Sunday, May 31, 2009

Color Walk (on location) :: Rainbow

We spent the weekend in the North Florida woods with Aunt S, Uncle S, Big L and little l, celebrating Big L's eleventh birthday. This morning we decided to take a color walk, inspired by the realization that there are RAINBOWs scattered everywhere on their beautiful property.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grandma's Garden

I have heard that the most common thread among centigenarians is gardening, crediting its ability to relieve stress and connect one's hands to the earth. Papa's grandmother has gardened almost her entire life, and is as strong and sharp a woman as I've ever known--scratch that, strong-er, sharp-er, for sure.

We had the privilege of helping her plant the seeds in her garden at Easter, and harvest their fruits at Memorial Day. In just six weeks, she transformed a mere patch of dirt (albeit perhaps the most fertile patch in Georgia) into a bounty enough to feed her huge family.

Easter Weekend:Memorial Day Weekend:
"Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers
where I can walk undisturbed."

-Walt Whitman

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Holding Hands in the Country

As I was looking through the pictures from our visit to South Georgia, it struck me how many special things--and people--our hands held in only a few short days.

Our hands held fresh wildflowers each morning. The boys sought out the rare oranges and purples. The whites, yellows, and lavenders were everywhere.Our hands held family heirlooms. I was able to spend some time with Papa's grandmother, looking through her quilts-in-progress, and some finished ones as well. Her hands have lovingly stitched quilts for almost every marriage and baby to come through her family (six children, thirteen grandchildren, sixteen great-grandchildren plus one on the way, and one great-great-granddaughter).
Our hands held fresh vegetables from Grandma's garden. The boys seemed to understand how rare and special a treat it was to pop vine-plump green beans into our mouths like candy.
Our hands held lessons. Papa's hands guided Big B's in the fine arts of gear-shifting, trail-riding, and gopher tortoise seeking. (Little b's hands just wanted to be wherever Papa's and Big B's were.)
Our hands held creatures, big and small.
Our hands held the joys of being children, in the country, with huge imaginations.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Color Walk (on location) :: White

The day after the rains, the WHITE almost glows in the South Georgia summer.

Color Walk (on location) :: Green

We spent Memorial Day weekend in South Georgia for Papa's birthday, and the color of the season was most certainly GREEN. It seemed to create fresh air just by its everywhere-ness, washing the world in the color of life.

Monday, May 25, 2009

An Ordinary Day with Papa: Racecar Building

I am scheduling this post to be published on May 25th, in honor of Papa's birthday, which we will celebrate in South Georgia. This is a collection of photos from a recent project Papa did with Big B: a model racecar.
I wasn't intentionally saving this one for Papa's birthday. I just hadn't posted it yet, because it's a plain old ordinary, run-of-the-mill project. And that's what's so great about it. Papa spends time with each of our children in a very one-on-one way, so much so that it becomes mundane, everyday, normal. And I am so grateful.Happy Birthday, Papa. I celebrate you today, the man you are, the father you have become, and the partner you continue to be. I hope that right now we are laughing, covered in mud, and have no idea what time it is.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Color Walk :: Yellow

We got absolutely soaked during today's color walk: YELLOW!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Color Walk :: Pink

We couldn't help but go on another color walk this rainy afternoon. Our choice: PINK!

Color Walk :: Blue

The digital camera is the greatest parenting tool ever invented. Yesterday afternoon was rainy, but not so much that we didn't want to take a walk around the block. We decided to kick off a series of color walks and look at our freshly washed neighborhood through a new lens. Big B's choice: BLUE. We came home and quickly created this montage of our little piece of the world. I can't wait to see what we find of the next color!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Only in a House of Boys (again)...

...would I walk out into the backyard, after the rain, and find this poor chap lying helpless in the grass. Remember his indoor counterpart?

Good Clean Fun: Big B's Preschool Party

Whatever happened to the good old days? The days of egg races and sack races, of limbo contests, of parachute games and water balloons? The days of good, healthy snacks, of hard playtime and digging in the dirt? They're here, they're now, they're wherever you create them. This morning the four of us ventured to the park for Big B's end-of-preschool (*sniffle*) party. I could not have been more impressed. Kudos to Big B's fabulous preschool: the entire party was focused on teamwork, and creating opportunities for positive, independent choices. Of course, little b was right in the thick of things, ready and wanting to join the big kids in each endeavor.So hats off to you, Big B. The last five years have been, literally, the best of my life. I look forward to a crazy fun summer with you and cannot even think about that first day of Kindergarten. I'm excited for you, mostly, but if I think about it too much, it makes my tummy hurt.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Project Update: The Safe Motherhood Quilt

The events of the day held a myriad of emotions for me. A sick little b and a soaked cell phone greeted me when I woke, sending me a clear message to slow things down a bit. I listened. I held little b all morning long, in the sling he hasn't requested in months. We read books, we played, we nursed. We went to pick up Big B from school, full of gratitude for these moments in our day. The three of us continued the slow pace, enjoying simply coexisting the afternoon away. I was grateful to be a mother, and grateful to be with my children.

And then the mail came. I never thought I'd see this return address in my mailbox:...this is a home on The Farm, the home of Ina May Gaskin, the home of one of the true heroes of my life. The package contained a quilt top with eighteen squares from her Safe Motherhood Quilt Project. When I took the neatly folded 15'x3' panel from the envelope, this was the square on top. I couldn't believe my eyes.
Jennifer Wollheim was a midwife in Gainesville, Florida. When she died giving birth to baby Lila, the midwifery community rallied, helping her husband Neal with their new baby in whatever way they could. This included donations of pumped breastmilk for Lila. My dear friend was able to give to Lila in this way, finding the strength within her own tragedy to provide much-needed help for a suffering family.

These are just a few other squares on the quilt panel I received, each commemorating a mother who has died of pregnancy or childbirth related causes in the U.S. since 1982.Now I will select a backing and finish and bind the quilt, and return it to The Farm to join several others already completed. Papa and I laid out the panel in the driveway, and within moments our neighbors walked over, curious. I could watch Ina May's intention at work as a bit of visual realization crept onto the faces of our friends. I'm thankful that things were slowed this morning, and proud that we all felt happy just to be in each other's presence. I was reminded today of the importance of each moment, in a very real way.