With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells

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This is how my garden grows.

These little “postcards” from my garden were all shot within the last three or four days. I’ve been showing my garden in person to as many people as possible—to as many kind souls who will take a moment to look—but I also want to capture it here, to remind myself that I make my small square of the planet beautiful. It has come so far. This garden is a huge source of joy and relief in my life. It is source. It feeds me every bit as much as I feed it. More, really.

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Love my irises

Easter roses  #spring #easter #flowers #gardening #rose

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Iris #spring #flowers #gardening #iris #couleursdiris

#spring #flowers #gardening

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On alert

#nofilter #iris #flowers #spring #gardening

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I could tell a story about ever single plant pictured here, but I know that’s kind of ridiculous. Suffice it to say, I hope you have enjoyed this tiny tour of the late April highlights.

"Peace"

I leave you with this last photo of “peace.”

Spring Break

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We’ve just finished spring break. It’s been two weeks of lots of fun for the kiddos, starting with a glorious day at Point Reyes National Seashore. We have a tradition of ringing in the spring by going to the beach.

Magic games are on #11yearold #sixthgrade #play #7yearold #spring #son

Lots of Magic: The Gathering games were played. And even more card sorting and organizing and deck building.

#mamaandbaby #mamainthepicture #7yearold #firstgrade #son #play

We made some funny pictures.

Office

Mama worked a lot, but I got to work here for some of the time. My garden is beautiful right now and I’ve hosted two parties to make my friends see it.

These guys #spring #sacramentowaldorfschool

We saw these handsome fellas. They and their girls had the run of the school campus while the students were away.

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We watched Cosmos and snuggled.

Baseball practice during spring break #spring #sacramentowaldorfschool #sixthgrade #11yearold

Lucas had baseball practice on several perfect April days. And for five days he got to do an archery camp that he loved, with two hours of practice a day and games and fun contests.

These are just some highlights. I can’t seem to keep on track here at Love in the Suburbs lately. I’ll try to do better. Happy spring, and Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Three Amigos

buddies

We took these fellas to the theater to see Rapunzel at the Chautauqua Playhouse. I wanted a date with Asher, and I want us to see more live theater, but I didn’t want to hear him moan and groan about not wanting to go without Lucas and Dad. So I contacted some of our friends from school and got two buddies and their mamas to agree to meet us there.

three amigos

three friends at the theatre

The play was cute and I think the boys enjoyed it. Asher told me that Rapunzel does NOT have red mylar hair—everyone knows Rapunzel has yellow hair. “Who says?” I asked. “Everyone.”

This year, these first graders have seen Beauty and the Beast, which was a little too intense for them, and The Little Mermaid, performed by the high school, which was just fine for Asher but not so fine for some. Rapunzel was a nice example of children’s theatre without any scary bits.

Back in December, we saw a British pantomime, and my kids LOVED it. (The actors threw candy at the audience.) I recently bought tix to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes for the four of us. Should be fun! We’re lucky to live in a city that has lots of good theater for children.

He’s Home

He's home! Tired and dirty,  but happy. #waldorf #11yearold #sixthgrade #camping

Boy and his dog #11yearold #sixthgrade #home

This was Friday afternoon. My beautiful son came home—tired, dirty, and a little wiser. He had a wonderful time. I think there were hard parts to his class camping/farming trip, but he wasn’t too cold or too wet. Or at least not so much as to ruin his trip. He says he wants to spend more time with Farmer Harl at Rudolf Steiner College.

The next sixth-grade class trip is in May, I think.

We are so in-between now. He’s responsible about some things and irresponsible about others. I guess that’s called growing up.

 

On the Beauty and Oddness of This Week

My Lucas #spring #waldorf #sixthgrade #camping #11yearold

My son has gone away. He is with his Waldorf class and two teachers at Steiner College for the week, working with and for the master biodynamic farmer (who probably has an official and better title than the one I’ve just used). The sixth grade kids are farming, fulfilling CSA orders, feeding and caring for animals, and camping out—four nights and five days.

Brave teacher #spring #waldorf #sixthgrade #camping

Sixth grade camping trip.  They are going to have so much fun.  #spring #waldorf #sixthgrade #11yearold #camping

Aren’t they beamish? Aren’t they mighty?

The rain came down in buckets yesterday, day 3. Then it hailed. A little tornado touched down a few miles northeast of here. Let me assure you, we do not get tornadoes here, except for yesterday.

I am amused by my own mixed feelings of worry and delight that this special camping/farming adventure became an honest-to-goodness adventure in weather, a test of endurance in the wet. I worry a little that my son is/was cold and miserable. But I don’t really think that’s what is happening. I believe my son is having a fantastic time. I believe Lucas is out there having the time of his life, actually, being tough, learning how competent and capable he is, working hard, and being silly among all of his friends. I believe they are bonding. Even if the kids have moments of misery or homesickness, I believe this trip will be a highlight of Waldorf primary school, among a whole galaxy of sparkling, magical Waldorf school experiences.

I believe that. I won’t get to know until Friday afternoon, when I pick him up. Until then, I hope, while the rain continues to fall.

I also believe that this is more a test for us parents than a test for our 11- and 12-year-olds. I believe it is meant to prove to us that they are growing up, and can handle more (far more) than we give them credit for. They can handle themselves. They have a solid foundation that we have painstakingly built for them, and from this they are launching themselves. (Whether we’re ready or not.)

What a wonderful thing! What a beautiful, odd thing!

Watching the rare hail come down #spring

So, this little fellow, who only rarely is without his brother, is having a week of only-child status.

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My little scientist

He doesn’t mind too much. He’s had extra attention from mama, and visited with grandparents. Papa even took him to the ice-cream parlor, just the two of them. He can play with all the LEGOs. Plus, the crazy weather gave us the opportunity to collect hailstones in a big bowl and then do color science with food dyes—my little potion-maker!

Having only one child to care for this week has felt odd. And being with this little guy, without big brother around to influence or direct him or make him feel like he has to act older than he is, is beautiful thing, too.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day baking. #baking #vegan #waldorf #festivals

Asher and I baked vegan sugar cookies yesterday. I always forget how long you’re supposed to chill the dough to make rolling and cutting the cookies easier.

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Lucas, Asher, Daddy, our dinner guest Kimmie, and I decorated the cookies after supper. I think we all enjoyed it.

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Aren’t they pretty? Icing made from coconut oil is delicious, by the way. We made these treats to leave some out for the Leprechauns (and for us to enjoy!).

Party set for the Leprechauns! Tea and cookies, with cream and honey. #waldorf #spring #leprechauns #festivals

Here is the little party we set out for the Wee Folk last night. Shamrock cookies, hot mint tea, honey, and cream.

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Opening gifts from the Leprechauns early this morning.

Early this morning, we found the Leprechauns had eaten up all the goodies and left the boys presents. Two pots of gold! With five gold dollar coins each and rainbow sour candy wrapped in gold paper.

It wasn’t until later, when the boys were getting ready to leave for school, that we realized the Leprechauns played a prank on us after all. They duct taped all our shoes closed! Those wonderful, pesky Leprechauns!

Tonight we’re going to dinner at our friends’ house. We’re bringing cookies!

Tutorial: Making Leprechauns

Leprechaun Dolls for Asher and Lucas

Sew some clothes for bendy dolls to make them look like sweet Leprechaun friends. They make wonderful friends for your kids to play with this time year and older children can make their own with supervision. Or make leprechauns in secret and have them magically appear on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day!

Materials

* wool, wool-blend, or eco felt in various greens
* rope bendy doll body
* embroidery floss
* yarn or wool roving for hair
* white glue

Tutorial

Measure the doll’s body to get a sense of how long the shirt or dress should be. Using these measurements, draw a simple shirt or dress pattern on paper and cut it out. I recommend using generous proportions. Lay the paper pattern on a doubled piece of felt and cut it out. (Make trousers the same way, first drawing a pattern and cutting out the felt.)

Leprechaun Doll and Notebook for Lucas

For a waist band, simply do a running stitch around the top of the skirt or trousers. Pull it tight. For added security, you could glue the skirt or pants onto the doll’s wooden body.

No hemming is necessary with felt, although you can put a pretty blanket stitch along the bottom of a shirt, skirt, or dress to make it even more attractive.

You could even cut out a small shamrock shape for a decoration and sew it to the front of your doll’s shirt, skirt, or dress. Or embellish the front of the outfit with pretty embroidery. (I’m not good at that kind of decorative stitching.)

Leprechaun Doll and Notebook for Lucas

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Don’t forget to make a jaunty hat! Experiment with your felt and fold it to fashion a hat—any shape you like will do. I made one hat out of a half-circle of felt, stitched up the curved front so the top points backward. Another hat I made by folding a rectangle of felt to make two layers, then folding it around my doll’s head to make a cone, and sewing it along the top and back.

Glue hair, either yarn or wool roving, onto the wooden head and then glue on the hat. Your Leprechauns are now ready for gentle play.

Marveling About Sixth Grade

Once again I’m in awe of what’s happening in my son’s sixth grade Waldorf class. Everything around him and everything in him is leveling up, stretching, ready to take on more. The class started this year with a new teacher and immediately tackled Rome and manned the Michaelmas dragon. They’ve studied astronomy, physics, added more mathematics into every day, and started writing essays. They’ve recently been through the Fall of Rome and are now working a unit on economics. They’ve begun to participate in organized individual and team sports at school, complete with coaches, practices, and competitions.

Right now, the sixth graders are studying economics and the mathematics that goes with it: money, interest, etc. They are launching into their study of the Middle Ages, too.

What’s more, they have a new class this year, taught by two amazing teachers: Social Arts class is one in which these gorgeous “tweens” are tackling issues of communication, individuality, self-expression, friendship, respect, personal space, and more to build a firm foundation for the coming (challenging) years. These children on the cusp of adolescence are courageous in so many deep and awe-inspiring ways. And Social Arts and their study of the Middle Ages are dovetailing into this:

The students have been asked to develop their own personal coat of arms and their own motto that reflect who they are. They have each chosen three challenges—physical, moral, and intellectual—which they must work on each day. Parents must sign off, to indicate the student worked toward meeting these challenges. In two weeks they will have a special overnight at school, complete with a nighttime vigil, scribing, and an initiation alone. In the morning they will be knighted in a special ceremony, complete with costumes, pageantry, and a medieval feast that follows.

My son has committed to running two miles every day, being nicer to his brother, and practicing his piano 10 minutes every day. These are his ideas and I appreciate how he picked things that are challenging and require diligence, but are within reach. Naturally, his other responsibilities and homework will continue during this time. He has done two days of twelve.

Then, a week after this knighting ceremony, his class will go on a five day trip to a local biodynamic garden, to work and study economics and food. They will be a stone’s throw from home, but gone longer than ever before.

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I have been quieter on the subject of this child lately. I am sensing a shift in him and I want to respect his individuality and his privacy. Several people have asked me if I’ll keep blogging when my boys get bigger. I don’t really know; I guess that is a question I’ll have to continually ask. And I’ll do the best I can because, frankly, I’m off the map. Public and private life is different in this world than it used to be.

I write here for so many reasons. To figure stuff out—most especially myself—and to chronicle our experiences as a family. I write to hash out my feelings and record my discoveries and observations as a parent because this journey of motherhood is the most challenging thing I have ever undertaken and I am learning every day. I also write to honor ourselves as individuals, for at each moment we are beautiful, striving, growing, and changing, and to honor our relationships, for these too morph as we go through time together.

So much change is happening for this sweet son of mine. It is hard at times and wonderful. I stand in awe of him and all he is now, knowing that he has so very much more becoming to do. I am so grateful that our parenting is supported by this sixth grade curriculum and that we are surrounded by so many loving educators who are willing to honor this age. Truly, we are educating his head, heart, and hands.

Love Is …

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* A night out dancing and celebrating with my sparkling friends.
* Grandparents who take my boys overnight so I can be with adults at a nightclub.
* Friends who figuratively put on their wellies and step into the muck to help others, who sacrifice and do the work and give so much of themselves.
* Visiting my mother-in-law over coffee, and admiring how she has already thriving vegetable garden seedlings under a grow light in her dining room.
* New-to-us chairs from my parents; they’re more comfortable than any chairs we have, even if they are a shade or two too purple.
* Working all together on housekeeping chores that might not be fun, but that make our living together easier and our home the haven we want it to be.
* Giving away wonderful games and puzzles to my sweet nieces.
* A brief visit from my brother and his girlfriend, who brought us the chairs.
* Gardening time: I planted pansies, divided day lilies to make two new clumps, planted forsythia, planted two irises that have been in pots a while. I was able to divide each iris into several groups.
* Watching my garden come alive again with new shoots, daffodils, magnolia, and azaleas blooming, and tulips coming up. My plum trees are clothed in flower clouds, too.
* Rain. Yumptious, sloppy, wet rain that soaks the ground and demonstrates our persistent drainage problems.
* Flower and seed catalogs that come in the mail.
* Being done with basketball season, but also feeling so grateful for all Lucas learned, for his wonderful coach and teammates, and for a wholly positive experience.
* Having work to do, even if it’s not very interesting. I’m learning more about surgery than I ever have before.
* A reunion with my husband; although I hate it when he goes (and I try not to whine), I love it when he comes home.
* Taking my dad to a Ladysmith Black Mambazo concert this week
* Little Fur audiobooks, which are entertaining my little son while he’s home sick today.
* Window stars.
* Fractal vegetables and welcome-home dinners.
* The sixth-grade Waldorf curriculum, which is so brilliantly meeting our son.

Edible fractals #waldorf #math #food #wholefood #csa #farmfreshtoyou

Valentine’s Day Catch-Up

Asher's finished valentines. His idea, design, and words. I did the writing for him. #valentine #holiday #son #waldorf #firstgrade #sweet

I know Valentine’s Day was two weeks ago, but we’ve been out of town on vacation, and then reentering work and school life. I won’t belabor it, but I do want to leave a picture of how we celebrated this year.

Expert valentine maker says, "Don't take my picture. It's in PROGRESS!" #valentine #son #papercrafts #holiday #homemade #love. #loveinthesuburbs

Asher made valentines for classmates. His teacher divided the class into groups and the children gave valentines to the other kids in their groups. It was so much easier making six valentines instead of 27!

Four new napkins for our Valentine's Day family meals #valentine #sewing #home #holiday #homemade #loveinthesuburbs

I did a little sewing, which I rarely do but really enjoy. I made six new napkins for our home.

New napkins #valentine #holiday #home #homemade #waldorf #loveinthesuburbs

Happy Valentine's Day! May love be forever increasing in your lives!

We had a lovely breakfast and dinner together, with a pretty table setting and the pathway of paper hearts leading from the boys’ bedrooms to the kitchen, which is something I’ve done for many years. I was thinking of not doing that this year because we were leaving on vacation shortly after and I thought I’d avoid the extra cleanup work. But then Asher told me the night before, “Mama, don’t forget to put all the hearts on the floor.”

For my sons

They got a couple of chocolates and a stuffed toy each. And mama-made valentines, of course.

Lucas, in sixth grade, had a Valentine’s Day Roman feast; they were finishing up a block on Roman history and celebrated with a toga-clad feast.

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  • About Sara

    Hello! Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, a freelance editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2013 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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