Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Game...

There we were, all packed up for the football game and heading north on the highway, when we just decided it didn't feel right. We were late as it was, wouldn't have gotten there until halftime, and Big B and little b were taking turns wanting to go and not wanting to go (and there was never a time when the two were in sync). We decided to head home, when just at the right time, we got a phone call from a dear friend who told us about a fruit farm having a family festival. It was very close to where we were, and made a happy destination for four flustered folks.
We bought a fistful of tickets and let Big B and little b have their run of the place. They spent quite a bit of time in the Butterfly Garden, exhibiting rarely seen patience and caution.
They each tested their physical boundaries through various exploits in bouncing, climbing, springing, jumping and sliding.
We had a lovely picnic on the ground and saw lots of lovely things.
When it was time to go home, we had a few tickets left, and spent them on homemade donuts from this lovely woman. They were divine, and the boys were enthralled with the process.
Sometimes the best things happen accidentally. And sometimes, I believe, there are no accidents. The afternoon found us in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time. And all four of us were happily in sync.

A Fall Family Feast

Little b really does go to the sweetest little preschool in all the land.
On Friday, he and his five classmates and their parents gathered for a fall family feast. Each family brought a dish and a craft to share.
(Our craft: each child made a sycamore leaf crown, inspired by Chasing Fireflies.)
When crafting and singing and playing were through, we went into the sweet school for our feast. It was all, every dish, DELICIOUS.
Much ado was made about fancy manners and best behavior, and for the most part, the little ones lived up to the task beautifully. It was quite heartwarming to see them all together, breaking bread, sharing this space of growing and being so proud to show their big siblings and parents their special place.
Thankful is as thankful does.

Blessing the Mother of the Village

Our dear friend and midwife returned from her Swedish home the last time she was growing a baby, and true to form has done so again, in perfect timing for a mother blessing. Our circle of New Moon mamas would not even be a circle without the birthing home this wise woman created. We owe the congregation of our little village, now with over twenty new children being consciously raised, in large part to her. Naturally, it was an honor place our hands and blessings upon her, full of love enough to carry her back overseas and welcome her third little one.
This blessing incorporated a sweet new element: the Big Sister circle, where the children were wrapped with the same red yarn that ties us all together in birth, in blood, and in love.
Blessings for another sweet birth to our friend,
and gratitude for the village she leaves stateside.

On Gardening with Children

I have the joy of being one of the 'room moms' for Big B's first grade eco-gardening project. On the south face of the first grade building, they have been given a 10'x50' plot of land to learn one of the oldest, most forgotten, yet most important lessons of life: how to grow their own food. Through the generosity of several local business partners (a landscape supply company, a landscape architect, a native plant nursery and an organic farm), our garden has two plots for each of the eight first grade classrooms, with one herb or vegetables for every two kids. There are tomatoes, crookneck squash, cucumbers, collard greens, kale, spinach, lettuces, basil, lemon balm, parsley and more.

The children have been involved with every step of the process, from learning about the soil that was put down to planting and watering and now to weeding and caring for the little seedlings.
Big B and his garden-mate have a little collard plant to care for. They are so proud of it, and every morning when we walk by on our way to class, Big B checks diligently on his plant.
A few of us parents are taking turns watering the garden twice a day, and once every week or so, we step into the classroom and take out the children in their pairs, to check on the progress of their little seedlings. My friend and fellow garden mama made charts for the kids to measure the height, number of leaves, fruit and flowers, and presence of bugs on their plants at each visit.
"Teaching children about the natural world
should be seen as one of the most
important events in their lives."
-Thomas Berry

Magnetic Poetry for Kids

A couple of weeks ago, I found a ziploc bag of cut-out easy reading words in Big B's school folder. I have wanted to make him a child's version of a magnetic poetry kit for some time, and just haven't gotten to it--this was the perfect excuse. I scrounged up my magnetic tape, leftover from our annual Photocard Magnet project, and snipped away. Now our dishwasher has a whole new purpose!

Birds of a Feather

A few weeks before Halloween, I was making a regular stop at my favorite Goodwill when I happened upon nine absolutely gorgeous feather masks for a dollar apiece. I couldn't resist. For several days before the 31st, Big B and little b took turns wearing each, as well as a number of other accessories, and "scaring" each other throughout the house. It was a treat to have two tricksters who really felt the magic of the masquerade this year!
For complete photo documentation of our Halloween bash, please visit Noni's photo album.