big apples and seventh birthdays

Do you love New York City? I had never been before a few weeks ago when we went there on Naomi’s seventh Birthday. It was not a specific trip just for that, the timing just worked out as part of a larger excursion (next post will cover the rest of those good times!) As a farm girl and homeschool mom who relishes her space and crowd free life, I wasn’t sure how it would be spending a day in The City with my family in tow and no real plan. I needn’t have worried. Lessons were learned that day and seven years of life were celebrated in a way that was perfect for Miss Birthday Girl.

Not to sound finicky right off the bat, but I like London’s “Mind the Gap” better. More flair and style. Because I need flair and style…riiiight…We did love the trains though and I learned that people on trains are both nice and super tolerant of high pitch excited squeaks coming from my girls and my boy.

Crowds were no worse there than in Vegas so we were golden. I learned that it raises a place’s awesome factor if you can go from impromptu naked water play at a hidden park then go to a primer art gallery in 5 minutes and 100 yards. We were walking through Central Park (after an over-priced and under-quality hotdog on the grass) and we saw a park. That was a good solid hour of bliss for everyone. Bliss makes me brave and we attempted The Met.


Three words. Bed Knobs and Broom sticks. Am I right? We hit ancient Egypt (Naomi’s request) and arms and armor for the boy. Samurais were imitated and Mummies were grimaced at. I learned my kids take on museums like champions.


My mom said we had to get Mr. Softee soft serve ice cream. So I put it on the list. I asked at the museum and they said yeah the truck out front. Great, asked the guy in the truck and he said yes of course this right here (pointing to swirly ice cream cone picture) this is what you want. I learned that I’m a naïve tourist and you aren’t really in the club until you get hoodwinked by a local. Well. I’m in the club now. To be fair, it was still the best soft serve I’ve ever had.

There is a book called “Micawber” by John Lithgow. We love it and it’s the only reason I even knew that there was an old carousel in Central Park. Since Micawber, the art loving squirrel, lives in the top we had to go and check it out. I learned that kids do not even see crappy paint and hear awful carnival music. They truly experience things as they should be expierenced…no judgement, just joy in the moment. Pretty sure little man said this was the best thing he’d ever done. Like three times. The kid has been to Disneyland, but that didn’t matter in that moment. img_1694 Because we had just walked 8 millionty miles from The Met to the carousel, we crashed on the grass before embarking on more subway travel back up to Harlem for an IHOP dinner (birthday girl’s request of course). I learned that Central Park is stupid big. Like kicked my trash big. My poor sweet husband and children. They love me, even when I don’t deserve it.



Her birthday was complete the next night with collective cake decorating, ice cream and presents. Everyone did a bit of decorating while Naomi consulted her sketch of the cake and bossed I mean managed the whole deal.

Munchkins have been missing their aunts and it was nice to cuddle and have some down time.

New York City was great. It was exhausting being a mom with 4 littles, no idea what I was doing, and a whole day to fill. But I had my husband who navigated all subway travel and overall we had a great time. Obviously, I know we only scratched the surface, but that just means we might have to go back some day.

This girl though. She pushes me and challenges me in ways no other human being on earth does. It’s good and bad and I’m sure someday she will have her own little Karma child to mold her into a better mother and person. I know the adventure is only just starting and I’m equal parts terrified and eager to see what else she brings to my life and the lessons she’ll teach me. Whew.

Next up the rest of our Ohio / New York trip!

Leave a comment

Filed under Holidays, life the universe and everything

Mr. Bates

My fourth baby brought me so many life lessons, it almost killed me. Ok, not really [hyperbole back in its box]. But prior to her, I didn’t know what post partum depression felt like, I didn’t think nursing could possibly be any worse, and I had no idea how much I could need a child like I needed her.

After the ultrasound where we found out gender, I cried. I was so convinced we were having a boy and that would be mean God had given me permission that I could be done having kids and would not be a failure if I stopped at four. Don’t ask. I blame the hormones. That was three years ago and I can laugh about it now because I’m ok. The other thing we can laugh about is how I swore Corra looked like Mr. Bates from Downton Abby for the first month or two of her life. Exhibit A:

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that it is hardly fair to judge a person’s looks after they’ve been through a brutal journey where their face takes the brunt of the beating. But seriously.


Even after photographic magic she looked like Mr. Bates. Truth be told that was a really rough time and nursing was, to put it mildly, horrific. Sparing you the details, I took her in to her pediatrician around 5 weeks and they put the words, “failure to thrive” on her record. Probably one of the most soul crushing moments of my life. And I don’t mean that in the way I normally use the term “soul crushing” (disappointing or frustrating). I mean I almost couldn’t breathe sitting there on that little plastic chair, mentally preparing myself to nurse there in the office because she was hungry and couldn’t make it home. After much drama, enough people gave me permission to stop nursing and life was beautiful again.

And oh my goodness. Three years later, could this girl be more beautiful? At three years old she loves puppies and trains and princesses and dinosaurs. We must be doing something right.


Our current default show for the little girls to watch is Dinsosaur Train. Cute show, and educational so I’m cool with it. I made the engine from the show, complete with sugar paper printed characters.

As an aside, cardamom changed my life. I read somewhere about cardamom extract in baked goods. It so happened that I had some ground cardamom in my cupboard from a garam masala mix I made and so I put some in the cake batter. Never again will my cakes be sans cardamom. I can’t even describe it, so come over and I will feed you cake and then you too will know.

Three year olds are the best gift recipients ever, because every present is exactly what they had always been dying to get and they have no hang ups about gushing. Then they forget that gift entirely to be enraptured by the next. Perfect example to me of living in the moment.

Her big brother got her a toy train and graciously put it together for her. Something about gifts you give yourself? She also got a Russian stacking doll and she named her “Liddy.” I’m happy to report only two lids are broken and we are only missing one bottom. Sigh. Lessons, man. This kid is teaching me lessons.

Best part for me was having my grandma here. There was this moment of calm peacefulness while she read books to the kids that made me so grateful they moved across the country to be close to family. I hope to have my priorities as straight when I hit 80.

Corra continues to fill a hole in my heart that was put there for her. The good Lord knew exactly what I needed and sent me blue eyes and curls on a fairy princess who wants to be Cat Boy for Halloween.




Leave a comment

Filed under Food stuffs, Holidays, life the universe and everything

a decade.

He’s 10 now. So that means just over ten years ago, I became a mom. It also means that ten years ago I was as big as a whale and had no idea what the next decade had in store for me. And that was ok. And that is still ok. Because decades, man. Recently I heard a quote that said, “People grossly overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, and vastly underestimate what they can accomplish in ten” (I think it was a second hand quote that oringinally came from Oliver DeMille). Garyn is now in the double digits age wise and I’m so amazed at what he is growing into…and lest I get all gushymommyteary, let’s just say that it is very good stuff indeed.

Confession: one of my deep rooted fears, a phobia straight from my childhood, is throwing a party and no one showing up. Some people are irrationally afraid of spiders, I’m irrationally afraid of this. Like lose sleep and have panic attacks afraid. When we moved here I was already stressing about his party. It was a year for a friend birthday party, but being in a new place our options for invitees were basically cub scouts, church, and neighborhood kids. Long story short I was terrified, stressed, and overall we had 17 kids come and play. It was perfect and I have had that phobia beaten back a bit.



We settled on water games and a water theme since 1) it’s crazy hot and humid and 2) that is both super fun and super easy for me, the mom, to put together.

His request was for a camo cake inside shaped like a water sploosh. This is what I did.

Most of the party looked like the above. Lots of kids, screaming, sliding and water.

IMG_1044The plan was to eat a hot dog picnic lunch outside. But as I mentioned before it is hot and humid and kids were wanting A/C. We moved the kitchen table and improvised! It was actually kind of hilarious. Not only did my sister-in-law supply cousins to the party, she stayed and helped. Saved my sanity! As a completely random aside…I’m very grateful my brother married someone whom I genuinely like. It’s a helpful thing since we live close and our kids will grow up together. Anyways, she wins all the things for making the trek down to the party and making a huge difference in how it played out.

Back outside for presents and more playing. (Do you like our broken porch swing in the background? It held the presents admirably, albeit a bit slantwise).

Then there was cake and ice cream. Turns out a group of kids can put away impressive quantities of cake and ice cream…IMG_1058

…also chips. Pretty sure my little girls each ate their respective weights in chips. And lemonade.

The day ended with presents from family and more swimming. Since the pink pool hasn’t moved since the party two and a half weeks ago, I’m fairly certain the grass underneath it is dead. Small price to pay for the quiet hours of mommy time I’ve gleaned for myself while my babies entertain themselves happily outside.

Speaking of babies, mine turned 3 today. I have a backlog of posts that I’m going to be working through, but we are still in full out birthday mode up in this house. More to come on the Birthday du Jour as soon as I take a ton of pictures and wonder how she went from a scrawny Mr. Bates (from Downton Abby) doppleganger to my vivacious and funny little human being in miniature.


Leave a comment

Filed under Food stuffs, Holidays, life the universe and everything


People tried to prepare me for the southern summer kicking my trash. They said, “No No! Humdity is different! It’s worse!” I call shenanigans. Yes, it’s humid. Yes, I’ve discovered that while some women glisten, I sweat big, ugly farmer drops of sweat straight down the tip of my nose. However, I’m still waiting for the inevitable trash kicking people said was coming my way. I’m pretty sure my garden growing out of control makes up for any extra sweat I’m exuding this summer.

I find myself more and more looking forward to December. Not as a respite from heat, but as a respite from busy-ness. Don’t get me wrong, I love what life is dishing out right now. 2+ hours of outside work a day, plus homeschool, and birthdays, a big church project and and and. It’s a pace that actually really suits me. But it also makes taking a month off of all of it, something I’m wistfully looking forward too. In December, the garden will be asleep for the winter. Canning should be done, pigs processed, Mei bred but not in milk yet, and chickens settled into a routine. It will be a time to rest. And for now, in the midst of the crazy it is a happy thing to look forward to.

IMG_1093Speaking of chickens…look who’s laying eggs a month and a half earlier than expected! Huzzah the Fowl! Oh and I have a fun story for you about our delightfuly precious poultry. So we have been working their tractors slowly back to Mei’s yard where we decided they will take up residence. A new coop is being prepared (More on that later! It is a tale of trees and chain saws) and after going back and forth we think it will be better for them. After our success with Mei and electric fencing we researched and were told that a few lower strands of hot wire (electrified wire) would keep chickens in a yard. Awesome we said. Perfect we said. And the extra strands were installed and lit up. The day came and we moved the heavy tractors into the yard and cut off a panel of chicken wire to let them out. They were thrilled! And Mei was beside herself with curiosity and new creatures to investigate. Then the first brave bird approached the fence. We giggled a little because no matter how mature and compassionate you are, the thought a chicken being lightly zapped is kind of funny. Um NO! They didn’t even notice the wire on their bellies! Neil tested it to make sure it was still hot (it definitely was) and turns out our chickens are just immune. It’s darkish by this point so we hope they will just go inside their tractor coops and go to sleep and we’d deal with them in the morning. Nope. They followed us up the path. We gave up and went in the house to check on kids. Neil went back out and 20 min later I found myself in a hummid North Carolina forest, drowning in bugs, chasing chickens. Some of them fell asleep where they stood so we just had to track them down in the brush and put them back on the roosts. Oh. My. Gosh. Well we manged to get all but one (thank you cell phone flashlights!) and get them secure at least for the night (we also had to move the tractors back out of the yard because Mei kept messing with the makeshift cardboard panels. Dumb cow). So the current state of our chickens is that they are secured but in Mei’s yard. We will be letting them go free tomorrow night and we will see what happens. Theoretically they should stay close to their food, water, and nest boxes, but we shall see. In the mean time, Eggs!


Our first 4th of July was a low key affair but it was perfect. I canned, we grilled, there were sparkles.

Expert corn shucker and grill master in training.

Pretty sure if they were casting “Expecto Petronum” this is exactly what they would both look like, respectively.

If you have to move across the country and are the type to miss your family, the best thing to do is just talk them into moving with you. It worked for us! Grandparents are moved in, my mom is settled in New York, and my dad will be here as soon as he retires (can. not. wait.) But before mom headed north she took the greatest family pictures…here are just a few:



Have I mentioned how much I love living here? here’s a list of what to expect (hopefully soon) here on comfyposy: 10th birthday party, pig/chicken shelter from our own trees, harvest summary and fall garden plans, and 3rd birthday party, and possibly blueberries and fig trees!



Filed under Animals, Garden, Holidays, life the universe and everything

the pond

On our trip to the UK we flew over it. When I was a teenager and we took a family trip to Florida, I put my feet in it. But until we ventured forth with our munckins in tow, I had never actually swam in the Atlantic ocean. And I’m sold on the whole idea. We had so much fun on our first trip to a North Carolina beach I’ve already planned out at least 4 more this summer. We have to find a favorite one right?


Something that can be a bummer about southern California beaches is the complexity of the excursion. I know that’s my total lack of experience (my cousin lived in San Diego for years and she is a beach professional) but choosing a beach then finding parking then lugging your stuff to the spot can be a bit much. This time we drove 2.5 hours through rural farm land, then crossed a bridge and were magically on the shore. We parked (for free) then walked up and down these stairs and set up less than 200 yards from the water.

In about 3.7 seconds after being slathered in sunscreen (not that it is acutally necessary for my bronze babies, but maternal paranoia) They were in their respective happy places. Kids and sand is a beautiful thing. Well not literally…sand in a mouth isn’t pretty at all and it’s worse when they don’t even notice!

Selfie, lest posterity think I missed my childrens’ complete childhoods. Also the little girls took turns going into the big waves with Daddy, and would have happily spent the next 17 hours jumping into waves and getting splashed full on in the face. They are 3/4 fish.

Picnics at the beach are something of a logistical nightmare for a mom. There is the actual menu (tasty and healthy, but easy to make, haul and eat), keeping sand out of the food (I gave up) and bringing enough, but not too much (no one wants to lug sandy, warm food back to the car, am I right?). Recently I’ve been on a crazy canning kick and I found a woman’s blog that I’ve been stalking for about a month now. This post of hers was gold.

Fudgesicle Frosties and Homemade Fudgesicles (Fruit or Agave Sweetened)

[wordpress is not cooperating with me and my wanting to add pretty embedded hyper links, sigh]

The frosties were a solid victory. Also seaweed adorned sand castles. And sandy babies sleeping all the way to get pizza on the way home. Mostly we all love that beach going will now become part of what we do. I can’t wait to be a professional.


1 Comment

Filed under Food stuffs, Holidays, homeschool, life the universe and everything


Lest you erroneously think that we never leave our idyllic life on the farm (we have zucchini and pickles and blackberries [SQUEE!!!] and it’s true that we don’t leave often, but more on harvest later), I thought it was about time I shared pictures from one of our recent outings.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Science came with a high recommendation, and so when we needed to kill time waiting for daddy to come home from a cross country road trip, we packed a lunch and headed north. School for the day: check. I was not disappointed. And that statement doesn’t really mean all that much.

To give some context to the ease with which I’m pleased, you have to understand that I grew up in a town where 1) culture was a secondary commodity and when competing with sex and gambling it kind of lost and 2) anything of substance (unless it could really turn a major profit a la The Bellagio Art Gallery or the Cirque de Soleil shows) was just done on a small volunteer/donation type scale. The natural history exhibit I was used to had one floor and the highlight was a animatronic T-Rex that turned it’s head when you pushed a button. This museum beat the pants off that poor T-Rex.

Not that this museum didn’t have a T-Rex…it just also had a few full sized whale skeletons…

and a room with flying pteranodons. “Dinosaur Train” is the show du jour for my little girls. I mean, I know it’s a big deal when it will induce Layna to actually use more than two syllables all together. On purpose! Voluntarily! (“Joo-joo een” incase you were wondering which syllables, her version of choo-choo train I think). So they were mesmerized watching “real” ones circle around.

See? Mesmerized.

I kind of slacked off with picture taking when we explored the three floors of North Carolina habitat recreations, but man we moved to a cool state. We also beat the field trip rush lunching at the café.

We ended our day with a 3-D movie about Antarctica. It was really well done and I’m excited that my littles did so well. Next up is one about chipmunks called “Tiny Giants.” I’m guessing that one will be even more well received than one that mostly featured floating chunks of ice, ha!  Oh. And I’d appreciate someone telling me how my somewhat sheltered six year old learned about duck lips??? That girl. Love her, and she will probably be the death of me.


Can’t wait to head back to this awesome place. First off though we will be heading to the beach this weekend to experience all the fuss about the Atlantic Ocean for ourselves. [Squee again!]


Leave a comment

Filed under life the universe and everything


So…it’s only 18 days after Mother’s Day…{epic face palm}. I promise that I have very good reasons for my inability to blog on a more frequent schedule. Kids, man! Garden, man! The real reason, though, is that writing about my mom, my mom-in-law, several grandmas, and my own journey into the land of motherhood is kind of overwhelming. Animals, garden, etc…those posts kind of write themselves. Tap a few great pictures, fun title and away we go. Motherhood is a different writing process altogether.

I’ve tried to write this post 3 different times now. The first was the real, down and dirty “motherhood is hard, and I feel like a failure” post. The second was about how awesome my mom is especially given the new adventure she is about to embark on (teaching 3rd grade at an all boys charter school in the Bronx! Yeah Buddy!). The last attempt was talking about my own kids and what I love and what drives me crazy about them. All of them are part of what motherhood is for me and what Mother’s Day was about. But as I’ve been standing here writing and deleting and writing some more…I’ve decided that while it is all these things, it’s so much simpler than that. Motherhood is a gift that I’ve been given. An opportunity to become the very best version of myself. There are women who have been placed in my life that have been amazing guides and mentors and I’m grateful to them. My kids push me and sometimes I do fail. [side note: for someone who has declared herself born to a life of mucking various types of animal poop (and I truly enjoy mucking much more than I probably should), I have a surprisingly low tolerance for human poop and pee…potty training has been a joy.]

So how about I stick to what comes easy? At least for this season in my blogging life I’m going to go with the external…the documenting our life on the farm. I’m Hereby giving Myself permission to Not write about anything deeply Philosophical (unless its the necessity of painful mosquito bites. Totally unnecessary). No metaphysical Musing on the meaning of life (unless it’s my children’s first, for-real firefly season. Now there is a creature that is allowed to exist for purely aesthetic reasons). Now I’m off to tap pictures and think of witty titles for all the posts writing themselves in my head!


Leave a comment

Filed under life the universe and everything