making it better

When so much has been overwhelming and difficult, I am happy to find there is a lot lately that just has made each day a little better.

  • watching my little baby become a little boy, so suddenly


  • seeing that same little boy enjoy being 1 so much and partying until he dropped


  • the sweet clothing we scored at Goodwill, including two Hawaiian shirts, one for each boy

  • venting at knit night and finding I am not alone in my troubles, plus getting at least three rows knit (a first in over a month)


  • my new birthday sewing machines and table ~~ These make me giddy! I realize one will have to be sold, but to get the table, I had to buy both machines at the antique shop. I had to, I’m telling you. 🙂 Plus, the boys were so patient while I inspected each machine, loaded them, and paid for them. I was so proud. It made the whole day just go wonderfully after that.


moving at a different pace


This past week has been a slow moving week, which seems to be the case when on vacation or visiting relatives. We have been living at my parent’s home for the past week, and will be for the week to come while working on a little project. The days get kind of muddled, worries of work at home are forgotten temporarily, and there is an ease to it all, even in our case with work involved. (Obviously it is different for each person – grandma and grandpa may not see it quite the same way!)

We are putting an architectural research project of my husband’s to real use as a pond-side cabin, a short tractor or truck ride from the real house (and real plumbing, real air conditioner, and real electricity). Many, many pictures have been snapped of each step of the way, but the results after a week of leveling, measuring, cutting, pushing, pulling, sweating, a little poison ivy, and a lot more swearing gives us the main body of the building and the structure of the deck.



While I got to take a break at home to face the reality of tomatoes in the garden and little tasks at home, I will head back out tomorrow to resume helping, though a lot is being done in my absence. Luckily, I missed out on the tar paper! What is left is metal siding and roofing to go on three sides, translucent plastic for the other two (the lattice sections), trim pieces to seal it all, windows, a door, a deck and a porch roof. And that is just the exterior.

Regardless of that amount of work, we are already dreaming of actual use and planning the interior space. We have the grand idea of finished inside walls, a loft, and a ladder. We have purchased tiles for the floor and the cabinet and countertop from the habitat store to make some storage and work space. We have Ikea chairs to relax in, solar powered lights to see by, and lanterns to make it cozy.

And while it is a lot of work (and I am not even doing the hardest and dirtiest of it), it is so pleasant to move at a different pace and enjoy the peace of the work. Being out there, working with my husband has been very satisfying (even when we disagree about stylistic points). And the variety of the butterflies checking on our progress is just a delight.

My nephew mentioned something to this effect upon seeing it: the cabin will be great because you just wake up and go fishing. I am looking forward to just such a lovely morning someday soon out there.

A big thanks to my parents for the letting us dump our shack on their property and use materials free of charge; to my Dad for all his help with getting the walls up and his generosity with his farm vehicles, tools, and time; to my Mom for helping so much with children (impossible to work side by side without childcare in this location and timetable) and for canning all along and still being willing to share it with me; to my brother for more free materials, coming to help, dispensing some advice, and drinking a few beers with Mike.

a short summer trip

The past few days felt very full, but, unlike normal, it was a very happy fullness. We turned last-minute plans into two days of fun where everyone – everyone – stayed cheerful and got a lot from the trip. We left during little O’s first nap, and made it to Hamilton County’s Pirate Cove, a wonderful outdoor splash park. (Thanks Kara!) If this park was any indicator, they have a lot of fabulous parks in and near Cincinnati. From there we headed to Ikea, where we managed to spend a couple hundred dollars, although we went in with very few needs. Ikea showed us what we needed! It turns out, I found my best new peach cutting knife and a pitcher that actually pours. Yes, pours without excess dribble and drips. Plus, many, many toys and furnishings for the little crew. I just love what Ikea has to offer. Even shopping with two boys turned out to be very pleasant. As long we were on top of sleep or hunger needs, the day moved smoothly on.


While a hotel stay with children is not always fun and sharing the same room means little sleep is had by all, we still had a good time. My highlight of the trip was spending over an hour watching little O in the middle of the night, after feeding him. He was in his pack-n-play, standing, exploring every surface and nook around him. He stroked the textured wall paper, pulled on the ironing board cover repeatedly (propped to block a view of me in bed!), and poked his fingers through the metal diamonds, and he tested each corner of his bed, cruising between sides. It was great to see him explore without a need to call out for me and just drop to sleep when he was satisfied. (And then I could drop to sleep too)

 The next morning was the Newport Aquarium and then lunch nearby. The visit was great with everyone finding some delightful things to explore or watch. Big E loved the shark exhibit they had and the divers cleaning the tanks. Little O loved the giant frogs with their buttons to make them croak.

Because we were so close to my husband and my college, Miami University, we just had to make a trip to our favorite places. We hit Jungle Jim’s and bought lots of little delights: teriyaki seaweed, mini coconuts, really long beans, sugar cane, Australian cheese with Merlot confit, cigars, and so much more, more than might easily cram in the car. Not exactly local purchases, but great teaching tools for big E about foods from other places in the world. Our next stop was fossil hunting at Pfeiffer Park in Oxford, Ohio. We stomped down the river and found new treasures. To satisfy our dinner hungers, we headed to Bagel and Deli for a Sportsfest. Okay, truthfully, between the many stops at Dunkin Donuts and the snacks from Jungle Jim’s we were not hungry. But one cannot leave Oxford without a steamed bagel sandwich. A feast in the park was had by all and off we went for a country drive home. To wind down the day, we barged in on friends for a last-minute play session. We ended day 2 home in our own cozy beds.

 When reflecting on why I was so happy this trip it was a combination of a few things. My husband and I kept our cool, even when we were stressed. And because I quickly figured out at the start of the trip when we had to stop for eating or had to drive for napping (which both boys do great in the car), we had perfectly spaced intervals which resulted in happy children most every stop. I was amazed at how absolutely perfect that seemed to work out. Big E did his part. If I suggested it was a good time to try a nap, he obliged, closing his eyes and falling to sleep within a minute, setting a great example for little O. Because everything fell into place so well, we got to do so much each day and feel good at the end of the day.

 We realized something else at the end of the trip – the lack of pictures. I think some trips are so good we are quick to remember to take pictures to remember it all by. And some trips are so good, we are busy enjoying ourselves we are lost in the moment and forget about documenting it. I am glad this was one of those trips. I hope my mental pictures can do it justice.