enough is enough

This past Sunday I woke, (or chose to end the dreadful night, whichever term you prefer) with an achy body, a stuffy nose and red burning eyes.  I withered away over the next three days, hardly lifting my head from the couch.  Foggy head diaper changing, the house going to shambles, no baths, no baking, no knitting, no singing.  A fever that lasted on and on settled into my bones.  I couldn’t keep the fire warm enough to chase the chills away.  My boys brought me cups of water while I wallowed on the couch and made by bed for me.  They even placed an extra blanket atop saying it was to keep me “safe and warm”. They played independently in a way I couldn’t have requested. They just knew it was what they had to do.

And of course, when I wrenched my head out of the abyss of illness come Wednesday morning, I looked around and did what us mothers do very well: I shamed myself.  My eyes registered the piles of dishes, the intensely large pile of laundry, the overwhelming pile of “crafts” growing in the craft room and I gasped.  Even with a sickness thick around my neck I felt the twinges of do more and be more creep in.  I wandered over and swept up the pieces of the craft room that didn’t seem to belong to any specific project, and rearranged the table before quickly retreating back to my place on the couch, baby on lap, tea in hand.  I felt so discouraged and overwhelmed.  But before I had time to settle into the familiar cycle of giving myself grief, I had a bowl cut boy grinning ear to ear standing in front of me holding up a card that read, “Thank-you-thor-clenin-up-mama. I love you mama!”.  Tears just about exploded out my ducts as I laughed at my prior feelings of inadequacy.  I need not be everything.  I need not be anything at all.  Luckily, gratefully, I have three beautiful reminders that I am enough tugging at my heartstrings constantly.

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This morning I woke up to a husband who has returned from a week-long work trip, fresh made maple syrup, the same messy house, the same dirty sweet boys, and a foggy, rainy day.  New bird songs wail through the trees and the sound of mud squelches under our boots.  My hair was wet by the time I scaled the slushy snow hill to the chicken coop from the dripping wet air. It’s the change of season.  The time of year where putting up with the long winter days, the negative temperatures, the ice-cold wind, the long nights of feeding a fire; They all become completely worth it.  And these are the things I will remember. These are the things that are important.  The fresh wet air after a sickness.  That cup of water.  That beautiful reminder.

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That I am enough.

(And PS so are you)

 

 

this moment

{this moment}

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{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual inspired by soulemama.com. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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one year later and a sunday glimpse

An unusual Sunday afternoon…

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I wonder where else these boys will dream up for us to try.   

AND

One year ago we spent our first day in this lovely little house on the hill.  That night, we all piled onto our mattress under the skylight in our bedroom  listening to the noises of a new house, comforted by each others breathing echoing of bare walls and feeling the light of the full moon on our skin.

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All those moons later.  Hard to believe how much has changed and how quickly a year can travel.  

harbingers of spring

The long thaw has officially begun.  Amongst the truth harbingers of spring atop our Vermont hillside are the unfurling of rhododendron leaves, roads rutting and freezing and rutting some more, dripping roofs, a rumor of some bulbs popping up at the public library in a neighboring town, and the tastiest sign, the one thick with hope: running sap.

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It only lasted a few days, but with some seriously excited boys under foot and a very determined mama, we managed to finagle 5 gallons of sap out of ten trees by our house.  A friend of Lee’s gave us a handful of buckets and spires the night before the infamous “day that felt like spring” and we were able to drill them in place just in time to see the sap spilling out.  Wet, clear, kerplink- kerplank-kerplunks were chorusing over all our worn down icy trails.  We peeped into those buckets with such fury over the next two days, and poured over every backyard maple sugaring book we could lay our hands on.  Beginners we are at best, there were dozens upon dozens of butterflies in my chest thinking about the boiling, and the finishing, and the sampling that lay at hand.

I collected the sap on the second afternoon, knowing a colder forecast was closing in on us and sure enough it did.  I lugged around a glass carboy from Lee’s beer brewing collection, hoping our neighbors didn’t happen to drive by to witness the struggle.  It was only Wednesday and even I wasn’t willing to attempt to boil down this syrup without the help of another grown up.  So, we buried it in the snow to wait for the weekend.

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A few cinder blocks, an old stainless steel pot, and a grill grate made up the most rudimentary of setups imaginable, but it produced the amber gold we sought out to taste.  All day long the sap rolled around, twirling into our noses making us salivate.  A few friends stopped by on a whim, by chance, despite the wintry mix upon us and a few cold beverages, and a few hot ones were consumed by the fire.  It was precisely how I envisioned such an event feeling.

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This morning we woke up and quickly got to work on devouring a stack of pancakes so high they threatened to tip, and coated them in the thickest, smokiest, mapliest syrup we have ever had the privilege of getting stuck to our fingers.  We spooned it on heartily and grinned and grinned and grinned.

The final result: The biggest pint of sweetness we ever saw.

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And it’s almost gone already.

 

cracking up

For one reason or another, yesterday I decided going to the dermatologist for a yearly check up was just fine with the three boys, and that it would be a learning experience.  So I pulled up to the hospital, where the boys were thrilled with the buttons to open the doors, and the big huge airport like parking lot.  They marveled at the many stairs, and all the different people.  And much to my dismay, upon scaling those large staircases I realized I had 7 eggs in my pocket from my earlier jaunt to the coop.  So, now not only did I have to manage the three boys, in nothing more than my birthday suit and a polka-dotted gown, I also would have to try to not crack the eggs.  I sighed at the obviously humourous challenge and continued the ascend.  They boys needed snacks while we were waiting and to make things easier, I switched Jasper from front slingin’, to back slingin’,  and then there was egg crack number one.  They called my name and the boys oohed and awwed at the scale, the examination table, my gown.  They were curious and miraculously polite.  They sat on the floor and did mazes, loving it so much they were difficult to pry out of the room when I was cleared and good to go.  I tugged on Rowan’s jacket, and wrapped up a baby, and in the mix of it all was cracked egg number two.

We made it to the parking lot, my pockets getting yolky despite my attempts to gracefully empty the shells into the garbage without drawing (any extra) attention to myself.  We drove home, chatting about this and that.  With nothing left on the day’s agenda except the continuation of building the ever so important dogsled.  I took my exit off the highway, and seconds later I saw the lights that every. one. dreads.  Those familiar, terrifying, nauseating, expensive flashing lights.  Yes, I got pulled over.  And not just anywhere, directly in front of my friend’s house, and directly across from another friends work place.  I, did what anyone one would do and I sheepishly smiled and waved.  Turns out my inspection was up, but luckily it wasn’t.  I just never picked up my sticker.  He also wasn’t pleased with the fact that my license was still clearly the side bang Georgia variety of Mariah.  I was grateful he was reasonable, (or maybe he just like the straight down banged version of me better?) and left me off with a warning.  But in the shifty nervousness of it all, yes, egg crack number three occurred.

Heart pounding, white knuckle driving from the aftermath of it all, I headed to the mechanics to pick up my sticker.  Lo and behold, it had been five months since the inspection, and he thought it made more sense to do it again.  Sulking, I headed back to the car, but not before I got my jacket caught on the doorknob, and you guessed it; egg crack number four.

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Hmm.. seems as though I’m in need of a good old-fashioned basket.