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Archive for the ‘the quiet life’ Category

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Last year, around Lorenz0’s first birthday, a mom I’d met at the park and I set up a playroom area at the local library.

In winter or in bad weather it can be a bummer to have to stay inside the house the whole afternoon, or the whole day if you are an SAHM. It’s nice to invite other mom’s and kids over to your place but that means cleaning up before and after and it’s not always practical, particularly if you don’t know them very well.

We thought it would be nice to have a “neutral” place where the kids could play together and the moms could hang out. I’m sure moms out there in blogland agree on this one, having someone to talk to that you can relate to it’s very comforting.

The mom I met at the park is a teacher, but she didn’t know how to go about it. I told her I knew the Mayor and I could ask if he could give us a room. He sent me to talk to the librarian and she came up with the idea to have the playroom right above the library in a sort of loft.

At the beginning it was just a few moms, a couple times it was only me and Lorenzo, but little by little other moms with kids started joining and now we a have a big group that gets together every Monday afternoon to hang out, play together and have tea and snack.

It’s funny how things just kind of grow by themselves, it takes a small initial effort but once it’s rolling it just keeps going.

It’s the initial effort that makes the difference, I wonder how many moms in this town before us sat at the park and thought

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place we could go to where the kids could play together and the moms could chill and talk…”

It was the right time and the right place of course, still I think that if we want some things to happen we have to make them happen.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” J.F.K

How are you making a difference in your community?

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Do you ever wish you could just take off and leave everything behind? Does it happen often that you feel the place you are at is too small, too narrow or too boring?

Wouldn’t it be fun to just hop on the next plane out of here?

Anywhere but here! 

Because sometimes it feels, I’m sure it happens to all of us, that we cannot, we will not be content with less than the best. Happiness is just around the corner and we will get on the first bus, train, bicycle or even a donkey and just ride towards that bright future that’s waiting for us.

We will chase that dream and find happiness…

Except that happiness is not something you can chase and if you cannot be content in one place chances are you will not be content anywhere.

Sometimes you are exactly where you are supposed to be but the grass is always greener on the other side. So, over to the other side we go and then discover that the patch next to it is greener still and our garden is no fun anymore.

“We must cultivate our own garden.” Voltaire

That’s one piece of radical advice!

What if we would really make the best of where we are because that is the place we are meant to be?

What if hopping on the next plane is not the answer?

What if we would learn contentment?

What if it’s not the circumstances but us that make the difference?

Just think about it!

28528_1306805665829_7446471_nPhoto: Holger Bergner

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Take time to slow down

I think it’s a challenge for all of us to slow down, I know for me it is.

I want to be able to enjoy the little things, to take the time to play with Lorenzo, to take him to the park, to go for a walk without having to rush home. To enjoy my coffee, to stare out the window.

At work it’s almost impossible to slow down. I work in the kitchen once a week and the last two times I noticed that right outside the kitchen door there was a little robin pecking at the crumbs from the floor.

It was such a refreshing sight, so peaceful, I stared at the window and watched him go back and forth and finally fly off towards the trees.

It was nothing special really, it just made me smile. I don’t always stop to enjoy the little things like I should.

It’s something I need to work on. I’m glad though, that I stopped to look at the robin, it sort of helped me put things in perspective. Life is all about the little moments.

robin

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Yes! Everything has changed since becoming a mom. I have almost no free time, can other mothers relate?

Lorenzo is doing great, he’s a funny, curious, quiet little boy. He’s loves books, coloring (that includes the wall), music, tractors and sticks.

He’s independent and likes to do whatever mommy and daddy are doing, so if mommy is sweeping the floor he wants to sweep too, if mommy is hanging the laundry he wants to help, if daddy is fixing something Lorenzo will want to participate.

He says a few words, mostly in English, some in Italian and a few in Spanish. He loves both sets of grandparents and he never cries when I have to go to work and I leave him with his grandmother (either one).

He loves pasta, pizza, cheese, potatoes, tuna, apples, tangerines and peanuts.

He likes playing outside but it’s been hard to get him to wear a jacket and a hat. He likes dogs, cats and likes to feed the chickens.

Here are a few photos:
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As you can see, everything has changed…for the better!

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2015 was a fantastic year! Here are a few of the things that made it awesome:

Lorenzo: without a doubt becoming parents was the higlight of our year. He is our pride and joy and even when we are desperately tired because he keeps us awake at night we are so thankful for him. He is growing so fast! He is almost 8 months old!

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Night school is over: it lasted 3 long years and it was a great challenge but looking back now I’m so happy for the experience. Again I had the opportunity to perform with a group of students for the Christmas concert as a way to give back for the 3 years spent at school.

Minimalism: I started my journey towards minimalism, which at the moment means decluttering. I’m making baby steps and if you were to come over to my place you would never guess I embrace minimalism (we even got a new TV) but I do and it’s a work in progress.

Books I read: 

“The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

Projects:

1)English lessons for children ages 3-8 every Fridady afternoon at my place. It started as an activity to do with my nephews and it grew from there, now there’s a group of 4 mothers who participate and take turns to bring the snack.

2)”The Little Library” is a personal project of mine to create an English library for anyone who like us is raising a bilingual family and needs English books. I think it will be a success! So far I’ve got a dozen books but little by little it’s growing. It’s a little project that makes me very happy.

3) I started teaching Italian to a group of foreign women and it turned out to be so much fun that I hope I can continue doing it for a long time.

Other Happy News: my friend Claire also became the mommy of a pretty little girl! It’s awesome that we are both moms at the time!

Goals for 2016: Enjoy the little things! Spend time with family and friends! Write a children’s book!

 

 

 

 

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Last May we got some egg-laying hens. Loris and I got 2, my brother Daniel got 6 and the rooster and my youngest brother Andy got the last 2. We share the eggs with the whole family; they lay so many we haven’t bought eggs ever since we got them. The joys of rural life!

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“I never forgot hens are a good thing to have, no matter what you don’t have.” Willa Cather My Antonia

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Back in April when I was budgeting for my future stay-at-home months I came up with the idea of spending only 30 euros a month on myself.

This idea was born because I heard of an organization that builds schools in Bolivia and with only 1 euro a day (365 a year) they can send a child to school. By saving what you would spend on a coffee a day, a child can get an education.

Then I came across a story of four guys who set out to Guatemala to live first-hand the 1 dollar a day challenge. There are about 1.4 billion people in the world that live with only 1 dollar a day and these young people challenge helped raise awareness on the conditions and struggles of poverty.

When I was thinking on my own personal challenge, a friend posted on FB the article about Gwyneth Paltrow trying the food stamp challenge and failing. And I thought “Oh great,my idea is as silly as Gwyneth’s and I’m not even doing it for any worthy cause.”

Still I went for it, I can spend on myself only 30 euros a month. 10 euros go towards my phone’s credit, and that leaves me with 20 euros. In a whole month I cannot spend more than 20 euros. For instance, on Saturday my sister came with me to visit the girls at the foster home and before going home we treated ourselves with two cannolis. I’m left with 17 euros and 60 cents.

I was going to try it for 3 months to see if I was able to do it. And guess what? it went so well that I will continue for a whole year. I’m not trying to prove a point, or trying to emulate really living on 1 euro a day. I’m not at all struggling to make ends meet and I don’t have to worry for my next meal, I live in a house, I have a car and I can even afford to go on holidays. I’m aware that my little challenge might seem incosiderate to people who live in extreme conditions and poverty and I might sound silly like Gwyneth Paltrow after all.

Although my experiment is silly and I’m not in any way raising awareness, I have become more responsible when it comes to spending money. I think twice before buying anything. I ask myself “Do I need it? Do I need it right away? Can I borrow it from someone? Can I make it myself?” and most of the time I end up not buying something that I might have bought without a second thought a few months ago.

When I started I was convinced it would have been very hard but actually it turned out to be sort of liberating to spend less on things I don’t really need, and get creative with what I already have.

Last month with my 20 euro budget I got some seeds for the garden, gave my share to buy food for the chickens, went out for a coffee twice, and I even saved 1 euro and 20 cents  that went to help a man at the end of the stairs who was asking for money to help his family of three children.

The plus side of this whole experiment is that I reached my goal and got to save up enough to be able to stay at home with Lorenzo until he is 9 months old.

Wanting less is a better blessing than having more

Mary Ellen Edmunds

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