Thursday, June 30, 2011


They came in a large, square birthday box from Grandma Nae.

For Eliza. With love.


This one had two circular windows and a thatched roof.


This one was hexagon in shape, and it spun like a chinese lantern.

Three smaller houses were tucked inside so Sami and Ali could twirl brushes too. And lest we paint for no one, there was a feeder - complete with hulled sunflower seeds. Perfect for red and gold finches.


Grandma even included all the paints and a plastic tablecloth. (Bless her. She makes life easy for me.)


Everyone painted intently, happily.

What's not to love about a blank canvas?


Whatever the medium. Whatever you paint. When it's finished, it is yours.


Sometimes the smallest things make me happy. Tiny joys punctuate the day, keep me going. Every time I look out the window at all those flecks of color twisting slightly in the warmed air, I feel happy.


Some afternoons we've set out chairs to watch the birds. And if we're oh so quiet, freeze our fidgety legs at the sight of wings, they come.


Would you like to make your own?

The thatched roof house is made by Alex and you can find it here. The others are from Michaels. You could probably find them at any local craft store. You'll need an assortment of acrylic paints, brushes of varied sizes, stencils (sponges work better than brushes when stenciling), and willing hands.

The girls did most of the painting. I added a few dots and flourishes upon their request. But most of the work was theirs.


A few weeks later, Poppa Jim found this real birdhouse in their backyard.


He gave it to the girls. Remarkable, isn't it? The purposeful sizing of twigs and straw, the softness lining the inside, the mud packed carefully to dry. All of it made without hands. I asked the girls to imagine building such a thing with their mouth, nose and toes. They laughed.


Here you can see the size of the nest next to Sami and her friend Lydia. We're keeping it in safe storage for school reports.

I love how summer frees nature, lets it run wild. Things get overgrown quickly, garden patches on every street are popping with color, birds seem to be singing louder in the mornings, and we've been watching a family of yellow butterflies dance uninhibited over our daisies (more about our butterfly encounter soon).

We seem to be running wild too. I'm exhausted. We're rarely indoors. Rooms get messier by the day. Laundry lies dormant until the sun goes down. Some days I feel crazed, like I want all the activity to stop, want the kitchen to stay clean for one hour. I have to keep telling myself to relax, move with the flow of things. Control less, be present, speak gently. I'm trying to let the house go. Let my kids fly. They want freedom too.


  1. I adore those birdhouses. Just darling. Yeah for Grandma Nae!

    Every summer has a different rhythm we need to create depending on the ages and stages of my kids. So glad you're letting loose and enjoying some beautiful moments.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  2. Anne Marie - your thought about rhythm reminds me of Katrina Kenison's book. I think I need to re-read those first few chapters about protecting summer and finding the right rhythm. We're still figuring things out.

    Hope you have a wonderful 4th! You're always so sweet to post a comment. Thank you dear friend.

  3. You are the most beautiful writer and mother.

  4. Hi, Linda and Richard Eyre here. You may know us from our parenting book bestsellers or the blogs of our daughters.....or perhaps you have seen our weekly columns in the Deseret News.

    But in any case, we know you. And we love your blog! Of all the "mommy blogs" out there, it is surprising how few actually focus on mothering and parenting. Yours is one of them, and you do it so well!

    We have what we think is our best and most important parenting book ever coming out the first of September, and we would like to invite you to be part of our advisory board and help us craft (and disseminate) our message about the dangers of ENTITLEMENT! We feel that the entitlement attitudes of today's kids are the biggest problem of their generation (and the biggest concern of parents throughout the world)!

    The new book is called THE ENTITLEMENT TRAP: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Owning. It will be in stores in early September, but if enough people pre order it from and other on line outlets it could debut on the bestseller lists its first week, and that would cause thousands of other parents to be aware of it and to have access to a message we think parents desperately need.

    So here's the deal: If you are willing to work with and advise us on our board, we can send you a large pre publication sample of the book so that you can make your readers aware of it and give them a chance to order it at a pre-pub discount of more than 33%. And then we would want your ongoing input for the website which is now in its lead-up phase to the book, but which will continue to supply additional info and helps to moms long after the book is out. It will, of course, link to the blogs of all members of our board.

    Take a look at that site and get a bit more idea of the nature of the book, and let us know as soon as possible if you will be an adviser. We will then send you the extensive excerpts so that you can blog about the book and about the movement prior to the book's release.

    Best, Linda and Richard Eyre (

    PS There will also be webinars and other exciting opportunities for those who pre order the book, and of course for you and other board members.

  5. Hi Cath! You inspired me to be creative. I took Ty to Michaels to pick out a bird house. He ended up choosing a car instead so I painted the bird house...the lantern one. We created together. I have tried to post about it on my blog but I having troubles with the computer uploading another time. You are amazing and I look up to you. Wow...what a compliment from the Eyres too. Are you going to do it? Love you.


Related Posts with Thumbnails