Cheers to 2015! May you be blessed with love, adventure, creativity, laughter and peace.
xo xo from our nest to yours!
right now I am
enjoying a quiet house
sipping Evening in Missoula tea
missing the noise of wakeful children
embracing autumn’s beauty
mourning the loss of summer’s warm (er) waters
praying for dear friends and family who are ill, lonely, wanting and hurting
feeling grateful for my health and my beautiful children who amaze me every day
Thanks to the generous and thoughtful people at Personal Creations, the girls have personalized Easter buckets this year! It made my jaw drop when I realized Easter was 2.5 weeks away already, yikes. We have been getting a bit of our Easter on around here and the arrival of the buckets was the catalyst for some decorating and some crafting and some reading of my favorite Easter story. And A LOT of talk about the beloved magic seeds. We’re all wondering how they might grow in this still very snowy place though… hmmm. It just might be one of those snowsuit-over-the-Easter-dress years.
So, these buckets! We’ve been playing a lot of games with them like throw the plastic Easter eggs in (Bozo the Clown style), balance a plastic Easter egg on a spoon from bucket to bucket and a lot of pretending to BE the Easter Bunny and filling the buckets. It’s fun to have something personalized, especially for Wren who is beginning to recognize and “read” more and more words and loves to see her name in print. It reminds me of something my grandparents might have given us because they gifted us with monogrammed or personalized things every once in a while. So “thank you!” again to Personal Creations for the lovely gifts.
We had a special afternoon last week when my Kindergarten teacher paid us a visit. We’ve been friends for 30 years now and sharing our girls and our home with her was one of the highlights of Christmas vacation.
Not only was she my first school teacher, but I knew her through our childhood church and the summer camp I went to since I was a wee one. She played the role of Mother Nature at camp and took us on nature tours of the lake via canoe and encouraged us to taste Indian Cucumber, aka tender cattail hearts. She showed us the beauty of the constellations on the dock under starry summer skies, she took us on night hikes to listen for owls and sniff around for the fragrant sassafras with its beautiful, unique leaves. The other campers and I would huddle together through the darkened woods while munching on the spicy stem. I have such vivid memories of those nights and can still clearly see the spot we hiked up to deep in the woods in order to sit still and call for owls and listen to the creatures of the night begin to stir around us.
When I graduated from high school she gave me my first books of Michigan birds and wildflowers. I thumbed through the birds book when looking for names for my children, hence the names we settled on: Wren and Phoebe.
She’s also an incredible storyteller and strong believer in the spirit world. She told some very spooky ghost stories at camp and now she is often invited to people’s homes or buildings to witness the spirits and take photographs of orbs. She is currently working on a book about ghosts in the town of Romeo where I grew up.
I’m so grateful for her presence in my life over the past 30 years and owe her so much for sharing with me such a deep and curious appreciation for nature. It was so special to spend the afternoon with her and have her read meaningful, timeless books and play thoughtfully with the girls, talk about our gardens, hear about her recent travels and spirit encounters in the areas where the Japanese Internment camps were held and see some of the orbs she’s captured with her camera. Her enthusiasm for so many different aspects of life, innate sense of adventure, and desire to share the joy and wonder of children is contagious.
Feeling so grateful and inspired and wishing I could always have my Kindergarten teacher around. So much to glean from so many years of devoted experience with wee ones! It really does take a village, no?
I had the best afternoon in a LONG time yesterday when Wren and I had a very rare date, just the two of us. After church we had brunch at one of our favorite cafes in town. We got to have escargot (!) and Wren was incredible company: funny, open, interested, polite, charming, a great conversationalist. We wondered about snail hunters and their techniques, we whispered about how some people don’t have hair, we giggled while we played hide-and-seek with a tiny blue ball. I took my camera, but we were so immersed in our brunch together that I didn’t stop to snap any shots. I looked around and many of the other tables had families, but there were so many SCREENS. And I was just so grateful that we didn’t have screens to captivate us instead of each other.
After brunch we headed off to The Nutcracker. It was a beautiful performance and we were inspired and uplifted. And a bit wiggly and sleepy. Wiggly and sleepy, what a funny combination that seems to belong only to children. I do not get wiggly when tired, do you? I may have teared up a few times while snuggling Wren tight on my lap, so full of gratitude for her presence and our special time together.
When we left The Nutcracker we stumbled upon this misty sculpture garden, wet and a tad mucky with the remains of late autumn in northern Michigan. How could I have never seen this before?
We played for a while and Wren got some wiggles out in the mud. When we left I asked Wren what her favorite part of The Nutcracker was. “Playing in the mud!” Aha. That’s my girl.
Feeling grateful this Thanksgiving time for a healthy, active family. Wren ran about the first mile of the race with us then she jumped into the stroller with Phoebe for the rest of it. She wanted to jump out a few more times at some of her favorite spots around town and since I wasn’t running for any kind of PR and wanted to encourage her interest, we let her run some more. It’s such a thrill to see her run. It seems like Wren was just learning to walk and now she’s Turkey Trotting. Next year Phoebe will want to join her too. Time, it keeps speeding along.
As it turns out, there is much beauty to be found in November. Zane inspired me to look a little more closely at the beauty in our midst. Our asparagus plants look so Christmasy, don’t they? They’re lacy and full of red seed pods that look like a holly berry. And did I mention the purple potatoes that we planted this past spring? The color that we’ve found in the last bits of our November garden has me full of quiet awe. Thankful.
A big “thank you” for your kind words, e-mails, comments and ideas on my Facebook page about the November blues. I can’t quite believe we’re almost into the middle of November already (!), but yup, we are. I’ve been trying to embrace November instead of rejecting it. So far, pretty good idea. My father-in-law shared this Robert Frost poem with me and I wanted to pass it along to you. What do you think? Tell me, have you come to love the bare November days?
My November Guest – Robert Frost
My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.
Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise
It’s been just over five years now since we lost our first daughter. There was a time I didn’t think we’d be able to have a family or even want to try and have a family. I am at a point now where I can reflect on that time and not fall apart, but instead be filled with so much gratitude for all that we have. The joy (and craziness!) in our midst has overcome the grief. Sometimes I see children who are about to turn five and I think of how I almost had a daughter just that age, but then I am reminded that if I had, I wouldn’t have my Wren and my Phoebe. They haven’t been in our lives very long, but it’s hard to imagine a life without them. So many blessings have come from such a dark time. Oh life, you continue to amaze me.