impossibleway: (Barefeet)
It is a fair weather Holy Week here, a quiet sort of waiting for the burst of life that is Easter.  We have plans for a picnic, like last year, and we'll visit cemeteries, as we have done in previous years.  If Easter is the promise of new life, spending some time with people who have ended this one is fitting, I think.  I'll admit that the world feels especially heavy right now, and I know I'm certainly not alone in that feeling.  I was considering last night how it is that I can show the children that the world is good and beautiful in the midst of this messy world.  I came across this poem again and it is wonderful encouragement.

Palm Sunday

I guess the best thing is to keep moving, to do the the home things and the comforting things.

Bread Cockerel

So, warm milk with cinnamon and honey and bread cockerels on Palm Sunday.

Wheat Grass

Throw a few wheat grains into a dirt-filled manure frisbee and pour on water and hope.

Nature Table

And flowers.  Always flowers.  They just can't help themselves.  They bring every last one home.

Chalkboard

I know a lot is made of parents trying to recapture their youth in their children, mainly in the name of sports or social pursuits.  Those, honestly, are not on my radar at all these days.  I suppose parenting, in some cases, is reliving your childhood.  You remember what it was like to feel a loose tooth, or the way the air smelled in Spring.  You recall the excitement over birthdays and the triumph of really being able to do something on your own.  Some like to think that youth is carefree, though I am seeing it is not really that way.  We all have our fears and our awkward feelings that started way back.  There are times that I wish I did not recall or feel so much, but I suppose those things are really assets to me on my way.

In the Sun

Feb. 20th, 2017 06:45 am
impossibleway: (Lazure Mama)

But now I am mostly at the window
Watching the late afternoon light.


~Billy Collins :: "On Turning Ten"

Watching Dust 2


I think this photo really captures where Willow is these days, watching dust motes in the late-day sun. There is something shifting within her, something changing, a tumble out of early childhood into this middle world where things don't feel quite right.  There was a good while where play was hard or disintegrating for her.  She wanted to join, but couldn't sink into things or struggled with conflict when she did.  The warm weather has been a help in that way--the children are spending a lot of time outside making up their own games.  I watched Willow take hold of something on the ground and give a tug over at the Roland Estate.  They spent a long time pulling wild onions and collecting many pine cones.  They were so involved in their play, they almost didn't notice as I walked by them.

I'm reading, among other things, I am Different from You, which is a book on middle childhood and the experiences children have around nine and ten.  I love the world of early childhood, who wouldn't?  But, there is more to life than things seen in a gauzy pinkness.  I still have two children there, of course, but Willow needs me in a different way.  The end of Autumn and beginning of Winter was characterized by nightmares, worry, and other oddities.  In a recent consultation, I was able to discuss her seeming fall from paradise and ways that we have coped with it.  Right on time, the third grade year will tackle this fall by grounding the child on Earth.  We're looking forward to all the gardening, spinning, dyeing, and other projects we might tackle, along with the long-awaited creation stories.

She was so sweet the other day, so full of wonder as she watched the sparkling dust.  Fairies--that's what she says they are.  I have no wish to tell her otherwise.  There are times that I think part of being a good adult is remembering what it is to be a child.
impossibleway: (Elsa Beskow Christmas)
Plein Air TreeI cannot bring myself to get rid of our tree.  Sure, I was fine with taking it out of the house to free up some space, but completely away?  Not yet.  It was such a dear tree, for some reason.  A little scraggly and assymetric, as if we had chosen it from the woods.  Around here, we have such a dearth of trees that many are overgrown.  The tops are cut out and the bottoms are left to be sold to wreath makers.  This tree was full size and just so sweet.  Hauling it out onto the front porch in the falling snow and taking down the lights on the house, well, I had to let it be here just a bit longer.  There are few things I like better than Christmas lights glowing in the snow.

All that sentimentality aside, January clicks!  It's been FOUR months since I shared any! As always, forgive me if I have shared any of these before.
And with that, it's time for me to get up and tidy up the scattered outerwear around the house.  Oh!  And chocolate shortbread!

Tree in the Morning

Humankind

Dec. 19th, 2016 06:12 am
impossibleway: (Advent Apple)
The fourth light of Advent, it is the light of humankind:
The light of hope, of thoughts and deeds, the light of hand, heart, and mind.


Four Lights

It's been a long wait, and now it feels as if there is no wait at all.  I have loose ends to tie up today and tomorrow, a flurry of making to do, but I feel hopeful that I can do it.  I've had some real lows and a few highs, so perhaps the excitement is past.  I am ready for some waiting and some celebration.

Christmas Pyramid

We had a little accident last week--the wooden mantel fell off the brick on it sits on.  Gone is the oil lamp, repaired is the Christmas pyramid (whew!) and saved were the glass mushroom and my precious silhouette lamp.  The treasured clock is a little splintered around the corners, but it looks fine if you don't stare too hard.  No one was hurt in all that glassy, oily mess, and that is the best of all.

Fourth Sunday Rainbow

We saw this beautiful rainbow yesterday morning, both ends!  We've had half a dozen since Election day, of all things, reminding us that there is Someone much greater in charge of things.  This one was the best, and it brought yet more nourishing rain.  I am beginning to think the terrible drought is lifting.

Nature Table

Sunday suppers are by candlelight now.  I've tried lighting the candle after supper, but that's a time when quiet reflection is not at its best.  It is so lovely to see the lights grow each week.  I am hoping to do our Advent spiral this evening, having waited for the cold to blow out and the wind to die down.  Yesterday started at sixty degrees and ended at thirty!

Four Candles

I'm learning, this year, about things I need to do to make things better for next year. It is always that way, isn't it?  There is nothing wrong with making gifts, but I need to start much earlier, like March.  I did a lot to keep the calendar clear this year and I think that was right--we really needed time to ourselves, to work on ourselves.  The children have been playing much better lately,  and the old creativity is seen once more.  I think, of all things, I used to be vain about how well my children played and dreamed.  It was a quiet vanity, but it was there, no less.  My hope for the coming week and the Twelve Days to follow is for more joyful times and more connection.  Laurel goes to the dentist today (say a prayer for her) and the plan is for me to work on some gifts with Roan.  I think it will be just perfect.
impossibleway: (Club Moss in the Leaves)
It feels almost as if a three-month fog has been lifted.  My back is hurting less at night, which is just wonderful, and I've found renewed emotional energy.  Our Thanksgiving meal went off without a hitch and the pressure of planning and hosting has passed.  The turkey smoked at record speed (perhaps it was all that extra smoke in the air), the sides were wonderful, the choice to have the meal in front of the crackling (indoor) fire was perfect.  The rest of the weekend was a bit of a headscratcher, but we had our good times.  Hiking, for instance, was a wonderful, windy high point.  Being one with nature makes unity so much easier.

Children's PyramidI feel like there's been some progress with Laurel lately.  I think it often really helps me to just to vocalize the simple fact that I am struggling with something and then the fog lifts and an clearer path is revealed.  Turns out, as usual, it was the same path I was on the whole time.  Children really need to feel emotionally connected much of the time and I have been running a little low on that lately.  I'm thankful that some of my energy has been freed up from tossing and turning and back pain.

Willow had some anxiety around Thanksgiving, for a variety of reasons, and it was worst at night.  I don't often say things like that in a public way, but I think it helps to share some ways that we have dealt with it.  We did talk about it some and Willow did share some honest feelings.  Time to play in a stress-free environment is one, and another would be carefully guarding quiet time when we have guests.  We all need time to recharge, after all.  We've been reading the stories about worry and nightmares from Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour this week, as well.  The main two have been "God's Garden" and "The Sky's Blue Cloak."  Those have wonderful imagery that would help to set anyone right.  Maybe they have been helping me, too?

You can see in the picture the Christmas pyramid I was able to get for the children.  Roan had admired it for years in this little tattered catalog he has.  It arrived damaged and the kind people at The Wooden Wagon offered to swap it or give me a discount if I was able to repair it.  I was, blessedly, since no one really wants something so pretty to end up in the trash.  I asked if they would send the special candles I forgot to order, instead of a discount, and they did.  Two boxes!  How kind they were!   Now we are set for many Christmases of watching the propeller and these little figures spin round and round.  St. Nicholas will bring this special gift.
impossibleway: (Waldorf Doll)
It's featherbed and hat and vest and shawl and blanket and slipper season. With all the funny end-of-world weather, it feels like it came up so suddenly. The children and I shivered and rushed through piling (free!) firewood into the car last night, as if we lived in Norway and a blizzard was on the wind.  I really want to hibernate and just stay home all the time.  I've been tired lately, not sleeping well and not sitting down enough, so quiet time at home has been almost non-negotiable.  Yesterday, I made Laurel and me cozy on my super-fluffy bed and covered us up with lot of blankets and put on a boiled wool vest and hat. It felt so nice just to sit on that cloud of feathers.  I started on the second half of the Icy Hombre poncho (which makes me laugh every time).

Napwork

And this girl, well, you can see what she did.  After a little singing and squirming for a few minutes, she went right off to sleep.  It won't be long until I can't put my handwork on a little person and take a picture.  I think of Laurel and how she has been, her beginnings, and how her whole desire for life seems so strong.  I think I want to do a child study on her since she is the subject of much consternation lately.  I think I could talk on and on about everything but crafting this morning.

Mobcaps and things

Here are some of last week's makings.  ALL THE MOBCAPS.  Mine is plaid, Willow's is violently white, and Laurel's is missing.  It has the sweetest blue clovers or mythic blue raspberries on it.  Here's one of the potholders that I am working on, too.  I'm mulling over the design now, though it was mostly sewn last year.  Oh, and there's the finished half of the Icy Hombre.  I'm really hoping to finish it this week so that I can start on the wonderful yarn that [livejournal.com profile] blakdove sent me yesterday.  I've got a long list of things to make that will depress me if I think too much on it, but I know I'll feel better to have it all out of the way.  I better get up and make something.

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.
impossibleway: (Little Pumpkin)
Can I go back, just for a little, to see the girl in yesterday's photos?  I know I was there for it all, truly, but it slipped away so quickly!  She's not grown, by any means, but it's obvious she's shifted from one season of life to the next.  Willow was so happy to be celebrated yesterday and the joy will continue today as Mike's parents join us for a "fake birthday."  The celebrations will continue for awhile and then it will be Laurel's birthday!

Birthday Ring

We always do gifts at breakfast, with hot chocolate, like in Noisy Village.

Birthday Girl

She got a quartz crystal necklace, a tootsie roll necklace,
some wee cookie cutters from The Wooden Wagon, and a new pair of slippers.
Not extravagant, but she is so pleased.  She really needed those slippers!

Half and Whole Birthdays

It was Roan's half birthday, too!

Eight Track Tape Cake

Here's her eight track tape cake.  I was saying that the band was The Jack O'Lanterns.
It was simple, which was just right.  Roan did the sprinkles.

Blowing Out the Candles

And now our girl is awake and it time to get down to the real business of being eight! Happy Friday!
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
It's been four months since I've rounded up my links!  What a Summer it has been and now, it's just about gone.  Our little world is covered in a dense fog this morning and it is good to see the humidity return.  We had heavy rain yesterday morning (and the night before!) and we are all so thankful.  I had this lovely picture of the nature table and it just called for some clicks to go beside it.
Mike told me this weekend how much he loves the nature table.  Me, too.  I think way, way back to the early days and feel so glad for this quiet place of reflection.
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
There is something muted about this afternoon. It's almost hot, the grass is a dull tan in many places, the sky is brooding. We're all just waiting. Laurel is asleep and I'm hoping Roan and Willow can be content for a little while. I really need some time to just be quiet. This late Summer weather is old, and I guess it should be.  It's almost Fall!  The Autumn crocuses are blooming over at the Roland Estate, such a sweet reminder of Enid.  The dogwood berries are all bright red now and the Spring blooms have been set.  As Summer winds down, it seems fitting to type up some of the loose ends and developments here at our house.  I was filling in Laurel's baby book today, so I feel reflective.Autumn Crocuses

Laurel has been out of diapers most of the Summer.  At one point, I grew tired of washing diapers and that was that.  I dug out the training pants and put them on her and we went on.  After awhile, the diaper sprayer broke, and the need for it went away.  We've always used cloth training pants, not wanting to swallow the cost of disposables.  It's so funny living in a culture that is so removed from reusable things like handkerchiefs, napkins, diapers and the like.  What we would do without old cloth diapers to soak up spills, I do not know.

Laurel is tackling the balance bike now, as part of our set bicycling times.  This is something that needed a lot of discipline to work out well for all of us.  The children now understand that we wait and help with chores and then we can do something fun like riding bikes.  I can't let things run quite as free when I'm the only adult and I think it truly helps us all.  In other news, Laurel knows a lot of songs and nursery rhymes these days, and she's the most outgoing child when we are walking or out in public.  She even sang "Happy Birthday" to someone at church!

Willow seems to be leaving early childhood behind, at least a little.  She is still happy to be full of energy and play imaginatively, but she's just as happy to be quietly looking at books.  Maybe it is her new-found reading skills.  She can read everyday words all over now, gaining new words all the time.  I think the bulk of them are memorized, interestingly.  It's a little bittersweet to see things shift, but I know this is the way of things.  The things that lie ahead will be just as fun and special as those early years.  She can handle washing all the dishes by herself and it feels like she has a good handle on who she is.  Our relationship feels good right now.

Roan is continuing to make progress after such a long, hard time.  He is more connected to our family than he has been in a long time, which is such a blessing.  Peer orientation in such a young child is a scary thing and brings on so many strange side effects.  It really is like someone else took hold of his body.  His fear of dogs has dissipated, too, aided by one of the offending dogs moving away and by some friends and neighbors getting very small dogs as pets.  His sweetness and sleepiness are returning, which were his trademarks, and he's much more agreeable.

DogwoodSpeaking of his improvements, one big thing that has helped is a very regular rhythm to the days and weeks.  I feel so glad that I gave themes to the days and that we've started the school year with gusto.  Those are the best days of each week.  Evening walks are pleasant and time set aside to do the things we want is helping everyone feel met.  Guaranteed time to paint and make things and bake is so nice.  Admittedly, free time is less, but not much less, and I don't think anyone is suffering.  Big changes stick when we stick with the routines that support them.  I am reminding myself that again and again.

I hate to wrap things up abruptly, but I think it's time to start some peanut butter whole wheat chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for the week ahead.  I try to send Mike with baked goods.  Last week was pumpkin cinnamon rolls--they were so good!
impossibleway: (Lazure Mama)
Our first day of school was yesterday.  It was a little wild at times, but we did it and that's the important part.  Since my own plans don't start until September 5th, it puts us a little ahead.  Much of our time was spent making a healing basket.  This is nothing new, but it is new to us.  I've set out that this is the year we will learn our Kind Ways and this basket is part of that.  It's time to work on caring for each other in a purposeful way, to be more deliberate models.  Some of the experiences we've had in the past few months have made things feel like we have fallen from heaven.

The Healing BasketDealing with strong peer orientation over much of the Spring and all of Summer has resulted in a fair amount of disintegration around here.  I used to be nearly prideful of the ways my children could play and create together, never thinking that would change.  It did, though, and Roan's inner trials have spread to our whole family.  We've all been tested and we've all struggled.  After consulting with more experienced mothers and friends and my own intuition, I think we've reached a turning point and healing is happening.  I know all this sound a little funny, but it is something that needs a bit of privacy.  If you think your child is dealing with something similar, feel free to contact me and we can talk about it.  I don't have all the answers, but I do understand the experience and I do have hope (and I can see progress!).  Parenting takes a development of the self and will that it just astounding, at times.  And it's something most of us do!

So, that aside, the whole why-we-need-the-healing-thing, The Basket.  I looked around for some ideas of contents here and here.  Many of the items listed are things that are around the house, anyway.  I didn't really have to purchase anything but some more calendula oil (the drought was hard on our plants) and some arnica oil.  Those are two things in the basket.  Besides that, there's Carrie's Herbal Salve, Weleda Weather Protection Cream, bandaids, and Angry Spray.  Willow named the water and lavender oil that, bless her heart.  There's also the heart rice bag I made for Roan's birthday and a pink silk, to warm and calm.  Lastly, we made a new batch of calendula salve with lanolin and just a touch of lavender oil.  It's good for nearly anything.

The basket has already seen a good amount of use and the real magic of it will come with disciplined use over time.  That's really the key to many things, of course.  It is the continued good habit that brings about a positive change.  Each year of mothering drives home how much my own self-discipline really, really matters.  It is tiring to be the one to hold everything together when there are no spare moments in the day, but I know I am building my legacy in these years.  I feel like I need my own healing basket and someone to soothe me.  That comes in the kind listening and prayers of dear friends and I have surely been blessed with that lately.  I think our sensory integration work, along with the new school routine and our more deliberate choices will make things right again.  Our second day of school was very nice, indeed!      
impossibleway: (Berries)
Every day is sunny lately.  Sunny and clear and hot.  The humidity is not so high right now and it just feels so dry.  It seems everything is glaring and bright.  My eyes squint, just thinking about it.  I've been painting the porch again (that I did last Fall) and the paint seems to be drying exceedingly well.  It has been a good thing to have a Christmas theme to the week.  We've done it all, save for those Swedish Crackers.  I think that will be tomorrow morning.  That's not to say that all the moments have been golden or easy.  They haven't.

Blackberries

I think part of parenting, or mothering, is to act as a buffer to the world around us.  Some things are just not suitable for children to see, know, or hear.  Some of those things are worldwide news and others are close to home.  It can be hard to keep up spirits when things get challenging, but we must do it, I think.  It does not benefit them to know it all, right away.  We are to love and protect and balance, to keep the routines while the world tends toward chaos.  That is not for young children.  Those tasks (and burdens!) gladly return later in life when we start out on our own.  There are times that I still feel like I am just starting out on my own.

Under the Tree

I'm having some trouble keeping up my own spirits these days.  It's not depression; it's life.  We all have our struggles and mine feel especially heavy as of late.  Part of Christmas in July has been faking it, going along with my plans, keeping the children busy, still playing therapist.  Things have been out of balance in some areas of our lives for a long time now and we are walking a long path to get them right again.  I don't want to provide details, but I don't want to neglect the darkness in favor of the light.  Sometimes, it makes those innocent, joy-filled moments all the more beautiful, even if I would like to find some water without so many waves.

Heart Cakes

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.


~Auguries of Innocence :: William Blake
impossibleway: (Movingthe Soul with Color)
It's been a week of progress here, growing even happier.  It's hard to see it, sometimes, but I can watch things inch along back to where they should be.  Each day passes and Roan can play more and more.  He built a house and furnished it yesterday.  He and Willow made a factory, and he's been pretending to be our family dog.  I think play is a big indicator of what is going on with a child, very big.  A child who cannot find the zone and play is a child who is in trouble.  In addition, I've watched Roan become sweeter, with less mischief.  Laurel woke up from her nap and he grated cheese for her and shaped it into little balls.  They both love cheese.  He had hidden Willow's boots and she and I found them.  We waited and he told us about it on his own.  These are so small, but they are really signs of healing.

Yesterday, he would ask about playing with the family in question again every few hours.  I could tell he was dealing with his thoughts on it, as his mood was difficult at times.  I would have never imagined a young child could have had such a struggle as has happened over something that seemed so simple.  But, children are mirrors of their world.  As much as you try to create a safe, creative home, outside influences can shape things in a big way.  Other families have other stories that shape the people within them and they are reflected outward.  Those things, in turn, shape onlookers, like Roan.  There are times when we have to protect ourselves and pray for others.  It does work!

Cooking Photo

I am trying to say all this with great sensitivity, again.  I think of something, type it out, delete it, and try again.  I don't want to be unkind or judgemental in this space.  It's not the place for it.  I live in a mostly supportive environment, but there is always someone who has to lay the pressure on about children learning to be around other children.  The decades have passed for them and time has smoothed things over.  Playground struggles are just memories.  Roan and I, I think, are both fairly sensitive people.  I remember very vividly the challenges of "friends" and I have seen the gift of true friends.  He will learn the difference, too, in time.  I suppose that the whole experience here, with all of its peculiar details, has let me know how much I matter and how I need to trust my judgement above the outside remarks.

Perhaps, though, we have to go on these odysseys in order to really feel certain of what is inside of us, to really know how much each person matters.  It is hard for my children to be without their father five days a week as he works in other states.  It is hard to be the only person steering the ship in the unrelenting waves of life.  I've considered alternative scenarios where they go to school and I go to work and that is absolutely not for us.  We'd have so little time together and being the only adult would be even harder.  We do like to be here together and out in the community together.  Like I told someone at a Board of Supervisors meeting the other day--we are a package deal.

Honeyed Seashells

Take stock of what your children are doing, who they are around.  Don't assume that all interactions that seem mostly happy truly are.  Maybe we are more vulnerable because there is an attachment gap in our family, with Mike on the road.  I really hesitate to say much, for fear of judgement, but it is okay to have limits on social options and time in a world where "being social" is a high goal.  It is okay to hold onto your kids and keep them close as they come into this world and sort out who they are.  Children are meant to be sweet, I think, not the saccharine kind that adults expect, but truly sweet.  They are meant to feel safe and loved and open as they navigate things, and they can find creativity and joy within the careful boundaries their parents set for them.  Every family has to decide and live with their choices.  Ours, well, they weren't working.  And now we're doing something different, more like the old days when everyone was little.  It is good to see play come back into our days, and it is even better for everyone to feel more loved.
impossibleway: (Knitting)
In the Edwardian period, there was a great shortage of iron and, in this area, a number of skills survived into the modern age.  You had iron ore, and if you wanted iron, you could actually make it in what is essentially a very primitive furnace. . . In these rural areas, skills survived for generations beyond which they were almost obsolete or extinct in cities, because what you didn't have, quite often, was money.  And if you had the raw materials, which they had down here, then you could always get yourself out of a fix.

~
Edwardian Farm

These words really struck me last night, as we were finishing up the series.  This was our second time watching it, and I think I got a lot more out of it this time around.  The final installment was a mix of sadness and joy--they had come to the end of year and had a good harvest, but things in the Edwardian period were about to be turned upside down with the first World War.  It was, as they said, the end of a golden age.  So, it's really only been a hundred years since things shifted in such a huge way.

Lace CuffsMy great grandmother was a child of that period, born in 1907.  She saw the world go from horse power to cars to outer space to the internet.  She never drove or used a computer, but she watched her share of television soap operas.  She died just days away from 103 years old.  Her older sister had died ten years before and always preferred her wringer washer and cooking at home.  They were like night and day--one messy and youthful, the other more mature and immaculate.  I think of them often, especially when I see Laurel Mae.  There are things about her that remind me of Virgie, along with my Grandma Lois.

The place that is being referred to by the presenter above is Morwellham Quay on the River Tamar.  The series follows the many, many directions that folks took for earning money in the area during the Edwardian period.  Really, something quite similar could be said about the place where I live.  Canning is in vogue again, but it never left our area.  Gardens, woodpiles, having your own hog, and the like have always been a visible part of life.  They are part of ours (except the hog, though Mike did call me about a cow), even though we could easily save work (and sometimes money) by just buying it all at the store.  I feel so very blessed that my children get to see these things as part of their everyday lives.

What I try to remember is that part of my task, as I see it, is to be an archetype for my children.  That means they will draw on images of our times together many years for now and I have certain things I wish to represent to them.  Part of that is, of course, the devoted mother who loved her children and gave her life to them.  For me, it suits me to have my life be fairly one dimensional (though there are many dimensions to caring for a home!).  I am very glad to be doing just this and don't long for something else.  Contentment doesn't always look like what we think it will.  I am not always happy, but I am always committed to being here.

Most of our limited television watching is spent on the BBC series with Ruth Goodman in them.  What she conveys to the viewer is someone who is joyfully interested in her work, as difficult as it often is.  She comes across as a strong woman who is just happy to be here.  She cackles when her rugs fall on her as she beats them.  She learns each new skill with excitement and enthusiasm.  That is what I wish my children to see.  I want them to be up to the task of life, to see people who are glad to do the work they have.  And what a lesson that is to me, too!  These simple, non-heroes are the very people who should be heroic to us.

Ever since I first read it, I have really loved this exchange in All Year Round:

Ann Druitt: I once overheard two small boys who were watching bricklayers at work on a new house: the one said, "Gosh!" as he watched the hod-carrier with his load, "He must be awfully strong to lift that!"  The other replied, "So what? Superman can lift a house!"

Christine Fynes-Clintion: Well that's a very good example of how, little by little, qualities which can fill out, round off--ennoble, if you like--our development as people, can be eroded.  That which lies just beyond our reach exists as a very healthy source of motivation for our personal growth.  Do you recall the deeply satisfying childhood moment when, on tiptoe you reached at last the rim of the sink, or the top shelf of the bookcase?  In just the same way we monitor our own inner growth when we find ourselves equal to some of the tasks in life perviously carried by our elders and betters.  Superman can't build our confidence--he makes us feel helpless and week--but ordinary men and women whom we look up to, can.  They help us to grow.


And with that, well, I have plenty to do here. I've been doing a lot of sewing and now it is time to tackle some deeper cleaning before the crowd gets back from Linville Falls. Happy Sunday!
impossibleway: (Lazure Mama)
I think that it is safe to say that things are improving around here.  We've dealt with a baffling case of peer orientation in the past few weeks (or more!).  It was rather unexpected to me, or perhaps not.  I don't know.  It took awhile to untangle the knots and get things right again, I know that.  I can see now that my parents had geography in their favor during their difficult spells with me.  Living in town, right up next to folks, makes it a little harder.  Location, location, location!

You are Your Child's First Teacher

Anyway, I gave it a lot of thought before I decided to write about this experience.  It's easy to fall into oversharing and being overly private.  Let's take the middle.  The things I write are still pretty delicate and may steps on some toes.  I really felt like I had lost hold of my dear boy in the past month or so.  It was exasperating at times, and sad at others.  We had to give up plans for our anniversary, things were so out of sorts.  Our whole family seemed to have lost its equilibrium and my sweet children seemed but a memory.

Washing Silks

I'm often overwhelmed by the volume of work I have to do and I think I let the fun things slip.  I don't mean to say that every day should be some sort of wonderful circus, but I found myself saying "no" to nearly every request.  The little things, shown in these pictures, are the very things that hold a family together.  Simply put, activities with family should be the preferred ones, truly.  I think I let myself listen to folks who say that children need lots of social time in order to be "balanced," instead of listening to my own inner compass.  I think that depends on a lot of variables and, in our situation, less is more.

More Christmas

I don't mean to sound overly dramatic about things, but it was a real source of worry to me.  My sweet, sweet boy had turned away from me.  He was doing many things that were out of character and it was upsetting us all.  He needed some boundaries, yes, we all did.  New boundaries that helped us to find freedom in a new way.  He also needed more connection and help with play.  My efforts with practical work and movement were falling flat.  I needed all the pieces to make things work, as burdened as I felt.

Sisters

So, we've been learning to play again.  I've set up numerous scenarios, as you can see, and simply played with the children.  We've worked on playing games that get us thinking of others, of taking care of each other, and enjoying simplicity.  They've sorted buttons and made play dough cakes.  I've let them felt soap and get all wet.  We built a simple swing and put it in a dogwood tree that affords us a bit of privacy.  The hammock chair joined it, too.  We've been reading healing stories and doing some very real healing ourselves.

Proud Smile

He smiles again now--big, swelling smiles.  He does kind things for others now.  He's able to sink into play and we argue much, much less.  I learned a lot from this.  It's easy for me to just want to do the many, many things that need doing and spend less time simply enjoying life.  I am more actively involved again, but less so, too.  There is less fighting and more fun together.  I take time to give my full attention to things and that goes a long way.

Cakes

I share all this not to prove how wonderful I am or to show that we all have shortcomings.  I am sharing it to give ideas for when children get into moods they can't seem to turn loose for weeks or months on end.  It's a sign that it's time for the family to learn to have fun together again, to see how much each person really contributes.  There will be some difficult moments, like when someone refuses to come down out of a tree, but things work out when we are steady and strong.

A Guide to Child Health

If all this weren't enough, we caught colds this week. We tend to get sick in the Summer instead of Winter.  Being sick is always our pressure release valve, a time for soul development.  We've been working hard, inside and out, lately and this is a good time for slowing down and driving through the country.  Maybe I should do that today. . .
impossibleway: (Movingthe Soul with Color)
Go ahead, call me a copycat, but we had a doll birthday party.

Doll Birthday Party

I bought those tiny seasonal cupcakes we always walk by.
The birthday crowns came out and plans were made for making more of them.
Roan found some birthday candles and we all made cards.

Birthday Cards

We even picked a tiny basket full of those tiny "strawberries" that grow out in the yard.
The dolls were very pleased, but not as much as their parents.

Tiny Strawberries

This is the way of things lately.  We've had a long period of being out of sorts and we're working to find our way back to equilibrium.  That has meant spending extra time on connection, calmness, routine, and play.  We're still working on things, but I think they are improving.  This work here, it is my best and biggest work.  It is worthy of my time and energy, as I know the returns will be multiplied in the years to come.
impossibleway: (Berries)
Buttercup Salad

Oh, what a weekend.  And this morning, it is so chilly!  It's a foggy 42° F here and rice pudding and sausage sound just perfect for breakfast.  The rest of the week is supposed to be warm, but I am having my doubts.  It's so funny to be without air condtioning in late Spring.  Oh, well.  So, mud pies.  I saw this sweet book on Stacey's blog, I think, and what fun it is.  There are many lovely ideas, though Mike and I both feel a bit skeptical about letting dolls around mud. ;-)  Nonetheless, it really is a wonderful book for inspiring children to gather things in their yard and use them to make beautiful, messy, sensory-integrating creations.  And we grown-ups love the sense of humor of the author, as well.
Finishing Touches
Speaking of flowers, nothing suits me more than to be simply covered up in fresh flowers these days.  I just need the sunshine to come right indoors.  The children were bringing in regular bouquets when many of the early Spring flowers were in bloom.  I picked a bunch of daisies at the Old Davis Homeplace yesterday and they are such a joy.  I'll probably pick more today, too.  I've been working to give flowers a really good sniff to determine their fragrances.  Roan seems to have a very sensitive nose, so I am following his lead.  Daises do smell just like a perfume from my mother's childhood, "Daisies Won't Tell."

The fresh flowers help me to feel optimistic, to hold onto beauty when things feel otherwise.  The reality of our lives here is that Mike is away most of the time, working on weekends to get ready for another week away.  It is hard to deal with that, honestly, even though I do treasure the ability to have things run the way I like all week long.  Still, one person, all the work, it is hard, and we simply don't have time to be together as much as we should.  This is not his fault, of course, we take the jobs we can get.  He works so hard all week and drives into the night to get to the next place or get home.  As much as I love my children and they love me, things get hard from time to time.  Even though I am happy to stay busy, I still struggle with being introvert and the abounding energy that three children have.

Daisies and PeoniesAll the projects that we took on have left us drained in every way possible, and I am glad they are over.  Routines have been work to hold onto and a few of the sacred moments of family time have slipped away.  I think all this has contributed, in addition to my own unrest, to bit of a rough patch for Roan.  Sweet, easygoing fellow that he is, when his pendulum swings, it reveals some difficulties.  It has felt like all my old standby's have simply not worked, but then I recall that perhaps I have not had the energy to look to them all.  I try to keep connected, as much as I can, and to be extra cuddly to him, but it is hard.  I think things reached a peak this weekend, or I hope they did.  I found myself reading this article and then learning about Kurt Hahn and feeling like it was time to start the Summer nature school stuff this week.  It must be so hard to be five and be someone who really wants purpose.  I don't remember much, myself, other than hating dresses.  Nonetheless, the woods, the children, it must happen.

You can always tell a hard day when Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour is out on the table.  I spent lunchtime Saturday, our 11th anniversary, reading stories to the children as Mike went to get a special take-out meal for us.  I think it helped to ease things a little.  It seems things have just become so scattered, little things have gone by the wayside as I have focused on survival.  We have kept a neat home, we've done well with school work, and we've got a nice start to a garden.  My standards for myself are high, I know that, and there are so many details and distractions in each day.  I've been good at removing the ones that I could (like computer time) and working to get things done early in the morning.  Maybe now I will be able to take us the rest of the way.
impossibleway: (Knitting)
It's a chilly thirty degrees here this morning.  I know people are waking up and feeling short-changed, but that's Spring.  Seems that battle we had a couple weeks ago, the one between Summer and Winter, is playing out in real life.  Summer was a little wimpy that day.  That's okay, though.  I got my plants all tucked in last night and we'll see how it goes.  Carrie had me cover the tomatoes with little newspaper tents.  I covered everything else with sheets and tubs and trash cans and a wading pool.  Oh, and the piece of metal that used to cover the chimney!

Mike is back to his travel routine, heading to Louisiana this week.  I am hoping that things are fairly mundane--there are no appointments or big plans, no rennovations.  I really do enjoy getting up and doing the same things each day--the children add enough variety!  The weather looks mild and I am looking forward to the rain tomorrow.  My sunflower seeds need it.  There is still more planting to do: all the squashes and melons and some October beans.  We'll get around to it.  I'm so far ahead of other years.  There were many times I didn't plant a thing until after Memorial Day!  It is nice to look out the window and see healthy broccoli and and little carrot and pea plants.  It's time to thin them, I guess, but I almost don't have the heart.

Whitsun Nature TableI think this will be the best year for yard work, thus far.  Laurel still needs a lot of supervision outside (she doesn't pick on people her own size) and it helps if I am busying myself with some task while they play.  There is plenty to do and I have helpers from time to time.  Children really love to watch people work, people who love their work.  And those who don't, too.  Roan was absolutely fascinated during the whole bathroom project.  He would gather his tools and hang out by the bathroom drilling into the door frame or measuring things.  Luckily, our handyman was extremely patient.

I've got a few minutes before the crowd wakes and the day gets busy.  Time for me to do some copper rods practice and get some things ready for the post office.  Happy Monday!
impossibleway: (Children of the Forest)
IrisThings seem to be falling into place better lately.  There are still all the usual (and unusual!) interruptions, but I am feeling more efficient.  I like seasons like that and I am so happy to have found one again.  The yard is mowed, the laundry is ALL folded and put away, the next month of school planning is done, and I've got Mike on board to move some furniture clutter out of the house.  And I get a new bathroom on Monday, I hope.  We really have wonderful people coming, so I am okay with the delays--they're worth it.  Now, if I could just find more time to sew, we'd be really set!

In other news, I read this really, really wonderful essay about wildness and what it means for childhood.  The author was the same woman who wrote A Thousand Rivers, which I also really love.  These essays are the kinds of things that set me right again about homeschooling, when I am feeling discouraged.  The terms "self-willed" and "open attention" really resonated with me.  Those are truly things that are part of our dreams for our children.  They have such a strong and sometimes frustrating desire to learn and do, that I find myself struggling to keep things in balance.

School, oh, it is not the place for us.  I am continually stunned and disheartened by the things I hear from my best friend who is a local teacher.  I try really hard to just listen and not spout off things about being glad I homeschool--her job is extremely important and there are a headspinning number of details she must attend to.  She has so many things to weave together, so many limits, so many checks and balances, so little freedom.  And what a difficult juggling act it all is.  It is, after all, raising other people's children.

I remember being asked each pregnancy why it was that I was planning a homebirth.  This was a standard question for our midwives and it was always a bit of a head-scratcher to me.  Because it felt right?  Really, I'm a person who often goes with feelings (despite being terribly logical) and homebirth felt right.  I did the research, I read dozens of books, I took good care of myself, and I kept my ducks in a row.  It was the obvious choice for my family.  So, I often think about why I am homeschooling my children.  It's because I want them to grow up to be whole people and homeschooling is just one thing I can do to stack the odds in their favor.  Homeschooling is well with my soul (even if the grammar is a little off).

Pocket BouquetLiving as cloistered as I do and having many friends who homeschool (and are far away), I don't really find myself being questioned too much.  That is a wonderful blessing, in addition to being able to ask questions about the logisitics and the long view.  The occasional person we meet will find out and be glad, generally.  Glad that my children don't have to live with the fear of a school shooting or (excessive) standardized testing, glad they will have skills like gardening or sewing.  It's funny the people who are really quite agreeable to the idea.  I wouldn't have expected it, honestly.

Truly, I want my children to be whole and have a strong hold on themselves.  I want them to have real skills for an predictably unpredictable world.  I want them to know everyday things that we often take for granted as modern culture loses its hold on the past.  My children know what the difference between a sickle and scythe is and they know edible plants.  I have a hope for teenagers who use their burgeoning skills to serve others and do real things.  My grandmother has a teenage neighbor who has his own sizeable garden plot--that's what I'm talking about!

I'm not talking about having the brightest math whiz in town or the kid who can program computers.  Those things are fine and they are welcome to pursue them, but there is much more to a life well-lived.  Jobs fall through, plans change, and then there are turnips to squeeze blood from.  I want children who are open to it all, who welcome challenges.  I've been told several times by different people that this path we are on is a good one, that our family is learning important lessons.  I feel very blessed to hear their kind words, truly.  I wish I could form similar ones to say just how thankful I am.  I guess that's part of my home education.
impossibleway: (Lazure Mama)
Blowing out the candleThe past week has left me feeling battered and tossed, almost directionless.  Those March winds have carried over into April and it seems I hardly know where to turn to get out of them.  I don't say all that to be dramatic, but I guess it feels dramatic inside my head and heart.  Maybe, I have had a bit of a pause to catch a little breath and see where I've been before going on.  I'm just struggling and learning and trying to find balance, all while moving forward.

Trying to steer the ship for little folks in the midst of inner turmoil is an added challenge.  The frenzy of new life and energy that is Spring is just too much, over and over.  There is a yard to mow, plants to start or protect from frost, meals to make, messes to tidy.  Maybe these are the hardest years of parenting, physically.  All the years bring new challenges, of course, but these ones with little folks who need so much help.  Oh, my aching feet.

I feel our rhythm has definitely been off-kilter all the past month.  Circle times have been so-so.  Set periods for being outside have turned into entire afternoons.  I often find myself following the children outside and putting chores on hold, yet again.  Babies won't keep, it's true, but houses don't either.  I have to find balance between the two.  Let it be said, I did drop my work and pick violets with Willow for jelly.

Candlelight has been a constant, as if in all this wind and change we have needed something to gather around.  I have to light nearly twice daily fires for the gnomes to huddle around for warmth.  We've had a fire on the hearth the past two days, even though it was warmish out.  Just that flickering flame, that crackling heat has been so nice, even with all the tree bark.  I am hoping we'll have another fire tonight, as the weather has turned chilly again.

Night times are a balm to my spirit.  No matter the difficulties of the day, the children and I all make peace for bedtime.  The wild children and the harried mother find solace in a simple poem, a prayer and a sweet breath that sends the day off.  We all lay down together, as we always have, just after Laurel blows out the candle.  It signifies an end, a turning point, a real shift from waking to sleeping.  Bedtime is never trouble, oddly.

You are mother's little child,
safe in your bed a-lying.
Above your head the stars now send
their golden rays a-flying.

In your eyes the sweet sandman,
with quiet hand drops sleepy sand,
so you may climb your starlit dream
 to the sparkling starry land . . .

~Goodnight :: Marjan Van Zeyl

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