Saturday, June 18, 2016

June days and growing girls

My babes are growing up. They don't need my attention as often or as intensely as they did when they were younger. They are becoming more capable and more independent every day. That is the goal anyway, right? So, this is a season for me of finding my own way as they find theirs. Of course, since my youngest is only six, we're not in the full swing of that yet, but it's very different than the baby-wearing, night-time-breastfeeding, and washing-cloth-diapers days.

I started working one day a week in a certified kitchen out at the beautiful Echo Valley Farm, baking lovely goods for sale at local restaurants, grocers, and farmers' markets.

The girls are helping out more and more. Voluntarily, I might add. Sylvia wanted to help shave Carly and her coat might be a little patchy, but she is so much cooler in the summer weather without her thick coating of fur.

I don't hover or worry when they climb to the tippy top. They have practice knowing how far they can manage on their own.
On this day at the park, Sylvia asked me which was bigger, 2/5 or 3/7? That was her estimate of how far up the climbing wall she had gotten at Mt. Olympus. We figured it out together. It turns out that 3/7 is 1/35th bigger than 2/5.
On my birthday (39!) we went to Northwoods Orchard and Farm Market for some extra plants for the garden. It was a mellow day with the family and just what I wanted. I know I'm kinda boring. We did go out to Hillsboro Brewing Co. for pizza in the evening (one of the places that we bake for at the farm).

*photos by Sylvia

"Look, Mama! The worm is making an infinity symbol."

Sylvia made homemade whipped cream to go with those fresh-picked strawberries.
We were graced with rainbows on the way home.

Ayla likes to draw and tell me elaborate stories and I listen, intently, because I know that she won't always want to tell me her stories. With an almost-teenager in the house, I know how quickly it will go 'til Ayla won't want to hold my hand when she skates at the roller rink. One day she'll just want to get dropped off there with friends, and maybe hold hands with a boy (or girl). She'll put a bandaid on her owies herself, and maybe mention them in passing days later. That's all well and good and as it should be, but it's not always easy for a tender-hearted mama.

My almost-teen is an elusive photo subject, but she is great at caring for our animals, for watching over younger siblings while Papa and I walk miles up and down the hills surrounding our property, for a thoughtful conversation about devastating current events. Plus, she voluntarily does her own laundry!
These two offer to help cook, help plant, help hang laundry, and if I'm feeling sad I can count on extra spontaneous hugs. The rows might be a little wonky and I might not remember where the carrot seeds got planted, but I like it just fine that way.

Can you spot the muskrat in that photo? Apparently they are semi-aquatic omnivores and are the only species in their genus. I learn something new every day.
friends and kittens are a good combo

warrior girls on the trampoline
 with friends, helping plant potatoes

Ayla and I were watching a nature documentary and she told me that I was "beautiful as a scarlet macaw". That's high praise from my little animal lover. She also told me in the car yesterday that she hopes she would be like me when she grows up, that she would love her children like I love mine. She is good for my self-esteem. :) Beyond that, I know how loved she feels and how beautifully she can express it.

Sylvia has been working on a kid's cooking tutorial for a YouTube channel she'll be launching soon. I help as much (or as little) as she wants with the filming and production. It's all her gig. It promises to be sweet and entertaining.

I love these girls and their Papa and this stage in our lives sooo much, but I'm feeling a bit bittersweet about them growing up. It feels like one of the many turning points in this parenting journey, with all of the delightful promises and moments for reflection that that can bring. I am ready and grateful to be here.

With extra time on my hands as the girls become more helpful and less needy, I may not have gotten any better at keeping up with the laundry or the weeds in the garden or decluttering the house, but I have time to read books of my own choosing, to work outside the home, to create an art journal, and to paint at my easel. These are worthwhile pursuits. Perfection has never been my goal, but joy and connection, both in the parenting role and outside of it.
Dreamscape, work in progress. I don't know where it will go from here.

*all photos on this post are from the first week in June


  1. i somehow missed this post. your summer looks like it is going great. my girls are always making cooking tutorials on their little tablets. they make other ones too like how to play games and whatnot. i havenot actually gone on their tablets and watched them but i should...

    1. If you post any of their cooking tutorials let me know. I bet Sylvia would love to watch them!!!


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