The Sweetest Simple Easter

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I adore the Easter holiday. It reminds me of a sort of Thanksgiving in the springtime. The gardens are in bloom, the color green is brilliant and abundant, and my mind has fully, unapologetically wandered to life out of doors. There is family and friend time, a table full of delicious food, good wine, and ideally, an easy spirit.

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After church with my Mother-in-law, baby girl fell asleep in the car, leaving the big kids anxious and having to be patient for our egg hunt. But as soon as those eyes fluttered open, it was on! Last year she was only 6 months old, so it’s so exciting to see the magic unfold with each thing we do. As soon as brother and sister ran to their baskets, Remy picked hers up, and promptly dumped it out! We couldn’t help but just laugh and rescue her eggs from hungry puppies.

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Remy so often reminds me of the magic to be found in the little things, in the joy that is ever-present in little ones, and I find myself so unbelievably grateful for my children. From my oldest to my youngest, I encourage a light spirit of joy, of happiness, of fun, and of youthfulness; as a mother of a teen, I’m thankful to see it has worked, and I’m glad for each and every festivity he still wants to be apart of.

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There was very little prep involved this year, but thankfully, everything came together, and I was so happy with how things turned out. Remy squeezed into a cute little jumper she won't fit into tomorrow, the big kids had their outfits in mind, and aside from the Easter basket treats, we got lucky to have everything else on hand for dinner and filling those eggs! Fruit snacks and a few chocolates, a roast ham dinner, and friends who brought homemade carrot cake filled our day so sweetly.

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After dinner and dessert, the sun lingered a little longer and we headed to the garden to fill baskets for friends to take home. With early spring and overwintered greens and herbs, we had a good amount of treats to share! The kids happily played on their playground while the grown ups happily watched and slowly filled cars with things from the garden, food, and promises of doing it all again soon.

Until we meet again…Happy Easter!

Mid-April in the Greenhouse

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It’s been a process to bring life into the greenhouse this year. With a toddler at my feet and off and on days of rain, I find myself drawn here more than not, regardless of weather or even if there’s a kiddo nearby. I’ve come to love this space, as you can imagine, and the morning light is nearly poetic. I find myself drawn outdoors, pulled to this space as if entranced. Spring is a magical beast.

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The fiddlehead ferns have emerged from beneath the greenhouse, and being the lover of ferns that I am, I’ve allowed them to stay—for now.

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My mother-in-law, daughter, and I had a plant shopping day a few weeks back, and the fuchsias that haven’t yet been planted around the garden, are finding homes to stay in the greenhouse. Of all the ones we’ve planted out, this is the only with a bud. These flowers are the only annuals I buy each year, and I am overjoyed to see them burst forth with life in just a short time.

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I walked into the greenhouse just the other morning—like I do most every day—and was suddenly struck by the individual characteristics emerging from the seedlings I’ve been watching emerge. When most seeds finally separate and push through the soil, they most all look very similar. If you wait and notice in a few short weeks, their unique colors, shapes, and forms begin to appear. I tried staying and tending to my tasks at hand, but found myself so distracted I went back inside for my camera, needing to fill the visions quickly forming in my mind.

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I’m adamant to include an abundance of flowers and vegetables alike, and these floret seedlings are shaping up beautifully.

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Spring is here and showing off all its beauty, not only in the greenhouse, but around the garden, our property, and town. It’s distracting indeed, but a welcome distraction that I fully appreciate this time of year. It’s a time where my mind is completely filled with thoughts of plants, planning, and dreaming as big as I can to fill my garden beds.

I’m amping up produce production as much as within my capability this year, and sharing the experience with my little girl, as well as my older two, has been so delightful. And each day that the rain breaks for us, we find ourselves pulling up our boots and treading through the wet grass to see what’s new since the last time we looked, even if that was just a few hours ago.

Spring at Havenwood

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“Spring won’t let me stay in the house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.”

- Gustav Mahler

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About six new fruit trees to the property this spring, not including trees I’ve propagated (new growth from the peach and pear trees have been abundant!). Once the bare roots hit stores, I’m scooping them up left and right. In order to fill the acreage we have and to work toward sustainability (nothing rigid, just loosely increasing production and yields based on what is feasible during that time in my life and the season) I have to be increasingly mindful of how much I put out to improve and grow what I want. I’m constantly on the hunt for sales, what’s best to buy that time of year, where I’m buying, and so on. I have also become increasingly knowledgable in propagation, and patience, when growing from seed.

Spring around here is absolutely beautiful right now. Everything has bloomed about two weeks later than last year, but there’s an abundance from all the additions between now and then. From the fruit trees to bulb flowers to the vegetable garden, there’s something seemingly magical to be found in every corner. After a week of gloriously warm sunshine, the rain has come back. This morning, the kids and I bundled up to head outside during a little drizzly rain. We made it just before it poured, which was immediately followed heavy winds and sunshine. Spring is here at last!

We have many projects on our list for this year, and all I can really think about is continuing to improve the garden space, add as many trees as I can, and truly beautify the space. It’s a slow and steady process, but one I’m happy to commit to and invest in.

So Many Snow Days

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The polar vortex of 2019 didn’t miss us like it seemed it would. Instead, we got a week of intense winter weather that rocked our state. It’s been a lot of fun to embrace the change, but it’s proved challenging after a full week of endless snow. Between not being able to get to work, losing power, stores running out of goods, and damage being done to buildings, enough is enough. Thankfully, we’re on the road to slightly higher temps and melting snow, and that has us all looking forward to spring!

I’ve been surprised at myself for having such a bad attitude toward the winter weather, I’m usually not so pessimistic. The first day of good snow excitedly found us outside with sleds, and Remy’s first trip down the slopes (although she wasn’t really the biggest fan, she preferred snowy walks). After that, I was struggling to pull myself out of a pool of negativity. I made myself do little things just for my own happiness and at least one thing interactive with my kids each day.

We baked a few things, watched a few movies, and read some books. But we also began a bible study of sorts, which proved to be my favorite thing of all. I’ve been looking for ways to have better conversations with my kids, more meaningful and engaging. My favorite church is the one where I feel most connected to life: out of doors. I honestly hadn’t thought before to do anything like it, but stumbled upon a series of mini lessons with overarching themes (time management, anger, self image, etc…). Again, to my surprise we’ve been enjoying it a lot, and we’ve had some of the best conversations this past week because of it.

I’m not sure what the future of this sort of thing will look like, but for now, I’m really enjoying this connection with my kids, and I hope it’s that part that will last.

I'm Done With Grad School. Now What?

It’s been a longer journey than anticipated to finish graduate school. I had this timeline planned with anticipation of jumping right into the world of academia within nearly a year timespan. With our sweet surprise baby girl, that one year timeline became two. Now, I’m done. It’s rather surreal to think about, since that means that miserable pregnancy is finally over, the ups and downs of studying with a 3-13 month old is over, and I have time. TIME! I have so much time, it seems. There’s room in my brain for deeper thought that doesn’t involve literacy theory, writing composition, or due dates. I’m not even mad about it.

I’m getting to do things like catch up on editing, the never-ending game that it is. Sit and play with my little ones, without guilt that I should be studying. Coffee dates with my dear friend. And reading, oh how I’m so happy to have time to devote myself fully and patiently to reading whatever my heart desires.

It’s actually been a surprisingly difficult transition though. It has taken some time to fully settle into the notion that I don’t have any assignments due, no more texts to read, no discussions to participate in, and so on. At first, I couldn’t quite forego the whole idea, but a few months later, it’s sinking in.

This year, my aim is to take my time building a resume that will land me a job I want. I’m in no hurry since that sweet angel mentioned above is still so small. I’m fortunate to not have to trade my time with her, with a daycare, and I can plan accordingly for the work that awaits me.

What about a doctorate, you ask? Well, I just might! It’s an even longer and more intense commitment than graduate school, which overall, I loved. While I keep finding reasons why I should start (and there’s no promises that I won’t!), I really do intend to ensure this career field is fully right for me, or if I should tweak it to fit in a different sort of way. Mostly, I’m taking this year to figure all that out, to soak in leisure time again, go on trips with my family, play with my children, and read all the books I can get my hands on.