Birthday Eve

Birthday Dragon

When I have said my evening prayer,
And my clothes are folded on the chair,
And mother switches off the light,
I’ll still be three years old tonight.

But, from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the greenness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I’ll be four years old.

Four kisses when I wake,
Four candles on my cake.

American River Nature Walk

Silhouette

On the Path

We had several glorious, sparkly days in a row last week. (I love California!) For me they culminated in this perfect walk we took last Saturday. Ian, the boys, and I visited a small section of the American River Parkway called the San Juan Rapids trail.

Shimmy

It’s a great, short walk (for little legs), which are compelled to follow brother wherever he may roam.

Asher Climbs Too

Even out on a limb, so to speak.

Lucas at the Bottom of Crystal Mountain

This photo was taken from the top of Crystal Mountain, a giant hill of rocks left over from the days of industrial gold mining. This trail is familiar to Lucas because it’s right near his Waldorf school and he hikes here with his class often—this is good because he gets to be the authority on the area. He likes that very much.

Asher Looks over Crystal Mountain

If all goes well, it won’t be too long before Asher is hiking here with his Kindergarten class, hoping to find quartz crystals of his own.

Adventurer with Sword and Walking Stick

May I present my almost-4-year-old? Isn’t he mighty?

Local Nature Walk

The boys and I checked out a local nature area that I only recently became aware of. Schweitzer Grove Nature Area in Fair Oaks is a lovely grove of eucalyptus. At this time of winter, the grasses and mosses are all bright green and the afternoon sunshine makes everything magical.

Traversing the Creek

The key feature is this tiny creek running through the park. It was jumped and crossed endlessly while we were there. I’m told that the springtime singing of the frogs is delightful.

Eucalyptus Sky

Eucalyptus Sky

Golden Mushrooms

Funny golden mushrooms of some type (I am no mycologist)

Trusty Boots

With a pair of trusty hand-me-down boots, a kid can go almost anywhere.

Lucas Has Good Balance

Balancing on this plank bridge was no problem for Lucas. Asher would accept no help; he crawled across.

Wandering in the Woods

Having opportunities to meaner by oneself is so important. Honestly, kids don’t get to do this much these days—even my kids. I followed behind, trying to give my boys their space.

Inevitable

With those trusty boots on, it was inevitable that he ended up in the creek.

Spanning

An undeveloped park like this, of this size, really is a perfect place to wander, discover, and ramble about. The drawback to this place, since I am not a frisbee golfer, is that this is also a frisbee golf course—apparently one of the oldest ones around. Besides ourselves, there were many young male golfers present, mostly of college or high school age. Nearly every one of them carried a very large can of beer—possibly a function of it being Friday near 5 p.m. They were mostly polite and friendly, but I did worry a bit about one of us getting beamed by a frisbee while we were walking. I think next time we come here, we might aim for a weekday morning instead.

Revenge

Asher got mad at me last night. It seems he was hungry and wanted a snack. I began to warm up some leftovers for me and the boys to eat for dinner, as we were going to have to leave home very soon to make it to Lucas’s piano lesson. Apparently I didn’t act soon enough because he started to melt down.

Asher asked, “Are you going to feed me a snack?”

“No. I’m feeding you dinner. It’s chicken meat,” I said confidently, knowing that he devours the stuff.

“I don’t want dinner! I want a snaaaaack!”

A moment of quiet passed. I put the food on the table and walked into the living room with a sinking feeling.

Revenge of a Hungry 3-Almost-4-Year-Old

He was standing on the window seat ripping down the snowflakes we had made and hung together. He stood with a crumpled mess at his feet. He knew just exactly how to hurt me. He knew I loved them.

I will absolutely grant you that it’s silly to cry over ripped paper snowflakes, but that is exactly what I did. Sometimes parenting is really hard. Sometimes children do rotten, hurtful things. And as much as I’d like to say I am above being insulted or hurt by their capricious natures, I am not, even though I try to be. There’s no point in taking something like this personally.

But that’s an interesting dilemma in my mind. I personally infuse so very much of me into my parenting. How much more personal can a 24/7 job be? Is it possible to operate so very intimately, so personally, only when things are okay, and then just blithely duck and weave when the “snow” starts flying? Maybe. But maybe not all the time.

Objectively I know that Asher is on the cusp of being 4, or in the prophetic words of the subtitle of my favorite parenting book series, “Wild and Wonderful.” He is feisty and willful and he wants what he WANTS! He is in control of very little in his life, and he is developmentally compelled to try to control it all.

I think seeing mama’s tears flowing because of something he did was a powerful moment for him (arguably both good and bad). He sobbed and remembered some of the right things to say.

“I’m sorry, Mama. I’ll never do dat again! We should forgive ourselves.”

Yes, I suppose we should.

This Moment: Nestling

This Moment: Nestling

Inspired by SouleMama {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Snowflakes

We don’t have any real snow. Today’s high is expected to be 61 degrees F. We enjoy these warmish winters in California, our afternoons without a jacket. We also long for some honest-to-goodness, stay-home-from-school snowman-making days. Alas, we have to pretend.

Kitchen Window in the Evening

I deliberately left some snowflake Christmas ornaments out this year, even though the rest of Christmas is all packed away. They help remind me that the season is beautiful, even amid the mud. Perhaps Mr. Bentley, the snowflake king, inspired me a bit.

Snowflake 7 Snowflake 2

I pulled out last year’s paper snowflakes. Lucas was into them last year and helped me make some. He’s got other things on his mind this year, though, (like creating creatures and writing about them).

Snowflake 3 Snowflake 5

Asher, on the other hand, thought I was a miracle worker when I cut new snowflakes the other evening and let him carefully unfold them. He was amazed and it was such a joy to see his rosy-cheeked face light up when the snowflake was revealed! Yesterday, after school, we taped the paper flakes up on our windows. Asher helped and thought it looked “AWESOME”!

“Mama, we could make a whole lotta snowflakes!”

“Yes, we can, baby!”

Window Art

Paper snowflakes look nice silhouetted against an evening sky. (I sometimes cut snowflakes using paper doilies. They make for very lacy edges.

See? You can still have fun with skills learned in primary school: After the kiddos went to bed last night, I busted out some instructions for making five-pointed snowflakes I found on How About Orange. Jessica’s folding instructions are superb and while Ian and I watched Henry Rollins doing stand-up, I cut about five of these star-shaped snowflakes in various sizes.

Five-Point Snowflake/Star

Five-Point Snowflake/Star

Here are my five-pointed snowflakes at dawn. Asher was pleased to help stick them to the windows. I think they’re beautiful, if I do say so myself. I don’t know if my dear Mr. Bentley would approve, since this shape of ice crystal is not found in nature, but I think they’re lovely nonetheless. I expect to bust these out again next Christmas, perhaps with some gold foil paper. My thanks to Jessica Jones for the pattern.

Snowflake Mobile: Gift from a Friend

Finally, I’m really enjoying this snowflake mobile that our friend Dakini gave us this year. It’s sweet, intricate, and lovely hanging in our kitchen—but mighty hard to photograph!

Story Time with Reg Down

A month ago we had the great pleasure of visiting Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks to see author Reg Down tell a story from his book The Bee Who Lost His Buzz. Reg is the author of the Tiptoes Lightly books and my kids love them. For the event, Reg had handcrafted story props with needle-felted wool and silk; he made a Tiptoes, Bee, Cactus, Jeremy Mouse, and the Great Oak Tree where Tiptoes lives.

My Kiddos to See Reg Down

Some kids had dressed up like their favorite characters from the Tiptoes Lightly books. One boy had a fantastic oak-leaf hat! See it on the right?

Story Time with Reg Down

With simple props such as cloths, story puppets, and a lyre, Reg skillfully created the world of the fairy, Tiptoes, and her forest friends. The children were enraptured (with one exception, a little girl who decided to go for a stroll).

Story Time with Reg Down

It was neat to have Reg’s permission to take photos. I tried to be unobtrusive while doing so and I have since shared them with him. Reg posted my photos on his Tiptoes Lightly Facebook page.

Story Props

After the story, which was the first three chapters of Book 1: The Bee Who Lost His Buzz (also be found in The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly collection), the children were allowed to touch the needle-felted puppets. Both Tiptoes, the beautiful fairy in the blue dress, and grumpy Cactus, the spiky fellow who accidentally snagged Bee’s buzz, were popular for touching.

Autograph

We brought our (much loved and rumpled) books for Reg to sign. I think this is our kids’ first autograph.

What we love about Reg’s stories is that they are gentle and filled with a child’s reverence for the natural world. Chapters are short and perfect for bedtime. While magic and wonder are threaded throughout, nothing is heavy-handed and there is plenty of sweet humor. Events in the stories often pair beautifully with Waldorf festivals, such as Michaelmas, Martinmas, the season of Advent, Christmas and more. If you haven’t seen them before and you have children ages 3 to 9, check them out. You won’t be disappointed. Reg’s newest books are full color and his paintings are amazing. We bought a copy of The Cricket and the Shepherd Boy for next Christmas.

Winter Blues

I haven’t been taking as many photos lately. Being indoors because of cold, crummy weather puts a damper on my photography. I’m rarely satisfied with the shots I take indoors. Yet, here are a few highlights of January so far.

Bird Visitor

Birdseed is a great attractor. This fellow visited the seed I placed on my outdoor table so I could watch the birds through my window. The local squirrels are the wiseguys of the neighborhood; they literally shake down the birdseed and steal from the intended recipients.

Late Afternoon in January

Lucas and I enjoy walking together in the late afternoons to get Asher from preschool. On this day, Lucas revealed his intention to write a series of “Scary Tales,” frightening adaptations of fairy tales “not suitable for anyone under 8.”

Sycamore Puff Balls

No snow, just bare branches around here. We get lots of days dominated by grays and greens. There’s something magical about blue winter skies, I think.

Mom Made This Sweater for Asher

My mother knitted this handsome sweater for Asher in the color he requested. He loved it and wore it several times. This morning he rejected it, however. He said it was “too fuzzy.” I think he and I have a very different understanding of what fuzzy is. For him, “fuzzy” might just mean, “I don’t like any sweater that you choose for me, Mama.”

New Books

Some new books I’m dabbling in, by which I mean I’m less than a quarter of the way through all of them. Two are beautiful gifts I received and one will hopefully help me better understand my son’s 9-year change.

He Says the Darndest Things

“Mama, pretend you say, ‘Asher, you can put your hands on my nipples!’ How ’bout that?”

<laughing> “No, I’m not going to say that.”

Asher climbs into my lap and sits facing me. “Mama, let’s talk about nipples.”

“Okay … what do you want to say about nipples?”

“They are really good on your breasts.”

<more laughing> “Yeah. Thanks. That’s where nipples should be.”

“That’s funny.”

I’m thinking we’re now going to talk about mama milk and feeding babies and how big boys don’t need mama milk anymore, so I ask, “What are nipples for?”

“My hands!”

On New Year’s Eve

I’d just like to pop in and say Happy New Year! It’s been a lovely winter break around here these last several days, even though I’ve been working quite a bit this week—more than in most years, actually. I’m glad to have the work, and yet still yearn for the downtime, especially while everyone is at home.

There has been lovely block play,

Perspective

Tall Ship with Gnome Crew

some reading of How to Train Your Dragon, and quite a bit of cozy “Avatar: The Last Airbender” viewing.

Ian tackled some home renovation projects, including fixing a gate and finishing the Hearth Project (which was started and abandoned half finished more than eight years ago). Here is the beautiful result:

Finished Hearth

Lucas has practiced on his new skateboard from uncle Jon.

New Skateboard

And Asher has worn his new chaps and vest (a precious family heirloom of our friends, loaned to us while they fit) in a most creative way.

New Way to Wear Chaps

So, that’s pretty normal right, for the last days of a year: continuing on, finishing, fixing, solving, resting, mulling, embracing new challenges, learning new skills, reinventing old stuff to be new again?

Relax. Review. Renovate. Remember. Reinvent.

Well, it’s normal around here.

Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, 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.

    © 2003–2017 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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