Poe Wovens: Spangled Glory

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JbO-poespangled

Hi all! As part of my plan to refresh and change up my blog I have decided to create a new feature: Juicebox Obsessions. I will share and review some of my most favorite of things for you all.

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I figured the very best place to start is with one of my absolute favorite companies, Poe Wovens. Poe is owned and run by a U.S. Marine Corps veteran/mother of five/kickass woman from my home state of Vermont. From start to finish their wraps are all made in the USA with sustainable fibers while being socially responsible and effortlessly beautiful.

I got to play host to a brand new design a few months ago. Spangled is an Americana themed, red, white, and blue wrap. Woven with a 100% cotton warp and a TENCEL weft this wrap is beyond soft. (It puts marshmallows to shame, I SWEAR.)

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To be honest, I wasn’t super excited for a USA flag inspired wrap. I have nothing against Old Glory, I just prefer not to wear it. The first photos I saw made me rethink my stance. The moment Spangled arrived at my door, my mind was completely changed. This wrap was cushy and soft as a dream in loom state. The colors were bold and the contrast striking. After it’s first wash and dry, the colors bled ever so slightly and the contrast faded slightly. This made the wrap look beautifully worn in, rustic, and subtle.

A quick front wrap cross carry with this cushy beauty and I was hooked. Wearing this wrap felt like slipping into my favorite jeans and tee. It molded to every curve. It was supportive and soft. It made my baby feel weightless and cozy. This wrap is amazing. The baby fell asleep before I could finish wrapping her.

Needless to say, when pre-order for Spangled was announced I jumped at the chance to own one. I am now patiently awaiting it’s arrival. You KNOW I will be rocking this wrap all summer long. I already have it booked solid for the 4th of July. (I mean. C’MON! How am I NOT going to wear this at the parade and fireworks?)

Nancy and her team at Poe Wovens really hit it out of the park with this wrap. I could not be more excited or happier for my fluff mail to arrive. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Interested in finding out about new designs and promotions before everyone else? Join the Facebook Group: Poe Precinct.

JbO-poespangled**In the interest of full disclosure I am a Poe Wovens brand ambassador. HOWEVER, I was not paid or otherwise reimbursed for this review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and my own alone. I am a brand ambassador because of how amazing this company is.**

MAYbe Funny

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Funny Friday  150 X 150

Today’s post is this month’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Spatulas on Parade.

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I fully intended on writing my 5 captions and heading to bed. However, as I was prepping (ie; trying to get my husband to give me some good, funny lines) a much funnier conversation happened. So, in true Michelle fashion, I am going to toss the rules out the window and do my own thing. Our conversation went as follows:

Michelle: Ok, Give me something good to write. Something funny about this photo.

Zach: You should write something about Jesus and that poem. The, “and then I carried you” one. Except add something about Jesus losing a flip flop.

M: How do I make sure I don’t sound offensive?

Z: *laugh*

M: It is a fine line between funny and offensive. Plus, I need 4-5 funny lines or captions.

Z: About the flip flop in the sand?!

M: Yup. What about if I said something about it being like a sea turtle? Like she is having little baby flip flops in the sand.

Z: *blank stare*

M: You know, something about catching a glimpse of the elusive momma flip flop coming out of the sea to bury her baby flip flop eggs in the sand?

Z: I don’t think that’s funny.

M: I don’t care.

Z&M: *laugh*

Z: Maybe you should just use this conversation instead.

M: *starts typing*

 

Follow the links below and let some other (rule following) bloggers make you smile:

Someone Else’s Genius (http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com)

Confessions of a part-time working mom (http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/)

The Momisodes (http://themomisodes.com)

Sanity Waiting to Happen (http://www.angelaweight.com)

Spatulas on Parade  (http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/)

Stacy Sews and Schools (http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com)

People Don’t Eat Enough Fudge (http://peopledonteatenoughfudge.blogspot.co.uk)

The Bergham’s Life Chronicles (http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/)

Follow me home  (http://followmehome.shellybean.com)

Measurements of Merriment (http://measurementsofmerriment.blogspot.com)

Southern Belle Charm (http://www.southernbellecharm.com)

Silence of the Mom ( http://www.silenceofthemom.blogspot.com)

Baking In A Tornado (http://www.BakingInATornado.com)

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Flies, Light Savers, and Snuggles

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Recently I have been having a hard time writing. I feel like I once had a very strong voice and now it feels thin, quiet. It isn’t a bad feeling, just new. Like something is changing.

There is definitely a lot of changes happening right now. We are slowly but surly finding ourselves in the warmer season. Winter was brutal in so many ways. But the days are getting warmer and longer. We are spending most of our free time wandering and exploring outside. Taking photos and sharing stories. It is what we do.

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The baby is growing so much. She is sitting now. She almost always has a huge smile on her face. She can light up the darkest of days with her gummy grin and her laugh. Oh that laugh!

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Elsa is no longer a baby. Or a toddler. She is a little kid with an enormous heart. She wants to learn about everything and asks the very best questions. She is like a sponge and is absorbing the world around her.

She adds to her “Elsa-isms” almost daily. Her newest is “light saver.” It is what she calls her small plastic toy lightsaber. I corrected her once then realized that “light saver” was amazing and stopped myself from doing it again.

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I am studying to become a peer counselor with Breastfeeding USA. It is something I am very passionate about. It became incredibly clear that Elsa shares my enthusiasm today while at a breastfeeding support meeting.

We were going around introducing ourselves and our babies. When it was our turn I let my very articulate child introduce herself.

“Hi, I am Elsa and I am four-and-a-half years old. This is my sister Aria, she is zero years old. This is my baby [a doll], Mittens. She is breastfed but is just learning how to latch. I was pumping for her and feeding her with a bottle because she had a tongue tie. But, we fixed it so now she is learning.”

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Have I mentioned that the baby has also learned how to snuggle? So far I am mainly the primary recipient of the hugs and I couldn’t be more elated. This tiny girl gives giant hugs.

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Although the calendar year began months ago, this time of year always feels like it should be the beginning. I have taken this changing of the seasons to do a lot of introspection. I am trying to really become my most authentic self. To either embrace my flaws or change them. I am doing some serious work on me. I have had to let go of relationships that didn’t feel supportive or healthy and really work on the ones that nourish and enrich my life and my soul. I am building a community of people who make me want to do and be better. I am surrounding myself with some beautiful people. I am building my tribe. I am trying to live a life I love with the people I love the most.

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This post was part of the Fly On The Wall writing challenge brought to you by the creative genius that is Baking In A Tornado. Every month a group of bloggers all write posts consisting of small snippets that, on their own, are not enough to write an entire post. They end up being as if you were a fly on the walls of our lives.

Fill your voyeuristic oats by checking out the rest of the bloggers.

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade

http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home

http://www.menopausalmom.com/                          Menopausal Mother

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                        Stacy Sews and Schools

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                                   Battered Hope

http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                                  Just A Little Nutty

http://themomisodes.com                                        The Momisodes

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius

http://gndisney.wordpress.com                                Disneyland in Kentucky

http://dinoheromommy.com/                                  Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

http://eileensperpetuallybusy.blogspot.com/                    Eileen’s Perpetually Busy

http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                       Searching for Sanity

http://www.southernbellecharm.com                          Southern Belle Charm

http://www.angelaweight.com                                   Sanity Waiting to Happen

http://peopledonteatenoughfudge.blogspot.co.uk        People Don’t Eat Enough Fudge

Fly on the Wallflies-light savers-snuggles

April Funny Friday

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Funny Friday  150 X 150

Today’s post is this month’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.
Funny Friday  150 X 150

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by he Bergham’s Life Chronicles     http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

ff-April

1. “I AM NOT FAT, I AM BIG BONED!!!”

2. Being the giant pumpkin amongst all the petite gourds left him feeling quite deflated.

3. Octomom: Pumpkin edition.

4. I spy with my little eye something that was genetically modified.

5. Anyone got an air pumpkin? I’ve got a flat.

 

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

 

 

Baking In A Tornado (http://www.BakingInATornado.com)

Someone Else’s Genius (http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com)

Confessions of a part-time working mom (http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/)

The Momisodes (http://themomisodes.com)

Sanity Waiting to Happen (http://www.angelaweight.com)

Spatulas on Parade  (http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/)

Stacy Sews and Schools (http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com)

People Don’t Eat Enough Fudge (http://peopledonteatenoughfudge.blogspot.co.uk)

The Bergham’s Life Chronicles (http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/)

Follow me home  (http://followmehome.shellybean.com)

Measurements of Merriment (http://measurementsofmerriment.blogspot.com)

 

Barn Fly

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Barn Fly

Spring is here. Like, REALLY here. The temperatures are rising and the sun is shining. We spent a day at our favorite farm. Being outside after months of being cooped up felt amazing. It was exactly what my family needed.

Here is our day, in photos.

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The sugar house smelled amazing. A sweet and smoky mix of heaven.

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This was drawn out of the evaporator minutes before i sipped it. It was still warm. If you have never done this, go do it. Now.

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This is Joy. She is 3 1/2 months old. Her name is perfect.

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She was telling the cows a story. I think she would have stood there visiting and chatting all day.

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Joy again. She loved Zach. And his hat. And his face. We have that in common.

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Goats. What is better than goats?

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The baby spent most of the time nursing and napping. Girl knows how to spend a warm Sunday afternoon.

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I took a picture of Zach taking my picture. Why? WHY NOT!

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The baby got to touch grass for the first time. It was magic.

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When we came home I uncovered my herb garden. There is tiny signs of life sprouting in it. I am so happy.

 

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This post was part of the Fly On The Wall writing challenge. A group of bloggers all write and post on the same day, sharing snippets of their lives for you to read, as though you were a fly on our wall. Please do check out the other writers. They are an amazing group of bloggers.

Fly on the Wall

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade

http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home

http://www.menopausalmom.com/                          Menopausal Mother

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                        Stacy Sews and Schools

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                                   Battered Hope

http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                                  Just A Little Nutty

http://themomisodes.com                                        The Momisodes

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius

http://gndisney.wordpress.com                                Disneyland in Kentucky

http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                    Searching for Sanity

http://www.angelaweight.com                                Sanity Waiting to Happen

http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com                             The Sadder But Wiser Girl

http://dinoheromommy.com/                                   Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

 

Barn Fly

 

 

I See You Beautiful Momma

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I See You Beautiful Momma

I have a circle of friends. They are beautiful women. Strong women. They are mothers. Every single one of them has given birth in the past year, some for the second time. We are wading through the postpartum experience together.

 

These women come from all walks of life. Our backgrounds are varied, our interests wide. We learn from each other, and lean on each other. We find commonality in our diversity. We celebrate the things that make us unique and embrace the things we have in common.

 

Recently I found myself in the midst of a discussion about our postpartum bodies. There was a general consensus that no one felt “right”. We all had parts of us that had changed, weight that we carry now that wasn’t there before. The lamenting was not unfamiliar; I had heard similar complaints amongst other groups of women.

 

As I listened I got to thinking, why did these beautiful women feel less-than? Why did they crave their pre-baby bodies so badly? Why did I see gorgeous mommas and they saw shadows of the women they used to be?

 

As women, we are told that there is a certain ideal of beauty. Generally it is tall and thin and unattainable for 99% of the female population. Yet, we strive for it. We watch what we eat and we wear impossibly high heels. We deny ourselves cravings and we turn to surgical options when all else fails. We are bombarded with images of taller and thinner women. We are told we are not good enough, that we do not measure up.

 

As a pregnant woman, we are given a little bit of slack. We are expected to gain weight, just not too much. Not too little either, you don’t want to look like a complete narcissist. And, as soon as that baby is born, we need to look just like we did nine months prior. We are to pull up our pre-pregnancy jeans and walk out of the hospital glowing, baby in our arms.

 

Rarely is the reality of a woman’s postpartum body ever shown. Celebrities are shown on the cover of glossy magazines looking better than they did before the baby. What we do not see is the team of stylists and makeup artists. We are not shown the Photoshop masters who manipulate reality into something that’ll bring a profit.

 

The reality of a postpartum body is nothing like those magazines. Bellies stay round, weight clings to new curves. Breasts swell with milk and stretch marks line our bodies. The reality is nothing like the magazine cover.

 

It is better.

 

The reality is that our bellies stay round for a while because it takes time for our wombs to shrink back down. It takes time for the space where our children grew and formed to retreat into our pelvises. Our bodies hold onto extra weight that clings to our new momma curves. It stays there to insure that those newly engorged breasts will always have the resources they need to produce milk for our growing babies. The lines that form from our overstretched skin are a reminder of the utterly amazing feat we have accomplished.

 

We created life.

 

It is true; our bodies are not the same as they were before the baby. Pregnancy changed it. It changed us. We grew life with this new body of ours. We kept our little ones safe and nourished. We gave birth to them. This body. This new, different, changed body. Maybe we will never look the same, maybe we will hold onto these new curves and lines forever. But that is ok. That is beautiful. No Photoshop is needed when our children run to us for comfort. No stylist or makeup artist is needed when they look to us for love.

 

I see you gorgeous mommas. I see your curves and your round belly. I see you tugging at your shirt, unsure of your new body. I see beauty and strength. I see a mom and I see courage. I see love and I see the future.

 

I see you beautiful mommas and I hope that one day soon, you see you too.

 

I See You Beautiful Momma

Mothering Through The Darkness

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mothering through the darkness cover

I remember getting the email that the HerStories Project was doing an open call for submissions. Their next book was to be about the postpartum experience. As someone who struggled, hard, with postpartum depression and anxiety I just knew I had to submit something.

I had a short essay I had written on the topic. Over the next couple of weeks I tweaked it and rewrote it until it was three times the size it started as and nearly unrecognizable. As I read it aloud to my husband to see what he thought, I choked up. This could be one of my best essays ever.

I submitted it just hours before deadline. I held my breath. Weeks passed. The response to the open call was overwhelming. Stephanie and Jessica had an enormous and nearly impossible task.

Then, one day last week an email arrived.

Congratulations!

Dear Author,

Thank you for your patience during this lengthy submission process for Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience. We received nearly 220 submissions, and had to narrow the selections down to just 35 essays. We are delighted to inform you that your essay has been selected for publication! Congratulations, and welcome to the project!

 

I reread that email several times thinking that there was no way they could be congratulating me.

But they were.

I am going to be published.

It sounds trite but this is a dream come true. My words, in  book, for others to read.

I am in amazing company. The co-authors of this anthology are incredible. To see the entire gang and read the official announcement, please click HERE.

mothering through the darkness cover

March Funny Friday

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Funny Friday  150 X 150

Today’s post is this month’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

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Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Confessions Of A Part-Time Working Mom

ff-March

1. What happens when I let my 4 year old bring whatever she wants while running errands.

2. “….But the fuel economy is awesome!”

 

3. I used to have this car.

 

4. (Seriously, I USED TO HAVE THIS CAR.)

 

5. What do you mean “junk in the trunk”?

 

Thanks for laughing at with me!!

 

**********

 

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

The Bergham’s Life Chronicles

Follow me home

Baking In A Tornado

Someone Else’s Genius

Confessions of a part-time working mom

The Momisodes

Sanity Waiting to Happen

Spatulas on Parade

Cluttered Genius

Stacy Sews and Schools

People Don’t Eat Enough Fudge

 

Funny Friday  150 X 150

 

And The Fly Marches On

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March brings with it the promise of warmer weather, spring, and, most importantly, GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!

Last week while running errands I saw two girls holding a sign outside a shopping plaza advertising a cookie booth. I instructed my husband to turn in so I could buy ALL THE COOKIES.

“I find myself stalking little girls and their delicious cookies every March,” I said to him.

“That isn’t creepy or anything,” he replied with a tinge of sarcasm.

“YES IT IS!” We hear from the back seat, where our four year old was listening to our conversation. “I think it is creepy! I am a little girl!!”

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“Can we go to that town I really like?” my four year old asked as we were driving through said town.

“We ARE in that town,” I answered.

“Oh!” she giggled, “I misunderspoke!”

 

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My four year old is really into being a “real mommy” lately. More specifically, she wants to be me.

This is beyond touching and makes me tear up every time she says things like, “Look daddy! I am a beautiful mommy just like my momma!”

It also has made me incredibly aware of everything I do and say. Especially at my most frustrated, when my patience is lacking. I know whatever I do will be reflected back in her play.

Watching her as she nurtures her babies, nursing them, singing to them, holding them, it makes me overwhelmed.

Imitation truly is the most sincere form of flattery. I am so lucky to be able to be her momma.

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“Daddy? Are you drinking your beard?” our 4-year-old asks.

“Yes, I am drinking a beer,” my husband answers.

“You are drinking your BEARD?”

“Wait, what? No! Beer. I am drinking a BEER!”

In giggle hysterics, “YOU SHOULDN’T DRINK YOUR BEARD! EWWWW!!! HAHAHAHA!!!”

My husband sighed, shook his head and continued to drink his beard beer.

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The baby laughs now. A lot. Usually at her sister. I can almost not take it. Is too cute a thing? Can it be harmful? I feel like I may be in danger. (You have been warned, the video is SO cute.)

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Fly on the Wall

This post was part of the Fly On The Wall writing challenge. A group of bloggers all write and post on the same day, sharing snippets of their lives for you to read, as though you were a fly on our wall. Please do check out the other writers. They are an amazing group of bloggers.

 

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade

http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home

http://www.menopausalmom.com/                          Menopausal Mother

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/                        Stacy Sews and Schools

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                                   Battered Hope

http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                                  Just A Little Nutty

http://themomisodes.com                                        The Momisodes

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius

http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com                        The Sadder But Wiser Girl

http://dinoheromommy.com/                            Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

http://gndisney.wordpress.com                                Disneyland in Kentucky

http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                      Searching for Sanity

http://www.gomamao.com                                      Go Mama O

 

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Diagnosis: Spring Fever

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Spring Fever

I am so done. I am losing my mind. I am not sure how much more I can take. I am waving my white flag; I am yelling “UNCLE!”

I am ready for spring.

As a native New Englander, I am under no illusions that winter here is anything but rough. It is cold and snowy mixed with ice and the shortest of short days. I get it. I even look forward to it each fall.

Then, February hits, more specifically February with two very small children. Winter is no longer fun. It is far too cold, the snow has developed an impermeable shell of ice, and we have lost one of every pair of mittens we started the year with.

Are you there, spring? It’s me, Michelle.

Some days I find myself gazing out the window at the great white swath that is our back yard. A few months ago there was a picnic table, sand box, and swing set. Now there are three marshmallowy looking lumps. Cold, unrecognizable, lumps.

If I squint one eye, close the other, and turn upside down, I can almost picture grass and trees with leaves. Almost.

I really hate complaining about the weather. We live in a beautiful section of the country and are able to experience all four seasons. I like to think that we chose to live here. That we could leave if we wanted to. But then, February. February makes me feel trapped and cold and cranky as all get out.

I recently heard on NPR that a study suggests that people who complain tend to live longer. If that is the case, and this frigid weather continues, I may just live forever.

Our four year old doesn’t complain. She just copes with the cabin fever by dressing up, pretending she is someone and somewhere else. She dances around our house in elaborate costumes singing songs at the top of her lungs. She creates entire performances for us to watch.

It helps make being stuck inside a little easier to bear. It also gives me an excuse to wear a tutu and sing along with her.

We try to leave the house. We try to get out, go to local children’s museums, playgroups, even just the store to meet up with friends. We do it to remember that we are not the only people who inhabit this arctic tundra. The process of dressing, however, is enough to exhaust me for the day. Base layers, followed by sweaters, followed by outerwear, followed by boots, followed by hates and mittens and scarves.

Have you ever tried to dress a four month old in enough layers to prevent frost bite but not so many that they get a heat rash? Imagine trying to put a wool sweater on an angry octopus whose sole mission is to eat everything that comes near its face.

You get the idea.

When we arrive at our destination I am ready for a nap, the four year old has to pee and the baby is hungry. The four year old won’t use the bathroom with her coat on and I am so layered that I am afraid that if I even tried to nurse the baby I may end up losing her between layers of down and wool.

Oh, winter. Uncle.

But, somehow, we survive. We make it through the shortest, coldest, month of the year. The sun starts to shine a little longer, the air starts to warm a few degrees. The dripping of the eaves indicates that in a few weeks those white lumps in our yard will slowly morph back into our swing set, picnic table, and sandbox.

Eventually we will be able to shed some layers and get outside. I will be able to feed the baby and not lose her in swaths of fabric. The four year old will probably continue to dress up and sing her songs but come spring, she will be able to perform al fresco with feathered back-up singers.

Soon, I will stop complaining about the ice and the cold. I will let the sun shine on my face, breathe in the warm breeze and I will move on to complaining about the mud and the pollen and the pesky mosquitoes

 

Spring Fever