Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pumpkin patch

Autumn is here, my favorite season! :)

The kids (Zephyr, Jubi, Grady & Ainslie ) and I are prepping to do a pumpkin/turkey craft this morning. Handling the plump, blazing orange pumpkins made me think of the day the family ventured out to the local pumpkin patch and maize maze last month and chose the pumpkins. We are fortunate to have this fun Fall venue right down the road from us, literally moments away.

Honestly, I'm not that big of a fan of the maze aspect. Where we live, even late October is frequently sunny and hot. And being somewhat directionally challenged, I'll admit to having never actually reached the end of the maze.

So, we've developed a routine of playing on the carts, tractors, the tricycle races, the tractor tire mountain, etc. Our main destination is always the big PVC plastic slides. And we always end up by choosing pumpkins to take home.

Conquering Tractor Tire Mountain. They vehemently refused to face the sun for me so we ended up with a dark picture.

Regretfully, I didn't catch a shot of it but this year Ainslie discovered the big slides for real, as in, she did them over and over and over and over and over all by herself (and with her best bud Jubi whom we had bumped into). No more lap sitting for Ainslie. :) Jubi and Ainslie perfected the art of sailing through massively long lines and crowded waits by just being small and scooting right on through.

Grady's moving pretty fast.

Lenny did manage to capture this shot of Grady and I. Grady, jealous that I was pulling ahead in what I didn't even realize was a race, grabbed hold. What he grabbed onto, with a iron grip, hurt like heck, thus my expression.

Something new and very fun this year was riding the pedal, go-carts around a track. Grady went around the junior track so many times I was tired just watching. He really enjoyed barreling around the curves, tilted to the side, making screeching sounds. Fionna was tall enough to ride a larger pedal cart on the main course, and Ainslie joined in on that one while riding on Lenny's lap.

All in all, another great day at the local pumpkin patch. I'm thankful for the fun, the friends, the memories and the pumpkins. We've done jack-o-lanterns (bad mom didn't get any pictures of those), strewn them around the front yard as decorations, and now we're onto turkey crafting. Stay tuned for those pictures (hopefully).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Full plate (a blog catch-up)

Sunset at White Sands one September evening

While I haven't felt particularly "bloggy" lately, I've also just been so damned busy. When my children were babies (and I had fewer kids, period), people would tell me, "Just wait until they're older and then things will be really crazy." I didn't get it then. The intensity of having babies and breastfeeding and being sleep deprived and touched out by going through day and night with a babe constantly in arms seemed so overwhelming that I couldn't imagine another phase of parenting that would consume my time in such a manner. BUT, now having three all with schedules and activities of their own and finding myself as the "GODDESS MOTHER of MAKING IT ALL RUN SMOOTHLY" gives me a new appreciation for how hectic family life is.

Fionna continues in public school, in third grade this year. She has drama after school one day a week and is in Taekwondo two afternoons a week. Grady is homeschooling, also doing Taekwondo twice a week, and in soccer (practice twice a week and games on Saturdays). Ainslie tags along for the ride but adds plenty of craziness to the mix, believe me. ;)

I have class on Tuesday nights, 6-8:30. I've gotten into a routine of grocery shopping after class, when the store is a bit less hectic, and I don't have the kids along to complicate things. My other two classes are online, so I do that classwork late at night and at stolen moments, waiting at Taekwondo, at soccer practice, etc. On the one or two days a week that the kiddoes are at Nora's, I do a big library trip (kids are checking out 30-40 books and audiobooks a month these days), hit the coffee shop and run other errands. Then it's home to do homework (and laundry, of course. That's another facet of family life that seems to be increasing exponentially). Three and a half hours alone seems like bliss but it always absolutely whizzes by.

I'm still teaching R.E. (stands for religious education but I find it a bit of a nisnomer, honestly, we don't talk about "religion") at the Unitarian Universalist church we attend on Sundays. I teach the primary class along with sweet LeeAnna who assists me and does childcare (for the very young children). We read books, do lots of arts and crafts and lovely free play with blocks, puppets, dress-up, trucks and cars, and a very nice, oversize dollhouse. I'm also still a La Leche League Leader and leading two meetings a month, one at my home and one in our public location, as well as taking phone calls and answering emails.

The hardest part, personally, is finding time to exercise. I'm trying to make that a priority, both for myself, and as a healthy model of the kids. Another difficulty I'm experiencing recently is, spending all my "free" time studying, I find absolutely no time to read for pleasure. I really miss it. :(

A new pleasure though is spending some time dancing, be it in public or home alone. I find it is a fabulous way to escape and leave my thinking mind and just "be." Fortunately, I have some inimitable women in my life to teach me and share this with. I look forward to developing it as another aspect of life, just as reading, that I can pull out and destress with whenever I choose.

While I haven't had the time to devote to it as I would like, another of my loves, herbalism and essential oils are still a huge part of life for me. While I didn't think of it too much over the summer, with the advent of cooler weather and sick season, I find myself turning more and more often to my herbal cabinet and brewing teas and oiling blends to tend us all.

Time to get off the computer and busy (going to de-germ the house, we've all been sick). In the meantime, I'll leave you with some recent pictures.

Lenny's belated birthday celebration with family & friends.
Grady lost his first tooth. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The substance of my days...

Halloween crafting

We all know, life has its rhythms and seasons, the ebb and flow. And one of the major "flows" of life for me these days is time spent with children. Duh, you may say, but I'm referring to a different quality of time spent with kids. For months now, maybe 9-10, I've been engaging in a childcare exchange with a very close friend, Nora. Her kids, Zephyr and Jubi are absolutely bestest buddies with my two youngest, Grady and Ainslie. Both pairs, the "girls" and the "boys" are within a year of age of each other, and they just get along fabulously. So, once or twice a week, I have our young friends over for about 3.5 hours. The kids pair off and play in such a way that I almost always am left with this idyllic sense of "Aha, this is the beauty of childhood!" Their nonsense games and imaginative play leave me admiring the essence of their quirky fun and their ability to find ways to engage and occupy themselves in any number of myriad ways. While seldom do I need to actively work to engage them, I've found that this has freshened my perspective of playing with kids. I enjoy thinking of games (like number scavenger hunts) and crafts (today, sheet ghosts, clay skulls and pipe cleaner skeletons).

block city

Another fabulous benefit for our family is that on days when our friends are over, the tv is never even a thought. Television and my children's ridiculous obsession with it have always been one of my top struggles. They don't need the television though when there's hands-on, wild fun right in their own home. I don't have to remind them to go outside because they're eager to play there together. They even eat better when they're all together. :) I know, I sound like I'm a promoter for my particular situation but it's become such a joy and made for such easy, happy days that I can't help but gush. :)

block rocket flying to the (foil) moon
I'll be the first to admit that my own children have and do often tax my patience with their constant noise (I do love me some peace and quiet) and clamoring for me to play yet another pretend game in which I'm coached to repeat inane "lines" that I'm not allowed to change. Somehow, though, the scheduled built in playmates have really taken the pressure off of me as my kids now have even better playmates than ol' mom. AND, don't get me wrong, the one or two mornings to myself per week when my kids are at their friends' house don't hurt my overall appreciation for our situation. That is when I do get the chance to have peace and quiet, and all manner of other things that aren't as easy to come by when the rugrats are under foot. :)

camping in the kitchen

tea party in big sister's bed

Monday, August 10, 2009


No, my spelling isn't going south. That's how Grady pronounces the name of his new soccer team, the Tornadoes. This is one mispronunciation that I can't let stand. He's already told two people that he plays with the Tormadoes and they both said something along the lines of "Tornado or tomato?" Grady looked at me each time with a look like, "Gee, which is it, mom?"

So, he does indeed have a new soccer team. He's playing U8 (eight and under) this year so it should be faster paced than last year (played U6). School starts next week for Fionna, so I'm already girding my loins for the nonstop schedule that will bring.

I haven't blogged about it since it's such a sore point but we no longer have our chickens. A neighbor complained about the noise and since the lovely, non-progressive city we live in doesn't allow chickens (even hens only as our's were) in the city limits, we were visited by animal control and given 24 hours to get rid of the "girls." Luckily, the neighboring, small (and smarter ;) ) township does allow chickens and, even better, two sets of friends were happy to incorporate some of hens into their existing flocks. So, the "girls" got split up and sent to two new homes. The kids were initially devastated but haven't stayed blue over it. I, however, miss them tremendously. I miss feeding them our food scraps, I miss gathering their lovely eggs that I admired every single time I handled them, I miss their quiet, companionable sounds. :(

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Oh, my poor little blog. Woefully neglected. Life is Busy, tumultuous, laden, exhausting, sometimes just dull and boring, but whatever it is, I'm not good at being a steady, disciplined writer. Something to add to my list of life "to-do's." Today, mentally chuckling over some of my kids' "funnies," I decided I'd quit letting them fall by memory's wayside and begin chronicling them, in snippets. No, not as fulfilling as the full-on journaling that I liked to do in my blog but they'll certainly have their own value. And maybe visiting the ol' blog more often, even for moments, will help me get back in the habit.

So, here goes:

Today, following Lenny to breakfast (he's in his tow truck, we're in the car), Grady shouts eagerly, "We're right on his tail." Ainslie, who's been wailing and grumpy all morning, laments in the saddest, crying voice: "My daddy doesn't have a tail. He's a boy." She just got angrier as we all hooted with laughter.

Ainslie is heavy-duty into the tea parties these days. Pretend, with many, many nonsensical elements, they get a bit onerous (hey, I'm being honest here. The other day, as I snoozed my way through yet another one, literally, laying on her bed, surrounded with stuffed animals and other bits and pieces of her pretend world, I hear her say: Mama, your eyes need to wakey up. We're having a tea party here."

Another one, that Ainslie will someday hate me for setting to paper (or screen, as it is): She comes up to me, sticks one index finger right into my face, up against my lips, and I pretend bite it. We often pretend to gobble each other up. This time she says "Oh, don't do that. I just stuck it in my yoni (our word for vagina and all girl-parts in general) and I need to wash it." I have a feeling the look on my face was priceless.

I'm drawing a blank for Fionna. Interactions with a nine-year-old are just different. All that comes to mind for Grady right now is that he's been saying "horse field" a lot, for "force field." Does it make me a bad parent that I don't correct him as I consider it so cute? :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally...

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

This is a new blog I've started reading recently. I enjoyed this entry. Natural dyes always seemed like maybe a lot of work, or less than vibrant colors, to me before. This makes it sound both easy and beautiful. It seems like we work so hard to make sure we have the best and most natural eggs to eat, it's only fair to make dying them naturallly of equal priority. That's something else I need to fit into the next week, an egg dying affair. Even though we don't celebrate Easter, we always welcome in Spring with some lovely eggs...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Come see us, and a chicken, tomorrow!!!

This just in...We get to repeat the fabulous fun we had last Spring at the local Farmer's Market. We will be there with the local group C.L.U.C.K. (Citizens Legalizing Urban Chicken Keeping), and we will have one of our chickens in tow. We had so much fun last year and got to chat with and interact with so many people. Come be part of the fun. :)