Sunday, August 23, 2009

In this moment:: One More Weekend

In this moment::

I am:: watching our baby become a little person with a big personality. A personality that involves a lot of silliness

and a bit of sass

and apparently, an obsession with Converse high tops. Yup, she's definitely my girl.

I am:: feeling the coming change in season. The light is slipping away so quickly, the wind is shifting, the clouds have returned. We run outdoors the minute the sun warms the sand

but we're trying to embrace the cooling afternoons (and pajama days)

when the rain pours down so fast Max is sure it is really "falling up."

I am:: filled with satisfaction in a dreary Saturday spent indoors, playing, napping, and eating a divine meal not prepared by me (yahoo, daddy-o!)

I am:: getting geared up for a year of adventurous living and learning with my first born-- because yes, I do a lot of thinking at the beach;)

I am:: realizing that these posts-- after 11 weeks-- are coming to a close, making way for a new series of weekend recaps, and a daily dose of words that will center around a year of redefining time and self and the way we learn. I'm so very excited to start this work-- and am so very grateful you're coming along.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fantastically Free!

I was planning to post about my massive re-organizing mission, and I will, but not today. Because today, I just need to celebrate the goodness of friends. I need to write down-- and fully recognize-- how it feels as if the universe is making sure I know our family is walking down a path that is just right for us.

This summer, while sitting upstairs in our craft nook, looking at a blank space that needed *something,* I decided to go thrifting. I hit every thrift store in our area, with growing determination that what I needed was an old school desk. I found one, in poor condition and just an era too early (it had a bench seat attached the the front and no seat for the actual desk). Every other week, I revisited shops. I sorted through church parking lot sales and garages. And when we made the decision to return to a homeschooled life, I felt even more invested in finding a desk that would be perfect for the space AND the way we learn.

Enter my friend Tammy, who had no clue I was searching for said desk, when she offered to give me (for free!!) a 1950s version she bought years ago.

A brief sanding of the metal, a five dollar can of spray paint and one hour later it was exactly what I'd hoped for all along.

I've been flying high on my good fortune for the last couple days, so excited to welcome this new piece of furniture into our home. The boys have already done "homework" there, and we've spent a good chunk of time talking about the feeling it has-- this sense history, of other children's stories.

That desk was enough to make me feel even more excited about our homeschool year. And then? I got a call from another friend who had just moved to a new house and was prepping for a major garage sale. She offered a sneak peak to snatch up homeschool resources that she was no longer using. I rushed over, and nabbed all of this

and this (new to us Hanna's!)

and this

and when I started to take out my checkbook, that sweet friend shook her head with a smile and refused to let me give her a single penny (I plan, however, to use this tutorial to whip her up some lavender sachets).

Wow. A free desk. Free school supplies. All coming this week, all a surprise. Sometimes, when you make a choice and settle into it, I think the world makes way for everything else to fall into place. A little faith and trust (and pixie dust?) goes a long way. Knowing that feels so, so good.

Monday, August 17, 2009

In this moment:: Weekend Ten

In this moment::

I am:: soaking up every bit of sunshine. We've had so few warm, blue sky days this summer, that when the sun decided to burst through the clouds last week (and actually stay out for five days and counting), our entire community seemed to step outside and celebrate.

because this is what we wait for, what we know will eventually come.

I am:: cooking up a storm. It hit me this week, that the fresh foods of our local farmers will soon be turning to fall flavors, and I went into stock-mania mode. Marinara sauces and blanched greens are filling my freezer to the brim. If only I hadn't had that dream (the one where I canned tomatoes the wrong way and then ate them and, well, you know...), my shelves would be filled to the brim too. Ah, well.

I am:: buried in the crafty delights of this book. And even if you aren't a sewing-project kind of person, I still say you need to add this to your stash. It's filled with the simple truths of life: choose joy, live with ease, and enjoy the ride. Plus, it is a very good thing to support people like Amanda, who make their own paths and celebrate mamahood with such style.

I am:: brimming with excitement for Noah, who passed into the Mate ranks of sailing school during the last week, just in time to hear promises of junior race team next year. Not only did we watch him fall in love with a sport this summer, we also go to watch him conquer fears and join into a community all of his own. What a gift.

I am:: loving this guy, and not just because we're married.

I am:: organizing and de-cluttering and all of the things I need to do to make space in my brain and heart and head for a homeschool year. There's much to say about this subject, so I'll elaborate this week, and today will just say this: it feels so good to minimize, centralize, and put a little order into our joyful chaos.

I am:: aware that just as this

becomes this,

Our experiences are part of a natural cycle, but also, the result of effort and dedication and commitment. My friend Tom always says "bloom where you are planted." And this week, I honor the beauty of doing just that.
(by the way, as I typed that sentence, I was treated to a nose-to-nose encounter with a hummingbird on my front porch. Bloom indeed).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Date Night

Last night I had one of those wide-eyed, awe struck simple flashes of a second that had me almost using my sand-laden fingers for a good pinch, just to make sure I was awake. Just to make sure that this is really, really my life.

Here's a rundown list of why...
:: flat water kayak to the point, a sandy carved out tip of land that welcomes the vibrant waters of Little Traverse Bay to its shore.
:: Swimming in said bay, the freshwater slice of heaven we live alongside. The water was cold, the first twenty steps a careful balance along slimy rocks. And then, a few steps of sand...and nothing. The bottom drops out like an underwater canyon, and you can peer down into its clear depths and see light bend and dance and when you come back up for air--I don't know-- you feel brand new.
:: Sharing a towel, fresh made pasta dinner and Bells Oberon beer with my husband. We watched the sun start to set behind us. Looking forward, we caught another daily ritual of nature as the bay shifted, camouflaging into the darkness of night.
:: laughing as we paddled back to the mainland, and getting ice cream without any small hands to wipe or chins to clean (although he did have to wipe my fleece twice).
:: Riding home under a star-filled sky, and remembering to appreciate that we live in a place that puts planetariums to shame. Our black nights are that deep. The ceiling of our world is a constant switchboard of stars.

(photos all taken from a previous date...last night we were so excited to get out, we forgot the camera!)
Ah, date night. Every Wednesday Justin and I sneak away for a few hours, mostly to kayak and catch the end of daylight along our hometown's horizon. There are so many reasons I look forward to these evenings.

:: the ability to recharge
:: the fresh eyes I get each time I look back at our town from the water
:: the silence that comes with a sleeping household upon return.

But mostly it is this: the conversations, both spoken and not, I get to share with my partner in life and parenting.

Something I've come to understand-- especially as we've added more little ones to our flock-- is how important time together (and by together, I mean, just the two of us) really is. It gives us a chance to catch up on the little things, like how I secretly wish earwigs would disappear from the planet all together, or how his legs are sore from a hard ride. It allows us to take trips down memory lane, laughing at how much we've grown and changed, sometimes together, and sometimes with one person running in circles until we again find our stride. We talk about really big ideas and family values, we dream and scheme for the future.

And we sit, side by side.

One of the million things I've learned about the parenting journey-- especially for mamas who think a lot about what it means to parent-- is that if you have a partner to share in the load of life and love, being connected opens up so much more space for energy, creativity, and joy. And for those who balance the juggling act on their own, well, that's one more reason why we mamas need to live in community and a shared spirit of celebration and purpose-- because we should all be each other's belay system, if you know what I mean (and if not, never fear, I'm cooking up words on this very subject right now)!

Here's to the time you carve out for your papas-- whether it is a few hours or a few minutes, time on the water or a walk in the woods...or maybe just meeting on the front porch or back deck for some quiet time once the little ones are asleep. Just put it on your schedule-- once a week-- and see what happens. I promise, you won't regret it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The sort-of post-vacation post, and a little bit more.

So I probably shouldn't have said "big announcements" because they aren't so big (as in, no, mom and dad-- I'm NOT pregnant);). They are more like "big to me" things, but still, I'm glad you care...and I'll tell you all about them at the end of this post. How's that for suspense??

I am never very good at post-vacation postings. Remember last year and my promised-but-never-materialized post on our North Channel trip? Well, I'm thinking this year's trip is going to shape up the same way. I have tried all day, sitting in front of the computer-- but aslo while doing the laundry, making dinner and swimming in the lake-- to figure out why I'm brick-wall blocked when it comes to writing about our trips on the water. Maybe it is because there are so many moments that make me sigh deeply and feel so full of the good stuff of life that I just can't reproduce those experiences with words. Even on a trip that included some very big waves and some very non-sleeping children, the memories that shine through look more like this:

and this:

and this:

While I can't show you some of my favorite snapshots, or share the coolness of the uninhabited islands we explored--one complete with an old Native American burial ground, spirit houses still intact-- (sorry, Traverse Magazine has the rights to share those next July),

I can offer up some generalities-- afternoons spent exploring new places, discovering old fish towns,

breathing in the life of the lake,

finding the perfect walking stick,

and discussing the ingenious nature of nature (and in particular, of spit bugs).

And of course, I can share our out-takes-- those family moments that I saved just for here.

Sometimes, even as a writer, I understand that a picture can say more than a bunch of words. I think that's the case here. I'll let the sweet expressions and never-ending blue waters speak for themselves.

Our last night was spent anchored in the middle of a quieting harbor.

Port side facing the thick pines on shore, bow pointed at the horizon created by lake meeting sky, the five of us sat, still, and comfortable, together. The sun was setting in both places, water and air, blue, gray, orange, pink, and yellow bleeding into each other and rippling around us.

Soon, it was just four of us. The baby asleep, the boys and I hunkered below together, sharing a bed and sharing blankets, as I read to them from Grayson, a lovely little book about a girl, a baby whale, and well, so much more. As the boys began nodding off, I tuned in to the sounds of the lake lapping against the boat's hull. There was something about the noise-- about its closeness-- that humbled me. I crept up the small set of stairs alone, where I was able to catch the moon rising.

The moon and its reflection. Really, need I say more?

Okay, all....on to the not-so-big announcements.
1) We are-- after a panic-attack-induced-but-great-year-at-our-public-school-- returning to the rhythm and life of a homeschooling family. And I'm so looking forward to sharing that journey, and our way of learning, in this space.
2) Speaking of this space:: it is going to change come September. I'll be moving to a new blog format, one that I think will feel just right for our growing experiment of choosing joy, living with purpose, and learning together (and I say together, because certain family members will, on occasion, take my place-- adding, a new and appreciated dimension to this little world).
3) Gearing up for that change, I will be around these parts a whole lot more. And once September hits? You'll find me here everyday. Yup, every. single. day (a new post up each morning, by 9 a.m., to be precise). I do so hope you'll follow me on this new adventure.