Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Skeleton, a Purple Monster and a Mouse

There must be some wonderful story about three such characters, don't you think?  We had some strong creative opinions about Halloween costumes this year, and in the end I made the kids exactly what they wanted.  Zosia has transitioned into a real "scary" costume this year (She would be upset if I told her she's much too cute to actually be scary) and wanted to be a skeleton.  Lily decided she wanted to be a purple monster, so I did my best.  I've never actually seen a purple monster, but there's a first time for everything.  Hugo on the other hand just got dressed in an old costume from the dress up box: the one that Zosia wore when she was one, that Lily wore when she was one, and that Hugo gets to wear now that he is one.  

It may be true that I ended up heading over to a friend's house to iron on some white felt late last night and stitching a monster hat by firelight, but what is motherhood without some procrastination?  Blackout or not, Halloween only comes once a year.

Happy Halloween!  And maybe I'll pop over here tomorrow to tell you about the candy fairy, because we are hoping she visits our neck of the woods tonight.

Warm and Dry


The storm has passed, and we are just fine.  The kids and I decamped to my parents house on Monday night (one of the many times I'm so thankful to have family nearby), and I'm thankful we did: the winds were strong, and while we were lucky enough to escape any downed trees, a slightly different course of the storm might have been more dangerous.  When we headed back home on Tuesday morning, we were out of power, but a cheery Ben and Selma greeted us at the door and we made the best of the rest of the day.  We learned that not only are roasted hotdogs delicious, but so are roasted meatballs.  Who would have known?  We saw many neighhbors, friends and family over the course of the day and were the beneficiaries of much kindness from those who did not lose power: a generator from Ben's parents to run a space heater for the kids room, a delicious meal and good company to tide us through the evening from friends, and many offers for assistance.  There's something about a storm that really brings people together.

The power switched on this morning and my chilly ears said thank you.  Sending love and prayers to those across the east coast who are still reckoning with this storm's aftermath.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

 :: A little breakfast on the deck and a quiet game of chess (I taught the girls how to move a pawn and a bishop and called it a day, letting them play with the pieces on their own, which they seemed to find much more entertaining anyway).  Looking at the pictures from this weekend, it's hard to believe that a storm is rapidly moving this way along with all sorts of drama.  We have plenty of candles, books, and creativity ready and are prepared to spend the next few days indoors.  No school, work from home, and many prayers that this storm is gentle to us and others on the east coast.  Wishing you and yours safety, too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Three Little Monkeys

They will jump anywhere, these three monkeys of mine.  Bed?  Crib?  Basement?  Dining table?  They travel in a pack.  The biggest one is the ring leader, the middle one the most energetic, and the little one often happy to just lay back and observe (life is very fun with two older sisters, let me tell you).b

Sunday, October 14, 2012

On a Saturday Afternoon

He gets the fire going,
so naturally gets to enjoy a beer from the best seat.
And Hugo gets to be the little helper, bringing sticks and kindling.
This one is in perpetual motion, only occasionally stopping for a jaunt on the swing or hug.
We ladies are more just in it for the leisure.  You know, enjoying an afternoon at the fireside (I guess you could call us freeloaders).
We thought she had outgrown snuggling.  I am so glad we were wrong. 
Even next to the fire, it's only warm enough with a blanket.  We love it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Autumn Transformations

::just in the door from school
::apples being put to good use
::nothing smells as good as applesauce cooking on the stove
::or tastes as good as apples stolen from the pot
::things are starting to look spooooky!
::brownies and milk by candlelight, courtesy of our shorter days
::three little wiggle worms and three books

My, autumn truly is in the air, isn't it?  I'm not one to play favorites, but oh, I do love autumn.  Something about the way that the cool weather makes one turn inwards, right to the center of the home.  This year that cocooning feels especially significant because certain fledglings are making us realize the sacredness of this time together in the nest.

Fall has been full of transitions (school, and preschool, and budding toddlerhood, and did I mention we're getting our basement finished? We've been staying busy!).  We have all been delighting in the new experiences, and at times have felt utterly exhausted.  Walking in the door and collapsing on the bed sort of exhausted.  Receiving a well meaning suggestion from a sibling and bursting into tears sort of exhausted.  Just plain old exhausted.  After all, this is quite a lot to adjust to!

The movement of the seasons reminds me that change can be beautiful and tiring at the same time.   Animals hurriedly stowing away for winter beneath a canopy of crimson.  Farmers gathering an abundance of fall crops before frost sets in.  Changes are coming, that we know from experience.  And it's in our best interest to gracefully roll with it.  And the good news is that beneath all of this change and transformation, there is a stability. 

Over the years, things will change and shift: activities, jobs, schooldays, and friendships. But there's something so special about these families that we've been placed in that give us an opportunity to see the depth and power of love.  And at its best, that is what you will experience in a family: that you are perfectly loved, just as you are.  A love that you can carry with you wherever you go.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkins, Apples, and Many Smiles


Did you know that apple season in Virginia begins in August and lasts for about three weeks?  The fact that this still come as a shock to me explains why we always end up out in the orchards when there are only a couple of sorry apples clinging to the branches.  Remember next year.  August, Adele (but can you really get into apple picking when the pool is still open?  Hrmph).

Thankfully, the end of apple season means the beginning of Pumpkin season, so we still had plenty of gathering to do.  And did you know that Virginia is the most beautiful state?  Beaches, mountains, farmland.  You can try to convince me otherwise, but I will warn you that you will not succeed.  Virginia, my friends.

We headed back east with six pumpkins (four for pie, two for carving), half a bushel of apples (from the farm stand) and a bit of wanderlust satisfied for the weekend.

When we took the picture of the kids up against that barn wall, Hugo liked it so much that he refused to leave.  He just kept running back and proudly pressing his back up against the wall.  That boy is 50% snuggles, 30% cuteness, and 20% mischief based on my mommy approximations.  And of course we adore him for it.

And do you see someone sneaking an apple in the orchard?  Can someone please call the orchard police?

I have gotten so many sweet emails, notes, phone calls, and texts these past weeks.  People have been asking how we are doing, and I am happy to report that we are doing incredibly well.  The first week was shockingly difficult, the second still quite hard but easier, and today we are much more peppy and optimistic.  Of course we will never forget, but we have started to heal.  We have been able to get here by being very open with our grief (we found this book to be helpful in talking to our kids about pregnancy loss: thanks, Irene!), taking every possible moment to count the blessings in our lives, and no doubt by the many prayers that have been offered for us.  I have deep love and compassion for all of the families and women who have gone through this.  I can understand that it often takes a lot of time to deal with such a loss, and I would say, if you're going through this, be gentle with yourself and accept your sadness for what it is, knowing that healing takes time, but gives great comfort when it arrives.