Friday, September 30, 2011

that which generates warmth

french lentil soup with roasted carrots and onions from love soup by anna thomas.

eating together. and chili, the good old fashioned recipe from betty crocker.

a lap quilt i made for my mom for her 80th birthday.

when i asked her what she wanted she asked that i sew her something simple. it was definitely more simple than my first, which took me months to complete because i was so intimidated by the thought of making a quilt at all, a quilt i could work on only in the wee hours, when tashi was in bed.

for my mom's, i set my own personal aesthetic aside and chose floral patterns and colors that i knew would match her apartment. it was fun and i'm pleased with the result. it took me about four days to work on it, during tristan's naps or after he was in bed. i hope she feels the love that i sewed into it!

yes, my mother is 80! she has had many adventures in her lifetime, and has traveled the world. her love for life runs deep and her heart is huge. most importantly, she is in very good health. may there be many more birthday celebrations ahead to bestow upon her the simple things she wishes for.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

triple aries terrible twos

yes, i said it, the terrible twos. i used to scoff at that statement when tashi was two. though feisty and rebellious, she was rarely terrible. but the parenting journey has been a bit tough lately. my two and a half year old boy has really been testing my patience. i want to cry, he is so sweet sometimes, and i want to scream, he cries so much sometimes!

i know it is part of being two (though not always: tashi was a fearsome four), and that perhaps -- with a boy -- i don't want to discourage his expression of emotion and sensitivity. but sometimes it is so inexplicable. i truly can't figure out what sets him off at moments. he is rather advanced when it comes to language skills (or so it seems) but when it comes time to express his frustrations with words, he tends to prefer tearful, screaming fits.

this begins at breakfast time, when he requests at least five different things but truly doesn't want any of them. it occupies play time when the square doesn't fit into the circle, or the big truck doesn't fit into the bed of the smaller truck, or the trailer just won't stay hooked on. it comes crashing down in toddler yoga when he refuses to do any of the moves that he does all the time at home, is completely freaked out by an activity he loved the previous week, and certainly doesn't want to lay down in savasana at the end. when i have to wake him from his nap so we can go and pick up his sister from school, well that sometimes doesn't go over very well! dinner time oh dinner time, the cooking of it, the eating of it, so often a struggle. and bed time. i won't even go there.

and there are all the other things, the destruct-o-boy tendencies of throwing, hitting, slamming, jamming, whacking, twanging, climbing, and touching. always touching everything. toddlers are so very tactile. and of course, there are times when all this stuff just makes me giggle, when the actions and the contradictions and the exclamations are even kind of cute.

and then there are times (more often than not?) when he completely crushes me with his thoughtfulness, his curious statements and bright observations. his thank you and actually and yes, mama. cuddled up reading books, we can sit there for hours, turning the pages. lining up the cars, the concentration and focus is so intent. the glee he feels in the natural world. his physical energy, as when we hang out on the deck and he repeatedly bellows, set run!, and then takes off in his awesome toddler sprint-bounce from one end of the deck to the other. and the things that he lets me do with ease (that tashi used to fight with claws out): comb his hair, cut his bangs, trim his nails, pull out an awful tick with tweezers. he can be so very cooperative. so incredibly enthusiastic. and his smile is the end and beginning of all things.

i can't help but wonder sometimes: will it always be this way? will he always challenge our authority? will he always have tantrums when things don't go as he wants? will he always contradict us? will he ever respect elders and do as they request? will he always be opposite boy? i want him to be strong, creative, wise, opinionated and in touch with his emotions. but is any of this leading to that? i know that i don't know. and that it is all perfectly normal. and that i am so very blessed.

i think the thing that my child acting out triggers most, is the fear that i am perhaps doing something wrong. so it becomes less about him, and more about me. and isn't that just selfish?

but, no, not completely selfish. because one might do things wrong. and it's important to identify that for a child's sake. most of us learn to be parents, while we are parents. it's important to reinvent the wheel, over an over. and just because you have one kid, doesn't mean that the next won't take you to a completely new wonderland.

i think sometimes i forget to meet tristan right where he's at. and sometimes, i just don't know where he's at. often i'm consumed by my own demands, passions, and indulgences, and he is just there, a little boy struggling to communicate, to piece the world together so that it functions smoothly. a little boy asking for help.

as the leaves fall curled into themselves on the dusky road, we face a season where we too curl in. as the darkness finds us earlier, i scrabble to find the light sources. strung on the wheels that turn ours days, our light sources. and so this is what i meditate on now: how to maximize joy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

it's beginning to feel a lot like. . .

the down comforter is on the bed,

it's time to start planning for soups and stews,

socks and sweaters are being pulled out from hiding,

the sliding door stays shut until late afternoon,

i'm fantasizing about the wood stove,

and anticipating the heat of indian summer.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

in a good way

it's been a busy time, but in a good way.

we started our weekend off with a visit to charlottesville's city market.

tristan has been shy the first few saturdays we stopped by the family drum circle, but this time he jumped right in.

we paid a brief visit to the midtown fair, a great street festival that will continue to grow in years to come. stores along the main street corridor are featured. there are a couple of stages featuring local music. and there are a variety of vendors selling crafts and food. i hope more crafters join in next year.

after our morning in town we motored out to the shenandoah valley where there was a party celebrating the betrothal of our friends molly and scott. it was a marvelous setting on a stunning day with a huge moon blessing us all, an auspicious affirmation for the happy couple.

we couldn't have asked for a more peaceful day on september 11, 2011. tashi and i had a date: indian buffet lunch followed by a really sweet production of the phantom tollbooth. and then in the late afternoon we took a walk in our lovely neighborhood, enjoying each other and nature's gifts.

yes, it is a busy time, but in a good way. busy celebrating. busy appreciating. busy planning. busy focusing. busy working. busy growing. and oh so busy hoping.

what are you busy with in this new season?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

shiftings, blessings

another aftershock has jolted me awake so i thought i'd take advantage of this quiet time before the quaking toddler rises! at this point it seems that at least 20 aftershocks have followed last week's 5.8 temblor that shook most of the east coast all the way to michigan. i have developed a small obsession with the phenomenon, i think especially out of concern for the safety of the nuclear power plant that sits just miles from the epicenter, and just miles from us. i am, without a doubt, spooked.

aside from the earth shifting, the year has shifted into school mode and the sensations of an impending autumn.

my beautiful girl has started her eighth grade year at the charlottesville waldorf school, her last year at this school that has fueled her creativity and her intellect.

the first day started with the rose ceremony, where each eighth grader handed each first grader a rose. so lovely.

it's hard to believe that in a year tashi will be headed for high school, at the same time that we will very likely enroll tristan in preschool.

now that i am working from home even more, and tashi is no longer here to help entertain tristan, i am trying to find a new structure and rhythm. i would like to fill our each morning with activities that make tristan thrive, and prevent me from constantly wandering over to the computer to check the latest email missive or facebook update or weather report or aftershock magnitude! i am not fantastic at keeping self imposed schedules, but perhaps we will attempt to have some daily themes that include earth activities, baking, painting and crafts. i continue to be inspired by amanda soule's blog and books, her latest being the rhythm of family which landed in my hands on my birthday.

and what a fine birthday it was. it included tristan's very first paintings:

some cherished handmade gifts from tashi:

and so much thoughtfulness from dan, who treated me to a ben chasny concert, a bloody mary brunch, some fine dining, a fabulous cake and several special gifts.

i am truly blessed!