Drawing Lesson

Lucas-Led Drawing Lesson: Geodesic Dome on Mars

Yesterday evening, Lucas led Ian and me in a drawing lesson. “Want to come to Art School, Mom?” How could we say no? He proceeded to demonstrate and lead us in a drawing of a geodesic dome on Mars. He measured with his ruler and asked us to do the same. He dictated what colors we could use, but gave us some small freedoms. Ian had to leave early to cook us all dinner, but I stayed to the end, when we added Martian snails, the Milky Way, and another planet with rings at the top-right corner.

All the while, Asher provided musical entertainment with a one-stringed guitar, plucked like a double bass, and his own rock-inspired vocals. Listening to Lucas sing in Hebrew lately has really freed Asher from the confines of having to use English lyrics in his music. Now, pretty much anything goes.

It’s very artistic around here. I love it.


This story is really not about me, but I’m going to tell my part in it because it gave me great joy.

Lucas’s class is performing the Russian story of the Firebird in Eurhythmy this week. The performance is on Thursday and they’ve worked quite hard on it. I cannot wait to see this performance and I know already it’s going to make me cry. Lucas is excited about it, too.

A whole crew of volunteers was recruited to sew fancy dresses for the girls to wear. I was asked to do this part: paint the Firebird’s fabric wings.

With paints.

I love paints.

I love to paint.


Demi's Firebird

The Firebird The Firebird

Here’s my inspiration and reference material: The Firebird by Demi.


So this is how I spent part of my Sunday afternoon, outside in my unseasonably warm backyard, with the fabric clipped to my fence, while the wind rushed about blowing leaves into my way.

Firebird Wings in Progress

This is how I left it last night, with the back almost finished (not all the tail feathers were done). Today I painted the front because when the Firebird spreads her wings, you’ll see the underside. I’ve also spent some time adding details, like more gold shimmer.

I don’t have a daylight photo of the wings finished at this point. I’ll try to snap one in the morning before I send this off to school. I fervently hope that this garment will work. The paint has made the fabric pretty stiff, so I’m hoping the Eurhythmy teacher doesn’t expect lots of flowing, draping softness!

Doing this was such fun! I wish I could paint more often!

Third-Grade Building Block: New Outdoor Stage

I wrote a bit about this third-grade building project recently. I got to go to the school yesterday to take photos while the children left their hand prints in the freshly poured cement. What these three photos don’t show are the twenty-seven OTHER shining faces of Lucas’s beautiful classmates. They glow with 8- and 9-year-old vitality.


Here is the Oak Stage construction site. That big, dark tree trunk at the back is a gorgeous old oak tree. The little trunk in the middle of the stage is also an oak. At the front is the river rock moved by the third graders to make a drainage area. No symmetrical shapes, per R.S. architecture.


Here’s Lucas waiting for his turn to make his mark.


Here’s M and Lucas. This dad, Mr. C,  is the lead on this project and he is graciously donating his time and expertise to make it happen. Other class parents and grandparents are volunteering every day to work on the stage, too. Ian’s there right now, enjoying his day off!

Third Grade

My Love: Leaf Heart

I stand here, quietly gaping. Not too close, but neither am I uninvolved in what my son is doing in school these days. I watch with eagerness, hoping for glimpses into his life away from home, where he is encountering challenges both familiar to me and also completely alien. I listen with keen interest to every morsel he brings home and chooses to share. I am talking about my son’s experience of third grade at his Waldorf school.

In past years I have describe his school and its curriculum as “magical” or “enchanting.” It still is that, but this year it has taken on a new quality—a feet-on-earth quality that is serving to ground him and build him up in confidence and competence.

I will try to illustrate what I mean.

In third grade, the children study gardening. They will do so throughout their Waldorf lower school grades, but gardening is emphasized this year in particular. They are also studying ancient Hebrew culture and also cooking. To tie all of these together, they have harvested fruits and vegetables on the school farm, made soup from the harvest, built a sukkah (hut), and celebrated the Hebrew festival of Sukkot by eating in the sukkah. They are also learning songs in Hebrew. It used to be rare for Lucas to sing for us at home songs he learned at school. Now he swells with pride to sing in Hebrew a song about beating swords into ploughshares so that nations will go to war no more and that people can grow their vines and fig trees instead, which is taken from this Bible passage:

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation shall not take up sword against nation, they shall never again know war.
But they shall sit every one under their vines and fig trees,
and none shall make them afraid.” (Micah 4.3-4)

Recently, they made bread in cooking class. But like the Little Red Hen, they really MADE THE BREAD. They cut down the stalks of wheat that they themselves sowed last year in second grade. Then they threshed the grain. Then they winnowed to separate the grain from the chaff. Then they ground the wheat to make flour. And only then, did they make and eat their bread.

Do you see why this boggles me?

Right now they are in the midst of a building block. This is a key element to the third-grade curriculum. Their class is going to rebuild and expand the school’s Oak Stage, an outdoor stage set in the woods on the school grounds near the American River that was getting a little too rickety. The children demolished the stage last week and together moved 8 tons of river rock! (Many hands make light work.) They poor cement tomorrow, barring rain. They will place their handprints into the foundation of the stage they are building for the school. Next week they will be measuring, sawing, hammering, building both the stage and their own skills.

In the classroom and in the kitchen (which are the same this year), they are learning about measurement, too. Tying in with their language arts study of the Old Testament and the Hebrews, they have learned how big a cubit is (debatable, but roughly the length of the forearm from elbow to tip of middle finger—about 18 inches), and that Noah’s Ark was 300 cubits long. Today they went out to the school’s field, rulers in hand, and measured out the size of the Ark, to see for themselves how big it might have been. “That’s 450 feet long, mom!” They are also learning about spans, fathoms, yards, and feet, experiencing these concepts in their own limbs.

“Firmly on the earth I stand.”

Friendly Monsters

My boys pretty much lost interest in Halloween candy immediately. They had loads of it and we kept it around for five days. They asked for one piece of candy in five days. Lucas even asked if he could give all of his candy away to the Halloween Fairy.

We let Lucas and Asher save out a few choice pieces of candy for occasional special treats. Then we put all the rest of the candy in a big bowl and left it outside. We called into the night to the Halloween Fairy and told her that we had lots of candy for her to feed to her babies (who need sugar to live, like Hummingbirds, don’t ya know). We called and called, and then went to bed feeling certain that she had heard us.

In the morning, we found she had taken all the candy we had left out, and in return she left Lucas and Asher some Legos and notebooks, and these friendly little monsters.

Gifts from the Halloween Fairy

I’m looking into this program, The Halloween Candy Buy Back. We may have missed the opportunity, since it’s already a week after Halloween, but it sounds like a great program. Local dentists buy back (or accept) Halloween candy donations from kids, and Operation Gratitude sends it in care packages to U.S. soldiers serving overseas.



Lucas has just passed his half birthday, bringing him to the ripe old age of 8 and a half. And although I took these photos about a month ago, to me they capture something of his present age. This is my sensitive, clever boy flying through the air, determined, sure-footed, and courageous. He knows his capabilities. He can plan his footfalls, and he can adapt and switch course if he needs to.


He is self-assured and confident. He often marches into unknown territory with aplomb. His place in the universe is known and secure.


But there is still plenty of room for striving, for challenging himself, for testing and experimenting. It’s imperative. He must negotiate his way through space, through relationships, through his own needs and self-knowledge. He knows that he might get hurt, but he also knows he will heal if he does.


Sometimes he falls short or is disappointed. Sometimes he takes blows to his ego. Sometimes, despite all our efforts, he feels unloved and unwanted. He sits in judgment on himself and sometimes he doesn’t like what he sees. This too, is part of his age. He’s right where he’s supposed to be, figuring out who he is, and where and in what ways he is separate from others.


At this moment, he’s preparing to leave home. He has been planning an adventure for a few days now—one that he’s going on all by himself. He needs some freedom, he tells us. (At first his plan was to spend a whole day and night away, on his own, but that’s been modulated down to a more reasonable bike ride to his friends’ house a few blocks away. He knows to call me when he arrives there.)

Carpe diem! He is ready. He has a backpack full of provisions—lunch, a magnifying glass, and notebooks for any scientific discoveries he might make along the way. He also has his wand, just in case any bad guys or Dementors hassle him. He has his instructions and air in his tires. He knows his phone number.

Ah. That’s the bell on his bike. I hear it ringing as he rides out of the driveway, shouting good-bye. He made sure to give me a big hug and kiss, and gave some to his dad and brother, too. I saw the sparkle in his eyes. He is full of both our concern and our trust. He is feeling big, and capable, and sure.

Fare thee well, my sweet son.

This Moment: Day of the Dead

Breaking the rules here to explain that my son was being contemplative in the cemetery, not mourning a loved one. He was having a quiet moment with his own thoughts.


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.

Sweet Spot and a Meeting of Minds

I have to write this down before I forget. It was so beautiful yet fleeting.

Last night, while Ian was cooking dinner and I was working, our two brilliant boys played together. Not bickered, not cajoled, not provoked, not poked—but played together.

And choirs of angels sang. And the night sky burst open with beams of silver moonlight. And fairies everywhere got their wings.

There is now sometimes a sliver of a sweet spot, when Lucas pulls out of his emotional upheavals and budding analysis and Asher rides the tide of his blossoming imagination and role-playing—a place where they meet on some magical common ground. Maybe it’s fairyland. Maybe it’s Neverland.

Good Sir Knight Asher went looking for a worthy opponent to fight, and thought he found one in the Wicked Knight Lucas. He came galumphing forth to the throne of Queen Princess Mommy, to inform her that he would save the kingdom. But it turned out that Lucas was actually a Gentle and Wise Wizard, a longtime friend and counselor of the Queen Princess. Indeed, the two noble men were actually both on the side of Good and Right People, and together they set out on a Quest, traveling far and wide through dangerous lands. The Good Knight was brave and strong and the Wise Wizard used White Magic to face down the darkness.

They even rescued a baby, who was found locked in a dungeon, hungry and cold, and swaddled him up to take him home with them.

Halloween, How We Love Thee!

My darlings both embraced Halloween with gusto this year, and a surprising amount of steadfastness—I half expected Asher to change his mind a few times about his costume. Whatever Lucas said to his little brother that made Asher want to be Hedwig the owl to Lucas’s Harry Potter, it stuck.

Lucas as Harry Potter

Lucas made a fantastic Harry Potter. He embodied Harry’s goodness and bravery, and only became more and more excited with each costume piece we gathered. We are very happy with grandma’s sweater and the purchased Gryffindor robe. (I suspect Lucas will get many joyful hours of play out of this robe.)

Hedwig the Snowy Owl Flying

Asher’s costume was such fun for me! When he announced he wanted to be Hedwig, I easily saw how I could create it myself and forgo the store-bought Hedwig costume (with its impossibly tall and presumably heavy stuffed owl hood). I googled “snowy owls” and looked at some pictures. Then I spent $21 on the “angel” wings, boa, white mask, and black felt for the beak. I bought the sweat pants and hoodie sweatshirt from an Amazon shop. It took very little time to sew on the white boa. Technically, I spent a little more money on this than I would have for the premade owl costume, but I can take the feathers off this and Asher will have …  clothes. (Granted, they are white clothes—somewhat incompatible with little boys. But still …)

Harry Potter and Hedwig the Owl

We had such a fun and busy day on the 31st. Lucas went to a Halloween party at some friends’ house. Asher and I had a marvelous time at the Sacramento Waldorf School’s Pumpkin Path, which I’ll write about later. We all met up again just before dark and had just enough time to eat a simple dinner and go trick-or-treating. (I wish I had some daylight pictures of them together.)

Asher wore a serious “owl face” much of the time (with smiles peeking through) and only hooted (“Hoo hoo!”) the whole time we were out. Grandma VoVo and Tolly joined us for trick-or-treating, as did Auntie and Uncle-to-Be. (Thanks guys!)

Halloween Trick-or-Treating

Halloween Trick-or-Treating

Harry and his entourage. Bit like a movie poster, isn’t it?

Angel and Devil

And even with all that good kid-style fun, Ian and I still got to go to two parties! With grown-ups. And each other. Yay! Fact is, we all adore Halloween, and any reason to play dress-up!

Happy Samhain. Dance around the fires! Welcome the Dark! We hope your Halloween was full of good mischief and sweet play, like ours.

Our Jack-o'-Lanterns

Jack-O’-Lantern, Jack-O’-Lantern,
Your light it doth shine,
Sitting up upon the window
And your light it is mine.

You were once an orange pumpkin
Sitting on a sturdy vine,
Now you are a Jack-O’-Lantern,
And in the night you will shine.

Pumpkin Carving Party

We had a little pumpkin carving party last night. It started with an impromptu play date with R. She and Lucas got in my car at the end of the school day and immediately started clamoring to play together. Why not? Luckily, R’s mother said yes!
R and Lucas

They obliged me with this sweet photo. Both Lucas and Asher love it when R comes to play!

Meanwhile, I made vegetable soup with all kinds of goodness: butternut squash, leeks, onions, peas, garbanzos, carrots, parsnips, celery, beet greens and rice. I baked bread, too. The house smelled terrific!

Let's Get This Party Started

Later on, more friends joined us for a potluck and some jack-o’-lantern fun. Anytime Lucas gets to use a knife, he’s happy. (He’s asking when he can have a pocket knife for whittling. Yikes!)

Lucas Carving

Here he his working on a pumpkin that we grew in our garden!

R's Ghostly Jack Parnassus Works on X's Jack

R’s ghostly pumpkin turned out great. Parnassus helped X out with his.

Asher's Jack Is Finished

Asher drew his pumpkin’s face and I carved it for him. Too cute.

T's Pumpkin design

The talented Miss T, aka Snow, worked hard to make the grossest jack possible. She’s planning to spill the pumpkin guts out of her jack-o’-lantern’s mouth, as if it’s throwing up. Yuck

Jack-o'-Lantern Carving Party

Didn’t manage to get everyone in the frame here, but I think you can tell we had some fun. Later the Blooms showed up and we all ate a yummy dinner. Much thanks to Parnassus for the yummy salad, green beans, and pumpkin pies! Frostee got to satisfy a craving for pancakes in honor of her grandfather.

And the Giants won.

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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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