Saturday, April 26, 2008

Evan Days

Every Thursday is Evan Day. It grew from our original homeschooling group. Evan is Evan Albright, who owns and runs SLO Wanders.

Each week we go to a new place and work on outdoors skills: fire building, shelter building, tracking animals, learning about plants, playing games, and enjoying nature.

This is quite old, from one of our first outings. This is a shelter the kids built:

Here we are at El Chorro Park in San Luis Obispo, rock climbing, exploring the creek and learning how to do a spore print with mushrooms:


This is Reservoir Canyon, where we go at least once a month. This is Evan playing a game with the kids. He is the deer, they are all predators hunting him. They have to sneak up on him, if he looks up, he has heard them and they must freeze. Fletch is a mountain lion and viciously attacks the deer:


A few weeks ago we went to Jennifer, Marina, and Shasha's house, their family owns 420 acres near Park Hill Road where we used to live.Before we came out they had spread out flour around a stick with some type of fish on the top, we were checking for tracks of animals coming for the fish.
Here the kids found some berries on the ground. Evan is talking with them about how to figure out where they came from and what kind they are:lunching with the cat, and Maggy awake and enjoying the sun and breeze.


Sometimes we go out to Evan's house in SLO, recently we made mug wort soap, which is good for washing off poison oak oils. Here they are collecting wood for the fire to melt the glycerin:

Fletcher, blowing on the tinder with the fire coal to get the fire started:

Two weeks later, the soap is set and they split it up:

This week we went to the Salinas River bed where the kids are working on building a more permanent shelter, one we can visit through all the seasons:
Maggy and I had a nice visit while all the work was being done.
We start and end each meeting with a circle. During the opening circle we say hi, talk about our plans for the morning a share something we are grateful for. Fletcher is usually grateful for some type of animal, this week the Indian Cobra. At our closing circle we say good-bye and share something we remembered or enjoyed about the day. This week Fletch remembered finding a bobcat track

Some mornings it's hard to get out of the house before 10 am, which is when our meeting starts. Some days I feel too tired to hike. Some days I just want to stay home. Usually we leave the house right at 10, we're late, and Evan is always nice about that. Then I am so glad we're there. I am glad every week we found this group, and that Evan does this work.

Sad, but with toys

Fletch is having a bit of hard time adjusting. I know this is normal, but still, hard on all of us. I am listening to a book on tape:
Songs Without Words, by Ann Packer.
There is this part: the mother is thinking back to when she was pregnant with her second child and talking to a friend, pregnant with her third. The other mother explains she has asked people not to send gifts to her two older children with baby gifts. When her first, her daughter, got so many gifts when baby number two was born, she was "Sad, but with toys.".

I can understand that. Fletcher has received many gifts, but his is still sad. He wants more, more gifts, more attention, more love, more of us. He misses Jim and me all the time. I miss him too.

I am grateful all time that his is not angry with Maggy. He loves her. He adores her. He does not take his anger out on her. He is angry with us.

We are doing our best to give him lots of attention. It is never enough for him. Of coarse not, it is less than half of what he had before.

I know that within a matter of months this will all change, we will all be more settled. Maggy will be more active, and need just a bit less of our attention. Fletch will get more and more of her attention, and a bit more of ours.

Until then, we get through each day, taking it moment by moment. Doing our best and loving eachother through our sadness.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Up All Night, Sleep All Day

This is how Maggy spent the morning, while I got some work done for my Dad. She put herself to sleep in Junah's bouncy seat. Throughout this time she woke occasionally, batted at the toys and went back to sleep. I was so grateful to get my job done!

That's the Sleep All Day part. On to Up All Night:
Well, not really. Maggy sleeps through the night, mostly. Some nights though, she has a rough evening. The past four have been this way.

It starts around 7:30, she is tired - but fighting sleep. I feed her, change her, then we walk her. Jim tries first so I can put Fletch to bed.

I've always been the one to put him to bed, he still nurses to sleep and this is a big part of it. Some time during the end of my pregnancy Jim started helping out with bed time more. On the nights I just couldn't do, he did. I am so glad it happened this way, because once Maggy came along, Jim has had to put him to bed about 4 nights out of the week.

We still start out the bed time routine with Jim walking Maggers and me reading to Fletch. It is our special time, when he gets all my attention and snuggles. Many nights though, Jim has to interrupt so I can take Maggy and he will finish with Fletch.

Tonight I didn't even try to lay down with him, instead I decided to take Maggy for a walk around the block. It is cold tonight so we bundled up. Off we went. Maggy in the sling, my left hand on her cheek my right patting her back, me singing to her. I sing my own verses to Kumbayay, she seems to like this best:
"The wind is blowing my lord, the wind is blowing....Oh lord, the wind is blowing"
"The sun is sinking my lord, the sun is sinking..."
"The night is coming my lord, the night is coming..."
and finally:
"Maggy is sleeping my lord, Maggy is sleeping...Oh lord, Maggy is sleeping"

I really enjoyed the walk. I had slipped my knitting into the pocket of our sling on my way out. So I did about four inches of an i-cord for my first knit soaker:

Right now it has an i-cord from on of Junah's soakers.

We got home at about 8:10, it's now 9:30. She is still asleep in the sling. If I put her down she will wake. I will wear her, occasionally walking her and patting her back when she starts whimpering, until about 11:00 when she will be ready to eat and we will head to bed. From there she sleeps peacefully till morn.

I will continue knitting , watch a bit of t.v. and maybe do the dishes before bed. I will also be glad because at least she's sleeping!

Friday, April 11, 2008

On Knitting Sweaters:

I might NEVER do it again. I've heard, never say never, so maybe - we'll just see. Sometime right before or at the beginning of my pregnancy with Maggy I started a sweater for Fletch and then bought yarn to do a matching one for baby.

I just finished them both.
It was agony.
Fletcher's is too short, I knew it would be as I sewed up the seams.
I knew how to fix it.
That would mean lengthening it.
That would mean more knitting.
I'm a lazy knitter.
I like instant gratification.
I decided to sew it up and maybe take it apart later to fix.
Anyway, He says he loves it. He even put it on twice. Now it's just a bit hot for sweaters. By the time it cools down again it will most likely be too late to fix it.

So this sweater was adapted from ChildHood at Knitty. Fletcher Picked the colors, since this was some time ago they are all greens. Now he would pick black or pink, or maybe both! He wanted a pull-over with buttons, and a kangroo pocket. This was by far the largest and most complicated project I have ever taken on. I learned quite a bit, ripped out lots of knitting, and love him for loving it despite it's obvious faults.

Maggy's went much faster, partly because I decided to leave off the hood. The neck may be a bit big, but overall it fits her with room to grow. I picked the colors before I knew if she would be a boy or a girl, I think they suit her well:

( This may well be my favorite picture of her)

My kiddos!

Matitis is miserable!!!!

I've just gotten over it. I was wiped out. You forget just how bad it is until it hits you again. Thanks to Jim for taking care of the kiddos for almost three days straight so I could stay in bed. Also, my midwife - Edana, who brought by an herbal tincture and some comfrey for a poultice. Not to mention hanging out and visiting with me a bit.

And just to mention, some favorite movies I've seen lately:
Dan In Real Life (who knew you could have a crush on Michael Scott!!)
The Girl In the Cafe - Staring Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Notes on A Scandal, and one of the all-time best rock-star movies Still Crazy - I have a crush on him too!)

Friday, April 04, 2008

feeling grateful

One of our nieces had emergency brain surgery on Tuesday night. It was extremely scary and necessary.

And so, I am feeling grateful:
that she is still with us.
that someone found the problem in time.
that modern medicine works wonders.
that her parents are strong.
that her brothers are resilient.
that she is strong, resilient, and sweet.

I can't wait to hug her the next time I see her.