motherhood · Poetry

It’s Never Going to Be Pastels for Us

I can’t really imagine a world where my husband and I pose in pretty neutrals with our squishy baby all cuddled with us perfectly.

My favorite newborn photos to have are the selfies, the real-life snaps, reality without swaths of pastel.

I love having blurry renditions of cuddles, togetherness, and quiet hospital videos I make myself take because I know I’ll regret it if I don’t! (And I wish I had more.) The lack of fanfare matches the intimacy of the season and I love that. Life. Us experiencing it. Us in love. Us growing. Us without pastels.

The season after Shasta was born had us wrapped in a beautiful cocoon. I struggled hard and there’s no denying that, but I also remember how much honest-to-goodness magic bubbled from that first year with Shasta. I’m almost halfway to a year with Heidi and it’s been far less cocoon like. But as a woman I have grown. I am emerging. And I am deeper in my motherhood. The bright, vibrant, layered reality has replaced the magic. Of course, magic moments to come, but it’s a reality now that feels full and big and so vibrant with life.

When I was thinking of our newborn//infant season with our radiant Heidi, this poem practically wrote itself. And it matches how we’ve chosen to document the early days with a newborn. No pastels. Never pastels. But extraordinary and very real beauty nonetheless.

GROWING PAINS (on marriage, parenthood, life❤)

between arguments,
long tiring
nights,
long lasting
infant cries,
there were lows
weren’t there?
but still the roses
grew,
and how the sunflowers
bloomed,
and baby smiled too.
grins, first laughs,
and bright-eyed coos,
forgiveness was
our Marriage
Song,
and a second round
of Morning Glories
burst out
in a day
or two.
I think they call
this
growing pains,
I think they call
this
Love.

-S.V.F.

Garden Lullaby

The August Garden // A Happy Handful

There are a couple times a year that tend to be real time markers for me.

The New Year/My Birthday (January 6)

and August.

a friend captured this July moment and it was the last photo I posted to Instagram! Felt so right for this photo to close that account. hence you getting a garden update on the blog instead of an instagram reel!

August used to be a painful time marker, but then our son was born in the beginning of that month and my daughter has her own deep August story I shared with my email subscribers. Time doesn’t always move in the way we hope it will, but when it does, we let it be beautiful! We let our breath catch, our laughter out, our smiles makes wrinkles at our eyes.

I remember when my son was around 5-months-old, I took him out to the garden, sat him in the bumbo seat in the flower bed and did some gardening with him “afoot.” I thought to myself if I don’t start gardening as a mom right now then I never will! Being a new mom is quite the whirlwind. Figuring out how to do things you used to do is quite the task! I made that “used to” null and void every time I sat in the Porch Garden with him or figured out how to take him with me while I did gardening things.

And you know what?! I’m proud of that Sierra who got out there and got things done and figured it out!! Here I am now (still) gardening, still finding my way, and watching my kids love the garden. . . . all it’s joy & beauty.

my happy handful, blue boots belonging to my toddler and zinnias I waited much to long to cut! heheee!

Heidi loves to watch the water spray, and Shasta does his own chosen work around the garden. The other day he was quite persistent I water the plants, so I got my lazy self out of the ole plastic garden chair and watered the plants while he did his own version of watering. In the late afternoon he actually watered the sunflowers, and fairly well I might add! Dirt was watered too (duh! of course. mud, mom!), but the sunflowers definitely got a good drink.

yes that little blue house behind the zinnias is our garden playhouse😍 imagine vines! garden boxes! a mailbox?! lots left to do but it’s coming together😍

And let me tell you! We have had a bounty of sunflowers this year.

I could count on one hand how many sunflowers actually bloomed last season, but this year has been a stark contrast in the loveliest way.

I love when the sunflowers look wind-blown. My favorite part of sunflowers blooming!

Everything is leaning quite haggard now, but there are still sunflowers blooming. I’ve even sent friends home with sunflower bouquets and that has been such a treat for me.

this bouquet I kept for myself, though.😅

This bounty of the happiest flower has made the garden the bees knees. . .(literally!! it has been a hangout for the bees, and we love to see it!). I have so many sunflower seeds to harvest and while they bloom and lean and the bees buzz about, the zinnias are having their own heyday. I’ve had a lot of pinks and purples this year. Although the one you see with the playhouse is red!😅

Our hydrangea bush even sported the first bloom its had in years!! This hydragea has had a long struggle, but we gave it a new home placed it in a new spot, and the bush has said “thank you!” quite loudly.

If gardens can feel happy, ours has felt it. With wild grapes ripening, and rose buds preparing to burst again soon, zinnias growing strong, and sunflowers blooming steady, we are still maintaining a bit of the high tide that comes with May and June! That is quite a feat for August I think. But here we are.❤

a lovely tower!

In other news, we visited family in early August, and while there I wrote a poem about time, how it moves, and how good that passage can be. When last we visited I had been about 7 weeks pregnant with our son. Snow on the ground with me scared out of my mind. But fast-forward to present day, and I was watching my boy play barefoot in the backyard, two years old.

Time.

How good it can be, how lovely it can go.

Not always but sometimes.

And we don’t talk about those times nearly enough.

I’m sharing the poem below as it captures so much of August and my emotions for it.

Raspberries and Far North Roads

It’s a warm breeze and
Bob Ross trees,
Two years, 9 months ago
it was snow.

and he was seven weeks
and it was hard to breathe.
happiness, scared out of mind.

Down far north roads,
conversations with mom,
already celebrating
him.

And I was sick in the bathroom
and sick in bed, sick with worry,
and so in love,
already
.

But it’s late summer now,
an August birthday twice over
and he’s talking and playing,
and laughing, and running,
or skipping, kind of a mix
of both.

And I’m smiling and marveling
and we’re barefoot where snow
once lived,
but it’s us now, like this now.
and it’s beautiful when
Time
moves like that.

Raspberry picking and red
raspberry stains
on knees,
and I can’t get over it
how it feels to be back
when I didn’t know
Back would be so
good.
But he has a heartbeat,
and he’s moving
like crazy.

Warm breeze and
Bob Ross trees
soon.


The August garden is saying what I feel, bent over with the life of it, huge, inescapable, loud, lovely, flawed. Like the garden hasn’t arrived, neither have I.

And neither will we ever.

But we love the life we’re in. This one we’re given.

And like the sunflower I will be unafraid to bloom, bend beneath the life, loveliness, and imperfection of it all.

Here we are.

motherhood · Poetry

Forget Me Not (poem for night feedings)

photo from the first few weeks earthside with Heidi.❤ April 2022

Forget Me Not

to memorize the feel of you
in my arms
I feel is impossible.
I won’t remember this,
how sweet it is
past midnight,
the rise and fall,
the gentle swaying,
over where you sleep.
I’ll put you down
soon,
not yet.

I want to remember this,
the feel of you
against my chest.
how all my love is
communicated,
and uncomplicated
and you know
how deep it goes. . .
past midnight,
the rise and fall,
the gentle swaying
however long you need,
longer.

and if I can’t remember
this,
I hope you know
that as you grow
I have memorized
you
the way
only a mother
can.

and if I can’t remember
this,
how sweet it is
past midnight,
I’ll look at you
bright flush of youth,
all grown up,
and know
I’ve not missed
anything at
all.

and if I can’t
remember
exactly how it feels
the feel of you in my arms,
I’ve loved trying to
memorize,
loved this mother’s life
trying to freeze time,
knowing it has the
upper hand.
who thought clocks were
a good idea?
but that same clock
and its upper hand
gives some acquiesce.
in the quiet, here we are
us nudged slow
past midnight,
everything is still
except-

how we sway,
and rise and fall,
how sweet all this is.
I kiss you softly,
lay you down.
I smile, smile, sigh.
clock ticks again with its
upper hand,
but I have two arms too,
and they aren’t bound
by hours.
so there are things
a mother
will not ever
forget,
remember them
or not.

-S.V.F.


Heidi’s birth story

Mommy Is Human But Here (on early postpartum)

The 4th Trimester (on the first 3 months after birth)

infertility · motherhood

Zinnias, August 1st, & a Folded Paper of Dreams

I scribbled out my dreams for the future. I wrote of children who would garden with me and complain about it, but I wouldn’t mind, because I would be just so happy they were there with me. A folded piece of paper stuck in a between the pages. Who knew if it would happen? Who knew if it could.

But it did.

2022 zinnia with Shasta’s red wagon in the background and the spent flowers inside already dumped out in the pathway. I better go pick those up soon!😂

Of course, I couldn’t believe my eyes. But it was true. The next nine months passed as they do, and on the fourth day past my due date, I was finally in labor. It was August 1st, and he was coming.

I walked out to the garden and cut some zinnias before we made our way to the hospital. It felt like an important thing to do. It was celebratory in its own way. Even though I had been in labor all day and had contractions all through the previous night, I had more laboring ahead. We came home for the night with instructions to come back the following morning. I didn’t pick any more zinnias, and by the next morning I was much too along to easily do much of anything else besides labor! We were going to have a baby! We were about to meet our son.

It was a birth I won’t soon forget. And full of laughter. I will always remember his birth has one of laughter! A beautiful foreshadowing of our life with him. We brought our Shasta home to sunflowers and zinnias.

I remember looking at him and thinking, “I can’t believe he’s real.” And I remember the moment I realized we’d have our Shasta-boy past the newborn stage. We had our son for keeps. I remember feeling that certain sadness all mothers feel when realizing your child won’t stay this little baby forever, but I also remember realizing how exciting it would be to have conversations with him as a young man.

And so time moves as it does and I find myself in the garden on August 1st again.

Shasta has outgrown his yellow boots and walks around in his blue ones. The sunflowers are towering giants. The zinnias are begging for attention. The garden needs some tending. I cut the zinnias and stop his young hand from picking the one not yet bloomed! Such earnest “help!” I place the cut zinnias in water and hand him his own to stick in the water too. Soon after I begin trimming out spent flowers. I reach across the flower bed to give my son the old and done flowers to put in our weed bucket which will soon be stored in his red wagon along with a piece of bark he found. He says “tank u!” multiple times as flower stems and old things cross from me to him.

We are gardening together.

It must make God smile to see it. . .

Two years later the woman who scribbled dreams on a piece of paper has a jar of zinnias, a bucket of spent flowers, a son to garden alongside, and a baby daughter nearby. Over the years, time has felt both cruel and beautiful. But with God it has always gone to good places. Somehow in His miraculous, healing, redemptive, and purposeful work, He made the barren woman sing before children and then made her a joyful mother of them.

Shasta, Heidi, and I fumble through the garden gate in the unlikely cool of an August morning. We’re a fun group, but not a very graceful one! Two’s a party, three’s a crowd as they say.

Naturally, I disagree.

Shasta runs around in his blue toddler boots or crocs depending. Heidi experiences the garden for her first spring and summer. In many ways, I toddle too as I experience so many firsts as a mother. Nonetheless, I water and watch us all grow.

The story unfolds vibrantly, and I have found it is the zinnias who tell the time.

Two whole years.

Then and now.

All to good places. The zinnias tick away this lovely mayhem of life. And we grab hold. With gusto. With flowers on the kitchen table.

I think I have a new tradition every first of August.