A bad day, a good book

Today was "one of those days". It just was. All of us got up too early, and for some reason, I thought today would be a good day to try and pay bills. As much as it is my natural tendency to want to focus on what was good about today (because we did manage to have a lot of good moments considering) I'm going to challenge myself by attempting to do the opposite. (It is strange though, because at the end of the day, the bad moments are harder to remember) So here are some of the days highlights that made me want to pull out my hair...

1. Grace trying to hurt Jackson. Attempting to stay calm when this happens is the biggest challenge of my life. There is some instictual protectiveness that awakens inside of me that is by no means rational. It takes everything in my power to handle this situation like an adult.

2. Having two crying children

3. Having two children who both want to be held

4. Putting both of them down early for their naps thinking they need the sleep and would sleep extra long and having one not nap at all and the other one get up early.

5. Wanting to call it a day at 2:15

That's all I can remember at this moment, but I guess that's a pretty good list. My light for today though... this beautiful book that I just got at the Goodwill the other day for $3 (apparently the heavens knew I would be needing it). It is so wonderful for times like this. She is just an amazing writter and a breath of fresh air on these dreary days. Very, very inspiring.

Well okay, and a few other rays of light (I can't help it, there were a few good moments I don't want to forget), playing "story hour" in the playroom and singing that silly crocadile song over and over and over. Grace "tricking me" at dinner that she was eating a candle (really a carrot) and laughing about how her tummy was going to start on fire. Or perhaps the best part of the day was having everyone in bed and asleep by 7:00.

And tomorrow a fresh start.


Dinner And A Park

This afternoon we all went to the park together and then last minute decided to go out to eat for dinner (oh dear, I really do have a problem). This was our first "park" experience since we moved... and the first "swing" of the year. Grace and Ryan played while Jackson hung out in the sling as I watched. For dinner we decided to drive into downtown Stillwater and find a new place to eat. A lot of places were closed already so we ended up at the Freight House which we have been to before, but a very fun place anyway. It was built in the late 1800's and was a train depot for freight trains. Very inspiring the way they renovated it.
Anyway, it was a fun night and a great end to our weekend.



We were able to do some work on the barn this weekend. We have to build two new big barn doors and Ryan was able to get one almost finished. Baby steps. I am starting to accept how slow things move and just enjoy that they are moving. Besides, if they moved any faster that would mean no time to play, and that is, first and foremost, why we moved here. That last picture is Grace's renovation work. Love it.


Chef Jackson

Jackson has become quite the little cook these days. Well I guess most of his "cooking" involves throwing food on the floor. But he does also enjoy making innovative dishes such as watermelon, tomato, egg soup. And those cheeks... yes I definitely see chef in his future...


A Date with Grace

A day with my girl. A fun filled day, but more importantly, one where I know I filled her cup. And not because we went to our class together (more about this later), or went out to lunch, followed by the "big" zoo. Not because of the things we did, though I think we both thoroughly enjoyed these things. I know her cup was filled because we were together, just the two of us, with no interruptions, and no to do list. Just simply enjoying each others company. A perfect start to our weekend.


A quilt for... Big Baby

I'm not usually one to impose shopping on my children, but yesterday I needed to go to the fabric store and so everyone was forced to go along for the ride. Amazingly, it turned out to be really fun. Jackson was happy to ride in the sling and Grace had a great time playing "store" in the store. At the end she picked out some fabric for a quilt for big baby and found the perfect one that "Big Baby would just love". So after dinner we worked on it together and were able to finish. And, she was right, Big Baby does love it.

Easter Eggs

Grace and I have started to decorate some eggs for a spring tree that we're working on. We blew them and strung little loops in one end for hanging. Instead of dying them we decided to decopage tissue paper on them. It is kind of time consuming so instead of doing a lot I think we'll just take our time and make a few.


Mango Ginger Salsa- YUM

This recipe was sitting next to a sample of it at the co-op the other day. Grace and I both loved it so I bought all the ingredients and we came home and made it (I guess their sales tactic worked).

Mix the following ingredients together
2 cups peeled and diced mango
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper (I omitted this and it was still delicious)
2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbs minced fresh ginger
1 tbs fresh lime juice


Frank... and Frida

Well it seems that Frank has a girlfriend. They stop in everyday for at least a little bit to rest on their silo. Were only hoping they don't think it's a good place to build a nest!


The Big City

Yesterday we had such a fun morning. It was so refreshing to have a nice sunny, semi-warm day to take the kids out to go somewhere. We went to Grand Avenue in St. Paul to this amazing store called Wonderment and then out to lunch. The store is beautiful and full of the most delightful, unique toys. It is also full of inspiring ideas of things to do with kids. Grace had so much fun gently playing with some of the toys and reading the books. Later in the day she told me "next time we go there I want to bring our beds so we can sleep there". Oh me too! And I really have to be careful with the eating out thing because I love going out to lunch with these two right now. Grace gets really excited to try new foods (especially if it's from a restaurant), and Jackson is content to sit and play with a cup or spoon. And I, of course, always enjoy a break from the usual cooking and cleaning up. And then there's the treats. We don't do a lot of treats around here (well at least not with the kids), but it is so fun to indulge in a yummy desert with Grace every now and then. A perfect ending to a perfect outing.


Her Puddle

Nothing brings me more joy then to watch (from afar) Grace out exploring her new home. Every tree, every patch of mud, and of course, every puddle. This puddle is hers. Over the last week I have heard more times then I can count, "mom I'm going over to play in my puddle now." How great to have your own puddle. And how great to live somewhere where puddle playing is possible. That freedom and sense of wonder she must feel as she wanders this new land of hers. Exploring, discovering. Yes, this is the life I want for my kids.

Not Pottery Barn, Our Barn

I found this trunk in the barn and immediatley knew it would make the perfect coffee table. But... it needed to be cleaned, sanded, stained and sealed first, and it was too cold to do any of this by the time I found it last Novemeber. So I waited. And waited. And finally with these last few weeks of nice weather Ryan and I have been able to squeeze in an hour here or there to work on it. Yesterday I put the final coat of sealer on and last night it was dry enough to bring in the house. And I love it! Love.


Tea and Muffins

Grace and I made some Apple Cinnamon muffins today and enjoyed them with a cup of tea. They were especially delicious right from the oven.

Apple Cinnamon Muffin Recipe
1 egg
3 tbs sugar
1/2 c milk
1/4 c butter melted
1 and 1/4 c flour
1 and 1/2 tsp balking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 small apples, peeled and chopped finely

For topping
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
(we used about half of this for the topping)

1. Mix egg, sugar, milk and butter
2. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon
3. Add apples
4. Spoon mixture in muffin cups or greased pan (says makes 6 but we made smaller
ones and got 10)
5. Sprinkle topping over uncooked muffins
6. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes


Ready, set, patience.

Lately I often have this feeling, I can't quite place it but it's as though I am moving in slow motion. Kind of like the dream where someone is chasing you but you can barely lift each leg to move. Where each step takes forever and feels like you have a hundred pound weights on each foot. In some ways, this slowness is good I guess, but in others it can be frustrating. For example when I look outside my house and realize the four thousand things that need to be done... and now that it's nice out I should just be able to go out and do them right? Not so fast. Go out maybe. "Get things done", probably not. At the end of the day I am lucky if I can cross one thing off my list. Which is all fine (somewhere in me I know this) but sometimes I just want things to be done now. Right now. There is a barn to paint, gardens to build and grow, and too many other little things to even count. The reality is, this stuff will probably take all summer. And even that might be pushing it.

Yes I know, this is the part where I get to practice patience. This is what I'm always telling Grace right? Have patience. I even have a song about it. Funny how we parents are always teaching the things we need to learn.


Finally... SPRING!

I think we spent more time outside then inside this weekend. It was heavenly! There was...

Several surprise visits. A few from this guy, who we now fondly refer to as Frank. And one from my sis, who brought us some homemade salsa.

Some unearthing of found treasures.

A picnic.

Some discoveries.

And lots of exploring.

Oh so good to feel the sun again!



This guy just gets more fun everyday. I know it is such a cliche but I just can't believe how fast he is growing. He was eight months old yesterday. Eight months. That's practically a year. Can't believe it. Okay enough, I sound like an eighty year old. Anyway, here he is eating his avocados. And looking adorable as usual. Seriously, eight months. Can't believe it.

Daddy Time

Ryan hasn't had to work much this week so we have been enjoying some extra time with him. Grace especially. Today we were running some errands and we decided to abandon the rest of them and go to the zoo instead. It always makes me a little sad to see some of those animals in too small of cages... but I guess watching Grace light up at the monkeys or seals made up for it (and made me excited to travel and take her to see animals in the real world some day).

Though I know he has enjoyed this little glimpse into our life during the week, I think he is antsy to get back to work. I'm not sure if it's his male biology or just his personality but he is a provider by nature and needs to be active. I think this "sitting around" stuff starts to make him a little crazy after awhile. And truth be told, although I also enjoyed having him around this week, I too will be a little glad to get back to "normal". If for nothing else it means I don't have to listen to the t.v. all hours of the day. Yes, I won't miss that one bit. But for a week, it was great. A nice break from the norm and some fun memories with the four of us.


Spring Art

Well despite our signs of spring, it seems as though it is farther away then we thought (grrrrr). So... we have been keeping our spirits up with art! I think it's working, at least while we're immersed in it anyway. And our fridge is filling up fast with inspiring, colorful, flowery paintings to remind us it can't be too much longer...


Four Signs of Spring