You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2009.

Even living in rural Appalachia, we get comments about choosing to live where we have.  Some folks seem impressed, some think we are weird or crazy, others worry about us.  But, we have found home.  It is here off-grid, in solitude.  It is near to perfect.

My mother’s and step-father’s preacher worries about us up here.  He wonders if I will be happy, or stay happy.  My mother worries about the boogey man.  I do sometimes half expect to look out my picture window and see Bigfoot, but it wouldn’t shock me at all.  That would be great.  I am more likely to see a deer or some other wild animal roaming in our yard than another human.  Animals don’t scare me.

John’s parents don’t like the road.  We don’t either really, but it is what it is.  It is not a permanent situation us driving in the creek.  Hopefully, by next winter we’ll have a better way.  If not, we’ll survive it.  My Dad says we’ve got the best place in the world for Armageddon, or when our country falls to anarchy, socialism, or whatever else he might equate with chaos.  He says we can sit up in here and”pick ’em off” as they come up the holler.  Leave it too a dad to find good his daughter’s decisions when no one else does.  He’s right.  It is a pretty cool place to be and I feel very safe.  I feel safer in God’s creation than in man’s.

A man from the gas company came to check on a gas leak a few days ago.  He said, “I don’t reckon many girls would live up in here.”  I said, “I really like it.”  “It’s nice here, peaceful,” he said.  I’ve never been like many other girls.  John played a show last night here in Knott County.  A man asked where he lived, said he was glad someone who could play the banjo like he could lived in the old homeplace.  That made John proud.

Our cabin was built in 1900 by a man named Uncle Ed Thomas.  I believe you can find mention of him in the Foxfire books and there may be a picture of him.  He was a dulcimer maker.  He put some fancy into this little place, as you can see in the work over the front porch.  I love a house with history.  There are several other older cabins on the property, but only 2 are finished enough to live in.

Our Cabin - Winterized front porch's is my husband's winter studio.  Talk about dedication!

Our Cabin - Winterized front porch's is my husband's winter studio. Talk about dedication!

We don’t own this property, but I hope we are here a good long time.  Moving off-grid is something I feel good about.  Being in my mountains is like nothing else.

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*Please keep us in mind today.  Deladis is ill again with fever.  Thanks.

This day did not start a good day.  A few days alone with the girls always intimidates me.  I wonder if I can be as patient as I need to be, if I can get everything done, if I will wear myself out before they are wore out.  With John gone (as his work often lends itself to necessary travel) to play a square dance in Knoxville, I faced a day and a half alone.  There would be no adult conversation.  No one to hold Ivy while I helped Deladis potty, or no one to help Deladis put her shoes on while I strap Ivy into the carseat.  I began the day amazed at the work single mothers and fathers face everyday.

Then, there were tantrums.  Who said twos were terrible?  Let’s try horrendous threes.  Deladis drops a piece of candy that I gave in and let her have, and squalls like someone pinched her.  I raise my voice, “Stop!” I say loud, over and over.  I want to stop myself, but I don’t know how to help her gain control and realize it’s not the end of the world.  The bomb hasn’t been dropped yet.

Ivy refuses to take a nap, but she is so tired and miserable doing anything else.  I rock her to sleep and five minutes later she is awake again, crying.  I try again to no avail.  I take a deep breath, and strap her to my back in the mei-tai baby carrier.  She rides my back while I sweep and clear the kitchen table.  She is content, and I am content.  I begin to wonder why I get so worked up over little things.

Ivy falls asleep and I am able to lay her down to nap.  Deladis plays quietly and I mop the kitchen.  I finish the mopping and am surprised Ivy is not awake.  I begin cleaning the mold off of our cabin walls that collected there over the winter with all the condensation inside.  I’ve wanted to do it for forever, but have never had enough of a chance to even begin.  I finish the kitchen.  Relief comes to me, and I’m hungry.  I eat.  Ivy wakes.

I have to bring food to church tomorrow.  We are having a Titus 2 Women’s Meeting and I volunteered to bring something before I knew John would be gone.  I kicked myself in the rear, but realized – I can do it.  I want to do it.  I get the girls ready and we go to Family Dollar and Save-A-Lot.  Deladis runs all over the Family Dollar getting stuff off of shelves, hiding in clothes, being a kid.  She wants to ride the mechanical horse outside.  I give her a quarter to put in her pocket.  If she is good in the grocery, she can ride.  She is good.  Both the girls get to ride.  Deladis loves wrapping her arms around Ivy, and Ivy loves the ride.  Relief comes again in joy.

Back home I decide to garden.  We’ve gotten the first small break from rain in days and I want to take advantage of it.  Deladis wants so to help.  She has already memorized a gardening book my Aunt Sharon sent us a few days ago.  She reads it to herself now.  We do a few of the potatoes that were left and try to do some onions, but the ground is so soggy the dirt just clumps.  I decide it’s best to get some indoor starts going on our Beefsteak Tomatoes.  Ivy tries her best to get hold of the tiny seeds, and turn over our little pots of dirt.  I say “no,no” several times.  She says it back and starts walking around and around a cooler that sits on the porch.  Deladis makes indentions in the dirt for the seeds.  I hold her little finger and help her nudge dirt over the seeds.  She is pleased when she gently can do it herself.

I so want to work in our garden, but really can’t see anything I can do at present.  I resign to playing.  I resign to let the girls get as dirty as they need to get.  I won’t worry about stains on clothes, dirty fingernails.  Ivy is putting her hands in the dirt for the first time in her life this Spring.  I sit on the porch steps and watch them play in their playhouse.  Content.  No tantrums or crying.  Free from the sterility of winter cold and indoors.  We practice getting dirty.   We throw stick for Lars, our Dalmatian.

Lars - age 10

Lars - age 10

I help the girls teeter-totter and slide.  Ivy hums and Deladis laughs.  They smile.  My heart is light.  It’s a perfect moment in an imperfect world and I am there.  I am there and not hoping to be somewhere else, with anyone else, doing anything else.

I write now after their bath.  The frogs are chirping outside.  The girls are sleeping at a decent hour.  I look forward to more warm days outside.  I’ll write on the porch steps while the girls play getting dirty from head to toe, and it’ll be fabulous because we’ll have no where to go.

playhouse1

I want to do my part to promote the culture of Appalachia because I feel strongly that that is where our future lies.  I also know that it has so much to offer the whole world.  Periodically, I have decided to post links for various Appalachian artists, musicians, storytellers, writers, etc… for your pleasure.  I will always be sure to include links for both adults and children.  This is the first of this type of post.  Let me know if you have any questions, or would like to see more of the same.

Visual Arts:

  • Pam Oldfield Meade – www.pamoldfieldmeade.com (very unique style, does both large and small scale work)
  • Angelyn Debord – www.geocities.com/mtnstories (lovely whimsical style, reminiscent of impressionists, like a mountain fairytale – Angie is also a writer and master storyteller)
  • John Haywood – www.haywoodart.com (yeah, my hubby, but I believe in what he is doing and truly respect and value his artwork outside of the realms of marriage)

For the Kids:

Real Traditional Old-Time Mountain Music: (before Bluegrass)

  • George Gibson – www.banjohistory.com (Gibson is a treasure to the old-time music world.  He is a banjo historian and player of the old-time style prominent in the mountains of eastern Kentucky prior to the introduction of Bluegrass picking.)
  • Brett Ratliff – www.brettratliff.com (wonderful old-time banjo player and singer from Van Lear, Kentucky)
  • John Haywood – www.haywoodart.com (my hubby again, and a very committed old-time banjo player and singer.)

I hope you enjoy exploring these links.  Let me and the talented folks know what you think.

  1. Ivy started walking Sunday and she’s only 10 months old!
  2. A lady at the hospital asked what my children’s names were.  After being told, she looks at Ivy and says, “I’m sorry, honey.   You’re a pretty thing though.”
  3. We have a friend we lovingly nicknamed Jorge (Hor-hay).  Deladis says, “Daddy, you can’t have Jorge.  Horses eat hay.”
  4. I’m so sore from Taebo!  Billy Blanks said I shouldn’t do the workout all the way through the first time.  I said, “Who said?” and did it anyway. 🙂
  5. I got to read a story at a meeting of the Writers of the North Fork.  It’s great to have community.
  6. Oh, rain… I know we need you, but four days in a row?”
  7. The recycling center we have to use in the next county stopped taking glass.  It’s no longer worth it for them. 😦
  8. I’m looking forward to a Natural Parenting Group meeting tonight.  I hope there are more parents who find us.
  9. I’ve started writing a novel.
  10. I’ve really neglected house cleaning since starting to blog… thus 10 random thoughts. 😉

I couldn’t post about what we eat and exercise without addressing the need to change the stereotypical American diet.  Americans are suffering from diseases expounded upon by unhealthy food choices at wild rates.  Our children are being affected by diseases that were usually common in adults.  In eastern Kentucky, we are seeing large increases in diabetes and heart disease.  The food and diet industry want us to believe that it is from consuming too much fat.  Fat period.  Blanketing the word.  Not distinguishing between types of fats.  Then, there is the amount of refined sugar we consume, and high fructose corn syrup.  You gotta love those new commercials.  It’s okay in moderation. 😉

In December, I found myself very ill.  When I came out on the other side of that sickness a month later, I was twenty pounds lighter and feeling weak.  I wanted to regain my health and strength.  I wanted to use this opportunity to explore the food I was eating and what I was feeding my family.  I wanted to be a healthy mother and example for my girls.  I have been thinking about food all my life.  I’ve come from finishing whole bags of Oreos with my Dad on our weekends together, to being a self starving athlete passing out on the hardwood, to an overweight and depressed college student, to again a food controller, then motherhood, and now real health.  The first thing I did when I needed to regenerate myself was to grab my Nourishing Traditions cookbook, by Sally Fallon.

I had attempted a Traditional Foods way of life right when I discovered I was pregnant with Ivy.  Unfortunately, all day morning sickness took over and I just couldn’t stomach a change.  This time I was ready.  It always intrigued me when I thought of what my ancestors ate.  My mountain ancestors ate what they could grow or raise before the introduction of processed and shipped in foods.  They cooked with lard, used whole milk and butter that was not pasteurized and was fresh.  They ate meat with every meal when it was available either through livestock or hunting.  They sweetened with molasses, sorghum, and honey (until refined white sugar was introduced).  Our people ate three full meals when times were good, consisting of a meat or two, several vegetables, and cornbread or biscuits.  Of course, there was the desert on the occasions of special times and company.  They ate until satisfied, and most did not become overweight.

I wondered how they managed this, and always thought it was because they worked all day.  That they did, but it was in intervals of hard work and easier day to day type chores.  It wasn’t like the quick intense workouts we do today.  What they did do is eat their portion of real whole foods that they worked to raise and prepare without the ease of ready-made things.  They weren’t putting ingredients into their body that they didn’t recognize.  So, after reading Nourishing Traditions, thinking of how my people did things, and what my body told me I needed, I decided to go with my family toward real, natural, and when available organic foods.  No pre-boxed, half-cooked, freeze dried, corn syruped, bleached flour, vegetable oil, soy laden dinners.  Whole food, scratch made, all the time.

Now, we are not a family with money by any means.  We pinch pennies and do without what many families consider musts.  We are creative folks and both of us have chosen to make our creative endeavors our life’s work.  I decided to give up teaching middle school to stay home with my girls, and it has meant we have had to cut many corners.  Moving off-grid was our first step to cutting high expense.  Also, off-grid/country living is home to us.  In moving off-grid, you also make some sacrifices.  Good roads, television(okay not a sacrifice), luxury living, and natural food markets.  As I have mentioned before, organic foods are few and far between here.

To begin looking into this for yourself, you might want to visit the website of the Weston A. Price Foundation (www.westonaprice.org).   Keep in mind these are recommendations based in part on science and in part on traditional folkways.  I have adapted these recommendations to what is available financially, culturally, and geographically to my family.

Here is how I buy food with around $250 monthly to feed 3:

  • I purchase as much Full Circle brand foods and produce I can from the local chain of grocery Food City.  Full Circle is the brand of organics that they carry.  In produce, I try to keep in mind what most Appalachians kept in their garden.  We did this while choosing seeds for our garden too.
  • Raw dairy products are something I have yet to find, so I make due with organic dairy.
  • There are no organic meats to be found.  We eat wild game that my family hunts.  I look for meats that are free-ranged, antibiotic/hormone free, and generally as well kept as possible.  I buy Gerber chicken, Laura’s Lean Beef, and Full Circle Salmon brands.  For breakfast meats I buy Swaggerty’s Natural MSG free sausage and Oscar Meyer Natural Bacon free of nitrates and MSG.
  • I try to stay away from too many grains.  I am able to find organic corn meal, wheat flour, and spelt flour in Bob’s Red Mill brand.  The rest of my grains I buy from Yoder’s Bulk Foods in Hindman, Kentucky.  The store is ran by a local group of Mennonites.  Oatmeal and Cornmeal are our favorite grains or grain-like products.
  • I sweeten only with the following: sorghum, molasses, organic/local honey, raw honey, organic agave nectar.
  • I cook with only the following: lard, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, bacon drippings, whole butter unsalted.

That is the basics of what I  do.  Everything in my kitchen is hand-made unless there is another more Traditional Food type option available to me.  I cook two meals a day and lunch is often left-overs.  We eat a lot of nuts as well.

Now, you may think that this costs more than your typical American shopping expenses.  However, even I was surprised by a recent shopping trip I made with my sister.  She bought mostly pre-packaged, ready made, and non-organic food stuffs.  I bought all organic or natural.  We both spent $125 for our carts of groceries!  I stayed away from the middle aisles and stuck to whole foods.  You can eat this way on a tight budget.

Some other things we are doing to cut costs is grow our own garden and hopefully we will be getting our own laying hens.  Another plus to living off-grid.  I’ll leave you today with our most recent gardening delights.

A Man and His Tiller

A Man and His Tiller

Hoe Hand to Add to My Writer's Callus

Hoe Hand to Add to My Writer's Callus

Potato Planting at Dusk in Pajamas

Potato Planting at Dusk in Pajamas

I’m pretty excited because I got my new Taebo workout DVD that I won on ebay in the mail yesterday!  Yes, you read me right – Taebo.  It is the 10th anniversary edition, and it is super charged. 😉  I’m looking forward to the workout – the experience.  Most of all, I’m looking forward to the stories I will have to tell after using the DVD.

Let’s rewind 10 years when Taebo first came on the in home workout scene.  I was in college.  Had recently been an overweight, unhealthy bride, and I was in counseling for severe depression.  I was still trying to process some childhood issues and angst.  I needed something to control that only involved myself, so I decided that it would be my weight.  I restricted my diet.  I ate a piece of sausage on 1 slice of toast in the morning, a can of peas with a slice of bread for lunch, and for supper whatever I wanted within reasonable portions.  York Peppermint Patties eased my craving for sweets with only 3 fat grams per serving.  Diet supplements were my new friends.  Mainly, Hydroxicut.  Best of all though, I started a revved up exercise regimen.  I worked out five days a week for at least an hour and sometimes two.  I dropped the pounds fast.  I went from 220 pounds to 150 pounds in a little over 6 months.  People would tell me what a great job I was doing, but what I was doing was wearing my body out.

After losing the weight (the wrong way), I had other goals.  I wanted to tone, build muscle, increase my strength and endurance.  I wanted Madonna’s body, but I didn’t want to increase the amount of food I ate.  I feared gaining weight.  So, I needed a workout that would challenge me.  That would drive me like a nail into wood.  As I was seeking that perfect home workout, I had a conversation with my mother.  She had broken her toe.  Not from dropping something on it, or from stubbing it, but from working out.  She was working out with Billy Blanks on the TV showing her the moves of Taebo.  It was intense.  It was all she could do to hold it together.  My baby sister was exercising with her, and at a moment of pushing herself that extra mile, my mother kicked my sister in the face and broke her toe.  Amazing!  It was just the workout I was looking for.

I got a copy of the VHS tapes, and I did the workout religiously.  I loved it.  It was fun, and challenging.  I felt strong doing it.  Soon, I suffered my own Taebo injury when I threw my back out doing the quick roundhouse kicks.  I don’t count the times I punched myself in the face doing the speedbag move.  That was just clumsy.  I have a very discombobulated spine, and it didn’t like Taebo.   Neither did my already taxed and undernourished body.  I was never going to have arms like the girls on the cover of Shape magazine.

So, why am I trying Taebo again?  Because it worked my behind off!  I’ve lost down to my goal weight again.  This time not by dieting.  I will never again use diet supplements.  I will never again go on a “diet.”  Simply by going to a Traditional Foods way of eating, my body started stabilizing its weight.  My body was getting the foods it craved and needed, so I haven’t felt the urge to overeat.  I’ve always exercised whether I was heavy or thin, it’s something I enjoy.  Now, I’m ready to reach the goals I tried for 10 years ago, but with a healthy body.  Except this time I’m not trying to look like Madonna or a fitness model.  I’m trying to look like a busy stay-at-home mother of two girls who need to see that you can be happy in the skin your in when you take care of yourself and you know you are healthy.  That is aside from what the scale says.  It’s pretty cool Taebo is still around.  I’m just praying my spine will tolerate it better this time.  I’ll have to let you know.

We are home now with two healthy little girls.  I could talk about how nothing in the world could have prepared for seeing my child come to after anesthesia.  I could talk about all the second guessing I’ve done, but it’s old news.  Deladis will be fine.  Her procedures went well, and now we are just going to watch her grow.

Coming home from a few days away always makes me feel an overwhelming sense of relief.  This time it made me think of all the roads we travel.  How all of us are trying to find home.  That place where things are comfortable.  John and I have found our home.  This little piece of a mountain holler is home for this season.  I hope it’s a long one.  The mountains will be home until we leave this earth.

To get to our little off-grid hideout, you have to be adventurous.  Not afraid to harm your vehicle on our unforgiving road.  The first thing you do is drop into the creek.

The entry

The entry

No, the bridge does not belong to us.  Yes, the creek is the road.  You are on the right path.  Keep following the creek.  The great thing about living off-grid is you literally can’t find our address on a computer, and so many maps.  We don’t exist to companies like AT&T or UPS.  It’s funny.  We’d have to pay the local cable company around $1,ooo to allow us to have cable television.  We aren’t going to do that.  But, back to the road.  You need to be serious to pay us a visit. If you have one of those “oh, crap” handles in your automobile, grab it now.

No Trespassing

No Trespassing

Very soon you will come out of the creek and onto our little gravel road.  There is a little incline here, and in case you didn’t call to announce your visit, we have clearly posted for you three times that there will be no trespassing on this property.  Unless you are on very familiar terms with George, John, or myself (the latter of whom still would appreciate a call), you should have made prior arrangements for your visit.  Oh, unless you work for the natural gas company.  We do have protection here in the form of the dog in the photo, and my personal weapon of choice – a 12 inch cast iron skillet.  Yes, I mean business.

Up Hill

Up Hill

The road has been eaten out by the winter weather a bit and gets rough from here.  Stay on course and you will be fine.  We have had friends from the big city end up in the field sitting fearful that a mountain man with a shot gun would come out and give them a lesson about property, but that was after dark.

Again

Again

Again, you will enter the creek and will remain there until you come to our cabin.  This is a rough spot and unless you hit it just right, you will drag.  But, we all drag sometimes, so you don’t have to be embarrassed by it.  We chose this road, you didn’t.

Our Cabin - An Antique

Our Cabin - An Antique

Then, you come to our cabin.  I’ll invite you in and smile.  Not many people risk vehicle damage to pay us a visit.  I’ll welcome you with coffee or spring water and a peanut butter cookie or a full supper on a good day.

You can workout with me hiking the cemetary hill.  We’ll workout in short pants for the first time in months.  We can enjoy the warm breeze as it plays in the hairs left on our legs from jeans weather.  🙂

1st flowers on the creek

1st flowers on the creek

Monday is Deladis’s procedures.  The Lord willing I’ll be back to writing and mothering two healthy little girls by Tuesday.  All who do that sort of thing, send prayer and good thoughts the way of my little one.  We’ll greatly appreciate it.  Until then, these flowers will be my words.

The last few days here have been sunny, a little warm, and uplifting to my soul.  I’ve lived here in one way or another my whole life, and I’ll never cease being awestruck by the beauty of creation, and the creation that The Creator chose to have me be born to.  I’m forever thankful for that.  It is truly a gift.  As I look on the blue sky and the budding daffodils, the risen creek and our ten year old dog darting across the yard like a spry pup, I think of things that make my days sunny even when the weather is cloudy.  Things like teaching my girls, cooking for my family, writing, and taking hikes.  Recently, I have discovered that I take pleasure in something that might sound strange to most.  I thoroughly enjoy cloth diapering my baby girl.  I hadn’t noticed how much satisfaction I glean from it until lately.

When I first looked into cloth diapering, I saw it as a challenge.  Deladis was 15 months old, we didn’t have a large lump sum to buy cloth diapers with, and I definitely didn’t want to feel like I was playing in poop.  I was intimidated by the talk on diapering forums I visited.  I saw mothers paying $30 for one diaper, describing their washing regimen, and discussing the cutest high dollar diapers.  The impact of using disposables on the environment was obvious to me, and I am always looking for ways to reduce the exposure to chemicals for our family.  I just didn’t know how I would afford to buy enough diapers to make it through a day of cloth diapering.

I began to look at what I could find locally and purchased some Gerber birdseye flats from Wal-Mart and some diaper pins.  I found some used diaper covers on ebay, and a generous mother on the forums of http://www.mothering.com donated me some of her stash that she was finished with.  I began cloth diapering my toddler.  I fumbled through that adventure, and wasn’t sure about whether I had made the best choice.  But, in preparing to cloth diaper Ivy from birth, I tweaked some things, and have felt very successful.

John and I live off of self-employment.  He is an artist and musician and I am a writer.  We also work on cultural preservation and do a little workshop type teaching.  We may be able to come up with $8 for diapers at a time, but not $500.  I had always known that there had to be a cheap way to do cloth.  I have found it.  So, far I have spent $230 out of pocket and not all at once on diapering both of my girls.

Here is what I have:

  • 12 Gerber Birdseye Flats (used as doublers for extra padding)
  • 6 Organic Gerber Birdseye Prefolds – no poly  lining (gift from my baby sister)
  • 3 Bella Bottoms Snapped One-Size Fitteds for nighttime and outings (bought on ebay $27)
  • 1 Tiny Tush Elite One-Size Fitted with doubler for nighttime and outings (bought in Louisville $10)
  • 10 Green Mountain Diapers Prefolds (Ivy just is growing into these.  They were part of the donated stash.)
  • 2 Dappi Velcro Diaper Covers (very cheap, but do the job. http://www.babybestbuy.com I don’t recommend their fitted diapers.  They don’t absorb.)
  • 2 Proraps covers Velcro (I bought used from a mother on a message board $10)
  • 1 Motherease Cover Velcro (donated used)
  • 1 diaper sprayer for sticky poopy (www.everythingbirth.com for $40?) Great for spraying out a potty too!
  • pins and one snappi clasp (www.everythingbirth.com $4)
  • 1 wet bag (www.everythingbirth.com $10)

You will hear mothers talk of Gerber diapers being worthless and to use them only for dust rags, but they have worked for us and are very affordable.  I think I have just found a way to make them work.  When you need something to work because you don’t have much of a choice about it, you’ll find a way.

I also want to mention http://www.myuseddiapers.com where you can buy and sell used diapers.  I have bought and sold as I needed from there with good experience.  This way I am only reusing my money on diapers and not having to come up with new money to spend.

As far as laundering goes, it can be a trial and error process.  I’ve found that in sticking with it, you’ll eventually find the best method for your water situation and laundry habits.  I’m using All Free and Clear, currently, with vinegar in the rinse, as we have untreated well water with iron.  Take a look at http://www.diaperjungle.com for a list of detergents and cloth diapering recommendations.

So, when I change a diaper, spray it out, and throw it in the wet bag, I’m happy.  I’m not wasting anything.  My baby doesn’t smell like some perfumed diaper that is supposed to smell like baby, nor does she stink.  She wasn’t exposed to harmful phalates.  I’m not filling landfills with human waste and diapers that are not readily bio-degradable.  It is pretty awesome that I’m saving our family thousands of dollars in the long run.  I feel good.  I should even say that cloth diapering is a peaceful thing – a happy thing.

I wake up before anyone else. I will let go of my control, but not the goals I’m working toward. I ease out of bed and go to the computer before coffee… before food. I write and answer emails. Answer the first business call of John’s for the day. Goal #1 – accomplished. Let go.

I hear big feet and little feet hitting the floor. Three smiling faces fill the bedroom doorway. Deladis runs to the couch and before words I offer a kiss, and it is received. I get up from the couch to make breakfast. Deladis wants her eggs runny with yellow. The girls go to their room to play and my man starts his computer work. Eventually, the girls find their way back to Mommy in the kitchen. Ivy pushing against the oven door to stand. I tell her she can’t be there (“It’s too hot.”), and move her to the sink. Breakfast is ready. Goal #2 – accomplished. Let go.

We eat and Deladis decides she wants chocolate milk. I have yet to sit down to my eggs, which are growing colder by the second. The chocolate milk isn’t boxed. It’s made. I feel myself become frustrated. The anxiety builds in my chest, and I think chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream for snack later. Satisfying a begging for sweets and a want for chocolate all at once. She agrees. I eat my eggs. Goal #3 – accomplished. Let go.

Together, Deladis and I clean the breakfast dishes. I wash and she rinses. Her sleeves pulled to her elbows, she meanders through the quickly building pile of clean plates and silverware in her rinse water. I ask her to work to catch up to Mommy, but I don’t rush her. I help her place the dishes into the drainer. I smile when I feel my heart start to race, and take peace from the smile on her face. Goal #4 – accomplished. Let go.

With dishes done it is time for homeschool pre-school. We get our supplies. I throw the load of cloth diapers I washed last night in the dryer and we begin. We talk of March, color birds in clouds, read stories, sing pleasant songs, and learn that “blue” starts with “B”. Ivy tries to be in the way, and then doesn’t. She soon finds her way to the color tin and the crayons, then climbs the teacher. I feel the urge to scold her rise up in my throat. The urge to beg her to let us finish. Instead, I kiss her neck, making her laugh, and help her to practice walking while Deladis finishes her page. No words except “hurray”. Goal #5 – accomplished. Let go.

All done - B and Blue

All done - B and Blue

I put in Dance Baby Dance and exercise with Ivy in my arms. She falls asleep before the DVD is over with her head on my shoulder. Deladis sits in the rocker beside us talking of how when she gets big she will let me dance with her baby. I’d love to have that honor. My cardio over, I try to lay Ivy in bed for her nap. Her eyes pop open and she says “doggie” (the only word she knows – now). I feel like begging her to sleep. To please let me do my stretching. My back is killing me. I scoop her up and take her back to the living room. Deladis and Ivy play around me as I stretch. Ivy crying here and there from being tired. I gently remind her not to climb on me, and finish my exercise before anyone gets too upset. Goal #6 – accomplished. Let go.

I rock Ivy to sleep. It takes longer than I would like, and with my back pain it is not easy for me. I feel my stomach get uneasy. I feel myself wanting to cry when she lets out a whimper as I ease her to the bed. I remember. I get one chance to mother this baby. One chance to enjoy her smell. To give myself to her in service and in service to God. I relax. I have all day. She puts the first two fingers of her left hand in her mouth and stays asleep. Goal #7 – accomplished. Let go.

I now sit, writing. Deladis pretends to be a dog and licks my face. I say… “I like kisses, not licks so much.She smiles and gives me a kiss. She hasn’t cried today. I haven’t pleaded with her, or raised my voice. She asks to “watch” and I put in a movie for her. She didn’t beg for it, or cry. She asked when we both needed downtime. Things are… falling… into place.

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About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

March 2009
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