Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Beat

Have I remembered to tell you that I have a weekly gig with the Skagit Valley Herald?  It's been fun.  Four of us, the Skagit Mamas, meet in a bona fide board room at the publishing office to plan our columns.  We spend most of our time laughing and sharing stories about parenting in the real world. 

Here's an excerpt from a piece I wrote that I thought you'd enjoy:

I had a vision of how my love of gardening and motherhood would weave together.  I pictured myself wearing my baby in some lovely wrap.  Weeding, watering, planting, harvesting, cutting bouquets, and maybe even softly humming a lullaby to my serenely slumbering cherub while I worked.

I imagined making my own organic baby food from the vegetables and fruit I grew, colorful and delightfuly flavored purees that would be graciously gobbled up with coos and smiles and no spitting.

Then I had a baby.

She was born on the night of June’s Strawberry Harvest Moon.  Guess what?  There were no strawberries harvested that summer.  My idyllic earth mama gardener was replaced by a sleep deprived, lactating, diaper changing, and constantly swaying, exhausted version of my former self.

While my family bloomed, my garden languished.  It became another chore.  Only the bare minimum maintained.

Today, I am still not the earth mama of my dreams, but I have rediscovered my love of gardening with two daughters in tow.  My six year-old has a cut flower and fairy garden that she tends to on her own.  My three-year old picks strawberries, grazes on mint leaves, and creates complex earthworm and rolly polly bug societies from the earth she turns.  Both girls have their own harvesting basket to contribute to our meals.

Our garden is ripe with lessons about life cycles, nutrients, predators and prey, the birds and the bees.  A classroom of fresh air, hard work, getting dirty and family time.

In the evening, during those precious hours between their bedtime and mine, I slip outside and walk around our yard, breathing in fragrant honeysuckle and checking in on how my garden grows.  It’s back to being a serene place, a place I want to be, it’s bounty and beauty a gift to share.

If you are new to gardening, my advice is to start small so as not to overwhelm yourself.  You’ve got enough on your plate already, mama.  An herb garden on your patio, a raised bed in your yard, or a “Children’s Garden” packet of seeds from the grocery store rack and some freshly turned earth are all you need to get started. 

Look for more from the Skagit Mamas in Sunday's paper, and like us on Facebook while you're at it!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July in Alaska

Oh July, how you have a way of flying by!  The girls and I spent the earlier half in Alaska visiting family and soaking up what we love about that place.

Beach days.

"This is so amazing!" Genevieve and Marguerite chanted as they raced to the water's edge.  I couldn't have described it better. 

I drew landscape inspiration from what nature cultivated.

Marguerite gathered hearth shaped rocks for Grandmama.

Wild adventures with cousins were had.

Grandmama read the stories of Pierre a hundred times, french braided famously messy hair, and cooked it up.

Genevieve declared, "Grandmama gets the job done!"  and for that we are grateful.

Getting the job done includes obscure things like making her own caviar with an old tennis racket.

Grandpapa somehow managed to evade my camera lens.  He must have been upstairs playing with the grands or walking them through the woods to the fairy stump.

Their house.  Their garden.  A beautiful spot to retreat to.

A home built for an empty nest, spilling over just right with the next generation.

And now we're home, finally making it through unpacking and laundry, the ass end of vacation.

Quote of the Day

My mom: Are you going to blog or am I going to have to resort to joining social media to see pictures of my grandchildren?

Thanks for the motivation mama.  I'm back at it.