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!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Yarn Along

Hello! Happy Wednesday! Thought I would pop in for a quick post here on the blog.... it has been quite a while....... Today I am joining with Ginny at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.

I am knitting myself a second pillow cover from this pattern. I have not been knitting much lately, just not really in the mood. I do have a couple of projects that I am pretty anxious to start, but I am not allowing myself to start anything until I finish this pillow cover. Maybe that will help motivate me.

Right now I am reading You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. It was recommended to me by a friend a few months ago, to help ease me through this transitional period in my life. And the book is good! Nothing groundbreaking, but it has been encouraging and inspiring. It's always nice to be reminded that no matter what, I am still a little bit of a badass......

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Monday, May 30, 2016

My Weekend

This weekend the kids were with their dad, and it has been my first solo weekend in awhile where I wasn't on an adventure or had lots of big plans. And it was perfect. I needed nothing more than a weekend for me... to catch up on work, my to-do list, and taking care of myself.
I made it to a yoga class both mornings, picked and started infusing herbs for this year's batch of lip balm, went on a 7 mile run on Saturday, did a ton of yard work, got caught up on my reading for the herbalism class I am taking, and got mostly caught up with my work  for the two classes I am teaching. It was super productive. Although I feel like I could surely use two more days just like the past two..... maybe then I could feel fully caught up with life. Maybe.
And now this weekend feels extra special because today is a holiday and I get to spend the day with both my kids! It's a gorgeous day out, so we have a little hike in the works, and I am hoping to spend some time in the garden.
Hope you all had a lovely weekend! 

Joining the lovely Karen from Pumpkin Sunrise......
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Monday, May 23, 2016

Shifting Spaces

I haven't been on here for almost 3 weeks! I have noticed a slow shift happening over the past year or so... I am finding (making?) less and less time to write on the blog and have been spending more energy posting photos on Instagram.
I think that a lot of it is because I don't have tons to write about as of late. I have been doing lots of processing within my own mind, but much of it is still in the thinking stages, and isn't ready to be released yet.
I am also busier. Much busier. Working twice as much with very little free time, and trying to keep my house in order, be a good mama, and still find time for myself every now and again.
At first it was stressing me out that I wasn't posting on here more..... my blog has been a staple in my life since Finn was little. But then I decided that it is ok that I am not spending much time in this space right now. I am in the process of evolving and I suppose this space is evolving with me.
So, I will be patient with myself. I know I will be back as time allows. And in the meantime you can find me on Instagram: @tarynoakley

And now I will share with you a few pictures from my absolutely amazing weekend the kids and I just had. The three of us spent 2 nights in a yurt on the Oregon Coast, near Florence. The weather was perfect. My kids were happy. They built forts and dug in the sand. I found agates, read and did some knitting. We went on a couple short hike, one to the Hobbit Beach, a trail I have been yearning to hike for ages. And I also finally saw Thor's well-- it's essentially a depression in the bedrock and at high tide the ocean water drains into it. It's pretty neat.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Silver Linings

As I am sure you all know by now, I recently got divorced.

When my ex told me that he was moving out, I was devastated. It felt like my life had ended. Like there was nowhere left to go. I cried for weeks on end. I was immobilized with fear and guilt. I hated who I had become.

And then slowly, bit by bit, things started to get better.

Not good by any scope of the imagination, but better. And yes, there were (and still are!) lots of ups and downs, but I was finding myself smiling again. I was catching myself feeling happy. And man, did it feel good.

And even though he moved out a year ago, there are still lots of ups and downs. I still have bad days, but now I find that most days are good ones.  I still get sad and mourn for the loss of my marriage and my family. I still get stressed about finances and work and my living situation. I still feel overwhelmed by the reality of being a single mama-- the days that can seem to be never-ending, with no breaks in sight. The magnitude of everything in my life that has changed over the past year is sometimes overwhelming.

But do you know what?

It has all been incredibly liberating.

I have changed so much during this transition (how could one not?) and have found so many silver linings with my new life. No, these upsides don't just fix everything and make it OK, but they have made me realize that everything will be OK. It will.

And I know that I am not the only one out there going through a divorce. I have a handful of friends in the same boat as me right now, and we regularly share our silver linings with one another. So here friends, are some of my silver linings.....

  • Re-finding myself. During my marriage, so many parts of me got pushed aside. And honestly, I didn't even realize it at the time. But since the separation, I have been rediscovering parts of me that I forgot about. Remembering things that I used to love. And allowing myself to indulge once again.
  • Friends. Oh lovely lovely friends. It's not like I didn't see my friends while I was married, but I honestly rarely ever had a chance to go out. I felt guilty making my own plans, taking time just for me. Now I get so much more friend time. And these amazing friends have listened to me cry and complain, and have made me laugh and forget about my troubles for a while. Never in my life have I been so appreciative of my friends.
  • Finding my courage. In my new life, things are hectic. My schedule is crazy, I am running a household on my own, and I doubled my hours at work.  I have had to learn to ask for the help that I need (which for me was much harder than I could ever have imagined).  And it has been empowering.
  • Time for Me. To go to yoga. To go on a hike. To plan a weekend away. I never had these opportunities before. If I did make plans, they came with a side of self-induced guilt, like I "should" be home with the kids. Now I have times every week where I don't have the kids and can fill my time however I like. It has been incredibly freeing. I forgot how much I enjoyed having time with myself.
  • The excitement of new relationships. No, I don't have a new partner. But I have been on some dates. And while honestly it is all pretty scary, it's also really exciting. The possibilities are endless, right?
  • Feeling completely in charge of myself. I am in charge of my time, my finances, my house and my car. And while this all takes a lot of work and time, it is super empowering. There is no more hoping someone else does the dishes or fills the car with gas, no wondering if the bills have been paid. I am in charge of it all, and it feels good.
  • Feeling happy. I don't think I realized how much negative energy was in my house before the separation. These days I give and get much less criticism. And that means many more moments of joy!
So, here is to accepting the past, forgiving the hurt, and moving forward! I am sure there are more silver linings to come....

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Yarn Along

Hello! Happy Wednesday! Joining with Ginny at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.

OK, well my post isn't super exciting this week as I am still reading and knitting the same things from last week.....

I am knitting myself a couple of pillow covers from this pattern. I have made a little progress this week, but I have had some very sore wrists (too much yoga, I think?) and knitting has been making it feel worse. So---- I haven't been knitting much. But don't worry, I am making grand plans in my head of all of the things I want to knit! That doesn't bother my wrists at all!

And yes, I am still reading War and Peace. But I actually had a chance to dig in this past weekend and make some progress. I have a lot of trouble making my way through the war parts..... but the "peace" parts are really the best love story ever told. Now, if I could just stop reading other books in between finishing this book, maybe I could actually finish it! And look below- I think my buddy who came to check out my book is symbolic of the speed at which I am reading....

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Sunday, April 24, 2016


Hello Sunday. Welcome.
Life seems to be on fast forward lately. I can't seem to make it slow down. I know that I really need to make myself slow down, but it's so hard for me to do. Expectations (my own and others), obligations, desires and curiosity all keep pulling me to do, do, do... and rarely ever to stop, stop, stop. I guess it's just part of my nature. But I can't stop thinking about how much I would benefit from a silent week in meditation at a monastery.....
Despite the craziness of life, I do always make time to stop and reflect upon it. And my gratitude journal has been key to making that happen. I have been super successful with my gratitude journal ever since I started it in August. And the key was making it super simple. In the past, I kept a separate notebook in my nightstand and was supposed to write down a few things each night. But, it never happened. I was too tired. It was too regimented.
Now, I use my daily planner and write my gratitudes in the "notes" section for each week. I can write as many time as I want during the week and I since I almost always have my planner with me, I can write at any time, and not just before bed. And, viola! Success!
Anyways, here are a few of my gratitudes from this week:
  • Having a mostly-at-home weekend with very few plans..... some much needed time to catch up on work, cleaning, my herb class, and life... 
  • Sitting outside in the sun and reading, uninterrupted. I was only uninterrupted for about 7 minutes, but hey- I will take what I can get!
  • The amazing forests we have here in the Pacific northwest. Even after living here for almost 9 years, I still feel a sense of magic each time I enter one.
  • Feeling my body becoming stronger, more balanced and more centered. I have felt a recent change with my strength during yoga and it is exciting!
  • The camera on my new phone. It is so much better than my last one! 
  • Music! With my new phone I also have enough space for Spotify, and I have been having so much fun with the wealth of music at my fingertips.
  • Adventures to look forward to!! I have a ladies adventure planned for next week and a trip to Colorado in my near future. I love adventures (see, this is why I have such a problem slowing down like I need to!). I guess I should just embrace my love of adventure, but learn to take some time in-between to rest. It's all about balance, right?

What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots
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Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day!

"The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness"
                                                             - John Muir

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Yarn Along

Hello! Happy Wednesday! Joining with Ginny at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.

I haven't joined in on a yarn along for quite awhile. It has been a tough few weeks for me emotionally and now that I am teaching two classes and taking one, I am finding myself constantly busy.  Plus, I have been craving social interactions and so I have been making lots of plans. Which is so fun... and exhausting. It's supposed to be a rainy weekend, and I will have my kids. Hoping to find some time to hunker down and just 'be' for a bit.

Currently,  I am knitting myself a couple of pillow covers from this pattern. I started this awhile ago, but had to set it aside for some more mindless knitting. I have finally picked it back up and am excited with how it is progressing.

Guess what? I am still reading War and Peace. Yup. I think it will probably take me longer to read it than it took Tolstoy to write it, but I guess that is what happens when you read a bunch of other books at the same time.... I will say that I fly through the parts about the relationships and the love affairs, and then I get stuck on the parts that detail the aspects of war relationships. But, I am enjoying it nonetheless.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Reflections and Gratitudes

It's been a hard week. A few days ago I posted about losing my dog, my loyal friend, of 15 years. What I wasn't yet ready to talk about during that post was that I also signed my divorce papers the following day. And this week I found out that a former student of mine, and amazing human being, passed away. I also had two very close friends lose important people in their lives this week as well. It has been a week of tremendous loss, for sure.
I surprised myself and didn't cry while I signed my divorce paperwork. I didn't feel much of anything really, except relief. I figured that I had already mourned that relationship as it began to dissolve a year ago.
But, I think that it just took a few days to fully sink in. Thursday night I began to cry, and I couldn't stop. And I really couldn't pinpoint what exactly I was crying about.... Puppy cow? My marriage ending? The death of my student? Really I think I was just crying about all of it. About life. About how quickly it goes by and how it can end so unexpectedly. About how relationships, even the good ones, always seem too short. About the fragility of life and the power of love.
I am still not finished being sad or mourning this week of loss. However, I have done a lot of processing over the past few days and have decided on a few things. Things I already knew, as I am sure you do too. But things that I am grateful to have been reminded of once again:

1. Life is short. Have fun. Do what you love as much as you can.

2. Make sure that the people in your life know how you feel about them. Tell your kids you love them a lot, even though they already know this. Tell your friends how much they mean to you. And cultivate relationships where you can be open with your feelings.

3. Be open to new experiences. Face your fears. Think outside the box. These are often the moments that make life worth living.

4. Life can be hard!  So.... be grateful, for everything that you DO have. Because you know you have a lot.

And with that, here are my list of gratitudes for the week:

  • Love and kindness. The world is overflowing with it if you just know where to look. My friends have shown this to me this past week. Thank you, friends.
  • Feeling comfortable with my decisions, even when I have been hesitant to make a choice.
  • Silver linings (more on this to come soon)...
  • New beginnings. Hope and excitement. Possibilities. I guess this is the official start of a new chapter in my life. I get to help guide it in the direction that I want it to go. I am looking forward to seeing where I lead myself.....
  • My patient children, who have accepted me for me this week, sadness and all. I couldn't give them the energy they deserved, but they showered me with love nonetheless.
  • My sweet Moshi. Losing a dog is a teeny bit easier when you have another great companion by your side.

What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

On Love, Loss and Puppy Cow

I have sort of disappeared from this space. The past couple of weeks have been a bit heavy, and I just wasn't ready to share.

Over the weekend, I had to euthanize my 15 year old dog, Puppy Cow. It had been a long time coming.... it was probably about 18 months ago when I started to wonder how long he had left. And somehow, he persevered.... and kept on keeping on.

It's a huge gift, and a burden, to have the power to decide when it is the right time for your dog to move on. Even after making the appointment, I was questioning my decision, considering cancelling. But as the time grew nearer, I knew that I was doing the right thing.

Puppy Cow was amazing. I adopted him from an animal shelter in Durango Colorado. I was there with my sister, who was looking for a dog for HER. I already had a dog at the time, Sam, and the thought of getting a second dog had never crossed my mind. But when I saw this sweet little 4 month old puppy, who was going to be euthanized in just a few days because he was blind, my heart melted and I couldn't help but bring him home.

I wouldn't say that he had a rough life-- he just wasn't so lucky in the physical department. Blind from birth, he ended up needing both ACLs replaced, and his bone structure was messed up so he developed arthritis at an early age. But yet, until the past year when he started to whine more frequently, he never complained. He just always exuded a sense of joy and acceptance, no matter the circumstance.

He was such a loyal friend and has been in my life for so long that I feel like it is the end of an era. I adopted him before I went to grad school. Before kids were even a thought in my mind. He lived with me in 3 different states and 5 different houses. He even outlasted my marriage.

Puppy Cow was one of a kind. Truly. And I will always hold a place in my heart for him.

And I thought that my tears were done, but I now realize that they aren't. My heart is heavy but also so very full.




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Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Painted Hills

For years, I have been wanting to go see the Painted Hills of Oregon. And it finally happened. Another mama friend of mine, and our four kiddos, all piled into my minivan and took a three day road trip. We saw all three units of the John Day Fossil Beds (including the painted hills), made our way through a couple of museums, took a bunch of short hikes, drove through the politically significant town of Antelope, saw a half-hearted ghost town, and had a grand adventure. And it was just as beautiful as I had expected! Here are a few pictures:

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Friday, March 18, 2016


Phoebe has been studying owls in her preschool class- They did some owl research and the class even had a sweet art exhibit where they displayed owl paintings, clay creations and a paper mache owl. I was very impressed.

Last weekend, Tryon Creek State Park held their annual Owlfest, and I knew that Phoebe would get a huge kick out of it since she has been immersed in owls lately. The weather was terrible, on and off downpours all day, but we braved the rain and headed out. Phoebe got to dissect and owl pellet (so cool!), make some owl art, and meet two captive owls (they are captive because they are injured). Plus, it is the start of trillium season over here, so we made time for a quick little hike as well.

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