24 May 2010

Beneath the Trees

A couple of days of seeking shade! Green spaces and other assorted things. Crochet projects finished. Raw strawberry pie. A very cute attempt by the bean to comb her own fuzz of hair.Ecofest in Nottingham. Again, pretty disappointing compared to everything that was on offer to do, see, discover and enjoy in Derby last year. We probably should just stick to the most local one in future - apart from some very lovely stalls with plants (which I didn't buy, because I managed to grow more from seed this year!) it was mostly the sort of information stands with petitions we've already signed and information we already have. One solitary picture of Morgan and Roo playing under the trees. Another of those how-fast-a-year-goes moments though, as Rowan was a tiny newborn last year and this time there she is, running around chasing a ball and making friends with a big shaggy black dog.A lady on a stand displaying a large "Mindfulness" sign asked me if I'd like to take a meditation class. As we chatted, I said that I meditate on my own already. She laughed and said, "how do you find the time?" I don't do the sitting-trying-to-empty-my-mind thing, but, well... Without the little affirmations, moments spent in prayer, deliberate re-focussing of attention, and deep breathing that are becoming an every-day part of my life, I can't *imagine* how rushed I'd feel. It isn't giving UP time, it's gaining it. I would have stopped to talk longer, but my attention was focused on a very in-the-moment person, who was in hot persuit of another dog to befriend!

A picnic after story time today, and a lovely walk along the riverside path with Ashleigh. Martin had a job interview, so we were solo (well, mostly with Ashleigh, but still, kind of solo). It was scary at first, a real shock of it's-all-on-me, but I think after all I may get used to it again. It's rather liberating to not be in fear of that so much, that day when Martin gets another job and I'm back to being alone with the children for much of most days... Anyhow, I was reliving the lovely day we had, not borrowing trouble from tomorrow.The end of the day, today. Play. And home-made ice-cream made by Jenna (raspberry yoghurt ice-cream, to be precise).My very favorite spot at home right now is under the towering Salix Helix (contorted willow) which I had as a cutting from the tree at my parent's house where I grew up. It has gone from a few inches to nearly 8ft in five years and makes the most gorgeous dappled shade. :) I think I may just take some more strawberry pie out there in the cool of the day, and pretend I don't live in a city at all. :)

22 May 2010

In the Sun

More Mandala colouring. We are really loving this activity at the moment, and it makes a good standby for when Jenna asks for "work" (which she still does from time to time - and I am still providing whatever kind of "work" she thinks she needs). And lest folks think that perhaps I am fobbing her off with something within my comfort zone rather than academics, I wouldn't previously have given colouring sheets for much the same reasons as worksheets. ;) Now though, my comfort level is changing as my daughter is growing and learning and teaching me. Also, I rather like colouring these in myself lol.A spot of natural dying with an entire bottle of Beetroot juice (a gift from a relative - which it turned out that none of us liked). This is Ashleigh's handspun and very precious, so I was nervous, but the colour is just what I wanted. Knowing that beetroot washes out quite a bit I expected pink, so added coffee and tumeric to get more of a rust colour. I just LOVE how it came out, and can't wait to do something special with it. If only there weren't so much CHOICE!An afternoon in my mum's garden. The paddling pool that she has kept since I was a child. Talk about a good green buy! And I got to inspect her new vegetable/patio garden. It's fabulous. Things come up so quickly for my mum, and plants flourish without her doing anything to them. She is truly green fingered! Her courgettes germinated in A WEEK! Mine took seven! I have to blame the microclimate in her lovely sunny space, or I might cry.After all the exertion and splashing and dancing, a rest, and (for me) another project on the go.More of our own garden (and a very pensive picture of Jenna)!Everything, well, sparkles. Even the nappies on the line - which I had previously thought were naturally that shade of grey... I may not truly love the warmest times of the year, but I have to admit it is very pretty. :)

From the top of a ladder

Jenna: "Mama, do you think I can jump off here? It's very high."
Me: "It is high. Do you want to jump off it? I trust you to decide."
Jenna: "I'm not sure. It might hurt. But it looks like fun... I think maybe I'll wait until I'm a teenager, or a bigger girl."
Me: "OK. Are you coming down now or staying up there?"
Jenna: "I'm coming down - the long way. Will you wait for me? I feel like I might fall. Wow, it was really high up there! It's much taller than me but I climbed up there all on my own, didn't I mama?"

And that's why I have let her climb, and sometimes let her fall, but always been available without judgement or comment.

21 May 2010

Another home-day assortment

I love these quiet days at home! For a few weeks, the girls had been asking for the TV a fair bit, but this week it has barely been on (and almost without exception in the late evening while nursing Rowan to sleep after the others are in bed, she won't tolerate me doing ANYTHING else during that last feed before sleep). I think they must feel now, as I do, that there is far too much on offer at this time of year to be bored.

Yesterday was a garden day again. It was also a baking kind of day - I took the hint when the baby starting making play-food soup. Morgan did some Montessori spooning and pouring games, then helped me make a yummy green risotto (peas, spinach, kale, leek and leftover blue cheese) which we saved for dinner today. And I did some more raw baking, seed crackers which nobody else likes. Ah well. ;) Raw Strawberry Pie or a Raw Cheescake are on the cards for my next attempts, and you can BET they'll all eat those!Pixie Jenna at the top of the pole that holds our washing line (and in hot or wet weather, the sail that shades the patio area). I have NO IDEA how she can climb that pole so easily, but up and down she went, saying "watch me, watch me, I'm going to go to the top again, I can see for MILES!"Pixie Morgan requested a little bed and promptly fell asleep in it for a couple of hours yesterday. Jenna took the quiet moment to help me water the plants and bake bread and mash potatoes for tea (colcannon again, yum)! While we were baking she suggested lots of yummy additions to the bread. Can we have fruit in it, mama? Can I put some chocolate powder in? When I'm a teenager, I'm going to make lots of fun made-up recipes, and you'll come home and say, "oh my goodness, what has been going on in here??!" *cuteness*A game of Scrabble this morning, and a new project on the hooks (fushia shorties for Morgan). Martin won the game. I would blame lack of concentration, but he already gave me an excuse saying that he only wins when I help him. ;) We are playing more and more board games together, thankfully we aren't competitive enough for it to cause strife.This afternoon in the searing dry heat of the garden my little flowers were looking a bit wilted. In spite of several green-juice ice-lollies each. So in we trooped to be re-sun-screened and get a cold drink. I have started making "nursery tea" again (chamomile tea with a glug of fruit cordial) and chilling it in a large jug. It tastes gorgeous, and smells so summery and comforting. Just the smell of my first batch this year made me think of the sweet early months of Rowan's life, when we discovered this drink! In the cool of the living room with all the windows flung wide, they played trains until the shadows had returned to our garden a little and they could get back to the sand box and soil and picking-of-wildness for mixing potions.

19 May 2010

Small Gifts

Peaceful breezy early morning. Labyrinths, Mandalas, quiet garden bliss, and the putting up of bird feeders (a present for us, and our garden birds).Crafting and crochet projects, of course.Garden and friends.Chocolate nest cakes for us.Seed cakes for the birds.Dressing up and the resultant colourful chaos!Jenna holding the baby up to see herself in the mirror - yep, climbing on the table WHILST holding her sister. Just don't look if it makes you scared, mama!Ending the day as we started, colouring mandala designs.Most importantly perhaps, a day spent in harmony with myself and others. The joy of blessing other people with crafting, cooking, cleaning, the mundane ordinary every day gifts. Feeling empowered to be who I want to be, to be who I AM. And empowered to enjoy all the small but precious gifts in my life.

Feeling, well, richly blessed.