Teacup Tuesday: Planning 2015

Hello, friends.

If you are a fellow cold-weather dweller, I hope that you are finding nice ways to keep yourself warm and well.  If you are in a more temperate climate, well…I don’t know if we can be friends anymore.  Kidding, kidding!  All are welcome at Warm as Pie.  (Just don’t tell me that 40 degrees is cold, okay?)  Speaking of staying warm, this morning I enjoyed a big cup of Lipton’s Vanilla Caramel Black Tea.  Let me just say YUMMY.  I used a little of Trader Joe’s Organic Blue Agave sweetener and my newest teacup–a gigantic clear cup.  This cup makes every sip seem like a special treat.  I love it, and I loved the price:  $2.99 at Target.  Next, I would love to get a clear teapot to match, but that will have to wait.

tea

I simply love this time of year.  The start of the new year feels exciting and promising and very motivating.  My sister teases me for making a hundred resolutions each January.  I’m actually taking a different approach this year.  I’m dividing “resolutions” from “goals,” and I am really excited to share some of them with  you.  I’m defining resolutions as overarching intentions without firm deadlines or boundaries. Goals are narrow, defined plans with specific steps. So here goes…

Resolution #1: Be more fun! I’ve been in a major funk of trying to “do things right.” I’ve forgotten how to just be and DO fun.

Resolution #2: Send more snail mail. I love to send and receive mail. I bet others do to!

Goal #1: I’m declaring 2015 to be THE YEAR OF CLEAN. I am working toward starting next January with a cleaner, more organized, well run home. I have a list of mini-goals for each month, and I am trying hard to not expect a quick fix.  I have a whole year to reach this goal step by step.  Although I have always been very organized in my student/professional life, I have struggled with organization my whole life.  I can remember spending hours in my room, trying hard to clean it–but instead I was looking at old photos and ancient school papers, reminiscing instead of truly cleaning.  Now, I have four little people who can be excellent picker-uppers, but they are equally skilled at making messes.  This year, we are getting our act together.

Goal #2: I will return to playing the violin. This is in line with my fun resolution. I am going to begin by practicing every day, even if it is only for 10 minutes. I plan to increase this time through the year.  Last month, I bought new strings and fine tuners.  I had my bow re-haired, and I am really enjoying my music-making…even if it is a bit (okay, a lot) squeaky.

Goal #3: I will work on the DONA (Doulas of North America) reading list, and I will register for a doula certification workshop) through a recognized certification agency (TBD).  THIS needs a post of its own!  Here is the short version.  Shortly after Charlotte was born in the summer of 2011, I started thinking about becoming a birth doula (professional labor support person).  Then I met some lovely doulas in Florida.  Hi, Emily!  Hi, Elizabeth!  I learned a lot from them.  Although we didn’t spend a lot of time talking about doula business, I admired them and their work.   I’m still not certain how or when a doula business will fit into my family life, but on my birthday in 2014, I made a promise to myself to pursue certification in earnest.

Goal #4: I will take my blog seriously!  You will hear a lot more from me in 2015.  I love this blog, and although life is hectic, I am committed to this little spot on the web.

Leave me a comment.  What tea are you drinking?  Do you have goals for 2015?

Warmly, Erica G.

Babymoon

My first three kiddos are summer babies.  They spent the first three months of their lives in little Onesies.  They rarely wore socks, and we took them outside for walks every single day of their brand new lives.  Our current bundle was born on a very warm December evening, but since then, the weather has been mighty chilly.  Such a different experience!  And the whole fact of a newborn in cold-and-flu-season brings out the almost-germaphobe in me.  Let’s simply say that several factors have brought us to being inside a lot, and we are all feeling antsy.

I, for one, am craving the normal run-around of our usual life, but at the same time, these three weeks have been a treasure.  I know why people call the newborn period a “Babymoon.”  It is a period in time that you can never recapture.  It’s a process of falling in love, getting to know a new family member.  It’s a time to close out the rest of the world, trim down responsibilities, and just BE.

As sweet as this time has been, like any honeymoon, the hibernation has to come to an end.  Cory went back to work this week, and we returned to our (modified) homeschool schedule.  The meals from kind friends have come to an end, and I need to get back to meal planning and prep.  This is good progress, and don’t worry; we still have tons of cuddle time.

croppedReed

A Tradition Renewed

When I was growing up, we cut down fresh Christmas trees.  We weren’t exactly on a tree farm though.  More like an old strip mine/wooded area.  It was fun and felt a bit sneaky.  Such rebels we were!  Truly, though, it was a great way to get a tree.  The trees weren’t sprayed with pesticides, and they were left to grow when, how, and where they pleased.  We were never bothered by a single other tree shopper!

From Christmas 2004 until my family moved to Florida in 2011, we went to a Christmas tree farm with Cory’s family to pick out the perfect evergreen.  That first Christmas was also the evening when we saw our very first positive pregnancy test.  As we decorated our tree, we danced around the living room, listened to Bing Crosby, and cracked open a can of fruit cocktail.  Our hearts were full with anticipating next Christmas with a new baby in our arms.

In late November 2011, Cory’s mom and dad drove a moving van down to Florida with our belongings.  To our absolute shock and delight, a beautiful Christmas tree had made the trip–tied onto the back of the truck.  What a surprise!

Last year, we picked up a Home Depot tree in a Florida parking lot.  Not quite as fun.

But this year, the tradition continues.  We bundled up, mounted the big wagon with hay bales for seats, and set out to choose our tree.  A fresh snow and a bit of sunshine made the day perfect.

DSC_0007 DSC_0008 DSC_0009 DSC_0011

Thinking about snow

DSC_0001

DSC_0002

DSC_0007

DSC_0009

DSC_0010

DSC_0011

DSC_0020

DSC_0021

DSC_0025

We’ve returned to the warm weather, and we are enjoying the sunshine once again. However, the joy of the snow was not lost on us as we visited with our families in the north.  I was thankful for a good snowfall during our trip.  The boys were so eager for snow, snowmen, and snow angels.  They were not disappointed.

Getting it right…

My giving of Christmas cards was a bit haphazard this year.  I am claiming the “big move and new baby” excuse while I can get away with it!  But I want everyone to see our Christmas picture and some of the “out takes” on the way to getting it right.

Christmas 2011

I was finally satisfied with the picture above.  Whew…that’s a workout.  After our “photo shoot” was over and the rest of the gang was changing clothes and moving on to other things, Cory snapped a photograph of J in the window.  Somehow, this seems to truly capture Christmas.  The wonder, the waiting, looking out for what’s to come.

Farmers Market in January

See those beauties?  Real, honest-to-goodness, locally grown cherry tomatoes.  In January no less.  For a northerner like me, these tomatoes are nothing short of miraculous.  I keep going back for another.  They appeared in our salad last night, and I’m anxiously awaiting a taste in my lunch salad any moment now.  As soon as my hubby brings it to me.  Ahh…love.

The Farmers Market in our town is brand new.  The little ones and I headed over on Saturday morning.  We bought a big cup of squeezed-right-before-our-eyes orange juice for $1, this basket of tomatoes, a loaf of chocolate bread, and a loaf of banana bread.  We drank the juice on the spot.  The breads disappeared by Sunday morning, and the tomatoes are quickly being eaten.  The boys loved the market.  They especially enjoyed nibbling all the free samples and running into many friends.  You know, I am so surprised by how many people we run into on an almost daily basis.  So many familiar, friendly faces.  I can’t decide if this is the product of a small town, a large church, or something else.  I don’t know, but I’m not going to question the blessing.

Feeling pensive…

Doesn’t this painting make you think spring?  The boys and I practiced the wet-on-wet technique during a little painting time on Monday.  We were totally oblivious to the fact that our spring-like mood was about to be interrupted by Tuesday’s snow day.  Yes, we woke up to eight inches of fluffy white snow.  Total surprise!  Probably doesn’t sound remarkable in late February, but I was already knee-deep in Spring Fever.  Last week was gorgeous.  We had two days over 60 degrees and so much sunshine that I started to actually believe that spring was on its way.  We pulled out light jackets!  I wiped down our outdoor furniture and swept up old, brown leaves that had found their way beneath the ivy, around the stairs, and in the flower bed.  The boys beautified everything with sidewalk chalk.  Now, every nook is white.

I’m craving sunshine and walks in the park far more than I crave the proverbial pickles and ice cream (never did understand that particular myth!).  I can’t wait to pick up our kindergartener from school and surprise him with a picnic lunch at the nearby playground.  I’m ready to pull out our spring books.  As much as I love reading Sledding by Elizabeth Winthrop, I’m really ready for Curious George Plants a Tree.

I’m not usually one to rush time.  I love all four seasons, but this winter feels different for our family.  I am so eager to get to the fun of planning for our new baby and all the changes ahead, and it’s hard to do that when the semester is in full swing and winter blahs are hitting hard.  I’ve been deep in thought lately about baby names, potted tomato plants, and most of all, organizing.  I have trouble (as I’ve referenced in earlier posts) keeping a tidy home with two kids, a husband, and a low-maintenance labrador.  Obviously, I have to do things differently if I’m going to maintain any form of organization with all of the above plus one small, helpless lovebug.  I feel confident that if I can clear out clutter and establish a simple routine, I can be a semi-organized mom of three.  But all that organizing, cleaning, and planning feels more fun if I can take a break on my front porch with a glass of decaf iced tea.

Winter Playscape

Even before I became a mom, I was very curious about the Waldorf tradition of education and child rearing.  I’ve read a lot and learned a lot from the internet and books.  When son #1 was born, I knew that I wanted to embrace the concepts of seasonal rhythms, creativity, exploration, and natural playthings.  Although we are not hard-core Waldorf, we’ve have fun incorporating some of the concepts in our daily life.  Yet, we have never had a seasonal playscape.  Finally, as part of our Groundhog’s Day fun, the boys and I made a winter playscape.  It has been a big hit!  Our little one, in particular, can be found enjoying the little family on our window sill.  He especially loved “decorating” the poor wooden doe who is now…well…abstract, shall we say.

(I used “felt” made from rcycled bottles for the ground and skating pond.  The snow is pulled cotton with glitter in it.  The cave, gray scarves, and the baby’s cloak are made from actual wool felt.  The woman is wearing a scrap of fabric held with a “glue dot.”  The trees are scraps of our Christmas tree and our Christmas garland poked into mounds of Play Doh.  I actually knit the man’s red scarf from light weight 100% wool yarn.  I always tell people that only knit small projects.  Well, this was really small!  The wooden figures, sled, and broom came from Casey’s Wood Products.)