Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scattered Showers

Listening to Dar Williams' live album on shuffle on my computer is a bit like my mind lately. She tells a story, a lead to a song and just as you are geared up to listen to it, the next track shifts and it is shuffled to some other tune of hers not the one you were expecting. Today I am here alone working while my fam is off doing other tasks and my mind spins with how to maximize this alone time. School work was a "must do" and I had to force myself to sit in the corner and not get up until all progress was written, saved and such. I made the most of such tediousness with a full glass of coffee, windows open, fall weather gracing me with its presence. Then as I finished and I realized it was drops of rain I was now hearing...there was Dar singing about the "Beauty of Rain". It was just like her bit about the yellow school bus driving by. If you haven't heard her live album, I highly recommend listening.

Her beautiful voice is filling up my house as I type and as I catch a glimpse of her lyrics amidst my spinning thoughts and typing fingers I am almost brought to tears in such a beautiful way that only those magical moments can bring. Its like when I was playing upstairs with the kids this morning and Leprechaun was being rescued by Wedding Barbie and Ken from Mason's handmade Leprechaun trap.

"Tell her there is an opening at the top!" "Hooray!" they shouted.

Sounds random and bizarre for those that weren't there, but to me it was a bit of heaven. Like spying Ellie and Mason returning from their adventure with Dad yesterday and announcing, "Mommy we have tea set for everyone. You, Mason, Daddy, and Me." I first heard, "Mommy we got pizza for everyone..." Then even better, not pizza, but their 1st tea set. Josh later informed it was given to them by a Grandmother at a yard sale that didn't want to sell it, she just wanted someone to have it that would truly LOVE having it. Even better. This morning, Ellie, Mason, Tiny Teddy, and Baby Stella had a lovely tea party in the center of the living room. They love it indeed. That Grandma would be proud.

Speaking of Grandmas, I have been thinking about mine a lot lately. The kids wanted to play pirates the other day and they asked to wear some necklaces. I love to see them loving these pieces. I imagine my grandmas smiling as they sing "Yo ho, yo ho, a Pirate's life for me..." as they head off on their latest adventure. I cherish these little treasures that allow me to remember and share about how they were meaningful in my life. Mason asked me again at dinner how my Grandma died. He is trying to figure it all out. Aren't we all?

Josh bought me a hat yesterday. A nod to fall and the season to come. I am thinking of Mason's birthday and my family visiting to share in this joyful day. I look at this picture below and am moved by it. Many women probably wouldn't post it, as it highlights lines. But to me these lines are family. I remember growing up, staring at my grandparents and their lines. Their lines showed their life they lived and I remember them deeply like the lines they had. I saw these lines on my mom and I wondered if one day I would have them and yep, here they are. I guess I am living deeply, I have the lines to prove it!

Bring on the fall, family, love! Live deeply!

Monday, September 19, 2011


So it dawned on me the other day when someone asked me how old my kids are and I said that Mason is 4 and a half that he isn't really 4 and a half anymore. He is really almost 5. Less than a month away actually. Here he is my almost 5, growing up boy. I would tell you more about the missing tooth, but it is late and I need to get some sleep...more to come.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Highs and Lows

A couple of years ago a woman told me about a family tradition they had of sharing their highs and lows of the day at the dinner table. I had tucked this idea away in my brain and it surfaced early this evening while lying on the floor with Ellie and Mason. I was invited to read a story and take a spot on the floor with a pillow. We put our feet up on the couch and lay reading a favorite of ours by Lauren Child. I love all our Lauren Child books. This one was a Charlie and Lola tale, one that hits quite close to home Whoops! But it Wasn't Me. I love to play with British voices of this brother sister team and as I was reading the second time through, the story continued and my mind took note of how this was a true high of my day. Laying there bringing the story to life with my two, kicking my feet and letting the busy of the world wait.

As my mind relished in the moment, it then began to plan ahead and think of how highs and lows would be a topic tomorrow. I began to search for other ideas that stood out from the day. As we ate at the table, I had the sudden urge to get my haircut. Ellie had fallen asleep early and I thought I would take a chance and see if there was a last minute appointment available. So at 6:50 pm I booked a 7:00 pm time and got ready to make a dash to the salon. Mason told me as I jetted out, "Mommy have a good haircut and don't let them cut off all your hair or you'll be bald like Uncle Chris." The things he comes up with...another high.

So I arrive to meet my new hairstylist. She walks up with the funkiest tights/socks/not sure what they are exactly called. This Friday is Silly Sock Day so I am intrigued instantly and am wondering where to purchase such fancy legs. Before I can realize that the comment may sound weird I say to her, "I like your legs." As it floats in the air, I almost laugh out loud at how it may have sounded odd. So I divert the bizarro and talk about how they are intriguing tights. As the time passed I discovered her love of art and nature and creativity. I have found a stylist that I SO relate to. I may even be interested enough to book another appointment with enough advance notice to request her. I can't make any promises, but yet another high. We blabbed about gardens and art and both parted feeling inspired. I left with less hair and a lifted spirit.

On the drive home I was listening to music and rolled the windows down, opened the sunroof and let the warm, evening wind dance through my short springy curls. While the song sang "running" three people ran by on the sidewalk and I took note of how the same had happened with a solo runner on my way to the shop. We keep getting higher.

I got home to find my boys playing a board game with Tiny Teddy. Mason quickly shared with me how many aphids he and Tiny Teddy had collected. Then we brushed teeth, tested the wiggly-ness of the loose tooth and were off to snuggle with more stories. It is a bit of magic to watch him doze off to sleep. It makes me wonder what he'll be dreaming of.

So I am not sure what the lows are...I think I'll pass on those, for I have been chatting too often of that which is frustrating and it clouds my images of that which is joyful. I will close with a snippet of a couple weeks ago when Mason discovered hidden treasure in the garage. From back in the day when my friend gave me these Gym Girls they have been tucked away for one day to be revealed. The day came and it was hysterical. I will have to upload the video as the still photos don't quite do it justice to the true potential of these high quality items. To all my rowing friends...I think we didn't go quite glam enough. Check out these girls.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Where to begin...

This weekend has been filled with so many memorable moments I don't quite know where to begin. Saturday morning Mason discovered some pain in his mouth which marked the beginning of his first loose tooth. As he was talking to Uncle Chris on the phone, sharing his big news, his face went blank and the conversation stopped. His mind was whirring and then he said, "I have to go, talk to Mommy." He was off to make his plan for his tooth fairy pillow. He grabbed some paper and a marker and drew a wand that needed to be sewn onto the pillow. I took out some fabric that we had and he told me, "It will have to be pink, her dress is pink, so she must love pink. Everything will have to be pink so she will come." We found some pink flower fabric remnants from a sundress we made for our friend Gretchen years ago and set to work. Mason cut some pieces and we set up our machine. Ellie helped us sew it all and Mason stuffed it. "Now I will have to keep this until my tooth falls out."

That afternoon we headed out for pizza and stopped to get Ellie a costume I saw last weekend. She had a gift card from her birthday that needed to be spent and now the costumes were on sale, so I couldn't resist and bought her two. That evening I showed her one and she fell in love with it instantly and became Ladybug Girl. We went exploring outside just in time to see the neighbors ride their horses down the street.

Today we decided we needed a family adventure day. A mini-get away to forget about how the house is not clean and there is yard work to be done. It would and could all wait while we escaped. We packed a picnic and our swim gear and we were off. We weren't completely sure where we would end up and I think that was part of the fun. We ended up near Coloma and found a lovely spot for our picnic lunch. Mason made his "happy" little lunch.

Ellie and I were quite entertained by it. As the meal went on the facial expressions changed with the various peppers he found.

After lunch we hiked down to the river and found a rocky spot where we'd be sheltered from the strong current on the other side of the granite rocky island we found. Ellie took me by the hand and we were off into the chilly water.

We climbed and climbed and slid down the smooth stone.

And then we climbed some more.

Josh explored the wonders of the river, panned for gold, and Mason experienced it all.

I love watching the world as they explore. They look so deeply at what they find.

Josh made "paint" with some stones they found.

We hiked back and a tired Ellie took a short snooze before heading back to town. We decided to go hunting for Mason's costume.

What could end this magical day better than Peter Pan and Tinkerbell scootin' around the yard?

"Ellie, your wand is AWESOME!" exclaimed Mason.

"Good boy, good boy," says a loving Ellie. We'll stay home and play with you tomorrow, Onyx.

Hoorah for 3 day weekends!

I hope yours is grand!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Hit the Ground Running

The other day I was at an after school training for an Arts Grant that I am participating in. Josh and the kids came to pick me up at the end of a REALLY long day. They were all as exhausted as I was and the ride was a bit of a roller coaster, but instead of the manic screaming that sometimes ensues at that time of a long, napless day, the kids were "rockin' out".

Mason: "Mommy, we've been rockin' out. You want to see it."
Me: "Of course I do."
Mason: "Daddy, put that song on."

What came next was one of those moments where I wished I had a hidden camera to capture it all. I will have to rely on my memory to bring about a smile as I picture Ellie's groovy, little car seat dance which literally made me laugh out loud. Mason was laughing with his whole self. We all proceeded to laugh and hit repeat the whole way home.

A few days later, I was at an all day training for the same grant. Although The Arts are my passion, this day was challenging. I couldn't help, but feel overwhelmed by the task of teaching all these lessons to my group of students. I left that day with a heavy heart. I got into the car and hurried to meet up with the kids for the short time I had before leaving them again to go to the preschool orientation for the whole evening.

I needed a laugh, so I put this song on and pictured that groovy girl of mine. Thumbs up, shoulders rolling, smile beaming. I realized I had no idea what the lyrics of the song were. A few lines caught my attention and I began to listen more intently. I was struck by the metaphors. I was needing a parachute, a way to stay hopeful and "hit the ground running."

That night we visited with friends, new and old at the preschool orientation. As we walked through the door we were wowed by the giant picture of Ellie gracing the presentation screen. It was from the last day of school party last spring when she was covered in paint in the art area. A true beauty, in the zone of creativity. I couldn't help but get misty-eyed. As the evening progressed I was gathering, collecting, refueling my soul.

In the teaching profession I have found that I can never learn enough. I will constantly be seeking ways to better my practice. Each year there are the constants and then just when you think you have things figured out, you are faced with new challenges that force to to question yourself and what you do.

This week has been a test of strength and endurance. On Thursday night, I gave my Back to School Night presentation. I took inspiration from all my mentors and models over time and spoke from the heart about what I have come to realize are my true constants. It is my hope to share the wisdom I have gained about childhood. It is this that will continue to drive my teaching.

Today was the first day of the rest of my school year. I felt alive again. I felt the true passion I have for teaching. I got goosebumps as we sang and the eye contact reached my soul. I moved through my room of artists and they shared their insights and creations. I am no longer falling...I am hitting the ground running.