Happy 12th Birthday!

12 #12yearold #birthday

May 1

Dear Lucas,

I love you, my happy Beltane Boy. Happy birthday! I asked  you on the morning of your birthday last week if you feel any different and you said no, but I can see a kind of relief in your face. You’ve finally made it here. All but one of  your classmates are older than you and you’ve finally caught up.

Ready for his 12th birthday! #12yearold #birthday #spring #waldorf #home #family #traditions

We celebrated in our usual way, with a special breakfast, flowers, your old birthday crown, which you gamely wore for a few moments. We gave you a few gifts in the morning and then sent you off to school.

Magic card protective sleeves.

Birthday/Beltane roses

By your report, it was a great day!

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And in the evening, we had a special dinner: you requested fettuccine Alfredo, Brussels sprouts, Caesar salad, and a very chocolatey birthday cake.

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There were a few more gifts, including this Magic The Gathering set. In fact, it was pretty much all Magic this year. It’s what you’re most interested in, most fascinated by.

Birthday party #waldorf #birthday #spring #friends #12yearold #sixthgrade

On Saturday, we had a bunch of your buddies over for a party. You rode bikes and Daddy fixed burgers for everyone, and we watched a superhero movie. You wanted ice cream sundaes for dessert. Magic, Magic, and more Magic. Your friends were very generous and I believe you said it was “the best birthday party ever.”

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There is so much I could say about the person you are now, yet I find whenever I try that my words come so short. You are a delicious mixture of competence and forgetfulness. You are physically strong and possess great endurance, yet you need more and more fuel and rest to support your growing body. You are wise and witty, sarcastic, and sometimes worldly, yet you dance into fantasy almost as easily as ever before. You are challenged every day—don’t think I don’t see it. Each day more and more is expected of you, and most of the time you square your shoulders and step forward bravely. There is more pressure in life and school this year; you are game to take on new things and often embrace a certain stoicism when it comes to things you don’t want to do. But at the end of the week, I can see that you are tired and really need to relax, rest, and play. Your possessions matter to you, except when you completely forget about them. You are working hard in school, and your work shows it. You are helpful and kind, and a good big brother, when you aren’t being provoked. You are still artistic and sensitive. You possess so many delightful contradictions. You exhibit such striving, beauty, and grace. You are the very picture of 12.

And I couldn’t possibly love you more.

 

Three Amigos

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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.

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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.

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

Love Is …

 

  • RAIN. My garden looks so grateful, and bulbs are starting to pop up from the soil.
  • Sleeping in until 8:30 a.m.; waking to hot, fresh coffee.
  • Grandpa’s 68th birthday, and gathering around a table with my new beautiful nieces.
  • Work that comes when you need it, even if it comes all at once in a big rush.
  • Dog-sitting a sweet little girl for a sweet friend.
  • A creative friend who spends his precious free time hanging out and playing Magic with my kids, conjuring a magical duel between wizards.
  • A husband who does laundry and cleans the kitchen while I work on the weekend, even though he’s sick.
  • A young friend who gives my older son a taste of big kid adventure—exciting paintball wars in the rain and mud.
  • Basketball games, even when we get skunked by a team two years older and two heads taller than our boys.
  • Little boy who says, “Mama, put your arms around me; it makes me feel safe,” and then tells me precisely how much to keep the bedroom door open and “check on me in four minutes,” every single night.
  • Big boy who lately seems more interested in hugs than usual, and who is learning how to write essays.
  • A grandfather who braved an outing alone with the boys for the first time.
  • Trudging through the muddymuck of the chicken coop to feed the hens; finding that their laying has increases ever so slightly.
  • Realizing that I live with Tigger—irrepressible, indefatigable, bubbly, bouncy funfunfun 7-year-old!

Cross Country

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I’ve been meaning to write this post for four months now. A-hem.

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Lucas joined the school’s cross country running team this past fall. He’s in sixth grade and it was his first opportunity to be involved in school sports, and he jumped in with both feet and tons of heart. The team started practicing even before the school year began, and Ian and I watched with wide eyes as he completed two after-school practices each week and ran meets on many Saturdays and a few Wednesdays too. The sixth grade boys turned out in force (I think we had eight from our class), and for many of them it was their first team sport experience. I am so proud of them. They were supportive of each other, encouraging, and really gave it their all.

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They trained hard and had a lot of fun too. Practices often involved running more than 3 miles.

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They practiced and ran races in 100-degree heat. Races were usually about 1.4 miles or 1.25 miles long.

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These are shots from their very first meet at the Lagoon Valley Classic Invitational in Vacaville.

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This was a meet that took place at Capital Christian Center school. I love this photo because it illustrates what it’s like to have sixth, seventh, and eighth graders racing at the same time! (Fortunately, they gave medals for the five fastest boys in each grade.) It also illustrates to me how much growth our boys are going to experience in these next three years.

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Some of our boys are just born to run; they’re fast and lithe, and they want it bad. But all the Sacramento Waldorf School boys were dedicated and worked hard to improve their times. And they all did through their training.

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Lucas got 5th place (among 6th grade boys)! He is feeling great!

Lucas came in fifth of all the sixth graders at this Capital Christian race. It was a very proud moment for him.

Over the course of the season, which was about eight weeks long, he improved his mile time by more than two minutes. By the end of the season he was running a mile in under-7-minutes.

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This was in the foothills at Foresthill High School for the Wildfire Invitational. The Waves middle school runners were warming up. This course took them a little more than a mile through the forest. It was a beautiful location.

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Go waves! Last middle school meet of the season.

And how’s this for a culminating moment? In the last meet of the season (“The Other Meet”), the runners trekked out over a track through an undeveloped field on the edge of some soccer fields. They ran past a hornet nest, and the insects stung them. Some described seeing runners covered in hornets. All of our boys came back with a sting or two. They kept running and all of them finished the race! So tough! I think I would have flipped out had I been in their shoes.

The middle school runners’ season ended in the middle of October. The Waves high school runners continued to train and run till Thanksgiving. I somehow misunderstood the team schedule and assumed that Lucas would train through November also. When we learned that was not the case, it was a great disappointment for him. He was having the time of his life and getting so good, he just wasn’t ready for the season to end! I am quite sure that he will be on the team next fall.

The Waves high school runners went on to perform very well in statewide competitions. They run faster and farther in their meets. The coach is looking at this big crop of young, middle school runners with excitement, perhaps imagining what they will do when they are older.

We are so proud of Lucas and what he accomplished! We are delighted that his first team sports experience was so completely positive, so affirming and encouraging. We are so grateful to the coaches, the other parents, and to kids on the team for such a wonderful time. And we cannot wait for next year’s season.

Love is …

* An extra much-needed day of work, and appreciation for a job well done
* A mom friend who takes my boys home with her children and feeds them
* Parents (kids’ grandparents) who arrive home, safe and rested, from their vacation
* Delivering the requested milk and bread, and turning on the heat in the house 12 hours before they get home
* Shark tooth necklaces and sea salt seasonings from Hawaii
* An assistant basketball coach/dad turned coach, who is passionate about teaching, connected, and dedicated to helping our boys get the most out of their season
* A little boy who writes his own game books
* Friends who run with you, even if you’re slow
* Friends who hike six beautiful miles with you, and let you cover even more territory in conversation
* Visiting friends from out of town who don’t mind either sleeping bag or early-morning boy bounces
* Blueberry muffins from scratch, because someone small asked for them
* Big boys who need and ask for an extra cuddle at night to help them fall asleep
* Friday night fish tacos à la Daddy
* Friends who take you to places in your hometown’s backyard that you’ve never seen before
* Grandmas who take boys to school and pick boys up from school
* Watching my son and his friends/teammates win a basketball game
* Helping friends with their farm-to-fork movie contest
* Date night featuring a sushi gift card and The Hobbit.

Happy New Year & Welcome 2014!

Happy New Year! Blessings on you and your loved ones in 2014!

Happy New Year!

For our family this past year has been good overall. We’ve all grown so much, learning joyfully and meeting our challenges with determination and sometimes with grace. We have pursued goals, developed skills, made friends, and found and made new opportunities. We have carved a place for ourselves. We have faced our fears. We have dug deep to find additional strength and resolve. We have unearthed some old psychic muck and purged some baggage that no longer serves us. We have planted seeds of joy and nourished gardens of all kinds. We have bumbled and bumped along, at times, and our experiences have polished us a little bit more. I am repeatedly humbled by our amazing good fortune, most especially in our friends and loved ones. I am constantly amazed by and inspired by the courageous people around us, who serve as our support network and as excellent examples of compassion, understanding, goodness, bravery, and arete. Our boys continue to be our raison d’etre and an endless fountain of love in our lives.

I wish for our family, and for you and yours, fourteen essential blessings in 2014:

1. love
2. good luck/opportunity
3. prosperity
4. good health and stronger bodies
5. creativity
6. learning
7. friendship
8. laughter and whimsy
9. peace in our homes
10. forgiveness of self and others
11. patience
12. perseverance
13. dreaming
14. trust

Blessed Be.

Fabulous Falconry Experience

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I’m going to take a break from all the winter holiday stuff to tell you about an adventure we had earlier this month. As a gift to my elf-fantasy-archery-sword-loving son I bought an online coupon for West Coast Falconry’s basic falconry lesson way back in May. I bought three coupons—our younger son is too young—and we finally were able to redeem them on December 7. OH MY GOODNESS, I am so very glad that this deal caught my eye because it was everything we could have hoped for!

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West Coast Falconry is in Marysville, a bit more than an hour’s drive from where we live. We drove up with our friends Tate and Lady K, who also bought the same coupon. We all learned so much and had a blast.

Falconry class!!

We worked with Shvak, a Harris hawk. Jana is a master falconer and she has been working with Shvak for nine years. She and two other women taught us about the history of falconry (the earliest mention of falconry is from 10,000 years ago, in the Epic of Gilgamesh!). (One woman, Shawna, frequently teaches at Effie Yeaw Nature Center and both of my sons have been in her classes before. It was neat to see her in her element here.)

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We got to see Shvak fly for treats (quail heads). Hawks are very careful about not expending energy without a reward. This makes them discerning hunters.

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And we all got to call Shvak and she flew to our glove. Then flew to the next glove. She is amazingly light—only 2 pounds!

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Whenever I held Shvak, I got that glorious heart-in-throat feeling. Being so close to a creature so wild, so exquisitely specialized, so alien and fierce filled me with exultation.

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Here Ian is holding Don Diego, whose full name is Don Diego Alejandro Santiago Saragossa Inigo Montoya Del Gato. He is two-thirds the size of Shvak, weighing only 1.5 pounds.

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Just look at this proud boy with Diego!

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Harris hawks (Parabuteo unicinctus) are native to the Southwest US. They live in the desert and hunt cooperatively, somewhat like wolves, we learned. This is unique among birds of prey. Our teachers told us that the Harris hawk has revolutionized the sport of falconry around the world, making it a sport you can do with companions. Other birds of prey are territorial and will fight.

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We learned also that Shvak has a crushing strength of 500 psi in her talons. Learning falconry and becoming licensed is a very intensive process that includes a long apprenticeship, exams, and inspections. And a trained falconer must capture a juvenile bird from the wild in order to raise it and train it to hunt. Birds raised in captivity aren’t allowed to hunt.

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Hawks fly low to the ground to take advantage of thermals before rising to land on a person’s hand.

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This is a lure; it’s how the falconer calls the bird back. When the hawk sees this she comes immediately back and attacks it. This is the posture she uses when she takes down her prey.

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She knows from training that doing so will bring yummy, organ meat rewards.

It was a delightful and interesting hour. I hope we can go back another day and either take another class or do the Hawk Walk. It is truly a unique and stirring experience to be near these birds.

Reusing

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I am pulling winter clothes out of the totes stockpiled in the garage, hoping that some of these pants will fit Asher now. The few pairs of pants in his dresser are now too small, and the trees’ brilliant hues are telling me that cold weather is coming. I try telling my boys that, but they still insist on shorts and bare feet, whenever they can get away with it.

I do this turning over of belongings several times a year, unearthing Lucas’s old items from years’ past and diving into bags of clothes outgrown by friends’ children. The process isn’t pretty. Things are dusty and worn. I never manage to make the garage pile neat again when I’m done, much to my husband’s dismay. I also inevitably find a bag or box of forgotten items we just accidentally missed out on reusing. Sometimes, timing is everything.

This suburban archaeology makes me realize how my boys are always growing, growing, growing—whether I am OK with it or not. I feel nostalgic when I touch some old things again, after several years of their being absent and in storage, and I sometimes feel sad when giving current now-too-small things away. However, mostly I feel connected and grateful whenever I do this. I know that families all over the world do this very thing, every season or two, hoping to eek a little more use out of this shirt, these socks, those pants. We pass items along to younger siblings or friends, or strangers, with the hope of being helpful. And this pleases me.

To all those who have passed well-loved and still-useful items to us, thank you. Your generosity keeps us warm.

Halloween Fun 2013

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Well, with store-bought costumes and some travel toiletry bottles we had a wonderful Halloween. My little Potion-Maker loved everything about making the potions he wanted to carry along with him as part of his costume. So instead of spending the afternoon sewing, we did this.

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With four little clear bottles, some food dye, water, and one bottle of bubbles, Asher had a ton of fun. He even picked herbs from our garden to add into his potions, elixirs, philtres, and tonics.

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He really got into the part.

Potion-Maker

“Would you like a sample, my dear?”

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Lucas was an Assassin. With a plastic katana and an old Harry Potter robe, he was quite happy. I think the blooming adolescent in him may have been relieved that his costume was a little downplayed. (But it didn’t stop him from playing assassin, running, climbing, jumping, and slicing with his sword.) I suspect next year he will want to be something really scary or gruesome.

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Watch out. Assassins are everywhere.

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Because it was a half-day at school, we had a little time to carve jack-o’-lanterns on this beautiful autumn afternoon.

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(Since Halloween, our chickens have enjoyed eating the remains of our jacks.)

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I figured out a costume for myself too: I went as the Cemetery Fairy. I figure that if there are fairies of the woods, meadows, fields, and seashores, there must also be fairies that take care of cemeteries too. At first, Asher didn’t like seeing me in white makeup with dark circles under my eyes and pale blue lips. But after a moment of thought, he decided he wasn’t going to be upset about it. “Go ahead, Mama. It’s OK.” Lucas took this cool photo above for me.

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We spent the rest of the evening at a party at our friends’ home. Lucas and Asher enjoyed seeing their school friends and trick-or-treating with them. The neighborhood was really decorated and all the neighbors seemed to enjoy the spooky fun. Many people answered their doors wearing costumes! Lots of trick-or-treaters were out roaming. There’s something really marvelous about being a kid outside at night, running wild. Kids don’t get to do that much nowadays, so I think Halloween is just what the witch doctor ordered.

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My kids got a huge haul of candy, some of which they sacrificed to the Halloween Fairy, aka Candy Fairy or Sugar Sprite. She was generous, I tell ya! Both kids got LEGO sets.

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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.

    © 2003–2018 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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