Saturday, December 27, 2008

Autumn Revisited: Theme Mud

There are so many pictures and stories that I didn't get around to this autumn, so I am going to spend some time revisiting them now. Being outside all day today, just two days after Christmas, in 70 degree weather, has me itching to share those recent memories. One of the themes of autumn for us was mud, glorious mud. There were days spent with friends, painting playhouses a muddy brown,...

mud jumping that can't be beat,...

hikes that ended in muddy puddle-jumping bliss,...

and hikes that started with mud pies.
And don't feel too badly about Maxwell being left out of the fun. Although he has tried to join in...
I did make him sit out the mud fun, because I knew he would eat handfulls of it and get it in his eyes. But I did let him have some tastes of sand...

and rocks from time to time.

We love mud. It is good for the skin as well as the soul. My kids have always been drawn to dirt, as I think all kids are. And I for one can't wait for spring so I can get my hands into my garden soil again. I love the smell of soil, fresh, crisp earth, in my hands. I can close my eyes and smell it now. So for us, dirt and mud is a regular, and I'm sure there will be more muddy madness to come, especially this spring. I hope everyone having warm weather today was able to enjoy it, and I will follow this with some pictures of Christmas festivities soon. We are still celebrating, as we won't have Christmas with Adam's family until New Year's day, which means I am off to finish more hand-made presents. Oh, and a happy, happy birthday to my wonderful brother. Here is an original poem written just for you:

Roses are red

Old antlers are white

Your birthday was so nice

You should have flown a kite

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quickly, Quickly!

Quickly, while two children are slumbering and two are on their way to their Nan and Pap's house. Quickly, while quiet can be heard beyond the sound of clothes tumbling in the dryer. Quickly, between knitting and sewing, sewing and knitting, wearing my fingers raw to make this Christmas special. Quickly, while my mind is taking a break from the overwhelming task of keeping house along with making every present given by us this year. Quickly, because even when I'm relaxing, it has to happen quickly. Quickly... I have a story to tell you. It's a story of a little girl who is becoming very big. A little girl who planned our menu for lunch yesterday and sent me off to the store in the morning to get her supplies. She reads off ingredients from her Buddy's No-Cook Cook Book, passed down to us from her Uncle Jesse, telling me what we'll have for lunch and dessert. It's Sailboat Sandwiches and Fresh Fruit-On-A-Stick this day, all modified slightly to incorporate our complex diet restrictions. Sailboat Sandwiches on brown rice bread, with cucumber walls filled with tuna salad (her brother's made with yogurt because he doesn't like mayo) and a celery stick sail.
Fresh Fruit-On-A-Stick, dipped in orange juice and rolled in coconut.
Yummm. This story will continue, when, after the Christmas madness, this little big girl starts to plan the menu for her Happy New Year friends and family party, which will be completely orchestrated by her, Bella the Great, Bella the Glorious Princess, Bella the Bella. My Bella, my girl, my daughter, my tempo, the beat to which I live my life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

One year...

...can do soooo much. I look back on the first pictures of Maxwell, born a chilly December 13th of last year, and am at a loss for words.
Tiny, I know, but I can't find the disc, and these were copied from my Flickr site. These three pics courtesy of my dear friend Megan who photographed Maxwell's birth.
Is that really my baby only one year ago? It is amazing to me what growth happens in the first year of life. Yet, was it really only one year ago that he was born? I know that seems contradictory, but I try to remember what life was like without him, and I can't. From an early age, he has secured his place in our family as the class clown. He feeds off of making his brother and sister laugh, continuing whatever goofiness it is for as long as they will laugh at it. One year ago he was still a mass of flailing, bladder-assaulting arms and head making my stomach have a life of its own. I worried (not much, just a little) that he never seemed to move his legs when he was busy kneading my organs with his crazy hands. Then he was born to us in our bathroom, after 7 hours of labor in my bathtub, a flailing, wailing, slippery bundle of perfect boy. He had his Papa's cowlick, his Pap's dimple chin, and a head full of soft, silky down.
He pulled his knees up under him, curled himself up and didn't move his legs unless he had to. Then I no longer worried about those legs - they could move, he just didn't WANT to move them. He nursed like a hungry pup, all whines, grunts and gulps, slept like a champ and mellowed me out, making me a more tolerant and patient mother.
I know that over the months he slowly changed. I remember noticing it as it happened. But it happened so subtly that it ran away from me, tricked me into thinking the change was slight. Now I look at my son, who will turn one in 4 days, and I can't believe my eyes. He wakes from his naps yelling "MAMA!" at the top of his lungs. He happily sits on the potty in the morning and after meals and naps, rarely making me change a dirty diaper. He says Bella, plain as day, Papa, Pap, Blanky, DogDog, Woof, CatCat, Gigi, Kane, Fishy and tries his hardest at Water. He walks everywhere, stumbles, falls, picks himself up and walks some more. No crawling any more for this big boy. He spends 15 minutes straight trying to get a lid on the container it fits on.
He clears every reachable surface with one swift sweep of the hand. He loves the outdoors, and gets very angry when I walk outside with him and do NOT put him down on the ground. He loves animals, especially dogs, more than I can express.He is a joy, a treasure, and I can't believe that we ever lived without him. From the moment he was two cells, his DNA ensured that he would be human, and that no other individual would ever be the same as him. I thank God for sending his preciousness into our lives, and I can't wait to see what the following years bring for him. He truely is our blessing. Happy first year, my precious Maxwell, may your following years bring you faith, love, humility, and compasion. Mama loves you.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Story of a Turtle

I was at my parents' house at the end of October when I got a call from Adam, on the road for business. "I have a turtle in my car," he says. Knowing that I have my husband well educated in the plight of the box turtle to survive the human race, I immediately asked what was wrong with the turtle. He informed me that he had stopped to move the turtle across the road (oh, how I love my husband), but when he picked it up he noticed blood.
He (and what a big, beautiful HE he was - feast your eyes on that super vibrant orange!) didn't seem to be injured badly, but with cold weather approaching and getting details over the phone, we decided it best for the turtle to come home with Adam, an hour and a half from his home, to get assessed properly. I have my connections, and if he were in need of some rehab he would go to my wonderful, dear friend Julie Zickefoose, or my equally wonderful, dear college professor Dave McShaffrey for help. When I got home, I assessed his injuries to find that he had been nicked by a tire on the front of his shell, which caused a break between the gular scutes on the plastron, or bottom of the shell. He had a nice fat tail, which is a good thing for turtles, bright eyes, and was making it very clear that he wanted to be digging in the ground for the winter! I cleaned him up and called Julie to ask if he could make his home on her property. Should we hibernate him? Dig him in? Take him back? We talked it over and arranged a time for him to go to her. We took a second to take some good pictures of him, then packed him up for the trip to meet Julie.
Max is my animal baby, and was completely enthralled with this thing in the box. Yeah, Turtle! Mama, I want to chew on the turtle! Can I, please?!
Julie contacted a turtle rehab expert that she knows to get specific instructions on digging him in for winter. That is where our plans for Mr. Turtle got a little crazy. The rehab expert made it very clear to us that he really needed to go back to where he was found. You see, turtles are very dependent on their home habitat site, and if he were to dig himself out on a warm day in mid-November, he would have no idea where he was and would most likely die not being able to find his normal hibernarium spots. So, back to our house Mr. Turtle came, and one fine Sunday we made the hour and a half trip BACK to his point of "rescue." Eih, this turtle was SO ready to go home. It was due to be a warmer night, and it was very clear that he was NOT going to stay in if I dug his hibernarium for him, so we placed him on the hillside in the direction he was heading when Adam found him and said our good-byes. And he scrambled away as fast as he could move. Fairwell, beautiful Papa Turtle. Go forth, heal, hibernate and live another year. And PLEASE wake up next spring ready to find yourself a Mama Turtle to make some babies with, because we need more of you in this world!

And to all reading this, the next time you pass that turtle on the highway, PLEASE consider stopping and offering him safe passage across the road, and NEVER stick him in the car and bring him home. Leave him in his home, where he belongs, so he can make baby turtles and our next generation can know what a box turtle is by seeing one somewhere other than on the pages of a book.