Here are a few photos from the wedding.

This one (above) of 'A' is precious because it's one of the only photos where she's not looking straight down at the ground. She's playing with her flower girl basket, made even more special by all of the grass and lawn flowers she put in it after the ceremony.

That's me below, next to the bride.

'A' is done with her 24-hour reaction to her shots. Wow, that was weird. I let her sleep until after 11 am today. I don't think she's ever slept past 8 in her life. She woke up early this morning with a raging fever, looked at me and said, "Daddy, where is Mommy going?"

Anyway, she's better now, which is nice.

She keeps asking why she's sick - she doesn't get it. After all, according to her, she eats healthy food, so why is she sick? Goodness, she is SO literal! Sometimes we just get sick, that is all there is to it.

Off to bed. Do you think my children will EVER sleep through the night? Ever? Someday I won't be tired anymore.

dandelions for snack time

After spending all these months walking past the dandelion greens in the grocery store, I decided to "harvest" the ones growing in our yard and see how they taste. They're not bad. Ours are young and tender. And I know for sure they're organic. They're loaded with vitamins A, E and K, calcium and iron. I made banana-dandelion smoothies for myself and the girls this afternoon. I liked it - I couldn't taste the dandelion at all. 'H' liked it until 'A' decided she didn't want it, and then 'H' of course didn't want it either.

Jeff got his xray results back and he didn't "break his butt" as I had thought. In fact, nothing is broken, which is great news. The only reason I thought he might have is because he fell a while back on his rear and he thinks the pain is related to the fall. He's setting up physical therapy and hopefully it'll help. Everytime I think about him breaking his butt, I can't help but think about that posting from Craigslist - "Broken Assed Girl." It was posted several years ago, back when Craigslist was just a shadow of what it is now. It was smaller then, easier to navigate. Anyway, I used to get a kick out of reading the "Best of Craigslist" posts. One of them has stuck in my mind all this time, and for some reason I find it to be so funny. If you want to check it out, here is the link:

I'm tired. I got the house back in shape today after a very busy week last week, and now all I want to do is sleep. 'A' is sick tonight and we're pretty sure she's having a reaction to the shots she got at her 4-year check up the other day. She's had a fever all day and it rose tonight. I don't have a thermometer and most of the time I don't want one, but tonight for a second I did want one. The paperwork for the vaccine said that I should worry if she develops a fever of 105 or above. Now I know that her fever tonight wasn't that high, but a little voice wondered what it was and wished I had a thermometer so I would know.
Here's my secret formula for determining illness without a thermometer:
1) warm forehead + whining + running around and playing = not really that sick
2) warm/hot forehead + whining + playing while whining about feeling bad = sick, but not that sick
3) warm/hot forehead + laying on the floor and not moving or whining at all = really sick
Today 'A' was at the #2 level. And tomorrow is a new day.


Wow, what a whirlwind this has all been! Emily's wedding to Harry was on Saturday. We went to Massachusetts on Friday morning and stayed for the weekend. The wedding was wonderful. The ceremony was lovely, the bride and groom were basking in happiness, the weather was unbelievably "un-April" (in fact, the heat set a new record), and everything was great. As maid of honor, I got to stand beside Emily at the altar and I had to fight back my tears throughout the ceremony once I realized my nose was going to run - a lot - and I didn't have any tissues handy.

I brought my camera but didn't have many chances to use it - I was running, running, running all weekend.

Although it was fabulous overall, there was the potential for a few big glitches. The biggest issue was that my father fell ill with a stomach bug on Friday afternoon. He couldn't function, and didn't make it to the rehearsal or the rehearsal dinner. He wasn't sure if he would be able to make it to the wedding. Somehow, thankfully, he made an almost full recovery by the time the ceremony began on Saturday afternoon. It was a big relief to see him kick up his heels on the dance floor!

The second breath-holder for me was that Jeff woke up the day of the wedding with such severe back pain that he couldn't move. Not only was his attendance at the wedding questionable, but I was counting on him to do the bulk of the parenting that day as I ran around helping Emily set up the reception site and get herself ready. I still have no idea how it all came together. Thankfully my father happened to have some pretty potent pain pills in his suitcase and Jeff was feeling better in no time.

Good news on 'H's celiac bloodwork: it came back negative. Whew! A gluten-free diet is the last thing I need. Interestingly enough though, now that she's been completely off dairy for a few weeks, her system is functioning significantly better. So no dairy for either of our kids, and Jeff and I have decided to use up our existing dairy and not consume any more. If you've been counting, that makes our home a dairy, egg and meat-free zone. We still eat honey so I guess we're not vegan.

Love and peace to you.

birthday season is over

Jeff's birthday yesterday wrapped up our birthday season for this year. I don't complain about much because there's not a whole lot to complain about when it comes down to it, but if I had the chance to spread our birthdays out over the year a little more, I would probably do it. Four birthdays in four weeks is a lot.

We "done good" this time around with our giving. 'A' dropped off her big box of pajamas and toothbrushes and toothpaste at the domestic violence shelter and the women who worked there all came out to swoon over it. You can probably guess where 'A' was.... in the corner playing with the toys, trying her best to hide. Jeff calls her an "anonymous donor." She loves to do good things for people who need it, but does not want to be thanked at all. I get it, I like to do nice things for people and I'm happier when there's no reciprocation.

Jeff gave some of his birthday money to one of his coworkers who ran in the Boston Marathon as part of the Children's Hospital team. Children's Hospital does such great work and their research is so important. I have always been impressed with the Harvard medical group, whether it's through Brigham and Women's or Children's Hospital.

I gave seven solar stoves to the Jewish World Watch, an organization that stands up for those who are victims of genocide around the world.

It feels good to give. We all gave up some of our birthday presents in order to support a cause of our choice. I have to say that given the choice between buying myself a mocha latte while I'm out and about or giving a little to people who need help, I am choosing to help people who need it. I have plenty, even without the latte.


We took a family hike through the woods in our backyard today, and we actually got pretty far, which is amazing for our little group. 'H' rides in the backpack but 'A' walks, and sometimes (often) her legs "can't move" anymore and she has to stop to complain about all the walking we make her do. Yeah, I know all about it. I'm still cursing Jeff and Chris and Sue for making me walk all that long way to the Italian restaurant for dinner the night before I went into labor with 'A' four years ago. Goodness, that walk was so long and I was so pregnant and they all marched along joyfully while I complained that I couldn't keep up. And you know what? I couldn't.

Anyway, back to our walk. Jeff knows everything there ever was to know about the natural world, so our walks are more like a science class than a carefree stroll, which is great. He spots neat things to look at and sniffs stuffs and feels stuff and pokes through stuff. I make it sound so very scientific, I know.

About halfway through the walk I realized that we should all be much more aware of how to spot signs of black bears and what to do if we encounter them in the woods. They live behind our home, that we are sure, but luckily we've never seen any. I can imagine that if we were to run into one in the woods, it could be an unfortunate encounter if we didn't know what to do, don't you think?

Enough of the scary stuff. We're working on our plans for a rain barrel and compost pile and some raised beds in the backyard and it should all be very exciting. It probably won't be assembled for some time though, as we have the wedding this coming weekend. Lucky for us, we have such a late start to the growing season up here that there's really no rush to get things in the ground for another month anyway. This is a fabulous climate for garden procrastinators. I'm anxious to get our compost pile up and running though. Right now we're producing 2 bags of garbage a week (the standard 13 gallon size) and if we can compost much of our food scraps, I think we can get it to one bag per week. That would be an exciting improvement! Ahh, the stuff that makes us happy...

The sermon at the UU church today touched on a lot of the things we talked about in my class on Friday. It was about the celebration of Earth Day (which, as the minister said, is one of the High Holy Holidays for Unitarians, and she's right). She spoke about how we have to do more than talk the talk about protecting and nurturing nature and the environment, that we have to walk the walk too, and that can be hard to do. One of the key things is that we allow ourselves time to unwind and be spontaneous and relaxed in nature, something that is hard to do in our structured, scheduled world. It's important to take time to stop and smell the roses, if you will. Really smell them.

Have a fabulous day. And join me in saying a big Happy Birthday to Jeff, who turns thirtysomething on April 20th.

We went to visit my older sister, Jennifer, and her family over April vacation. It's always an adventure when we go there - Jennifer has a lot of energy and it's fun to hang out with family. We celebrated my 36th birthday there (with little fanfare, as it should be at 36...). One of the nature highlights was a walk down the hill to Little River, which runs through their back yard.

There were consumer highlights as well. For one, I found the Preserve toothbrushes at Jennifer's Target on sale for $1.84 a toothbrush, which I consider very reasonable. Secondly, we took a trip to Trader Joe's and I stocked up big-time on all kinds of neat things. They also sell the toothbrushes but they cost a little more. I bought lots of shampoos and soap and of course the condiments and grain mixes I miss so much. I love Trader Joe's! I find it so crazy that they are owned by the same company that owns Aldi, because the stores are so different in character.

Next weekend we'll get together again to witness the marriage ceremony of Emily, our younger sister, to Harry. Jennifer and I have both been working on some painted table decorations and I will post a photo when they're done. We're excited for the wedding!

I had posted about taking Erma to the vet because she's losing weight again. She's down to her lowest weight in years - eleven and a half pounds. The doctor reminds me that she's still overweight, and certainly not starving, but I like to remind him that a sudden drop in body weight is not something to be ignored. After lots of bloodwork and some extra fluids, I found out that Erma continues to be as healthy as a kitten and she's most likely just old and feeling ignored. Poor Erma. She's curled up next to me on the lap quilt as I write this. She's a sweet girl.

My Healthy Planet, Healthy Child class met last night. Our discussion topic was about children and creativity, a topic very close to my heart. If I had to sum up the discussion in one sentence (okay, maybe more...), I would say that we took away the idea that creativity is defined by more than just the arts. It's about wanting to learn, being curious, and thinking without limits. And parents can nurture creativity by, among other things, providing lots of unstructured time - some of it quiet, some not - and by taking time to truly interact with our children, to listen more than talk, to answer questions, and to make an effort to find out even more answers together.

We talked a lot about how to have unstructured time in this structured world. How to simplify life enough to live in the moment some of the time. By the number of magazine and web article devoted to this topic, I know we're not the only people wondering how to do this. We didn't come up with any answers, but it was nice to see how we all try to do it. The bottom line is that we can't do it all, and something has to give. If we can first define our values and what is important to us, it's easier to put the emphasis on the important things rather than decide what needs less attention.

It's a big topic...

Today was a great day.

The service at church had a Native American theme to it, and the title was, "Honoring Our Mother Earth." There was chanting and a totem pole and even a smudge ceremony! It was a wonderful reminder that there are many ways to respect the Earth. It's amazing to think that the Native American cultures not only survived but thrived by respecting and trusting nature. Jeff and I are inspired to learn more.

We all got to take home a spruce sapling from church and those of us who put a little something in the offering basket got a packet of wildflower seeds. After 'H's nap we planted both.

Jeff taught 'A' how to water the tree.

A Navajo Night Chant:

May it be happy before me.
May it be happy behind me.
May it be happy below me.
May it be happy above me.
With it happy all around me, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty...
It is finished in beauty.

We planted the wildflower seeds in the backyard, near a big patch of existing wildflowers. We know that they like it back there.

"Grandmother Earth, hear me! The two-leggeds, the four-leggeds, the wingeds, all that move upon You are Your children. With all beings and all things we shall be as relatives; just as we are related to you, O Mother." - Black Elk

I found something super-cool online. A toothbrush made out of recycled plastic! Not only that, but when you're done with it, you send it back and they use it to make other recycled materials. HOW COOL IS THAT? At $2.79 per toothbrush, I think it sounds like something we'll start purchasing. Best of all, they are not only sold online but at local retailers. I love it! Check it out here:

Our established wildflowers are happy, and are already coming up.

It's finally warm enough (kind of) to get out and play in the sandbox! This was a present to 'A' and 'H' from their grandparents and Jeff and his dad set it up last week. It's in the shade for the whole day, which will be great in the middle of the summer, but for now, it's a bit chilly in there!

I took Erma, our cat, to the vet today. She turns 16 years old in 3 weeks. She's old. She's losing more weight. The vet took blood and gave her some fluids, and I'll know next week if there's anything I need to be concerned about. Part of me thinks she's doing her "thing" that she does when she feel neglected. So now I am going to shut off the computer and snuggle with her. Have a great night.

About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!