Down on the Farm..

We’ve stumbled into a theme. It wasn’t planned. It just sort of…evolved. One thing led to another. But we are now farm addicts.

Our addiction began when I found the BBC show Edwardian Farm online. We were hooked from the moment the brilliant hosts began wrangling sheep in their brogans, making clotted cream, and having a pint in the pub. We binge watched the show, then found there were more! Victorian Farm, Tudor Farm, Manor Farm…we are still making our way through the bunch. But the show started off a steamroll effect.

One fine Sunday morning, we found ourselves restless, but without plans. There we were, driving about, looking for a destination, when we remembered Calder’s Dairy farm! A quick drive into the country for us, and there we were. Surrounded by cows and goats and chickens and ducks, even a pair of peacocks! We mucked about, exclaiming over the cuteness of the ducks (ok, that was just me) and being slightly afraid of the giant cows. (ok, just me again.) Wyatt adored it, and was so excited. Our speech delayed boy even very quietly whispered “moo” into his dad’s shoulder.

Of course we couldn’t leave without visiting the store, and checking out it’s available wares. Faced with freezers of ice cream, we had to eat some. It was delicious, of course. And it was pretty cool thinking the milk for the ice cream came from the cows just a few feet away! I had cookies and cream ice cream, and Wyatt and Billy enjoyed birthday cake flavored ice cream.

We didn’t escape with just the ice cream in our bellies. I also purchased a gallon of milk, in a glass bottle, a giant slab of butter, and a t-shirt for Wyatt. That milk was pure delight, and I am going today to buy more at their local store. One of my goals for the year was to try to purchase food from more local, small farmers, to see our food chain. This is one step closer to that goal. It takes more effort, but it is worth it – for the food, the farmer, and our local economy and community. (For more about this, read Wendell Berry. He’s a genius.)

Billy and I are now dreaming of farms – or at least somewhere I could have a few ducks, whom I would name Francis and Duckie, and a cute little pony, or mule. And a bearded collie. Billy wants to try his hand at brewing ginger beer, an enterprise I fully support. I love a good Moscow Mule and Dark and Stormies. I wouldn’t want to kill any of my animals though. That is a drawback to farming, but one I understand. I’m a vegetarian but the rest of my crew eats meat. Our obsession seems to be continuing, and I am even going to attempt to craft – everyone stand back! I am not the slightest bit successful generally, but I really want this one to work. I plan on making a set of barnyard buddies for Wyatt, some felt farm animals to play with. I can’t wait to make one of the adorable Tamworth pigs!

I end my evening these days, porch sitting, looking at my very full apple tree, drinking a chilled glass of La Vielle Ferme Blanc, dreaming of a farm to call our own. Maybe one day. Until then, it’s always nice to daydream. And eat ice cream and drink wine.

A Rainy Day Remembering

It has been raining here all week. Combine that with my husband working 15 hour days everyday, and  I have had lots of time for reflection. Jimmy Kimmel’s emotional plea also got my mind to wandering, remembering the time when my own little guy was in the NICU.

The day W. was transferred to Children’s Hospital from the NICU at the hospital where he was born, another baby went too. Another little boy, born much earlier in his gestation, only 25 weeks, and who was even smaller than my small fry, who only weighed 2lbs 15 oz. Baby A was so tiny, just across the room from my boy, a few short steps.

He left for Children’s first, his father’s tired face, full of worry, fear, sadness, yet resolute, strong, for his child, his boy. The same things I saw reflected in the face of my husband, as he made his own walk down the hall next to the large life sustaining machine our doll size son occupied. Both fathers accompanied their boys. The moms, me, and Baby A’s mom, were left behind, to stay another night, alone on a floor filled with happy mothers and fathers and babies. My own father ended up staying the night with me that night, sleeping in a chair next to my bed. The next morning my mom arrived, and I cried in her arms for the first time since they took my son away.

At Children’s, this little boy was still just a few steps from W., right across the aisle, their issoletes facing one another while their small occupants dozed and fought on.  Life in this particular NICU was like being in a fishbowl. 6 babies, 6 beds, 6 families. Most of the time, it was mostly Baby A’s mother and me sitting bedside. Despite so many babies in such a small space, communication is discouraged, for privacy reasons. Even these smallest patients are covered by HIPAA, and while it is isolating, it is still better than finding people circle around your baby’s bed. In reality though, we still all knew what was going on- when doctors do rounds 6 inches from you, it is hard not to overhear things. We knew Baby A had heart problems, just like they knew W. had brain bleeds and obstructive hydrocephalus.

We often ran into each other in the halls or on the way up or down, in the elevator, coming and going. We would exchange greetings, ask how each other sons were doing, cordial, friendly. We shared the fishbowl with them for two weeks, then W. was moved to another room, a step down room as his condition became less scary. We still saw Baby A’s parents in the halls, and would exchange greetings, but no longer were in such close proximity.

Then, one Saturday, alarm bells kept sounding, in the next room over. All day long, over and over, sending the NICU nurses running. Billy and I knew, somehow, that it was Baby A. We held our son and thought of the little boy fighting so hard in the next room, a battle so much bigger than himself. And by some sad twist of fate, his parents were not there that day. Not at all that day, after so many days and nights at his side. I desperately wished I could go and hold him, comfort him, but obviously, that couldn’t be.

After a few hours, there were no more alarms going off. No more mad scrambles to the room next door. And when Billy and I left for the night, we saw his mom and dad in the hall for the final time, talking with the doctors.

I think of them, and Baby A, often. Especially this time of year, around W.’s birthday, as the two would have been the same age. I think of his mother, his father. And I will never forget their little boy’s name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Snapshots

SaturdaySnapshot

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads

It was a good week for grandmas around here! W. and I got to spend time with all three of his grandmothers and we enjoyed ourselves with all of them! We went out for coffee, milk and croissants, and then a visit to the toy store; we went to a conservatory just beginning to bloom; we had dinner and hot fudge sundaes with another. All in all, a very good week.

Bonus Moment ~ Blowing bubbles on the porch this week with the boyo, in the cool spring evening breeze, the scent of the flowering apple blossoms just reaching us. I love to be outside in the evening and at night, and it seems like my son shares that love as well.

These photos are probably huge! I am still getting used to the wordpress platform! Bear with me please. 🙂

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Mmmm coffee….

 

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Giggles and fist bumps.

 

Little Things

My mornings begin with a tiny gesture, a small offering left on the table outside our bedroom: a mug of hot coffee.
This sounds weird, I know.
Lately, my mornings have been beginning earlier than I would have ever contemplated. I’m not an early bird by any stretch. Too early, I even feel slightly ill. But I have learned to take my opportunities where I can these days, and early mornings can belong to me. Before little man, I would get up, not too early mind you, and wake up slowly, reading the interwebs, all the blogs, news, while slowly sipping my coffee and rejoining the world again. I haven’t had that for a while. Quite a while. And I kind of miss a little morning time to myself. So, when my husband gets up for work, I get up too. Kind of, since I don’t actually get out of bed.
That makes me sound lazy, that I stay there. But W. has usually wormed his way in by that point, snugged down between us. I know there are many opinions on this, but for us, it works. He wakes often, trapped against the side of his crib, unable to turn over to the left due to his weaknesses on one side of his body. It has to be scary, to awaken in the dark, alone, unable to move. During the day, he compensates for this. He’s like an acrobat really, for all his limited mobility. He has ingeniously devised his own system of movement, graceful and effective. But, eventually, he winds up with us. Sleep is important, any way that you can get it. Yet that means in the mornings I am tethered, as I have not managed to move him back to his bed without waking him. He always knows.
So I use this time instead, that I am awake and he is asleep. The room slowly grows brighter and sunnier, following that pre-dawn grayness, tinged with pinks and yellows. There is usually some book or another next to me.  I hear a slight clink as my husband sets a coffee down on the table outside our room. Sometimes I hear him quietly making his way down the hall, before the clink. Other times I hear nothing until I hear the sound of the front door closing as he leaves. Those mornings I slip out from under the covers, bare feet on the cool wooden floors, everything cool now really, these early spring mornings, and open the door just a crack and spot my gift right there, waiting for me. I tiptoe back, making sure not to wake W. and plan and read and dream and yes, read the internet too, while I wait for him to wake.
It’s kind of like a secret, but not.

Getting Hygge With It

There is something intrinsically so appealing about the Danish/Nordic lifestyle, the feeling of coziness that they call hygge. As an American, I feel that I can disappear into my endless to-do list, which gets longer everyday. My son has cerebral palsy, and we are running to therapy four days a week. We have at least one specialist doctors appointment a month. And that is of course in addition to all of the rest of our everyday things we have to do, that everyone does. Pay bills, grocery shop, clean, work if we work, go to school, all these things. Where do we find time to indulge our own selves, to take care of our own souls? It’s a rabbit hole for sure. The answer is that we need to find time, make time, just let stuff go a little bit, and enjoy the moments before they are gone.

This is something I have been reminding myself for a week or two now, since reading a few books on the subject, and looking at Pinterest and YouTube.

It’s the food that is drawing me in right now. I used to love spending time in the kitchen, making soup and baking while dancing around drinking a glass of red wine. Now, I feel like food has a different focus. W. is not a great eater. We have to practically stand on our heads to get him to eat, and we always need to add more fat to his food, just to increase calories. His CP also causes him to lose weight easier, as someone with CP actually uses 30% more energy than someone who doesn’t. Last week though, I began to relax a little about food. I would get so stressed about it ~ and I honestly think my stress and anxiety about W. eating was affecting him. The past two weeks he has been eating like a champ. Perhaps it is the food, as I am spending more time making food – and not with medical instructions on my mind, but love. Care. The instinct to feed those that I love good food is very strong in me, and I think by burying that part of myself somewhat, it was reflected in the food I was making, and thereby perhaps extending itself to my boy. I could be crazy, but I do believe that it could happen. We have been enjoying pancakes, muffins, and I plan to make homemade pop tarts tomorrow. I have made lemony salmon, quinoa with avocado and a squeeze of lemon, meatballs for the boy, and he has eaten them all with relish. I’ve used fun plates, my china, and some dishes made by hand by my mother-in-law on her potters wheel, making the meal even more special. (W. does not eat off the fine china however, lol)

And if I end the night with a glass of wine and a Reese’s peanut butter egg, then so be it. By letting myself enjoy the process, I think that W. is enjoying the product. I even had some fun with an ordinary peanut butter and jelly the other day, cutting it into a whale shape when serving it with his all time favorite Goldfish crackers.



The weather lately has also been amazing, and we have been taking advantage of it as much as we can, and in a hygge sort of way. Soaking up nature, the sun, the wind. Walking through the woods, even just sitting and enjoying a few minutes on the porch.

The night though has always captivated my little 2 year old. He is fascinated by it. On some of these nicer nights, we have gone and stood outside, looking up at the dark sky, lit here only by a few stars but still, beautiful, twinkly. He laughs, a real laugh, which rings through the quiet as he throws his arms skyward. A perfect moment, for this mom.

The Enchantment of Plants

The room is cozy, with cushy overstuffed furniture, warm colors that invite you to stay, an eclectic clutter that draws the eyes seeking out all the hidden treasures – a ceramic bird here, a treasured book there, an oversized ceramic mug that would fit perfectly in your hands. But that isn’t the magic, although it is evident that magic does live there. The magic is found hanging around the room, the bright splashes of green, alive and vibrant. Ferns, with their feathery soft leaves; succulents that are waxy and shine, plants that I can’t hope to identify or recognize adorn the room with their vitality, giving the room and the house and the inhabitants a feeling of enchantment.
When I was little girl, my mom took me to visit one of her friends. We lived in the Detroit suburbs, a landscape of factory houses that sprang up in the 1950s, cookie cutter homes, with their postage stamp sized yards and chain link fences, not there is anything wrong with this landscape, but where we went was not like a place I had been. It seemed charmed and slightly wild, out in the country, a house made of wood and glass and plants and macrame (it was the late 70s). It was earthy, funky, homey. 
Recently I was reminded of this house, that feeling. My friend and I were talking about how a mutual friend of ours house had this same feeling, this feeling of comfort, peace. The feeling that we were tucked away in some enchanted glen, and we tried to put our fingers on just where that magical spirit came from. The plants, the people, the design, the decor, where and how can we gather this magic for ourselves, light up our own house, touch that piece of our soul. We decided that the enchantment sprang from the kingdom of plants strewn about the house, willy nilly. 
So in my quest to replicate this warm, cozy, wildness, this feeling of a wonderland, I made a few new plant friends. I read that plants do better when you name them and talk to them, so I did that too. I have to say I am pretty happy with my new plants, although I haven’t quite achieved the level of magic that I am hoping for. I think part of me is yearning for springtime, and the sprouting of new life, for the blossoms to emerge like white snow on our apple tree, for the roses to bloom, for the flowers to burst to the surface. For now, I will be content with my three indoor houseplants – Old Ironsides, who lives in my dining room, Charlotte with her pink striped green leaves, and Seamoss ~ like Seamus, but “moss” instead of “mus”, because well, Irish moss, who currently hangs in our shower. My little seedlings have sprouted too – it always brings a smile to my face to see them in the morning, bright green against the grayness that is outside these days. One day they will be bunny tail grass and chives, but for now they are just bright green babies in my kitchen.
I have spring in my soul these days, green bursting, waiting for the sunshine. I can’t wait to get outside and start planting. I also have a great plan for a sensory garden for the boy I can’t wait to get started on!