Keep It Together

comments: 44















Hello! Guys!!! Thank you thank you for all of the Secret Garden orders! I'm so grateful — seriously, thank you. I've been here for the past week and a half, watching them roll in and now we are getting organized, placing orders for packaging and labels and materials. So things are happening here, and all the crazy parts and pieces of these projects are starting to come together, and I thank you, so, so much, for all of your kind comments and your orders! I'm really excited, and just so grateful for your support. You can't imagine. Thank you.

This week has been pretty discombobulated. We had two two-hour snow delays, and one totally cancelled snow day. The snow day was lame because there actually wasn't any snow. There was ice, and some wind, and a bunch of minuscule snowflakes that whirled but never really landed or stuck. Mimi and I had been in each other's pockets for days and days. By the time school got cancelled yesterday, I was pretty much wiped. I would've liked nothing better than to sit and watch twelve straight hours of Fixer Upper. Instead I just let her do whatever she wanted. It was too icy cold to play outside. I made breakfast, and then cleaned up. I made tomato soup, and slightly burned grilled-turkey-and-Swiss sandwiches, and then cleaned up. I made a snack, then cleaned up. I made fish sticks and broccoli for dinner and then cleaned up. When I wasn't cooking and cleaning up I read Missing, Presumed while lying diagonally on the sofa while Amelia tried to catch a fly with a handled strainer for forty-five minutes. She painted and drew. She dumped everything out, looking for some random thing. I don't remember what. She found fifty other things she needed. We've been reading eight books a night at bedtime. I put another comforter on her bed last night because it's been so cold and the kid was asleep like a bug in a rug the minute her head hit the pillow. Cabin fever, caught in only a matter of hours, is for reals. 

Only children. They can really wipe you out sometimes. When I come careening back downstairs in my nightgown after putting her to bed I swear I'm one almost-sob away from sobbing with relief. If any of the animals happen to be sitting on the sofa, they see me coming, hair streaming behind me and my eyes ablaze like a bird of prey, focused on my spot, and they get the hell out of the way stat. MAKE. WAY. MOTHER IS FIFTY.

Evening project: Using up my yarn stash. My stash is made up of a million partial balls yarn. Almost nothing has a label. Totally impractical stash. Good for making nothing but stuffed puffins, pears, and hot water bottles.


Oh, how I remember those days of having little ones! And just totally crashing after they go to bed. I promise you...those days are so fleeting. It all seems like a gazillion years ago...and how I'd love to have just one of those days and nights back. They're home safe and sound. You know where they are. They aren't driving (did they crash?). They aren't having sex. They aren't drinking or experimenting with drugs. They aren't navigating relationships or asking to go to parties (or sneaking out). As exhausting as it is, please try to savor every moment of the innocence of childhood. xoxo

Heather Johnson says: February 28, 2019 at 12:06 PM

This post totally made me chuckle--yes motherhood feels exactly like the sometimes! I also have been meaning to comment to make sure you knew about the book Mandy by Julie Andrews. A few weeks ago you mentioned a book list from years ago for your daughter and I went back and looked at the list and didn't see it on there. You would LOVE it. My daughter read it when she was 9 or 10 I believe so Amelia is probably still a bit young but when she's ready it's a wonderful book.

I hear you, Alicia! This mama of two preschoolers is forty and I feel every minute of it at the end of a snow day! We have had tons of these, plus so many sick days here in Milwaukee this winter. Your house looks so cozy, though, and your knit and crochet projects are just lovely, esp. that hot water bottle. I keep piling blankets and comforters up on my 3-year-old daughter's bed in an attempt to lure her out of the pack n play where she insists on sleeping ("I want to sleep in my tiny bed!"), but so far it just works for cozying up for reading stories.

That after-putting-to-bed feeling! I zombie-walk from my daughter's room into the kitchen with my eyes wide and make a cup of decaf coffee almost every night. I can't even talk for several minutes. I glare at my husband if he tries to converse with me. And she's only 14 months!

Oh it's exactly like that, I know. Utterly, utterly exhausting. That moment, however brief, of sinking silently into the sofa, absolute bliss. Hoping for some warm sunshine for you soon. CJ xx

This made me laugh SO hard! I mean, belly laugh that I cannot stop—almost pee my pants—face hurts kind of laughing. THank you. It’s been a long time since I was snowbound with my kids, and the memories came flooding back. Again, thank you!

Oh hun! Hang in there and breathe. I learned to knit to help me keep my sanity during the winter with a toddler.
And I hear you about the scrappy stash - I'm really embracing it just now and honestly having fun thinking up things to make with all the leftovers.

I can totally relate to having an only child. Oh my goodnes - you basically just desribed how I am most every night after my daughter goes to be. So funny, as I have a spot on the sofa too, and I can't wait to sink down in it at night. She's almost ten - next month - and it does just a bit easier, but they basically look to you for everything since there are no brothers or sisters to play with. Sweet times, but also very busy and demanding at times. Hang in there, Alicia, you are not alone my friend.

I had to laugh out loud as I read your post today. Because, for the last 25 days my husband Mike and I have been pet sitting two 4 month old Scottish Terrier puppies, ALONG with our 8 month old Scottie. Let me say I would have traded places with you in a heartbeat. Your three snow days (potty training puppies in the snow is a hoot) for our 25days of waking up at 5am to barking puppies wanting to be feed and pottyed. We're in our 60's & 70's. (smile)
Take a deep breath from your toes up then breathe out slowly. Believe me, it works wonders.

That second-from-last photo with Mimi next to her dollhouse: I noticed the paper doll on the wall. This brought back memories of my children endlessly making paper dolls, inspired by the book The Paper Princess by Elisa Kleven. Seems like the kind of book you would like! And how cute is it that Mimi has a photo of you and Andy propped up while she paints?

This is my first winter without any children living at home. Snow days have made me feel a little sad and lonely, but I sure remember the reality of having them home all day.

as exhausting as mothering and homeschooling my five darlings is, I always think that mothers of only children have it so much harder when their chldren are young. you’re all they’ve got at home and being everything to someone is so draining. exhilirating and wonderful, but draining all the same. hang in there, mama! spring is coming!

Oh this made me laugh too - I can see it vividly - animals making a break for it:)

We've had the same school closures up in Corbett... so much snow predicted.. so little tiny flakes show up. It's kind of comical.. except you have to give up your "me time" and I'm retired and get to crochet by the fire. :-) I love your tidy dollhouse.. mine needs a dusting badly. I'm ready for Spring. My poor snowdrops are stoically standing there waiting for warmth so they can open. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

If it helps, or supports, or gives you a glimmer of hope, know this: It's all good, even the hard stuff, and you will miss it, and I think you are being brilliant.

I still remember the day you’ve brought her home and now she’s standing smiling lost her front tooth already and so big! This is miracle! I love that cozy winter days in your house. And I love that Pica Pau crocheted animals, they are sweet, I actually ordered that book from Amazon just yesterday. I really miss you walks in the woods, the nature around your place is fantastic. And the picture of you and Andy is so nice, you rarely show yourself here and you both look happy and funny on that photo.

I had 2 only children, both girls, born 10 years apart. The struggle is real!

You are so funny! I love your writing and your pictures! Your blog is just a cozy, happy, lovely place. I always feel better after I visit your blog, so thank you so much for providing a little spot of love and happiness. Wishing you all the best, to you and all your loves, human and furry.

My children were born twelve years apart. I tell everyone it was God's sense of humor for my child of middle age was an ADHD boy and my child of my younger years was an easy to raise girl.

People were always telling me that it must be so easy to raise an only child (for both were pretty much only children due to the age difference). Not! I think it is much more difficult because one is not only mother but has many hats to wear.

Now that they are both grown up, it made for a lovely relationship with adult kids.

Stefanie Price says: March 01, 2019 at 07:18 AM

LOVE these photos...and everything they show...REAL life happening! ALWAYS REAL!...Thank you for your transparency...and for keeping it real...not a magazine shoot where everything is in its place...You show life like we all live it...for me that means dirt/dust on the baseboards...and on the tables...and PLEASE do not open any closets!!! Do remember, these years are fleeting!...DO NOT let the ogre of perfection in...he is NOT out for your good, nor the good of your family!!...Keep them close!!

When did Mimi lose a tooth? I must have missed something in your blog.

I love reading about your life together, and as an adoptive parent who is now a grandparent, I really appreciate that you have a relationship with Amelia's birth mother. Our two are from Korea and in spite of an intensive search, our younger daughter has been unable to locate any birth family. So I really know how important this connection is. It is too bad that some adoptive parents feel concerned that their child will feel conflicted. Our two know exactly who their parents are. And now that they are adults and parents themselves we are closer than ever.

Thanks for sharing your life story.

I almost cried reading this - my youngest daughter is moving out to her own apartment (she just graduated college) and I have that knot in stomach being a true empty nester. She even said to me Mom - you don't need to help me with setting up the apartment... I've got this. GULP. My point? Just know this all goes WAY TO FAST - cabin fever and all. (But I remember those days too and they were hard)


Michele Holmes says: March 01, 2019 at 09:52 AM

Oh boy, do I remember those days!! Our 2 sons are grown and gone … we've been "empty nesters" for 8 1/2 years … but I'm STILL tired!! Hangeth thou in there, Sister. You'll be able to schedule YOUR daily naps before you know it.

Susan from Tsawwassen says: March 01, 2019 at 11:28 AM

Lovely post!!

Oh my goodness, I'm laughing so hard reading this post. As mothers, we can SO relate! I'm sitting here visualizing you coming down the stairs as described and I laugh even harder, we've all been there!

Have a great day, my friend!

I'm 49 and have an only kid and SHE IS SO EXHAUSTING. I LOVE HER BUT SHE IS SO EXHAUSTING. She's 13 now and just as exhausting as ever LOL LOL. I second the advice to read, but to wait a smidge, the book Mandy - it's the BEST BOOK and she'll appreciate it even more when she's a teensy bit older. Hang tough Mama. Yay it's March!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.