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Category Archives: Family

10 on 10, March

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A picture for ten hours on the 10th.

8:30am: Cedar’s new way to wake us.  She calls it “Hulk Smash” and it is quite painful.


9:30am:  pancake stirring with infinite patience


10:30am:  meal-planning


11:30am:  my man belting out The Eagles


12:30:  the girls picking daffodils for the lunch table


1:30:  my mom’s lunch menu for my birthday.  I love lasagna but no one else does so it was a large spread!


2:30pm:  happy birthday to me!


3:30pm: at the car wash


4:30pm:  admiring my birthday present from my parents.


5:30pm:  grocery-getting


ten on ten button

Swept away

Adoring: My husband who brings home the bacon and looks so dang hot when he leaves for work in the morning.  Also, he and Norah love to sing Swept Away by The Avett Brothers.  I cry quietly imagining her wedding, dancing with her daddy, and getting all crazy sentimental.

Listening to:  A podcast about fecal transplants.  Oh my word.  And people get all worked up about placenta encapsulation??

Proud of: Norah.  She learned to crochet and began wood-carving last week.  She also made another bat house and hiked to the top of Table Rock.


Never Leaving Home Without:  my phone.  I’m back on call.

Appreciating:  the flexibility of my days.  It could change tomorrow but for now, I appreciate that I sleep until 8am many mornings.  I can call a play day like I did today instead of doing school with the girls.  We school year-round to allow for that.  I’ve never enjoyed routine and, for now, these days are satisfying.

Nostalgic about: Josh Finch.  Scott and I have spent hours remembering our old co-worker.  That time he ran through the woods with a pocket-knife certain he was being chased.  That time he cried with me over Scott’s chainsaw injury.  That time he pulled me up when I was dangling off Kaaterskill Falls.  That time he ran through the woods with some shredded cheese certain he was being chased.  Oh Finch.  You are missed.

Reading: Eat Mangoes Naked, While I was Gone, Birth Matters for my Hypnobabies Recertification, and loads of poetry.  I just read The Poisonwood Bible for the first time.  That one messed me up in the way only a great book can.

Buying: Dr. Bronner’s Patchouli-Lime Lotion, Alba Sugar Cane Body Polish, and a new math curriculum for Norah.

Drinking: Numi Earl Grey Tea

Working on: long overdue birth stories for my clients.  And taxes.  And projects for Upstate BirthNetwork.

Wishing: I was finished with my taxes.

Giddy about: My sister will be home in just a few months!!!  She’ll be in my kitchen complaining about how I forget to turn on lights.  We’ll take our kids to the park.  I’ll help her through re-entry culture shock by feeding her chocolate and ice cream.

Feeling:  Energized and happy.

photo-20Missing:  Vermont.  And the dear ones who live there–like that sleepy fellow on the right.  And the fact that they have recycling containers at the gas pumps.

Grumpy that: I need to make a decision about a homeschool co-op for next year.  I’m not ready.  I like our current program but it is pricey.  With a program that costs less, I’ll have to volunteer more but I’ll have more money to spend on extra-curricular programs.

Decisions.  I hate them.

Gift Idea

Today is my husband’s birthday!  I think he’s dreamy.

His daughters think he’s dreamy, too.

For his birthday, they made fragrance bundles for his woodstove.

My husband loves his woodstove in his workshop.

It was a simple and inexpensive project that the girls were able to do without much help from me.  And the best part?  All the materials were already growing in our yard or sitting in the kitchen.


I dried the fruit a few days in advance and gathered spices, herbs, cinnamon sticks, coffee beans, and essential oils.  The whole project took less than an hour.  I labeled each bundle after the girls rolled them.  We had some fun creations like “apple pie” and “Christmas punch.”


He’s already burned a few and they smelled lovely!

*Up next, the gift I gave Scott.  I’m promising it here so I won’t change my mind.

The Birthday Girl

This introvert mama is thankful for a Wednesday with NOTHING on the calendar.  I’ve checked the fridge calendar at least five times this morning to make sure I’m not missing something.

Norah turned 7 on Sunday.  Seven.


She’s a cutie-patootie.  Full of creativity and questions.  She wants to be a “dolphin-trainer, architect, inventor” when she grows up.

My favorite gift was built by her daddy.  First, let me show you why he built it.  This is Norah’s bed:


I’m not sure where she sleeps.  And since she’s on the top bunk, I jump out of my skin when something falls out at night.  It echoes through the entire house.  Scott saved the day with this beauty:


Hooks to hang her headlamp, drawers for all those itsy things, and shelves!

I love it!

Uncommon Thanks #4

1)  After many attempts, I have finally found a green smoothie that Norah loves.  She asks for it everyday.  It isn’t anything special but the combination was right for her:  hemp powder, frozen peaches, 1 banana, 1tbsp chlorophyll, 2 cups spinach, and water.  Who knew?

2)  My husband is a creature of habit and, like Norah with her smoothie, wants to eat the same thing everyday for lunch.  Bonus:  it’s healthy and simple to make.

3)  Thrift stores.  It is like a treasure hunt and I’m always surprised with something.

4)   This nifty contraption my husband made.  I smile every time I use it.  It is a latch that holds up our homeschool table.   The original latch was prone to break and the table would crash down.  Not to mention the wood came from my dear friend Abby in Vermont.

5)  Freshly-made cranberry sauce.

Uncommon Thanks #2

I forgot to post 10 on 10 yesterday so I’ll use yesterday’s events as my thanks:

1)  Strawberry cream cheese scones and sitting outside on a November morning.

2)  Time with friends who enrich the lives of my children.

3) Climbing mulberry trees

4)  Learning woodworking skills at Roper Mountain Science Center (also felting wool, making herb sachets, herding sheep, plowing fields, pumping water, grinding corn, feeding animals, watching blacksmiths and other artisans)

5)  My husband finished the woodstove installation in his new woodworking shop

6)  Learning to sew on a button

7)  Dropping off Norah at Saturday science labs.

8) Watching a movie alone with popcorn and chocolate beer.

Uncommon Thanks

1)  The physical act of pressing the French Press.  Such joy it brings.

2)  That Norah deals with her own loose teeth.  Loose teeth gross me out.  She lost one this morning and it was such a non-issue.  Note to self:  DO NOT forget the tooth fairy tonight.

3)  The ways my husband wakes me up.  I’m not a morning person.  Scott is.  This week, he parodied local radio personalities to wake me.  “I’m Cathy Bradberry and this is Earthsense” or “I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension.”  In October, he put a giant Halloween Snoopy inflatable in bed with me.

4)  That the girls haven’t noticed I sold their play kitchen.

5)  Popping the top on the popcorn.  It doesn’t happen often.  When I was growing up, I watched my dad pop stovetop popcorn and sometimes the lid would start to rise.  It still gives me shivers of excitement.

6)  Letters Norah leaves around the house (this one is for the house gnome.  She thinks he took her barbie.  In reality, Goodwill took it.)

I think I’ll blame the house gnome for the play kitchen, too.

End of September Joys

As I try to give myself more margin, I’m noticing much small joy around me.

Is any joy small?

* Cedar’s love of frilly pink things and My Little Ponies.

* Sharing poetry and Shakespeare with Norah.

* Playing iPod shuffle “name that tune” with Scott. I’m really weak at Yacht Rock.

* Silly texting with Noelle even though international texting isn’t free. We’ve always silly texted so even though Skype is free, we continue the practice.

* Learning about the Faroe Islands because they regularly show up in my blog visitor stats and I don’t know about this lovely place. Now I want to visit. Or live there. Hello to my reader(s) in the Faroe Islands!

* Receiving texts about intimate birthy things in the middle of dinner parties. It is like the sweetest slumber party secret.

* Cedar sleeping with 24 My Little Ponies and hearing them fall out of her bed. One at a time. All night long.

* Watching Norah draw.

* The mothercords I wear on my ankles and the families they represent.

* Cedar putting on her “work boots” to help my dad work. I have almost this same picture from when I was a kid.

* Discovering that Keen makes boots. Discovering this tidbit because my sweetest of all husbands ordered a pair for me.

* The last warm days of summer.

* Norah asking me to help her memorize “Be Thou My Vision.”

May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright heav’ns Son.

I hope you’re also finding joy in these fleeting, wispy moments.

Can I get a gold star?

My six-year-old asked for a chore chart.

You remember this child and her strange ways.  She also asks for steamed broccoli for breakfast.

I am not a fan of charts.  I’m not philosophically opposed to them or anything.  It is simply that we have very little routine or similarities to our days.  I fly by the seat of my pants most of the time.  To be perfectly honest, anytime I try to implement a schedule, it lasts two days.

I stalled Norah for a few weeks as I tried to decide what to do about this chore business.  I don’t want to frustrate her no-nonsense, black/white tendencies with my flights o’ fancy.  I also didn’t want it to feel like a reward chart.  As an adult who craves praise and  gold stars, I am keen for my daughters to avoid this behavior.

Finally I came up with this:

I can pick the day’s tasks each morning and clip them to the “do” clothespin.  This way I can customize them to fit the day.  I recognize that I’m prone to disorganization so I placed blank cards and markers nearby in case I need to create a new task.

So far it is working for both of us.  Norah enjoys looking at her tasks for the day.  And I enjoy letting the cards nag instead of me.

Full disclosure:  This labor of love was created in a hot mess of sobbing after the girls went to bed.  My darling man tried to send me out of the house for a lone drive to Dunkin Doughnuts.  Roll the windows down, listen to some good music.  I hiccupped, “No, I just need to, gasp, sob, do this.”

I felt much better when I had finished the task.  But the doughnuts would have been nice.



It was fun.  It was exhausting.  I think we’ll stick with vacations away from home in the future.  Here is a summary (pic heavy):

  • Cider doughnuts
  • Lazy mornings
  • Paddling

  • Mimosas
  • Bounce House
  • Fort Building

  • Pancakes
  • Apple picking

  • Thrift stores
  • Slushies
  • Roller skating

  • Brie and baguettes
  • Sleeping until 11am one morn (thank you, Scott!)
  • Aquarium

  • Candy shop
  • Swimming

  • Mexican food
  • Keeping Cedar from falling into the sea urchins

  • Toy stores
  • Skating rink pizza
  • Soda shop

  • Strong coffee
  • Camping

  • Playground
  • Art

  • River tubing
  • Campfire popcorn
  • Dolphin show

  • Miles and miles of driving
  • Poprocks
  • Yoga with penguins

  • Not charging my phone (pretty sure I lost a voicemail from a person who needs a doula.  If I haven’t called you, call me back!)
  • Daddy lovin’

  • Not charging my iPad
  • Silliness

  • Strolling
  • Fiction, in teeny increments

  • Mountains
  • Marshmallows

  • Margaritas
  • French press (thanks Noelle and Zach!)

  • Bicycles
  • Learning here or there

And a tremendous, tremendous mess