Saturday, August 31, 2013

august goes out how it came in

 photos from our photo shoot last night at Treft.Punkt
had a great time with the entire creative team and yum dinner afterwards at Bernie's.

Today is the last day of August, and it's been pouring rain all day. After such an unusally warm June and July, the rain in August has been a welcomed change. I love rainy weather, it's so cozy and inspiring. There's just something so calming about looking outside and seeing the rain falling steadily down. 

sleepy head on the potty after just waking up
I can't resist taking these kinds of pictures!

After a lazy morning, we zipped on our rain jackets and went out into the rain for a walk before lunch. Everything felt so green and alive, and the sound of the rain falling on the trees was a soothing balm on my somewhat-frazzled soul. Just what I needed after a long, hard week. 

this happened on the walk too.
and he just laid there for a moment
and then looked up at me and said, "uh-oh."
such a silly one, my Riggs.

after the fall we headed home to trade our
wet clothes for warm, soft cozy ones
and to eat soup and cinnamon toast

Now we just wait for Steve to get home so we can start our real weekend with him.
We're excited to have him home for two whole days!

Anybody have any fun Labor Day plans? Our plan is to get lots of projects done around the house, wish us luck!

Friday, August 30, 2013

chicken update!

my sweet Elizabeth
It's only been a few weeks that we've had the chickens here, but I feel like they've been here forever. They are so easy, and I'm excited because they are getting to know me better. They come running up whenever I go out to the coop now, swoon! The two Buffs are much more curious and will come right up to me, but they don't want to be touched our held, at all. The Australorp pullets are turning out to be so sweet, especially Elizabeth. She is by far my favorite of the four, such a sweetie! She lets me pet her and hold her in my lap, and she always comes to the sound of my voice.

They're all pretty scared of Riggs. If he gets near the coop they keep their distance from him. I can't wait to order some chicks that we can raise by hand, cuddling and loving on them all the time so they're used to us and aren't scared of poor Riggy, who is so so so in love with the 'caw-caws', as he calls them.

After they had been here for two weeks, I opened the partition part of their coop so that they can free range out in the fenced yard during the day. You should have seen them when they first were out there! They explored the entire yard and then got around to scratching and hunting for bugs. It just makes my heart so happy to see them out in the yard, enjoying the sun and exploring around.

It's so nice have fresh eggs, I just can't get over it. Only Clucky has been laying for the last couple of weeks. I'm not sure what's up with Duchess, she's moulting so maybe that's it. I'm the most novice bird owner ever so any insight would be helpful.

can you spot the difference between my eggs
and the organic ones I bought from the store?
Yesterday was a very hard day, but there was one very special moment that brightened my afternoon and evening immensely and still has me smiling...this teeny tiny egg was there in the nesting box when I went to collect! One of my pullets is laying! I am so excited to have more than one fresh egg every day and a half, you have no idea. And the cuteness factor of the tiny egg is just off the charts. I mean seriously!

We'll see what changes winter will bring, but for now my recommendation is, get chickens! They are incredibly low maintenance and they are so fun to have around. If you've wanted them but are intimidated by the whole process of getting started, I promise you, it is so incredibly easy once you've got everything set up. A good coop and run, some food and water, and you're set!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

milestones can be painful

Today Riggs hit a milestone. 
It was one that I have not been looking forward to.
And it just came out of nowhere. 

He threw a huge fit in the middle of a store.
A screaming/growling/flailing fit.
I don't even know what started it.
One minute he was happily 'helping' me push the cart.
The next, he started crying.

I tried to make it better, asking him to tell me what he needed.
I picked him up, and he screamed louder.
I put him down, and he yelled and rolled around and hit the ground.

I tried again to ask him what was wrong.
Finally I realized that the answer was pretty obvious.
He needed to cry and scream and flail so that I'd realize that he needed to go home.
He was sick, tired and his teeth hurt, and the store was clearly too much for him.

Needless to say, there were lots of people staring at us.
Including a few who came from other aisles to see what the commotions was.
He sounded like he was dying.
But the thing is, I wasn't embarrassed. 
I wasn't going to change how I dealt with the situation to make
all the people in the store happy. 
I didn't care what they thought.

And it felt good not to care.
Too many times I worry about what people with think about my parenting decisions.
It's idle worry, because I know I'm doing a good job.
God put me in this role because he knew I would be the best mother for my child.
He guides me to parent Riggs the best way I see fit (and Steve too, of course).

I'm not perfect.
I'm always going to make mistakes and regret some decisions.
But I try so hard to do my best based on the information I have.
And I love my son so deeply.

It was a very hard day. Even when we got home the crying and tantrums didn't stop.
Poor baby couldn't go to sleep for his nap on his own, even though he was
so very tired. I rocked him and rubbed his sore gums and he finally drifted off.
He needed his mama today.

 I wish so badly that I could take on his pain,
that I could be sick for him,
that I could make teething not hurt, somehow.

But all I can do is comfort him through his suffering.
I'm so glad God gave me a perfect example of how to love.
And how to be there for someone through their suffering.

And every day, many times a day, I pray for him to lend me his strength.
To not lose my patience.
To speak kindly.
To love selflessly.

Luckily it's very easy to love this guy:

I hope you feel better tomorrow my sweet boy.
Mama loves you more than you'll ever know...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

this week around the 'homestead'

I love calling our place 'the homestead'. For some reason it's like an inside joke between Steve and I and we always call it that. It's not very accurate, since as far as livestock goes we only have four (recently acquired) chickens and one labrador retriever (do the numerous wild bunnies that forage in our yard count?). And our 'garden' is made up of...wait for it...a single rhubarb plant.

Buuuttttt...we still call it that. 
Because it's our someday dream to homestead, to be as self-sufficient as possible. 

To be realistic, our 'dream' probably won't be realized while we live on this one-acre property. To be even 50% self-sufficiant we will need a bit more land. But we want to do as much as we can here, where we live now; to make it work as much as we can.

I have spent most of this summer planning for next summer. We have been preparing beds for next springs garden, including finally getting a compost system set up. 
Steve scored some nice wood containers from work that we are repurposing into raised beds and we want to fill them this fall so that they're ready first thing next year. 

I also plan on ordering some chicks in the spring to increase our little flock. 
It's fun to make plans, but I'm also trying to be realistic about making sure I can follow through on them. 

Despite not really being a homestead yet, it is truly our home and we love it here. Every day as Riggs and I explore out in the yard and down our little dirt road, I am so thankful to be here where I feel so comfortable and happy.

Riggs has so much to keep him busy here too. He especially loves climbing on the old highline arms Steve brought home from work.  

I am also so excited because Riggs discovered the moon this week!
He's been able to point it out in books for months now, but usually when I try to show it to him outside, he just seems confused and uninterested. 

This time, I pointed to it and said, "Look, Riggs, it's the moon!" 
He craned his neck, looked up and searched the sky for a few seconds.
Then a hug smile crossed his face.
He had spotted it!

The rest of our walk he kept checking to make sure it was still there.

Steve and I both got hit with some serious allergies/head colds Sunday that lasted for a few days. Steve went back to work Tuesday even though he was still pretty stuffy and tired, and I'm finally starting to feel a bit better today. 

Despite feeling like zombies, we managed to take a family walk Monday morning so that Riggs could get out of the house.

I think the fresh air was good for all of us.
And I know seeing my two guys smiling and laughing together made me feel better.
I love these two so very much!


Before you leave, I wanted to share some pictures I took early Monday morning.

I was out feeding the chickens feeling very bad and grumpy about being awake. I was mostly focused only on my own misery, barely paying attention to the world around me when suddenly I realized
that the birds were going crazy. Not the chickens, mind you, but some other birds out in the yard.

It seemed like all I could hear was various bird songs and chirps and calls and trills. It was noisy!
I got out of the coop and stood up to really look around and noticed that there was a lot of activity going on by the woodpecker's tree.

There were four and sometimes five woodpeckers fluttering around and seeming to 'fight' with each other about whether or not they could land on the tree. It was so crazy! I was just mesmerized watching them interact so intensely. 

If anyone is a birding expert I'd appreciate feedback on what those crazy woodpeckers were doing!
Usually we only see one in the nest and one coming to bring food. I've never seen that many around the tree before! Maybe I'll add the woodpecker's to my livestock list...not cheating at all, right? 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Featured on The Active Mum blog!

Tuesdays Aanie over at The Active Mum blog hosts the Active Life Link Up as a space for bloggers to inspire each other to stay active. In her words:

I started this link up because I'm passionate about raising awareness of the importance of an active lifestyle.  It is so important to give our children opportunities to be active, and hopefully when they are old enough to make their own lifestyle decisions, they too will choose a healthy active lifestyle.  Being active doesn't mean strenuous exercise, it can be as simple as a leisurely walk or playing in the garden with your children.  I'd love to see how you stay active!

This week I was excited to see that she chose me to be her featured blogger! Thank you Aanie! Head over to her blog to join the link up and be sure to add her blog to your reading list. You'll find great resources for staying healthy and active from recipes to fashionable fun!

7 (simple) Activities to Keep Your Toddler Busy

I think any mom of a one or two year old would agree, they are so. incredibly. active. They have so much energy and are like little tornadoes, causing so much destruction and chaos in such a short amount of time. I mostly try to avoid big messes in the house just because I hate having to clean them up over and over again. To clarify, I don't mind if he makes a mess in his room, with his toys. What I don't like is when he tears through the rest of the house, knocking books off the shelves and pulling things out of cabinets just because he's bored.

I prefer instead to try and keep him engaged doing something and fun, but it's not always easy to come up with activities that captivate his interest. I often look for ideas on Pinterest, and there are great resources as well on other mom-blogs, like Chelsea's post about toddler play at home.

I noticed that there are a few things that Riggs always enjoys doing that keep him entertained for quite a while. I thought I'd share some of them here for other toddler moms looking for ideas. None of them are  groundbreaking, amazing ideas, but they are easy to do and almost so simple you might not think of them.

1. playing outside/taking a walk
This is the best thing ever as far as keeping Riggs entertained. He literally would play outside all day long if he could. We spend a lot of time outside as a result, probably about half his waking hours on average. Steve and I love to be outside too so it just fits for us as a family (if you've read my blog for very long you'll already know this since half of my posts are about our outdoor adventures, like this, this, and this). But even if you don't necessarily love being outside, I would still highly recommend scheduling at least one daily walk into your current routine. It is so important for kids to spend time outside to explore the world around them and get lots of fresh air. I heard on NPR last week that the average American child spends only 4-7 minutes in unstructured outdoor play a day but spends more than 7 hours a day in front of a screen (source). I think the best way to change this staggering statistic is to get our kids outside for longer periods at younger ages. Being active and spending lots of time outside are lifelong skills that we can teach our kids young if we make it a priority from the beginning.

2. reading a good book
Riggs loves books and will often sit for 5-10 minutes 'reading' and looking at books by himself. But most of the time he would prefer if Steve or I read the books to him. He will sit in our lap listening to us read book after book. I'm so thrilled that he loves books so much, and feel lucky too, since I know there are plenty of toddlers who just aren't that interested until later. 

3. playing with Tutka (our black lab)
Obviously, this isn't possible if you don't have a dog (or a cat). But if you do, this could be a great opportunity for your child and your dog to have a little entertaining bonding time. Riggs and Tutka are only 1 month apart (we brought Tutka home when Riggs was only 3 months old), so they have literally grown up together. They play together all the time and it's hard to keep them apart sometimes, but I always stay close to make sure that Riggs isn't hurting Tutka (he likes to point to his eyes and nose, but sometimes he gets a little carried away and pokes him in the eye). Tutka is very gentle with Riggs, and I know in my heart he would never purposefully hurt him, but I still don't ever leave them alone together. It's never okay to leave a pet alone with your child, no matter how much you trust them.

 4. build a fort
I really don't think this one needs too much explaining. Everybody loves forts! You can build one with anything you have around, and no matter how lame the fort is your child will love it. We throw a blanket over Riggs' little wood table usually, and he plays for the longest time, crawling in and out of it. You really can make a fort out of anything too, just this afternoon I rolled up my yoga mat into a sort of half circle and stood it up on the ground and Riggs had so much fun just hanging out under it. Very easy and oh so entertaining. 

5. playing with cars or trains
This one might seem super obvious, but it always works for us. Riggs often plays with cars by himself, but if he's getting a little bored and needs extra 'help' playing, I build him a track somewhere different, like in the living room or kitchen. For some reason the change in location makes it more fun for him. I also set up little places for him to play with his trains that are different and stimulating - his favorite is to play on a fold out card table while he sits in one of our recliners.

6. bathtime in the sink
This is an activity that needs to be supervised, you wouldn't want them to fall out of the sink! But it's a great way to let them play while you work nearby, chopping vegetables, unloading the dishwasher or whatever else you might need to do in the kitchen. Riggs loves it and has so much fun 'stirring' with his whisk and 'washing' some dishes I give him.

7. painting/art projects
I left this one for last because it's one of the 'hardest', since it involves a tiny bit of set up and clean up. Despite the extra work it's always worth it to see how much fun Riggs has and how proud he is of his 'art'. We keep it simple with large sheets of butcher paper and one or two colors of washable paint, or simple crayons and paper. Then I always hang up his artwork above his little table so that he can see them and show them to daddy when he comes home from work. 

So there you have it, the seven fun and somewhat educational things I do most often to keep Riggs entertained and engaged. If you have any great ideas for me, I'd love to hear them so be sure to share in the comment section!

The Active Mum