Oh that banner photo up above is so old. Has it really been that long since I've updated, that long since I've posted on the blog? How did I fall so far behind? That littlest bird placing his head in the oven has outgrown that shirt, has hair dropping to his shoulders, now walks more than he crawls...and still, my feet are dragging. It is January and I'll try not to apologize much beyond that. (the photo also makes me seriously miss our chairs, which were stashed in the basement when mr. sparrow decided he could not resist climbing on them and I still can't trust his balance. ah, babyproofing by furniture removal - soon we will have none and our tiny house will be bare but the running birds flapping about.)
Rooster is back from interviews, and to be honest, yet again I feel that we are so incredibly blessed and lucky. I don't see this turning out bad at all. In fact, seems this might just be a short paid vacation and all will be back in place soon. And yet, I also feel that even if not, even if we were to remain topsy-turvy, all would also be as it should be and "okay". Maybe I'm just running overly optimistic and hopeful from the recent inauguration, or the sun that has been shining these past few days, or the coffee.
At Jbird's outdoor waldorf school, the large roof that covered the outdoor kitchen came tumbling down during the holiday snowpocalypse that hit Portland. It was and still looks pretty devastating, to see the shingles and posts in piles next to the cob ovens. The parents were concerned about the loss of protection, the shield from the elements. And yet the children came back gleeful and trusting and immediately took to the change. And now they huddle in a new space, in the trees, on a hill, with snack table exposed and nestled in the forest. They are fine. They come home a bit muddier, a bit wetter, but still blushing with joy. This is as it should be. We should all be so trusting and open to change.
We are doing just that. Moving forward. Open eyes and open hearts. And that feels very good.
And it is such a winter wonderland outside our windows. I adore snow and feel so lucky that we were lavishly pelted with it this year in Portland. I wish we had this every year - it's incredible how the people who live here take to this weather. People come out of their houses and play in the snow. We are lucky to live in a place where we can walk everywhere, we walk every day to coffee, grocery, to the light rail train downtown...And now with snow, people are out in droves. We walk in the middle of the street. We take our sled, carrying children and groceries. We see people out in snowshoes and many out in cross country skis. I wish it were always this way. I guess it might lose it's magic - but wow, it's just so thrilling.
Everyone was sledding today. Not just the children. Many skiers. And even a snowboarder - taking jumps on the streets. It's hard to feel anything but happy when you are tripping in such deep snow. It feels so easy to face the future when it's falling in soft snowflakes on your face.
After a bit of wet feet, Jbird finished his first two days of preschool this week in smiles and fits of laughter. We are pleased that it's gone so swimmingly, especially after many protests at mommies not staying at the school during day, and wanting to stay at home. The first morning, I told Jbird that I would go on a walk in the forest next to the farm, that I would be there and that calmed him and allowed him to let go. And in fact, I did stay for the first hour, hiking in the forest with a fellow mom/best friend and we could hear the children laughing, we were so close. Of course, I didn't stay in the forest all day, but that was enough. This photo was taken when I picked him up after lunch, walking up the long drive to our car. It was magical and sweet to capture his smiling face. Jbird is not that into reporting back about his day, so I don't know all the details, but I do know they picked apples, collected eggs, fed the chickens and goats, played in the forest, carved wood, made fairy houses, stories, song and much more. It's not rainy or wet yet, but he came back dirty and that's a good sign!
I'm pretty big on holding back with my kids. I figure they have their whole lives to find out about the world around them, including such things as sugar drinks. But I just couldn't resist introducing Jbird to the world of root beer. Of course, drinks like this will still only be for special occasions in our household - but still, he was pretty impressed with his "Sassparilla". We had just encountered it in a book and when I saw it on the menu, I thought it sounded perfect. Thankfully, he didn't ask for one this morning when we woke up for breakfast.
We've been heavy in our spring gardening. We planted three more blueberry bushes (small ones) in our front garden - which means we will have five blueberry bushes out there. I love having real food out front, and even better to have it mixed in with the garden flowers. We filled out another garden box and are replacing and filling some gaps in the original garden design. I've spent the entire week crashing through the garden books selecting just the right perennials. And of course, multiple trips to the largest nurseries in town. And now that the garden has just exploded in new green growth, I see I have my hands full weeding and cleaning out all of the errant visitors that came uninvited. That, and it looks like the Lemon Balm went to seed and exploded in the entire garden. I can see those little lemon balm seedlings laughing at me in my dreams.
Happy Spring days to everyone. It finally feels like Mrs. Thaw has finished her work and Spring is here for good.
A little wizard hat for the dress up basket. Jbird also wants an owl hood type thing but I don't know how to even start that project.
And there are now some photos in flickr of the garden at request. Nothing too amazing, but I'm very appreciative of the work our previous owner did in establishing these garden beds. And every day I watch with anticipation to see what will bloom next, what will fill into the spaces. Beyond our new vegetable boxes we just built, I'm thinking about using one of the 4 boxes for
more landscape gardening. I'm madly pouring through the native plant options as well as taking inspiration from what I see in our neighborhood. I'd like to add a few more blueberry bushes. These were such a hit last summer and are so sweet in flower gardens. Who can resist a blueberry from your own
back front yard?
As you may have noticed, most of our garden and vegetable work is right in our front yard. We do have a back yard. Indeed, a multi-tiered landscape that is partially tamed and also partially shaded. However, for us, the main gardening happens in front. Right out on the street. I find it refreshing to walk past it every day, coming and going. And often, we are right out in our front, playing on the sidewalk, talking to neighbors watching the world go by on our sweet dead end street. We can have privacy in our back, or even on the side patio, but usually, it just feels right to be right out in front. And it looks like we'll be out there all summer tending our new plants and vegetables.
We toured the Mother Earth Kindergarten site today, and now I'm flush with excitement and torturous decisions about next year. We still have not decided if we will keep Jbird at home, or have him attend the traditional Waldorf Kindergarten/Nursery at our neighborhood Waldorf School, or if we will enroll him in 3 half days at the "outside kindy" program modeled after Nokken where children are completely immersed in nature. I had plans to hold off on this special outdoor experience until the following year - but after seeing the site, I admit I'm chomping at the bit.
The children are outside most of the day, every day - regardless of weather. There are, of course, shelters and fires to keep warm, as well as many, many wool and waterproof layers. But the point is that the children are immersed in nature. What a solution to this Nature Deficit Disorder! There are chickens, goats, gardens, 7 acre farm and all surrounded by forest. Of course, I'd be more completely sold if Sparrow and I were allowed to attend the program as well - alas, we would be shooed off before the feeding of the chickens everyday. I guess we could spend the half day walking in the neighboring state park trails, but that might get tired.
We shall see. Hot apple porridge warmed on the fire, story time under trees, shelter in yurt, kindergarten in a forest, it's just feels so right. And what a gift to give a child. The memory of an outdoor kindergarten?
We went to the beach today, hoping, really hoping that the sun would hold out against the grey skies. It's February. In Oregon. Why did we think that the sun might warm us at the beach? Oh well, it was still a fun little outing. Bundled up on the beach, a quick little picnic, some sand and water.
Here we are driving in all of our "stuff".
And check out our little wind barricade.
But we have hopes that the next beach visit will indeed be full of sun. Hope and Patience.
The boys and I went for a hike today in Forest Park while Rooster caught up on work at the office. I *love* saying "the boys". Of course, it was almost like Sparrow wasn't there, he is usually asleep in his wrap, and it was just Jbird and I passing through the forest. Except that occasionally I found it tough to navigate the steep and muddy trails, when I couldn't see my feet and the ground beneath me (with Sparrow attached to my chest).
We found little bird houses nestled in tree limbs and tree roots, quiet little houses for squirrels, birds and also elves and fairies of course. And someone has scattered glitter in a few tree roots, which was a magical find. It's pretty subtle and you wouldn't really notice unless you were looking in all the tree roots (like we do). I couldn't capture a good photo, but the glitter was beautiful, sparkling in the dark crevices and even lighting upon spiderwebs. Jbird told stories of how the fairies and elves live in those little spaces, and how the glitter lit up their little houses and so forth as we walked along the trail.
We went snowshoeing for the first time last weekend. it was beautiful. We rented poles and shoes from REI and headed up to a popular run on Mt. Hood. Jbird had his own snowshoes, and did quite well, until the last stretch back up the hill to the car. I strapped little (big) Sparrow into the Mobywrap and he slept through the whole event. With Sparrow in front, it was like being pregnant again where I couldn't see my feet, and kept stepping on my own snowshoes. We had a blast though and hope to go again soon - next time with a sled or something more fun for Jbird.
After days (weeks? months?) of "challenging" parenting moments with Jbird, I feel like I am finally seeing light. This recent tunnel of darkness has been tough, but in a good way, and now I feel so humbled and thankful for the opportunity to grow together and reconnect. How silly it feels to be thankful for these bad moments - but really I can feel the growth and transformation happening between us as we try to tackle new responses to bad behaviors. I'm sure I'll write more later, as I finish reading these awesome books. In the meantime, I am just taking my days moment by moment, thankful to have these little birds to guide me.