"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wild One

We had a lovely mid-week visit from out of town family members and decided that a good way to spend a rainy, blustery winter day would be to take in the sights at the State Museum. Charlotte and her Papa had been there for a father/daughter date a few weeks ago so she already had some insight on exhibits she really wanted to show everyone. Kiki, however, hadn't been as a young lass so she was quite eager to explore this new and oh so interesting place all on her own. Divide and conquer :)
Charlotte gave the tour to the others while Kiki and I had an a bit of discovery all on our own.

Seeing the museum through your toddler's eyes is like seeing it for the first time yourself. I was awe inspired by her gasps and shrieks of delight when she spied a new animal, the birds (oh she just loved the hall of birds), the mammoths. She was a bit apprehensive when we walked through the Long house exhibit and listened to a story by a Native American Grandmother (the lighting is quite dim so I'm sure her imagination was running wild!). We found a little nook just for kiddos and she aimlessly walked around focusing her attention of little bugs, turtles shells, beaver hides, and pretending to dig for dinosaur bones.
Kiki is proving to be our unadventurous one. She doesn't like rides of any kind, carnival, park, even escalators! There is an old Carousel that runs on the top floor of the museum; it is lovely. Kiki thought so too, so long as she didn't have to go on :)
Charlotte's favorite spot is the waterfall with the deer leaping from the stream. It is a very serene setting, I have to admit.

The one thing Kiki keeps talking about is how she "fixed" the elephant. It was a skeleton puzzle that she worked on for quite some time. Each piece she carefully examined and needed very little assistance to find the correct spot for each piece. She lovingly place every piece of the puzzle and when she was finished, she stepped back, sighed and smiled and patted the "fixed" elephant and assured him that he was OK, he was fixed now. She picked up her little basket (her little friends accompany her everywhere these days) and was ready to be on her way.
So, to say the littles have been a bit over excitable these past few days is an understatement. Company always makes them a bit wilder than usual. Last night they had become quite unruly and had a real hard time settling in after our long day out and late evening of games and ice cream. After many attempts to bring them to bed I finally came to my senses and brought in the magic serum. I gently massaged some oil onto their chest and asked them to breathe deeply and nice and slow (I put some on me, too!!) Within moments they were out like lights!
The power of Moor Lavender oil is amazing!!! Have you tried it? What are some of your favorite ways to soothe the savage beast in your littles?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eleven Years


Long ago a little angel flew from star to star gatheringlight and compassion, which came from all around her. At each star she metbig angels who showed her the way. One day Big Angel said, “It is time to go tothe Sun.” Little angel followed to a place of warmth shining like gold. Therebees and butterflies sang to her of love. Big angel led her to the moon, cleanand crisp like new snow. From the moon she saw the most beautiful sight- aplace of flowers, trees, rolling oceans, and two special souls who seemed to besmiling up at her. “May I go there?” little angel asked big angel. “It istime,” Big Angel said. “Use the gifts of light and compassion you havegathered to carry you over the rainbow bridge. There is a mother and a father  who have been waiting for you.” Little angelcarried her gifts over the rainbow bridge to her new home on the Earth.
From the first moment her parents loved her and they calledher Isabella, and Isabella was her name. When she was born it was a cold winterevening and the full moon and a million stars were smiling down on her from thesky. Her Aunt Sandy saw her first and cried. She cried because Isabella wassuch a beautiful little angel and she knew that Isabella would bring manywonderful gifts to all who met her. Isabella was a wee babe but strong and shehad a beautiful newborn cry.
And then Isabella was one year old and she was sweet aslittle ones could be. She was a happy little girl, always content. She loved tosnuggle in and read and play with her new favorite toy: tea sets!
Then Isabella turned two years old and never was sheterrible. She loved to eat chocolate and loved to swim and loved to be carriedon the tops of everyone’s shoulder.
Isabella turned three years old and was a princess in themaking. She had many outfits to try on throughout the day, shoes and dressesand purses. Isabella would sit all dressed up with her tea set and serving everyone tea.
Then Isabella turned four years old and she began school atHawthorne Valley. She was a Peach blossom with Mrs. Ward and made many newfriends. One friend was Farmer Katy. She would always greet Farmer Katy with agreat big smile and a wonderful hug.  Isabella loved the cows on the farm and her favorite day at school was bread day and rice day!
When Isabella turned five some of her most favoriteactivities were going camping with Nana and Papa, swimming,  hiking, and dragging Odie along wherever shewent. She went on many adventures like hiking in the mountains, canoeing on the river, and exploring every nook and cranny around her.
And then Bella turned six years old and she became a bigsister because another little angel named Charlotte joined her family. Isabellawas so happy and smiled from ear to ear when she met her new baby sister. Sheread to her, sat with her and was her Mama’s biggest helper. She loved to help batheher, hold her, and most importantly, change her diaper!
When Isabella turned seven years old she moved to a newschool. She didn’t have any trouble making new friends and very much enjoyedthe classroom, her teacher, and new friends. Isabella also moved to a new housethat year. She had her own room and a big yard to rider her bike and imagine all sorts of play! Isabella also becamean older sister again when another little angel, Kiki, came to be with her family.Again, she was immediately drawn to this little child and loved her and helpedout in any way she could.
Then Isabella turned eight years old and she had a reallyfun spa birthday party. She invited her closest friends and they enjoyed a 6tiered chocolate birthday cake, homemade lotions and other delights! Isabella loved to ride her bike after school,climb her favorite apple tree, and learn to play the piano.
And then Isabella turned nine years old and she got her earspierced!!! Her family surprised her with dinner out where everyone in the restaurant sang Happy Birthday to her .  Isabella and her family alsomoved into another home where there were many other children and lots of things to doand see. She loved being on “the land” and immediately was at home in her newroom and new surroundings.  She loved to help out with caring for the sheep, collecting eggs, and looked forward to the many activities that happened in our new community everyday.
Isabella then turned ten years old and was in her first playat Mac-Haydn Theatre. She tried out and was asked right away to be in Oliver.She worked really hard and stayed up really late and it paid off! She wasamazing. Isabella worked very hard on doing many things like:: practicingpiano, her schoolwork, being a big sister, helping her Mama around the house, keepingup with her chores, and just being a kid! Isabella has many wonderful friendswho love her very much. New friends moved into the house next door to us and our families have spent much time together celebrating all of the joys life has to offer. Isabella became the best of friends with their two daughters and loves them as if they were her sisters.
And now, Isabella is eleven years old! Wow, how time flies!!Isabella is becoming an amazing young lady. She is kind, selfless, honest,accepting, she works hard, is full of love and beauty, and is her Mama’s numberone helper. Isabella learned to play the viola and was even asked to sing a solo in her choir concert this year. She made All-County choir and plans to try out again for Mac-Haydn Theatre. Isabella is deeply loved and appreciated for all that she gives toeveryone every day. Her family thanks their lucky stars every night that shewas born!
Isabella Sandra Rain. She is my sweet angel, my oldest daughter, the beacon of light in my very long day. This young lady has never ceased to amaze me with the delight of her love, happiness, and her ability to turn the unfriendly things into something bearable. Her smile, her laugh, her friendship. I am so humbled that she chose me. From the very beginning of her time here on this earth I knew that we had an old and very deep connection, one that traveled across eternity. Its amazing to feel so connected to your children in that way. I never imagined that it was possible before I had children and now that they are here,  and as I watch the years fly by, the depths of our age old connections are very aware and they astound me.
I wasn't able to get as many photos as  I would have liked. She placed a tall order for her birthday supper:: Thanksgiving dinner!! It was wonderful! She helped in fits and starts, peeling potatoes, tasting, and just standing by my side chatting away about her day, her dreams, her worries. Her cake was also a bit of a project. She asked for a grasshopper cake; layers of gluten free chocolate cake with a mint chocolaty pudding in between and mint whipped cream frosting! She always pushes my culinary boundaries.....and I love it! As the children get older they like to stray from the usual treats of a "typical" birthday. The littles aren't quite there yet, and I'm fine with that for now!
 I'm enjoying the some what gentle ride into adolescence of my older children. To help cultivate a deeper connection and sense of trust between us I decided to some howbuild a bridge into this thing called adolescence by giving her a very special journal. This journal is something both she and I will write in, together, to each other. I explained that I understood how sometimes it can be hard to talk face to face with a parent. I expressed how important it was to not bottle up any feelings and to say even the hardest truth. I asked her to write to me every night, to tell me something about her day, or about a trouble, or a joy, or about how I might have upset her. I promised her that this was a safe space, she could tell me anything and she wouldn't get into trouble and we didn't even have to talk about it, unless she requested to. I promised her I would respond anyway she wanted, either to write back or to sit privately and talk. I wished I could have bottled up that moment. I gave her the journal privately as I figured it might have been embarrassing for her to open in front of her friends. I read her what I wrote (I have to remember to not write in cursive!!) and I couldn't help but get a bit weepy. I looked up and she was getting weepy herself!! She climbed into my lap (my 11 year old!!) hugged me and said "Mama, that is the most beautiful gift you could have ever given me." We sat there, in silence, she took the journal and went off to her room. I woke up this morning and she had placed the journal next to my pillow where I found her first entry. *sigh*
Her smile is so radiant, contagious! She brings so much love and light to everyone she knows. My Bella is as gentle as a kiss, and as tender as a flower. I pray everyday that she finds the strength she will need to carry on and to not ever surrender her peace and self-worth to the tests of this time and age.  She wears her heart on her sleeve, if someone cries she cries with them. Oh dear world, be kind to my Bella. She deserves every ounce of goodness and more.
Happy Birthday, my darling!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Year, New Rhythm

We humans have been shaped over the millennia bt the rhythmic rotation of the earth, by the diurnal dance of day and night. We have been formed by the rosy shadings of light at dawn, and by nightime's reply as scarlet and violet descend into velvet black. We have grown and evolved in Earth's slow journey around the sun. Day by day our world shifts imperceptibly, moving inexorably from spring's first blossom toward a world glittering in ice diamonds. Both the rapture and the travails of this cycle have formed the human psyche. Although our modern life is far removed from this earth-based consciousness, still our fundamental shaping has been in a rhythmic pattern. Our children, who live closer to basics than we do, are profoundly affected by the life rhythms we determine for them.
~ excerpt from Heaven on Earth by
Sharifa Oppenheimer
New beginnings have begun in our home. I've been seeking the right rhythm foundation for our home life and lately it's been a bit of a challenge. Seraphina came to us in June of last year and with her came a bit of a whirlwind. I could barely focus let alone try to keep a healthy rhythm alive in our home. Some days I was successful. We'd follow the rhythm that I'd begun prior to baby's arrival (you can read about that here) but between feedings, naps, piles of laundry, sickness (too much sickness), night school......well, I could go on! Needless to say, I've been spinning my wheels for a while and it hasn't felt very good. I can see where my littles are lost and feel like fish out of water. Anyway, the good news is we've begun to move out of the newborn haze (and hopefully the "everyone is sick again" phase) and are working new rhythms into our daily life.
Today we started Ring Time. We've done a bit of this in the past but I was at a loss for verses and the like. I've since acquired many lovely books (Wynstones, Waldorf Book of Poetry, for example) to help create our story of poems, finger plays and movement. We had great fun today and I was largely inspired for our winter Ring Circle by Lisa from  Celebrate the Rhythm of Life . I adapted it to fit our needs and boy! We sure had fun! There was laughter, smiles galore, and just pure and simple joy. I loved every minute of it and the littles have requested that we do it again and again! This inspired me to really sit and plan ahead our Ring Time for the year. My intention is to do the same circle for an entire month, that way it can be seasonal and kept appropriate for the holidays and such.

We've also begun our home school with Charlotte. She's just turned 5 and she has been asking and asking for more in the way of lessons. We've been having a more "unschool" atmosphere since September, focusing our day around our creative activity for that day (seasonal craft/activity, painting, drawing, baking, and handwork), reading and playing. I was able to purchase an Oak Meadow Kindergarten Syllabus so with that in my arsenal along with a few great nature study guides and the rest of our daily routine we should be in good shape! Kiki participates too. She follows along the day and when Charlotte sits down for her studies I set her up with us at the table to play but eventually she'll wander off and go bask in the glory of having the toys all to herself.

We have tasks that we "should" be completing everyday.......it's been my lack of initiative and motivation to keep on task BUT! It's a new beginning, right......I'll try harder. Our home runs so much more smoothly when I've got my head in the game and lately, I've been sitting under the bleachers ;) I spent this entire past weekend gutting each and every room, cleaning and reorganizing. The laundry that piled up as a result of a months worth of sickness has been washed, folded and put away. All the little things that have been eating away at my confidence as a homemaker have been defeated! (insert heavy sigh of relief here!!). It's wonderful and it makes it so much easier to keep on top of the load when it's actually manageable without needing the National Guard for assistance! This list above is a new addition to our other daily tasks. These are things I would usually just do on my own while having a little stand by and watch me, and usually, they are asking to help. To be honest, most
 times I would say "No, thank you". It wasn't because they were incapable, in fact, all of my children are wonderfully capable and help out in wonderful ways. I'd say "No" because I was too buried among the work aspect, the lack of joy in my work, the burden, that I would just lump it alone. There really is no reason to do that so it's shifting. The littles and I sat this morning and had a grand time folding laundry and Charlotte can not wait to sweep!!! Works for me!!

It excites me greatly to see how willingly life can shift when you can get your head out of your heart and just allow things to unfold as they may. I am much more at peace and I know for sure that my children are too!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Coloring Winter (an older post for today)

Feeling like a wee bit of color is needed in these dreary, wintry days. Here is an older post (tutorial) on bringing in the forthcoming season of St. Valentine. A bit early, I know but who cares!! It's all in good fun :)

Click the link below for the full post and tutorial!!

Valentine Window Transparency

Monday, January 21, 2013

Celebrate Today

This day is very meaningful to my family. Each year we try to be of service somehow,to our community either by reaching out or by simply being present. This year we did both! We spent the morning preparing an alter asking passersby to look within themselves and commit to acting out a random kindness to a stranger or loved one. Then, we spent the afternoon bearing cards and laughter to our neighbors and friends at Camphill Ghent.

This is what our letter said::
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his life’s work AND in
memory of all the lives lost if only to remind us that…
 “If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other”
spend today, January 21, 2013,
Committing Random Acts of Kindness.
~ Choose a slip of paper from the bowl and if possible, commit that act of love today! Consider for a moment, that if the paper you choose seems odd or uncomfortable to you, might you go ahead and explore this act of kindness that is out of your comfort zone anyway? It might just be the push you need to commit to being a constant presence of peace within your family and community! I challenge you tomove beyond the worry of “what people might think” and fully understand that…
 “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
~ Make sure to leave a little note for the receiver of your Act of Kindness (if it is an anonymous act) encouraging them to begin their own journey of spreading peace and kindness in their own lives by Committing Random Acts of Kindness.

 Our finished poster.

The other part of our day consisted of spending some time over at Camphill Ghent. We just love spending time there with the many wonderful souls who grace the buildings there. It is so peaceful, calming, joyful, relaxing......it's such an honor to be there. The littles (and Bella) made some cards to sneak into the personal mailboxes of some of the residents there saying things like "You are amazing." "I am really glad to know you." "You are beautiful."

Life is so full of busyness. It feels so amazing to be together as a family honoring the lives of others. We had many smiles, hugs, and joy. What better way to spend an afternoon?!
I hope you, dear friends, found and/or felt the spirit of love that was intended for this day. xo

Friday, January 18, 2013

Peace at Home

by William Ward
On the day of your birth
You were given gifts,
The seeds of your own will,
To sow upon the Earth,
That through your work
The seeds might grow
Into a fruitful garden
Protected by the Tree of Life
Whose branches hold up Heaven.
Now your roots grip solid ground,
Glad to be alive.
Your head bears a golden crown
Like the sun that lights the sky.
Your breath weaves in and out
Like the ocean tides,
As the fountain of your heart
Sings the song of life.
You crossed the rainbow bridge,
You left your Heavenly home
To walk the green, fruitful Earth
Beneath the starry dome.
You know this is the place
To give your gifts away,
Scattering them like golden seeds
Unfolding every day.
Seed-deeds ripen beneath the sun
Rooted in fertile will
To become the Bread of Life
When the seeds are milled.
For the past few years we, as a family, have done something special and unique to honor the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. We've hosted several fundraisers, visited the animals at our local shelter, cooked a meal for our neighbors in need, and last year we made a simple Peace Tree to honor the peace that lives within us all; the peace that is yearned for across all borders. This year, it has been my greatest intention to create more peace at home. With 7 people under one roof, a myriad of chores that never get done, stress about school, home school, stress about the world outside our door, fears etc. sometimes our home can seem a bit harried. The thing about blogs is that you can only give a small glimpse into the window of your life. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but most blogs I read (including my own) portray the positive glories of their life. Sometimes, reality sneaks in and we shine a different light, but all in all......we highlight the wonderful, beautiful, glorious moments of our home and our life with our families! And rightfully so! We have so much to celebrate within our days that, by all means, we should shout it from the roof tops! But.....what about those other moments. You know, the ones where you have to bite your tongue so hard in order to keep a harsh word hidden or maybe not? What about those moments when we are at our weakest, our most vulnerable, those moments when we throw our hands up in surrender? Those deep, dark moments when our peace is taken from us......
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take,
Let this be my solemn vow;
To take each moment and
live each moment
In peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
~ excerpt from Let There Be Peace on Earth

By many strides, we are quite peaceful. We laugh, we sing, we play, we spend beautiful time  together. We also argue, yell, cry, and say hurtful things to each other. We are not unlike any other family......the thing is, I would like to see us building up our foundation for a deeper connection to each other, a deeper level of respect for each other, a shared vision of our family culture and the impact we'd like it to have within our community. My goal for this weekend is to acknowledge those dark moment we have together and to introduce a simple way to cultivate more peace at home.

In an effort to create a space, free from worry and noise, I've dedicated a small corner of our bedroom, for anyone who wishes to use it, as the Quiet Corner. Here they will find a small rug for sitting, books that are peaceful and kind, cards I've made with words (for those of us who can read) to sit and meditate on, and cards with pictures for the littles to sit and think about. There is a candle, a rocking chair, and a notebook where those of us who sit in that space can write or draw about whatever comes up for them. It's a sit-spot, placed right next to our biggest window where you can see the sheep meadow, our beautiful apple tree, and listen to the many birds that live among it. It's the perfect natural vista to contemplate the many things that make noise in our minds. This quiet spot is where one can just be and release and accept all that is or isn't. This is my way of bringing more peace into our home so that we can fully use our gifts out in the world. My hope is that this safe space will allow each of us to cultivate that inner stillness which will open our hearts to our greater selves.

Like the poem above "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."
We, as a family, have many "seed-deeds" we wish to accomplish in this lifetime but first, we owe it to ourselves to know the deepness that peace has to offer us, within our own hearts. SO! For this weekend before we celebrate the life of  Martin Luther King, Jr. we will celebrate and honor our life's work as a family. Then, on Monday, we will embark on a journey through own little village and bring some of what we may experience together to others. This is our way of bringing peace to our greater home. On Monday I will post our plan for the day....stay tuned :)

How do you cultivate peace within your family culture?  I'd love to hear how xo

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Self-Care and Something FUN!!

The photo above represents many days over the past month. Our wee Seraphina has been so sick over the past 4 weeks. She's been struck with this on and off again super, raging fever. She presents no other symptoms, just fever.....for days! The last fever lasted 10 whole days reaching as high as 105.2*F. After all these years of being a mother, I have never, once, had a child reach a temperature quite like that. It was scary, unbelievable, stressful, sad, frustrating, you name it and I probably felt it. Not to mention how terrible she felt. But, boy, what a trooper she was. Super snuggles all day and all night, nursing every 20-30 minutes around the clock to keep her hydrated and preventing the need for IV fluids, blood work every few days, sleeping fewer than 45 minutes at a time. I'm noticing that I'm using the word "was" but really, this is where we are now. We're back in this God forsaken territory. The land of the never ending fever with no other symptoms. It's been 4 days now. We've been to the doctor, we've had the blood work and we'll do the follow up appointment tomorrow. Who knows where this one will take us, or how far. It scares me beyond belief to think for a moment what she may have to endure.......even if it's just a bunch of days more of this fever. Seraphina is only 7 1/2 months old!!! Her little body, however strong and resilient, is still so young and vulnerable. *sigh* I'm just a worried Mama wishing I could just make it go away. I don't doubt for a second that many of you have been in similar shoes as I am right now.
The last time our babe was ill I didn't take much interest in finding ways to alleviate my stress and worry. I spent 10 days with that little soul strapped to my body. We never parted, I think I may have only showered twice that whole time and didn't even contemplate going to school. This time around, seeing as the sleep deprivation is beyond acceptable limits, I'm realizing that I truly need to take a moment just to breath, think, cry, soak, and be. The photos below chronicle how I will spend those moment, not all at once, but spread out over the course of this illness......I make that promise myself and my baby that I will also take care of myself.
This gorgeous book was a gift from my husband. He knows me best and must have had an intuition that I would need some fortification along this journey. This book has been deeply satisfying.

I try to keep organic, dried flowers on hand for various projects. My plan is to put some in a little muslin bag and soak them in a bath......just for me, and baby, too! But me first!! The soothing and aromatherapy qualities of each of these flowers will prove to be so healing. I can't hardly wait!! I can't remember the last time I had a bath.....really!!

This picture is of some corny bags. They are simple and wonderful. (I didn't make these ones, these were gifts from my Mother and sister.) All corny bags are is square sacks filled with dried corn. Period. Its what you do with them......you warm them up  and use them as heating pads. The warmth they emit is just so healing and deep. Somehow better than just a regular 'ole heating pad.
 We were gifted a microwave (used) with these as the preferred method to warm them up. You can also just put them on a heated oven stone or on top of your wood stove, turning them every few minutes to heat them through. The microwave does work a bit faster. I plan to open a few up and pour in some lavender flowers so that when they are heated they will also release they healing scent of lavender.
Above is a simple photo of a candle. I will, with much zeal, sneak to find 10 minutes where I can just sit in silence and meditate. I think when we're in crisis it's so important to allow ourselves the space to just be in it, release what we can and accept the rest so we can keep moving forward. Otherwise, we'll just keep stewing and stagnating and never getting anywhere. Not to mention, it's so important to release the stress of being on 24/7 without a break in sight. I read a beautiful post in tribute to Mama's caring for their sick children, here is a quote from it ::
You can do this. 
You can do it with grace. You will do it beautifully. I know you will.
You may need help lifting a bag of dog food.
You might need someone to get a bowl from the top shelf in the cupboard.
But hidden behind your skirts is safety found nowhere else.
It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be mad.
But be fierce, my friend.
Fight hard.
Push back.
Love your little one.
This is what being a Mom is all about.
Right here. In this moment.
It isn’t about the Little League games, or the perfect nursery, or empty laundry baskets, or college scholarships.
It’s about shining for your baby when they need it the most.
Shine on, Sister.
God is good. Always. No matter what.
You can read the whole post here:: Life Rearranged

Now! For a total non sequitur :) I do have a bit of fun news, A sweet friend of mine emailed me with then news that she had nominated this blog for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Creative Moms award. I wasn't sure I believed her at first, I mean, it's not something that has happened to me......ever!! It wasn't until I received the confirmation email from Circle of Moms that I received the link to my nomination. I am unbelievably humbled. My blog is a very special place for me and my family. It's the place where, one day, my children will be able to look back and see the living proof of their childhood and our life together. It's been my greatest hope that our life's work would somehow inspire others to take a second look to notice the beauty in the little things, the simple things. I feel ever so blessed that it seems as though my wish has come true. I am so inspired by other blogger friends (one in particular:: Sara Wilson from Love in the Suburbs  who has also been nominated for this same award) so I'm finding it to be beautifully uplifting that some folks might feel the same way about our work here, in this blog.

If you feel called to do so, I would love it if you might help me get into the Top 25. Click on the button below and scroll down until you find A Simple Life. And while you're there, maybe you could share a vote for my friend Sara from Love in the Suburbs? You can vote for more than one blog at a time, you can vote once everyday until January 30th when the voting closes. I think it would be quite wonderful to be included in the Top 25! My vision for the future of this blog is ever changing......it would feel wonderful to invite others to come along for the ride!

From the bottom of my heart......thank you for your support and friendship and gentle pushes of encouragement to keep following my bliss here in blogland xoxo

Friday, January 11, 2013

Snow Fairies

The snow fell softly in the night,
All the world was glistening white.
The angels from the stars looked down
On Mother Earth's new shining gown.
The moonbeams danced down silently,
And kissed each sparkling branch and tree.
It's the January thaw here. All the glorious white and puffy snow we had over the holidays has begun to melt off. It's warm! It's funny how after a spell of 20*F and below 35* and higher feels like a heat wave! The down coat my husband gave me for Christmas hangs from it's hook in our entry way and hasn't moved in more than a week! The littles are amazed that they can go outside with a wool sweater and cap and feel warm!!! "It's winter, right?!" they say! What amazes me is how different winters are from when I was a child. It was cold, that I remember. And there was snow, and lots of it! My Dad has an old 1930's John Deere tractor that he would attach a plow to to move all the snow around.  One of my favorite memories, and the first inkling I knew we had a good snow over night, was being woken to the sound of the tractor in the wee pre-dawn hours as my Dad plowed us out! *sigh* Snow has become more of a novelty and less of a nuisance, I think. We've gotten so little over the past few years that when it finally comes, it's worthy of celebration. It feels like somehow things are as they should be, ya know?
That aside, the littles and I were wondering how we might invite some more snow to visit us. I told them a story of how when folks wish for rain they do a special rain dance. They looked at me with bright eyes and wondered if maybe doing a snow dance would work.

As they were dancing on the sofa :) I got out the usual suspects and fashioned together a quick Snow Fairy. Using just a wooden bead, half of a pipe cleaner, and a scrap of wool felt this is what I came up with. 
I added some wool roving between the folds of her dress and gave her some long white, braided hair. In her hands, I stitched a long piece of thread and attached little puffs of white wool to create the illusion that she was sprinkling snow. I attached her to the grapevine wreath that hangs above our nature table. I wish I could get better pictures of her dancing above it all, but.....I just couldn't seem to find the right angle. You can see in the first picture that I also added some wool felt stars. I wanted it to feel as though she were flying through the night sky dusting everything below in puffs of glistening, white snow. The girls came out and were super surprised to see this new addition to our little table. They were singing and dancing and making little Seraphina giggle (which was why I was afforded this extra bit of time! Her laughter makes the littles so happy that they will do anything to keep her laughing and smiley!!)
So, I guess we'll see if our efforts worked. A snow dance invitation and our little snow fairy......fingers crossed :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Charlotte's First Visit from the Tooth Fairy

The tooth's been turned to a shining stone,
A glimmering, glowing gem
The tooth Fairy takes the gnomes' good gift,
And curtsies to all of them.
Before the sun's first rays are shown,
She returns to Charlotte's bed,
And then.......away she's flown!

It's been a busy few days. With the end of the Christmas season this past Sunday we welcomed our birthday season. Charlotte's birthday is first in the year, she turned five years old yesterday. The switch to five years is always bittersweet for me. There are some really big shifts that I've noticed that happen in my children; growth spurts, academic readiness, more independence, learning new things like tying their shoes and of course........losing their first tooth! My two older children lost their first tooth closer to their sixth birthday so you'd probably guess I was quite surprised when Charlotte came to me a few weeks ago having discovered she had quite a loose tooth!! I was pretty darn shocked! She seemed so young, yet! Don't get me wrong, Charlotte is very independent and bold and capable!  Emotionally, she's right where she should be so the idea of losing her tooth was a very frightening thought! She didn't want her tooth to fall out, she loved that little baby tooth. She was afraid it would hurt, that there would be a big hole in her mouth, that somehow something more would be missing then just a tooth!

I knew in my heart her little tooth would come out on her birthday. I tried to let it go as much as I was able, I didn't bring up her loose tooth at all and only discussed it when she brought it up. I would casually answer her questions and do my best to comfort her fears and make light of the situation. I thought we'd done a good job when she finally started getting a wee bit "excited" about losing her tooth! Much to my surprise, on her birthday, she woke up and was absolutely inconsolable at
 the idea that her tooth was absolutely coming out! There was no way to change that it wouldn't stick back in and we could forget the whole thing!! Most of her day was spent crying and fighting the whole process. At one point I asked if she'd like to open one of her gifts to help ease the concern. We had found a very special book called The Story of the Tooth Fairy. It tells a lovely story of how the tooth fairy came to be......and she loved it! *phew* She loved it for about ten minutes!!! It was a good try, anyway.

Needless to say, her fifth birthday was spent mostly in tears. We had lots of snuggles and kisses. Lots of deliberation and discussion on how to best move this process along or leave it! Then, finally, after everyone went home Charlotte and her older sister Bella disappeared into the bathroom. I went in to take a peek and Charlotte, with tired and emotionally distraught eyes, looked up at me and said, OK Mom.......just take it out!!! Much to my dismay, I knew I couldn't waver. I had never done such a thing nor had I ever wished to. Wiggly teeth make me squeamish. My older two were never emotionally attached to their teeth and always just worked it through on their own, with me cheering them on from the sidelines!

So, I took a deep breath, wrapped my fingers in a washcloth, she opened her mouth, and as soon as I saw her eyes soften and relax in her trust in me........pop! It came out! No tears, no pain......the tooth came out! She sighed with great relief (as did I) and couldn't wait to put her teeny, tiny little baby tooth in her tooth pouch!

With much joy and anticipation, Charlotte woke up this morning to find beautiful gold coins (even one from the Philippines as a token of the tooth fairy's global travels!!) and a little bead. Since Charlotte had initially thought she'd like the tooth fairy to leave her tooth behind (but then changed her mind when it finally came out) the tooth fairy left her a bead in it's place. Charlotte will receive a bead for every tooth that she loses from here on out. We will keep these beads in a safe spot and on that day, many years from now, when Charlotte loses her last tooth, we will leave the beads under her pillow with her last little tooth and when she wakes the next day she will find a gift made for her from all the beads she's collected over the years.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

5 Journeys Around the Sun :: Happy Birthday, Charlotte

On the night you were born,
the moon smiled with such wonder
that the stars peeked in to see you
and the night wind whispered,
"Life will never be the same."

Long ago a little angel flew from star to star gathering light and strength, which came from all around her. At each star she met big angels who showed her the way. One day Big Angel said, “It is time to go to the Sun.” Little angel followed to a place of warmth shining like gold. There bees and butterflies sang to her of love. Big angel lead her to the moon, clean and crisp like new snow. From the moon she saw the most beautiful sight- a place of flowers, trees, rolling oceans, and two special souls who seemed to be smiling up at her. “May I go there?” little angel asked big angel. “It is time,” Big Angel said. “Use the gifts of light and strength you have gathered to carry you over the rainbow bridge. There a mother and a father have been waiting for you.” Little angel carried her gifts over the rainbow bridge to her new home on the Earth.

From the first moment her parents loved her and they called her Charlotte, and Charlotte was her name. When she was born it was a warm winter evening and a million stars were smiling down on her from the sky. Her Daddy saw her first and immediately knew her, as if it had been forever. She was a very big and strong baby, quite ready to be here on Earth.

And then Charlotte was one year old and she was was very busy. Its almost like she'd been a baby before because she was able to do many things babies her age could not. She was talking, singing, getting ready to walk. She was eating by leaps and bounds and getting stronger everyday. She loved to play with her Daddy and with her older brother and sister. Charlotte also became a big sister when Kiki was born.

When she was two years old and she loved to ride on the back of Daddy's bike. She loved playing outside and running after her doggies. She had a special swing that she would share with her older sister. She was a wonderful big sister to Kiki and loved playing with her and being her friend.

When she was three years old Charlotte loved to play and help out in the garden. She would work beside Daddy and pull weeds, plant seeds, and harvest when it was time. Charlotte loved to help Mama in the kitchen and would help bake and knead bread, cookies, breakfast, lunch and dinner. And she really loved to make homemade play dough, too!!

When she was four years old Charlotte began to really love drawing and painting. She loved to listen to stories, tell stories, and sing. She also began to write her name and practice schooling at home. Charlotte began going to Open Meadow and met many new friends, like Scarlett, Otto, Emerald, Emory and Lesley, and Aliah. Charlotte loved to spend lots of time outside, playing in the garden and playing with Kiki and all of her neighbors. Charlotte also became and big sister again when Seraphina came to her family. Charlotte is a big help. She holds the baby lots, sings to her, plays with her, feeds her, and gathers diapers and wipes. Charlotte has blossomed into such a caring, capable, fun, and lovable girl.

And now Charlotte is five years old, and like magic, she is about to lose her first tooth! She has grown strong and is very smart and helpful, and a good friend. We are happy to know Charlotte and to be a part of her fifth birthday. Her smile and heart are as warm as the sunshine. Her laughter is contagious and brings joy to anyone who hears it. She tries very hard to do the best she can at everything and has a spirit and energy that is inspiring to see.

Charlotte, you are the one and only ever you.


Friday, January 4, 2013

First Friday

Well here we are, the first Friday of the New Year. It's been a full week so far! Surprisingly so, in fact; the beginning of a book has been written, art shows are being scheduled, new photography experiences are making themselves known, home school rhythms are shifting, and there seems to be an overall shift within our family culture that is quite satisfying. We're preparing to send off these last few days of reverance for another. Epiphany will come to closure on Sunday, we'll bake a cake to welcome the arrival of the Three Kings. Then, we'll spend the final hours with our beloved Nativity set before it gets loving packed away until next Advent. Thus begins the preparations for the multitude of lovely celebrations and festivals the will be upon us
On Fridays I like to visit and participate with The Magic Onions and their Friday's Nature Table but I'm taking a bit of a crafting break and enjoying these last few days of Christmastide. So instead, I'm playing along with a new fun link-up over at Life Rearranged. It's for cell phone photos and I'm sure as you may have discovered, I've become a bit of an IPhone junkie, particularly with the photo capabilities. I have always been interested in learning the art of developing photos and learning how to use a "real" camera. Well, I didn't, for various reasons, learn how so since I'm living in these modern times........when in Rome?!
life rearranged

These past few days have been bitter cold......Kiki especially as she refuses to keep a stitch of clothes on her wee little body! So, we've been drinking lots of hot cocoa!

Seraphina has begun to eat food. She has been asking for what seems like weeks but I've hesitated because she hasn't sprouted any teeth yet!!! I gave in and handed her a bit of banana! Her world was made and now she's eating bananas and sweet potatoes! I never ceases to amaze me at how fast these first few months go......*sigh*

As I mentioned above, it's been chilly, really chilly! Aside from the gallons of hot cocoa we've been consuming, we've also been piled under plenty of cozy blankets, all together. Charlotte, and this is one of those hard to believe things, has her first loose tooth! She'll be 5 on Monday.......my older two didn't start loosing teeth until they were 6/7!!! She's always been a bit on the quick to grow side but yikes!!! Slow down, baby, slow down!!!!

We finally got a good bit of snow, finally!!! Last winter was pretty pathetic in that department. Snow games abound!!!!

And lots of sledding :)

Winter is such a lovely time to observe the world outside our window, I think. The trees are bare, showing their vulnerability. The colors are darker, the light more crisp.

Look at her sweet face. I just melt with complete love and adoration with those smiling eyes!!!
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