I adore Spring. I love watching the birds and seeing all the tiny things sprout and grow. Lately, I've been spending a lot of my free time (during my toddlers naps) outside. Of course, if I try to do anything outside with her, she ends up finding tasty rocks or dirt or manages to find the one bucket in the yard she can dunk herself into, though it is all pretty entertaining you can't get much done with an adorable, little, blonde beast around. There seems to be always a lot to do on these 5 acres, let alone with the kids or around the house. Though I've always loved gardening and landscaping, if my free time is designated to doing things outdoors, I sometimes get frustrated with my inability to get the things I really want to do done. There are so many things I want to do. I sometimes wonder what I have to show for years of toil whether it be with my kids, around the house, in the kitchen, in the garden......... Occasionally, I sit for a quite moment alone and try to remind myself what I've accomplished with the help of going through pictures I've taken of my kids. This one on the left is one of my favorites from last year. Of course, children don't raise themselves, and I know instinctively that I have accomplished more than I can measure, and that these things matter. I'm happy to deserve credit for raising my kids and that's not something I want to outsource. It has to be the most fulfilling DIY a person can take on. I can't express the satisfaction that comes with having taught my kids to read or knowing that when my toddler wants me, I'm here. I'm not able to say this from some grand, high place of privilege, just from here where I am, dangling near the edge of lower middle class, living on one teachers income. Staying home with your kids is a sacrifice in a lot of ways and there is often that condescending look you get when a person hears you're just a stay at home mom. You know? Like you may have seemed interesting or even intelligent, until you tell them you stay-at-home. lol. People tend to think you can't do anything else, or that you're a moocher and lazy, or just are generally not up to par with themselves in whatever way. My thought on this: someone will be raising my kids and it might as well be me, (and naturally, not everyone can stay at home with their child, all our circumstances are unique and not everyone is at the same starting point financially or relationship-wise when a baby comes along.) It helps that both myself and my husband have the same goal of keeping our little family healthy, happy, and intact, that is what our decisions, from how we spend money to how we spend our free time, revolve around. It's not always easy, tight rope walking a shoestring budget and tending to all the needs of a household. Luckily, I'm creative enough to be resourceful when it comes to meals, clothing, or just making do. (It's second nature when you come from a family of ten.) I don't go to a salon or have my nails done (and I cut my husbands and kids hair >> which always looks pretty good, BTW). I almost don't buy anything, and I definitely don't ever hang around a mall. (My style has been in hibernation for a long time and that's Okay with me) I've never paid for family photos either. Not that I'm as good as a pro but I'm not too shabby. My husband and I don't hire anything out, we do everything ourselves which means between the two of us, we're a pair of jacks of all trades. (We're the type of people you want stranded with you on a deserted island :) Anyways, I guess this is sort of where I've been, doing what I'm good at, making the most of things around here. I finally planted the vegetable garden. (later than ever into the season) The soil finally dried enough for us to till and plant. << Luckily, because everything was soaked last night in some wicked storms. I'll have to share some of my gardening tricks sometime, I have the best way of supporting tomatoes. I think it makes great sense to sow things that you can really reap from, so I like to grow sweet potatoes by my porch for the produce and because they are attractive. I've also been growing beans and morning glory up one whole side of our wrap-around porch, which looks lovely (this year I'll add climbing spinach and sweet pea). I was trying to talk myself out of gardening this year so my hands could be more free for other things, but we get so much produce out of it, it feels like a necessity for my family (and it's awesome to pick produce and not have to wonder about the chemicals on them, right?).....So here I am, tied up with life, little growing things and little growing people, and it's all good.