In the Street

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Today was the end of summer block party. Not only did we wake to a moon bounce at the foot of the driveway, but promises of sno-cones, face painting, fire trucks, and pinatas. We watched people start mingling in the street and brewed a pot of very strong coffee. I steeled myself for injuries in the moon bounce and tears if the pinata broke before they got a swing, and ventured out into the neighborhood. Surprisingly, the attraction that excited the children the most was the street. Playing in the street! No cars, no rules, no holding hands. To just run out your front door and continue on without fear of bodily harm or a panicky mother. How often do the children get the freedom to just go? To go out the front door and keep on going? I wish it was a more frequent option. But it is not, not on our street.

Oh how quickly came the urge to relocate to a place with more space and slower roads. To give the children the freedom of a world that truly is theirs to explore. Surely that is not the only option. What changes I can make here, right now. Can their days be less restrictive? Can I give them a world of open roads, rather than doling it out in small safe pieces?

Leif, I know, was hooked on the street. We play "mommy grabs me as I step off the sidewalk into the road" every single morning. Today he just stepped off and kept on walking. Up and down the block repeatedly. Finally he lay down on the asphalt and stared at the sky. And he was so happy. Maybe it was simply the novelty of new experience, but I doubt it. Definitely time to stop and consider how their world appears to them, and make certain it is the world I want them to be living in.

Park Day

Our first fall park day!! It was only sixty-five degrees, and we got to wear long sleeves. There was a crispness to the breeze today that brought a high park activity level. Adults were chatting and kids were running, throwing sticks, and swinging from vines. Everyone seemed to hear fall saying, "Hurry! Hurry! Winter is coming. Run and climb and dance and shout before it gets cold!" I guess the squirrels aren't the only ones getting the message.
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Building Boats

You have one cloudy rainy day.  Good for getting wet and busy building.  Now take two girls, one barrel of water, add a bucket of recyclables and a roll of tape.  What do you get? Sailboats, submarines, passenger ships, and a barrage of questions. How long will they float?  How much water can they hold?  How much air? Will acorns make them sink?  What about rocks?  Which float better, tall ones or wide ones? What do we do when the tape gets too wet? Do they work in the rain? Lets race them and sink them!  Oh how well my internal science teacher will sleep tonight. 


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Reworking the Plan

I had a plan for today. It was well thought out and practical. It included friends and classes and a lot of time outdoors. A way to begin our "school" year with intention and purpose. However, my fabulous plan neglected to account for THE plan. THE plan I have no control over. THE plan my life is following without my input. THE plan included a child with a fever,  a cancelled party, and a class that no longer has a classroom. Thus we found ourselves adrift and alone, sitting in a house that was not prepared to host us for the entire day.   We spent an hour or two of total aimlessness.  Our heads were unfocused, and our hearts were aching from our morning disappointments.  So we gave the day over to our hands.  Anna decorated doll hair accessories, and sewed her doll a purse, complete with library card.  Mia sat down with an embroidery hoop, and quietly placed careful stitches for most of the afternoon, while her doll kept watch over the yard. Her embroidery pattern was "just the way my hands told me to go".  An elaborate doll party followed, with set up and decorations occupying us straight through until bedtime.  We approached day's end contented and calm, thankful that our working hands had quieted our minds and steadied our emotions. They allowed us to experience the beautiful day that is, even when it isn't part of the plan.

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Flashes of Summer

Labor day weekend is come, and Summer is on her way out.  I am enjoying the last few days in her presence, but cannot say honestly that Fall is unwelcome.  It was a short summer.  Slow to warm up and wild once arrived.  We spent more days indoors watching lightening and rushing water than we did out in the sun.  Those indoor days were well spent.  We read and crafted and played. Anna and her friend Frankie, even took their first real shot a sewing their own clothes - skirts that fit well and were worn frequently.   But Summer needs to BE like Summer, and the hot clear moments were rare.  When they came we ran out eagerly, and in the end Summer's promise was fulfilled. We gardened, hiked, picked flowers, and even discovered toads living under our tomatoes. We played with friends and family, and were generally rather lazy.  Appropriately lazy.  But already I feel the cool breezes in the morning, and with them a new energy.  A doing energy.   Time to get out and get busy and enjoy what may be becoming my favorite time of the year.

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Shore Living

At the shore, for two entire weeks. Nine children, laughing, running, digging, splashing. Seven adults: moms and dads, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, all together. Everyone enjoying the weather, enjoying the chaos. It is a magic time, a time to live in a perfect world. Where the family is a tight knit community. Where cousins are housemates, playmates, and helpmates. It isn't the relaxing vacation we used to have, of cheap paperbacks and long naps in the sun. But its something better. A chance to share who you are with those you love the most for days on end, in the most beautiful of surroundings.


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In her bag

 So tomorrow starts our vacation.  Tonight I am packing up and sorting. I picked up Mia's beach bag, which she packed herself yesterday, an was shocked that it weighed about ten pounds.  Suddenly needing  to inspect the contents, I emptied it onto the table.  

Mia packed:
1 deflated beach ball
1 pair of goggles
1 plastic crocodile
1 wooden duck
1 pair of binoculars
1 kazoo
1 REALLY HUGE ROCK

As tempted as I was to "repack" it for her, it went in the car just the way it was.  It is her vacation, in her world, and I wouldn't change her expectations for anything.



Guilty Reads

We are doing so much this week. Packing, cleaning, playing. And we have been crafting up a storm. Notebooks, painting, skirts, bags, etc! Yet, as I move through the day trying to check more things off my to do list, I keep sneaking off to read Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. Now, I've already read this book twice. I've read the entire series and I am awaiting book seven in September. I honestly don't know why this book had to come down off the shelf now. I know better! I've lived through the Jamie and Claire obsession before. But this weekend, I was snuggling Leif for a nap, and I couldn't help opening it up. Just to read one good scene. Several hours and several wonderful chapters later, I finally put it away. Maybe it was celebrating our wedding anniversary that set me on this path. After all it is the marriage between Jamie and Claire that makes the book such a keeper. But now I am wandering around my house, trying to return to the present, guiltily thinking about the next scene. I keep imagining these characters are right around the corner. Maybe there is a truth to the saying "too much of a good thing." This book is so good, I can hardly function. I was going to bring it to the beach, but I think I'd better leave it behind. I mean, I want to enjoy MY vacation. MY life! If Jamie and Claire come with me my days will be spent engrossed in their lives. Fictitious lives. I really don't want to miss the real thing. Its better by far.


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When you need a baby flamingo

Often, someone around here needs something. Needs something so badly that our day is otherwise intolerable. Today that something was a baby flamingo. We had a mommy flamingo, a lovely nest, and a shiny seashell egg. The egg was bouncing and shaking, but there was no baby to hatch out of it. I was presented with two options. One: make a baby flamingo. Two: make Mia a flamingo costume, so that she could be the baby. But either had to happen quickly! The egg was really getting restless and the mommy was looking worried. So we decided to make a woolie. A woolie is the new name we have for any crude wool creature made in ten minutes or less. Luckily, I had some pink wool (that we dyed this winter) and needles close at hand. I hesitate to call this needle felting, because that actual amount of felting occurring is almost negligible. A few pokes here and a stab there, and POW you have something that roughly resembles a pink bird. Suddenly imagination steps in, and delight takes over. My baby girl looks at me with magic eyes, grabs her woolie, and screams "the baby is hatching!" Flamingo baby was cuddled and sung to and fed all day.  Thats a whole lot of soul for a little ball of fluff.



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Independence Day

The 4th of July. A day spent with family, not fighting crowds. For eating, talking,and lounging.

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A day for peering over the back fence to watch the neighbors party. (Apparently they had a dunk tank!)

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A day for fireworks and celebration. For making your own moment sparkle.

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A day spent singing and laughing. Listening to Anna belt out "America the Beautiful" all the way home in the car. And Mia's history recap in a song: "Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue! I am so glad England didn't win. Because then we wouldn't be Americans and I wouldn't be here at all." Me too, Mia, me too.

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