Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Day in Pictures

Flowers brighten the walkway

So pretty

Next year there will be even more blossoms

Where are the puddles?

Hyacinths smell wonderful

When I finish raking can I jump in them?
A tasty treat

Some days I do not have enough words to express my thankfulness for all of the joyful little moments in my life.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Into the Garden or From the Sweat of our Brow

Some of last year's harvest
Every year the Bumpers Nana grows a vegetable garden. I help with the harvesting and the eating, but usually not much else. This year is going to be different. I am going to be one of the little red hen's helpers instead of just enjoying the finished product. For the first time I am helping from start to finish. Since I am a vegetarian, who is trying to go vegan I figure it is a good idea to see where my food is coming from and I want to teach my little Bumper the same.

What it looks like now
All around me I see a huge disconnect, at least here in the United States, between the food we eat and how it is produced. So many people, especially those who have spent all of their lives in apartments in the city, do not understand that milk comes from cows, eggs come from chickens, and that the  produce in the grocery store had to be grown on someones farm.

Tool of the Trade

Preparing a raised bed

The Bumper is already hard at work
I also think that being aware of where food comes from makes a person more thankful for that food. So over the next few months I am going to document our garden-- that is the thought anyway-- I am going to share all that we do to make our vegetable garden possible and hopefully also share the yummy, all though at times not very pretty, produce. In true organic gardening, which is what Nana has always done, there are no pesticides, and no guarantees. We will be totally dependent on God and Nature. Let the journey begin.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why I No Longer Pray for Patience

The Bumper picked these
The Bumper is three years old. The Bumper is only three years old. I sometimes repeat this to myself several times a day. Yesterday was one of those days. Yes we did have a lovely time together, but the Bumper also decided it was a day to feel her three-ness. This meant she tried my patience at every turn. I am not proud of this, but I lost my temper. I should have known better, after all I am the adult right? I did see the warning signs so I should have been the model of Christian gentleness and forgiveness right? Not so much.
Merry Blue-bells
Any time I told her to do something, she wanted to do just the opposite. If I suggested lunch, she claimed she wasn't hungry. If I told her to draw in her coloring book, she drew (or tried to any way) on the walls. If I said sit she stood. If I wanted to go outside, she wanted to stay in. She yelled at me and I yelled back. It all ended with both of us in tears and a time out. Later after she had pulled the magnets from the fridge down for the umpteenth time. She stopped, turned around, looked at me and said "I'm sorry mom,".
Pretty Blossoms
"For what?" I asked with the last tattered remains of my patience and dignity.
The Bumper just shrugged her little shoulders, and repeated: "I'm sorry."
Then I knew, her apology wasn't just for the magnets it was for the whole day. She wanted to start over, and so did I. So with the stars high in the sky, we snuggled down under a fuzzy blanket, and I read her her favorite bedtime story; when she fell asleep I kissed her forehead and whispered goodnight.
That was yesterday and it is in the past. Today we get to start anew.
Nana's hat is almost done!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Getting Out

Okay the crazy weather has had us outside in the yard in shorts one day and eating snow cream the next. I am thoroughly confused, but the Bumper is enjoying herself tremendously. This past weekend we had such a spell of mild weather that it has finally begun to feel like Spring. The daffodils are out in profusion, as if they are making up for lost time, everyday this past week the Bumper has put a vase of them on the table. The trees are also starting to blossom, first the yellow forsythia, then the cherry blossoms, and the Bradford pears. They are a sight for bare branch weary eyes.
A robin

The blossoms are not what has me really excited, what has me really excited is that we spent Saturday and Sunday outside. That's right! The Bumper and I got to breathe the fresh air and soak up the warm spring sunshine. Saturday, I think, was the Bumper's favorite day. We went to a little festival and she got to play musical chairs for the first time, she won a little pony, and she got to play on the moon bounce. Trampolines and inflatables are the Bumper's favorite outside activity. She can play on them for hours and on Saturday she did just that. We we got home she spent time with Nana in the garden, and I got another vase full of flowers. On Sunday we spent the afternoon outside again, she fed the outside cats and spent sometime just happily digging in the dirt. Nana had a special surprise for her on Sunday afternoon. Nana had bought the Bumper a jump-rope and for the rest of the day I attempted to teach her how to jump rope. I am not sure who had more fun!


There she goes!

Alas all good things, as they say, must end and Monday morning we were greeted by rain, and brisk winds. I dutifully planned indoor activities for the Bumper - play-dough, coloring, and an indoor picnic lunch. The Bumper however, did not see why a perfectly good puddle jumping day should go to waste. I protested at first, and then realized I was fighting the wrong battle. Since my little one wanted to play outside why was I not encouraging her? So I let her splash in the puddles at the school yard to her heart's content. I wish I had had my camera with me. The Bumper came home thoroughly soaked and muddy, but very very happy. Tuesday is supposed to be sunny and mild and I hope to be outdoors once again.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Creative Outlets

Just in time for Spring
In this season of my life I am very busy. I am staying at home and taking care of the Bumper (which is definitely a full time job), I am writing a novel, I am making preparations to take the GRE-Graduate Record Exam- this fall, so I can go back to school for my PH.D with the goal of becoming a university professor, and I am still in the middle of settling the things from the Bumper's Dad's estate. (The painful, but necessary, tasks of cleaning the house, and sorting thorough his things.) It is very easy for me to get burned out and feel used up.
Sure I pray and exercise to keep myself spiritually and physically fit, a continual work in progress and ones I hope I never finish, but I also read, write, cook and crochet.
A ripple dishcloth
Writing is something I cannot hep but to do. I am a compulsive scribbler. I carry a notebook, the paper kind, in my purse to jot down ideas I may come up with when I am out and about. I am inspired by lots of things especially in nature and I never know when something might spark my imagination. Writing is however, more than a hobby for me. It is how I would like someday to make my living. I love writing fiction.  I finished a historical fiction novel and now I am writing a fantasy novel. I am having a lot of fun with this project, but while I am writing fantasy I do not read in the same genre, lest I unwittingly plagiarize. So what other things can I do to relax? Well there is cooking, especially baking and I love to bake, but well the the hazard to my waist line I think is obvious. (Insert  gratitude for having enough to eat so that cooking and eating are pleasures not just necessities) So that leaves sewing, crochet and knitting!
The first hat I ever made for the Bumper and the hat I made her for Christmas.

The Bumper's doll blanket is turning into a cozy throw
I have been on a crochet/knit/sew binge lately. I find working with my hands satisfying and the soothing rhythms fuel my creativity. It is kind of weird, but the more I crochet/knit/sew the more I write and the more I write the more I crochet/knit/sew. They feed off of each other. I am immensely tickled by this and so is the Bumper because she likes playing with my yarn and counting colors as I work. She is also fascinated by the sewing machine and has requested I begin making dresses for her dolls immediately. All in all this hobby is working out quite well and even though I am just a beginner I hope to create more and more things. I see colorful granny squares, wavy ripple blankets, hats, scarves, snowflakes, little animals, the aforementioned dolls dresses and other clothes for the Bumper, and all sorts of handmade things in my future and the future of my soon to be inundated friends and family. There is an ulterior motive in this: I hope to have enough fuel to finish my novel this year.
Spring is here - the Bumper picked these herself.
Ah, the sublime madness of creativity.