fresh lemonade

I’ve not been writing. Not here or anywhere really. I feel rusty. My keyboard is creaky from months of neglect. We’re like the frozen Tin Man and his axe, me and my laptop, and this entry is that first bit of sacred oil. That first taste from a pitcher of minute-old lemonade.

First off, we are all fine. Babe, me, the kids. We’re actually far better than fine. We soaked up a long hot summer on The Tenderfoot and we’ve enjoyed watching the leaves turn for us for the first time. Nature’s changes are glorious. I have many entries brewing in my head!

Spring brought with it another bounty of adjustments, though, which has left me reeling still.

I’m working full time again, on a team for a manager who has a manager and at the end of the chain there is a CEO. I sit at a desk, in a cubicle, under a white noise speaker. It’s such a foreign culture to me that it’s still a novelty. It’s different-ness will probably never wear off and I hope it doesn’t. I like it this way. The people are great, my manager likes my suggestions and I’ve been using a brainspace that had been deserted for years. It feels neat to have a new hat to wear. It’s good.

The kids are doing better than I’d ever hoped at their new full time daycare. TLD and Belle love their friends and teachers. I love that I can peek in on their webcams and watch each of them sleep and eat and learn. TLD is learning yoga there, learning to share and take turns. Belle is forming friendships and finding her own little self in those hours away from me. It’s good.

If I hadn’t have found their school this transition would have been agonizing. Because I found it, I’m happy to be at work and relieved to get a break from the realities of being Mommy to a preschooler and toddler. I am reclaiming myself and redefining myself and changing all at the same time. I’m not quite a billowey-sailed butterfly but I’m almost there and knowing the kids are in a good place during my new days has been critical.

Thanks to the understanding nature of my new manager I leave work a little early once each week so I can still see a few my very favorite massage client friends. Sometimes my body reminds me that I’m working two jobs but there are so many rewards from this arrangement that I’m far more grateful than tired. And daycare is so damn expensive, I need to bring in as much as I can! It’s good.

Let me be honest. Yes, I’m making lemonade out of some lemons here. I haven’t told the whole story. I loved being home with the kids, though I was beginning to feel that it was stifling to them socially. I wansn’t built like their new teachers were, chock-full of different character voices, ideas for rainy days and patience. While the Tenderfoot is a great learning place, it lacks the social world that daycare offers. I also loved my massage business even though it was always stressful trying to balance the passion with the profit. I loved my days. Indeed I did.

So what happened? I (and by extension, my family) relied a bit too much on someone outside of Team Tenderfoot. No! I’m doing it again. I’m taking responsibility for someone else’s faults. The truth is I trusted someone and they let us down, then betrayed and hurt me in all kinds of ways, and after all that happened I lost even more. Unfortunately I’m still discovering the depths of that person’s influence on me (and us). The changes on the outside- the job, the day care, the new routine-they’re nothing compared to the lopping off of that relationship that I had to do (for now anyway). So those are my lemons, vague as they are.

And what about Babe? He’s the constant. He’s been supportive while not trying to FIX everything. He’s a good one, he is. He’s been exactly who I’ve needed him to be. There are times when I’ve wondered how peaceful for both of us it would have been had we partnered up with people a little more similar to ourselves. Same interests maybe, or at least the same taste for tomatoes? There is a lot of banter, a lot of compromise, a lot of challenging in a marriage of opposites.Through this though, I’ve seen just how little I need a twin and what a treasure it is to have him as my strongest ally. Babe, the support of great family and close friends, and a kickass therapist have made all the difference.

So under this roof, sure things have changed since I last wrote a word, but this fresh lemonade is very very sweet and it’s nice to be back.


Kind and true words a friend wrote for our housewarming. We keep this card in the kitchen, where we can see it every day.


Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Moments


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Not a Garden but a Start

It’s been just too long since I’ve set aside a moment to post. This summer has been a whirlwind. Just this morning has been a whirlwind.

Belle is becoming increasingly independent, which is beautiful but intense when I’m used to my pace, my order. She likes to clip herself into her car seat, pour her own milk, close her bedroom door at night. Every attempt is a little better than the try before. It takes a little less time, is a little less messy, a little less disruptive, a little less.

TLD is joyful when teeth aren’t poking through his little gums. I watch them peek out, sometimes two or three at a time. It reminds me of when I was little and liked to stretch plastic wrap over my fingers to make skin-tight superhero mitts. I remember the pressure on my fingertip that would intensify till finally the wrap would tear around my nail. I would slide it down the finger, the hole growing around it till it stopped at the palm. I can imagine how painful the process is for him.

Babe’s been traveling this week for work which has left me alone with the independent preschooler and daredevil teething toddler. It’s left me little time for much more than a slapdash mow of the grass and a few waterings of the vegetables.

Yes, I finally planted the seedlings. I’d hardly call what I’ve made a garden though. I’ve been calling it “a start”.

We now have giant pumpkins, mini pumpkins, watermelon, jalapeño peppers, beefsteak tomatoes and a few herbs in the ground. No creatures have eaten them yet and they’re growing. I’m pleased with that.

Next year there will be more time to plan, to till or build some beds. But this is a good start.




Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Pictures


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Ok, now what?

A week after planting our seeds into peat pellets we have seedlings! I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am but it’s not often that things go exactly like a package says they will.

So. Now what? I didn’t exactly have a solid plan for the steps between seed and fork. With no raised beds (yet) and no tilled soil (yet), I wonder if I’m going to have a container garden on the patio overlooking our seven acres!



Posted by on May 21, 2012 in New Adventures!


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Meet Bear, this Funny Farm’s “Yellow Dog”

George Carlin said “Life is a series of dogs” and I believe it! There’s just something about a pet that can complete a family or settle a family into their surroundings. At least it seems to be that way for us.

We were moving into our first home and passed a large “FREE PUPPIES” sign while we were en route. We weren’t in that brand new, freshly-built house a whole day before we had little Griffen tumbling down the stairs. He quickly outgrew our teeny subdivision house and postage stamp-sized lot as we discovered he was part Irish Wolfhound. After he put a few dents in the drywall, chewed up a couch and destroyed a down comforter we found a farmer and we parted ways with Griffin. (I lost all my pictures of him when my camera was stolen a few years ago unfortunately)

About four years passed and a few weeks after we got married we found the sweetest short-haired sheltie. We named him Seamus O’Puppy. What a great guy! He went on road trips with us, cuddled at our feet and we loved him. He raised the bar for all dogs. He was great to Belle and was very gentle with The Little Dude when he was a newborn.

When TLD was about 8 weeks old, we realized he was allergic to Seamus. Our baby couldn’t breathe whenever Seamus was around. We’d just sold the house, were getting ready to move into an apartment, Belle was a toddler and TLD was a wheezing infant- that was a crazy time. I knew my brother loved Seamus so we found someone to foster him till he could claim him. Now, a year and a few foster families later, Seamus and my brother are together and very happy.

It was going to happen sometime, I suppose. With this property and the allergy gone there was nothing stopping us. We wanted a dog. Considering the coyotes and the size of our property a smaller dog wasn’t what we wanted. We wanted a german shepherd.

I found a listing for a rescued “Ramsey” and made a call. He had been a stray and this rescue lady a few counties away had saved him from a pound in Kentucky the day he was going to be destroyed. She took him home, to where she fosters siberian huskies and german shepherds. She found him to be great with her kids and housebroken. At that I knew he was my dog.

“Ramsey” was what the rescue lady named him while she was watching a Gordon Ramsey program. He wasn’t attached to the name so we went with 15 month-old TLD’s suggestion: BEAR.


OK, so he’s big. Really big. 62 pounds big and could double in weight when he’s done growing. And he’s young. A trainer said “just think of him as a four legged 16 year-old”. Terrific. But he is surprisingly gentle with the kids. He must be “thinking small” or something because he hardly nudges them when he can barrel into me and Babe. He’s loving and he’s beautiful.

A few days ago I said in an entry that we were going to give him back to the rescue lady. Here’s why: he runs away constantly. Just like Chevy Chase’s first dog in Funny Farm, this guy will bolt after any bunny or bird, any distraction. It’s hard to love a dog that will skulk off the moment you turn your gaze.

But we do love him.


So now I’m calling dog trainers, invisible fence people and looking at obedience books, all while a giant Bear lays at my feet.



Posted by on May 15, 2012 in New Adventures!


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Photo: Better Late Than Never, Right?


I’ve never started any plant from seed. 72 pellets full of here goes nothin’!


Posted by on May 14, 2012 in New Adventures!, Pictures


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A Day Only A Mother Could Love

So I rarely write about what happens inside our house on The Tenderfoot but if there was a day to share today would be the one.

Babe got up with the kids so I could sleep in for an extra couple of hours. There’s a voice that keeps me awake to tell me he’s doing something wrong or in the wrong order but I was able to shut her up this morning and slept a little after they were up. What a peaceful treat!

TLD went down for his morning nap as soon as I was up so Belle and I sat at the kitchen table and set out to start our garden seeds. I should have done it weeks ago but better late than never, right? She dropped the seeds into the peat pellets and I packed the dirt after her. Mini pumpkins, giant pumpkins, hot peppers, beefsteak tomatoes, watermelon, onion and nasturtiums for Belle, all ready for little water and sun.

Belle lost interest after a while and left me at the table to go watch PBS with Bear, the german shepherd rescue that we just a adopted a few weeks ago. I won’t go into too much detail about Bear since we decided this morning that we’re not a good fit for him and I’m returning him to the rescue lady tomorrow. Anyway, I was sowing when from the other room Belle yelled “NO, Puppy. Stinky POO!”.

I hauled it into the tv room to discover not poop on the floor but two lumps of dog barf and my daughter was standing on the couch, pointing at them. “The metal spatula should get it up good”, Babe yelled down from upstairs. He was riveted by Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter and hadn’t put it down since he cracked it open yesterday. “Umm. Ok”.

After playing outside for a while with Bear and helping Belle fly her kite, we decided to grab a bite out. We had plans to visit some family later in the afternoon but Babe and I were famished. We stopped at the hardware store so he could run in for something. I stayed in the car with TLD and Belle since they were both dozing. A half hour later we were sitting at a not-too-crowded pizza place, eager for our food to arrive.

I made a quick call to say we’d be a little late getting to the gathering since we hadn’t gotten our food yet. I’d just ended the call when Belle looked up from the picture she was coloring to tell me her mouth hurt. “Did you bite your tongue, Honey?” I asked to which she nodded… then puked all over the table!

I grabbed a roll of paper towels out of the hand of a hostess who was wiping a nearby table saying something like “I really really need those towels-thanks”. She spun around, startled by the crazy women who just nabbed her towels. “Umm. Ok”.

We grabbed our food to go, drove home and invited the people we were supposed to visit to our house. When we got home I put TLD down for a nap, ravaged my food and hurriedly tidied the kitchen. Babe cuddled with Belle, who had no appetite but was feeling fine, while I got the house ready. “Don’t forget to clean that bathroom. The sink and toilet are filthy” he called to me. “Umm. Ok”.

Our visiters came over and enjoyed watching Belle and TLD crawl all over Babe and I’m sure they didn’t believe us when we told them she’d gotten sick at the restaurant. All of us sat on the playroom floor with Bear watching us from the other side of the safety gate. They stayed till I started making dinner. It was a pleasant visit even though I couldn’t stop picking at my legs which were bumpy from the poison ivy I encountered while weeding yesterday.

“I forgot to get you a card for today, Honey” Babe admitted. TLD was playing on his lap while I cleared the plates and cleaned the counter. “I’m not very good at that am I.”

“Well, what would the card say if you had gotten me one?” I asked him, reaching in the fridge for a gallon of milk and waiting for a clever response.

“Our kids are so happy and do so well because of you. I’ve never seen kids who laugh as much as they do and they’re so smart. You’re a great mom, Honey.” He paused as I turned with the milk, my eyes filled with tears. “How was that?” he asked.

I wiped a cheek and smiled, “Umm. Ok”.

I closed the refrigerator door to admire my new treasures from the kids: a flower magnet (a circular photo of TLD with purple hand prints surrounding it to make petals) and Belle’s painting of a butterfly that day care sent home with them on Thursday, and Belle’s crayon picture from lunch that Babe had been able to salvage.

It really was a lovely Mother’s Day. Certainly a day only a mother could love.

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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Moments


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Photo: Celebrating Mothers


Happy Mothers Day from The Tenderfoot Homestead.


Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Pictures


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