with... don't forget to check it out through Kerry's blog! And happy Earth Day to all! Certainly an appropriate color for the day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Turning One

Lily turned one today. And while just about everything I was hoping would happen didn't work out: presents left unmade, cakes unbaked, and my sweet (and fearless) one year old landing herself with an emergency dentist appointment after that poor front tooth of hers finally cracked (ouch!), I have nothing left at the end of the day but gratitude. She is fine, and we all had some delicious birthday mango popsicles to celebrate, and I know there is always another day, month, year. And a birthday party coming up, of course.

What a beautiful journey life is, and what a privilege to be a witness to it. So much happens in a year, doesn't it? I can't wait to see what the coming years bring with this sweet love of mine.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Color Week: Red

We're here! Albeit a bit behind in our photo project for the week, graciously hosted by Kerry at Young Ones. Here's a bit of red from our day yesterday... photos taken by me, although I'm hoping to pass the reigns over to my 2 1/2 year old for blue hopefully later today.

Friday, April 16, 2010

This Moment: Early Morning Discovery

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


We made some new friends this morning (many new friends, actually), leaving me wondering about the legality of keeping sheep and goats in our half-acre suburban plot. Would the neighbors complain, you think? It would save with the trouble of mowing the lawn. Free wool. Sounds perfect to me.

Nature Center

Ben was away on business this week, so us girls treated ourselves while he was gone. A sleepover with grandma, a trip in a friend's bike trailer for Zosia (oh, I can't wait to get one of these!), the nature center, and then Five Guys and the thrift store. But we were all nevertheless ecstatic when surprised us home a couple of hours early... it's just not the same around here without him.

I think that the nature center is my new favorite place to go with the kids... there's a wonderful indoor space with animals, nature books, and even a fort, a beautiful creek that is very play-a-ble for kids and dogs, and a native plant garden. And, how cute is this, they host special hike excursions for children who can ride in backpacks! Now I just need to find a backpack that can fit two kids...

(above: some photos from our afternoon, including an old stump, which was the object of our "lesson." Lesson: all sorts of animals love rotten stumps! Zosia's reaction: I wish that the tree would go back up again... )

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Morning Commute Transformed

How do you spend your mornings? Is it a scramble to get ready? Or maybe you do get up before your children (I wish!), but then there's a busy rush to get everyone out the door. Everyone needs to get dressed, fed. Lunches need to get packed. I know this is certainly the case around here, where even though no one is in school, we usually have to be out the door by a certain time to get Ben to work on time. And then by the time we're all in the car together, we're usually frazzled and hurriedly talking plans for the day. For me personally, mornings are one of the more challenging times of day.

However, as is often the case in the difficult moments of the day, we stumbled upon a bit of grace this week. Grace that seeped into our day and transformed it from a busy and grumpy rush to something beautiful. Zosia pointed to a tree filled with leaves, still a fresh sight this spring, and said, "Look! The tree is blooming." We laughed a bit, because indeed, the lush green tree did look like it was blooming. And then she asked for a story about a tree. I certainly don't know any stories of trees off the top of my head, but our resident storyteller Ben does... and so, we spent the rest of our short (but typically stressful) commute listening to the story of Zacchaeus, followed by the story of the burning bush (not a tree, but close enough, if you ask me).

The stories filled our time, and even Lily, who's not crazy about car trips, was rapt. The stories were requested throughout the day, and I gladly shared them again and again. But what was even more amazing than the calmness of the ride was the way that such a short family ritual transformed our day. I in particular, who often spend Mondays clambering to catch up from the weekend, felt truly at peace, the image of the small man, without a friend in the world, whose faith was great enough to scale a tree for a glimpse of divinity fresh in my mind.

I think that our car trips have been changed-- they're not "filler time," that time between two points, but sacred time together, fellowship at its best.

Where do you find fellowship and grounding in your days? How do you involve your children?

This blog is a part of Steady Mom's 30-minute blog challenge.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Few Small Joys

One incredibly resilient 1-year old, who took quite a bad spill this week (see the scab on the chin?), and has bounced back like a champ. I think us moms who were present shed more tears than sweet Lily, who has proven herself to be of my lineage after all, despite appearances. She's one tough cookie.

A new (to her) trike purchased at the thrift store for under 10 bucks. It's one of those triikes that has a little platform for a "passenger" on the back, which we have already made good use of, and Zosia *loves it*...

almost as much as she loves the cousins that are staying with us this weekend. Could there be any joy greater than spending time with older cousins? And Zosia hasn't wasted a minute, doing things like "instructing" her teen/pre-teen cousins about what breakfast is, roughhousing with them, and bossing them around. She's in love.

What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pink Milkshake

I like to think that we don't sneak things into our children's food... too often. But I just couldn't pass up the opportunity this afternoon when Zosia requested a "pink milkshake" at lunch. I made one for myself, too. It was delicious, and I think that Zosia thought she was getting away with something. But I didn't mind, although I think that to keep up the jig I'm going to have to pretend I don't like her eating it too often.

Pink Milkshake
1/2 up frozen berries (we used cherry, blackberry, raspberry and blueberry mix from TJ's)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 banana (room temperature)
1 large tablespoon ground flaxseeds (we put this in almost everything around here... oatmeal, muffins. Definitely something worth keeping in the pantry/fridge)
1 tablespoon honey

Blend, and enjoy. I'm already scheming about what other things I can throw in there. How do you like the sound of an avocado shake? I've heard some wonderful stories about tricky Popsicles (thanks, Ella) with fish oils. Maybe that's my next frontier.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Home Garden, Take 2

Ben and I have had some success with a home garden. In Boston, it worked like magic, complete with salad greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs. Here in Virginia soil it just hasn't worked. We tried last summer, and I am sad top report we had little success. Was it because the soil here in the forest is too acidic? Was it because we don't get enough sunlight? Was it because I was sleepily in love with a newborn and too distracted to water the garden?

We are trying again this year, and I am full of optimism. Ben has built me a raised bed that we placed in the single spot that gets full sun all day. We have enriched the soil with lots of compost and good things, and the whole family is involved in caring for the garden (as you can see). So far, we have only transplanted our strawberry plants from the backyard. We may aim low this year and just complement those with some tomato plants. I'm excited! Could it work?

What are you planting in your yard? Any success or failure stories?


Sorry I've been a bit absent lately... life has been FULL around here-- the type of full that happens with two kids running all around the place and spring in full bloom. And, in the interest of full disclosure, a bit crazy. I hope you all are enjoying it as much as we are!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Buttercup Blanket

Ben and I snuck out Saturday night for the Easter Vigil, a service filled with magic, darkness, remembrance, and then light. It was more life-giving and transforming than I could have imagined, and when we woke up on Easter morning, we truly felt newly created-- and since we had just spent the previous evening celebrating Easter at our church and the big family gathering wasn't until the afternoon, we decided to celebrate as a family in what has become our favorite day to mark special holidays.

And, as if the woods were sensing the blossoming we felt in our spirits, the forest floor was coated in buttercups. Newly blooming, richly yellow buttercups. Amen.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


This morning, Zosia and I gathered all of the Easter eggs we dyed yesterday afternoon, a loaf of bread we picked up at the local bakery, and drove down to the little Polish church a few towns over.

Can you spot my little one and her beloved great-Aunt?

Those of you who have known our family for a while remember the church. It's the church where Ben and I got married almost six (!) years ago... a little stone church tucked away a little green neighborhood. But that's just part of the way this church fits into our story, my family's story. It's the church that I was baptized in, that my sister was baptized in.

My parents lived in a little room off the back of the rectory when they first moved here-- a tiny room with no air conditioning that was small and empty, save for the Polish hospitality that flowed freely.

We took our basket and our prayers and laid them at the altar for the blessing. She loved every bit of it. Later, while we were eating lunch, Zosia told me that was her favorite part-- a Polish blessing in a dim church filled with big and little baskets, covered in lace handkerchiefs and decorated with sprigs of fresh plants, the handiwork of other mamas and children like herself. What can I say? She's a child after my own heart, loving the stillness and mystery of ritual... the magic that you can feel in such a moment.

It was a pilgrimage, really. I showed my little one the beginnings of our family here in America, the beginning of the story that would grow to include her and her sister, her mama and her daddy.

We walked around outside, bought a few Polish treats, and I noticed that Zosia, our sweet introvert, was more at ease than ever, walking up to strangers and talking, playing with all the children. I think that children can somehow just feel that they belong somewhere. She was surrounded by families just like ours-- with mamas and babas chatting in Polish, little children playing in English, and colorful names like Bartek and Zosia (she wasn't the only one) and Ania. Children whose faces mirrored that beautiful round Polish face that she has inherited.

I wish you all a beautiful and sacred Easter, filled with joy and resurrection.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Breakfast Date

Was it sabotage? She woke up at 6:27 am and startled me from a deep sleep.
"Ben, can you bring her into bed?" I manage.
I know she will no longer go to sleep in our bed. She'll nurse for a minute or two, then roll over and start babbling, laughing. Our bed has become a play bed for tickles, jumping, laughing. Those days of pulling her in and snuggling her back to sleep are gone... or at least on hiatus.
"Are you sure? She'll probably go back to sleep in her crib if you nurse her." I don't even have to think about it.
"No, you can bring her in." She nurses and then rolls over and starts laughing, babbling. I knew that's what she would do. But somewhere beneath my cloak of sleepiness, I think that's what I secretly want. I know we have the morning together, just the two of us: Ben leaving early for work, Zosia sleeping in. With the first baby, having special intimate time used to come naturally. But with the second, I've found it's something we have to carve out.
So us two ladies shared an early morning breakfast date, just the two of us. And I wouldn't change a thing about it.

Thanks to Annie for spreading the word on Big Huge Tab's mosaic maker... easy as promised.