Attitude Adjustment

It’s weird how one can feel opposite feelings about the same thing. For example, I felt both


and disappointed

about doing this today, on Memorial Day:

Working on Memorial Day

So, to care for and console myself, I took a ten-minute break outside in my garden to look at these:

Green and Purple Buds
Green and purple hydrangea buds

Squirrel in Pecan Tree
Squirrel in my pecan tree

Nasturtiums from Seed
Nasturtiums grown from seed

Dusty Miller About to Pop
Dusty miller buds about to pop


Mexican Primrose and African Daisy
Mexican primrose and African daisies

Nasturtiums from Seed
More nasturtiums grown from seed

Day Lily
Day lily

And now I feel




and happy.


Today is my birthday. I’m 38 today, although last year my husband advertised my birthday as my 25th, so maybe this is my 26th? I can live with either, really.

During my 26th year, I was married to the man of my dreams, building life-long friendships, living a mostly carefree, earnest life, and working hard to make it in the world. It was a good year full of good times and good goals. We were building careers. We were saving all the money we could to buy a home together. We were talking about having children.

Yesterday as I was walking home after having dropped Asher off at his preschool, I had a few minutes to reflect on my life. It’s easier to think about such things when the ambient sounds are birdsong instead of little-boy laser-battle sound effects.

Wow. I am really fortunate and REALLY happy!

I don’t always feel happy. Small and big things get me down. I worry. I have anxiety and frustrations and limits that I strain against very often. Sometimes this coat of motherhood that I put on eight years ago feels itchy and too tight in places. Sometimes I get hot under the collar. These feelings I experience are all true, valid, and real.

But what a life we have made for ourselves! For instance, I have time to walk my 3-year-old to school in the morning. I can pick my 8-year-old up from school in the afternoon. I have the freedom to accept the work I want, and most of the time I can turn down the work I don’t want. I haven’t sat in a cubicle for six years. When my young son isn’t with me, he is with his father, a grandmother, or our dear friends of twenty years. Lucas goes to an amazing school, where he is learning every day. I have hobbies now that I never dreamed I’d have, and a garden full of green, growing friends. I’m learning to make things with my hands. I’m developing new interests and skills all the time. Our children are healthy, smart, and vital. We enjoy our family time together. I have talented, loving, patient friends. I’m profoundly in love with my husband and he with me.

It’s a rich and vibrant life and I’m so grateful. I think 38 is just fine.

Rainbows in Hand

Birthday Letter: 8

(Letter was begun on April 30 and finished on May 3)

Dear Lucas,

It’s only a day until your 8th birthday. You are over the moon with excitement. I think perhaps no child has ever anticipated any birthday as much as you have this one. You cannot wait to be 8! As the youngest child in your class, you have watched all of your friends turn 8 already. A couple of them have already turned 9. I’m sorry, dear one, but it may always be this way for you. It might be hard to be the youngest child sometimes, and might sometimes feel not fair, but I don’t worry about you much. Your charisma and joyful attitude make you beloved by all. And you would not have wanted to wait to start school another year! Your mind is racing ahead of your age in almost every way, there was no way we could have held you back.

Friday Afternoon Chess

So many exciting things are happening in your life now. I can see you are so eager to find out what’s next, what new opportunity is coming your way. I can see that you’re maturing, becoming more comfortable in your body and in your roles as student, brother, and as helping, cooperative son.

Sometimes I look at you and my love for you just pours out of me, and washes over you, I hope, wherever you are. I wonder if you can tell when I’m feeling this way. Sometimes I catch your eye and rather than make a big scene, I just wink. In that tiny moment, when you smile and wink back, I see that you know you are loved. The moments when you happily hold my hand in public, when you approach me and throw your arms around my middle and bury your face in my chest, when you snuggle up to me and tell me how much you love me—these are miracles every time, in part because they are coming a little less often than before. And I gobble these moments up like chocolates, try to fill myself with them, as if for a coming famine.

We had to strike a deal recently. You were angry with me, complaining that I was treating you too much like a baby. “You never let me do ___,” you accused. We were butting heads: you wanting more independence, me seeing you taking risks and acting wild and wanting to corral you. A friend of mine suggested a solution and so far it has worked. One day a week now you are picked up from school extra late, like at 5 or 5:30 in the evening. You want this extra time to play with your friends who are in aftercare. You want more freedom. In exchange, you must be better about coming with me at pickup time, without argument or hassle. I’m grateful my friend suggested this deal, this privilege. I was caught up in old patterns of thinking—feeling guilty for all the time we don’t spend together, wanting to gather you up at the end of your day, as if to apologize for all the time I’m working. But you are ready for more, for new experiences and new challenges. Your dad and I respect that.

You are doing well in school. Your reading is coming along nicely and you’ve been really into the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, which I have mixed feelings about. On the plus side, you’re excited about them and practicing reading. Once in a while we wake up and find you reading on the couch with the light on, having risen before the rest of us. That is nothing short of a miracle, in more ways than one. On the downside, I think the content of these books is a little old for you. In math, you are learning to add multiple-digit numbers and the new task is to figure out the process of carrying the one to the next place when adding columns of numbers. One paper that came home recently clearly indicated that you don’t understand this yet. I found myself in the astonishing position of 1) having you sit with me in an open, receptive mood, while we worked through the confusing problems together, and 2) teaching you MATH! Not my best subject, but second-grade math is OK. Next year? Not so sure how much help I’ll be. Your confidence in math is a little low right now. At one point, you told me that a buddy of yours is “Way smarter than me.” Au contraire, my son. I hope I reassured you.

Let’s see… I think your favorite school subjects are gardening, movement, German, and language arts. Gardening at school has inspired you to have your own vegetable patch here at home. In fact, you sacrificed half of your precious digging hill to plant tomatoes, a cucumber, a watermelon, rainbow chard, corn and pumpkins. It’s a lot packed into a small area, but for now it looks modest. We left a little space just for digging. And you carefully made rows in the rest, amending the soil a bit before planting your plants and seeds. I fervently hope this garden grows well for you. We have plans to make a little fence around it.

Part of you is fascinated by the idea of homeschooling, but I know in real life you would miss your friends terribly if we took you out of school. Plus, homeschooling is not always about playing Legos all day. We are not considering this at all. But, in deference to your interests, we may try to do a bit of “homeschooling” this summer. Perhaps some science projects, some story writing, some math and other cool games. One big project may be to build a chicken coop with Dad!

Two weeks ago you started piano lessons for the first time. You like your teacher and are excited to be learning how to play. We’re not calling it “practice time,” according to your teacher. We are calling it “playing” so that piano stays fun for you. I hope this is something that you’ll fall in love with.

You have been doing a lot more cooking lately, usually with Dad and often to make scrambled eggs in the morning. You two get along so well—most of the time. I’m hoping you might get a kids’ cookbook for your birthday so we can all explore this together. You’ve already made mozzarella cheese, after all! We did this all together a couple of months ago and it was totally fun! Today you made spinach sandwiches for Asher and yourself, and used the stove to make celery soup. You’re considering creating your own recipe book, using only recipes you invent yourself.

Baker's Assistant

Let’s talk about sticks for a moment. My word! Where do you find them all? It seems like I’m constantly wondering where they come from and how come I never noticed them before. They are the world’s most perfect toy, apparently for any age between 1 and … well, 8 at least. Trouble is, sticks are devious little things, for they tempt you (and Asher) into highly rambunctious sword fighting, and all other martial arts. Occasionally I get fed up with the wacking-with-sticks play and confiscate them, removing them to the green waste bin. And then, twenty minutes later, your hands are full of more sticks!

Asher is now a proper playmate for you much of the time. He mimics your every word and move. It’s quite adorable when you’re both behaving well. You play pretend “battles” with “powers,” which involves a lot of running, jumping, dramatic magical gesturing and many, many sound effects with spitting. It’s better than actual hitting most of the time. You both get carried away, though, and you both take great pleasure in winding each other up into states of ire and violence, especially if sticks are involved. “He hit me!” “Asher, NO!” The bickering is perfectly normal.

What I love, however, is when I find you and Asher sitting together on the couch, arms around each other, or cuddled up in bed together at night. Sometimes I catch you reading to Asher and my heart just melts. I see you guide him in parking lots, offering your hand as protection from passing cars. You greet him with a giant, feet-off-the-ground-swing-around hug at the end of the school day. You brag to your friends about how cool your little brother is. You tell Asher that he is your buddy, that he’s adorable, and that you’re best friends. These are moments we, as your parents, cherish.

Gorgeous Big Boy: NEW BIKE! 7:00 a.m. Bike Ride

And now, it’s two days after your birthday, May 3, 2010. You seem perfectly satisfied with the fuss we made over your turning 8, and frankly, so am I. What a wonderful weekend it was! We had a great time roller-skating at Sunrise Rollerland with your friends. You are a determined roller-skater, and although you fell down often, you kept getting up, your resolve never flagging. I admire your stubborn perseverance; I think it’s a quality that will serve you well in life. You seem delighted with all of your gifts: new craft projects, science kits, books, Legos, modeling clay, BIKE, game, model, and much more! I’m thrilled to see you riding your new bike—it is probably the coolest bike I’ve ever seen (complete with skull art) and it’s your favorite color (which is back to blue these days after having cycled through red and green).

You shared your birthday with two special events at school: the 50th anniversary of Sacramento Waldorf School and the May Day Festival, which was on the 2nd. This just carried you along on a wave of celebration and delight, allowing you tons of extra time to range and roam with your school buddies and to have lots of fun. I like how much you now seem to own the school campus. It’s your turf and you’re comfortable there. It was such a great weekend; I hope it was everything you wished for.

Lucas, we love you. We are so proud of you. Happy 8th birthday, my love!


State of Us


Things are fine; not too busy at the moment. My two big, long-term projects that I’ve already committed to are on hold, temporarily. The reason sucks: the baby of the editor in charge is very, very ill and undergoing some seriously heavy treatment. Naturally, the editor doesn’t have much time or energy to spare for work. It’s completely understandable. I’m just hoping her baby will be all right.

In the meantime, I’m working on some odd jobs—helping out another DE with some tasks to take some of the burden off her. I’ve been spending time researching photos and reformatting tables. Yes, kind of boring, but also no stress.

I’m also working on a novel development job and it’s turning out to be both educational and rewarding. I think I’m making useful suggestions and my client is happy so far. A little job that disappeared last fall has resurfaced. And I hear that my uncle was pleased with my recent monograph edit. I think I have a strategy guide starting up soon, too.


My dear Lucas’s eighth birthday is in less than three weeks! We went kind of all out last year throwing him a super-cool Aliens & Robots birthday party here at our home. We built robots, did crafts, played games, ate alien foods and had an alien birthday cake. The boys all dressed in costumes and it rocked.

This year, the theme Lucas came up with was just too challenging. I tried and tried to figure out a way to do a Secret Agent birthday party for 8-year-olds, but just couldn’t get around the fact that they have NO CONTEXT for spies or secret agents at all—no James Bond, no Cold War, no “Mission Impossible.” No explosions or weapons or special high-tech gadgets (kids are already living in The Future) or grappling hooks or lasers. In a moment of desperation I asked Lucas if he might like to have his party elsewhere, like at a fun place that does birthday parties. He instantly jumped at the idea of Sunrise Rollerland and roller-skating. No hesitation. Really? I used to skate there as a kid in the late ’70s and early ’80s. “Yes, mom! That would be SO COOL!” You don’t have to tell me twice. I booked the party there for May 1st, his birthday.

I am not at all thrilled about the roller-rink pizza that will be served, but they won’t let me bring food. I admit there is a part of me that feels like it’s a cop-out to buy the party (GOOD mommies make birthday cakes , right? Oh. That’s MY script?), but I am also somewhat relieved not to have all that busyness to worry about in the next two weeks.  We made our invitations and sent them out yesterday. The only other thing I have to do is make goodie bags for the party guests.


Oh Asher! He is so very, very 3 right now. Asher is determined, bold, assertive, demanding, outrageous, talkative, charming, precocious, HUNGRY, and picky. This child knows what he wants at every moment. He is happy and playful, and he uses language beautifully to tell you exactly what he thinks (watch out).

This is not to say that his pronunciation is perfect. In fact, it’s still quite babyish, which I admit I adore. I was so sad when he learned to say “please” with the l sound in there. Some of my favorites are:

binkit (blanket)

stabdabdies (strawberries—this one is on the way out)

beenana (bananna)

Bye, my fends (friends)!

kick-kick, (which is becoming click-click, his name for his pushing Red Flyer wagon)

I need some Mama time. You need some Baby time.

Asher went potty in the toilet four times yesterday; that’s a monumental accomplishment for him (us). He’s finally starting to get the hang of it.

Needle-Felted Spring

I’ve been doing a lot of needle-felting in the evenings after the children go to bed. I’m finding that my capacity for intense mental concentration (as I would need for editing) is just no longer there after about 9 p.m. I’m enough of a worrywart that I have trouble relaxing and find that having something to occupy my hands helps. I can’t really explain why the stabby-stabby motion of needle-felting is soothing to me, but there you go.

Here’s my new blue bird friend. Somehow, making spring art (art? can I call it that?) seems appropriate. This mama bird will live on our nature table for a while.

I just wasn’t satisfied with the eyes I tried out. I kind of like her without eyes, but maybe I’ll add some later.

These three blue eggs are only about an inch long.

However, these Easter eggs I’ve been needle-felting are two and a half inches long and fit nicely in the palm of my hand.

Food, Flowers, Felt, and Womanism

Cooking with love and intention can be very satisfying. I admit I don’t always achieve this, but when I do it’s blissful. Yesterday I made chicken stock from scratch so that I can make chicken noodle soup later this week, probably tomorrow night. I also cooked a big crockpot of chicken and chicken-apple sausage chili from a recipe I found on the Internet. It turned out to be really yummy (Lucas said “It’s delish”; Asher gobbled all of the meat, but that’s his way). The surprising ingredient, which I don’t believe I’ve ever used before in a recipe, was tomatillo salsa from a jar. It was just the right flavor kick. I added carrots because I like sneaking in extra veggies. I omitted the jalapeno pepper so as not to make it too spicy for my kiddos. I also made cornbread muffins that were too sweet and dry for my taste, but the kids liked them. Still searching for the right recipe for these.

My pink hyacinths are blooming and I adore them. I only wish I’d gotten around to planting bulbs last fall because I look at these flowers and want more, more, more! Want to do more, more, more! (My mother tells me that I don’t have to be more or do more. I am sure she is right but I seem to have a blind spot in this area.)

I’ve been sewing by hand in the evenings. I have a couple of goofy felt projects in the works that I’ll share later on.

Today I’m diving into womanist theology for a while. I’m building a pretty long list of questions for the publisher since it’s been a few years since I freelanced for this company. I’m making love to my Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition.

(Thanks to my father in law for the cartoon! It’s disturbingly realistic.)

Sick and Impatient

This is one of those posts in which I tell the ugly truth.

My children have been sick this week. Lucas came down with a cold when he was sleeping over at Grandma and Papa’s house last Saturday night. He came home on Sunday feeling pretty bad and stayed home from school Monday through Wednesday. Yesterday he was clearly feeling better and really bored with being home; I know this because he kept getting into trouble. He actually swung from the curtain and ripped the rod and fitting right out of the wall. Another time I caught him climbing the wire dresser drawers in his closet and throwing toys stacked on the high closet shelf down to the floor. This makes for a frustrating time for both of us.

Understandably, this morning Lucas begged to be allowed to go back to school, so we packed him off for the day — and good riddance! Alas, by 10 a.m. he was done, feeling sick and tired again, and asking to come home. Later today, though, he told me that he blames me — I am so selfish I won’t let him go back to school. He decided that Ms. Duncan (his teacher) would be his mommy from now on. He doesn’t want me anymore. Honestly, why did I ever teach him to talk?

Asher came down with the same cold on Tuesday, so I figure that’s a whole week of work time shot. He won’t nap today with his brother home and being crazy. Consequently, Asher isn’t exactly in the best of moods for lack of a proper rest and being sick.

I’m just not able to be very productive with my editing when they’re home sick. Be patient, please, my books! I hope to get back to you soon. I may have to escape this weekend and work elsewhere to catch up if Asher is still ill, or if Ian comes down with the cold, too. (We share everything around here, especially germs!)

A few good things have happened this week, though:

*  I was able to finish my donations to the school fundraiser auction yesterday (see yesterday’s post). I’m happy with how they turned out.

* I bought a client gift that I’ve been meaning to buy for several months now. Deciding on the perfect thing was tough, but I think I’ve got it now. I sent her Andy Goldsworthy’s first book of his land art. We’ll see if she likes it.

* I signed Lucas up for some fun morning-long camp days at Effie Yeaw Nature Center during spring break. I’ve also advertised this fact to some of his best buddies’ parents in the hopes that they will sign their kids up, too. One program is about woodpeckers and the other is about worms and bugs. He loves those day camps. Too bad their budget is so limited this year. Last year they had camp every morning for a week; this year it’s only two days.

* I bought some stuff for the next couple of holidays (St. Patrick’s Day and Easter). I’m planning a few projects to do with the kiddos, which will be fun I think. I’m trying to be better about planning ahead this year.

See how I’m counting my blessings? They say that’s the trick.

Geez. Sometimes I just feel like I’m not so good at this parenting job. I’m really struggling today. I wonder why I don’t have as much patience as I want to have, why I can’t be more “here now,” as they say. I wish I could somehow be 100% fulfilled by wiping noses and catering meals. I wish I could shake this desperate feeling. If I could, I think I might be happier.

Never mind.

Work Travel

Yesterday at about 6:30 Pacific time: I’m finally one of those people on the airplane using a laptop. I’m maybe halfway through my flight now. The flight was delayed two hours and I didn’t leave SF airport until 3:45. My day has been fine, but a little long. It seems like more of this time should be productive, but there is a lot of waiting to move and when I tried to get Internet service in the airport, both Mozilla Firefox and IE said they couldn’t find the network connection. I could see the free public network, connect to it, but couldn’t surf. Frustrating. My boss has been worrying about my traveling today. The taxi company that’s supposed to pick me up at the airport knows my flight has been delayed.

I’m already missing my family. Yes, I’m having a small adventure. Yes, I got to see snow-covered Rockies out my window. That’s wonderful and I wish I was better at enjoying my time alone. It is a strange unease, though. Kind of like maybe I forgot to bring along two arms and a leg on this trip. There won’t be much time for fun or sightseeing, though. I’m working almost all the hours I’m in New Jersey.

I packed a tiny sewing project with me this time. A few pieces of felt, about six pins, needle and embroidery floss. And Mom lent me the niftiest little device—a little thread cutter with no visible (forbidden) blade. It’s a small brass pendant hanging around my neck. Pull a thread through any of the slots around the edge of the pendant and it goes in past the blade and cuts, just like magic! I am wishing I had had more time at home to cut out all the pieces of felt I need because I’ve already sewn the bulk of what I did bring and now I’ve run out of project. The whole thing was well conceived except for its duration. I didn’t bring along my knitting.

Today 8:30 pm Eastern time: I’m exhausted! After I’m done with writing this I’m calling home and then going to sleep. I didn’t get to my hotel until 1:45 am today. Got 4.5 hours of sleep and then hit the ground running for 8 hours of meeting today, plus a dinner. It all went well and I think this could be an awesome project. I’m kind of wishing that in this room full of PhDs and EDDs that I had more than a BA under my belt. This is textbook publishing, so that stuff matters—kind of. Anyway, everyone is warm and friendly and very knowledgeable.

Tomorrow we meet from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, then head to the airport. I’ll arrive in Sacramento sometime near midnight—if everything goes perfectly and my two flights aren’t delayed. Rain tomorrow here, but snow in Chicago. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I’ve only seen a teeny-tiny slice of New Jersey, but what I’ve seen is very pretty. Bare, deciduous woods with snow on the ground, punctuated by gorgeous, big homes. No fences, not much yard, just woods.  I’m truly grateful to be here and to be doing this. I just miss my family and my husband’s strong arms around me. Tomorrow I will rock it, and then I will make a long trek home.

Spring in February

It’s teacher in-service week around here, which means my kids have the week off school and daycare. I’m getting help from grandma and some friends here and there, which is great because I have a big meeting to prepare for. Next week I’m flying to New Jersey for two days of meetings. I’m excited and nervous. It’s my longest trip away from my kids ever—three days!

The weather has turned so exquisitely springlike it’s making me feel a little drunk. Crocuses and daffodils are blooming. The quinces in the neighborhood are bursting out coral blossoms. Today I noticed my flowering plum tree has its first blossoms. Hallelujah! I know more rainy, cold weather is ahead. It’s OK. I’m just glorying in our false spring and enjoying the moment. The sun on my face feels spectacular. Yesterday we enjoyed some late afternoon time at our local schoolyard.

Today, Lucas and I left the house in short-sleeved T-shirts. Out of habit and a belief that Asher still doesn’t regulate his own temperature all that well, I made him wear two long-sleeve shirts. At about 1:30 this afternoon he turned to me and stammered something I couldn’t make out. Then he gathered his thoughts and said, quite clearly, “I’m so sweaty!” Oh! Sorry kid. Let’s take off a shirt.

The boys and I visited Great Grandmother RoRo and Great Grandaunt Nana today. It was good to see them, but also strange. My children don’t relate well to Ro at all, which makes me sad because she was such fun when I was a child. These sweet ladies look pretty well and we sat outside in the sunshine together and watched the boys play.

Later at home I gave the kids haircuts. Asher really hates this procedure. He cries and says I’m hurting him, and freaks out whenever the shorn hairs touch his skin. To get him to stay in the chair so I could do the job, I had to give him a Valentine chocolate cut into four pieces. It took a lot of patience on both our parts, but we ended up with an OK cut.

This is one of Lucas’s shots from yesterday evening. I like the color.

Life is good. We are fine. Hope you are too!

Good Day, Sunshine!

The sun is out! This is kind of electrifying after all the rain we’ve had this month.

I made a new contact at a big company that provides publishing services to many publishers today. He had already found an editor for his project, but I was able to send him my info and résumé and ask him to keep me in mind for future projects. It was a pleasant exchange and I’m fairly optimistic something might come of it. They do a lot of publishing for K-12 and that’s a new area I’d be interested in, and one for which my experience would be well suited, I think.

I’m looking forward to being able to point such potential clients at my new biz website and say, “Hey, check me out.”

I’ve got other irons in the fire now, too, and I’m kind of wondering if any of them will result in work. One possibility is that they all will, all at once. That’s a sobering thought, but also a happy one. I’m enjoying a tiny lull right now and spent part of the day invoicing.

The school fundraiser auction is coming up and I’m wondering what I might want to make and donate. Last year I needle felted some fairy folk and donated them along with a book of stories. One idea might be to sew another birthday bunting that might be included in a bigger “birthday package”-type auction item. But I’ve always wanted to needle-felt some seasonal dolls. Must think on this some more.

Tiptoes Lightly, Pepper Pot, and Pine Cone by moi

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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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