Thursday, March 6, 2014

high tolerance for imperfection (aka long, wordy post :)

 Yay!!! Camille and I finished our shelves.  I love them.
Camille putting in the last screw

They are far from perfect, but they are sturdy, functional, and (to me) so beautiful.
As we started to organize and sort through puzzles, games, books, craft supplies, and dress-ups our old stuff seemed new and exciting again.

The new rug seemed an inviting space to fold origami,
 and the relocated bed (until we find a good, used couch) was perfect for bouncing and browsing books.
This interior space has been built by us. That sheet hanging by the shelves will soon be a real door to Papa's home office, which didn't exist until we (mostly Papa) built those walls. There are still rooms in our living space that are lacking proper ceilings and proper flooring, but we are slowly scrapping this place together into a home that is uniquely and simply and beautifully ours.

People often say to me, "I could never do that...."

Lately, it's either about homeschooling three kids, or living in the 'middle of nowhere', or finishing a home while living in it with our family.  (It used to be about backpacking around the country {in my late teens}, or living without a car {especially if they saw me hauling laundry to the laundromat in my bike trailer or travelling with multiple children on the city bus}, or choosing to birth at home, or {insert out-of-the-norm choice here}....)

In the case of finishing our own house, people, often say they're 'not handy' or don't know how to build things.

I totally 100% get not wanting to do any of those things for any number of reasons.  We all have reasons for our own choices. I think there are three main factors that go into these choices for me.

(1)  I have a strong impulse to question everything and consider wild possibilities for any decision. This can be a bit overwhelming at times. I am a dreamer.

(2)  I have a high tolerance for imperfection and for trying new things. I didn't know how to give birth, design and build things, raise chickens, parent beautifully strong-willed children, until I did these things. I try it, learn from (or simply accept) mistakes, and try the next thing, consider the possibilities, learn from other folks, or dream up something new to try.

(3) I have a fabulously supportive partner, loving friends and family, and kids who are all willing to love me as I am, who I love fiercely in return.

We're all just making it up as we go along.  I share my life here through this blog because I believe that if we try to make thoughtful choices and support each other instead of tearing each other down, we can spread joy and peace through gratitude.

"Don't be discouraged by your incapacity to dispel darkness from the world. Light your little candle and step forward." ~Amma

Let's see, what else has the beginning of March held for us? Our ducklings are getting bigger. The one that Ayla named Dove, has an inward turned leg that makes it difficult to walk.  She often steps on her own feet.

Camille tried designing a flexible splint out of bendy straws to help straighten her leg without impeding her ability to walk. It was a thoughtful design, but Dove wasn't having it.  We're going to supplement her diet with niacin  in hopes that it will help strengthen her legs.

 Sylvia and Ayla 'going on a bear hunt' (acting out the picture book by Helen Oxenbury)

playing with glow bracelets in the sink

more dress-up with pirate Ayla

These days Ayla gets easily frustrated.  With two older sisters, she sometimes resorts to yelling and pushing to get her way and be heard.  While we often talk about how to communicate more thoughtfully, I also love her feisty side. She expresses herself very creatively (and hilariously) when frustrated (imagine a Marge Simpson-sounding groan followed by a expression such as "oh, rotten buzzle sticks!" or "oh, chinchilla nuts!"). I honestly have no idea where she comes up with this stuff!

Sylvia's main birthday present from us didn't arrive in time for her birthday, but it's been getting lots of play since it did get here. Sylvia was very gracious about waiting for it.
gears (with lights and motor)

yarn embroidery on burlap

origami hat for Sally

As we move things into the new playroom space, we are starting to unpack some of the random stuff that was still boxed up since we moved here (almost three years ago, already!).
rediscovered Little House on the Prairie paper dolls

Wanna see what temporarily happened to the rest of the house while we build, organize, and rearrange? Life is messy sometimes (often).

Camille tried her hand at composing a song on the saxophone,
and notating it,
making changes,
and satisfied with herself.

She's been writing and illustrating short stories to read to her sisters at bedtime.

Some moments (and days) we're just scrapping by (financially, emotionally, energetically), and some days are so much more glorious than that.  Expectations be darned, an ordinary life is worthy of gratitude and joy....if we can not only tolerate, but embrace, the beauty in the imperfections of our lives.


  1. :)
    So much goodness, as always.
    I agree, and have been thinking about it often, appreciation grows and grows and grows... we get to grow more of the good stuff while we're doing the appreciating!

    I love the shelves, too! And love that you have the rack for the hangers at the bottom... that's something we're without right now--it's all in a couple of bags! (And since I like shelves and all things Out In the Open, you know that must be driving me mad! :)

    And--"Hey! I know that mess!!!" :)
    I also love the ducky crutches. Nice engineering job, that!

  2. I LOVE the bookcases! Another family I know just built one too. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.

    Thinking wildly outside the square - there should be more of it!

    Great pics and I for one love your lifestyle - thank you for letting me be a fly on the wall.

  3. Thank you kindly, Stephanie and Ingi. I appreciate it!!!

  4. I sooOOoooo LoVe the dress up area included in the book shelving. Positively splendid :)

    And your mess...ahhh my house feels more normal now :) I always try to strategically take pics for my blog post to not scare people away lol. With all our hibernation we have been living, doing, creating, playing but not much of that boring old cleaning stuff. We are slipping into winter blues enough is enough...we are ready for spring and new life and rejuvenation!

    That duck splint was too cute and as always your post is wonderful, inspirational (must break out the burlap and hoops again for my girls) and a joy to read.

  5. Thanks so much for your kind words, Brooke. I am very familiar with the strategic photo strategy ;) ...not a lot of pics of my kitchen shared on here.

    ...and, yes, spring anticipation in full swing here, too. Soon come.

  6. Those shelves are fantastic! I love how old stuff becomes new again. You built your house? I've got to go into your archives! The new space looks so comfy with the bed and how it's coming together.

  7. Thanks so much, Darcel! We didn't build the house (We're not quite that handy ;) We bought it fully built on the exterior, but only partially finished on the interior (about 1/4 done). The upstairs still has nothing but exterior walls and subflooring, and we're getting to where the entire ground floor is functional and livable, even if it all still needs a lot more to be properly 'done'.
    This place had a lot of what we wanted (organic land, installed solar heating, fruit trees, etc.), but we could actually make it work financially by doing the rest of it ourselves. It's been quite an adventure and learning experience!

  8. What a great post! I love how that room is coming along. We've been living in our imperfect self-built house for 8 years, and it's still not finished. But isn't it nice to make your own spaces? Those shelves are awesome! And Ayla, what a riot! Thanks for sharing.


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