Saturday, December 01, 2012

Still gonna be grateful....

Today is Nov. 30th, and even though Shannon's 30 Days of Giving Thanks was a November thing, I only really posted on this blog for 12 days (including today).  So, in the interest of seeing the year out with a big gratefulness BANG!  I'm just going to keep blogging about gratitude.  It's getting some good press from friends and fam, and it's in keeping with this season of light, and my idea of what it's all about.  It's also sort of an extension of another friend, Wanita's, project, Random Acts of Gratitude and Generosity, which has been around for several months now, and is responsible for little notebooks in my purse, kitchen and children's bedrooms where we write the things we are grateful for each day.  I have had a gratitude notebook next to my bed for years, ever since I first read Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, or perhaps before.  I truly feel like feeling gratitude is a step to being the kind of person I truly want to be.
Without further ado,  today I want to express my gratitude for my Aunt Lisa.  
I don't really remember a lot from the days when we lived 'on the farm'.  We moved when I was five, and most of my memories are filled with a sort of nostalgic fuzz.  I remember a lot of feelings--I guess that makes sense, now that I have seen four kiddos grow up under my nose.  The under 5 set is pretty much all about emotions.  They are good feelings, filled with horses and dogs, kitties in Grandpa's barn, swinging on the swingset with my sister.  There was the time I stepped on a bee--it flew into my sandal and I stepped on it.  But all was resolved by having the treat of drinking the juice from the fruit cocktail.  And mixed in with all of these nice, homey memories of Mom, Dad, Molly, baby Tom, Great Grandma, Grandma and Grandpa, are memories of my Aunt Lisa.  My other aunts and uncles are sort of in there, too, but Lisa predominates.  Now that I've heard some of the stories from Lisa herself, I know that she and Aunt Kathy were our babysitters from the time we were tiny babies.  And, that Lisa was my special buddy.  When I look at this picture, I remember.  I remember THAT feeling.
Fast forward 35 years and I can still feel that.  Lisa lives in South Dakota, I haven't seen her since my baby girl was younger than I am in the picture, and yet she is still hugging me from afar.  I'm pretty crappy about keeping in touch with folks, but Lisa has made a point to keep in touch with me, and it is a wonderful thing.  The miles and years melt away when we talk.  Hours pass and we are still yakking away.  I am so grateful that she has been reaching out to me, including me in her embrace, sharing her wisdom about so much.  Thanks for everything, Lisa! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Grateful for Home

There are so many cliches about home and heart and all that... well, they're all true, aren't they.  At first, it is just a house, or an apartment, or a room in a house or a dorm.  Then, over the weeks and months, it becomes part of you, the place you where you belong, and which you carry around with you.  It smells like you and you like it, for better or worse... You do dishes and laundry there.  If you're us, you get married, have all your babies, and educate them there, too.  In sickness, in health... gosh, I'm a bit attached.  I am grateful for all of these things and more.  I'm grateful for the views out my windows while doing those dishes.  I'm grateful for the sounds of owls, the chatter of squirrels and twitter and zoom of birds that also call this place home.  I'm grateful for warmth and warm water.  I'm grateful for my bed.  I'm grateful for working toilets and drains, and septic tank.  I'm grateful for well water that tastes good and is very plentiful.  I'm grateful for all the machines that make my life easy:  washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, vacuum, furnace, stove, oven, fridge.  And... then there are all the intangibles.  Too numerous, but so important... the thing that makes me say, ahhhh, when I step in the door.... ahh, it's home, we're home.  We can take off our coats and shoes and the layers of whatever it is we put on when we're 'out there' and just be free rangin' crazy naked freaks.  Figuratively, and literally, too.  Sometimes, at least.  So, so grateful for that place to hang my heart and hat, and all the many homes I have had over the years.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 20, More Sister Gratitude

Today, and every day, I am so grateful to call Kathy, Robert's sister, a friend.  Right from the start she has always been so kind and loving, and as soon as the nephews and nieces started showing up (bing bing, she has been a most wonderful doting Aunt Kathy.  "Where did you get your nice sweater?  Did someone knit that for you?"  "Yes, my Aunt Kathy!"  These works of art have been sported by my children since they were wee chubby ones, a physical reminder of how much she loves them.  But we don't love Kathy just for her gifts, although she does have a knack for gift-giving.  Kathy has made a real effort to be a part of our life and I am so very grateful for that.  I am also grateful for the incredible example of 'in sickness and in health' that Kathy has been since her husband, Greg, had a stroke a few years back.  I am not sure how gracefully I might handle it if something similar ever happens to Robert, but watching Kathy has provided me with a blueprint of what that can look like.  When Kathy comes to visit, we always have a super time, playing games, doing 'concerts' and 'shows' (she can walk on her hands.), sometimes fabulous outings to beautiful places and ballets, and really nice long visits about life (and helicopters).  She just called the other day to ask if she could bring Robert's elderly aunt for a visit. (Of course!)  I am always impressed with the planning and care she puts into her visits (planning ahead is a forte of hers---->awe.) And we always have a really good time. Thanks for being such a beautiful bright being, Kathy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 19 Gratitude for my Sister

When I was a kid, (you know, back in the olden days, as my kids like to say,) if you would have told me that whenever I thought of my sister, Molly, I would smile... well, I probably would have laughed!  It is true though, and it's not just an outward smile, but a smile that I really feel in my heart.  This woman, my big sis, is such a bright light in my life.  Doesn't she make you smile, just looking at her?  :)  We fought like two cats for most of our time living together.  It was really not pretty.  We did start getting along nearly as soon as she moved out and went to college, though.  And, since then, well, it's been a wonderful thing getting to know her.  Seeing her as a friend has enabled me to see how incredibly strong she is, and I'm not just talking about the biceps that are slightly out of view there, although they are a force to reckon with.  The tenacity that was not so very helpful in an opponent is miraculous in a comrade.  There have been times, for both of us, when the tears have flowed so heavily that the other sister could not make out words... only feelings, on the other end of the phone, and we listen and we cry and we talk until we feel better.  When we stopped fighting, and started listening, we found, much to our surprise, that we actually have a lot in common.  We are very different creatures, but we have found so much that we can share, and it has been a real lesson for me in the rest of my life, to remain open minded about people that I sometimes feel very different from.  I used to have a little sign up in my kitchen, above the sink, when Robert was away in Portland and we were living on Slow Lane.  It said, "WWMD"  What Would Molly Do?  It was a reminder that Molly would finish cleaning up the kitchen before going to bed, and that Molly would go for her morning run to make sure that she let off some steam so that she could be a good mama, and that Molly would not stress out over moving her family 100 miles... since she has moved across the country so many times.
Today and every day I am grateful to have such a loving, caring, inspiring person in my life.  Thanks Mol!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Lost Weekend... er, not really. Day 10.

So, here it is the 17th.  That seems to mean that I am a bit behind on my gratefulness POSTING.  I posted something on Facebook about having a hard time reconciling the decision to spend less time staring at my computer in my 39th year and the 30 days of gratitude challenge.  So, it is not as if I have not been feeling grateful for the past week.  Oh no.  I have just been FEEEEEEEELING it.  Not posting about it.
We're gonna go all Dr. Who and time travel back to a week ago right now.  I had just seen the Indigo girls.  Then there was:
Day 10:  I am so grateful for my sisters-in-law.  Sally, Jenn and Jaimee.  I got to hang out with Sally and Jaimee quite a little bit last weekend and they are awesome.  Sally, who has been my sister-in-law for the longest, and thus has had to put up with my idiosyncrasies for a couple of decades now, and I, sometimes get into this 'holiday mood' where we plan elaborate celebrations that may or may not actually happen.  By the time I left her house on Saturday evening, we had planned exactly 3 celebrations of light to happen in the next 3 days.  Oh yes, there was to be Martinmas, a trip to the Japanese Garden, and Diwali all packed in there.  Now, to be sure, Monday was a school holiday, and that always makes things a bit easier on our friends and fam who do that schedule every weekday.  Needless to say, I started researching Diwali customs as soon as I got home.  While we did not do lantern walks, or meet at the Japanese garden, we did manage a pretty spiffy Diwali evening at chez Hoesing.  (Don't get us started on the Christmas house plan.... )  Sally is an awesome mama, a yogini extraordinaire, a great cook, a good friend, and a wonderful sister-in-law.  I am so glad to have her in my life and family.
Jenn--It is bad enough living on the opposite side of the country from my brother Pete, but the fact that he married such an awesome woman makes it... well, too dang far.  Thank goodness for Facetime and Skype, which by the way we need to do again soon.  Unlike Phil, who got to sort of grow up with Jenn at Luther, I haven't spent nearly enough time with her, but every time I do, I end up laughing so hard my sides ache.  Funny that--that you can judge a relationship by how much you laugh together.  It's a pretty good gauge, isn't it.  I used to have fits of laughter much more frequently than I do these days... but Jenn's sense of humor rubs me the right way.  I dream of a day when we can live closer to one another, so I can experience that awesomeness more regularly.  I think Jenn cemented her rightful place in my heart when, after Gus was born, she sent me some homemade granola.  I still have the container it came in and think of her fondly every time I rehouse leftovers in it.  She is also the mother of Grant, who the word cute was made for, and I am super grateful for the frequent photo updates of my nephews life.  Thanks for being you Jenn!
Jaimee, the newest addition to the Hoesing fam, and yet somehow, it doesn't seem like that!  When she called me and said she was coming to the Indigo Girls concert I was so excited (yet didn't buy my ticket then, why?) that someone else in my own family is a fan, too.  Sometimes when I'm dorking out on one of my favorite things, it is nice to have someone to do it with!  I'll never forget when I first met Jaimee and it was the night before the BIG DAY for Phil's marching band in his first season in Nampa.  He was a bit nuts, and she just sat down and started gabbing with me and I thought--oh this is the ONE!  :)  It's a little crazy to watch your baby brothers who you have held in your arms grow up and get married, but it stops being crazy when you meet the women they choose and see how lovely they are.  I love talking books with Jaimee, because she teaches kids my kids' ages, and so it's totally cool to have a real teacher to talk to about stuff.  I loved hearing about her trip to London, and am pretty bummed that I didn't see the photos YET!  I love it that she loves to play with the kids and that she said, "Well, they just grow up so fast!" when we asked if she minded being Magic Aunt Jaimee sitting near the kiddos at supper.  She is sweet and wonderful and I am so grateful for her!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 9 Grateful for the Indigo Girls

Oh Emily and Amy.  I still remember the first time I heard your sweet harmonies and rockin' guitars.  It was my friend Jim who introduced us, and from then on... you had me.  Your music has figured big in the soundtrack of my life.  I think the first time I saw you was when my bro Tom and I roadtripped to Chicago for Lilith Fair.  Tom was happy to be at a festival with so many beautiful women and so was I.  We saw Sarah Maclachlan, Lisa Loeb, and EmmyLou Harris as well.  And then, there was a whole slew of shows on the pier in Seattle.  It was Emily's birthday around that time, and the shows were always high energy.  We went when I was pregnant with Gus.  We went the next year with Gus as a toddler, my doula and her family, and me in prelabor with Eleanor.  What a way to get a baby out!  Rock and Roll mama!  She was born the next day.  The next year, we went with 2 toddlers!  We made spectacles of ourselves whirling and twirling our little ones, rocking them in slings, holding them on our shoulders and dancing and singing.  We've seen you in Eugene, and also at the Zoo.  We did not go in spring of 2012, because we were busy having a baby that night, one Forest Indigo.  I am always amazed at your honesty, your new songs, your liveliness--and how you rock out! 
You have been role models for me these past 20 years:  doing what you love, standing up for what you believe in, and making such beautiful music.  When I got my guitar, yours (and Bob Dylan's) were the first songs I learned.  When I need a musical old friend, I just go looking for you, and there you are, telling me how it is, and how it's gonna be all right.  When I was far from home, in a land that looked like the surface of the moon, the Baluchistan desert--I belted your hymns out from atop a moving bus.  We have some history, gals, and tonight, YOU ROCKED MY WORLD AGAIN!  Didn't mean to shout, but I just couldn't help it.  Watching and hearing you play with the Portland Symphony Orchestra just brought everything to a new level.  Thank you for keepin me singing and daincing!

Day 8 A day Late. Grateful for the Hoesing Bros.

Yesterday was a busy day filled with lessons, some sniffles and meeting up with my two of my brothers for dinner.  Wow! I love my brothers, all three of them.  They were so fun to grow and learn with, and they still are.  I remember the days well that each was brought home from the hospital, and how exciting it was to hold their tiny hands and be trusted to rock them.   It's hard to believe those little babies are strapping men who I still call my little brothers, although they have towered over me for years.  I have watched them grow and change, and do amazing things such as finding lovely life partners who I feel privileged to call my sisters, get and keep hard jobs and projects that would scare the crap out of me, move across country, travel to Africa and get a PhD, become fathers and husbands and some of the greatest men I know.  I am so lucky to be their big sis.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Day 6 :: Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto.

 Today I am thankful for my sweet husband, Robert.

Thirteen years ago today we made it legal... but our love story started long before that.  Some of you know it, some of you don't.  It has been a fun adventure so far--such an unlikely beginning for two kids from the midwest, and here we are nearly 20 years later, still in love, still having fun.  Sweet Robert: I'm so grateful you didn't give up--even when I said goodbye and left the country, twice.  I'm so glad I didn't listen to the naysayers who wondered if 20 years was too big a gap in age between us.  What does anyone know of the age of two hearts that found each other across space and time?  Nada.  Thanks for making me laugh daily.  Thanks for our kids, and for being a rockin' awesome Dad to them, right from the start--even through all the surprises!  Thanks for working hard so we can have a sweet life.  Thanks for juggling, and doing dishes.  Thanks for being romatic, even still.  Thanks for being a Peace Dude. Thanks for your love.

Days 4 and 5--So grateful for my kiddos!

I have spent the last two days largely away from my computer.  I did look up a recipe for salsa verde tonight, and Lucy Sky helped to make it.  In this, my 39th year of life, I am consciously trying to spend less time in front of a screen, and more time enjoying the abundant beautiful world around me.  It is a challenge!  One of the biggest reasons I want to get my head out of my computer is to enjoy the amazing folks I spend most of my time with:  my children.  I am so incredibly grateful to be a mother to these four lovely beings.  Tonight, while the youngest took over an hour to fall asleep, I found myself becoming impatient, wanting to 'go do my stuff':  my yoga, my blog post, my meditation, my down time.  Then he reminded me, by saying, 'Can you sing me just one more song mama, about a dump truck?' that lying there with him, helping him to surrender the day, IS my stuff, my yoga and my meditation... and who cares about blog posts!  So I just relaxed into breathing and being, and soon, he was asleep.

I am famous in some circles for saying, "I don't really think having a baby will change my life much."  I get reminded of that statement periodically.  How funny it is to think that I ever thought that--and enough to say it out loud!  Having these four babies has changed my life, my body, my heart, my very being.  Just yesterday I read a quote by a famous actress who didn't believe it when people told her she looked 'glowing' when she was pregnant, that she really looked like a whale and everyone was afraid to tell her.  Too bad for her that she didn't feel glowing--I sure did.  Being pregnant taught me to love my body in a way that I never had before.  What a miracle!  Giving birth to these children taught me to trust my body in a way I never had before.  Being their mother--well, that sure gives me pause and makes me question everything and challenges my integrity daily.

They are growing so very quickly.  We are on the verge of big changes for the big three, and in the midst of big changes for the little.  It boggles my mind to think how fast they have grown and how much we have all learned together in this time.  I marvel at the thought of all there is left to learn with them and from them. 

I am grateful for learning how to be calm when a baby is screaming.  I am grateful for learning how it feels to be needed 24/7 by another human being.  I am grateful for the gift of breastfeeding.  I am grateful to have been able to stay home and watch and participate in nearly all of this growing up.  I am grateful for the opportunity to see four people learn how to walk, talk, read, write and do so many more things.  I am grateful for all of the handwritten love notes, cards and home made birthday gifts--including this years:  a beautiful necklace and bracelet, and a homemade flashlight!  I am grateful for all of the times when they have forgiven me for being less wonderful than I would like.  I am grateful for the chance to do things better the next time.  I am grateful for the embodiment of joy and fun and spirit that they are.  I am grateful that my heart grows more full each day!  I am grateful for you, Gus, Eleanor, Lucy Sky and Forest!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

day 3: Gratitude for the Dad.

Today I am grateful for my Dad

I can't sleep because I realized I hadn't posted my day 3 gratitude.   I have been thinking lately about how you used to come home and play checkers with us.  "King me!"  And, I was really thinking about you this summer when I tried to play baseball with my kiddos.  We really are not very good, but it was a fun experience anyway, and reminded me of walking down to the park to play on Sunday afternoon in Madison.  I was just as clueless then, but at least YOU knew what you were doing!  You are a great example of hard work, and even if we often have different opinions about stuff, you have a way of letting me be me.  Thanks for all that you do, Dad!  Here is a poem I once wrote for you:

When Dad comes home carrying a big lug,
I always like to give him a great big hug.

I wish that we lived a bit closer so I could give you a hug more often!  

Saturday, November 03, 2012

day 2 : : Thanks Mom!

 Today I am thankful for my MOM!  On Nov 2, 1974, she did some very hard work and I was born!  She then proceeded to do so very much more, there aren't enough different ways of saying Thanks to cover even a fraction.  Mom, I think about you every day, many times a day and send silent gratitude to you and all that you are.  You taught me so many things, inspired the love of so much.  Especially on my BIRTH day, I like to thank you for standing up for what you knew to be true:  that your body worked well and that you could give birth naturally.  You can credit Johnny Rogers and his 98 yard touchdown for the Huskers, but I know better--it was YOU who gave birth to me, not him!  Having that as a beginning--well, it was just the beginning of a life of being a nature girl, I suppose!  Here we are on one of our Saturday rambles at Stone Park.  Good Times!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Thanks Beth!

30 Days of Thanks!

Thanks!  Today I am so grateful for my Nia teacher, Beth Noelle, who through her crazy sexy fun classes has inspired me to be more fully in my body and also reminded me that I LOVE TO DANCE!  Oh yes.  And my hips--well they are very audacious!
Sometimes in this life of mothering, I feel like a taxi driver.  Dancing reminds me that I am a moveable object--no, that I am a spirit having a human experience.   Having a place and a time to dance means that I dance more without a place and time.  My body loves me for it, my spirit, well she's on fire when she's dancing.  It is awesome to be in a room full of women and girls who are loving moving and at least at some points, dancing as if no none is watching!  :)

Monday, September 24, 2012


It's late, and I should be sleeping, but I am not.  This is often the truth, lately.  I am stealing moments of solitude and quiet after everyone goes to sleep.  Stealing them from myself, because of my real need for sleep. 
Tonight, I'm wondering how other families do it, and whether or not that matters for us.  The 'it' tonight is regrouping after a fallout between siblings, or family members.  Tomorrow IS another day, with no mistakes in it, yes.  But, sometimes we get in these ruts of reaction, and the next time a little bump comes in the road... how will we do it differently?  Do we just forge down the path some more making mistakes, forgiving each other, only to bash again, like two billy-goats, the next time our feathers are ruffled... yes, I know mixing metaphors. 
Seriously, though... I could spend hours trolling the net, luxuriating in gorgeous photos of perfect lives, handmade, homemade, and thrifted.  What I really want to know is--what helps you and your family out of self-created ick.

Friday, September 21, 2012

upon equinox

"Equal dark, equal light
Flow in Circle, deep insight
Blessed Be, Blessed Be
The transformation of energy!
So it flows, out it goes
Three-fold back it shall be
Blessed Be, Blessed Be
The transformation of energy!"
-  Night An'Fey, Transformation of Energy

Here it is, September again.  And yet, how can it be so?  The wheel of the year spins ever more quickly it seems, like a German word I learned from a book about fire trucks that Forest chose at the library today: (who am I to say no to ridiculous library choices--there is no such thing!)


Yes, fast as lightning (that's how fast the German firefighters go down the pole).  Gus even translated it on the spot, remembering our German classes of several years ago, when we sang "My Hat it has Three Corners" fast and slow, loud and soft, back when they were all kleine kinder.

I am forever writing about this:  time is quickening, they're growing so fast, I haven't blogged in forever.  It's my big theme, it would seem.  Well, as we used to say in junior high, (which my children would go to if they went...) "No Doi!"  They're kids!  They grow fast.  Blink, and they'll be in college.  Enjoy them now.  And my question is, "How?"  I think that's why I keep the theme going, because I seem to be on a quest--no Clark, not a Quest For Fun.  That's probably the quest I should be on.  And, if I had conceded to changing my last name to Griswold, I would be on that Quest.  Instead, I am on a quest to find out how to Be Here Now as Ram Dass encouraged so long ago, and as all those many books which line my shelves urge with their yoga and meditation and mantras and prayers.  And, more importantly, I am on this quest with these kids at this time, with imperfect me, and all of that stuff that's waiting to be done... and so much else.

Sometimes, when I am doing some mundane task, my mind will wander into writing a blog post or status update about what is going on here and now... and then I chide myself for living in the crazy mixed up world of online social media.  But, seriously, that is a part of the story of this family and how it got started, anyway, so I may as well bond with it on some level.  I decided tonight while folding the laundry, that I should just write the post, and then I could get on with being here now with the laundry, and the dog, and my tea.  

here. we. are.

Forest:  2.5 next week, he prefers to be called 'Big Guy'  He corrects me when I call him Forest.  He asks everyone their name and then tells them, matter-of-factly, that his name is Big Guy.  They look at me like I'm Pikabo Street's mom, and I just nod and say, "Yup, Big Guy."  He is definitely a product of the fast paced, noisy world of 3 bigger siblings.  He is figuring out how to do puzzles.  He loves vehicles of all kinds.  (Sing me a truck song, Mama) He likes to run with scissors.  He asked me the night before last if we could cut his hair, "So it is brown like Gus'"  He told me it was his birthday the other day, after we went to the zoo.   I asked what else we should do.  "Eat ice crean and chocolate!"  He just met his biggest brother for the first time, along with his girl friend, and now he talks about them all the time and wonders where they went.  I'm still pretty amazed that he's here at all--but definitely glad that he came to live with us. 

Lucy Sky:  9.5!  Lucy, like all of the 'big kids' is coming out of a year of adjusting to living in a new place.  She is finding her own place, and it is definitely among the four-footed.  She is enjoying riding more and more, and it is a true pleasure to watch her canter on any of her equine pals at the nearby barn.  She knows way more than I do about horses, and is learning more every day.  She doesn't discriminate, though, she seems to have a fondness for all furry friends, and Dex is included.  She and Eleanor take really good care of our shiny black friend, and love to teach her new tricks.  Lucy spent some time at our friends' farm this summer and got to hang with sheep and a new puppy as well.  It is amazing to see the transitions in these young friends of mine... the transformation of energy.  Lucy has taken a real interest in Japanese, and so it is now a part of what we do together.  It's pretty fun to share something that I love so much with someone I love so much.  Today we read a book about a wiggly tooth. "Ha wa guragura!"

Eleanor:  11!  These are the rapidly growing/changing years.  All of Eleanors teeth seem "guragura" lately, and she is growing so tall, she's almost caught up with Gus!  This summer she did a ballet intensive at her new studio, Portland Youth Ballet, and LOVED it.  She is doing more ballet than ever, and glows when she comes out of class.  I wish I were 11 and in her classes, too.  She just got jazz shoes last week for her first Jazz class, and it reminded me of taking Jazz with two friends at just about her age.  Eleanor made almost all of dinner last night: Thai-style noodles with veggies and peanut sauce.  Me:  grateful mama.  While her brother was laid out on the couch with stomach yuck she was finishing the first arm on her first sweater for a person.  She's made several for dolls.  This one is for Forest.  Having a kid that seems so different from me is a good practice in acceptance of all kinds of folks.  

 Gus:  12.5 and growing.  Gus might actually grow into his dad's prediction that he would be 6'8" when he stopped.  He's catching up with me and his feet have passed mine by and are catching up with Robert's.  He just moved up to a new level in his fencing class:  more fencing, fewer games, and also more classes if we can get to them--not a small feat for this mama.  His true love is still Lego and Lego robotics and he's really enjoying exploring the world J.R.R. Tolkien created.  We talk often of how many similarities there are to JK Rowling's work.  Robert read The Hobbit to all of the big kids this spring and Gus read the trilogy shortly thereafter.  He keeps asking me questions about whether I remember this or that from The Hobbit.  I keep reminding him it was more than 25 years ago that I read it.  Yikes.  

Sarah:  Ageless, obviously. (except when i see those wrinkles and white wild hairs :: character!)  I am fresh out of one art e-course which my last post was about... haven't posted any photos of my art here, but there are some on flickr... a little shy.  I really like having the opportunity to take classes this way, what a brilliant thing about having the 'net.  I also struggle with keeping the net in it's place, and not letting it take over my life.  Some days I want to delete my facebook account.  Others, I'm so happy to have news and words of wisdom from friends and folks across the globe.  The Pages&Paint course was the beginning of following a dream that I've had in my back pocket for a long time, to 'learn to paint.'  Actually, Inside Out, was the beginning of freeing up my mind and kicking my self-doubt to the curb, so I could consider learning to paint.  When I look at this thing, "painting", it is like many others in my life--it is inside me wanting to get out--just like the dancer, the yogini, the doula, the chef, the fiber artist, etc... and I take her just way to seriously and my brain gets in the way, and she goes back to sleep for a few years or decades.  Well.. I'm learning to take baby steps upon the path, and let those sleeping Sarahs out bit by bit and piece by piece, and it's way more doable.  I am also learning to use some organizational tools that make my life easier--what a concept.  Everyone checks the weekly calendar to see what's on this week; menu planning--getting slowly better at that; planning to work out (! what a concept!); putting art time right in there on the to-do list.  Bit by bit and inch by inch.  

Robert:  You'd really have to ask him... but I will say that he is working steadily towards his goal of programming in iOS, and also encouraging all of us in photography and juggling.  I still feel that it is a miracle and a gift that we found each other... 17 years or so ago on the very same internet that can now show us the Curiosity mission and Dr. Who episodes on demand... (I GET Dr. Who, thank goodness!)  He is such an excellent Dad and partner for this crazy ride.  He took the day off of work during late August so that we could all go to Oaks Park together and ride rides and roller skate.  What a fun day.  On our recent trip to the coast, he broke the rules, went under the fence to the "DANGEROUS AREA!" and encouraged Gus, Forest and me to do the same and we got splashed by the beautiful Pacific, and felt more alive than ever.  We also schlepped a sometimes reluctant Forest up the giant dune with Gus leading the way.  Forest was sometimes encouraging, too, "You can do it, Mama!"  It was a reminder that hanging out in nature together is still something that works pretty well for us!

Shadypeak Homeschool is back in full swing, with lots of lessons and classes off campus.  We have a full year of Ancient Cultures, Native American History, Norse Myths, Greek Myths, botany, biology, geometry, fractions, handwork, sketching, art journaling, French, Japanese, and probably a lot more stuff I haven't mentioned or remembered, too.  We have new strings teachers this year, moving on from some lovely folks who taught them last year.  Classes at Village Home have started up, with the final choices still being made this week between Beginning Wire Jewelry, Hogwarts Academy, Circus, and Murder Mystery.  We would all love to take more more more classes there, but time and pocketbooks squeal 'no more'.  Lucy and I are rocking out at Nia each Wednesday morning with our fantastic teacher and a great group of women and girls.  Dancing and me are still good buddies... my body thanks me every time, and my spirit sings all week.  

With all of the busybusy, my intention is to create a space at home that really feels cozy and homey.  Working on rhythm, organization and planning are helping this.  I look at all of my mama friends and see a common line of stress on all of our faces--how can we find a place within all of this wild wired world to just be, drink tea and breathe?  I found that when I actually got to painting... those were the messages coming to me.  s..... l......o.....w...............   I'm not a particularly physically fast person, but some days I don't sit down all day--I don't even go pee!  Why?  not enough tea/water/sweet juice of life!  So, as we get into our groove of fall (aka power time for this mama.) it is my goal to do that, daily.  I got myself one of those sippy cup lids for a mason jar.  I feel like sort of a moron drinking out of it, like it's really a sippy cup... but that reminds me that I am just a beginner here.  I have also been making time for meditation each day, if only for a few moments--it helps.

I cannot slow down the wheel, but I can have moments of stillness within the turning of it.  I can use the transformation of energy to change what doesn't work, and to find new ways that do.  Every day, I read from two little books, two interpretations of the Tao te Ching, The Tao of Motherhood by Vimala McClure, and A Parent's Tao te Ching, by William Martin.  The gems in these two little books feed my soul, calm my nerves and remind me that this path is a path... not a destination.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Do you ever get a wild hair?  I seem to have a new one every day--they're now growing right above my ears.  The better to hear them, I suppose.  A few weeks ago, led by Soulemama to Squam... and realizing it may be a very long time before I ever get to be there in person, I found the perfect 'continuing education' workshop for this homeschooling mama.  It was a wild hair sort of a night.  I was attracted right away by the fact that Sarah Ahearn Bellemare is a mama and she is starting out this course with the basics of painting, something I have longed to do.... well, forever I suppose.  I think having such fun with Inside Out really helped me jump in to this course.  This week we are setting up our work spaces.  I just dug out a box of stuff labeled "Japan."  Oooweeee there are some treasures in there.  The idea of having a 'studio space' is sort of foreign to me.  The kids have a room, the man has a room, and mama.... well, she lives in the kitchen.  Here on Shadypeak Lane, I do have a desk.  It's in the kitchen. At first when I thought of setting up my 'studio space' I thought, "Surely not," about having it in the kitchen.  Right here... among the goo and stew of life?  Where toddler hands can grab my stuff.  But really, why not.  My Mac has been here in the middle of everything for nearly a year and nothing horrible has happened to it (knocking wood--F. did nearly pull it off my desk just today).  So, the task has been set, and I have been gathering bits of inspiration to surround myself.  It's fun to look around for what I find beautiful--and freeing really to just tape (with fun little masking tapes) little bits of lovely and sweet where I will see then often.  Gosh, this whole creativity thing could become a way of life.  Yikes.
and, without further ado, welcome to my 
{{studio space}}

There's some fun, closer up:

 a basket full of inspiring books and magazines

 part of my inspiration 'wall' which is really a window frame:

more inspiration

and if i could figure out how to mount this, this dress would be on the wall.  i picked it up at a second hand store a month or so ago--a little girl in my life will get it one day, but not before i'm finished gazing at it's lovelieness.  
 So, that's something, making a space for myself.  Now the real fun begins... but that was really fun!

our nature corner:
This space is kind of an extension of the work area that we already have in the kitchen, namely the dining room table.  We have had for the past 8 years or so a lovely, if institutional, storage shelf.  Our previous home had almost no storage, and I quickly figured out that I would have to have some way of storing the bits and pieces of our lives--thus, 'the bin shelf' became a part of our world.  As a part of gathering materials for Pages & Paint, I cleaned out a few of the bins, and reorganized them somewhat.  The slots are still pretty howling, those are the kids' alone, so I didn't mess with them---er try to straighten them.  I did put all the glue in one bin, all of the paint in one bin, and all of the stencily kind of stuff in another so as I'm going about this class I can just grab a bin and not have to dig through a few to find what I need.  This shelf has been a life-saver.  It's most recent addition is the canvas 'cover' that I affixed to it when I realized a crawling baby would never be able to keep out of those bins.  I still find myself smiling over the ingenuity of it.  I have a bolt of cleverness every once in a while that really works!   It's starting to sag in the front from the baby who turned toddler pulling on it to try to get things out ("my puzzles!") but it still works!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Real Life.

I seem to be in the habit of taking big breaks from blogging and then saying, "Gee where did the time go?"  Well, real life intervenes, doesn't it?  There are sometimes when I feel all warm and gushy about what is happening in my life and I just want to shout from the mountain-tops how awesome it all is.  And then, there are times when I am quietly grateful for the creature comforts and relative ease of my life:  food, clothing, warm beautiful house in a lovely setting, healthy family, loving spouse.... those things that I would take for granted if I didn't make a habit of gratitude, something I am actively cultivating in 2012.  A friend of mine is working on a gratitude project here:  Random Acts of Gratitude and Generosity and it fits right in with my commitment to spend some time each day really feeling grateful, and talking about it with my kids.  It is sometime easy to fall into a habit of complaint, or just disgruntlement.
Real life included for us a Valentine's Day gift of head lice, and a month of frantic hair combing and massive amounts of laundry.  We have a whole heck of a lot of hair, thanks to this mama's good genes.

 Some of us have a little less hair now.  I did not pull most of mine out, but felt like it.  Strange how life's little beasties can really get to us.   And while this real life was happening, we had to slow down, and do things quite simply, and comb hair, groom each other.  It really puts you in touch with your primate roots.

Meanwhile, another Valentine's Day gift also happened:
They're not really drowning.  They're cooking in the soup!  Bwa ha ha ha!  This is the famous 9-10-11 soup!  For three days and three days only, the big kids were 9, 10 and 11.  Earlier in the week we took delivery of our beautiful HOT TUB!  Robert has been dreaming about one as long as I have known him.  When we moved into our house here in Aloha, there was a broken down old hot tub, but it got our dreams working in the direction of HOT TUB HOT TUB HOT TUB!  And now, We have one!  Yay!  I hope that you will come and visit and soak away some of 'real life' with me sometime soon!

Something else exciting happened this month:  My buddy Joel Mason came to town to visit his little sis Tessa who goes to Lewis and Clark and we all took the day and went out to Multnomah Falls for a little real life, Oregon style.  It was incredibly awesome to just be with Joel again.  One day maybe I'll post some old-school photos of travel with Joel.  He is a soul brother and I'm so glad he has a good reason to visit here often

 In crafty news:  I did NOT finish {{the BIG project}}  but I did finish this little Christmas gift.  It's incredibly cute and makes an incredibly cute kid even cuter, if I do say so myself.
 It has not affected his ability to consume many many dried blueberries.  This kid is filled with anti-oxidants.
Here's Proof:
Happy birthday to my beautiful girl!

He even lit all of his own candles!

And... in other news, no less exciting, we have a new family member!  Her name is Dexi (but she's called Dixie and Dax, too!) and she is sweet sweet sweet!  She is also the subject of PHOTOSUNDAY this time.  Check it out!
Sometimes we have to use the leash for Forest, too:
 In daily real life:  We have been sorta arty around here.  I took the awesome e-course
 Forest wakes up in the morning and says, "Paint, now, mama!" So, he paints:
 And mama paints too, making some Affirmation Trading Cards!  This is part of a much bigger project that I'm workin on. (Details soon!)
 And, last but not least, we celebrated Pi day on 3.14: