{why i can’t have nice things} inaugural post

18 Feb

“A weekly, or as close as I can get to weekly, ritual (who am I kidding that I think I can do this every week). Some photos – with or without tons of explanation – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A moment that makes me remember why exactly it is that I can’t have nice things (but someday will).”

**A twisted step-cousin twice-removed of www.soulemama.com‘s {this moment}.


Recently, I have been professing my love for Amanda Soule to anyone who will listen. She is an expert and (seemingly) effortless blogger, wife, book author, back yard ice rink maker, crafter, baker, mother, photographer, pregnant person, decorator, knitter…seriously, she is all these things. For real. She is the perfect fusion of the very best parts of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Martha Stewart, Louise Dickinson Rich, and St. Ann. While I can honestly say that I’ve never wanted to be someone other than me…if I absolutely had to choose someone with whom to trade lives, I mean absolutely had to choose, it would be with Amanda Soule (or a member of the Go-Go’s circa 1982; tossup).

Of course, I don’t know Mrs. Soule–holdup, who are we kidding? In my mind I think of her as…Amanda–but I’ve been thinking about Amanda a lot lately. Sometimes late at night my mind starts racing and I think I am failing at something (or everything). Like parenting, or organizing my dog’s vaccine records, or folding fitted sheets, or how’s my Netflix queue?, or should we try to read something other than Walter the Farting Dog before bedtime?…and I’m like, “Boy, I bet Amanda Soule has this stuff down.” In the last few weeks I’ve made some broad and sweeping assumptions and a few wild ass suppositions about my new hero. I’d like to share them with you:

  • I don’t think Amanda Soule raises her voice a lot. (Only when shouting for her family to come in from making an igloo in the back woods to enjoy some healthy beef barley soup paired with rustic sourdough bread fresh from the brick hearth.)
  • I bet that she eats a LOT of leafy greens and hardly *ever* eats Swedish fishies. Well, unless celebrating Sveriges nationaldag and within the confines of a candy smörgåsbord laid upon a vintage robin’s egg blue side table. Peppered with lots of penny candy.(Hello? Can you say Charleston Chew?)
  • I would imagine that she has decoupaged something in the last four days. And she has also probably actively included her (very well-behaved) children in this activity, donning their oilcloth art smocks that were hanging from assigned hooks in the crackle-painted art cubbie.
  • I am certain that all of her kids’ belongings are labeled with cute little hand-embroidered tags. And everything smells like fresh-picked cotton.
  • I think she can make her own soap. It is branded with her initials. And when you use it on your face, you hear that sound that’s played when someone smiles in a toothpaste commercial.
  • I imagine that if I ever visited Amanda for a weekend, there would be a little package wrapped in plain brown paper waiting for me on my front doorstep when I got home. Inside that package would be the following: a.) hand-written recipes of all the meals we shared together at the large family dining table made of wide-planked barn-wood salvaged from her family’s homestead in the Berkshires b.) four (4) dozen Moravian ginger cookies c.) a tasteful little chapbook of some photos of our weekend held in by archive quality photo corners d.) a crocheted coffee cup cozy with a stylized deer antler motif stitched into it and e.) the rest of my Valium prescription that I had accidentally forgotten on the night table of her guest room.

Now, as much as I admire Amanda Soule and wish that I could be more like her, the simple truth is: I am not Amanda Soule. Try as I might, I just don’t think I am crafty enough, nice enough or–well–*good* enough. Now, maybe this is crazy talk. Maybe I have been hoodwinked by her photos, taken with the most astute aperture settings that would make a photo of a dog humping a throw pillow look charming. And maybe, just maybe, I’m just wearing the wrong boots to feed my chickens. Certainly a candy apple red pair of wellies might put a little jaunt in my step and bring out the healthy pink glow in my cheeks. And seriously, if I planned all my meals in a journal covered in vintage apron fabric tied with a ric rac bow, I might be off to a better start.

But again, no, I am not Amanda Soule. I am, oftentimes and more than I would like to be, the *exact opposite* of who I think Amanda Soule might be. I am disheveled, unorganized, not pregnant, have a penchant for wearing camouflage clothing, improbably overcome with tasks that never seem to be completed, unskilled at using the manual setting of my camera to soften the pictures of my kids picking their noses, and–let’s put it on the table–pretty loud.

However, I still turn to her for inspiration. Every week at http://www.soulemama.com Amanda Soule uploads a photo entitled {this moment}. As she explains it, {this moment} is “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.” She beckons her readers to try to capture their own moment and to share that moment. How lovely!

I tried to do this, I really did. But what ended up happening, was that I was trying too hard. Out of 100 moments I captured, maybe one was “simple, special, or extraordinary” but it was very rarely my favorite moment of the week, and was usually precluded from posting due to, oh just as an example, capturing a child drop-kicking his brother while wearing a helmet and three-times-too-big gardening gloves in some sort of unintentional nod to hobo fighting. More often than not, my would-be moments were out of focus, borderline offensive, touting potentially dangerous activities, inordinately physical in nature, and sometimes downright tactless.

Remember, there are very valid reasons that I (kind of affectionately and jokingly just so I don’t cry) refer to my three young sons as dingoes.

However, these are MY moments. I think that Amanda would approve of me simply trying to capture a piece of my life…and that I am. While I’m sure we are very different, we both share a love of our family and a desire to create a better space for them. So in that spirit, I bring you my weekly post titled {why i can’t have nice things}:

“A weekly, or as close as I can get to weekly, ritual (who am I kidding that I think I can do this every week). A single photo – with or without tons of explanation – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A moment that makes me remember why exactly it is that I can’t have nice things (but someday will).”

So for the inaugural post, I bring you, the homemade mallet we had to confiscate from one of our 7-year-old twins this week. My husband and I have absolutely no idea where it came from, it is most obviously hand-hewn, and one kid was using it to (attempt to) hit another kid with. Look for next week’s {why i can’t have nice things}, there might just be an anvil headlining in it.

I heart you Amanda Soule, but I still do struggle believing that you are real.




6 Responses to “{why i can’t have nice things} inaugural post”

  1. Christy @ cat fur to make kitten britches February 20, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Oh my, this made me laugh! I have been a loyal Soule Mama reader for years, though sometimes, I’m not sure if I feel better or worse after reading her posts. I can’t sew, I can’t knit, I could never homeschool (the mere thought of summer vacation gives me hives), my kids eat commercial cereal and other assorted junk food, they play with plastic toys and wear clothes from Target…..Yep, I’m no Amanda Soule either. Glad to meet another who is also *not* her.

    • motherallie February 20, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

      So funny, I totally agree with you about the feelings she stirs in me after reading! I still love her, but her “powers” elude me….
      : )

  2. motherallie February 20, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    And thank you for your comment!! I’m also really enjoying your blog!!!

  3. Amy B. February 28, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    If Amanda Soule and Kelly Oxford had a love child and that love child learned to question, speak her own mind, crack inappropriate jokes and laugh when most might cry, it would certainly resemble you, Mother Allie. You got a little of both but certainly are all your own.

  4. Christy @ cat fur to make kitten britches March 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    Allie – I just came upon this blog post, and it made me think of you. Thought you might enjoy knowing there are others out there who feel pretty much the same way!


    • motherallie March 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

      Thanks for sharing…”we” are not alone (ha ha) I still love her though!!!

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