5.07.2021

photos from the week vol. 10

It's been a few weeks since I've done one of these, so here's a mashup of happenings lately.

They have so many toys, and where do they choose to play? In a basket of dirty laundry.

The gorgeous flowers were out in the Walmart garden section, and I about died of happiness. 


A girl and her bunny. When Gracie runs her around on the leash, Annie has taken to hopping in the bottom of the stroller when she's tired. Cracks me up every time.


From my morning walk. I usually walk down to this creek on a nearby farm and then stop and watch the sunrise.


Sunday morning coffee on the front porch, watching the birds.


Many hours have been spent on the trampoline lately.


School on the front porch one morning, between bike rides and rain storms. I've been trying to think of what kind of reading practice we can do this summer, and then I remembered I had a McGuffey Reading Primer, which is basically what kids learned with in one room school houses in the 1800s. Also, her first grade curriculum came in the mail yesterday and it felt like Christmas morning. SO MUCH FUN.


I went for a walk in the rain one morning. It's rained a lot lately and I was tired of it dictating my plans. I loved it. I need windshield wipers for my glasses, though.


A rainbow craft.



LOOK AT HER CURLS. They are life giving.


This is the worst possible picture of me, but whatever. My friend Kayla and her family drove through Ohio, and we got to spend a morning together at a park. It was LOVELY. We've been blog friends for roughly a decade now. I remember her baby updates about her now 10 year old! We have some very similar life situations going on, and it was such a relief to have such deep, amazing conversations in person with someone who lives thousands of miles away and whose paths I figured would never cross with mine. But cross they did, and I'm eternally grateful. Gracie and her daughter are the exact same age, born a few weeks apart. They had the best time together just like we knew they would. 






































I wasn't sure our morning together was going to happen. We changed plans probably 7 times due to life circumstances, kept pushing our meeting time back, and then when I got in the car to go see her, I had a dead battery. It's a miracle this happened at all!

I always have a long running list of things to talk about, and then when I finally have the chance to sit and write, my brain evaporates and I am a blank slate. The only thing I can think of right now is when it was raining the other day, and Gracie was looking wistfully out the window and then said, "Rain is just God's pee." A budding theologian.

You can use your imagine on her commentary about thunder.

5.04.2021

something to crow about


I have never been a bird person.

To be fair, I've never been a not bird person, either. 

Bird are just...there. I like their cheerful songs when I wake up in the morning. I love seeing a cherry red cardinal in a snowy tree. I figured going bird watching would be as scintillating as watching paint dry and was probably enjoyed by the same kind of people who enjoy golf and going on runs without music. I think flamingoes are amazing and chickens are fantastic, but I hate when birds (of the non-flamingo/chicken variety) fly directly in front of my car and I hit them NOT THAT THAT'S HAPPENED, but I hate when it does.

I always think of them as rats with wings, which is something I heard somewhere and which amuses me to no end.

Long story long, birds are birds and historically, I've had no feelings on this.

But then, Gracie and I did a bird study for school, and it's like the blinders fell off my eyes and I saw them for the absolute majestic creatures they are.

I had a Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus-level conversion. I became a woman obsessed; we ventured to Walmart, and I spent a half hour in the bird aisle picking out bird feeders and seed and hummingbird nectar. Then we picked out flower seeds and walked through the plants, and I could have absolutely melted into a puddle of satisfaction. 

As soon as we got home, we filled up the feeders and set them out, just for a squirrel to climb on one and break it, but that's what you get with a cheap plastic Walmart bird feeder. It's currently doctored with masking tape (apparently we're out of duct tape) and hanging over Gracie's fairy garden and frequented by a rather dapper chickadee, so all is well. 

I ran some errands on Saturday and offered to get James the paint brushes he needed from Menards if I could pick out more bird feeders. You know, kill two birds with one stone. 

(That feels like the wrong idiom to use here, but alas I persist.)

I stood in the bird aisle positively vibrating from excitement. This is who I'm meant to be, I thought to myself. I'm a crazy bird lady.

I grabbed a couple feeders, another bag of seed, and a few other gardening accouterments. I got home and Gracie screamed with joy when I told her what was hiding in the back of the car. We giggled like little kids on Christmas morning as we hung our feeders on hooks and trees and waited for the birds to find them. You could say we watched them like a hawk. As a family, we have spent hours watching birds out the window, banging on them and yelling when the squirrels get near the feeders, listening to bird calls, flipping through bird guides, etc. The entire house was in a tizzy this morning and I nearly flung scrambled eggs on the ceiling when I saw a hummingbird circling the feeder out the kitchen window. Clara has gotten in on the excitement and frequently points and squeals at the window until I lift her up to check the feeders.

As they say, birds of a feather flock together.

James asked me what I want for Mother's Day, and I said a bird bath, which would be a step up from the puddle in the driveway the birds typically use.

On Sunday morning, I drank my coffee on the front porch and watched the blue jays at the feeder on one of our many half-dead pine trees. Gracie took her markers, paper, and binoculars outside to draw them. On the way home from church, I talked about how excited I am about birds and how I can't believe it took me so long to become a bird person and how this has brought so much joy into my life and I want to learn everything about birds.

And then we walked in the door to find that our bird frenemy had gotten inside again, flown into our bedroom, and pooped all over my dresser and my new white comforter.

Never have I wanted to give a bird The Bird until this moment.

4.26.2021

photos from the week, vol. something or other aka I'm too lazy to check

Winter part 17 hit last week, and while the snow was beautiful, it left me feeling very blah. Being cooped up again and not being able to get out and exercise has made me feel so lazy and meh. I never got this post done last week even though I wrote it in my head a dozen times. One of my claims to fame is that I'm generally pretty good at folding laundry and putting it away right after washing it, but I had about 7 loads piled up in my bedroom for a full 7 days. I never even got library books requested for school this weeks, so we're doing science projects today instead and making homemade crayons.


I picked the wrong week to read this book to the girls. Classic Michelle timing.


It was only 50 degrees on Friday, but that didn't stop my child from throwing on a skirt and tank top. That's how thrilled she was the snow was gone, even though we did make homemade snow cones from the snow.

Apparently I have nothing left to talk about other than the weather. It's blog small talk. I'll stop now before I dive into the barometric pressure and current pollen counts (which are off the charts as my sore throat will tell you).


Ok, I do have a story! I don't remember if it was Thursday or Friday because WHAT EVEN IS TIME ANYMORE, but I was sitting on the couch one morning and heard a very loud bird. We are surrounded by trees and woods, so there is typically a cacophony of bird sounds this time of year anyway, but this bird sounded too close for comfort. I walked down the hall to the sound of fluttering wings in the vicinity and saw a real life bird exploring my bathroom. We have a retro fan/vent in the wall over the shower and it managed to sneak out that way a few seconds after I walked in. Gracie was ELATED. 

A few hours later I heard the same sound, ran toward the bathroom just for the bird to whizz past me, buzz straight into my bedroom, and then take a hard left and fly directly INTO MY CLOSET where it stayed for the next 10 minutes. I am zero percent scared of birds, but for some reason I was screaming bloody murder and could not stop, which made Clara cry, which just made Gracie more excited than ever. James stepped away from work and managed to fish the bird out of the bottom corner of my closet where it was probably building a nest from my dozens of striped tees, and he let Gracie pet it. I thought she would positively explode from delight. 

I just finished a very hardcore, crunchy homeschooling book that talked about the importance of children being in nature and observing it and nature journaling, blah blah blah. I loved the book overall, but I have never had the desire nor will I ever have the desire to sit in the forest and draw pictures of the leaves and worms. Anyway, I came home that evening from a pizza run to find that Gracie had drawn pictures of our sparrow friend, which was much more educational than the truly amazing picture she had recently colored of Garfield holding lasagna.

I have been very puffed up and pleased about my homeschooling prowess ever since even though this was all her and had nothing to do with me. A win is a win and I'm claiming it.

All of that to say, I didn't think Gracie could be more excited until she talked James into buying a HARNESS AND LEASH for Annie the bunny.

We are now the psychos taking our pet bunny for a walk.


And to bring me back down to earth, Gracie and I were doing some reading practice. She was sounding out words, and she likes to swap out vowels and see what new words she can make. She had a list of words she was working on.

"Ffffiiiixxxx, ffffooooxxx, hey mom! If you swap out the I or the O and put in a U, it would say ffffff---"

"NOPE STOP RIGHT THERE"

(just to clarify, she has NEVER heard that word from anyone in this house, or anywhere else hopefully)


Hopefully there won't be any drawings of that.

4.16.2021

photos from the week, vol. 9

My teeny tiny newborn baby turned 1! I still can’t believe it. She is the sweetest thing in existence.


 Twirling. She’s been making a fairy garden in the backyard and it is adorable. 6 is fun. 



Some budding trees from my morning walk on Monday. 


Gracie begged me to knit her a rainbow washcloth. It’s the most basic thing ever, but she loves it. 


And that’s where the photos end, because this week took a TURN. To be honest, Monday was the only day that didn’t feel like the world was on fire. I had grand plans of spending the week doing yard work and organizing. Both girls had their well checks on Tuesday morning. An hour away. During nap time. So...already off to a great start. Clara had three shots and a finger prick on top of that. We got home from that saga, and I immediately started feeling off. Fast forward a few hours later to me puking my guts up just for Gracie to run in the bathroom and vomit all over the floor. I thought great, the doctor just declared her in great health just a few hours ago, and now we’re all doing to die.

Barfing while cleaning up your child’s barf is truly a new tier of motherhood that I never wanted to achieve, especially since I still believe I hit my puke quota during pregnancy. I puked enough for all of you, too. I should get a pass for life!

To top it off, James is on a PTO freeze and literally could not get off work even though half the house was projectile vomiting. Thankfully he still stepped away often and managed to work, take care of Clara, and clean up puke all at once. 

According to my Fitbit, I slept 58 minutes that night thanks to a raging fever and body aches, and during those 58 minutes I had a literal fever dream about covid vaccines?? Stressful. Thankfully Gracie woke up right as rain, and I am on the mend as well, albeit sloooowly. The resilience of kids never ceases to blow my mind.

I will also never be eating chicken again.

A million other things have gone wrong this week too, but whatever. We survived. We never have to relive this week again. Hallelujah. 

Sometimes that’s the only good thing you can say about a week—you survived. And the doctor gave both girls a clean bill health. Healthy, growing girls are something I will never not be incredibly thankful for. Just like I'm thankful this week is OVER.

ETA: I suddenly remembered that this is the week last year that Clara was diagnosed with jaundice, had daily lab visits, was put on a light blanket just to have it break late at night meaning James had to race to a doctor's office for a spare and getting there exactly one minute before they closed, etc. So maybe it's just something about this week. Next year I'll put myself in a padded room with a stack of books.

Have a good weekend! Don't eat chicken. Goodbye.

4.10.2021

pictures from the week, vol. 8

My post about the Corovid restrictions was the catalyst for some really good conversations, and I’m so thankful for that. I never publish anything I write from raw emotion, but this time I did for the simple reason that I know a lot of other people feel the same way and I wanted to give a voice to that collective angst and frustration. I was harsher than I normally would be. Apologies to my mother for the swear word, which I usually only say when I stub my toe at the end of a bad day, and to be fair this pandora-demic has felt like a really long, bad day. Bottom line is, it sucks for everyone and no one wants this. Hopefully! Some people make me wonder. 

Moving on!

This is one of those "magic of childhood" photos to me, but if you want the reality of what that day was like, read my last post. 

Let's just say that Easter Sunday set the tone for the whole week. 

But this was still an adorable moment.



She loves her stroller, but don't you dare put her *in* the stroller.


Tulips (and weeds) at sunrise.


I was in my hometown for a minute this morning and Gracie begged to stop here. We're always either coming or going and I never want to linger, but today we had the time so I pulled over. This is the Harding Memorial. President Harding is from my hometown. He and his wife are buried inside this marble monstrosity. His house is nearby, too. 


From my morning walk. I was listening to Kings Kaleidoscope, and the sunrise made it a whole moment. 


Gracie and I get so excited over spring flowers. These were in the library parking lot. I tried to slyly take a photo but somehow a library employee gave me the side eye both times.  I could write a whole book on how ridiculous this whole day was. In short, these flowers made me smile. I LOVE FLOWERS.


It hit 80 twice this week which made me realize I'm not ready for actual summer. Never satisfied!


Daffodils from the yard, vintage teacups, and vintage books. These are a few of my favorite things. 


I pulled the car over to snap a photo of this rainbow after a thunderstorm. It has been a hard week, and this was a comfort. I was singing Say My Name by Destiny’s Child at the top of my lungs because I was childless in the car and that’s where Spotify took me. These things are not related but feel equally important. 



Not pictured: 

+ I think I lost my mind this week. I found the half and half ON TOP of the fridge. Not on the top shelf, but on top of the refrigerator itself. No one could've done this but me. I cannot figure out how it happened. I bought some more so I could have some in a mug of afternoon coffee, and when I put it in the fridge, I spotted the iced coffee I had been saving and remembered that I didn’t even need the half and half. I swear I remember stashing a birthday gift under my bed, but James found it in the laundry room. Mom brain is real right now. 

+ During my 5 minutes of alone time a week, I’ve been listening to the Under the Influence podcast. It’s about the influencer culture on Instagram, especially as it relates to motherhood. I’m only 2 or 3 episodes in but I’m engrossed. The first episode was kind of a bummer in the sense that the host has a low view of motherhood, even as a mom herself, and I just can’t relate to her in that regard, but other than that I’m dying to finish it. It’s made me hate Instagram even more.    I really, REALLY don’t like the influencer thing, but she brings up some good points on how these women creatively learned to make money. I just think maybe it went too far. I don’t know! I have a lot more to listen to. Maybe while I grocery shop today. 

+ It’s Clara’s first birthday!! I woke up at exactly 6:41 when she was born and mentally relived the whole moment. I am both devastated and relieved that she’s one. Shout out to the 12 month sleep regression for helping me not be overly sentimental.