May 23, 2009

Sewing, Walks, and Beyond

I have done a bit of sewing this month. This is one project that has been on my to-do list since I read the book "The Creative Family". This author has a fabulous blog that I go to when I need inspiration. This is a pair of pants for Landis that I made from a shirt I purchased at a garage sale. I am working on finishing a pair of wrap around pants for myself. I also have some grocery and bread bags to sew. I am suddenly drawn to the machine and am wanting to begin some larger projects and quilts. This is certainly not the time of year to be indoors sewing but I am craving this creative mode and can not deny it.

With Nick gone in the evenings, the kids and I have begun taking walks. Thanks to our new jogging stroller (Thanks Eva!) the children are delighted to ride and let me stretch my legs! We have walked when it was cold, warm, dark, and whenever! The kids love to throw a blanket over the shield and create their own little cave. Here they can whisper secrets, read books, and share snacks without mom's intrusion. Often it has been a wonderful way to snooze while traveling home from a picnic with Daddy at his nearby job site.

We ventured to a local nature area one night and discovered a small stream with some wonderful trees that has turned into a common gathering place for us to explore.

Unfortunately we are not the only visitors to this place. At least the villains properly named themselves when spray painting this tree. It is quite a challenge to explain to Teilee how mommy feels about grafiti. I often find grafiti on buildings and even trains a beautiful artistic expression. However it is also an act of vandalism and I do not condone the random acts of nature or property distruction. That was my soapbox and I think that Teilee and Landis are a few years away from understanding the grey areas of grafiti. :)

Some walks make for late nights but we are fond of the views at night also. The blooms on this tree are spectacular in the day and sureal on a quite night. The street light helps for us to find our footing when the moon is hidden or small. Despite the non-natural light we are still able to spot the stars and the artwork painted in our sky. Human noise is quiter and the wildlife (including neighborhood foxes) tend to expose itself.
We love taking our walks and hope to discover more amazing secrets about our neighborhood!

A great thing about the town where we live is our access to cheap organic flowers. On rare occasions we gift ourselves with a beautiful view on our table. We also grow our own centerpieces.We were growing Wheat grass for Easter and happened to have a neighbor with a wheat grass juicer. Oh yes, even the kiddos got in on the green goodness of wheat grass juice!

Our mountain sunsets are amazing and we get a view of both from our backyard. I wish I could capture the color of them with my camera. Someday I will have a camera worthy of the pictures I wish to take!
It has been absolutely beautiful and unpredictable this spring. If you can't tell I am feeling truly lucky to have this and hope that you are vicariously experiencing it through me.

Spring Treasures

Every year we are overcome with the excitement that comes with planting and preparing our garden. We have lived in this house for almost four years and this will be our third garden and our third spring. Our yard has changed significantly over the years. Our boring backyard of grass, 4 trees, and a lilac bush in the corner, has grown into a large garden, swings, small flower gardens, side beds, kids corners, a chicken coop, and more. The entrance to our house lies on a sidewalk that passes between the house and our garage. What I call the front door is flanked on either side by what I call the 'side garden'. In previous years we ripped out massive vines that covered the entire section and have replaced it with many different flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Last year we went to town planting and it has been a delight watching what we tended bloom and grow. Everyday something has changed or developed like little thank you gifts. Our own rewards for the effort. New to the side bed this year is some chocolate mint, some peppermint, and of course a few tomato plants. I am hoping that this area will bloom with a variety of sights and smells (and will help make some great tea too)!

(This is the West side of our property with our garden and small aspen trees.)

While the building of the chicken coop has taken over the yard I know that the random screws, blocks of wood, and mess will soon be cleared out and we can resume the remainder of our projects. Yet to build is a tepee (from logs and then surrounded with sunflowers), a deep pitted sandbox, more garden beds, the rest of our bohemian garden fence with arbors, a small pond, arbors over our patio, a small back porch, oh I can keep going. In fact I do believe that I am thinking of a few other things to do! :)

Recently a friend visited our backyard for the first time and commented on the little surprises hidden throughout our space. She said something to the tune of how she would love to be a child in our backyard, all the areas of discovery. I have consciously worked hard to make this a space that our kiddos would thrive in. Little hiding areas, natural toys (sticks, rocks, shells, etc..), tools and kitchen ware for the sandbox, small faerie houses and gardens, these are similar to things that I enjoyed in my youth and continue to adore. I wanted my children to gain the same pleasure. I have tried to create these with their growth and learning in mind. I can not move them out into the country/mountains, but I can create our own little homestead in the city.

Our work year round pays off every spring and summer. We planted a crocus spiral (a large one) in the grass in our backyard last fall. We only received a few blooms but are anticipating next year to have a flowering masterpiece. Someday there may be a smiley face, or heart of crocus in the front yard as well. :) Last fall we found a few caterpillars and watched them cocoon and then transform into moths. This is one of our pet moths enjoying its first breath of the outdoors.
With our hectic schedule and lives we are fortunate to have such peace in our outdoors. We also have been generously gifted so much of what makes our backyard beautiful. The wood for the chicken coop, the absolutely stunning garden fence (Thanks Delta), the logs for the tepee, herbs and plants, and so much more. It is no easy task to achieve all the work we accomplish with young children at home. Although I love the exhaustion that comes with these outdoor tasks (mowing, shoveling manure, etc..), it is difficult to pair that with the exhaustion of child rearing. We are not always able to do everything we would wish to do in a single day or week. We are careful in our creation and are remaining conscious of the environment, our children's development, and our own enjoyment.

I am overjoyed with what we have created and excited to see the shape of things yet to come.

May 14, 2009

Another leaf

When reviewing old photos it is easy to see how much Teilee has grown physically. The difficult task is to identify the day to day areas of growth. Teilee has been taking pictures for many years but I have noticed that more recently she is able to find what she wants to photograph and then focus and center her target. No easy task when one of your subjects is the fast and furious Landis. Here is a sample of the photos Teilee has taken recently.

Yes, that is my son dressed in his Sunday best. Complete without clothes, with a cape, crown, and sister's rain boots.

Then we have captured Landis stiring up trouble in the bathroom and with sister's dinosaurs. I love seeing the photographer in the photo!

I have no idea how she got the camera to focus on the water. Really it is incredibly difficult with our camera. Our old digital used to take pictures quicker and focusing in at shorter range. Don't ask my why? This one, unless you are four feet back, is almost impossible to get it to focus.

I love seeing things from their viewpoint and even landis gets in on the gig. Although he likes to take pictures of peoples bottoms right now so beware the boy with the camera. It is great watching these two weeds grow another leaf.

My new umberella!