I Don’t Know Where to Begin

April 28, 2017

Again.  But I feel the urge to use this space again.  Soon.


October 22, 2015


Motherhood has consumed me for the past ten years.  Two years of infertility, then finally-babies!, cloth diapers, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, healthy food for them, knitting for them, lather, rinse, repeat.  

I love my children so much.  So much.  But where am I?  I have been that baby mother for so long, but my last baby is growing up.  He’s two.  No longer a baby and into toddler and boyhood.  I must emerge from that baby den, too.  I love being a mother.  I love my family, but I want to grow, too.   

Where have I been hiding?  There wasn’t room to breathe outside of that mother-space when the babies were small.  When there was always another, either within my womb or just born, needing me constantly.  I decided to take a deep breath and make space for me.

But first, let’s go way back.  I didn’t take a lot of risks growing up. I didn’t make decisions. I wasn’t a leader. I was sheltered, overprotected. I lacked confidence. I didn’t believe I could do things. Didn’t experiment, didn’t take chances. I always worried about being wrong and making mistakes, about not knowing the answer.  If someone else could do things, I let them.  What was the point in my learning how?  I could just pretend.  I didn’t trust myself to figure it out.  Gave up before I even began.   

When I first started dating Jason, fifteen years ago, he took me camping for the first time.  I loved it.  We’ve been car campers ever since.  We have visited and camped in numerous national parks and Michigan State Parks, both just us together and then with our children.   I love getting away, into the woods.  

But the past few years I’ve been obsessed with trail memoirs.  Wild, Into the Wild, Grandma Gatewood, A Thru-Hiker’s Heart, Barefoot Sisters.  I started reading forums and blogs about backpacking and thru-hiking.  I started taking the kids on more hikes.  We worked ourselves up to 4 and 5 miles hikes, even Adelaide, my four year old.  We started keeping track of our miles on a family hike poster- they love keeping track of our progress!  Seeing deer, sandhill cranes and even snapping turtles cross our path, having chickadees eat out of our hand on the trail.  It’s so wonderful seeing them fall in love with nature.   To be mesmerized by the changing leaves or by the sunlight shining through the pine branches.  

We visited and camped at The Smoky Mountains this past June and hiked a very tiny portion of the Appalachian Trail on the bypass trail to Clingman’s Dome.  The AT, with its white blazes I had only read about in my trail books.  


 I wanted more.  I want to hike the AT.  The trail has been calling to me ever since.
I have no hiking friends, all my friends are mothers like me, whose free time is spent grocery shopping or showering alone, not hiking and sweating in the woods, so I randomly made a post on a Michigan hiking Facebook group and someone recommended SOLAR- an outdoor club that’s nearby, with a beginner backpacking course and a practical with a short local weekend trip at a state park, and a true backpacking trip to Picture Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula.  I was initially excited, but then inwardly scoffed and scolded myself for selfishly considering it.  How could I, a mother of three young kids, take a “night off” every week for a class, and then two weekends to backpack without my family?  Me, who had never even spent one night away from her kids except to birth siblings?  Me, who didn’t take risks?

I did it.  Jason pushed me out of the nest, assured me he would work out the childcare details, and I did it.  I carried everything I needed on my back and camped in the woods.  


I’m technically middle-aged, but I feel like parts of my life are just beginning.  There is so much to learn, so much to explore.  I am strong.  I want to prove it to myself.  I still hear the AT calling my name.  



Feeling the Pull

October 7, 2015

Feeling the pull to write again.  Something.  Here feels like a good spot.  Watch this space.

Babies don’t wait

August 23, 2014

The blog has been silent, but I’m feeling pulled to post this week. I am remembering where I was a year ago. A year ago, I was large, my belly rolling to one side as I crawled out of bed. Feeling heavy, hips aching, but loving my round, stretched belly.
At this very moment, I was surrounded by other mamas, being celebrated at my mother blessing. Hearing encouraging words, being given beads that were strung into a necklace to hold during labor, eating cucumbers and Mexican food, having my belly painted with henna. Thinking of the little one, moving in my womb.

A year ago tomorrow, I was harvesting the hops from our vine. Squeezing the blossoms in my fingers to make sure they were ready to be picked. Inhaling that delicious, prickly aroma.
This year, I have been checking on the hops these past few weeks, and they are ready to be plucked from the vines.

I am resistant to harvest them. Summer is ending. So is Hudson’s babyhood.

My last baby. A year ago, I didn’t realize I was mere days from his birth. I didn’t realize he was even a he.

I may have not been ready for his birth, but he certainly was. Two hours from contraction to final push and my last birth was over.

Hudson is our last baby. For the past eight years, we have been working on growing our family. Uncertain in the beginning if we could grow beyond the two of us, now, six years past the birth of our oldest, we know our family is complete with five. It’s hard to comprehend moving past the baby stage, but whether I acknowledge it or not, time moves on. Hudson is almost one. Quickly becoming a toddler. Laughing, playing with his sisters, cruising around on his chubby toes, vrooming cars across our hardwood floors. His gummy smile is being replaced with teeth.

It’s almost overwhelming. Where do I focus? Too soon, the cloth diapers will forever be replaced with underwear. One day in the too-near future, I will no longer nourish a child with milk my body has made.

Reveling in these last few days. Trying to take in the smell of his sweaty, baby head. Squeezing his chubby toes. He’s not one yet. Still a baby. Not quite ready to harvest those hops. Soon. Babies don’t wait.


Summer Harvests

June 21, 2013

Our road trip was busy, hot, rainy, crazy but a fun time. More pics and details on that soon – as soon as I can sort through my pictures.
Right now though, we’re busy harvesting from our gardens and yard. Peas are being gobbled up and Adelaide loves heading right to the pea bed for a snack as soon as we go outside.





I’m picking lots of herbs from the yard and my flower bed. Plantain, comfrey, yarrow and lemon balm to dry for a postpartum bath tea, rose petals, chamomile and lavender for belly salve and I also need to make another batch of boo boo salve with calendula, plantain and comfrey. I’m also picking red clover from the lawn to dry for tea and fresh lemon balm goes in my nourishing pregnancy tea every day.



I also picked a big bowl of mint for mint syrup that I have simmering now.

It will be delicious over ice cream or in lemonade.

And to celebrate the first day of summer, we made blueberry Popsicles this morning.


On our way

June 7, 2013

The car is loaded full and we’re on our way. I’m actually blogging from the road, as we left at 5 am. Next stop: Virginia. We’re camping at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area until next week, then heading to Charlotte, NC for a few days (my first visit since we moved back to MI!), then the drag race in Bristol, TN.
See you when we return!


Nature Studies

June 4, 2013

Our adventures in homeschooling this week have been nature studies (as well as F and the number 6).

We found a dead bee in our windowsill which Eleanore found fascinating. She loved seeing his tiny hairs under the magnifying glass.



We also found a snail out by our pond which has been great fun to watch. We brought him in for a few days to get a closer look. We will take him back out before we leave on our next camping trip.


We have also managed to get all of the garden in finally. No pictures yet, but this year we planted potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes, Swiss chard, kale, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, peas, zucchini, winter squash, pickling and slicing cucumbers, carrots, gourds, and pumpkins.

And just for fun, here is the outfit Eleanore picked out today.

In case you can’t tell, those are black leggings with neon stripes…

Camping in the Smoky Mountains

June 3, 2013


Our camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains went great. Sure, it rained nearly every day and our campground was covered in poison ivy, which we all got a little of, but we all had a nice time simply enjoying the outdoors. Cosby campground was a nice place- quiet with very few RVs, clean bathrooms and easy access to a few nice hikes. Both girls really enjoyed the nearby creek and the nature trail in the campground which takes you over it numerous times, which was neat. Listening to it every night while falling asleep was nice, too, of course.


We also drove over to Cades Cove and Eleanore and Adelaide were able to see their first bear in the wild! It’s hard to see in my picture, but we saw a mama with her cub.


The views in Cade’s Cove were beautiful.


And of course we all enjoyed our meals while camping! There’s nothing like cooking over a campfire.





We have one more camping trip planned for the summer and it’s coming up quick! We leave Friday for Virginia. We’re camping in Mt. Rogers National Rec Area.