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It was a busy day here in our small corner of the world. My girls and I were treated to a busy, crazy, pull-everything-off-all-the-shelves kind of play date this morning. I had two of my mama friends over to share in the chaos, all of their little people in tow. Once upon a time we all worked together in a busy restaurant, now we all stay home with our busy families. All together there were five little girls and one sweet boy raising a ruckus – it was wonderful.

Just before everyone arrived, Willow, Freja and I made our very first batches of homemade play-dough. With more and more of us giving up gluten for good, I figured this would be a fun way to use up the huge bag of wheat flour I have had sitting in my pantry.

As an aside, did you know that all-natural food coloring costs $17?! I think that’s nuts. (I wimped out and got the chemical laden stuff from the local grocery. Next time I think I’ll make my own dyes from a few beats and some spinach…)

After all the tired babes headed home and the house was put back in order (this took no time at all with so much less stuff), it was time for me to tackle the dishes. Our dishwasher sighed it’s last sigh some time last week and our landlords haven’t gotten around to replacing it yet, so we are washing dishes by hand.

What I thought would be a horrible inconvenience has turned out to be, well, not so bad. Almost meditative, if I frame it just right in my mind. At the very least, the water is warm – for perpetually chilly me that is a huge plus. It has been very satisfying to wash that last spoon and look down into my shiny sink knowing that I have completed a task in it’s entirety. That’s rare around here.

Today as I was splashing around in the suds, Freja came running into the kitchen shouting, “Mama, Mama! It’s SNOWING!” It sure was. The flakes were the huge stuck together fluffy kind that are the very best to watch drift down.

As she ran off to get a better view from a different window I realized that I no longer have any babies in my house. They are all big. Big kids that run in the kitchen to tell me that that it’s snowing.

During our play date I wasn’t the busy mama chasing around my crawler, watching everything she put in her mouth for fear of her choking anymore. I was the mama who made hummus and talked about what it was like when her kids were teething while her friends did all the chasing. My little people don’t teeth anymore, they loose their teeth.

I do get to sleep through the night (most of the time) now though – that’s awfully nice – but I sure do miss nursing my babies down for naps. I miss their pudgy feet and sloppy kisses. I love babies. That’s a big part of why I had four of them. Nothing heals the heart more or smells as sweet as a newborn. Nothing.

I’ve entered what I’ve heard people call a new “season of life”. I’m done having my babies and am now following through with the raising them part. Now my house is full of princesses and fairies, knights and ninjas, safety scissors, pencils, paints and stickers. All of my babies are growing into the people they are meant to be and I am too, right along with them. Finally. My children have opened up my imagination to rediscover what I want to be when I grow up.

I want to be present. I want to be loving. I want to be kind.

Children are born this way – we seem to forget, or unlearn these things somewhere along the way. I think that this journey to simplify my life – our life – has been, at least in part, an attempt to recapture some of my intrinsic childhood nature I’ve let fall away over the years. Why make anything more complicated than it needs to be?

Good friends and play-dough, warm water and beautiful snow, that’s all I need to fill my soul.

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In the spirit of simplifying, I have just downloaded a new organizational tool that I’m very excited about. I found One Bite at a Time, an e-book by Tsh Oxenreider, when I read about it in a blog a friend pointed me toward for inspiration. Renee, the blogger, is having great success with it and I’m eager to give it a try. I’m a planner by nature and this resource will hopefully calm some of my nervous energy. I do want our family to find its way organically, but a touchstone or two along the way seems like a good idea.

I’ll keep you posted!

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