Five Things for Your Weekend

I blinked, and without warning Monday morning turned into Friday night. Can someone please explain to me how a week during the summer can be like a single day in the middle of winter?

Life right now is moving, full and fast, and though the weather is such that if I would sit for a bit, I could probably watch the grass grow, I haven't had much time for sitting still -- we're in the midst of what I would argue is the best season of life, however I haven't had much experience with seasons of life as a mom yet, so please take whatever I'm about to say with a grain of salt. 

Carson and Brooklyn both went through a phase this summer where they started skipping naps, Carson opting for no nap at all, and Brooklyn going down to just one instead of her usual two. I mourned that loss for about five days, then realized it is actually a wonderful thing! Being away from home in the middle of the day isn't cause for a meltdown anymore. We've been taking full advantage of this new-found freedom, spending many an afternoon at the lake or pool, heading out on adventures or meeting friends at the park, just because we can. Summer in this area of the country goes by quickly, and this year we are making the most of it. 

I haven't had time to sit or write, because at the end of the day I feel spent, in the best possible way, falling asleep minutes after my head hits the pillow.

Today I'm checking in though, with a couple of things I'm eager to tell you about. You know, because that's what friends do.

Along with summer comes gardening and canning. Four years in and I still feel like a newbie at this... but I have jars upon sparkling jars of dill pickles and peaches setting on my basement shelves, and a small list of other things I would like to freeze or can. On my list for next week - blueberries and more pickles. I've made a compromise with myself -- I will can things, but only if I am willing to do it in the easiest, most quick way possible. Enter Mrs. Wages Dill Pickle mix. One packet of seasoning will make seven quarts of pickles. It's so easy, and the pickles passed the approval of my taste tester, so that was a win in my book!

If you follow me on Instagram, perhaps you saw my story this week of a beautiful cookbook that showed up at my door. The Amazon package said there was a gift inside, but there was no note or packing list -- I had no idea where it came from. The mystery was eventually solved, it was a thoughtful gift from my dear friend Kaylie. 
Tonight Herm watched the kids so I could have an evening out. I did some much needed shopping for fun things like stain remover and toilet paper and diapers, then I sat by the lake with a bagel and coffee, and I read that cookbook cover to cover. (Who am I, reading a cookbook?!) Kaylie nailed it with this one, The Forest Feast is 100% my style: simple, easy, and healthy. It's going to be a favorite, right along with my ever faithful Against All Grain.

Brooklyn has been wearing this shirt non-stop since the day it arrived in the mail. I ordered it from a shop I found via Instagram called Sew Sweet Clothing. Suz, the owner and seamstress, generously sent me a couple other pieces as well, a blue peplum top and a striped dress. I can't say enough about these. Her work is excellent and the knit fabric is quality. 
We've got some exciting travel plans this summer, and you can bet, these pieces will be packed in our luggage, for sure!

I've been really enjoying the blog Un-fancy lately. She's got me rethinking a few ways I approach my wardrobe. I'm trying to have more fun with it. My husband will agree with this statement -- I over think things way too much. I'm trying hard to loosen up a bit, to throw aside rules I've made for myself and to just relax... This week I thrifted a pair of new PONS Avarcas, which is helping me out with that. They're different and fun and comfortable. And since I discovered that they have them in childrens sizes too, I can't decided between these or Saltwater sandals for Brooklyn.

One more thing: Esther Weaver is amazing. She sketched Brooklyn.

Then end.


Just a Stay-at-Home Mom

Are you still able to stay home with your kids?

I remember the first time she asked me that question. I was a brand new mom, a brand new wife, in fact.

In a whirlwind of two years, seemingly everything in my life had changed. The week I moved back to the States after living abroad for a year, I met Herm. Thirteen months later, at the edge of a vineyard, with friends and family gathered, we exchanged wedding vows. Fifteen months after marriage, Carson was born.

In that span of twenty-eight months I had changed climates and cultures and churches. I found a new job - later leaving that to stay home and raise Carson, moved into a new house that didn't yet feel like home, and had to be intentional about making sure to sign my new name. Weaver, though double in length, came so much more naturally than my husbands surname. I was now a wife, a mother, an Esh.

In many ways that season was the best of times. But it was hard. Looking back I see so much good that came out of it, though I am certainly glad to move on.

Yes, I'm still a stay-at-home mom, I replied.

How blessed you are to be able to do that! I wish we could make that work for our family.

The first time she asked me that question I felt myself shrivel inside. I was just a stay-at-home mom. I felt lost in the role, without value after so long basing my worth off of obvious accomplishments. I no longer contributed financially to our family, or managed a team, or attended conferences and workplace meetings.

I had traded all of that for late night nursing sessions and endless dirty diapers and days that seemed to last forever, though time was never my own. Though still constantly needed, I no longer received compliments or praise, something that beforehand I didn't realize I so desperately thrived on.

Somehow, in the midst of laundry and cooking and nap times and storybooks, somehow, after adding another child, and realizing that I truly did have free time as a mom of one, now that I certainly didn't as a mom of two, I felt settled and okay, even welcoming this stay-at-home mom gig for a career.

In the three year time span between her questions, so much is still the same - days can feel overwhelming and never ending, diapers are being changed, late nights still occasionally interrupted. I often find myself wishing for peace and quiet and time alone... which, when that does happen, feels awkward and distant, like meeting a friend from my childhood, someone I use to know, but now, not really.

In that three year time span, it's my heart that most has changed. 

It happened slow and gradual. In the rush of life I didn't notice. But it happened.

Her response, hearing the longing in her voice, made me realize all over again that being able to be a stay-at-home mom, if that is what you choose, is truly a privilege. I often still long for more, wanting to earn a paycheck and hear affirmation in a job well done. It's in my being, that longing to create and be known. And for that, there is still time.

I've heard it said, cliche but true: The days are long but the years are short. I don't always act like it, but truly, I am grateful to be here, at home, with my kids. And I'm grateful for a husband who works doubly hard to make that possible, supporting me 110%, never undervaluing my unpaid work. (While still joking about the amount of books I read, because what else would I do at home all day? )

The days are long, and already I've realized that the years are short. I won't be a stay-at-home mom forever, so while I am, I'm going to fully enjoy it.


How are you enjoying mothering by now? a friend asked me over coffee, our kids loud voices the background music to our conversation.

I stopped to think for a moment. Sort of chuckling to myself, delighted in my honest response.

Some days it's chaotic routine, where I feel overwhelmingly underwhelmed. Some days it's tears of laughter to mask those of desperation. Some days I want to throw in the towel, but gosh, more laundry! It's all of that, yes, and so much more.

How do I feel about mothering? Honestly... It's never been better!