Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How does your garden grow

We ate the first cucumber from our garden yesterday. Mostly we have tomatoes this year. No sweet peas or yummy carrots. Too many people getting hitched this year for early crops like that. So we stuck to late summer/fall harvests. I do, however, have an amazing herb garden with all kinds of goodies I have no idea how to cook with. It smells good on the way into the house though!

As for flowers, there are amazing blooms coming from the green things we planted at the community garden. I wish I could remember their names. At the house, the lilies bloomed and they were gorgeous for a few days....... until they wilted because, apparently, I wasn't suppose to plant them in full sun. The green bush-like plant I put at the end of my garden has purple flowers popping out everywhere. They are very pretty little things and they are very abundant. I am going to venture a guess that I put that one in the right spot. I think it started with a P.

Anyway, the green things all look good and the tomatoes I planted too early and barely watered until recently are heavy-laden enough for me to think I will probably have to take up canning this year. So either my thumb is turning green, or I am getting very lucky. Probably the latter is true.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Get real

I have been having a bit of a panic lately over life's difficulties. Big and small. Frustrated at God, my prayers have been a little more like accusations, ending in, "why couldn't you have made this easier?" or "why didn't you equip me better for this?" I felt as though the beautiful moments were becoming fewer and farther between and I was enjoying them less because of other things weighing on my mind. Finally, one morning after work, I confided in a friend that I was feeling overwhelmed by many difficult situations in my life or in lives of friends and family. My question was, "Am I just an emotional wimp who needs to suck it up?" Her answer was, "Naw, I get like like that sometimes." And suddenly I felt better.

I enjoyed my children more that day than I had in a week. I noticed the incredible view from my kitchen window again. I put my fingers in dirt and smelled earth and remembered how to smile after days of being in a funk. Somehow just knowing that this woman, who I respect a great deal for her compassion and her positive outlook, felt just as crummy just as often as I do made me feel better. Life just sucks sometimes. It's not my opinion, or my secret weakness. I don't have to apologize for it. Sometimes it's just not easy and trying to fake it just makes it worse. So get real about it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More firsts

Well, we had a fabulous evening with friends at Kootenay lake last night after which we camped a kilometer or so down the road from their cabin. It stormed like crazy and though Alex and I had a wakeful night, the kids slept right through. In the morning, a friend RVing in the same campground had us over for ham and pancakes, coffee for us, hot cocoa for the kiddies. Loverly!

Anie and I left the Dads with the kids in the park to set out for an hour or so of funky store hopping. When we returned and packed the Marriott tribe into the van for the ride home, Hannah was holding her left arm and bravely explaining how much it hurt. By the time we hit Creston we had managed to convince Hannah to take off her sweater. By then Alex had told me of how she had been launched off the merry-go-round and landed on her shoulder. One look and I called ahead to the clinic for an appointment.

Following in her mother's footsteps Hannah has broken her collar bone. Unlike her mother, she will not be forced to wear a useless contraption that will contort her shoulders into an awkward position for 4 weeks. I was told by my grinning doctor that they decided those pretty much did nothing except cause more discomfort. So, so, glad "they" managed to figure that out. Anyhow, Hannah has survived her first broken bone with few tears and will heal just fine in a few weeks. I even managed not to do the spazzy mother thing at the hospital. Also a first.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eight years and counting

Today is our eighth anniversary. I gave him chocolate, he made me a bracelet and a "pioneer's engagement ring." We had a pizza dinner on the deck with his parents and cake afterwards. The kids played on the slide, I watered the gardens, Selah pooped on the grass. We saw each other for a total of 3 hours that we shared with other people. Pretty ordinary day. Except it's not.

Eight years ago I was 17 and eight months pregnant, newly graduated, and moving out of my parents house for the first time. Alex had just turned twenty, was terrified at the prospect of being a father, and being financially responsible for a family. Many of the people at our wedding had spent the months before repeatedly asking if we were sure. Asking if we were being hasty because of the baby. Asking if we knew the chances of our being able to stick it out and stay married. Despite all that, our wedding was beautiful and full of hope. Everything made or tended with love. Still, people wondered.

Even now the occasional high school chum asks if I am still with "that guy." I love explaining that I have been Mrs. Alex Marriott since two weeks after we graduated and we have four children now. Eight years. Still married. Still happily, affectionately, electrically married.

In two years, we have decided, we will renew our vows and have a party. Not because our vows are dull or tainted. Not because any hint of their strength has faded. Because we want to. Because we are excited that we are still married and still want to be married. Because we aren't bored. Because not only are we still in-love, but we still really like each other. In fact we like each other more than we did eight years ago. So happy anniversary to us.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The lazy days of summer

Lazy days, my butt! (which is looking slimmer every *scoff* lazy day) Summer is more like "months of multitasking madness." No matter what schedule slimming I do, four kids and hot weather equals busy. So I am taking this time to be purposeful in my activities. If I am whisking the older two off to the library for an activity, then I am careful to use that time bonding with the younger. If I am nursing Selah, I am blogging or reading (can't forget to nourish my own soul). Doing chores, I pray. Gardening, I teach. Watching a movie with hubby, I knit (or nap). As purposeful as I am to waste no time, I am also learning to be calm in my chaos. Rest and relaxation can happen to a spirit even when there is no time for the body to sit down. What a lovely and life-saving discovery.

In other cool news, Selah had a poop in the appropriate place today! This is more exciting than with any of the other kids because she is the first to insist she is potty trained long before she is actually using the potty. She walked up to me as she was taking off her diaper and said "ewwwww poop." This usually means she is halfway done and about to make a mess I will shortly have to clean up. Horrified, (since we were downstairs in the carpeted area of the house) I ran to her, hoping to convince her to stay in the diaper until she was finished. I watched the diaper fall to the floor and glorious relief passed over me like a cool breeze in 40 degree weather. It was empty. She headed up the stairs while I tried to convince her to put the diaper back on. Silly me, after potty training three I still didn't register that she was heading for the bathroom. Well the whole event has reaffirmed my belief that potty training need not involve the parents outside of struggling through the messy bits. They can and will figure it out on their own every time. Your average seventeen-year-old is potty trained whether or not his parents read the books or bought the outrageously expensive and cheesy singing potty.

Monday, July 09, 2007

In the berry patch

Thursday, July 05, 2007

earth, water and sky

Last night was fabulous! When Alex came home, he and the kids dropped me off at the garden and came back soon after with a picnic dinner for us to share. We all shared in eating, pulling weeds and planting the last of our garden. What an entirely wonderful way to spend an evening with the family. Selah spent most of her time in the sandbox that is up there. Up to her diaper in grit, she was as happy as a pig in slop.

As if all this wasn't already a perfect end to a productive summer day, I also went for a swim. Alex left the garden with the kids about 45 minutes before I did. I continued to pull weeds until my clothes, face and hands were covered in dark soil and green streaks. Sweaty, muddy and satisfied, I hopped into my friend Kathy's truck. She drove us up to Jim Smith lake which was colder than I thought it would be. We swam out to the centre of the lake and I was struck by how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place. The sky was a fading blue by then, as the crisp, cool water rinsed the last bits of mud from my hair. I think I shall do it all over again soon. I just need to figure out how to add in a guitar to the mix....

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Slow and ordinary

There is a lovely quote on my fridge that says, "...the powerful religion of ordinary life, a spirituality of freshly mopped floors.....and clothes blowing on the line." -Adair Lara. I love the philosophy of this quote but until today didn't really get it. This morning I woke to a house unkept and disastrous. With babysitters coming and going this week, our full time plus overtime jobs, and cleaning out the cantankerous trailer, our house has been left to chance. With six cats and four kids, chances are that I would wake up to what I woke up to today. I was frustrated and I pouted. However, four hours later, I am feeling refreshed and optimistic. I have washed all the stacks of dishes, done three loads of laundry plus one load of hand washing. I have fed my children a healthy breakfast, motivated them to clean up their playroom, and even managed a few snuggles along the way. Slow and ordinary are the words of the morning. Yet as I sit here and blog with my nice fresh cup of coffee, I am feeling very satisfied with slow and ordinary. Later on we will head up to the garden of weeds and see if we can't make it a little more beautiful. Tomorrow I am going to paint the wicker furniture a friend gave us and enjoy my cuppa out in the shade. Slow and ordinary. One moment at a time.