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!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sunday Gratitudes

Happy Sunday everyone! Hope you have all enjoyed your weekend. This past week I have felt grateful for:
  • Honesty, and the people who appreciate it.
  • Ladies. There is just something about a group of women that is amazing. The collective energy of a group of women probably can, and should, save the world.
  • Family, in whatever form it may be. My entire family lives east of the Mississippi River, so living on the west coast does not offer me many chances to be with my actual family. And although no one can replace my parents and my sister, I have made a new family along my journey. A family of friends and neighbors. And I am so lucky to have each and every one of them in my life.
  • My kids. I caught them in a moment of snuggling this week where they were holding each other in their arms and Finn was brushing the hair from Phoebe's forehead. I seriously just about melted.
  • The kindness of others. There were several times this week when someone reached out and offered me help when I needed it. I can't even explain how good it felt. 
  • Music! It powers the soul. 
  • The moments of sun we have had this week. They were mostly fleeting, but felt wonderful.

What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots
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Friday, January 29, 2016


It seems like the plants in my garden just started budding overnight. I love the first flowers of the year.... despite the cool and rainy winter conditions, it's a promise of spring. A sign of new beginnings and things to come. A renewed feeling of hope and excitement.
Hoping for a dry hour or two this weekend so that I can spend time in my garden-- it is in need of some serious love!

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Feeling Thankful

I know that I have mentioned my divorce a lot lately. It's actually pretty hard to not mention it. Currently divorce seems to affect every decision I make, every path I choose, every thought that comes into my mind. It's just a lot of changes. All at once.
And, if you can't imagine, divorce can often be a lonely place. Where I always used to have a partner and a confident, I now navigate a lot of my decisions alone. There are a couple of nights every week where I am the only person in my home. I no longer have that other person around who cares about my kids as much as I do. And while this can all be quite freeing, I do sometimes feel like I have been left alone to fight a battle against an entire army.
But, as the saying goes, time heals. And that is the truth. Each day things get better, easier, more normal.
And as I have also mentioned before, I am so thankful to have such wonderful friends and family to help me on this journey. The other day I received the sweetest care package from Kim over at Mothering With Mindfulness. It was full of yarn, treats, and Kim's amazing hand made soap and body butter. Kim is going through a journey similar to mine, which she has so graciously shared on her blog. It has been so nice to know that this journey is not mine alone. There are many of us strong women who are traveling this road together, right now. There have been many before us and there will be many more to come.
I am so blessed for all of these amazing people in my life. The ones who listen to me cry. The ones who watch my kids in a pinch. The ones who come over to keep me company when the nights are lonely. And the ones who somehow find the energy to send me a care package to brighten my entire week.
And even though the past 9 months have been difficult (and I know that there are still more difficult days ahead), I am not full of anger. There are a lot of emotions happening inside me right now, but what I feel most prominently is gratitude. Gratitude for the people in my life. Gratitude for the love that exists in this world. Gratitude for all of the kindness that has been bestowed upon me. So today, I feel blessed. My life may not be perfect, but it is mine, and it is good. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Yarn Along and the Faster than Normal Winter

Hello!  Joining with Ginny at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along. How has it already been a week since I have been in this space? Time seems to be moving at warp speed these days. Seriously. It seems like there can just never be nearly enough hours in the day! This time of year normally seems to slow down-- it's my time to settle in, regroup, and get things organized . However, I think the changing dynamics of my family have also changed the way time moves around here. As the only adult in the house, my days with the kids are filled with making sure things get done. Dinner, dishes, bath and bed has always been hectic, even with two parents around. And now that it's only me, that part of the day seems to take up about 3 hours. Or doesn't seem to, it actually does.

Not that I am complaining......  I also have days to myself that are much less hectic, and times when I only have myself to worry about. However, I seem to still be in the phase where I am excited to have nights alone and I seem to constantly be making plans with friends. And of course, that is far from a bad thing-- it has been glorious actually. So much fun! But.... recently I have begun to realize that I am still not scheduling enough time for myself. Quiet time to relax, alone, with few obligations. Time to slow down, to knit, to read, to think, and to just be. Everyone needs a little time to just be.

I am currently knitting up another plain vest for Phoebe, which will hopefully be done in time for her birthday. Knitting, like most other things these days, seems to happen in fits and spurts, and I can't seem to find uninterrupted time for it. I have just taken to carrying it around in my bag, and hoping for a few spare minutes in which to complete a couple of rows.

I am back to reading War and Peace, and I am chugging along slowly. Although, after taking a break for a couple of weeks when I had to return it to the library, I seem to be forgetting who the characters are a bit. I think I need a cheat sheet.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Yarn Along

Hello! Joining with Ginny at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along. I'm getting a bit of a late start today, but oh well. Life has been a bit hectic (mostly the fun kind) lately, and I just can't seem to get into a routine. Sigh.

OK, I am now really almost done with Phoebe's jumper, I will have it finished before yarn along next week (that is a promise to myself more than anything). I am also knitting up another plain vest for Phoebe. I have knit so many of these and they go quick. The yellow seemed appropriate as it has been quite dreary here, and I thought she could use a bright pop of color in her wardrobe. Her birthday is just over a month away, so I am trying to whip a few things up for her for gifts.

I just started reading Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman. It was a splurge grab at the library. Even though I have a stack of books 10-high in my to-read pile on my nightstand, somehow I let this one push its way in. It seems like it will be a fast easy read, but so far I am unsure as to how much I actually like it.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sunday Gratitudes

Happy Sunday everyone! It has been a dark and dreary weekend around here. This past week I have felt grateful for:

  • My seriously awesome friends. It is such an amazing feeling to know that you are loved. Divorce has certainly been tough but has also come with quite a few silver linings, and more time with friends is at the top of that list.
  • A girl who loves her dog. Fiercely. 
  • Making my finances work. With the new year came a new post-separation financial learning curve for me. Bank accounts have been separated, bills are all in my name, and I have a pretty limited budget to work with. But, so far, I am making it happen. It is a bit stressful, but it also feels good to be completely in charge of my money.
  • My job. On Thursday I took my class out to a farm where we got to dig around in the soil. I love that I get to expose my students to these sorts of trips, and love that everyone, even the more girly-girls, just dug right in and scooped up handfuls of dirt. I get to be around a whole lot of amazing people, and although they are there to learn from me, I feel so lucky that I also get to learn from them. 
  • The acceptance of myself. Lately I have begun to feel OK about my imperfections, and to realize that no one is perfect. As long as I am trying my best, and striving to improve, I need to be OK with my faults and my mistakes. Would have been nice if I had felt this way before I was 38, but now is better than never....

What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots
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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Yarn Along

Hello! Happy Wednesday! Joining with Ginny at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along. It is a glum and rainy day out there. Makes me want to just sit home and read and knit! If only I didn't have work to do......

I am almost done with Phoebe's jumper, hoping to put in the last few hours this week or weekend. I keep putting it off because the end has a lot of detailed instructions, and my brain has not felt up to the task. So instead,  I started a very mindless yarn bombing project so I have something simple to knit while Phoebe is at swim lessons. Stay tuned to see the final "bombed" project in the weeks to come!

Well, I was still reading War and Peace.....  but I had to take it back to the library yesterday because other folks had holds on it. It's hard to read a 1200 page book that you can only check out for 3 weeks at a time! So now I am back on the hold list for it. In the meantime, I am reading The Double Comfort Safari Club, part of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I love any books that are set in Africa, so when I need a quick, fun read, I often turn to my No. 1 Ladies!

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Monday, January 11, 2016

My Weekend

This was a no-kids weekend for me, and I think I needed it. It was the perfect mix of friend time, and me time. A ladies night out on the town, a wonderful Saturday morning yoga class, and a very icy (and somewhat nerve wracking) hike in the gorge yesterday. I needed some time in the woods in a pretty bad way.

How was your weekend?

Joining in with the lovely Karen from Pumpkin Sunrise

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Sunday, January 10, 2016


Happy Sunday everyone! Hope you all found lots to be grateful for this past week. This week I have felt grateful for:
  • Snow! It didn't last long, but it always makes it feel like winter. And it was pretty fun to have two snow days in a row. The kids were ecstatic.
  • And sun. After several cold and icy days, a 45-degree sunny day is pretty awesome.
  • Making plans for the spring and summer! I love having trips and adventures to look forward to.
  • A smooth transition to a new term of teaching. The first day of a new term still makes me the teeniest bit anxious, and it's always a great feeling to have it over.
  • My bed and the two sweet children, one huge dog, and three cats that share it with me most nights. I'm lucky to have one big enough to fit everyone who wants in, even if we are a bit cramped.

What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots
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Friday, January 8, 2016

Struggles of a Single Mama. Part 1.

I have been single parenting for almost 8 months now. Crazy how fast the time has gone, and also crazy how much my life has changed in those months. Last night, as I was feeling exhausted and frustrated while trying to help P change into jammies, I  eventually threw up my arms and declared that I couldn't help kids who were not listening to anything I said. I then gave a mini-speech about the importance of listening to your parents and gave a warning that consequences would happen if listening did not begin. And then I immediately felt guilty. Why couldn't I have just been funny and made some jokes and turned getting dressed into a game? Why couldn't I just shut my mouth and walk away for a moment? Because I was exhausted, that's why. But was that enough to justify a lecture before bedtime?
And then I realized how hard it is to not have a co-parent around, at least some of the time. A second set of hands to take over if you are exhausted and feeling at the brink. Or someone to justify your decisions in parenting. Or even someone to throw ideas at, someone to thank you for your hard work, someone to tell you that you are a good mom. Single parenting also has a lot of advantages-- getting to do things my way and  having breaks from my kids (which I had no idea how much I would enjoy until I had them)-- but it can be seriously hard at times. It's crazy how alone one can feel with two wild kids in the house....
Anyways, I know I am still in a period of transition, but I obviously need to have a better plan for the times when I am tired, burned out, or just plain frustrated. If I don't have someone else to lean on, I need to figure out a way to become a bit more sturdy. I am so lucky to have these amazing children in my life, and so afraid that I am not always doing a good enough job.
So here is to working on being patient with my children, even when I am exhausted. And to being patient with myself, as I get this new life figured out.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Yarn Along

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

This has been a strange week. Portland had a snowstorm on Sunday and by Monday morning, everything was a sheet of ice. Monday and Tuesday the kids didn't have school and I didn't have work..... Christmas break got extended by a couple of days! But now it's Wednesday and it feels like Monday, and I am having trouble wrapping my brain around my Wednesday to-do list! It will be good to get back into our regular routine though. All three of us need it in a bad way.

I never finished Phoebe's jumper  for Christmas. I'm not sure what happened, but a couple weeks before Christmas I completely lost all motivation to knit. Completely. I was hoping to finish Phoebe's jumper, and had hats I wanted to make for each of the kids, and then just didn't feel like making any of it. Oh well. The jumper (which I am nearly finished with now) will be perfect for Phoebe's birthday, which is coming up in less than 2 months. And, I have been excited about knitting again and have a whole list of projects that I can't wait to start. Woohoo!

Currently, I am back to reading War and Peace.....  started it a couple of months ago, but then set it aside to read a few other books. I recently read two WWII historical fiction books back to back. The first was The Nightingale, which I can't speak highly enough of. The best book I have read in a while. And yesterday I just finished up All the Light You Cannot See, which was also good.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Monday, January 4, 2016


Finn's first day back to school has been cancelled because of weather. We are iced-in. The streets and sidewalks are like a skating rink. 
It's supposed to warm up this afternoon, and soon it will all melt away. 
But, for now, I am enjoying this lovely ice world that we are hunkered down in.
Happy Monday!

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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Holiday Gratitudes

Hope 2016 is off to a great start for each and every one of you. Over the past week or so of holiday-craziness, I had many moments to feel grateful for:
  • For snow! It's snowing right now. Such a rare treat for us Pacific Northwesterners....  
  • Finn and his big brothering. He is always including Phoebe in his games, and is truly excited to spend time with her. I'm pretty sure that I was not so inclusive with my little sister when I was his age, so I feel that I got pretty lucky. I am so grateful that they are a team.
  • That despite divorce, my ex and I can still get along. Having to shuffle the kids back and forth between houses added a new stress to the holidays, and there was more than one time I was teary-eyed when we were not all together. However, I feel really lucky for the relationship that we do have. We spent Christmas Eve and day together, and had a few other family events during the holiday time. He has taken the kids for an hour or so on his off-days so that I could go on a run, or to yoga, and we are still trying to have family dinners once a week. We were amazing friends for many years before we ever dated, and I am hoping that we can be headed back down that path. Divorce has not been easy, but I know it could be so much worse.
  • For the friend time I have had over the holidays. With no family nearby, we have always relied on our friends during holiday-time, and in a way, it has become our tradition. And this year, during the times when I was kid-free, I had a chance to spend time with so many lovely friends, old and new. It was wonderful.
  • For yoga and the way it makes my body feel. I have managed to get to a couple of classes lately and it does wonders.
  • For my health. The kids and I got rear ended a few days ago, and everyone was fine. The car had minor damage, but no big deal. It could have been so much worse.
  • For fun adventures. I took the kids ice skating last week-- Finn complained the entire way there, saying he didn't want to go. Thirty minutes in, he didn't ever want to leave and has asked to go back every day since! The kids and I also went sledding on Mt. Hood last week, which was a ton of fun.

What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots
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Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016!

Wow. I didn't mean to be away from this space for so long. I guess I just got caught up in the holidays, and life, and taking a break from my usual routine felt quite welcome. However, I am ready to be back, and to make the time to sit down in this space and reflect.

I am normally a new years resolution type of gal. In a huge way. I typically have a huge list of things I want to change and improve throughout the new year. However, this year I did not feel the pull to make a long list of resolutions. I did decide on a few things to guide me this year, but no long lists or specifics. Instead, to welcome in 2016 I decided to choose a word for my year: Discover

2015 was a year of transition for me. Lots of transitions, most of which I am still going through. But as I have been going through the divorce process and all that goes with it, I have begun to learn so much about myself that I didn't know was there. And it has made me happy.

So this year will be a year of discovery. Discovering more about who I am and what I want. Discovering the potential that I have hidden away. Discovering new friends and new relationships. Discovering ways to live more simply. Discovering new places, new traditions, new ideas.

Phoebe decided that she wanted to choose a word as well and she picked create. I love it. It fits perfectly with mine and I am eager to see what she creates this year.

What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?

Happy New Year! Wishing you peace and happiness in 2016!
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