A single photo. No words. One moment. Inspired by Amanda.
Lately, Bea likes to yoddle, "Our home!" as we turn onto our street and edge closer to our driveway. I can relate to her! I think I've expressed my love a couple of times before. Indeed, in my world, no other place feels as good to me as home. Despite the lack of acreage, and extra rooms, I am so grateful for this little house we call home. Because of it, Bea probably has fewer than you would believe toddler friends, playdates, and excursions to playgrounds and classes. And her mother fares no better when considering extra curricula activities which lasso us from our space. We are homebodies and we (I) love being one.
I'm going to try with real effort to offer little glimpses into these walls that contain my little family. My home isn't really spectacular in anyway. We live in a 1940's cottage rental of about 900 square feet. This place and her nooks have changed many times in the seven months we've lived here. I've hesitated blogging about them, because for me, the areas never seem complete. There's the incomplete hand-made goodies, the framed pictures not hung, and what not. Yes, what I'm showing you still has room for improvement. Such is life. But I also know that we're getting there and doing our best!
We have no long term goal to stay here of course. Yet, we still haven't found our forever home. Like I mentioned last week, we dream of one day having a farmhouse and a couple of acres in close proximity to wooded mountains. And while we hope our ideal existence is out there in our future, we do our best to enjoy the here and now as best as we can. This is where we are now. I like to hope that these walls radiate just a bit of who we are, the love we share, and the story of our days with one another. To me, no other place feels quite as right.
Oddly enough, I actually love having a "cozy" house with a young child. Bea's room is situated right next door to the kitchen. In fact, she has a bedroom door that opens to the kitchen. So even though our kitchen is small, it's quite easy for our activity to spill over to her room or the dining room.
As a very general rule, we try to keep an overall tidy and uncluttered home. We're not perfect or obsessive, so yes, little piles of this and that no doubt accumulate every single day. All of her things are placed on low shelves which she can easily reach. Though more and more these days, she loves a good challenge of getting to what she can't reach. "hmmm...let me see, if I push this stool to this chair, I can climb up here and get there and reach this..." Ingenuity...oftentimes the fun is in the challenge.
I confess, my favorite corners are the ones we've carved out for our little babe. As she has grown and has become more and more an active participant to our days, these corners have become all the more vibrant and alive, soaking up her spirit and radiance, and reflecting them back upon us.
Childhood in Our Home
To talk about what is now, I have to say a word about where we came from. When Bea first came home to us, like any parent, I was overwhelmed with hopes and dreams for this sweet, little soul. And like most of you out there reading, I wanted to provide her with the most nourishing, wholesome, and supportive start as possible. I entered parenthood with a strong knowledge base in the Montessori philosophy. Yet, I continued to search, to read, to untangle my intuition, training, and experience. I truly wanted to provide Beatrix a real childhood in every way without the burden of choosing loyalty over one philosophy over another. My loyalty was now to her. My new goal was to provide an environment - one in which she responded to. I followed her lead.
And so 19 months into parenthood, and everyday, I get to know Beatrix a little more intimately. Everyday, she reveals the person she is to become just a bit more to her proud and awe inspired mama. And I hope I'm doing her just an inkling of justice that she very much deserves. I've embraced so much of both Montessori and Waldorf philosophies. Both, I believe, have a tremendous amount of love and thoughtfulness to offer childhood and families. I love Waldorf's strong emphasis on seasonal, weekly, and daily rhythms and it's reverence for the natural world. I love Waldorf's beautiful aesthetic and it's dedication to preserving childhood. And I love, love the idea that less is more when it comes to toys and activities for children. I am ever so mindful of these Waldorf principles when thinking about Bea's spaces. I strive to provide her with a livelihood that is simple, lovely, and just enough...
Likewise, the Montessori philosophy really can be adapted to suit every child and can be applied in any environment. In fact, it's been reaffirming to observe her response to our environment and our way of life, since I'd never done the whole Montessori thing from the beginning! One doesn't need to have a large budget or home to provide a few simple means to allow the child freedom, independence, and participation. Observe and trust your little one and you will discover that children find ways to serve their inherent drive to master their bodies and their environment. Each and every day, I witness Bea "contructing herself" - finding ways to serve her needs, whether or not I've provided the means to her end or not. Adamently, I stand with confidence when I say that a child's greatest asset is an observant and aware parent or caregiver.
There are many tenets of the Montessori philosophy which I truly do admire. I love it's emphasis on order (a place for everything and everything in its place), respect and careful handling of objects in the environment, incorporating the child into family activities, and creating an environment which honors and welcomes the child to live fully in it. Good common sense, right? Notions that my mother and grandmother "knew" about raising children - despite their lack of formal education.
And so I'll stop chatting...take a look!
Bea has slept on this thin mattress since she was about 6 months old. She uses it for both naps and bedtime. And although we tried co-sleeping, Bea will not settle down in our bed. Our bed is for parties, didn't you know? We took this rebellious behavior as a cue that she likes her own space when sleeping. Very soon, she will be transitioning to a bigger, youth size trundle bed. Can't wait to see it in her room!
On the side of her bed is a basket of a few books. We also keep the larger books (which do not fit into the basket) on the playstands pictured below.
We found these playstands on Craigslist last winter. She has a few simple art supplies and a handwashing set on one shelf.
I just recently inherited this piece of furniture. I've admired it for as long as I can remember. It was my mom's table and chair set when she was Bea's age. It's in nearly immaculate shape, even after 60 years. And now, Bea will enjoy it and learn how to take good care of it too.
And there's my mom (the little curly hair girl on the right) when she was about Bea's age. She's sitting with my great aunt Margie at this very same table. Mom's teddy (who is also still with us) is sitting guard...
And here is Bea, supervising the photo shoot, and taking notes at Granny's table. Behind her, are peg hooks at her height which hold silk scarves and her jacket.
I made this little bird mobile the winter before we adopted Bea. When she was a wee babe, we hung it right above her bed. Now it hangs higher and further away from her bed, but we still enjoy gazing at our little birdies when reading and singing lullabies at bedtime.
This sweet wall hanging comes from a dear friend. She made it and gave it to Bea on her first birthday. Her daughter explained that Bea is the little girl in the middle. She is the little one on the right with the golden braids, and her sister (who is also Bea's age) is the little girl to the left. Indeed...Just maybe, one day these three girls will piece their own real quilt together.
The busiest area of the home is our dining/kitchen area. Here, Bea helps us to sweep, cook, wash dishes, scrub the floor, dust, set the table, and make her own little kitchen creations. Her space is really quite simple. And well loved...
Bea's little kitchen is in the dining room, but tucked as close to the kitchen as possible. Much activity goes on here. We keep Bea's dishes here. She has four wooden bowls, two enamel mugs, two drinking glasses, a wooden spoon, a tea kettle for her water, napkins, and clean up cloths. Her kitchen also holds her pots and pans. Her dirty napkins and cloths go into the basket. The bucket is one of her most valuable objects, I'm certain. I like to give her about an inch or two of water with a tiny bit of soap and she goes to town, scrubbing all sorts of surfaces around the house. All of the water usually ends up on the floor at some point, but I don't mind so much as we have no carpet and there's just a little bit of water in the bucket anyway. I just consider it a mini-mop up which our house always needs anyway.
We keep her broom and dustpan in the kitchen on a hook. I really would like to move it next to Bea's play kitchen as all other important household things are there, but the husband says, "No more drilling holes in wall that aren't ours." Grumph. It's a good thing Bea is resilient. She's adapted just fine to having the broom and dustpan away from the play kitchen and in the real kitchen. Mama, on the other hand, well that's another story...
And so, this is a big chunk of our small house. I might do another post showing you the living room and more of the dining room. It's a short house tour!
We did some listening, singing, and dancing to this fabulous new album.
We enjoyed some fresh air from our opened windows.
And we made some important preparations for the big holiday coming up.
The grand plan for Byron and I, is to one day, have our own place with enough land to raise our own animals and grow our own food. Oh, and with a view of green mountains. We're not there yet. And honestly, who knows when we will ever arrive? This is why over the last five years or so, we've been tossing around the idea of having a backyard flock of hens. We've hemmed and hawed on the issue, never really ready to commit. Perpetually waiting for the right time, the right house, the right place. Well, our patience has waned and we've grown tired of waiting.. of putting our life and dreams on hold. So we jumped...into the cold water...feet first. Eek!
He's building the coop on the weekends with his little helper, of course.
I picked up 8 baby chicks from Callahan's and we are determined to make part of our grand dream come true. Urban farmette here we come! The girls we chose are all know to be docile and great egg layers. We've a couple of Americaunas, Barred Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, Maran, Wyandotte, and a Cochin
They are so darn cute! Bea is in total love! And I can't wait for the Spring when these little ladies begin to lay a colorful array of eggs!
Last week was a crazy busy one that did it's best to kick me off schedule. It worked. This entire week, my head has been feeling a little discombobulated - off kilter. I've missed blogging and I've missed sharing. You see, I'm a girl who's a bit scatterbrained. My little thoughts are all over the place, bouncing back and forth, left and right. And so, it's a real challenge to stay organized and productive. Maintaining this blog helps me to "get er done" all the things I like to do. So thank you. Thank you for stopping by, saying hi, and helping me to stay motivated.
To fight my way back to my sanity zone, I'm working overtime to scratch off items on the long to-do list. Of couse, this list isn't going anywhere but it could stand to be shorter, for sure.
The weekend calls for:
A good amount of sewing. Afterall, there is a holiday quickly approaching which the little one needs to be "dressed up" for, so wish me luck.
A decision to be made and a home prepared for...it's a secret and I'm not telling...nah, not another baby. Not this time!
Meal planning for the upcoming weeks because I've been winging it for the last couple ones and I'm no good at winging it.
A walk through the woods...the weather has been so deliciously Autumnal today!
Apple crumble...opened windows and apple-anything baking is blissful in my book.
What is in the works for your weekend?
Must be October because I'm finding myself surrounded by orange and yellow these days.
Don't laugh...I snagged this afghan from Goodwill the other day. Every time I walk into the living room, I find myself at first startled and then quietly giggling. Certainly sasses our days up, I must say...I can't help but think of the crocheter who made it. I reckon she had some stories to tell. What compelled her to choose the hunter orange? The funny thing is that the afghan goes pretty well with our living room decor right now. Our style is rounding out to be just as funky as this cozy blanket. We didn't really plan to go all out 70's, but that's just how the thrifting gods have intended our look to be. Maybe one day, when I get better at shooting in low lighting, I'll show off some of our finds that decorate our home. It's pretty rockin', I must admit.
The living room end table (thrifted as well...)which holds our little nature display right now. Pumpkins, ghourds, pinecons, and acorns sit on a very Autumn looking doily that was made by Byron's great grandmother who shares the same birthday and name as Ms. Bea. I never knew Maw Mee, but I sure wish I did. She was crafty before crafty was cool.