"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fit and Fitter....But come on, Spring!

 I am turning over one of those new leaves that I keep trying to flip. I have a new app that I am using that's like an electronic personal trainer...complete with timer and encouraging comments. (BodyBot) that I am using daily to try to get into shape. My lack of muscle and tone is alarming me. I'm managing to to stay fairly thin an dam happy about how changing my eating has almost eliminated struggles with weight but I would like to see a little more vibrant strength in my body.

I have also suddenly become kind of addicted to my FitBit which is an electronic step-counter/sleep  monitor that I wear on my wrist in bracelet form. I'm part of a online group who work together for daily and weekly challenges, trying to hit our step-count targets. I am trying to hit 10,000 steps every day. Eventually in the future I will try to up my active minutes or cultivate some amount of "active" time but for now, just trying to hit my step goal is a lofty target. Most days I do it if I think about it. Having the accountability of a group is crucial to me. I'm much cheered by warm connectivity.

 I am also much shamed by what others already know how to do and how embarrassed I feel to be incompetent which is why gyms are such a total loss with me. Somehow I find yoga studios to be a much warmer environment but then....I'm also naturally flexible and not naturally strong or endurant. Heh. We all have our high points. I want to work with what I'm good at but not box myself in there and eliminate the hard learning that will push my edges. Its really hard as an adult to cultivate that kind of living. It seems like everyone around me is doing what they are good at and nothing else. Tricky!

 Its still so cold out, sometimes blusteringly windy and occasionally even snowy. The north side of the house still has snow and ice on the ground for sure. We are however, technically past the wintertime and into a section of days that legally belongs to spring. The snowdrops are blooming and sometime soon there will be crocus and daffodil. I think its Pitch The Snowflakes time!

We had our first spring grill out this afternoon at my aunt's house when we visited and it was incredible to stand outdoors on the patio and have the smoke blow in my face while the sun beamed down and a red-winged blackbird cheered from the marsh beyond us. I'm so ready for warmer weather that I can't even describe it. I feel incredibly delicate emotionally about the winter and the chill and am hanging on somewhat desperately.

I just got off the phone with my cousin who moved this past summer from Southern California to Michigan. I don't know if I am quite as desperate for spring as he is. That's intense.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Syrup, Glasses and Peachy Walls

The big news at our house is that Dee is taller...(3 inches in the last year) and right on up to 10th percentile and he is also going to be getting glasses! He's all hot and cold, nervous about it...getting rid of the nearsightedness headaches sounds great but he's worried about looking weird and finding frames that "suit him." I am looking forward to a fabulous frame shopping session with just him where we let him try on every single one that appeals and don't come home tell we have suited him up like Gregory Peck in the most handsome pair of specs possible. Must. Call. And actually schedule that appointment.

 The weather is crazy. We had a few more inches of snow this past week, then some warm and golden days where everything melted and then today the wind was whipping around the house and the ground was all solidly frozen again. I stayed indoors, tried not to cry, shuffled around in my moccasins, drank lots of tea and joined a fitness challenge. Oh spring, please come soon! I may elope to Florida if you don't.
 Its sugaring season at the local nature center which makes me feel nostalgic, like an imposter and slightly superior all at once. I love the smell of sap boiling down and the taste of the fresh syrup which just IS different than the bottled product on the shelf, I feel totally silly going through the "This is how real maple syrup is made, kids!" class and activity at the nature center...my parents would eye roll so bad....I know how to do all of this and the only reason why my kids don't is because I haven't ever gotten my tail in gear enough to be able to make it happen at our house. I am also not sure it is worth it. It smells incredible and I have no sugaring shack and it tastes divine and I have no desire to be outside in sugaring weather. Heh. This is why I support local folks with my purchasing power. Check back when we are discussing fresh carrots or foraging for autumn mushrooms.

 BUT....in a teeny nod to the warmth of the summer and the colors I love and the deliciousness of the tropics...THIS is my new bedroom wall color! Isn't it pretty?

There is still a lot of painting to do...it didn't cover perfectly, some spots still need spackle and sanding and the trim always needs some going over. But I love it. Its lush and soothing and just the lifting shade I was hoping it would be. Isn't it great when things work out?!?

I love painting walls...almost nothing can help me relax quite like it.  Except for maybe gardening.

Oh Spring....Can you come now?!?!?!?!?!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cleaning My Home Sweet Home

 Today was our first day back from Florida with our feet really on the ground. So, we decided to drive back down to the airport after a deep sleep (we got in at 3AM Saturday) and ship A off to California. We are all sad to see him go and are shuffling along towards normal but feeling very strange without him here to shuffle too. In his absence I have decided to CLEAN!

On my way back from the airport I bought a new vaccuum cleaner and then I hit the house like a brace of foxes with their tails tied to torches! I got both full baths done and started the master bedroom. Bedrooms always take longer to spring clean just because of all the linens that need washing. On our bed we have not only the dust ruffle and regular assortment of pillows and sheets but also a pillowtop and double pillows which I always think it smart to wash too. Shezam! Things are smelling fresher...windows have been opened, rubber gloves have been squeaked into and little boys have been pressed into service.

I took pictures for posterity. After I finish a room, as a reward I get to freeze the moment in a photo. These pictures are the most lasting evidence that any cleaning happened. Good thing I am not too attached to results. Have you heard about what it is like to clean a house with kids in it? So true. At least for my house and my kids. Today, I am processing Florida and making spring come by scrubbing and not worrying too much about how long the floor stays free of pee or the sink without spots. 
Florida was divine, as it will be. All sunshine and palm trees and shells on shells on the white, powdery sand. We met new friends, hung out with old and even had a little time with family which is the pinnacle of perfection. 

Am chewing on the things I learned from this trip. 
Lots of little things, and some larger things:
  • Winter recovery trips should be to one cabin/cottage AT the beach, no hopping and driving about.
  • Paprika is a great spice and deserves more of the limelight.
  • So does lime! Its good for so much more than avocados and ice water.
  • Nib is not really ready to go on airboat rides to see wild alligators.
  • The older two kid are really getting to the point where they have opinions and want input into vacation choices.
  • Having a washer is a must in a vacation house.
  • Florida has SOOOO much stuff to see! We must go back.

In between thinking fondly of Florida, sorting our shells we brought home, dumping sand out of swimsuits and cleaning madly....I boxed off some time for a walk outdoors with my bevy of scrubbers and shell gatherers.
We trotted around the block in only our sweaters, mind you! And admired the melting snow, the empty sidewalks and the feeling of fresh, moist air on our cheeks. And then we found it. The first flower of the spring! Just around the corner from our house there were snowdrops actually out of the ground, blinking whitely at the world. We had a little jumping up and down celebration and then promptly ran back home to make the Very Last Tiny Snowman Of Winter with the remains of the snow in the backyard (our house faces south so the back always holds the snow). 

Spring is slowly creeping along and starting to look like its on its way and my man has promised he'll bring us all some more sunshine when he comes home from California. Power on! Tomorrow I tackle the upstairs floors and take my first big load to Goodwill.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Nestling In With Field Guides

 We escaped this past Saturday to a local greenhouse for a little snow relief. We have been amazed that the snow has just kept coming. We have had no real bare ground around here since December which is unusual. I keep stuttering over the fact that normally I have snowdrops poking up in my garden in February....this year there's no plants or even garden edging stones in sight. All still buried under about two feet of snow. We were outside shoveling yesterday morning first thing and we had to push the van out when it got stuck in the driveway momentarily today. What a winter!

I usually am looking for a little sight of green and some warmth right about now...all the seed catalogs showing vines and flowers and nothing looking remotely green in the yard at this time. This year that concept on steroids. We enjoyed our greenhouse escape. The place we go, Logee's Tropicals is a cobbled string of greenhouses that have retail plants but clearly have their roots in being personal growing places. There are giant towering citrus trees planted directly in the soil that drop fruit on the rows of pots for sale in the benches below and avid vines climbing the walls and creeping into every crack and rambling around all doorways. Its a very human kind of place. Very warm. Very green. The boys love it too and immediately start hunting up homes for themselves under certain potting benches or behind terracotta planters. Who wouldn't want to homestead in a greenhouse?!?
 At home, life continues apace. We may have a later spring with all this snow to melt, I sure wonder. I am packing for Florida (we leave Friday for a week!) and while away I am kind of hoping to map out where the vegetables will go in each garden bed. I might even order seeds while sitting in the tropical sun. I'm also really excited for the chance to see people we love who have moved away to the land of sunshine. We will be seeing one of Ru's oldest playmates, the daughter of some sweet friends that we have just managed by the skin of our teeth to stay in touch with through several moves and accumulating years. The mama in this particular family was one of my first mama friends. When I was just getting started, and had only one or two children, we would get together to talk about our latest parenting conundrums. Amazing to think of getting together with our now enormous kids, on a beach and laugh and talk together again. I'm also really excited to visit with my cousin (always a big hit with the boys!), eat Cuban sandwiches together, reminisce about our childhoods together and compare life goals. Family is the best invention ever.

 I am packing suitcases with all our shorts and bathing suits, thinking so excitedly of being in actual warmth. I cannot wait to lay in the sun on a beach and fall asleep while "reading." My shell picking fingers are itchy for beach combing and the boys are talking all day, every day about the sand castles they will build and the tricks they'll do in the water. So much, absurdly giddy fun to think about the magic of air travel and how it can take you to another place where life is so different and so warm but in the same world and time. What an incredible thing!

 The boys have been having lots and lots of snow play this year which is really cool. Our two sleds have been getting the best workout of their lives. We've also had snow ice cream a couple of times this winter. So much fun to enjoy the last of the cold weather with a tumbling bunch of little boys who go spilling out into the snow like so many puppies. Ru has also really been getting good at shoveling which is fantastic for the whole family and for his muscles and sense of accomplishment. One of his chores right now is making sure the front and back walks are clear and sprinkling salt if needed. He feels like a legit groundskeeper and gets a lot of positive regard for his hard work. Winter gifts.

Sending you all warm thoughts in the midst of another gentle snowfall as I traipse off to bed to flip through my stack of South Atlantic shoreline field guides....shells, sandpipers, sponges, seaweed......*sigh*