Mar 21, 2011


My lovely sister Katelin plugged us into the movie "My Neighbor Totoro". A tale of two sisters whose bravery and curiosity allow them to discover three forest sprites they call Totoro. Totoro has been watched, during our failed 'no-tv month', many times and the kids love the adventures, magic, and wonder that unfolds at Totoro's fingers.
Snack one day became the three furry woodland sprites complete with an umbrella.
The kids happily slurped and giggled while devouring Totoro. I can't believe that we had not discovered Totoro before now.

We since have watched Ponyo by the same animator. Watching Ponyo became a bit eerie with all that is happening in Japan currently. It is about a fish-child who wants to become human for a boys love and her love of the boy. In doing so she unintentionally moves the moon closer and thus floods the world. The world created is beautiful, richly diverse, and spellbinding. The movie did allow for conversation to flow about the topic of the tsunami in Japan over the dinner table, and helped the children to understand the gravity of the situation without having all of the fear. These movies have held our wonderment and indulged our sense of creativity and exploration. I am so glad that Kati introduced us!

Mar 15, 2011

Two and a Half weeks

I am working hard to try and stay in a place of gratitude and joy. In some cases it is exceptionally easy. We have always desired to flip houses and are having the divine pleasure of experiencing our own knowledge, abilities, and creativity. We are two and half weeks into our Frat-house-flip. We are intent on making our space livable so we can move in, in a few short weeks, with the hope of continuing to remodel while living there. We are enjoying the process. This last weekend mom came to visit which allowed us to work whenever we could without the kids there. The relief and complete appreciation for the help we have received is overwhelming. So many offers for help that I am feeling a deep adoration for my life and those fabulous people I am allowed to share it with.

I am recording as much as I possibly can, short videos and photos. These I intend to use on our blog. We are working hard to fit this remodel into our own green/sustainable focus. While the transformation has been slow going (by my standards) we have achieved so much which is evidenced by the photos. We have filled thousands of holes, patched walls, patched ceilings, scraped the acoustic popcorn off of all the ceilings, taken down a wall, ripped out the carpet, removed the tile, prepped the walls, molding, doors, kitchen cabinets, and ceilings for painting, primed everything, painted the ceilings, repaired and prepped floors, and more. There are so many little details.

Of course all of this in on top of our lives and the kids are missing our focus and attention. This weekend was the longest amount of time that they have been away from us. For four days we worked as hard and long as we possibly could coming home after midnight most days. Of course it was still not as much time as we needed to get done as much as we wanted! Today mom left and I am so tired I am ready to pass out! The kids want my attention and I barely am standing. I want to find a way to sleep and then enjoy my kids. Balance.
I do not want to abandon the value most dear to me. The focus and balance and joy we reach to experience. I also am not sure how not to give that up. I just don't have time! After we move there will be more projects but we will be able to pick when we want to do them and at our own pace rather than our looming moving date.
We are only two and a half weeks in. I keep saying it because it feels like it has been forever and not enough at the same time. I must remind myself that I have more time and I have done so much already.

Mar 6, 2011


So tonight, exhausted from a day of remodeling the new house and being with our children we realized we hadn't planned a dinner. A trip to whole foods was in order. Near the end of our time there, I was engaged in a conversation with Teilee about homeschooling and public schooling. I looked up and realized that a little girl, around 1 years old, across the aisle a few table to our North was grabbing her mothers sleeve and pointing at me. Several times she pointed, so of course I waved and smiled. She lunged toward her mom with a help me sort of fuss. I assumed I had frightened her and so immediately said, "I 'm sorry" to the mom. Than I turned back to Teilee and a second later I see the girl being set on the ground and she is making a mad dash for our table. She walks around and comes right up to me with her arms outstretched in a pick me up move. Apparently the fussing was, "quick mom, quick mom get me down I want to go to her." She climbed into my lap and sat gazing up at me for 10 min. I asked her her name and she pointed to herself and said, "ya". Than she pointed to me, I told her my name was Andi. I asked her parents her name and it was Ava. I introduced her to the kids, they introduced her to their toys, we sang a few songs to her, she showed us her clapping and waving skills. I think she would have sat in my lap gazing at me for an hour, but we had to leave at some point. I took her back to her seat and put her in her booster. She smiled and waved bye and blew me a kiss. Her parents were astounded. They said she has always been social, but never has she so vehemently sought out someone and been that comfortable. I felt so honored. I have been wondering why me? I must have looked like someone she knew, but wouldn't her parents know that that was the case? They said they didn't have a clue why. Maybe Ava saw me parenting the kids and wanted to participate, but she wasn't really interested in the kids, just me. I really do feel special. She made my night!

Mar 3, 2011

and if that weren't enough....

I just love this picture. It is how I feel, flying high and hoping we are gonna land safely.

These days I spiral from feelings of inadequacy to holy-hell I'm a bad ass. Someday N and I will look back on these days with pride and wonderment at the inner strength we have had. My Current Laundry List:

  • N is enrolled in 18 credit hours (Mon-Fri from 8:00-12:00)
  • N is working part time (4 nights a week from 2 or 3 - 10:30)
  • We are running two home businesses, The Wooden Toy Garden, and my own documentation preparation and editing business.
  • T attends school where momma volunteers weekly (at least once)
  • L attends 3 days a week preschool for 3 hours. This is a co-op which means momma has a committee to work on, volunteers for field trips and holidays and parties, and is teach parent approx twice a month.
  • We are preparing to move to a new home.
  • We are remodeling said new home to make it livable.
  • The kids are in a rec program (one day a week each for a few hours)
  • Mommy is taking a religion course every Sat. morn. (9:30-12:00)
  • Various family holiday celebrations, communications with families and friends, playdates, doctors appointments, life
  • We live in poverty
Through the week N leaves at 7:45 am for school. He bike commutes since we are a one car family. (The kids and I bike commute in warmer weather to save gas, and get some great exercise.) In the really cold temperatures I became his chafur, which gave us a few more minutes together each day. N gets home around noon and does homework or sometimes dishes (since our dishwasher broke many months ago, we try to keep up). He leaves at 1:4o or 2:4o for work and than comes home around 10:30 at night (often later) and does homework.
So for 4 days in the week T sees Daddy in the morning for 15 min (she wakes around 7:30) and that's it. N is doing really really really well in school. I am so proud of his effort and commitment. I try to mirror those efforts at home.

The poverty issue I included because it is a massive time factor. When my family has a need (like underwear, not like a new dishwasher) I check freecycle, craigslist, my mom, my friends and as a last resort the thrift stores, but only if I can afford it. Many years I have learned to live without plastic bags, haircuts, pants, aluminum foil, shampoo, etc. In my creative, problem solving brain I sometimes find the absolute joy in the lets-just-see-what-happens. Can we live without it? I believe that my kids would neither identify themselves as have-not's nor would other persons find them lacking. My gifts through this time have been simplicity and family unity, not to be taken lightly. Also the extreme gift of being supported. I am beyond lucky, joyously fortunate! I have a family without which we would be miserable and depleted. I have a community that steps in when I need them to, and is there to lend any hand they have. And let me clarify, by poverty I mean as a family of four we make below poverty levels for a two person family. I read a story today about a poor destitute family of four who were barely making it. They could only feed their children carrots, peanut butter, and applesauce for lunch. My first thought was, "they can afford applesauce?!" They were the poverty stricken ones worthy of a news story and they made over twice what our family made. I am guessing the persons writing the story couldn't imagine anyone surviving/thriving on less.

I cook nutritious, whole, organic foods every meal. We eat GF, DF, Sugar almost-free, processed grains almost-free, and T doesn't eat nuts or chocolate (except at school). All of these food restrictions have helped us to stay healthy and have been guided by our doctor. Picky eaters and all, we are doing it. Once a week we eat dinner with Daddy at work. I organize and purge, and now pack every day. I do the taxes and budget. I laugh and play with the kids alot! We plan our weekly meals and shop once a week (I am hoping to extend at least the planning part to once monthly). I take my Sat. class as a weekly time commitment for myself. It is something I look forward to, and it won't last forever. I tend the chickens, hamster, and cats. I cut hair, trim nails, brush teeth. I am trying to design our new living space and have come up a little empty. I have lots of ideas, but they feel incomplete, they feel separate and uninspired. I haven't had the time for much music making, picture taking, sew happening, scrapbooking, painting, or other artistic enrichment. Today I looked at pictures of a friend's home (I have always admired her style) and felt so inadequate. I know some of it took money but the vast majority of creation came from her brain, her left brain. I am gonna have to find some moments of free time to find my muse. To expand the creativity that has been repressed by To-Do's. I am ready to get my hands beautifully dirty.

So we got a lot....going on, but that is the good news we got a lot....going on!:) I am so excited to be able to remodel a home. To get creative, to watch something come together, to build for a better future. We are moving towards something and that feels so dang powerful.
Today I am trying to live in the present moment of being overwhelmed.

My version of beautifully dirty.

Mar 1, 2011

Cabin Trip

The kids couldn't contain their excitement. We arrived at around 11:00 am on Sunday morning and as Nick and I began to prepare lunch the kids ran around the cabin picking their beds and giving tours to each other. It was last minute, it was quickly researched, it was a short trip, it was heavenly. Middle of the week we happened to sell something and, realizing that we were going to have some insanely busy months ahead, we decided to seize the opportunity (and the extra Moohlah) to escape for some family bonding. Some "us" time. We picked a place in Red Feather that had a cabin available for one night. We called and asked for special last minute pricing. After arriving, and lunching, and relaxing, than we headed out for some fun.

We left warm spring air for winters cool blast. That day, like many others up there was incredibly windy. Beautiful but not the kind of day that you want to go play in the snow.

We had planned to take a sleigh ride and so while we waited Landis tried out some skis that dear friends had loaned to us.

Teilee made a happy little snow burrow to shield her face from the blowing wind/snow.

Our sleigh ride lasted for about 1.5 hours and had a mid stopping point where we had hot chocolate (mine was spiked), and cookies (brought our own GF one's of course).

On the way back the kids got to drive Dic and Doc. "Dic, Doc, step up", and off they went.
After a cold day out, a nice warm evening in (testing their muscle powers).
We had one major kink in our plans, we were sure that there was a kitchenette in the cabin, and upon arriving were informed that there was not. Nick had a full menu planned, with steak and steamed asparagus. Well, there is more than one way to steam asparagus. Fortunately the cabin did have a fridge, a microwave, and a few mugs. Steak was replaced with hot dogs, but otherwise the menu stayed just about the same. (Yes, Nick, your wife IS a genius)

That evening was family game night!!!!

The next morning Teilee made us the "Song Family". What a performance it was!
Before we hit the road Monday morning, around 10:00 am we took one family portrait. A very very very short trip, but a well deserved rest.
One of my favorite characters, that often appears when kids get restless in the car, is Goobleck. Goobleck was thoughtfully wrapped by the children so that he could stay warm for the ride home. Beware, Goobleck is ornery and pretty silly. (Yes, I will do ANYTHING to make my kids laugh.)

That was our cabin trip, wish it could have lasted longer, but there will be another someday.

My new umberella!