When the girls were learning to walk, I cannot remember a single time they fell on their bottoms or turned a corner too short where I shamed them. I don’t recall ever scorning “you weren’t paying attention” or expecting balance. Rather, I buffered and bumped and directed and encouraged.

I watched them learn to walk.

As I sit here with my morning coffee, I am fully aware of the butterflies in my stomach related to the parenting ahead of me today.

David has office space in our little downtown now, so today is my first day with all five kids under my jurisdiction without the protection of David working so be cool or his live and in color reinforcement for my plans.

A big butterfly is related to the inconvenience of teenage freeloading and entitlement.

Another butterfly is related to the task of waking the household in hopes for some sort of order for the day.

Another butterfly is related to the fact I need to address a late night door dash that was done without permission and whose evidence was hidden in an heirloom toybox.

Sigh.

There are other butterflies too… related to dog training and in laws coming in town, to wanting to carve out my writing time in my new main floor creative space and some other things. The butterflies aren’t helping me at all.

As I walked the dogs towards home just a minute ago, I really was permeating this idea – reminding myself over and over – that how I handle all of this is a choice. My desire for some structure is a choice. My handling of the door dash annoyance is a choice. My joy or lack there if is a choice.

Any choice that feels anxious and tense is not going to allow me to find that inner hum that consistently swings at the proverbial balls thrown to me today with some sort of grace and love.

If I don’t want my day to be ruined, I can’t ruin it.

And that’s when the relaxed but ready stance of the batters from Friday nights Cardinals game came to my mind. The game that kept me up too late and had me a tired mess all weekend had also given me a lovely 40th birthday gift reminder via two really joyful home runs: keep a good eye, a ready posture, beware of distractions and knock it out of the park.

It’s easy to think your teenager should know a lot more than they do. They are a rat in a maze looking for cheese and their shitheadness is being discovered…. though you really really really want to think they know better, they don’t until they do.

But just like I didn’t label every learning to walk tumble as unfortunate or imbalanced; I really don’t want to label every learning to live tumble as lazy or shameful.

I want to encourage and direct them to better choices, more fun and therefore have a fun and more open day myself.

Swing batter batter swing…

Wish me luck 🙃

realistic expectations @ on a little ledge by my ferns – stl.

oh hey – long time, no talk. or – no write. what’s up?

to those i know in real life, in person: here we go. a life update of intricate sorts.

to those i read and who read me online: a deeper thought, a perspective.

since the last time i recall writing, the seasons have changed and two puppies have joined the mix. my oldest turns 16 on wednesday, the middle blended daughter turns 12 on tuesday – amazon delivered a couple of *i really want to tell you* today and the sun is shining. it has been a wet couple of days but, today? it’s glorious. sunny, cool in shade, warm in patches of daylight.

my heart has been leaping all morning at our dream and our vision. two adult dogs walking on taylor dock in bellingham, when we finally get to a milky chance concert, the next time we buy fresh flowers at pike’s, the sound of seattle… the coffee.. my mountain view.

my greenhouse. my rosebush. my rosemary. the deer. the neighborhood. the inspiring corner kitchen garden and the desire to be family friends with the people with banana trees and tire swings.

birch bay. foggy mornings. (did i say coffee) and the kayaks. enter back the dogs. the moss. the green. the ferns.

which brings me back to where i started (in my title) – by my ferns here in stl.

the ferns are getting there. (the puppies have not been especially helpful in this regard, but we are learning and i am praying my hostas’ safety and well being each day. MAN they like to rumble and wrestle in them leaves!) the greens of the green thanks to the rain are like fairy dust in this midwest spring. pnw vibes all the way and it’s like being plugged into a little electric socket.

on the homefront: it is a switch day which means i wind down my me time and personal growth and match it up to the needs of the collective, the behavior i want to see more of from my daughters and the way the house needs to run for my sanity and everybody’s health and comforts to be somewhat met.

regarding the publishing project: it has hatched and is a duckling sitting in a sweet little egg. designers are working on statement of work. village books and i are in a pending contract. and my list of people to send invitations to this summer is coming up daily along with the right hue of yarrow golden yellow for the stationary. sigh. my creative baby infant child. my first published work. an apple off my apple tree. <pulse>

oh, how much more i could write right now.

ideas for the future. on my love for my children.

my gratitude. my husband.

// a song we wrote. //

what i have learned in the past two days, what i really truly feel deeply now and my active intentions for the next twenty four hours…

for the next week.

the house.

The summer.

It all.

But, realistically? It is all so actively underway that it simply can only be expected that we all just live it out and report in on the big stuff.

Love live and in living color.

Ok. Peppers. Gear change. Till next time…. erin

I knew I was going to hit publish without a title.

Tuesday 8:30a

I am in the step of my cleaning process where I put everything up off the floors, put it in its “right room” and completely disrupt whatever “order” the house was in for it to be assessed, cleaned and changed in little ways based on how we all are living.

What do I want to do? Make a list. So I can think it through, check it off. Time myself. Pride myself.

What am I doing instead?

I am intuitively moving through my house.

I am trusting I’ll do the things that need to be done. Trusting even the order I would have written down would have likely been interpreted a time or two. And, importantly enough, I am trusting I will be as accomplished one way as the other with a deep knowing that “accomplishment” is actually a super relative term.


Tuesday 11:27a

I am now about three hours into my cleaning day. Usually, at this point, I am finishing up the floors hopeful I have juuuuuuuust enough time to put furniture back down before leaving to get Aria from high school. Today, however, the absence of my project mgmt to do list was joined by the absence of “rush”.

“Fuck it. What if I took all day to clean?” Is literally what I said to myself when I felt the pulse of “hurry”.

What if I acted less like a cleaning lady and more like a person home with a dedicated day to just take care of the home?

So – My usual cleaning day involves a fun little point in which I get cranky. Despite the bops on my playlist, I lament the towel on the shelf for no good reason. I shake my head scornfully scrubbing crystalized sugar off the cabinet door.

I wonder what makes the lid to the band aid box so much harder to put on than to take off.

I curse the cat food in the cracks on the wood floors.

I CSI the muddy boot print and add to my list of things I am going to gently shame.

I get hungry.

I notice everything.

I check the clock. I go a little faster. I audibly sigh like an annoyed person.

I am not mad but I’m mad. I’m not in a mood but I’m moody.

And *every single Tuesday that I clean and get like that* I ALWAYS WONDER WHY.

I like cleaning. I like organizing. I like how it feels when I’m done.

I like listening to music or a podcast.

I like that I am NOT on a call or working. So why do I get so crinkled?

<shrug> Dunno.

So I figured it was only wise to change it up and infuse my cleaning today with spurts of FaceTiming and texting friends and shift my attitude to where the house was “being cleaned” vs. where “the house is clean”.

Even David commented that I seemed really positive (as he joined meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting I told him to look on the bright side, he could *actually work for Enterprise*. lol… EHI has A LOT OF MEETINGS.) Anyway, it seems to be an enjoyable way to experiment with my attitude. I haven’t been cranky about things. Puzzled, yes. Cranky? No.

So far, so right. But alas, it is time to go bundle up for a cold, snowy drive to get Aria from school.


Wednesday 8:25a

Settled into my study with my dual monitor and coffee. I wrapped up yesterday’s cleaning at about 7:30pm. (With making homemade burger buns and 5 star patties *and cleaning up dinner* to boot.)

In hindsight, I wondered why it took me so long. I kind of replayed my day in my mind as I fell asleep…

I did all my normal cleaning things along with some detailing: total wipe down of the outside of the fridge and purge of kitchen papers, deep cleaned the cracks of the hardwood floors, wiped down like the itty bitty ledges on the counters and vacc’d up high. In my mind, I had to make the long day of cleaning feel worth it as it truly was all I did yesterday besides cook.

And so I guess that’s where the attitude shift and the no list approach comes in.

When I was working a full time job and caring for the things at home, it was all about doing the things as fast as I can to allow time for the next. But now? The time is all mine. It is presenting a mindset change that is quite literally embedded in my DNA.

As David’s Teams notifications blurped and pinged throughout the day, my senses perked with this “I need to answer” and I then got the experience of relaxing back into whatever I was dicking around with. It was muscle memory of response shifting to a softer way of being.

Anyway. In the spirit of summing this all up, along with that, here are four important things I learned about managing the house and family:

  1. Best way to teach others how to talk to you is through how you talk to them.
  2. For each legitimate annoyance you have, there is an equal opportunity for more openness in your perspective.
  3. Run the dishwasher in the morning and unloading it in the afternoon is more efficient overall. More on that in a future post.
  4. When a teenager asks how long till dinner, the answer is always the actual amount of time or half that if they help out. You get an extra hand 9 times out of 10. :)

Time to do the things I have time to do now. YAY. :)

Here’s a super cute picture of Aria and David.