Monday, May 31, 2010

The Great {Material} Cleanse!

Starting tomorrow, my husband and I will follow through with our plan to get rid of at least half of the material possessions we own. We both feel the house is too cluttered (most would disagree:) and there is so much we do not need or do not use.

We are starting with the kids things. They will be parting with MANY toys that never get touched and the puzzles and games they have become bored with and two of the three toy boxes. We will be donating the entire VHS collection and donating half of the books, ours and theirs. We own a ton of books, literally. (The library and Netflix will be a fine substitute.)

I started getting into my closet today and already have 2 giant bags ready for the thrift store and I can not wait to get into the attic and basement.

I'm so excited about doing this and it is part of a grander scheme that we have been pondering for years that may finally be put into action. Websites like this and blogs like this make me realize it can be a reality. We are also intrigued by families like this one that made their dreams a reality and live in a paradise.

I plan to blog further into detail about our grand adventure in the near future. This idea is part of a six month plan to dramatically change our way of life. It is easy to loose sight of ideas like this, or have them put down by friends and family that think we are nuts, but this is something we really want to try. We tried the "American Dream" plan, and although we are living happily in the burbs with our house and fenced yard, we are not quite content.

And even if we only end up on the road temporarily, we still plan to sell our house and move somewhere else.

I will blog some updates on The Great Cleanse and maybe get some before and after photos. Now I am off to list a bunch of furniture on craigslist and load some things in the car for the thrift store.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A sunset stroll in the city...

After a hot day hanging around the house, the kids playing in the little pool, husband and I doing yard work, we decided to head into the city after dinner. We live just 15 or so miles from downtown Pittsburgh (or dahn-tahn Picks-burgh if your a local Yinzer) and although we go into the city area often, we rarely go there just to walk around. Last night we decided to stroll along the river path on the North side of the city to watch the sunset.

I love that my husband loves to wear the baby. We argue over who gets to wear him. I love when he wears him and has such a proud papa look on his face. And how he grins from ear to ear when passer by's comment on how adorable the baby is.

This was Silas's first trip strolling around town.

I really love this city we live in!

Sammy was exhausted from swimming all day and fell asleep on the way there. He never woke up, even when we transferred him into the stroller. I love our BOB because he fits in there...almost. I must admit, with mom guilt, that our walk was more on the relaxing side with him napping. I'm sure our sunset stroll would have went a little different...keeping Sam away from the rivers edge, keeping Sam from chasing geese, keeping Sam from jumping in the fountain, stopping Sam from running a mile ahead, getting Sam out of someones docked boat...oh that kid....he keeps me on my toes, but I love him so...he would have been so grumpy though, being woken up and all...
I honestly missed the presence of his energy though!

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I was so excited to go to the Farmer's Market this morning for the 1st time this year!

Although there were only two farmers, one being the organic farm we will be getting our CSA farm share from, the meat guy and a few family bakeries, it was still exciting to get out and see what they had. The farmers had lettuce greens, radishes and lots of starter veggies, herbs and flowers. And best of all, STRAWBERRIES!

Although we have a beautiful strawberry patch of our own, they are not growing fast enough yet, so we bought some from each farmer. The organic ones were much better then the other farmers and we ate almost all of them before we even made it home.

We will be doing yard work today, so I whipped up a refreshing strawberry lemonade!

I cut the peel from one lemon, and blended the lemon with 15 or so strawberries and a heaping spoonful of Raw honey and a cup of water.

(We have a Vitamix, it was worth every penny we paid, it gets used at least once a day in our house. )

Then I poured it over ice, yum! So refreshing!

We do not have any big plans for this holiday weekend. I have a baby shower to go to tomorrow, otherwise we will be hanging around the house and maybe walking in the woods later in the evening when it cools off. Now I am off to mulch the garden while the boys play in the kiddy pool and Silas naps in the stroller next to me :)

Wishing you all a lovely and safe weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. 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.

This moment inspired by Soulemama...

(Excuse the quality of that photo. I quickly snapped it, thinking my camera was in a different mode, it was in manual so it was waaay over exposed and blown out...but nonetheless I love it)

and lol, I so had this image on yesterdays Thankful Thursday, but i really wanted to use it here.

so much for 'no words', I really need to work on that...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

I am keeping this simple today.

Today, and every single day, I am ever grateful for my amazing husband Matthew.
He is my best friend and such an awesome father.
I am so happy we are on the same page when it comes to parenting. I could go on and on about how wonderful he is but he needs his back rubbed and iced tea served.

Dear Husband, I am so sorry I shared my germs with you. I hope I can care for you as good as you took care of me last week. :)

Like yawns, Smiles are contagious.

If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

And then there is this song that always makes me smile :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wash Wednesday

I am amazed at the power of the sun to remove cloth diaper stains and put me in the best mood all at the same time. Being barefoot in the grass and hanging clothes just seem to go hand in hand.

Inspired by Garden Mama. Join the fun and comment below with your Wash Wednesday Link!


These images just sent me into a fit of tears. This is bad. This is very bad.

I can only hope the giant {crunchy} steps my family takes to lead a green and eco-friendly lifestyle makes some minute difference in this world.

The Incredible Growing Baby....

Silas is 9 weeks old today. This morning he weighed in at 15 lb 13 oz...then I realized I weighed him in a very wet cloth nekkid he weighed 15 lb 6 oz w/o the diaper :)
And his head is 16.5" in circumference. This puts him in the 95th percentile for height/weight.

And about 25" long, he did not make measuring easy! (he was 7lb 4oz, 21" at birth)
This little man makes me smile all day long, such a chubby lil' blessing.

Happy Tuesday! It is getting warm here in the 'Burgh. That means I have to wipe between those rolls of his a few times a day or he starts to smell cheesy :)

Yesterday we brought out the slip-n-slide and tomorrow we will blow up the kiddy pool :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sick and tired of being sick and tired...

Wednesday I knew I was not feeling myself but I ignored the signs that illness was taking over. That night I suffered with 105 degree temperatures and the worst body aches and sore throat I have ever experienced. I felt like someone stepped on my spine, kicked me down the steps and then jumped on me over and over....yeah, that bad, I was in misery and convinced I was dying. My throat was almost swelled shut and felt full of gravel and sand.

You know that moment where you think, ok, this could be it, not going to the ER could be a bad decision...I really thought I was dying. I had a horribly stiff neck and thought I had meningitis. My lower back hurt so was seriously like the back labor I had with all my kids.

So as I laid there crying and moaning in pain and misery, with my cell in hand, ready to call night shift husband to come home and make it all better, I stared at my sweet sleeping baby next to me and fell into a deep sleep. I sweat through the fever and woke up feeling like I was hit by a truck, but the fever was gone.

I do not go to Doctors. I just don't. The last time I went, it was to an OBGYN was when I was pregnant with baby #1. At 25, I had never even been to a regular OBGYN visit. With baby #2 and #3 I chose midwives. Many years prior to that, it was for emergency reasons as an accident prone kid. I received stitches about a dozen times.

I think a lot of this has to do with watching my father die with cancer for 2.5 years and he was being treated as a guinea pig...that and I am not too crazy about western medicine...

I know if I went to the medexpress I could get my antibiotics and be on my merry way to health, but I choose to take alternative routes, kinda like many of my other lifestyle decisions. And because I am breastfeeding, and although it is supposed to be safe, I was not willing to take antibiotics.

I know at least five people who had the same symptoms and a few went to the ER and tested positive for strept. Where the Dr said it was a very strong strain of strept.

I treated myself with colloidal silver spray, homeopathics, green smoothies, raw garlic (steeped into a tea or blended to add to a miso broth soup) and lots and lots of herbal teas with lemon and raw honey. (red raspberry leaf, echinacea, rose hips, chamomile, hibiscus, nettles (fresh nettles in my soup)...oh and lots of water, some fresh squeezed OJ, carrot/celery/apple juice and lots of rest! (thanks to my sister for taking the older two boys all day friday!)

I am happy to say that three days later I am feeling much better. My house, well it is verging on disaster zone. Although my sweet sweet husband waited on me hand and foot brewing teas and making soups and doing whatever he could to make me feel better, he just can not clean like me. He would not allow me to lift a finger, which I am thankful for because the key to healing is rest, but I just do not know how to rest. But I let the house go and rested as much as possible.

It is a good thing I only get sick every 3 or 4 years. I do not make a good patient. I whine, I moan, I's pretty pathetic.

Oh, but here is an amusing moment of delirium...I never take OTC meds, but the few times I have, like after giving birth w/o drugs, I will take ibuprofen. With the high fever and severe body aches I was having and the throbbing head I decided I needed some relief.

It was 3 am, and the bottle was in the windowsill by the bed, I reached up to grab it in the dark and knocked it out the window and listened to it roll off the roof... (someone pushed the screen up like 6"). For an hour I laid there in misery contemplating getting it...and I did. I took my shaky and weak self down the steps out the front door and to the side of the house with my cell as a flash light to retrieve my pain relief. Oh, and did I mention I was in my underwear? Seriously, what a sight should anyone have seen me. Tank top, panties, hair everywhere, hunched over in pain and searching for a pill bottle...but they did help me sleep better. I did not even think about going outside at 3am in my undies...I will blame the fever.

Friday, May 21, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. 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.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Welcome to my home, it was clean yesterday, sorry you missed it

I saw that phrase on a plaque in someone's home, maybe my sisters, who has 4 children, close in age, and she always seems to have a tidy home!

I was inspired by my friend Drea to share what my home really looks like. She, just like myself, is a Mom to 3 boys, close in age to my boys and she had her 3rd son just days before Silas arrived :) Today on her Blog she bravely shared photos of her "messy" home :) I honestly did not think it was that bad, it looks similar to my own. Mostly clean laundry, dirty laundry, laundry baskets, cloth diapers, receiving blankets, sippy cups, toys, games etc etc...

And I am trying not to judge, but I have seen some other bloggers share their messy home...yeah, scary stuff! Made me feel a bit better!

Life with a newborn and two young boys leaves little time for cleaning and organizing. I honestly think it makes for a better parent when you are spending time making finger paintings and clay dinosaurs or heading to the park to play rather spending time scrubbing and folding clothes :)

I was raised by a Mother who had severe OCD. Everything had a place, everything was spotless, jeans were hung on a hanger, the vacuum lines had to be straight (I'm not kidding)....our home looked un-lived in. I commend my Mom for keeping such a tidy home but being raised like this made me kind of OCD.

After the birth of my 1st son I had to let it go. Before he was born I could not relax and watch a movie if a magazine was lying on the floor, or a dirty dish was in the sink. It took some self training to loose this, and I still have not completely, but I am learning to let it go.

I am still a bit of an organizing freak, I go through the kids clothes and toys often to get rid of things, I am a bit of an anti-hoarder. I love getting rid of things. In my idea of a perfect home it is bare. Just the essentials, which in my view is a lot less then most people would consider essential.

Ok, so my home does not look totally messy, but in my eyes it is a bit of a disaster. Baskets of books to be put upstairs, layers of dust, steps need vacuumed and if you have hardwood floors and kids and pets then you know the misery of how often they need swept, and it's been days!

Believe it or not, I did the windows last week! You can't really tell from the picture but they are bad.

The kitchen is hopeless, but I can't complain because my sweet husband is in there much more than I. And we do not have a dishwasher {GASP!} We don't own a microwave either, umm, but only one is by choice! :)
My excuse for a messy and dirty, yes, dirty kitchen, we are going to remodel soon, uh-huh...yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Really though, the kitchen is hideous. Brown vinyl flooring, 70's paneling with gold glitter...the cabinets were dark brown until I painted them white, seriously, how does one keep cabinets white when you have kids! (and a messy chef for a husband) Impossible I tell ya, impossible!
I did wipe down the inside of the cabinets yesterday as we are battling pantry moths! I had to declare war on them! Peppermint oil and bay leaves are supposed to get rid of them, we will see... I think they were nesting in my toaster or a bag of rice.... ICK!

My room, usually it's the cleanest and least cluttered space in the house, this week, it's a bit of a mess...

The boys room, hopeless, I must realize that boys are just messy, mine are anyways. I seriously cleaned their room a few days ago! They change clothes ALL day! Oh, and the shelf on the floor was pulled off by Sammy a few days ago, it's still waiting to be put back up...

I like to remember this poem when I feel overwhelmed with my household chores...I have seen it on many blogs :)

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Thankful Thursdays

I am thankful for a loving husband and the fresh squeezed OJ he made for me this morning. And that he stayed awake after working all night so I could get more rest.

I am thankful my illness, as horrible as it was last night, seems to be gone today.

I am thankful for being able to grow our own vegetables.

I am thankful for the birds singing at the start of my day.

I am thankful (and still amazed) at having the ability to nourish my sweet baby.

I am thankful for an eight week old baby that sleeps almost all night.

I am thankful for my organic fair trade coffee.

I am thankful for two older sons playing together so well in the tent out in the yard.
(Ok, that lasted as long as it took me to type this, now someone is yelling about a light saber. They do play well together *most* of the time :)

I am thankful for a few dozen parks and playgrounds within a 30 minute drive.

I think I will make Thursdays my day of thanks. I don't know if this is a blog thing, like Wordless or Wash Wednesdays or {This Moment} on I won't take credit for it :) I also think I would like a day of un-gratitude. That seems pretty negative, especially for me, as I strive to lead a positive outlook on life, but there are a lot of things in this world I am not thankful for. It's all about balance :)

I decided a few times last week, blogging was not for me. I get incredible writers block and usually have no idea what to write about and when I do, I have trouble putting my thoughts into words. I tend to go off on tangents and be well, scatterbrained in my writing. I worry too much about offending or boring any readers I might have, lol, if anyone actually reads my blog. But I will continue to blog, if only for self enjoyment.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Two Months! Seriously!?

My sweet baby boy Silas Avery is two months old today! Counting weeks, not going by the date :) He weighs 14lb and 12 oz! (Thanks to my trusty digital mailing scale I weigh him often :) I wonder, (mostly because of reactions from family, like my mom, saying he is obese) if a baby can be too fat? My thoughts, no. He is just thriving on my breast milk. Must be all the ice cream I have been eating :) I just happen to have chubby babies. Both my boys were very chubby and I was a very chubby baby too.

(pardon the photo quality, it is a picture from a picture in an album)

(This is me and my grandma Gertie :)

This is Sam at 9 weeks

Max at about 8 weeks

At two months Silas wakes up maybe once a night and sometimes he sleeps all night! We are co-sleeping so even when he does wake up, I don't mind, I just pull him closer and nurse him and we both fall right back to sleep. I have to say he is the best sleeper of my three boys. Sam was a horrible sleeper!! He did not sleep through the night until he was 2. I put Silas to bed at 9pm and he wakes at about 7am to eat and will fall back a sleep or just lay there 'talking' and smiling while I still rest.
Every morning the boys wake up and come into my bed to play and cuddle with him.

Silas is a very happy and content baby. He seriously never cries. He will fuss and complain when something is bugging him or he decides it is feeding time, but doesn't actually cry.

He LOVES to smile at all of us. It is so sweet how he interacts with me and his brothers and his Daddy. Coo'ing, Ahh'ing and getting all excited when we talk to him.

He has a super strong neck, I think there is a neck under those chins :) , and he holds his head up really well. He is way past the fragile newborn stage. He is a solid and strong guy! He doesn't mind tummy time and has already rolled to his back from his belly.

He still loves being worn in a sling, which makes me happy because I LOVE wearing him :)
I just can not believe this sweet baby has been in our lives for 56 days. Ok, when you put it in days it does not seem so long :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

lovely weekend...

(I am so thankful I asked my niece to take a photo of me and my boys! I do not have enough of them! And I am super excited to be meeting another local photographer for a family session swap very soon! We have NEVER had a family session!!)

The weather this weekend was beautiful!

Friday I met my sister at the park so she could watch my older two boys so I could run to Target for a shower gift. I was so thankful, it made my shopping trip, with a sleeping Silas, so much easier! Then we met at Panera for lunch with all the boys. They were so well behaved! Well almost, Sam was better than usual :)

After lunch the boys and I went to the grocery store for THE BEST non-diary "ice cream"! and cones! This stuff is amazingly creamy and delicious!!

We came home and made ice cream cones and ate them on a blanket in the backyard. The boys took turns holding the baby and we all giggled as he smiled so big and 'talked' to them. Than a thunderstorm chased us to the porch. We sat and enjoyed watching the rain pour down and listened to the rolling thunder. The boys enjoyed dancing and running in the downpour.

The sun came back out as fast as it had left and we went for a long walk. We all went barefoot and the boys jumped in the 'river' flowing along the street curb.

Saturday I started my day with hanging the cloth diapers to dry...

I LOVE hanging clothes to dry!

After that I went on a power walk and some one on one time with my oldest son Max. Silas came but he was fast asleep in the stroller. Max hitched a ride on the front of the BOB most of my power walk, but we had some great conversation as we walked a few miles down the hill and across the bridge to the store for wrapping paper :) Pushing a 60 lb six year old and a 15 lb eight week old makes for an awesome workout! Especially coming back up the hill!

We went to the Farmer's Market for more plants and then got ready to head to my nephew's fiance's bridal shower...which we were an hour late for! If you know me you know I am NEVER late for anything! Never. Seriously, even with three kids, I am always on time, so I can blame my sister for telling me the wrong time, and then blame myself for tossing the invite :) I was kind of thankful though as I had to take all 3 boys and 3 hours in a room full of woman may have been too much for them! I am going to be the wedding photog and I managed to not take any pictures at her shower! OOPS!!

After the shower we went with my sister, niece and my other nephews wife (who is due in July with my great nephew!) to a local pond with a walking trail. The boys had a great time running around, watching the fisherman, tossing rocks and watching baby geese with their hissing parents. Then it was off for more ice cream, real ice cream this time. Once in a while I let the boys indulge, me too :) At home we are 95% vegan :P On occasion we have eggs and sometimes out of the house they have dairy.

(My sister and niece Afton)

(Sister and preggo niece-in-law Seka, and a very chubby sleeping Silas!)

Saturday ended with a sunset walk around town. I am a big walker, we seriously walk at least once a day and usually 2-3 times a day!!

Sunday was a quiet day spent at home. I met my cousin for more power walking in the early afternoon and then we cleaned up around the outside of the house. We all marveled at our growing gardens and got super excited to see all the strawberries growing! The boys had a kickball game with all the neighbor kidss and we wrapped up the evening with a family bike ride just before sunset. Then we watched a movie together (Castle in the sky, made by the same people who made one of our fave movies, My Neighbor Totoro!)

Max on the tag-a-long hitchhiker

Matt discovered slugs were eating these this morning! I heard beer in a jar lid keeps them away...we don't drink beer...

Friday, May 14, 2010

This Moment...ok, moments :)

This moment inspired by Soulemama...

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. 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.

Ok, I am cheating, I had to post a few more :)

How does a 7 week old get dirt under their nails is a mystery to me :]