Mother's Day may be a Hallmark contrived holiday, but we worked damn hard to get here and are basking in it as much as we can. Save for the random and generally fleeting moments, we agree that we have never been happier or more satisfied with our lives. We feel damned lucky.
Frankly, I have never felt more like a mother. Pequita is going through a most fun stage wherein she cries and pulls a Gandhi* at the drop of a hat. I believe it is called the terrible twos, and she's right on target. I have many mothers and grandmothers all over town patting me on the back and telling me that it gets easier as they smile that smile that means 'oh thank god my kids are through that stage.' I am quite touched that they reach out when they do, as it actually helps when she is on the floor of the grocery store bathroom/ parking lot/ playground/ gym/ children's museum having a tantrum. Monito, my little golden boy, is smack in the middle of the mommy-centric phase wherein he screams when anyone other than me tries to touch him. H-Mama will do in a pinch unless I am in the vicinity. This coincides with his teething. My nip.ples are raw and swollen because of Monito's top teeth coming in. He now has three on the bottom and one on top; that second top tooth is right on the verge of breaking through and he is still figuring out how to nurse without killing me. Who am I kidding - he isn't trying anything, just happily chewing away aaaaalllllllll the tiiiiiiiiiime. Homestead Mama remembers almost quitting breastfeeding in this stage, and I can totally see why.
To celebrate the day [= to get twenty extra minutes of dozing] we lolled in bed watching Thomas the Tank Engine when the babes woke up. I mowed the Figure 8 last night, so we are going to take a morning walk on the back 40 once my coffee brews. In years past we've mowed a path for our old dogs on the nine acres we let remain meadow to make it easier for their old arthritic bones to meander along short grass. Now, we'll keep it mowed for the babes. As summer progresses, the flowers, weeds, shrubs and grasses grow up tall on either side of the path and it is jolly good fun to see what is blooming or what animal is nesting at any given time. I love to mow it, as whatever grows back there smells very distinct and sweet when cut. I've never smelled a better mowing smell and I revel in it. Right now, the wild strawberries are flowering. In a few weeks, we'll have tiny red fruit to pick and eat along the path as we walk.
We Homestead Mom's have been, well, homesteading. I've been spending every spare minute that could have been used for blogging changing a grass-challenged bit of our garden into a glorious shrub and flower garden. It isn't glorious yet, but will be in a year or two when all the tiny plants I have put in fill out a bit. Right outside the front door is a large pine tree which has been overshadowing the yard completely. I decided to get rid of the foundering grass and plant native woodland plants that will flourish in the acid-rich soil and with only partial sunlight. We killed the grass by spreading out black plastic on it last spring, then - whoops! - had Monito and had no time to finish the job. A few weeks ago, I pulled up the plastic [the neighbors must have been thrilled!] spread out three cubic yards of mulch and started putting in plants I harvested from other places in our yard and a few evergreens from the nursery. Our carpenter Dave is unbelievably generous and has brought us pot after pot of plants he and his wife have thinned from their yard - hosta, Solomon's Seal, a few varieties of lilies. Pequita was bereft when the massive hill of steaming mulch disappeared from the front yard, as she really loved climbing it and rolling down to the bottom. [My children both looked like vagabonds, filthy and wet with dirt ringing their mouths as they continually tried to find a tasty piece of earth. Sadly, they remain that way and likely will for the duration of summers.] I eased her disappointment by installing a bird bath with WATER in it - the birds will clearly never come to it, as it is constantly getting emptied all over a certain younger brother, as well as having shovels, rocks and Legos left in it. So while I am holding off on showing you kitchen renovation pictures until it is done, behold my latest time investment. I couldn't be more pleased. It was completed almost entirely with one baby sleeping in the car and the other either on my back while I shoveled or moving mulch right along side me with her little shovel and big dump truck.
The patch of yard before. [I'd like to cut down the tree and put in a cluster of 8-12 foot tall pines for privacy, but H-Mama will hear nothing of it. I am holding out hope that we'll get the rest of the garage painted grey this summer.]
Monito, a.k.a. Bubba, loves to help.
The bare wall leading up to the front door is now flanked by Solomon's Seal. It will fill in and be lush in a few years. You can see the broken flower pot that serves as a toad house in the lower left corner. We check it each and every time we exit or enter the front door to visit the toad that lives under it each year. Poor toad.
The clematis plant that I gave H-Mama for mother's day. She has wanted one for years.
And the after picture. There's plenty of room left to put in perennials and more rocks to climb on, but the bones of the garden are in.
*Pulling a Gandhi: sinking bonelessly to the ground in an effort of passive resistance. Unlike the real Gandhi, Pequita's is accompanied by much screaming, clawing and crying. Most impressive. I'll try to get tape of it for you.