Learning to LIVE

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Hello Lovelies!

How’s the world treating you today? The past two days have been a wonderful learning experience for me. For a while, pretty much over the last year, I’ve been considering quitting my job. Like many of us, I let the extra cushion on our finances convince me to keep working. With our daughter getting older every day though, this slowly became more difficult to do while taking care of her. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to work from home and stay with my baby all day, but it started to wear me down. I don’t know how some of you super mamas do it!

I kept pushing on as long as I could, but both ends of the candle were far over burnt and I started to feel depressed. That’s when I couldn’t take it anymore. When my mom called me to tell me my grandpa had suffered a stroke (a week before he passed away), I made the decision to turn in my notice. This was a very hard thing for me to do because I’ve always held a part of my identity and self-worth in my accomplishments at work. As life moves forward though, you really begin to notice the things that matter most and for me, that is family.

Monday night I was making myself some Yogi Bedtime teaΒ and this was written on the tag:Β DSC_0216

How incredibly fitting for where I am at in life! As of February 10th, I became an official Stay at Home mom and my work consists of taking care of my family and loving the world. That’s just what I intend to do.

Monday morning I decided Audrey and I would get out of the house. The weather was too beautiful to resist! Here are a few pictures of what we experienced together:

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She likes to sneak off to my bookshelf, pull off her Veggietales DVDs and “read” the front and back covers πŸ™‚

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She’s still pretty small for the baby swing, but she absolutely loves it. She was laughing and clapping her hands the whole time!

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I’ve seen over 30 turtles in our pond before but this day we only saw one little baby sunbathing!

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A bunch of ducks flew in as we were circling around. Audrey squealed at them πŸ™‚

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“God said every green thing is for food mama, so I’m gonna eat this!” I did the best I could to stop her…but she may have still gotten a piece or two haha!

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She’s never played in the grass before so she crawled and grabbed and tossed it everywhere!

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Nom nom noming on a PB&J

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Oh yea, water….its goooooood!

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Our pond never seems to fail to provide something interesting to check out- this time it was an upside down grocery cart! Classy!

To some moms these things might seems like what you would do every single day. For me, I like to really recognize the fact that the world is a huge place for Audrey to discover, for all of us to discover really. It’s watching her examine these little things, on our small adventures, that I realize the most precious things in life. Family, hope, and love. Beautiful God-given things that bless our souls. So yes, quitting my job has been more than worth it, just to learn to live.

Take some time to discover the world this week Lovelies! You’ll be so happy you did! πŸ™‚

~Cali

Dear Grandpa

Hello Lovelies!

It’s been a while! My apologies… The past two months have been more than chaotic and emotional. The beginning of this month marked a new journey for me as I quit my job in the business world to become a full-time homemaker. Thank you God for giving me the opportunity to take care of my family and home full-time. Last month a dear friend of mine had her first baby, a beautiful little boy. Life, in all forms, is incredibly precious.

I am incredibly sensitive to both life and death. As I admired the new life around me, death creeped up when I wasn’t looking. One of the men I most looked up to in my life, passed away after years of his struggle with cancer.

My dear Grandpa…how I love and miss you so.

Taken four years ago- me and Grandpa

If you would have ever had the chance to meet my grandpa, you’d instantly know the kind of man he was. He was kind, hard-working, honest, and always had a story to tell. Every time he saw me, he’d always say “Come here girl” in his scratchy country voice as he patted his knee. He told the same story countless times of when I was little, sitting next to him and fell over backwards as I pointed to a plane passing over in the sky. I love that that memory always stayed with him, as it now does with me.

My grandma and grandpa have always known I love the outdoors, but my green thumb, well… it isn’t so green. I love working in the garden, feeling the dirt between my fingers. I love to feel the air pass through light and fluffy soil, and squish together the tough clay like soil. One of my most treasured memories is a day I spent with a friend of mine at their little farm. Grandpa showed me how he planted and cared for his okra, beans, turnips, and spinach. He showed me how he tilled his land and my friend and I helped dislodge his tractor from a mudhole. I got licked by a cow and chased by the farm dog. I had so so much fun, sweating in the heat, breathing in the warm summer air. Such wonderful memories are made that no photograph or letter can truly capture, just the mind.

After my grandpa passed away, my mom was helping my grandma go through some of his old things. I asked for his gardening binder. It has old gardening catalogues, recipes, planting guidelines, etc. I just wanted something tangible that represented what we shared. Not only did she give me this binder, she also gave me an old cookbook (which is very much non-vegan lol), a ridiculous number of seed packets, a seed planter, a dehydrator, and a garden hoe. As I mentioned before, I’ve always loved gardening but I’ve never really been successful. Over the last week, after having quit my job, I started up again, only this time, remembering my grandpa’s voice. I started some of my seedlings inside since it was still icy indoors. As of today, I moved these little guys outdoors in the warmth and sunshine. I’ve planted some herbs that will hopefully be sprouting soon. I chopped off some leaves of lettuce and kale that had already been growing and trimmed my broccoli. I’m going to believe that the knowledge my grandpa shared with me was not in vain. I’m going to believe that he passed on a gift to me and that with all that he taught me and has passed on to me, I will learn how to cultivate and maintain a garden that can sustain our little family.

Here are some pictures of what all I’ve started. If you have a small garden you tend to, please share your pictures. I’d love your ideas and experience shared here. Let’s continue the beautiful legacy of knowing, sowing, and growing our own healthy, organic foods!

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My aunt gave me this gardening table. I haven’t quite set it up to its full potential yet, but I do plan on doing that soon!

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Green Waldorf Lettuce-just trimmed it back today and planted two more rows of it!

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Obviously I need to do some de-weeding…but besides that this little Kale plant is working on sprouting some new leaves for me!

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I counted four heads emerging from the branches of this broccoli plant today. I’m excited to see what comes of it!

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I’ve always been a fan of fresh herbs. Not only are they delicious in cooking, but they make for lovely decoration and warm up any atmosphere.

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This yellow squash practically bolted out of the baby jars I had originally planted them in! They moved into their own cans today!

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Obviously I like to upcycle things πŸ™‚ I’ve been using old baby food jars to sprout my new seedlings. In this picture, I have four watermelon seeds sprouting up!

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I got so excited about the first two squash plants, I went crazy and planted 12 more- and yes, more upcycling! I used an old plastic spinach container from the store and cut 6 toilet paper rolls in half to plant each seed in.

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And I still have all of these seeds left to plant!!! Let’s hope I really learn how to do this. I’d hate to waste all the goodness that has been given to me.

Dear Grandpa,

I don’t know if you can look down on me and see the work that my hands have done, but if you can, I hope you’re pleased. I miss you terribly. It was hard to walk through you and grandma’s house without you there, sitting at the dining table telling stories. I’d like to believe that if I’m quiet enough, if I listen close enough, I’ll hear your voice. What a peaceful thing we shared together, tending to God’s green earth. Thank you for everything you ever taught me. Thank you for showing how much you loved us all. I can’t wait to see you again one day!

~Cali