Tuesday, September 30, 2008


How much of our environment shapes us into who we are?

I wonder this lately...

When exactly did the sound of the loons calling on the lake become part of each of their being? For G, was it as her father held her up to the trees in the evenings...the only thing that would ease her colic?. Were these the sounds she heard and felt soothed by? Or, was it the smell of the pine pitch that so densely fills the air on humid summer nights?

For our 8 year old, what was he thinking and feeling as he stared into the tops of the trees for long, mindful minutes as a baby and young toddler. He would stand on the deck and just stare up into the towering pines...the wind moving softly...specifically the great pine as they all call it now. A massive tower of age this beauty is.

Our 14 year old...the feel and freedom a lake can bring. The exuberance of diving in mid April with ice still floating around him; rough dirt paths under his bike, small 'jumps' created by large rocks in the road...the crisp smell of cold air and pine as he sledded down the back hill in winter...

Even our four year old with the least time here under her belt and more ready for the adventure of moving than the rest are. Her days were often spent digging, forcing fistfuls of soil into her hands and *feeling* it...sometimes tasting it as if she couldn't experience it enough. The land itself becoming part of her...later, climbing rocks that are taller than she is....summer days spent experiencing weightlessness as she floated in the shallows of the pond.

In this place we call home reside these forces that I believe, have shaped them. If we leave, what will leave with us and what will forever stay behind, lost...never fully developed... this is what I wonder. Years later, will their souls sing a little truer when met with the scent of fresh pine, a dive into cold water, the call of a loon or the feel and smell of woodland soil. What will these experiences recall for them... What will a new place give them...replace what is left here? All of these thoughts whirl and collide when I consider our new home...wherever that may be.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mixed Ages ~

Eggs are frying as well as bacon....some bread is toasting and the soundtrack is *rocking*.
The littles are dancing or acting out the latest characters they have created to the incessant strain of a guitar.
Chocolate chip cookies are in the oven...dishes need to be set, heck, dishes need to be cleaned...this is dinner.
Kitchen, dining room, living room are all one space, full, throbbing and alive.
The soundtrack is our 14 year old's playlist...Avenge 7fold and others...not necessarily the tones I want the littler ones absorbing but, they love it. They love their older brother sharing his world. For this is truly what this is...he points out chords and pieces he loves with a "Hang on" and everyone is silent for a moment, listening... then he smiles...they smile - life is good. I am thankful he is not away in his room somewhere. That he is here with us, living.
Baby is in her bouncy, starting to fuss a bit...without being asked, biggest brother washes his hands, walks over and gently lifts her out of her resting spot into an experienced cradle hold where she stays, lulled to sleep by his voice softly singing Atreyu's "Falling" ...yes, life is good :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

From CSA to Soup ~

And *so* yummy!
We picked up our weekly share from Mary's this week (and stayed a while for some hayloft fort playing and visits with farm friends :) - some edamame, chard, onions, garlic and other lovelies mixed with some goodies from the health food store and viola!, we have a local brew simmering on the stove for dinner tonight :)
Many hands make light work regardless of how small they may be, not to mention the pride they take in helping to make the food we all will share with some warm homemade bread this evening.
Some perfect fall rainy day goodness here in the hollow :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Early Fall

It's golden in the tree tops
It's golden in the sky,
It's golden, golden, golden,
September passing by.
~ Anon

Just getting our fall bearings here in the hollow :) Settling into a rhythm where everyone gets their needs (not to mention their desires!) met can be a tricky thing but, I think we may have a good fit. Now, if only this flighty mama can stick to it, we will be all set ;) I will be posting some ideas of what we are doing if anyone would like to play along ~ Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Balance ~

A little lesson in balancing ~

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Birthday Season ~

Like many families, we have a "birthday season" of sorts. A time of the year when the family's birthdays happen to congregate together making for a seemingly non stop marathon of cake and ice cream - and for the folks who don't fancy cake, maybe a little pie. Around here, our sugar sprint begins in April when the snow is still on the ground and ends in mid September when the apples are still ripening.

Maybe it's the mixture of fall air and the subsiding of birthday plans that leaves my mind to wander over what has been in our parenting world. What has taken place that I really liked, what could have been done better...I find this little bit of introspection (most often done on our hikes) to be a wellspring of inspiration and gratitude. The trick is not to get too focused on the 'what could have been done better' aspect. I find these moments are better seen as potholes of sorts...things to be avoided when we can but sometimes ...well, there are distractions and we slip right on in... ;) That's where the gratitude part can come in handy. Gratitude to have the presence and will to see those bumps, try our best to learn from them and importantly....move on down the road to brighter adventures.

As for the what I enjoyed, these serve as motivational jumping points. A little boost - we always have more energy, presence and inspiration when we feel good. In this way, I have found it's super helpful to remind mindself of what works in my parenting. More goodness just seems to flow easily that way.

I was thinking it might be fun to make a little daily calendar for myself of these joyful moments. Just as reminders ~ little things to say or do with my kiddos that worked for me...that were organic and flowed from my own parenting and so were natural. Hmmm, think I will :)

Mint Tea and Acorn Soup ~

Good fun in the unpaved driveway yesterday ~

The guys were so quiet...this was a good quiet though. I found them amassing an enormous amount of acorns. Soon after, they excitedly came inside for water to create their "soup". "We are making our own snack!" and they were gone, warm buckets of water in hand.

Within 5 minutes, they were back inside looking for bowls and spoons; ready to taste the fruits of their labor. At first I said, "I don't think you should taste that..." but the look of disappointment was so sad on their little faces that I kept my caution to myself and let them have at it. After much debate about who would be the first to taste it (none of them wanted to be the guinea pig) our youngest gave it a whirl and the others followed suit. One sip was all it took of the acorn soup ~ none were impressed. Now the winterberry leaf tea, that was a little treat for them.

Later they brought it all to the deck and covered it with a large bucket to "keep the squirrels from eating it". Feels like fall already...

Monday, September 15, 2008


Looking through old photos I came across these. I can remember when this was created...was it last spring? I was shocked when I looked at the date and realized it was 2 and half years ago...how does this happen? Where does time go?

An 80 year old woman whom I much admire at my mother and father in law's church once said to me that one of the hardest things in life is how quickly the life of a child goes...I understand this now but I wonder how accutely I will truly comprehend this when I too (the fates willing ;) am 80 years old...

This photo is so sweet to me because I remember the day my then 12 year old and 6 year old worked on this together. For much of an afternoon they set this up and were so proud of their creation; pointing out all of the intricacies...we had them take pictures after so the photo credits are theirs. We wanted to see how they saw it. What was important about this to them. These are some of the shots taken that day.

A nice reminder to me in these busy days to be present in the moments before they pass and capture the sweetness any way I can.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A ladder

A little outside play moment here ~
How much fun can a 4 foot tall, old bunk bed ladder be? Well, I will tell you...*lots*.

Handy for climbing up rocks, trying to stand on unsecured by anything, fun for bridge making, great for setting up action scenes for playfigures, even nice for dropping repeatedly, flat on the deck to enjoy the reverberating sound it makes (*so* glad that one was outside ;)

Then there are, of course, plenty of those other kinds of fun...it's also exciting to try and push your sister off of or to squirrel away when someone runs inside to grab the *perfect* toy to use with it ;)

Maybe we will see this gadget so high in demand on the shelves this holiday season....mmm, imagine...now *that* would be fun :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Popped ~

Just loving our new little one ~ everyone is so in love with this sweet one :) After birthing 3 kiddos in under 4 years and the *business* that went into those days, this is such a treat to have all of our other children old enough to really enjoy this experience. In this too are the bittersweet moments of this being the last baby to grace our family's lives (until grandchildren of course ;). We'll all hold onto every gurgle and sweet murmur while we can ~

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