Reset downed connections

Since Mabel started preschool months ago, I've heard very little from her about her school day experiences. When I ask, the majority of the time I get a very teenage response, "Stop asking me questions!" I stop and we drive along in silence until we come up with some impromptu game that creates fun connections and chatter, but still no answers.

A week ago she was coming down with something, maybe the flu, and I didn't know it yet. The teenage attitude and toddler tantrums came on strong and I was at my wits end. Rather than continue the power struggle, I pulled out some craft supplies and we got busy. It wasn't totally easy from there on out, but when we make stuff together the only rule is to keep the materials (glue, paint, etc.) on the paper set aside for arts and crafts. Beyond that? There are no right or wrong ways to make things.

The looseness of creating helps clear up the air. As a reminder to myself, and perhaps a tip for others: When communication is down and all else fails, use feathers to paint with glitter glue and let the connection reset.

Vacation, all I ever wanted

Pardon the disappearance,we made it to the beach and had a lovely vacation. In fact, we came back so well rested we spent the past couple days doing some intense cleaning including, but not limited to: the refrigerator and steam cleaning all the rugs in the house.

Cleaning is not a normal pre-vacation activity, but I knew I'd be much happier coming home to a clean house than a messy one. Then spending a week in a house without stacks of papers and clutter made it hard to come home to a clean yet cluttered space.

With clean spaces all around and a well rested body and spirit, I'm finally ready to really tackle a few personal goals: really digging into Beautiful You, a book introduced to me by Amber Karnes. I meant to do the book club but didn't get my book until too late and excuses and more excuses.

Now I feel ready. What about you? Do you feel as beautiful as you actually are?

Then and now references

I've been reading all the twitter updates by friends at the National Stationery Show and Surtex (Go Team LPP!), sounds exciting! Good luck kids!

We spent the weekend outside working on projects, dined with a dear friend from high school,  and took lots of naps.  Here are some pictures of 2 of our mulch beds, the first one is new as of this year, the second was new last year. The difference in soil under all the mulch is amazing: it went from hard, compacted and a light gray color to dark brown, soft and easily trowel-able.

The new keyhole mulch bed on April 3, 2011.

And then there's the ol' poison ivy. It doesn't itch so badly anymore. I'm doing quick rundown of what I've used on it and what I think seemed to work in case anyone wants a future reference.

Hydro cortisone cream--eased the itch, but didn't heal. Aspirin cream: eased the itch, didn't heal (in fact, both of these creams seemed to leave a thick residue that made the itch worse over time, I think). I feel like zinc was the same way, but maybe I didn't give it a fair chance. Rhus tox gave me a 10 minute headache at first then the headache went away; it seemed to help the itch a bit but for 3 hours at most.

The Keyhole Bed on May 15, 2011.

Allergy tablets (like a generic Benadryl) helped me sleep through the night without itch, but it makes me drowsy, so daytime use wasn't an option.

Not scratching also seemed to keep the itch level down.

What is now the Perennial Edibles bed soon after I started it, May 9, 2010.

The best solution was running the rash under water just on this side of the bearable threshold until the sting goes away. That sting hurts so good and when it and the itch go away you'll want to cry tears of joy. The hot water in combo with Tecnu Extreme scrub and Tecnu itch spray are the best of the best. No itch all night long.

The Perennial Edibles bed May 15, 2011. The big patch of grass front and center is grass
I trimmed from around the bed, layered on top to add a bit of nitrogen.

My arm is still swollen and blistered, dried out from the hot water/Tecnu combo; not pleasant to look at, but I can handle the ulgy. Ugly + itch = not so much.

Did you have a good weekend? What did you do?

Dear M.,

Sometimes when I just want to hold you and hug you and snuggle you fuss up a storm and flail until I let you go. I should immediately let you go, because you usually turn right back around and give me a top-shelf hug. You've always been that way, and I bet you always will be.

You might have to remind me of this when you're a preteen, though, okay?