Saturday, February 25, 2012

It's now or not until who knows when...

To the background soundtrack of Kali galloping around with the broom and Alida laughing at her while bouncing in her doorway jumper, I type! I've had "blog" on my list of things to do every day since last weekend and it just isn't happening. And it is not that I'm instead focusing on journaling. That is not happening either. And, as I'm currently scanning old journals when I'm laying beside Alida falling asleep at night, I'm realizing how valuable it is to be able to look back and remember (whether I like what I read or not) earlier times in my life journey...

Tomorrow would be a good opportunity to catch up on the blog since I've cleared the day to stay home with the girls to try to keep all our germs to ourselves. Kali and I are both nursing colds and then Kali woke up this morning with a very red eye, sealed shut (probably pinkeye). It looks great now, thanks to the wonders of breast milk (yes, I squirted her in the eye multiple times today). So I think we are all on the mend, but with still coughing and being rather snotty we figure it best to let Jason enjoy a day in town without us and for us to enjoy a day at home without other commitments. So why can't I save the blog for tomorrow and do the dishes right now? Well, one of the things Jason and I decided to do together for lent was have "screen-free Sundays." Tomorrow is the first! So I'll be shutting down my computer at the end of the day and not turning it on until Monday. I think I will be more challenged by this commitment than Jason, since I think most of his Sundays are currently "screen-free."

Two additional snippets, not covered by the recently posted videos:

Last weekend we did our "Adopt a Highway" route again, this time with Aunt E and her boyfriend J. Lots of fun was had by all five of us that participated and we were grateful for all the adult muscles along, and the kid ones too! It continues to boggle my mind and disgust me what things folks will fling out their car windows.

While E & J were visiting, we also worked together and finished putting all the rocks in the groundwater recharge pit in Nora's garden. It continues to be a good process for us to work on that project together, and with others as they are able to join us. Next stage of that involves Jason pouring the concrete top.

Jason has planted kale, lettuce, oats, winter wheat and spring wheat in the garden. He has also made fabulous headway on some clearing projects on his precious "work days at home." Today he was clearing around the pecan trees and so currently has the "nut grove" on his mind!

Today had some special moments in it. For the last few months we have been blessed to have a couple living in Mom and Dad's in-law quarters. We are grateful for the ways our lives have been able to intersect, and I've felt glad many times lately that we moved ahead with building when we did. It felt odd sometimes to have the space ready for Mom and Dad, but to not have them here. Now it seems in some ways serendipitous that we did. The couple now using the space moved to the area to be closer to their two children, particularly at this time in their life as the father is journeying with cancer (making life both precious and very unpredictable).

Today their son came bearing a gift of a serviceberry tree to be planted near the house, as a thank you for opening our home to them. We have been gifted by interacting with their family, so a gift didn't feel necessary by any means but this particular gift is very meaningful. As I walked out to help (or photograph) the digging of the hole and planting the tree, I saw the little clump of daffodils that came from table centerpieces from my Grandma's funeral blooming by our door. As we planted the serviceberry tree, marking the time their family is spending in our home, it was meaningful to think that the same species of tree is planted in Nora's memory at the Mountain House in West Virginia. Like the West Virginia tree, this one will be right near the swingset, where children play and enjoy life to the fullest.

There is so much to soak up in life right now. I'm grateful for memories and I'm grateful for dreams. But many times, I look at Alida and Kali and Jason and am in awe of the present moment. And I need to be fully present right now because Alida has moved into a stage in which she needs full-time supervision. The girl has plans and many of them include leaving a path of destruction behind her. She loves to remove all the books from the bookshelf, unload the block box or her toy box, dump the box of spools, throw Kali's plastic fruits and vegetables around the room, and of course find any crumbs, dirt, or firewood remains on the floor and consume them, smacking her lips in satisfaction each time (until I come after her and she takes off crawling as fast as she can with her little lips pursed with her treasure enclosed). What a pumpkin!

Well, if I don't close this soon I'll be typing to the sound of the canner going - not sure I'm ready for canning season to begin, but tonight it is just chicken broth. This year is the first year we have been using our canned goods at the pace needed to make a true dent in them by the time the next season rolls around. We are not grocery shopping very much at all right now and are usually putting a few empty canning jars back on the shelf each day or two. That feels great! Okay, must run - baby now out of the jumper and taking off towards Kali's bedroom...

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Three video snippets below can give you a small taste of some of the activities in our household of late. When more time is available for typing, I hope to fill in some more details on what else we have been up to.

First snippet: homeschooling. And Alida is currently spinning herself dizzy in her circle seat as I try to quickly type this before she wants out!

Second snippet: block box. Location is clearly important. Some recent rearranging moved the clunky toy box over by the dining room table and the block box over to the living room. Now that it is within clear site of everyone it has been a main attraction in our home. Both Kali and Alida are enjoying blocks. This is what Alida most likes to do with them.

Third snippet: dirt. And while she really likes unloading the block box, there are things that take even higher priority. She is still our little vaccum cleaner - finding any and all pieces of dirt that she can on the floor and consuming them (giving me that knowing glance as if to let me know that she knows I don't approve but the temptation is just too much for her).


Saturday, February 11, 2012


I guess one could say that if you have time to photograph your to do list then it really can't be too bad... So here it is! Though one thing (pruning) can be crossed off after Jason's work day today. It seems of late I've been thinking once again about balance and how to not only find it for brief moments in time but how to find ways to sustain it in our lives. Right now it seems that balance is hard to maintain consistently and that I'm easily knocked off balance. And it seems that our to do list grows much faster than it shrinks right now. Jason and I both feel a tad bit nervous that most nights we crawl into bed rather exhausted AND the growing season has not even started yet (other than a few seedlings Jason is tending).

That being said, there is much in life to celebrate and we are incorporating a lot of good routines and rhythms in our household. Family nights have been great - the three we have had since making the decision to have them regularly - with the most recent including making soft pretzels together.

And Alida and Kali continue to delight and amaze us, with the littlest gal growing up way too fast! She has most recently learned to climb stairs and has quite the sense of humor and her shrieks make my ears ring. She also seems to be starting to consider life as a night owl like her big sister - something her mother is not too excited about as that will assure that she is outnumbered in this family as one who enjoys an early bedtime! Though tonight Alida sacked out early (hence the ability to write this post and share a new cute video with whoever happens upon this). Here is how Alida gets cleaned up after eating her dinner:

One final note - we gave Kali a coupon for Christmas for a sleeping bag. It was in part due to our desire to rid ourselves of a hand-me-down Dora the Explorer sleeping bag that supposedly was inflatable but the device was clunky and not so easy to use, took a long time, and by morning there was no air left inside. So it had seen better days and Kali was ready to part with it if she had an alternative. She has not been so excited in a long time as she was when the box arrived this week with her purple sleeping bag. She has slept in it the last two nights!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Update from wild, wonderful, West Virginia

The Myers-Benner gals are all in West Virginia for the weekend (Jason is at home alone with the project list!). I'm glad for two super travelers that accompanied me today (on my first road trip with Kali and Alida alone). It was cute to hear Alida asking about Da Da on our drive over the mountains - she says, "Da Da Da Da" and then makes a little sound with the intonation of a question, indicating she wants you to say something about his whereabouts. I'm always happy to oblige.

West Virginia is as wonderful as it normally is, complete with Grandma and Grandpa Myers to pamper all three of us. Alida is enjoying getting to know the Mountain House and I'm enjoying some rare moments - reading, playing more games than usual, and I haven't done any dishes in the 10 or so hours since we arrived (thanks again, Mom!). And I am typing with two hands with Alida sacked out upstairs - she played hard today, all 24 pounds of her!

Yes, she had her 10 month check up this week and remains consistent in her height, weight and head circumference - all at or above the 95th percentile. She is now about 4 times the heaviest weight Nora was ever able to get to her in time with us, which is getting less hard to believe as she does feel like a big girl (especially when hiking up a steep mountain with her asleep in the front pack).

I thought about Nora a lot today. Jason told me last evening that the three little yellow crocuses we have enjoyed each spring are blooming. I went out this morning and caught them before the sun had shone on them, so there was frost all around them. I'm not sure Nora would have been ready to come outside with us on February 2nd, but it continues to be a reminder of her presence with us each spring when the trio blooms. Then on the way to West Virginia I had a tape on to help Alida fall asleep and it was the lullaby music that we played nonstop in Nora's hospital room the week she died. It filled me with good and sad memories, and I felt closer to her and to those memories than I have in a while. It takes slowing down sometimes to access them as I feel so fully consumed most days with life in its present form. I'm grateful for the opportunity today provided for a bit of slowing down.

I think we can attribute a bit of Alida's hardiness and a few of her gained ounces from the mountains of kale she has consumed over the last number of weeks. It is not an understatement to say that she loves the stuff!

The only other news to report that feels worthy of staying up a few more moments to comment on is that we have kept up our plan to have regular family meetings and family nights and we are enjoying both. Our second family night was after Alida's doctor appointment this week - we enjoyed dinner and bingo at The Little Grill. Jason and I were very relieved when our family won the first two games - so we could leave! Our littlest can be quite loud these days - she shrieks, growls, roars and in general makes her presence known...

And the most recent "emergency" family meeting (a deadline on a decision precipitated an unplanned meeting) came up with this decision: we have decided on the animal we will have join our family in 2012. There is an order of ten Rouen ducks placed and they will join our little homestead in April. All are excited, especially the 8 year old!