Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Goodness in the world

Lately my heart has been overflowing with gratitude for my life and all of the good things and people in it. Everywhere I look I am able to see the beauty in my world and I am so grateful for that, because there have been so many dark days this past year! And as I'm coming back into the light I am just overwhelmed by all of the good that there is surrounding me. I've caught myself multiple times in the last few days getting all choked up over something completely commonplace--yesterday it was seeing Juliet help Isaac to combine his agave nectar-peanut butter mix so he could more easily make himself a sandwich.

And my heart is especially full this week because we're coming up on the birthdays of my oldest and youngest children. It's bittersweet for me. I am so thrilled by all of the progress that they both have made in the recent past--Abigail is becoming my right hand, my friend, and just the sweetest little darling I could ever ask for. She is maturing into this responsible, humorous, and compassionate young lady and I am so awed every day by how much she is changing and growing.

And Nathan--my dear little boy--is finally starting to drink of his own iniative. Such a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but so huge in our lives! A comment Isaac made today testifies to how remarkable and exciting this is for us--he walked through the kitchen and stopped transfixed and said, "MOM! LOOK! Natie is picking up his cup in his own two hands and he is drinking, Mommy, he is drinking!! All by himself!"

And indeed he was. It seems to be getting easier to persuade him to drink and we are so grateful!!!

Another thing I am really enjoying these days is seeing the similarities between my husband and my children. We inherited an enormous set of K'nex building toys and the five of them (the four oldest kids and Neil) have built some really impressive stuff. Isaac and Abigail in particular are very into K'nex and have built some cool motorized dinosaur models (which actually walk across the floor) and various vehicles. The Ferris wheel & rolling ball machine (both of which are powered by a small motor and do work) are our favorites so far. Right now they are working on a roller coaster.

 Some days I look around my messy house with its skiff of toys and books and laundry and I wish so much that we were done with school and moving on to our "someday house" (which of course will be perfectly clean and always organized!). But really, I love my little house so dearly. I am almost done with all of the painting and I feel like it finally reflects my taste now rather than my taste eight years ago. I am particularly fond of the new armchairs flanking the fireplace--we had the papasan chairs since the year we were married and they lost their appeal about eight years ago when I realized that they spent all of their time taken apart and lying around the living room while the kids played with them. I hated always getting after the kids to leave the papasans alone or to pick them up and I cannot even tell you how amazingly happy I was to give them away to a new home! I practically skipped on my way back inside after helping to load them up. And I've been searching for the perfect armchair for about two years and I am so in love with these gray linen tufted beauties and their nailhead trim. Have I set my heart a bit too much on material things? Quite possibly when it comes to how much I love those chairs.

 And the white cabinets and gray walls were worth every single second of the time it took to convert them from the red walls and builder-basic oak cabinets. The afternoon sunshine fills the kitchen when I'm making dinner and just makes it the happiest, sunshiniest most beautiful place to be. It's so nice to passionately love a room where I spend so much of my time.

 I overheard the girls on March 31st discussing what pranks we might play on them the next day for April Fool's. I have never really done much to celebrate April Fool's day but I wanted to make it fun for them since they were so excited about it--so I got online to get a few ideas and then spent an hour or so setting up about ten pranks. My personal favorites were the Jell-O in juice cups (Luke's reaction was priceless), the socks that were sewed shut at the ankles, and the pillow barrage that toppled down from their bedroom doors in the morning. They were also pretty entertained by the paper mustaches that I added to our family pictures; Juliet was less entranced by the (washable marker) mustache adorning her own face. Isaac, as you can see below, left his on all day.

 And last but not least, a few things that have made me think, "Oh, what a wonderful world!":

1) Selling our cantilevered umbrella (thanks, Craigslist) for just about the cost of the chicken coop materials.
2) A quick evening run to the library by myself and coming home with SO many books on topics that fascinate me & I'd been wanting to do a little more research...literally so many books that I had to borrow a library cart to get them all to the checkout desk (I couldn't physically carry them all even in my bags!).
3) Plants! I am so much happier with live greenery and flowers in my home. A few weeks ago I bought myself some flowers at the grocery store. Just as they were starting to look tired my visiting teacher stopped by with a beautiful bunch of purple tulips. When the tulips began dropping their petals, Neil surprised me with a gorgeous potted lily. And a few days later, my dear friend Jen brought me some potted cuttings from her aloe vera--all the way from Arizona!!--on a morning when I had literally been thinking that very day about tracking down an aloe vera plant for my kitchen.
4) Listening to Abigail pray last night at family prayer. So incredibly heartfelt, specific towards the needs of our family and extended family, and really taking the time to ponder and think as she was speaking.
5) Yesterday the boys and I mixed up some homemade playdough. Normally it's banned from our house (I hate the mess!) but this recipe seems way less prone to crumbly stickiness than does the storebought kind. It has been the source of much joy over the last 48 hours.
6) I quietly supervised yesterday while Abigail and Isaac made a batch of homemade instant oatmeal. They did a great job and happily ate the fruits of their labor this morning before I was out of bed (another win!).
7) I'm finally feeling enough like "myself" to start doing things again that I eliminated because of stress but have missed nonetheless: composting, cloth-diapering, and cheese-making. None of which are vital to my life but all of which add something intangible that makes me feel more content with the status quo (okay, the cheese is pretty dang good).
8) I expected the marathon recovery to be really awful. I was definitely stiff for a couple of days, but I ran 2 miles yesterday and it helped so much with the soreness that I ran 4 miles today. Now I just need a new goal to work towards!
9) My little lettuces are up! I love seeing those little green shoots every morning and evening as I walk quietly out to visit the chickens. It's rapidly becoming one of my favorite parts of the day.
10) I am so blessed in my marriage. Did Neil want chickens? Not particularly, but he knew how much I did & how long I'd been reading up on them and thinking about them and so he supported our endeavor and threw himself into it whole-heartedly (he did nix a couple of other suggestions about our urban homestead--and wisely so!). He is definitely the voice of reason in our relationship (I am all to prone to passionately commit myself to something new without fully considering the ramifications) but he is so supportive and logically helps me find a way to achieve my goals.

And last but not least, I hung the salt-dough Easter ornaments that we made last year. I love looking out and seeing these bright little flashes of color twirling against the sky.


Elise Gray said...

I love love love this post! Your house looks beautiful (where did you get the chairs? I want one?) and your life and family sound so blessed :)

Elise Gray said...

I love love love this post! Your house looks beautiful (where did you get the chairs? I want one?) and your life and family sound so blessed :)

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