Rushing three girls to a total of 8 dance classes each week. Popping over to Shasta Rock Club for my son's PE. Planning a year's worth of monthly, interactive workshops, and preparing to share at a couple events afar. Homeschooling. Homesteading. Blogging. Hiking. This isn't a look how-much-I-do-aren't-I-awesome post. It's more of a how-did-this-happen one.
Over the winter months, Jeremy and I rekindled a love we both held before we even met. The beauty of creation heals, regenerates, restores perspective, and brings life into our spirits. Whenever Jeremy wasn't traveling, we planned a weekend family expedition, be it all-Saturday or only for a couple hours. Sure it's a ton of work loading up seven people and a giant Anatolian Shepherd, along with snacks, waters, and extra changes of clothes, just in case (almost totally potty-trained toddler, ahem).
Sometimes friends and family join. Other times it's just us. Always, we Instagram. Especially him. He's discovered a new gift, that photog extraordinaire husband of mine. It's a delight to watch him come to life as he peers through a lens.
Occasionally, one or two of our children don't want to go. There's some whining and complaining, but by the time we reach a destination, wonder overtakes every eye and at the end of the day, the van is quiet in the most peaceful, contented, connected-to-each-other-and-creation type of way on the road back home.
When we are home, there's no shortage of things to do. We purchased two Oberhasli Swiss Dairy goats. One just kidded last week! One may or may not be pregnant, but the children pray that she is, with "two baby girl goats" every day. This batch is extremely cute and extremely healthy, and also extremely masculine, of which we plan to sell, sadly.
Then there's the new batch of chicks, brooding in the coop until they're old enough to emerge into the great outdoors, come April. Boy do they grow fast (and eat a lot of starter feed).
Also, the garden. My gym, grocery store, tanning salon , and quiet place all wrapped up in one, 3,000 square-foot plot. The place I find so much joy, anticipation, hope, deferred hope, problem solving, and where I'm challenged to either keep trying or give up. Some things are effortless. Others feel futile. But by the end of most days, there is dirt under my nails, browner skin from both sun and soil, and so much contented peace. We are looking at another year of drought, though we pray each night for rain.
I am not bored. Amazingly enough, I'm also not stressed (for the most part). That sweet spot where hard work and doing what I love, give and receive, push and rest, all blend into a soft-serve swirl of what "enjoying life" looks like.
Our youngest just turned three and sleeping through the night is becoming increasingly consistent, giving me more rest and energy that ever before. We aren't living in survival mode after being in that state for ages. I feel a happy anticipation for the day ahead as I go to bed, dog-tired, fully spent, and so satisfied.
Life here is far from picture perfect. I just snapped at the kids for the messy state of the house and quickly apologized before tucking them into bed. Daylight Savings is getting the better of me this week. An unknown critter took out two cauliflowers from a recent transplant and I had a full blown hissy fit inside my head. But the balance between bummer and peace is currently a gracious one, and I daily thank God for that.
A friend and I taught our first homestead class together and will teach another one Saturday morning. I'm so thankful she thought of this class-teaching idea. It's been a lot of fun sharing from learning experiences (mostly failures sprinkled with glistens of success). I hesitated at the idea at first. I love new ideas and promptly overwhelm my life with them, taking three steps forward and two steps back. But these classes have been such a pleasure. I feel a new community growing. An organic, cultured, slower, mindful, intentional one. I feel less weird and more a part. We are gathering a kombucha-drinking, scoby-sharing, non-toxic, slow food loving, organic, artisan, handmade, homemade, homegrown collective where our passions and interests are shared and inspire one another. I find myself so looking forward to the next class and a new bunch of kindreds to enfold to the community. I'm tidying up the garden every spare chance in preparation for April's class (linked below). As much as I'd love to make these classes available online, we don't have the funds for that yet. For now, it's been lovely to watch this community? movement? collective? grow organically and locally, and the future is looking quite homestead-y from where I see it.