Today after a morning of towing the kids up to the rental for a few hours to clean it and show it, we took them out to lunch.  It was the first time we've gone out for a meal since we had Iyla.  Nothing fancy, we just went to Eichten's, a small casual bistro near our rental property, but it usually has pretty good food.  On our way there I could feel all of us, spirits lifted after checking that two hour job off our to-do list, anticipating lunch out.  Actually I was excited for the whole day.  We had decided to make the rest of the day a family day, something we don't do enough of, and something about that felt very liberating.  

{a very quick stop at the river on our way home}

At the resturant 4 different people complemented us on our family.  "You have a really beautiful family" one couple said on their way out.  Three of the waitresses came over separately to tell us how great our kids were, "they are all so well behaved" they kept saying.  In fairness, had any of these people seen some of the moments getting our kids out the door this morning, or bouncing around at the apartment waiting to be done there, they may have had other things to say about us.  So I don't think it's as much a reflection of our parenting (although I do think it's something to be proud of as a family) but more of a reflection of our moods.  We were all just happy and enjoying each other's company.  Again partly (I think) because it was a treat to have dedicated the rest of the day to each other.  

After lunch we made a stop at the co-op to pick up a few things for Ryan's venison dinner he was making and then off to get Ryan and the big kids haircuts.  These are silly, mundane things but I just had this good feeling all day.  As the one who usually has to run errands solo with the kids it felt like a treat to be running errands with all 6 of us.  Plus they were both quick stops and then it was back home for a movie and popcorn (Despicable Me), followed by Ryan's venison dinner, and charades (using the new game/app on my phone).  

I'm realizing tonight as I reflect on our day that I just want more of this.  It doesn't need to be anything extravagant, but intentional time spent with each other is so good for all of us.  I'm going to work on working that in...


Approximately 789 times a day I think of this space.  I compose posts in my head pertaining to one moment or another.  High moments- today, carrying Iyla around in the sling, finally tired out of crying, she suddenly got really quiet, looked up right into my eyes, and smiled, over and over.  Low moments- today carrying Iyla around trying hard to keep her happy or asleep, but being unsuccessful at neither (aside from the sling moment above and our bath).  The moments come and go so quickly and vary so drastically.  Completely exhausted I carve out an hour and a half to nap with Iyla on my chest- sweet bliss.  Completely exhausted I try and pull off the same stunt a day later only to repeatedly have her wake up, again and again after I lay down- nap not happening, continuing on with my day as is, half asleep.

{6 days old}

Overall- I'd say life with baby number four has been the easiest transition for me.  But I think it has less to do with the number and more to do with the ages of my older kids.  They are the best helpers and so completely in love with their little sister.

{4 days old}

{7 days old}

{9 days old}

That being said it of course is a transition and with that comes moments of being overwhelmed and discouraged.  The hardest times are when I decide I'm going to do something.  You know, like make a plan.  This post for example.  I'm going to finish writing my blog post today is just the sort of thing that invites the universe to say, errr, okay we will just see about that.  Then the universe has a good laugh at me as everything one can and can't imagine intervines in my plan.  For example within the last hour of writing this (which by the way, this blog post has taken two days so far), Iyla has woken up and needed rocking back to sleep (make that twice), there have been three fights between the bigger kids, the Fedex guy delivered a package, two children wondered in the kitchen claiming they were hungry (and then proceeded to eat chips loud enough to wake Iyla who is asleep on another floor), the laundry had to be put in the dryer, the dishwasher needed to be started, and right now there is a new mess in the living room that I'm going to have to direct someone to clean up.  Oh also, I just yelled for the 11th time to pleeeeease walk with quiet feet.



So I am forced to let go, again and again and again.  Let go of plans and ideas about how things will go.  How life will go from moment to moment.  In the mean time, life does keep going.  Moments keep happening.  And if I don't let go of how I think it's suppose to go, I miss the ones that I'm actually in.

{Nora, studying butterflies in the garden}

{Jackson about to eat one of the mini quiches he made us all for lunch}

{apple picking}

{Grace, rocking Iyla to sleep}

{Nora on the tree swing}

{her hand on mine...}

{laundry- family of 6. also can you find Iyla?}

There are so many things I want to post that I'm behind on.  Apple picking, Halloween, homeschooling.  I hope I actually do.  But in the mean time I'm trying my best to live into these moments.

Current moment, happening as I type- fort building...



Iyla Edith Rose

Welcome to the world my beautiful Iyla Edith Rose.  Born at 9:45pm September 5th.  6lbs 15oz.  19 inches.

This picture seems to best capture what I most want you to know- your family couldn't be more overjoyed to finally meet you.


One Lasty




Tonight after much discussion we decided we needed to go for a family dinner.  We decided on the Current in Afton which was to be followed up by a stop at Secret Beach.  We had told the kids we weren't going to swim but just a quick stop to wade in the water and skip a few rocks.  But I couldn't resist throwing their suits in my purse before we left.  And I was so glad I did.  As soon as we got to the beach Ryan and I realized we needed to stay longer then 10 minutes and we needed to let them swim.  The river is just too magnetic.  They were thrilled when we surprised them with the swimsuits and immediately put them on and hoped in (cool water and all).  As Ryan and I watched them frolic around we agreed this was exactly what they, and our weekend needed, one more swim at our favorite beach.



{Homemade baby oil}

{Birth armor}


{Henna from my Blessingway}

Several weeks ago I found myself at the end of a prenatal yoga class sobbing into my mat, suddenly overcome by my fear of birth.  The next night, Ryan and I had a tour at our birth center and I came home feeling more anxious then ever secretly hoping maybe I would somehow need to have a c-section.  That night baby flipped into the breach position.  That was my wake up call to start facing my fear.

I started journaling about my fears trying to get to the bottom of them.  In the simplest terms what I found was, birth now equaled "bad".  What was I afraid of?  Everything.  Because after our miscarriage last year, I knew that anything could happen.  I started to make art around my fears, meditate regularly, write letters to baby, make jewelry (which I now refer to as my "birth armor"), and my dear friends held a Blessingway for me.  Once I started doing this work, I loved it so much I kept doing more.  And as I mentioned a few posts ago, I am now loving this pregnancy.  So. Much. And I am finally feeling totally ready for birth.


Secret Beach











August is suppose to be beach month for us.  But with all of the rain lately and cooler temperatures we haven't had any beaching at all.  Today after realizing we weren't up for doing our original plan, Grace had the idea of going to the beach, just the four of us...we never do that anymore.  We don't ever do that anymore so I was thrilled with the plan.  And Secret Beach never disappoints.  Beautiful stretches of sandy beach all to ourselves, a slight breeze and a few background sailboats for some real beach ambiance.  My cup is full.


Calendula and Hide and Seek

I've decided to just jump back into blogging as though I never stopped.  This means I have to skip over so many things but if I keep waiting to catch up I'll never return.

Three summers ago I planted this calendula in our garden.  It keeps reseeding itself but since two years had gone by since it's planting I couldn't remember if it was st. john's wort or calendula.  Today when Heidi was over she was able to confirm for me that it was calendula.  I was pretty pumped about this since I've been reading some recipes for various baby/mama balms, baths, salves, and ALL of them include calendula.  Heidi helped me harvest some (and gather some seeds to save) and now I'm in the process of drying them for a soon to be something, not sure which thing yet.

I'm finally at a point where I am absolutely loving my pregnancy.  I've worked so hard over the last few months to overcome my anxiety and fear based on my experience last year.  Yoga, mediation, art making, and writing furiously over the last several weeks has helped immensely and I'm finally feeling in a pretty good place.  Knowing this will be my last time being pregnant is especially making me appreciate these last few months.

Every night baby and I play this little game of hide and seek with her foot.  It's my favorite.  She kicks the side of my belly and then pulls her foot away and I see if I can figure out where she put it.  I already love her so much.








Last spring after we lost our baby (in public I follow the rules and refer to it as a miscarriage, but alone with my own thoughts calling it such feels like a lie), the garden followed suit.  Flowers got buried in thistles.  Weeds covered every garden path.  Many of the seeds I planted never even sprouted.  Somehow a few tomato plants managed to produce tomatoes which we picked and put in the freezer and there they still sit a year later.  Everyday someone had to go through the garden to let the chickens out and I did my best to try and make sure that person wasn't me.  While in the past the garden had been a source of happiness for me, last year it proved to be the opposite, a constant reminder of where I was at the moment- in a pretty low place.

This spring, pregnant again but this time in my second trimester by the time gardening season rolled around, I wanted to get back in there, but I was more than overwhelmed.  It was a mess, last year's weeds dried up and covering everything, new weeds already sprouting.  I mentioned my feelings to a friend who said "all you have to do is get in there and start shoveling, you won't want to leave."  She couldn't have been more right.  Once I started I didn't want to stop... ever.  I weeded and planted, weeded and planted.  I paid the kids 5 cents a thistle for pulling them.  I bet between all of us we pulled over a thousand thistles out of the garden.  And that was just thistles.  By the time we left for our trip I was feeling pretty good about it all.  Three weeks later when we returned half of the garden was once again over run with weeds... save for the huge section my dad had perfectly manicured.  And I mean perfectly.  Had he not been out working on this little surprise I'm not sure I would have had the motivation to get back out there.

Gardening is such a metaphor for everything else isn't it?

I did get back in there.  Despite gophers and groundhogs and rabbits.  Despite planting peas three times and having whole plants disappear overnight.  Despite several times of me stomping back in the house and declaring that's it, I'm through with you garden.  A few days ago Nora brought in two beautiful cucumbers that she planted from her heirloom seeds the Easter Bunny left in her basket.  They were so good I almost cried.  Truly.  There are green beans ready to harvest.  Yesterday I brought in the first load of beautiful tomatoes and today we will make soup.  And the flowers... they might just be my favorite part.  Sometimes the long road to happiness is more satisfying than the short one.  I'm glad I stuck with you garden.










Yesterday on my short walk through our woods I saw fresh deer tracks and two deer beds that were probably still being used only a few hours earlier.  The ice from storm the day before still clung to every branch and twig making the whole forest look like someone had glazed it.  It was breathtaking and as usual, my pictures do it no justice.

Once I'm outside I always wonder why I have such resistance to it.  But I always do.  It's too cold, too cloudy, too slippery, and on and on...  But I'm such a happier person after I've gotten some fresh air.  Tended to our chickens.  Made my own tracks through the snow.

Life is strange these days.  The trees help remind me what's important.  Where I should focus my energy.  Even how to get energy.  I need to remember this.