May 20th


May 20th, what would have been my mom's 71st.  Audra made the cake. Chocolate on chocolate. I was trying to go easy and make it from the box, but double the oil was dumped.  Nothing to do but add homemade cake batter to a boxed cake batter.  Two cakes now.  One is headed for the freezer.

Audra's wearing a nod to my dad, a Cornell shirt. I just happened to match with the Cornell sweatshirt my dad gave me in high school. It's now a garden sweatshirt. Clearly dirty. It is what it is.

Alas, I digress.  

Before cake, I like to make time for them to ask questions. "What did your mom do on her birthday?' "Eat chocolate. Sometimes go out to dinner with my dad, grandparents babysat." "What would your mom do with her birthday money?' "Buy gifts for other people." "Do you miss your mom?" "Definitely, but I carry her with me everyday in my heart. And a piece of her lives on in her grandkids." 

Stark Contrast

 This is where I found Zippy this afternoon.

Anna-Kate made my bed and is showcasing the new pillowcases I made.

While Zippy was resting, I was homeschooling, then hosting ~30 of our homeschooling friends for our final gathering/ice cream social, selling raspberry plants, working my day job, tending to the home and planning this weekend's Homemakers plant swap at my home. So busy.   

While Zippy looks so cozy, he really missed out on the fun.


The curriculum sale. And yes, I needed all this. or maybe I didn't. But it's mine. And besides, I made more money selling than I spent, so we'll call that a win.

Balance that out with a like new life vest free from markeplace for my rapid grower.
And muck boots, water shoes, all those books for $10. 

Pumpkin Valley

 We took a trip with our homeschool group to Pumpkin Valley Farm. Hay ride, seed planting, bounce pillow, baby animals and the very very dusty corn pit were the hits.  I mostly have pics from Anna-Kate since the others ditched me for their friends.We enjoyed our date! And she wants a few baby animals. Of course.

Sunday Funday and Open Fire Cooking Pit

Our day was a mix of unexpecteds (with a sick Holly, who seems to be doing better) and fun at home sweet home. 

We traded a very kind arborist a cookie cake for a truck of woodchips. Kids played here much of the day.
And rested under the maple I worked so hard to get going 10 years ago.
And I got out the swings I got last year. They spent a ton of time here too. 
And my dear husband helped me wheelbarrow all the rocks over to this spot. Look what I made! I spent a ton of time on it, it's actually nice and sturdy.

Planning on opening our ice cream stand and cooking hotdogs with friends this summer!

Feels like summer!

 This morning I had two catching butterflies and one cutting down a tree.

This afternoon they spent a solid hour all in, fully submerged for their first swim of 2022.

We were given one wet suit (thank you!!!), thrifted two others.  Three wet suits, each a different subsequent size.  One is a bit too big, one fits Adrian now, one fits Audra now. Nothing for Anna-Kate.  Flew into the thrift shop yesterday and Audra found a wetsuit that fits Anna-Kate (still a wee bit big for her to grow into).  We'll apparently be extending our Maine swimming with a trio of wetsuits, which the kids think is the absolute best!

Spring Service

 Everytime I lay out various activities to choose from at 4-H, it never fails that our club goes for the service activity first.  Our club has earned the county Community Service Award for a number of years because our kids are just so generous. 

Spring door hangers for the nursing home residents.

Homesteader ways

Although we have access to local grocery stores, I am in the habit of rarely going. I like buying in bulk and using what we have/making from scratch/using our homegrown.  It's been weeks since we've been to a grocery store.  Looming is a field trip and a need to pack a lunch.  I realized that the foods present aren't really quick/on the run meals. 

While I could get up early and make a hot meal that our camp crock would keep warm or go to the grocery store, I opted for plan C. Plan C seems like the most work, but to me, it's way easier to make late night bread and jam than it is to go to the store. (No more transitions/unexpecteds for my hard to transition kid!) It's especially easy when I have a Rolodex of recipes in my brain, so I don't even have to look up or do much measuring. 

So that's what we did. Now we're all ready for a picnic of PBJs.
(Blueberry Rhubarb....rhubarb harvested and chopped by Adrian)

Unfortunately our prospects of having Audra's homemade cookies for a picnic are dim thanks to her dad the cookie monster.
It was 17 years ago I started this homemade/homegrown focus and tonight I'm thankful for the journey and for the opportunity to bring the kids down a similar lane. 


We've been in the orchard as of late for two reasons: 1) It needs mulching.  2) The blooms!!!   The trees are starting to bloom and Anna-Kate's bulbs are in full bloom too. We've planted about 300 around the trees. Adrian and Zippy are very helpflul.

Mother's Day

At the end of Mother's day, the grand total of two pictures on my camera roll: 2. Two. That's it.

Mother's Day is always a blend of my husband (last minute) trying to dream up of something special, with me saying "It's 100% okay to keep our normal", with one of my kids getting nervous and adding negative behaviors all because the day may be different and me always with some silent grief that sneaks up on me (even though it's been 26 Mother's Days since I lost my mom).  It's a day full of celebrating for some and I seem to be in the "Let's just skip to Monday" category. 

The first picture was this, which Anna-Kate took herself.  I was just doing what I do, making sourdough pancakes for my family in my kitchen that becomes our whole house's catchall.  Wearing my ratty old sweatshirt that I've had since high school.  Taken from the perspective of where she always stands.

I had no idea she was taking this and I sort of love this picture.  I ordinarily do not love any pictures of myself. There is no one more critical of myself than me. This picture, though, embodies what I hope to be from the lens of my child. The mama who always, always, always tries.  The results may be imperfect but the intent consistent. 

Here's the other pic of the day.  My trio with leftover take out pizza (thank you to my husband for a meal off from cooking), with that same shabby old sweatshirt from high school that I finally ditched. 
Motherhood is the least glamorous activity of my lifetime, but I'm praying it's the one that reaps the most fruits.

Nature Days

 In between our intense timeline today, we had a little escape doing what we love.

Marshland today
Highlights: Five Egrets 
Frog eggs and look closely and see the tadpoles.
And this one would say the gall attached to the oak leaf.
This one talked the whole time.

After we had company for lunch. 
And I took a family portrait at our last stop. 
I may or may not have gotten some more plants. Okay, so I definitely did. Spring fever has captured us! Happy Mother's Day!  


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