Day 8: First Job

When I was a little girl, my favorite thing about Spring was that my mom would sign us up for swim lessons at the local high school.  I positively loved those 2 weeks of being in the warm pool each night.  It’s no surprise that I joined the swimming and diving team in junior high and continued through all of high school or that my first job was being a swim instructor and diving coach.

I loved teaching little ones to swim!  So many different personalities and so much energy radiated through the little ones!  Some were scared and I got to gently help them overcome their fear.  And some were fearless, I had to be creative with them so they were safe.  Sometimes, it was the older kids that gained their confidence in the pool that really touched my heart.

It’s a job that I have come back to over the years, teaching at a local YWCA in college and offering private lessons while we lived in Texas.  And now, I get to teach my kids to swim and THAT is really awesome!Alex SM 502@0


Day 7: Pets

IMG_7462Thirteen and a half years ago, my husband came home from work, told me to put on my shoes and come with him.  He took me to a local pet store to show me the last 2 of 11 puppies in a litter of half black lab and half golden retriever pups.  We had been married just over a month and he was completely smitten with this cute little 4-lb fur ball.  We were on a tight budget and having had a dog most of my life, I knew a little bit about the costs associated with a dog.  I told him if he wanted to give up cable, then we could probably afford a dog.  He didn’t hesitate.  He was named before we even got home: Nova.Alex 3284@0

He was younger than we were told and my husband spent that first week rocking him and sleeping on the kitchen floor with him.  He taught us all the important stuff about being a parent: letting go of the messes, cuddling to sleep at night, playing being more important than working.  A year or so later when we brought home Alex, Nova licked him and made sure we always picked him up when he fussed.  He’s been such a great family dog and has tolerated crazy amounts of hair pulling, eye poking, food stealing, and teasing dished out by the kids over the years.

P6140048@0 He’s been everywhere with us: the beach, camping, family trips, law school, hiking.

IMG_6448He’s an old dog now and spends most of his days cuddled up with Alex, who is the one who now walks and feeds him.  He still plays a little fetch, but much slower than he used to.


Day 6: Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day will be a bit different this year.  My dear husband will be away so it’s just me and the kids.

So, I decided rather than feel sorry for myself, I will help my kids prepare for Mother’s Day.  Here’s what I’m doing ahead of time in order to make the day a success:

  • Talking with them about what they’d like to do.  What does Mother’s Day mean to them?  What would they like to do to celebrate?  How can we make their visions for the day come to life?
  • Giving them a pile of construction paper, glue, scissors, markers and crayons so they can make make cards if they want.  My 2 oldest can read and write, so they can assist the other two if needed.  And knowing my youngest, she’ll want to make pictures and cards for grandma more than anything.
  • Meal prep!  If I spend the time with the kids in the kitchen today, I can set them up for breakfast in bed tomorrow with minimal clean-up in the kitchen.  Same goes for dinner.  Crockpot dinner – I think so!
  • If I want flowers, then I better find a field where the kids can gather and pick them.
  • If they want to get a gift, then I’ll need to take them shopping and give them money or the supplies they need to create their gifts.

Here’s hoping for a wonderful, memorable Mother’s Day!

Day 5: Fit and Healthy

I was tired from a long day and hungry, wanting to eat dinner, but I began running anyways.

I was slow and sluggish, but I ran anyways.

There were people watching me and I felt awkward and goofy, I looked straight ahead and ran anyways.

There was a hill that seemed a little bit steeper than last time, but I slowly put one foot in front of the other and ran anyways.

I was hot and could feel the sun shining down on my already sunburned shoulders, I ran anyways (hoping shade would be on the other side of the loop.)

There were athletes that were faster and stronger than me, that easily passed me, but I ran anyways.

I had a side cramp that hurt and I didn’t think I could go anymore, but I ran anyways.

My family was just on the other side of those trees, and I could catch a glimpse of them and hear their giggles.  I missed them, but I ran anyways.

I ran just as far as I did last time and tried to talk myself that it was okay to stop and not meet my goal today, but I didn’t listen and ran anyways.

It was 32 minutes of discomfort, me closing myself off to the world, yet opening my eyes to it.

Of setting my sites on that tree branch, a bench, a path, a rock, a road just a little bit ahead of me and making it there only to find another to help me go a little further.

I did it and I am strong.

Day 4: Five Favorite Blogs

A few months ago, this would have been easy.  I read my blogs every morning like my dad read his morning paper.  But Emma became mobile and Autumn is 3 so my time on the computer is usually in 2 minute increments and I’m lucky to play catch-up on my blogs once every week or two.

Posie Gets Cozy:  Such a lovely little space with a sweet little baby and yummy food, gorgeous pictures, and so much inspiration to sew and create.

Smitten Kitchen: Yum!  Love this blog for the recipes and the photographs of food!  I’ve made dozens of recipes from this blog and each and every one of them has been fantastic!

SouleMama: Love reading about Amanda’s adventures on her farm with her kids and all the sewing and knitting, gardening and canning, etc.  Just love all of it!

The Parenting Passageway: This is my favorite place to go to center myself for our parenting and homeschooling goals.  I love her child development posts!

Frontier Dreams: Another sweet, creative family that inspires me.

Day 3: A Day in the Life

(Yes, I know it’s the 10th and I skipped a few days, er, um a week or so, but I’m not going to throw in the towel yet!)

6:51 – Emma is smacking me in the face. I open my eyes to find her all smiles.  She’s reaching over me to either wake up Autumn in her bed next to us or get to the window so she can watch the birds.


7-ish – Coffee time! James makes the coffee and I start on breakfast and laundry.  By 8, they’re all up and hungry.  Alex does his morning chores, walking and feeding Nova, tending to the rabbits, and unloading the dishwasher.  Autumn clears and sets the table for breakfast.  The kids eat at the table, while I drink my coffee at the computer.  They finish and run off to play.  I get my own breakfast, a second cup of coffee, and nurse Emma for her mini morning nap.

9 or so – Encouraging the kids to get their morning-5 done so we can do some housework together.  It takes a lot of encouraging today.  I also do my own morning-5.  Then outside to hang-up laundry.  They all follow me out and water the garden and check out their plants.

10 – Alex is self-motivated and starts his math lessons and works on the rest of his school work.  I play with the little girls while Jackson disappears (usually trying to take Izzy with him) in an effort to avoid anything related to cleaning or lessons.

11:30 – Lunch time.  We’ve been working together at mealtimes so Jackson brings the PB, jelly, honey, and bread to the table, Autumn gets the plates, Alex pours drinks, and Izzy helps with the fruit.

1-ish – I read The Voyages of Dr. DoLittle.  It’s part of Jackson’s OM2 curriculum, and it has captured his attention.  Izzy is also over the moon with this book and listens intently.  We finish up the lessons for the day while Autumn is loud and active and baby Emma tries to avoid another nap.

3:30 – Lessons are done and the boys are begging to play wii.  Grumble.  I let them each have a half an hour of screen time while I try to get some lesson planning and more housework done.

5:00 – We load up the van and drive to the local state park.  The kids get to play at the playground while James and I take turns running.

7:00 – We’re back home, everyone oh so hungry for dinner.

8:30 – Bedtime!  Not that anyone is ever in bed at this time.  Teeth brushing, drinks of water, jammies (that didn’t get wet while brushing teeth), prayers, bedtime stories, hugs and kisses.

10 – They’re all asleep or at least quiet in bed and pretending to be asleep.  I’m exhausted!

Day 2: Spring is Here

IMG_8251Picnics outside on the blanket and diapers drying on the clothesline.

IMG_8241Leaves on the grapevines and potatoes starting to grow.IMG_8244Peas getting ready to climb.

IMG_8245Apple trees getting a little fuller.

IMG_8247Broccoli and tomato plants growing.

Asparagus and little ones filling up buckets at the rain barrel to water their plants.IMG_8253The first strawberry blossoms.

IMG_8249Herbs, some even made it through winter!
IMG_8250Salsa garden!IMG_7881Little ones helping to plan this year and next year’s crops.IMG_7984Our family working together outside everyday.IMG_8029Visitors to the garden to observe.IMG_8067Dandelions to pick!IMG_8183And many trips to the playground to play and swing!