Feb 22, 2011

Cabin Fever

Nick in a moment of complete and absolute relaxation. (Story and more pictures to follow soon)

Feb 21, 2011

Full Snow Moon

I love The Spring Creek Children's Garden. Even in Feb. it is a beautiful place. In the summer kids swarm around the giant watering can fountain and play area. In the winter it is peaceful, quiet, serene, and still so so much fun. It is only a short bike ride away on our local trail system.

The kids had the run of the place and of course loved to play in the Dr. Seuss house, aka "the restaurant", where they served up french fries and pancakes. One of the best play opportunities this time of year are with seeds. Seeds for throwing in the creek, seeds for cooking with, seeds for gifting to the fairies. We made our seed pod offering to the fairy garden several times.

Besides spontaneous play, the garden offer classes and plant trading and now an outdoor kitchen for events. We came after Valentines Day and found these lovely hearts hanging from the trees.

The closet homeschooler inside me loves all the educational opportunities. Interactive sundials, information about plants and trees, the months of the year, and so so much more. This time of year it is hard to see the beauty in the sparsity, the brown and gray landscape that surrounds us. I have learned to love it. I love walking through brown and red fields of grasses. I love the anticipation of what is brewing under the earth. The end of winter, beginning of spring is a time of energetic waiting. Such exuberance can be found in the quiet solitude of this season.
The gardens is a grounding space and such a joy to experience. A shining example of how to embrace the seasons and the beauty of each.

Feb 15, 2011

Feb. 15th 2011

Today has been another astounding summation of my mothering life. After the excitement of V-day Teilee stayed home from school today. Her stomach was upset and rather than risk it we decided to stay home. Well, early in the day I scrambled to get us ready for mama sing something I hate to miss and had forgotten about until 5 min before it started. We wound up getting dressed, preparing snack and getting there without being terribly late. Sing, snack, home, lunch, nap time, preparing snack for the afternoon and dessert for dinner, and running errands. Then we took advantage of the amazingly beautiful sunny Feb. day and went for a bike ride to our local Spring Creek Gardens (an amazing community garden and horticulture center). They have a great children's garden and classes for kids and adults, an outside kitchen and amazing walking grounds. It is so peaceful and beautiful in the winter. Daddy biked with us there and then went on to work. The kids and I returned home a few hours later and I unpacked and picked up the house before starting dinner. All this with a migraine. Got the kids dinner, did dishes, got T in a bath (Landis will have one tomorrow night). Got the kids ready for bed, cut their hair, trimmed and filed Teilee's nails. Folded and put away 3 loads of laundry with another in the dryer and washer (and 2 more waiting to be done). Then I blogged while downloading the pictures from the camera into the computer. Now it is 11:00 pm. I am exhausted, falling asleep standing up tired. While today was an amazingly fun fun fun day absolutely nothing notable gets checked off my to-do list. The house (despite efforts) is still a mess, there is still laundry and dishes, and everything that NEEDS to be done still NEEDS to be done. Taxes, my other 2 home businesses, uncluttering, planning, packing, returning emails and phone calls, sending the mail, registering, research, paperwork, etc..... is still left to do. Plus no one will really notice what I DID do. No one will really notice that the kids hair is 1/2 inch shorter (yet out of the eyes now), no one will see T's polished fingernails or that I gave her her nightly massage therapy (for her toe-walking). No one will realize that there were three loads of dishes that were washed and put away, or that their pants, shirts, socks, etc... were folded and put away. Ahhhhhhh. While doing all of these unnoticeable tasks the kids complained and whined and, like all children, only notice what I don't do.
I explained it to Nick in grocery terms. Imagine stocking shelves all day, mopping floors, clearing out backstock, tending to customers while your boss constantly complained that you weren't doing the other thing that they wish you were doing instead. Tending to a customer by pushing their cart while they whined that it should be a bigger cart, roll faster, and why can't you just make it fly. Doing all this while trying to always speak kindly, be playful and fun, address each comment/complaint/statement and always know exactly what to say. Also you must find extreme gratitude for the opportunity to serve this complaining customer and your dissatisfied boss. Then you finish the cleaning and stocking to find yourself extremely exhausted (like you've never felt in your life). You clock out, ready to have glass of wine or just brush your teeth and go to bed, when you walk through the store on your way out you realize that everything you did throughout the day has been undone. Groceries are everywhere, the floor is a mess, the backstock is piling up, and tomorrow you have to start all over again without ever getting to make any real progress towards restocking or that remodeling project you wish you could get to to make your life easier.
Whew.....that is why mothers often feel so unappreciated, lonely, and frustrated by the task. Today I feel all of this but I have the extreme pleasure to say that emotion does NOT find itself a lasting position. I had an AMAZING day. I LOVED getting to be with both of my children, eating dinner with them, biking to the local garden, getting to read to them. I feel so fullfilled. Why? I have let go of the expectation that I will 'catch up'. I am learning to shut out others disappointment in my inability to prioritize them. I am a good person, a good friend, a good daughter, a good wife, a good mother. But....what comes first right now is that last one, being mom. I am sorry that I may not return your call, or email, I may procrastinate my obligation to work on something for a business, or for the kids schools or whatever. I assure everyone, including myself, that what I am replacing those 'obligations' with are these opportunities and memories that are so much more important and fulfilling and valuable. I refuse to feel guilty for that! As long as I remember that joy, that blessing of these experiences, and breathe in each moment the exhaustion will be a welcome friend.

T's Favorite

Valentines Day 2011

Honestly this one is not one of my favorites, the kids however love love love valentines day. We work to undervalue the junk food and materialism of the day and instead focus on the ability to express our gratitude and appreciation for those we love. Here was Landis' amazement at the table that Daddy had so lovingly prepared the night before.

Daddy had to work in the evening so breakfast was the meal that we were able to all sit down for. We had a few treats, like orange juice, chocolate tea, and bacon!! Then mommy took the kids to school and Daddy went to his school for the morning. Mommy ran errands, volunteered in T's classroom and prepared the items that I was to bring to T's class party in the afternoon all in the 3 hours that Landis was in preschool. Oh yeah, jam packed.

Teilee dressed herself And her brother for the day. He wore his best suit and she wore hearts and pink. She insisted that we all dress up, preferably in red.
Here is Landis after preschool looking chill. ;)

Then Landis and I got to go to T's class party. Teilee had Landis help her hand out her valentines bookmarks. In an effort to reduce the waste of this day the kids decided to make bookmarks for their friends. We lovingly worked for 2 weeks prior to get them done. This was complicated by Teilee's desire to customize every bookmark based on her 17 classmates/4 teachers interests and personalities. She finished them, which was my only requirement. The kids were so excited handing out their valentines!!
Then the kids had snack and a craft before ending their day. I hope that someday we can remove the idea that celebration/happiness= junk food. Many kids in the class are allergic anyways, why not just remove this 'tradition'. I love T's school and its community for many of it's creative, alternative ways of thinking except in this area! We have this idea that we are taking something away from our children, but really....they don't notice at this age. Extra recess, extra crafts, song, stories, etc... would easily take the place of sugar. Besides it makes it harder for me to 'treat' my children at home when they are getting it at school too! It is not true that sugar is safe in moderation. It is our way to justify why we continue to offer this 'drug' to our children. It is the last thing their growing brains need! Ironically we are in the middle of a school challenge called Schools on the Move, where children monitor what they are eating as well as their activity levels. Every day they are to get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables and 60 mins of activity/exercise. This is a pretty easy task for our family, but kinda pointless all the kids if they are getting a pound of sugar a day!!! Besides sending such an awful, hypocritical, message to our children. Okay, off my soap box.

We escaped with minimal deserts in the day (thanks to our allergies we were able to dodge the cookie/candy gauntlet) and for dinner we had a shrimp, veggie stir fry with chocolate covered strawberries for desert.
Teilee said the favorite part of her day was having Landis and her mommy at her school party! She loved having him help her with her valentines. They were so cute together, she led him around the room, helped him find his seat, helped him with his plate and drink, and loved showing off her big sister skills!! Teilee and Landis agreed that we should do every Valentines Day just like this Valentines day. I think so too. :)

Feb 14, 2011

Snow Days

On our snowy cold days Teilee left us dozens of messages all over the yard, written with an icicle. Of course we made it to the park to sled. Landis and I scourged the stores earlier in the day and while sleds are apparently out of season they are on clearance in a few stores.

I love you mom & Dad, Teilee

Another artist (I think I know who) made this at the park. We do love our spirals, snow spirals are so incredibly beautiful.

As I welcome the warm sunny days I am so grateful for the opportunities to experience these snowy wonderlands with my children.

Feb 11, 2011

On my dining room table

We have a ritual every night at diner. When it is diner time, I ring the bell and the kids come to the table (sometimes they help set it). We light a candle and sing a song. We have several in our repertoire.

Fairy Sprite,
Fairy Sprite,
Bring to us your golden light.
We can light a candle,
love can light a star,
both of them are wondrous shining where they are

On occasion we have burst into a number by the Black Eyed Peas:) During dinner we share the best and worst parts of our day and something we are grateful for. Lately I have asked for them to share a part of their day, rather than specifically best/worst parts. It just gives me an in to open up conversation and establish that this is what we do at dinner (not throw food, or bounce out of our chairs, or sing throughout diner, or get out of our chairs to breakdance, which has all happened).

This has become important to the kids each night especially since Nick works in the evenings. It keeps things consistent for them, and ties us together as a family. One early morning Daddy bumped the diner bell and from back in her bedroom Teilee shouted, "It's diner time."

Lately my table has been half filled with Valentines Day card making for the kids classes. 50 valentines please. I hate the waste and I refuse to buy the already made cards (although I completely get why). This year we are making bookmarks. Landis is stamping, drawing, punching, and writing his name on all of his. Teilee is custom making one for each of her classmates with their interest in minds. Wood colored paper and a soccer ball for one, a dragon for another. If I could have convinced her to simplify I would have, but as long as she gets them done she meets my requirements. I look forward to clearing the space but am enjoying the creativity that is coming forth.

Many beautiful things are created at our dining room table.

Happy Dragony Valentines Day!!

Feb 5, 2011

Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year!

Welcome the year of the rabbit. Welcome to a year of calm, reflection, peace and respite.

Feb 1, 2011

Winter Weather Flash Back

In the Middle of Poudre River Winter of 2010.
Happy Groundhog day/Imbolc/Candelmas!

My new umberella!