Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween

After a week of nasty, almost-snowing, definitely ugh ugh ugh why do I live here weather, October 31st dawned bright and warm and with that low golden light of late fall.
I went to the kids school for Parent Teacher conferences with the older kids teachers and came away feeling so good - they are academically strong, beloved members of their class communities. Picked the twins up from a playdate and took them to buy pumpkins, and went home to put on a pot of soup for friends joining us to trick or treat.















The front porch was deemed far superior to the kitchen for jack-o-lantern carving, so we took ourselves out and set to work.



















First you have to draw the face you want.














Then get someone bigger to cut the top off for you. You get to stick your hand in and scoop the pulp, separating the delicious seeds out to be roasted - a delightful/ yuck experience.



















Meanwhile, in back, have someone laying a fire for after it gets dark and you are done trick or treating and are ready to eat some serious candy and warm up.















Ta-da! A cat, a baby, and Pippi Longstacking, to be lit as you leave for trick or treating, to scare away the goblins.















Trick or treating in our town started before dark, so I was able to get some pictures. Pippi Longstacking and Mr Nillson, her monkey, almost filled a pillowcase full of candy in an hour and a half. Very dedicated.















This little trio, twins plus a friend, trooped about gamely braving spooky front walks, smoke machines and the friendly police man with his bowl of candy outside the station. Then we all came back home, ate soup, examined endlessly our stash and ran around madly, our sugar levels skyrocketing.

At ten, we left the big boy in charge and my friend and I stole off into town to see these guys play:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9OUqakSSyo

It was one of those immensly satisfying we almost stayed home but at the last minute decided to live a little events that turned out to be so much better than we could have imagined. Great day!



























Thursday, October 23, 2008

October
























































What happens when you raid the give away bags in the garage? Oh, the loveliest games...



























Monday, October 20, 2008

Days of Summer - Learning to Ride

video

With the help of a very patient big brother and sister and a watchful, if somewhat wary dog, the twins tackled riding without training wheels this summer.
Cakes got it pretty fast but the Bean, who is so quick with numbers and logic, seems to have the nutty professor in there somewhere because while riding she would space and start to look around. "Pedal!" we'd all be yelling but she wouldn't remember what she ought to be engaged in until the bike was wobbling to a halt, or worse.

So the Bean has still got her training wheels, with me trotting alongside for security, but Cakes flies off down the towpath now on her slightly too small bike, knees under her armpits like a circus bear, gamely pedalling behind Skaterboy for all she's worth. The Bean wouldn't know what to do with herself, I don't think, if she wasn't ambling along beside me, swerving and braking and chatting like a little wind up thing. I sometimes wonder if she didn't figure out not riding alone on purpose.





Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ah, boy

It's been much too long between posts. I intended to post a video last week of the kids but my computer died and its a $200 fix. Yikes! I'm borrowing this one, but there's no pictures on it.

I feng-shui-ed my house a couple of weeks ago, on the porch, late at night, with a bottle of red wine close by. And if I'm not mistaken the place where I spend most of my time - that is, my bed - sets me up to experience 'six setbacks.' It could be worse, but its not great.
How resilient am I? This since March...
1. Broken heart
2. Dead car
3. Eviction (later rescinded)
4. Computer failure as I try to build a website for a business
5. Green card expiration

...and now my Mum, hurt and too far away. I'm loath to count that as my own personal setback but I feel set back by it, the distance that I'm already all too aware of amplified. If I did count it though...would I be done? Could I expect the rollicking uncertainty of this year to subside? Mum, would you mind?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Days of Summer: Swimming

We have a lovely swimming hole near us in a Metro Park - it's called the Spillway Pool because it's at the base of a dam. The water is shallow enough to be safe, there's lifeguards, a sandy beach, and it's free.




















Cakes taught herself to swim this summer, and spent our days there diving and lolling about, convinced she has mermaid blood in her. After watching her for a while we started to believe she just might.





















The Bean isn't so keen to put her face under, and so spent most of her time on the beach luxuriating in the possibilities of sand.









































Days of Summer: Lemonade Stand

I really blew it in the blogging department this summer. I could blame single motherhood, work, housekeeping, too much cold beer and too many warm evenings spent on the porch instead of at the computer, and I will.
It was a lovely summer here in the valley, and I say was with my eye on the tree across the street, which has started to turn already. The kids start school next Wednesday, and fall is on it's way. So I thought I would at least do a little summer retrospective, while the days are meandering their way quietly into the next change.

A town where folks come to walk, run, and ride their bikes. Warm days. Cute little girls in sunhats selling lemonade with mint in paper cups.

A recipe for happiness all around. The town loved them, (our police officer handed them a dollar but declined the lemonade), the visitors loved them, and they made enough money to feel quite financially independent, at least for a purchase or two.

Signs were made.




















Everything was organized - table, bouquet of flowers, mint from the garden, a cigar box for the money.




















Signs had to be posted...




















...or even better held up high at the corners.




















Three happy, sticky, sunsoaked girls.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Graduates

Today the twins graduated from kindergarten with a ceremony that involved a performance of the songs their class learned through all the seasons of the year and then their dear and gentle teacher bestowing upon them a ceremonial award and the swords they sanded, painted and oiled after turning six. As they hung their teary heads, not wanting to leave her, she hugged them goodbye and lead them over a wooden bridge to me. She then rejoined the children who are staying with her another year, gathering them to her like a mother hen, and they all watched quietly as the handful moving to first grade went on ahead. I love the Waldorf kindergarten so much, and have for so long, that it's hard to believe I no longer have any children in it. I just always thought we'd be together.



















When we got home I flaked out on the sofa and had the girls show me their portfolios of just beautiful drawings and paintings. As they pirouetted about chattily I realised that the front door had fabulous light and color, and did a little photo shoot.
I love the American Gothic look of this picture - it's about as removed from a Waldorf kindergarten as you can get, but there is the sword. And the clutter? It's our life.

The rest of the pictures from this series are at my Flickr page, along with a series of my big girl with our new kittens, Oscar and Lucinda.

And now, to summer. Ah, yes.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring

When we get home from school on these lovely new days of Spring we spill straight out of doors to hang out on the back or front porch. The deck in back is perfect for hopscotch and skateboarding and I can sit on the steps and enjoy the kids, a glass of wine, and the rich air of
a warm days end.



















The air smells of the river and wet earth, as well as cooking smells from the restaurant behind us, and the hills rising up around on all sides seem to shelter us as they turn a delicate green.



















From our front porch we can watch cyclists and walkers on their way to the towpath to enjoy the air and river and woods, and people wave and smile and greet us. We are in a hub of activity in a small town in a wooded valley.



















We draw with chalk, cartwheel, play kickball with the kids next door and poke about in the garden discovering the plants that are coming up.



















Everything feels new and fresh and possible.


































Tonight when we got home Skaterboy ran right out with his fishing rod to throw a line in the river, and ran back in again almost right away, practically beside himself with excitement.















"Quick, take its picture" he said, and I did. It's a young steelhead trout, which he immediately took back and released, absolutely thrilled with himself.



















When dinner was ready I sent the girls to go get him. They walked through the parking lot, across the railroad tracks, along the river and clambered down the embankment to the sandbar he was fishing from.




















When no-one came back after twenty minutes I went to get them, and there they were, pulling the little steelhead from the river one after another, even the twins, with help from their brother.



















I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to live in a place like this with the kids. It's going to be a great summer.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Same Blog, Different Life

I've not stopped writing this blog because of neglect, laziness or indifference, although you could be forgiven for thinking so. Late last year my life changed dramatically, and although I continued with blogging the way I had been, casting our family in a happy, slightly wacky and creative light (which we were and still are), all through the fall I was struggling with a choice I made which altered our family forever.



At a certain point I couldn't continue what felt like a farce, and stopped posting. Then I went to Australia to see my family and posted a new blog so that my kids could keep track of my visit. Not at all a substitute for this one, I'm afraid, but at least a reminder of what I had loved doing. I still struggled with reconciling the blog I had started with the reality of my life now, and whether I could honestly share the truth instead of the airbrushed life I created here last year.



D and I have separated, and likely will not live together again. The reasons are not earth shattering, and I know many who can't understand how I could have made this choice, considering all the myriad implications, especially those concerning the children. Believe me, I struggle every day with this, and will continue to.



It has been a long six months, this winter. I have been elated, struck numb with horror, deeply confused, devastated, stupid, and wildly joyous. Sometimes all in the same day.
Then yesterday I did something painful but necessary to put myself on track again for where I am going. I slept deeply, the knot in my stomach eased. When I woke this morning birds were singing their morning chorus and the sun slanted across my bed. I live in a little town that I love, and spring is coming. I adore my children and will do all I can to give them a rich full life, even if it not the one we all ordered. And I have things to do. Like post my blog again, this time the real version.