Hands In The Dirt Head In The Clouds


What is it about putting your hands in the soil that is so therapeutic? The smell of the soil.  The tugging of the weeds.  It is mesmerizing to me, much to my surprise.  I find myself out in the gardens of our new home, several times a day.  It seems the weeding is never done.  There is always mulch to spread and new perennials popping up. I’ve even started composting!  The grounds are like a big mystery to me.  An exciting gratifying mystery.

When we bought this house, I fell in love with the gardens.  But I was also terrified of them.  Up till now, I pretty much killed everything I ever tried to grow.  I have hope for these gardens, though,  because they were planted by someone else.  Someone who had more than a clue about what they were doing.  We had glorious mature perennials popping up through out the spring and summer….and I’m already seeing things coming up for autumn.  It’s wonderful.  My hope is that I don’t wreck it all.  I am committed to at least trying to keep it beautiful.

Anyway, I digress.  I was saying it was therapeutic.  At least for me it is. I am fully aware it is a form of escape for me.  More like a form of meditation.  I take all my stress and leave it for later.   I don’t know if I would go as far to say it absolves my stress…but I certainly don’t feel stressed when I’m in the garden.  That’s probably why I go out to work in it so often! I engulf myself in performing a specific simple task. And I feel totally calm.  Very Buddha, if you will.  🙂

Let me be clear.  I don’t have stress because I’m a Mother.  I have stress because I’m a person.  O does not give me stress.  Taking care of him everyday does not give me stress.  It’s exactly where I want to be.  It brings me intense joy.  My stress is about life stuff.  I have a darling mother who’s dark dark depression and inability to “live” her life brings sadness to me everyday.  I have two wonderful parents who’s  marriage is so broken but neither have a clue how to fix it.  It weighs on me. Senseless gun violence, hate crimes, bigotry, health issues…they can stress you out.  And Donald Trump.  He’s a huge source of my stress these days.  Will I have to move to a different country if he is (God Forbid) elected president?  But I have to tell you, when I am in the garden…I don’t think about any of that.

I take O out with me most days for a bit of sunshine and exploration.  He loves it! He is intrigued by the flowers and plants.  And rocks! What is it with little boys and rocks? I let him wander within my eye’s peripheral.  He is learning to separate and find distance from me with the safety net of seeing me across the yard.  When he starts to get a little too far, I call him back and he toddles closer.  It’s pretty awesome.  It is exactly as I had imagined it in my mind’s eye….only better.  It is our little Nirvana.

Maybe it isn’t for everyone.  I would have never imagined it was for me.  I sooo didn’t see this coming.  My idea of escape used to be a trip to TJ Maxx for a little bargain retail therapy.    Maybe I got into this because it absolutely HAS to be done and calling a gardener isn’t on the table right now…?? I don’t know.  All I know is that I am loving it.  Getting dirty and all.

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and remember, behind every great kid is mom who is pretty sure she is messing it up.  Xo


Bumpy Times Ahead


I watch O on the baby video monitor.  It’s past 7:30am, but on cloudy rainy days he sleeps a little longer.  He is stirring, but taking his time to wake up.  I’m enjoying my coffee. In peace.  Listening to a bird chirp outside the front window.  I am contemplating the day.  What do I introduce to him today? Will he nap long? Will it be a difficult day like yesterday? He is getting his back molars in, so the teething and drool situation is out of control and kind of throwing me.  He is all out of sorts.  Or is it just him getting older? Becoming coming more of a true toddler?  Yikes.  I’m not ready for that.

He is willful.  I’ve known this about him since before his birth. I could tell in my tummy.  And how true it turned out to be.  And it seems that so far, he is wicked smart.  What a combination.  I am glad he is willful. It will be a good trait later on.  I want him to be a strong individual.  It’s just that now….it’s going to pose some challenges for us.  Add Mommy’s flair for the dramatic and Daddy’s hot temper…..and I foresee bumpy times ahead!  But then, there is always wine to soothe the day’s events, right? Is there enough wine? (Is there EVER enough wine?).

Yesterday O was playing with this grabber thing we have in the kitchen.  He loves it. I call him King Triton when he carries it around.  He was getting frustrated because he was trying to move it in a space that was too small to move it freely in.  He started to whine and fuss.  Then growl and grunt.  I interjected with a “Calm down, O.”  He looked at me, threw the grabber down and screamed a scream I had not ever heard from him.  A primal scream followed by tears of frustration and more screaming.  He had gone from 0-60 in a matter of seconds.  He was officially melting down.  Toddler style.  I was a bit stunned, however foolish that sounds.  He hasn’t been like this.  He’s been pretty easy (for a baby.). Needless to say, nap time followed.  Yes, his being tired and teething was a factor in this outburst, but this was a force within him I had yet to experience.

He is young for this, isn’t he? Don’t they say “Terrible TWOS?” He is just 14 months old! Is this yet another stage he will hit early? Oye.  So what do we do? React? Not react? I can’t see how yelling at him would help. But coddling him after undesirable behavior doesn’t seem good either.  Up till now, we have tried to redirect his attention when he starts going into behavior we aren’t crazy about.  It used to work like a charm.  Now, not so much.

I truly thank God that I am an older Mom as I begin to navigate this part of raising our child.  I have WAY more patience than I ever would have had in my younger days.  I understand that I don’t have all the answers.  However, many of the answers are somewhere etched in my mind after watching the do’s and don’ts of the child rearing of my nieces and nephews.  I have watched my sister-in-law, Sarah, raise three children with the consistency and patience of a saint.  I often refer to my memories of watching her parent when I look for answers.  When she said “If you don’t stop that behavior, we are leaving.” She meant it.  If the behavior persisted, they were gone.  I get it.  You can’t say anything thing you aren’t prepared to make good on.  I recall, “Please and Thank You are the magic words.”  The tune she used to sing it to is stuck in my head, all ready to use on O.  I remember her making her children look her in the eye when she was reprimanding them.  It sticks more.  I found myself doing it yesterday when O kept trying to take an outlet cover off after dinner.  Well, today my sister-in-law has remarkable teenagers who are smart, funny, respectful and kind.  She is my role model for parenting.  There are more, for sure. But  I am grateful I have had a lot of time to watch others, especially her.

So what to do? I find myself taking deep breathes.  I try to understand the child.  I try not to let his frustration become mine.  I know we need to teach him what calm is despite his genetics….no easy task.  But essential.  I recall O’s pediatrician telling me, “He is your whole world.  You just don’t want him know that.”  How true, how true.  Imagine adding narcissist to the list? Not on my watch!  So yes, bumpy times ahead.  But good times, as well, I have no doubt.

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight (I know I will) and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is sure she is messing it up.  Thanks for reading! Xo


Greetings From A Simple Farm Girl


There are days lately when I don’t recognize myself in this amazing life I have been blessed to live.  Things are so vastly different since the birth of my son.  I live in the country in a small town, for God sake! Not a designer boutique for over 50 miles.   I always used to tell my best friend jokingly that  I was “just a simple farm girl.”  It’s funny to me still…but maybe there is some truth in that.

Last week my projects consisted of re-upholstering our kitchen chairs and making/canning homemade raspberry preserves from our garden.  Both tasks were big successes.  Mind you, both projects were pretty easy.  But, I may just have a knack for this “Martha Stewart-ishness.”

Preserving and canning fruit is WAY easier than I ever thought.  I started small.  Just a couple cups of berries.  The recipe I found on Pinterest (of course) said equal parts sugar to berries.  But I have since reduced the sugar considerably.  Too sweet for me.  I did not use pectin.  Raspberry seeds release enough pectin to give your jam a nice jelled consistency.  And I didn’t have any.  So there.

You start by bringing your berries to boil on there own in a medium saucepan.  After about 10 minutes and regular stirring, you can add your desired amount of sugar.  And then you bring that to a boil again for about 10 minutes.


In the meantime take your glass jars and put them into a pot of water and bring to a boil.  You can do the same with the lids and rings in a separate smaller pot.


Once they have boiled, take them out carefully (these suckers are hot!) with a pair of good tongs.  I put mine on a cooling rack.  While they are still hot fill them with the hot jam.  Leave about a 1/4 inch at the top.  Put lid and ring on.  Not too too tight, but tight enough.  Place them back in the boiling pot of water.  I did mine for 10 minutes….but apparently if you live at a higher altitude you may need to leave them in a bit longer.  Then I took them out (with tongs) and place them on the rack to cool.  Several minutes later you will hear a popping sound as each jar seals….it’s pretty cool.


Then I made labels….nothing fancy.  Just handwritten.  They actually come with the jars…which actually came with our house. Previous owner must have been an avid canner…?  Anyway, here is my finished product! It tastes amazing! Sooo sooo good! And a fun little gift to give people when then come for dinner or a visit.



See….who am I?  Giving a “how to” on making preserves? Lol! I love it.  Couldn’t be happier!  I moved onto homemade peach pie (OMG!) and peach preserves are next! My favorite! Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and remember, behind every great kid is a Mom who is sure she is messing it up!


That Mom


Before I had a child, I vowed to keep my offspring neat, clean and well groomed. No disheveled children.  No dried food on their face.  No dirt on their knees.  No poop stains on the back of their pants.  No sweaty, un-combed hair….you get the picture.  We’ve all seen these children.  I have always said, I will never be “that mom” who goes anywhere with her child in such a state.  Well, as I say more often than not these days, NEVER SAY NEVER.  You know, when my husband read this post, he said he thought I came across uptight and judge-y…..and well, let’s call a spade a spade…I have been.

I usually pride myself on having O look , at the very least, clean.  I am definitely one for having him look adorable whenever I am out with him.  You know, cute outfit, hair combed to the side, clean shoes and socks, etc.  But today, after dinner, my husband and I wanted to take O to the playground.  It was about an hour or so before O’s bedtime.  He had his dinner.  He had a poop.  My husband changed him and  told me that O had a little diaper leak, but that it wasn’t that much, so he kept him in the same outfit.  Well, ok…I’m not gonna question the man who offers to change a diaper.  The baby was fast approaching the “tired wall” and it was time to expend some serious energy.  To tire the poor kid out, basically.  Lets just overlook the little poop stain.

I was putting O in the car, and in the light of day, I realized his face was covered in dried sweet potato.  It was also all down the front of his romper.  Nice.  Oh whatever…a little sweet potato never hurt anyone.  His knees, now in full view, were filthy.  Oye.  Ok….they would get dirty at the playground anyway, right?  I’m beginning to see this messy thing is a slippery slope.

About half way through our playground outing, I realized my child looked like a bonafide ragamuffin.  Disheveled would be a polite term.  I thought to myself, “I am THAT Mom.”   But in that same instance, I knew it didn’t matter one bit.  This delicious wonderful child was ours.  Under all that dried sweet potato and dirt was the most perfect thing we had ever done.  I guess it’s a good lesson in not judging what you see all the time.  “That Mom” most likely, like me, was frazzled….in a rush….and thought to herself, “I’m just running out for a sec! What does it matter?”  Well, it doesn’t.  Not one bit.

Is your child happy? Is he exploring? Is she getting her hands dirty, figuratively and literally? That’s what matters.  I guess I see it differently now.  I see the sweat and dirt on O as an indication of how active he was all day.  His energy level is through the roof! I can only imagine that level rising as he gets older.  And the harder he plays, the harder he sleeps.  I’m not gonna mess around with that! The occasional stain on his shirt? The smudge on his face? Well, shit happens.  But one thing I know is, it all comes out in the bath water.  Literally.

This does not mean I throw all good intentions of keeping my child clean out the window.  But there is a time and a place for all things…and there are limits to what you can do at times.  I’m a good Mom.  No, scratch that.  I’m a really good Mom.  But I am not super human.  Often, I miss a spot on his sweet cheek after lunch.  Occasionally, I keep him in a dribbled on shirt.  And most times he likes to run his hands through the dirt in the yard.  He’ll survive….and so will I.  Happily and heartily.  Growing and exploring and figuring it all out….together.

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is sure she is messing it up! Xo