May 13, 2016

Soooo... How About That Weather We've Been Having?

Ok, so my last post was... out of the ordinary... for this blog at least. It was more like a personal journal entry that I was just pissed off enough over to actually publish online. I learned two things from this post: 1) People love drama - it has received the most hits ever had on my blog and in just two days. That is after 2 years of writing and over 160 published posts (I'd guess the inflammatory title had something to do with that) and 2) I'm better than that.

I have to admit, my Dad helped me see it tonight (although I didn't admit it to him just then, I had to think on it more), that is not what this blog is about. It has always been a place where I can safely voice and work through my feelings, concerns and views while hopefully helping at least someone out there, without the drama and negativity that held me down so often in the past.

If I had left it at just the blood =/= family stuff then it would have been fine, but instead, I made it personal and it got nasty. Which, in a way, made me no better than the person it was directed towards. Not cool. Especially since I've been trying for years to be better than that.

So, I'm sorry for that. For not being authentic to my blog. Instead of satisfying my own desire for some sort of revenge, i should focus on keeping with the interests of my readers (all two of you!). I will never unpublish it, but it is definitely time to move on.

I thought I'd lighten things up a bit with a picture heavy post of the fun we've been having this Spring. I know this post will only get about 1/4 of the hits as the last one, but I'm totally ok with that, because at least it's happy. I'd rather be known for the fun I share with my kids than the angry rants I hurl into the abyss of the interwebz.

I hope you've been able to get out and enjoy the sunshine as we have. Here are some of our favorite things to do this time of year:

Dirt and Mud Play

Scooping, piling, plopping and, of course, digging - dirt play is the best! It's full of different sights, smells and textures and while it can be messy, it's pretty much a guaranteed fun time for anyone - except Mom who gets to strip off those messy clothes and do the laundry later. But that doesn't stop me - I love playing in the rain or creating puddles of mud with the hose. We don't do it every day, but when we do, it's so much fun.


Water Play

Who doesn't love water play? It's like mud play, only cleaner! Unless you're my kids, of course - they always manage to come away as wet as if they'd gone swimming. I have a stash of cups, scoops, utensils, rags and more that I randomly throw in, but mostly they just splash and try to drink the hose water (don't worry, Mom, I don't let them!). On rainy days I just pour some water into bins and let them have at it on a shower curtain and towels. It's by far one of their favorites!

Painting Outside

This has been one of my favorite activities for as long as I can remember. We did it last fall and painted all the leaves and twigs we could find. This time around I tried some homemade watercolor paint (a 10 second squirt of crayola washable paint mixed with about a cup of water).  Since it dries so fast in the sun, it creates layers of color on the page and adds a whole new element to mixing colors. Do not make the same mistake I did and allow your kids to paint your unsealed concrete patio - while I am in love with our new tye-dye backyard, I'm not so sure our landlord will be.

Playdough Outside


I love bringing indoor art mediums outside. With playdough, we've always enjoyed poking it with and molding it around sticks, rocks and pinecones or making faces with nature items. This time though, I just wanted to get rid of this batch of dough so I let them do whatever they wanted. It wasn't long before it was being stuck to everything from the fence to the trees.  Lo and behold they discovered a whole new way to work with it: imprints.

It was even cooler because you never knew what was going to stick. For example, the pine tree branches left these beautifully detailed and tiny illustrations of themselves. The grass just left a bunch of slants and dead ants. The cherry blossom tree was by far the coolest - the bark looks so smooth but in reality it's full of tiny dots. I was too busy exploring with them to get good pics but you get the idea. We still use The Imagination Tree's recipe for our playdough, try it, you'll love it!

Painting Flowerpots and Planting Seeds

I got these cute little pots at my bff's baby shower and knew we had to paint them. We set up outside and the kids went at it. Later, I mod-podged them to protect the paint from water. I picked up some potting soil and seed mix and waited for a nice day to get out and plant something.

Of course, then came the week of torrential downpours so we did it inside. They played and poked until we added some seeds and water and said a little poem to help them grow. In hindsight, dirt inside was not the best idea - but they loved it. R gave his flowers to his Mom for Mother's day and I'm still praying the girls' will start to grow at some point.

Exploring Everything

My absolute favorite part of Spring is just getting out and soaking up the beauty of the new world, watching the rebirth after the long, cold winter.  My backyard is a fantastic spot, filled with all sorts of trees, vines, flowers, birds and other woodland creatures. If it wasn't smack in the middle of a small city it would be perfect, but at least right now my kids can learn all about the city sounds of cars honking and sirens wailing (bright side, I'm really working on that optimism over here after my last post).

Mostly they just roam around, pointing as I answer their inquiries and experimenting with their environment. Even the baby absolutely loves just chilling out, staring up at the trees and the clouds. I can't wait to get a second gate so I can trust putting him on a blanket on the ground but with 3 big kids running around it's not safe yet.

The other day we watched as 3 squirrels ventured into the yard, unaware of our presence as we ate snack at the opposite end. They hopped and ran and tackled each other while we looked on, the kids stunned into silence and awe. They were just a few feet away before the saw us and hightailed it up the telephone pole, but it was magical for me and for them. And far better than any TV show.

The Cherry Blossom Saga


I wouldn't feel right if I didn't include this in the tale of our Spring. Every year since we moved in I have loved watching and waiting for our huge cherry blossom tree to make its blooming debut. It starts as hairy gray buds and then one day they burst open and fill the sky with pink and white, right outside my kitchen window. Last year, I took some beautiful pictures of the girls in front of it and couldn't wait to do a comparison shot in the same spot this year.

Except this year, it bloomed too early. Who can blame it, what with the 75 degree temps in mid-March? But then, the very next day, the temperature dropped and the ground was covered in 3 inches of snow for only the second time all winter. And all those innocent, pure, beautiful blooms died.

I hadn't even taken a picture yet since I knew it would only get better.

And it never came back.

I cried.

It wouldn't be so sad if they were just buds - but all that brown, those are dead blooms :(

But then, just yesterday, I noticed it. One single white bloom amidst a sea of green leaves. As if it were there just for me. I made sure all the kids got as close as they could to check it out.

It seemed to be just another reminder that even when it seems so, all is never lost. Somehow, light has a way of shining even in the coldest of darkness. Even after everything else has been torched - there is always a way to survive. I can't help but think of how ironic it is in relation to my previous post.

Anyway, Spring is truly here and Summer is on its way. I hope you have a chance to get out and take in all the beauty that our world is giving us right now!