Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

This week I have been grateful for
  • Our wonderful library. Finn has just been eating up chapter books, sometimes reading 3 or more in a single day, and there is no way we could sustain that habit if we had to buy the books for him. 
  • For over-hearing Finn say to his friend "I would do anything for my mom and dad. My parents are the most important thing in my life, you know".  I hope he always stays this sweet. 
  • For fall. For cooler days and changing leaves. Crisp morning air and autumn breezes.
  • For a return to a slower schedule; nights spent at home with no obligations. Time to read, watch movies, knit and sew. As much as I love summer, I think that I love the return to my home-body phase just as much.
What are you grateful for this week?
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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Our September Garden

Our garden has been changing a lot this month. In fact, we have seen many changes even since I took these photos a few days ago. We are eating grapes and kale from the garden on a regular basis these days. Our zucchini and tomatoes are producing their last fruits. We have jalapeno and Anaheim peppers, a few beets, and some parsley and basil that will soon go to seed. Our winter squash is finishing up (we even ate a delicata squash for dinner the other night!). And our potatoes that we planted this summer are still growing. We aren't sure if they didn't get enough light, and will be small (as we had expected the plants to have yellowed already), but I am going to wait another week or so before I dig in and check things out myself. I planted garlic and shallots last week, as well as some lettuce starts (because the birds keep eating all of my seeds that I plant). Hoping to get another round of herbs into the ground in the next week or so, but haven't yet had the time.
All in all we had a decent gardening summer, especially considering we weren't around all that much. However, I can tell that our soil is starting to become depleted even though we regularly add compost. We are starting to see the same pests again and again, even with crop rotation. Essentially, I think our available area is really just too small to grow everything we want each year, and in reality we should be rotating crops and only growing each family once every few years. But that's so fun. I think next year we will add a layer of fresh soil to our garden, which is sort of cheating, but I think that is the only way we can maintain a diverse garden in a small space.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo- no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why I am Always So Tired (Or Tales of a Zombie Mama)

For my birthday I got a fitbit flex. I love it. Have you heard of these? It is a bracelet you wear and it tracks your exercise as well as your sleep (including the number of times you are awake each night). I have always been a terrible sleeper. I often get insomnia at night and have trouble falling asleep, and despite the number of hours I am actually in bed, I usually have trouble waking up and feel exhausted most of each day. When the kiddos were little, I expected to be exhausted and didn't think twice about it. But now that my children are sleeping through the night, I feel like I should be waking up rested. I never expected to still feel like I had a newborn when my youngest was 3 and 1/2.
But now I know why I do.
According to my fitbit, I am waking up between 12 and 37 times a night. Yes-- 37!!! This doesn't mean I am up and out of bed that much, just restless and not fully asleep. When I am "sleeping" for 7 hours, and waking up 37 times, that means I am only really sleeping in 10-15 minutes stretches. Yikes.
Well, at least this explains why I am constantly tired. Now I just need to figure out how to be a better sleeper. Doing some brief internet research leads me to believe that my chronic back pain (which was made worse by my August car accident) is probably at least partially to blame. The pain is probably just enough to make me uncomfortable, and move around, partially waking me in the process.
So now I am on a quest to be a better sleeper. 
How do you help yourself fall into a restful sleep?
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy Autumn!

Happy first day of fall everyone!
One of my calendars said the first day of fall is today, the other says it was yesterday. There seems to be a lack of agreement on the internet as well. So, I decided on celebrating it today. Why not.
I love fall. I love the crispness of the morning air, the warmth of the late afternoon sun, the changing of the leaves.
I love the urge I get to stay home and start (and finish) projects-- things that have been on my mind since summer, but have been set aside for social schedules and outdoor explorations.
I love the return to a more steady rhythm, where things have a scheduled time and place.
I love the warmth of a cozy kitchen where smells of deliciousness fill the air.

This summer was a fantastic one, filled with lots of fun and adventure, but I am ready to start teaching again and ready to shift to a (somewhat) slower pace. It has been a hot summer here and I am looking forward to cooler temperatures. I am even looking forward (a little) to the rain, although I know that it will likely get old pretty quickly.

What are you looking forward to this fall?

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Monday, September 22, 2014

The People's Climate March

Yesterday, Phoebe and I headed downtown to participate in the People's Climate March and rally. It was awesome. It was about 5,000 people strong, which is amazing, but certainly pales in comparison to the more than 300,000 folks that turned up to march in New York City (!!!).
Our bus ride downtown was full of people headed to the rally, and Phoebe made fast friends with some other young children. She was a trooper, and despite to 90-degree weather, she didn't complain once. I think she is my mini-activist in training, and was certainly the best rally partner I have ever had.
Now we just have to hope our actions convince our government (and our corporations) to start thinking differently about how we treat this planet. Time is running our to make change. I hope we can work together on this one.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Feeling Grateful (and Paintful)

This weekend, I am feeling so grateful that I have finally finished painting the inside of our house (well.... almost- I have one small wall left, but that will happen later today). Painting the house has been on my "to-do" list since we moved in over 7 years ago, and I am SO happy to have walls of my own choosing!
I painted the living area a warm beige, the kitchen off-white, green in the dining area, yellow in the hallway and light gray in my bedroom. I touched up the paint in the kids room as well, but decided it could stay the blue and green we painted it before Finn was born.
These pictures don't quite give the full effect, but, you can get the idea. It was a lot of work, but well worth it!

What are you grateful for today?
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

An End of Summer Trip

In celebration if our 8th wedding anniversary, Todd and I had an end-of-summer trip planned for the family. It was originally going to be a few days long, and we had a couple of destinations in mind, but when it came time for the trip, we were only able to sneak away for one night and 2 days. So, we decided to head down to Bend, OR, which is a lovely town that reminds me a lot of Boulder.
On the way down we spent a few hours at Smith Rock State Park. It was my first time there and it is just amazing. It is like being in Utah, but a whole lot closer. It was hot, and the kids were not able to hike in too far, but what we did see was absolutely gorgeous.
Afterwards, we headed to our hotel in Bend to swim, and then out for Mexican food (and a pitcher of margaritas!). The next morning (after breakfast and another swim, of course) we headed to the Bend High Dessert Museum. It was fascinating. We learned about porcupines, reptiles, and other organisms, as well as the native history of the area. It made me feel good about pulling Finn out of school to be there.
On the way home, inspired by my friend Heidi's photo (check her photos out, they are much better than mine!), we stopped at a place called Little Crater Lake on Mt. Hood. The hike was short and easy (good for tired kiddos) and we ended up at an amazing little spring-fed lake. The water is so clear that you can see all the way down-- my pictures don't show this because of the strong reflections, but trust me, it was beautiful.
Then, back home to real life. The trip was short, but fun. I am glad we managed one more quick getaway before settling in to our school-year routines.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Just Checking In

I have been a bit missing from the world of blogging lately. Real life has swept me off my feet, and I think my brain is still a few days behind my body. I have so many things I want to share with you all, I just need to find the time to sit down and write.
What have I been doing, you ask? Well, I have just finished painting the entire inside of my house (I love it, thanks for asking!)-- I will probably share some pictures soon, well, just as soon as I get the pictures hung back on the walls and tidy the place up. The kids have started school and Finn now has daily homework. We now have soccer practices and games. Phoebe has hip hop class. I am running an after school program at Finn's school. I start teaching next week and still have lots to do. We have had several different friends in town who we had to make time for. We just got back from a quick end-of-the-summer trip. Plus our regular schedule. Phew. I just got tired even writing that.
But, I promise to be back here soon, with pictures to show and stories to share. I hope you all are well, and once I finally find my rhythm again, I hope to be back in the blogging groove. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for this week's Yarn Along.

Guess what?!? I have finally finished my  sweater. Well, I have finished the knitting part anyways. I still have to weave in the ends (bleh), add buttons, and block. And I really need this blocking to work out. Despite the fact that I knit the sweater a size larger than I am, it is skin tight.... almost too small. I am hoping a good blocking will help stretch it out. I think trying it on and realizing how tight it was has somewhat zapped my motivation for finishing up, but I should have some time this week, so I hope to get it done. Pictures to come soon!

I have also been working on a plain vest for a friend's little girl. And even though Phoebe already has two of these sweet little vests, she keeps asking if this one is for her. And when I say that it's not, she begs me to make her another one.  So, somehow I feel like I may have another plain vest in my near future.

I  am currently reading Requiem, the last in Lauren Oliver's trilogy as well as a book called Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators. A friend and I are starting an after school program at Finn's school that will focus on environmental education and conflict resolution, and I am hoping this book may spark some ideas.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

This week I have felt so grateful for Finn's smooth transition into first grade. He went in like a pro, and made the week easy for us. I am so proud of him.
I am also thankful for the little signs that fall is right around the corner: chilly mornings, the warm quality of the late summer sunlight, changes happening in the garden. I love the changing of the seasons, and the switch to autumn is one of my very favorite.
Lastly, I have been filled with gratitude for my time as a mother. I have had a few reminders this week that life is often fleeting, and can end unexpectedly. Although I don't like to meditate on that thought, it is a good reminder to enjoy our time here while we have it. I am so thankful that I am on this journey with these two amazing little beings. There is no one I would rather spend my time with.
What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn of Wooly Moss Roots for a Gratitude Sunday post. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Oh Colorado

For labor day weekend, the family and I spent 5 days in lovely Colorado. My husband and I both went to college there, and I lived there for about 9 years total. We have a lot of friends who are still there and let's just say that Colorado will always have a very special place in my heart.
The weather was unusual for summer.... we got rained and/or hailed on every day that we were there (but of course, the skies were sunny in between storms!).
We did a little bit of hiking (although a very little bit, as we got rained out of our planned hike two days in a row!). We had an evening of Mexican food and mini golf with our nephew. Meals at my old haunts with friends. Live music. Rainbows.
We also took a trip up to Jamestown, which made the news last year when the entire town was flooded and folks (including quite a few of my friends) were stranded for several days before they were helicoptered out. It is amazing to see how much the flood changed the town-- essentially, large parts of the town are still in dire need of help. The city is filling cisterns so that folks have drinking water, the temporary roads are washing away in places, and there are still houses that are only half standing. Lots of folks still can't even get to their homes as roads and bridges across the river have been washed away and there is no access. Our dear friends, who own the Merc, the only restaurant in town, made us a wonderful breakfast with the best green chile ever.
It was wonderful to go back, and, as always, I will miss Colorado until the next time I return.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

FIRST day of FIRST grade

Summer break is officially over. Today is Finn's first day of first grade. For those of you that know me, you are aware of some of the struggles that we have faced with Finn and school. Two years ago when he started an all day preschool program, it was a disaster. He would cry every morning, wouldn't use the bathroom at school, and was having almost daily metldowns in the classroom. This is when we figured out that he had sensory issues and anxiety. And even though the year got better,
it was pretty rough all the way until the end. In hindsight, I just think he wasn't ready for school yet.
When he started kindergarten last year, things went much better. There was still a lot of crying before school, but a huge improvement from pre-k.
My husband and I were curious (and a little nervous) about how the start of this year would go. Finn already knew his teacher, and several of the kids in his class, so we had our fingers crossed that it would go smoothly. And he jumped out of bed this morning at 6 am, got himself dressed and had a great morning with zero complaints and no crying. When we got to his classroom, he ran in without even saying goodbye. And although I was a little sad to not get a first day of school hug, I was so happy to see him being so independent.
Finn has come so far these past two years, I can't even tell you how proud I am of him. Hoping this school year goes as smooth as day 1! Pin It Now!