Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Signs of Spring

Probably one of the best indications (at least for me) that Spring is arriving soon is the fact that I've been out and about with my camera again! How dreary our gardens were during the long, cold winter. It makes me so happy to see such beautiful signs of new life now every time I'm outside. We've seen a couple of butterflies, many buzzing bees, birds are visiting in abundance, and the air feels so invigoratingly fresh and inviting. Even the sky, it seems, is exceptionally beautiful these days!

My spirit is rejuvenated with the tantalizing breath of Spring, and in all areas of my life I am seeking to find balance, order, and harmony. This is why, in fact, I've been so intent on organizing my home over these past couple of weeks. Sweet Frances commented recently, "Don't forget to use this time to work on the virtues you'll need as a mom-to-a-newborn, too. A well-ordered soul can be as beneficial as a tidy, beautiful home, I think." And she is so right! But in my experience, my soul finds no rest in a disorganized, chaotic home. It's not so much a matter of cleanliness, really; my floors are in a near constant need of a good sweeping and mopping, the toilets could really use a good scrubbing, and the dust bunnies under the beds have, I think, established permanent residence. For me, it's more about having a place for everything, with everything in it's place. Over every winter, it seems, I grow lazy in keeping a tight reign on the clutter and mess a family of five tends to generate. Drawers are soon overflowing with needless excess, toys have multiplied and migrated to any unoccupied space, cabinets are filled to bursting with unused accessories, and closets have become sanctuary to any and all "homeless" items, large or small. I can only tolerate the mess to a very short extent! And then, just in time, comes the Spring, and I am more than ready and willing to reclaim order in my home. It's why I've been re-reading A Mother's Rule of Life, and why, after procrastinating for much too long, I've finally bought myself a copy of Sarah Ban Breathnach's Mrs. Sharp's Traditions: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations Of Comfort & Joy. What a blessing this book has been! I saw it first highly recommended by Cheryl, and, as our personalities seem so similar, I knew it would be a book I'd greatly enjoy.

I love the simple ideas this book has to offer. My kids, especially Dylan, love the suggested "Children's Hour" we've begun to implement in the evenings. Whereas baths were usually, before, a frenzied mess of toys and splashing, with all the kids thrown into the tub together for a quick scrub, we've been following a more peaceful approach lately, with separate baths and a soothing rub of baby oil before pajamas. We've been better about story time before bed, too, which follows immediately after baths and helps settle the kids down to sleep. In anticipation of the time change next weekend, I've been getting up extra early to get my chores done before the kids wake up, so that after lunch we can all have a nice quiet nap time. This affords them extra time in the evenings to spend with us, which we'll really enjoy once we have more hours of daylight.

Mrs. Sharp also describes an idyllic children's garden (complete with walking paths, archways, benches, stone statues, and little hideaways), which I immediately shared with Darren. We're rethinking, now, the layout of our garden for this year, and while I was a little worried that we were getting started too late, I'm glad now that we still have time to include the children more in our plans. We're going to sit down with them and a whole bunch of seed catalogs to gather ideas, and are brainstorming ways in which we can make our garden into more of a retreat for our little ones, as well. It is all so very exciting! And I've had forever now a copy of The Secret Garden, which I've been intending to read aloud to the kids. Today, I think, will be the perfect day to begin!


Frances said...

Gorgeous pictures and lovely sentiments, Melissa! I hope everything finds its place in your home - or quickly finds a home elsewhere. :) I can't wait to see the pictures of your children's garden in bloom!

Anonymous said...

I love that post, sweetie. Thanks for brightening up a rather "not so nice" day.

Love you.


mom-in-training said...

Your pictures are so beautiful! Your post makes me feel even more ready for Spring - and Spring cleaning! Like you, a cluttered house does not bring me joy. But I am prone to clutter and I am not at all good at organizing and cleaning out. I just need to keep reading posts like yours to get me motivated! :)

And I love that picture of you in the previous post. I can't believe you are already 30 weeks along! I am so excited to "meet" your new little family member!

Blessings to you and your precious family!

Amy Parris said...

You should send these in to someone. You could be earning some extra dough with the quality of theswe pictures.

Cheryl said...

Your pictures are gorgeous! I'm glad you're enjoying Mrs. Sharp's.

I, too, do not my the not so clean house as long as it's picked-up and neat looking. We listened to an audio version of the Secret Garden and liked it very much.

Jill said...

This is such a 'Melissa' post. And I mean that in the nicest of ways. So beautiful, so peaceful. I love how you embrace the change of the seasons. What a special season this will be for your family.

Jen said...

Just beautiful, Melissa. What an exciting time for you and your family. I must say, I don't how you have the energy to do all this! I know when I'm pregnant, all I can seem to do is fix pbj's and plop myself on the couch. :-) You are an inspiration. I love the Secret Garden as well. I know my oldest would love it. I shall put it on our library list. We have some beautiful land here at our house and are in desperate need of an overhaul. I have a nice little place with a bench that I would love to put a Mary garden in. We shall see. :-)

muddy mama said...

Your pictures are lovely! I've been wondering what kind of camera you use.

This post was so timely for me. I am in the middle of clearing out the excess in our home too. It brings so much peace.

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

GREAT pictures!