Liebster Award

A few weeks ago the lovely Danialle of Mama Chirps nominated me for the Liebster Award. You can read all about it here. To accept the award I answer Danialle's questions and then ask my own while nominating five other bloggers I love. The award is meant to be a way to help promote the smaller blogs that you love. Here goes nothing!

1. What does your post-writing process entail?
     I am a fly by the seat of my pants blogger. The only thing I really plan are photo updates (baby, garden, etc) and my monthly book updates. Other than that I just write when the feeling takes me and I can find the time. These days that time is fewer and farther between, so I have a lot of what I want to say floating around in my head. I'll sit down with some music playing and type it out. I'm usually too excited to hit "Publish" to spend much time editing, a habit I'm looking to change.

2. If you could go back in time and change something, what would it be?
     The SCOTUS ruling on the recent Hobby Lobby contraceptive case. [Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent starting on page 60 is fantastic.]

3. What blog do you find most inspiring?
     Hands down Girls Gone Child. Rebecca's blog is an awesome combination of great photography and thoughtful writing. Her outlook on parenthood is refreshing and she doesn't hold back on sharing the ugly parts of life. She's the first blog I started to follow and I look forward to each of her posts still years later.

4. What is your favorite book?
     This is a tough one for me, but I think it's still Green Was the Earth on the Seventh Day by Thor Heyerdahl.Thor and his wife Liv sailed to and lived in the Marquesas, a dream I've had for a long time. They got married and immediately left Europe. This book is about the beauty in the simplicity of life in places such as these, the connection with nature and the serenity it brings.

5. What is your most prized material possession?
     Of course mine would be books: I have really old copies of The Ra Expeditions and Aku-Aku by Thor Heyerdahl. I haven't even read them yet because I don't want to finish all of his works any time soon. And a beautiful copy of Easter Island by Alfred Metreaux that Brent bought for me our first Christmas together.

6. Which one of your posts are you most proud of? Share the link.
     I'm pretty proud of this one AND the band read it too: Things I Learned From Saves the Day

7. What is your favorite coffee (or tea) beverage?
     Dr. Pepper.

8. Describe one of your earliest memories.
     When I was three I went bowling with my aunt's and met their friend Danny. I had a massive crush on him instantly. One of my aunt's told him about my crush on the phone in front of me and I was devastated. I felt so betrayed. I was three. And apparently wicked intense.

9. What is your favorite quote?
     "Love falls to the earth, rises from the ground, pools around the afflicted. Love pulls people back to their feet. Bodies and souls are fed. Bones and lives heal. New blades of grass grow from charred soil. The sun rises." - Anne Lamott 

10. Do you follow recipes exactly or create your own version of it?
     I am a recipe follower. My husband is magical in the kitchen, I just get by.

11. What is your favorite season of the year?
     Fall. Spring in Minnesota is pretty much non-existent, summer is filled with the stress of making each day count, and winter is cold and bleak. Fall is cool but not cold, days are long enough still, and there is a calm that settles in the air.

11 Random Facts
1. I didn't really have hair until age 3.

2. I can play the piano but get extremely flustered practicing in front of an audience so I rarely play.

3. I don't think I can live without at least one pet. I even had 1 or 2 in college.

4. One of my life goals is to knit myself a sweater that I can snuggle up in on chilly fall mornings.

5. I have wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember but didn't settle on a meaningful enough subject until about two years ago. Now I just need to dedicate time to putting it all on paper.

6. I threw up from the stomach flu once prior to having children. Since having children I've lost count how many times it's happened.

7. I regularly rock out to Garth Brooks' Greatest Hits even though I'm not big into country music.

8. I love data analysis. I just do.

9. I started college as an Anthropology major, then changed to Psychology, then changed to Sociology. If I were to go back to school ever again it would be in the field of Psychology. Making life decisions at 18/19 is such a great idea!

10. I subconsciously pick up things with my toes when cleaning the house.

11. I am in love with formline art. Lawrence Yuxweluptun is my favorite artist.

Blogs I Nominate
Adventures of an Artist, Wife and Mom
Where My Green Grass Grows
Words Under Words
A Little Black Cloud in a Dress

Questions for the Nominees
1. Share a self portrait of any media.
2. What is your dream job (money not being an object)?
3. What blog do you find most inspiring?
4. Who is your favorite author and why?
5. If you could see any band play dead or alive, who would you see?
6. What is your favorite food?
7. Who is your biggest "celebrity" crush?
8. East Coast or West Coast?
9. What is your favorite summertime activity?
10. If you had not chosen parenthood, where do you think you would be right now?
11. What is your favorite quote?


[not quite] Four Months

 It's funny just how quickly new members of your family start to feel like they've always been there. It's been 15 weeks and 6 days since Judah has been earth side but I feel like we've never been without him. His smiles and squeals accent the wrestling yells of his older brothers perfectly. He is growing every day and though we have not yet had his four month appointment I can already tell that he is my biggest baby. Little dude is solid. Rocking the 9-12 month clothing bracket these days, which means our Ezra hand me downs needed to be supplemented.

All of that growing and an insatiable appetite and low milk production have taken a bit of a toll on our nursing. I've been drinking Mother's Milk tea, eating oatmeal when I remember, taking herbal supplements, and going to acupuncture in hopes that I can catch up. Luckily for me a friend who is over producing shared her bounty, but I am pretty close to starting to supplement with formula as my production seems to be at a plateau. And I'm totally ok with that. He's healthy and growing like a weed and that's all that matters.
Teething has started though if history repeats itself for a third time we won't see any teeth for a few months yet. Just lots of drool and chewing on everything within reach. If he's not happy with what's in reach he'll just scoot around on his back until he happens upon something. He can move quite a bit already. It's terrifying.

He is the most social little dude. He loves to be sitting or standing within view of someone's face so he can smile and chat. If you lay him down he's happiest if there is a face nearby that he can coo at. His older brothers adore him and compliment him a hundred times daily. His adorableness is about the only thing those two agree on these days. 
I knew the moment I had Ezra in my arms that I wanted one more. It's hard to explain, but I just felt like I was supposed to bring three souls into this world. But I didn't know it until that point in time. Three was this magical number that just felt right. I'm glad to say I still feel that way now. Three is just right.


A Dozen Years

Twelve years ago today I came to find myself with a cute boy sitting in an attic. I fell head over heels instantly. I later learned he did too. We made it exclusive less than 24 hours after we met. We said I love you before hitting the month mark. I have loved him with my whole heart and then some since the moment I laid eyes on him.

We've had the craziest of rides, weathering storms we'd never planned. At 17 we dreamed of doing our laundry together and coming home to one another each night. We got that and a whole lot more. We've moved cross country and across town. We've spent months together and months apart. We've beat the odds and continue to show up for each other every day. Who knew that these two crazy kids who fell in love as teenagers would have settled down for good by twenty and rocked out three kids by thirty, hand in hand, still madly in love? We've been through hell, kid, but I wouldn't have walked through that holding anyone else's hand. Thanks for putting up with me the past decade plus two.

[The year we lived in Seattle - 2005ish]


This Garden Life - Early June

6.8.14 - Amazing what a few weeks (and a buttload of crabgrass) can do!
The garden is a growing! I am once again in the midst of a wicked battle with crabgrass. I didn't have the time to stay on top of it last summer so unfortunately it went to seed and has grand plans to take over the whole space. We're fighting back with newspaper and hay. While it kills the aesthetics for me I can't argue with the function. Gardening has taught me that it doesn't take perfect input to create a near perfect product. My garden may not be the most beautiful, it may have some crabgrass intruders, and my rows may be a wee bit crooked (ok, a lot bit) but none of that will compromise the vegetables I'll harvest. They'll turn out gorgeous and delicious despite my heartache. So each year I find my heartache lessen and my eagerness to learn more grow. It truly is my happy place. 

We did some new things this year that I am pretty stoked about. First, we ordered our seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co instead of the grocery store. When we received their catalog in the mail with the snow still on the ground we poured through the pages dreaming of spring. With the catalog came an ad for their Spring Planting Festival in May. I mapped it out and it was only a 12 hour drive from here! I thought we could totally make that happen but Brent didn't seem to think it was the best idea. I still think we could've made it work. Next year maybe. 

Here's what we ordered and planted from seed:

All of the above were directly sown in the garden. Everything has come up and is going strong so far! 

The second new thing we tried was purchasing our already started plants from local nurseries instead of the grocery store. We added basil, parsley, sweet peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, red onions, and potatoes. We bought heirloom tomatoes this year for the first time. It was a four variety pack and I can't wait to compare the five types we are growing this year! Onions are a first for us this year as well. Our only casualties this year so far are the basil and one onion. 

We have a few cucumber and zucchini plants this year. I half-assed a trellis for the cukes to grow up in hopes that they don't choke out everything around them. We planted far fewer this year as we still have a plethora of pickles in the basement. This year I'm planning on using some of our yield to make baby food. Judah will be 6 months old at the end of August so the timing will be perfect!

We have volunteer mammoth sunflowers and cherry tomatoes all over the place. I've weeded out some and left others. All in all I'm pretty excited about this year's garden. Lots of newness, lots of old friends, and lots of serenity for mama. There's nothing quite like walking outside to pick fresh greens for a family meal.
Kale, Butter King, Red Lettuce, Arugula. And crabgrass. Sigh.


What I Read - May Edition

Technically this is what I read in April AND May seeing as I did not finish a single book in the month of April. Sigh. I was speaking to a grandmother at the park this week who also had three children. She told me that any free time you had with two was completely gone once you had three. So far, she is right about that. Then why do all parents of 3+ children tell you that it's easier the more you have? Lies, I tell you. When they all say it's worth it though, well, that is the truth.

Minot tells the story of a short period of time in the adult life of the Bramble children where they are met with both loss and discovery. The main part of the novel spans only a few weeks of time yet much of the past is discovered and parts of their lives they had never questioned had new answers. The book keeps you guessing until the very end what exactly the family secret is and the characters reactions are intriguing. It makes you question how you would feel if you became privy to the same information. I can't say much more without giving it away.

What really drew me into this book was not the secret itself but the poetic way the author captured every day life. Margaret, Max, and Edie live fairly average lives and are each dealing with difficulties that crop up in life. They struggle with their own humanity in ways we all do and Minot was able to tell their stories in a way that made me want to read about their mundane days until the end of time. Each sibling thought the others had everything figured out and they were the ones who were a mess in their own minds, but the truth was they were all in very similar places. I felt like it is the same way we all feel from time to time: "Why does everyone else have their shit figured out and I'm over here treading water wondering which direction to go?" The truth: no one has their shit figured out. And that's ok because that's what makes us all human.

Good book. Check it out.

 This book has been on my to-read list for a few years now and it finally became available on BookMooch so I snapped it up. I decided to start it as soon as it came in the mail. I am a sucker for addiction memoirs and love Carrie Fisher's wit so I was excited to read it. The book is actually based on her live show of the same name, a fact I didn't become aware of until after I read the book. It explains a lot about how the book is written. It is a shallow retrospective on her entire life spanning a mere 156 pages. A life as big and loud as Carrie Fisher's can't reasonably be told in 156 pages of large type print. 

While entertaining, the book was not as deep as I had hoped for. It just skimmed the surface of a lot of big issues, which totally makes sense for a stage show. I try not to read too much about books before I read them but having that knowledge beforehand would have tempered my expectations better. Someone on Instagram mentioned liking her novel Postcards from the Edge so I'll check that one out and then maybe watch the movie.

Also, I can't wait to go see the Fault in Our Stars movie as soon as I possibly can! I'll be packing plenty of tissues! Anyone else doing the same?

[Disclaimer: If you click on the above Amazon links and purchase anything I receive a small commission from Amazon. Like a few cents, which I appreciate greatly. Buying from Amazon is awesome, but your local library or independent book stores are pretty cool too.]
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