Springtime

I've been thinking a lot about tradition, about my own cultural heritage, and what I can carry forth with me and pass on to my children. How can we thread together a story of where we came from? Many of us in America have recent ancestors who sailed across seas to start new lives in a new land. Those who don't had their cultural traditions severely disrupted in other ways. I feel called to bring tradition to my family, to bring alive stories that have been told for countless generations, but my relationship to the religion and culture of my ancestors is shaky, and my knowledge limited.

We ushered in spring this year with an egg hunt and meal with friends and family. Next week we're hosting a May Day gathering for a group of homeschool friends. These gestures of gratitude and celebration connect us to our landscapes and our loved ones.

Then again, spring comes whether or not we mark the occasion. Perhaps our path forward is obvious. Nature is the anchor and the teacher, where we came from and who we are.

Wild and Free

We are only just beginning to understand the beauty of living in this new place. The girls spend all day outside. We are learning about wild edibles and have foraged chickweed, violet, and onion grass, among other things. Sheldon has been digging out a bed for herbs on the hill behind the house. A play structure was just delivered on Friday and the kids spent hours swinging and climbing all over it this afternoon. I took off my shoes and lied down on the grass, only opening my eye a sliver if it had been a few moments since I had heard a child squeal. (That hardly ever happens.) Sheldon and I talked about where the chicken coop and vegetable garden will go. Wouldn't it be nice to have them right near the play structure and fields where the children play? This evening before dinner, the girls dressed themselves in silks and ran around outside. I followed them with my camera and could hardly believe that this is my life and these are my children.

I've read this article before, On the Wildness of Children, but read it again today at the recommendation of a friend. It was just as beautiful and true as the first time. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded why we live the way we do.

Somewhere New

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We moved! To a new home in the country! Life is cozy and beautiful and fresh. The day we moved, I posted these words on Instagram:

We fell in love, made a home, and became a family in Fell's Point. We laughed, we struggled, we dreamed, we argued, and above all, we stuck together in Fell's Point. We showed each other what we're made of—equal parts love and grit. We experienced a sense of community we'll carry with us forever. Fell's Point will always be where it all began. But tonight, after almost 12 years, we'll be tucking our children into different beds in a different house in a different place. We'll always love you, magical little town on the water and all the beautiful souls who live there. Here's to the next chapter. Here's to doing it together. Always together.

I haven't posted here in a while, but I feel called to write in a longer format again. I'm not sure if that will be here or somewhere new. So much has changed since I started this little, once active, space. The truth is, I've changed most of all. I don't feel quite as young and new as I did when I started writing here almost 8 years ago now. I feel experienced and confident in our path, even when I stumble. I don't always have the courage to share my words and thoughts these days, because they aren't as simple as they one were. Years ago, I wrote about babies and crafting and being a new mama, because that's who I was! But as I find my ideas and lifestyle diverging more from what is mainstream and expected, I find myself keeping my thoughts to myself more often, especially online. Strong statements, whether through words or actions, inevitably alienate some people. I am working on living and sharing ideas with kindness and openness, without fear. I'm guessing that will be a lifelong process.

But for now, a few pictures will do, some taken on Fiona's 8th birthday!

Fiona is sitting on a big, beloved old rock in our new yard here. The kids named her Rock-a-Me!

Here we are painting in our new homeschool classroom. I absolutely love this space, and feel a sense of calm each morning we spend here. I've recommitted to our Waldorf Curriculum and its been wonderful to have some structure and focus again after the upheaval of moving and the holidays.

One of the best things about our new home is it's proximity to the NCR Trail. It's just a few steps from our front door! We have foraged many wild edibles here and waded in the small river.

Living in a home with clean, natural spaces right outside our door has been huge for us. I look forward to settling in and making the most of this new life.

Thanks for stopping by!

A Season for Healing

I've been quiet for the last few weeks, both here and on social media. I've stepped away from Facebook and Instagram for the time being. Some health issues have revealed themselves in my family and I've been so worried, it seems I only have energy to focus on support and healing. This all sounds cryptic and dark, when the reality is that if we ran into each other at the coffee shop or the playground, I'd explain it all to you quite simply and you'd see that we really are happy and healthy. I just want so desperately for it to stay that way. I find when there is even the smallest threat to my children's health or happiness or future, it brings my priorities into very clear focus. There are very few things that both matter to me and are within my power to change. I am going to live in that space for now. 

I do plan to keep posting here. Looking through the archives has reminded me how beautiful it is to look back at old posts and be transported to a different time. Childhood is so fleeting, as is life.

a birthday picnic, some reflections, and a dream

I turn thirty-three years old tomorrow. Thirty-three? That doesn't seem right. It's funny how we construct identities for ourselves. Identities that have to do with age are especially foolish. Time marches on, we all know this. But somehow I have, for the last seven years, identified as a young mom. Partly because Sheldon is 16 years older than me and partly because when I had Fiona at 25, I was the first of my close friends to start a family. But thirty-three is solidly planted in the thirties, and the thirties are solidly planted in the middle of life, and one stepson and three daughters in, I am solidly planted in parenthood. I am here and this is the life I've made for myself. Many of my biggest decisions–who to marry, how many children to have-have been made. This feels good, but also different. All these years, I have somehow continued to feel new to the world, but I don't feel new anymore. I feel capable and experienced and beaten and bruised and wise and aware and very much of this world.

But at thirty-three, there are still thousands of choices left to make and dreams to be had. After eleven years in our beloved Fell's Point with Sheldon and fifteen years total in the city, we are moving back to the woods and fireflies and open spaces of my childhood. We haven't found the perfect home yet, but we will, and it will have trees to climb and a little creek and a rope swing. It will have a kitchen window overlooking a garden and a few chickens. The next phase of our lives will be spent building our own homestead, trying to live a more sustainable life, and rediscovering our place in the natural world. I'm guessing I'll feel new again in no time.

Thanks to my Mama for the birthday picnic!

A New Beginning

A new homeschooling year has begun, and with it, a resurgence in my desire to align my goals with my actions, my knowledge and ideas with my lifestyle. I haven't posted much here in years. In that time, I have turned inward. I have done a lot of work on myself and made quiet, sometimes winding, incremental changes in the way our family lives, eats, moves, and learns. We have come a long way, and have a long way to go. I'd like to return to this space to write again about our journey, both to share knowledge and to stay inspired. Where should I begin?

It seems there is so much to say and so many gaps to fill, so let's start with something simple: Our homeschool schedule for Fall! Every homeschooling parent will tell you about the huge expenditure of mental energy that goes into creating the year's schedule. What classes to take where, what gatherings to attend and with whom, when to simply stay home... It's a 15,000 piece puzzle that takes an exorbitant amount of time and thought to fit together. This is what I came up with, with each day having a morning and afternoon focus:

Monday: Life & Lessons with Mama :: Homeschool Friends Gathering
Tuesday: Life & Lessons with Mama :: Nature School at Irvine
Wednesday: Life & Lessons with Mama :: Speech Lessons
Thursday: Life & Lessons with Mama :: Nature School at Irvine
Friday: Life & Lessons with Mimi & Granddad :: Afternoon at Home
Saturday: Gymnastics :: Life & Lessons with Daddy
Sunday: Life & Lessons with Mimi & Granddad :: Family Adventure

I hope we've found a good balance between academic lessons, nature time, quiet time, family and friend time, movement time, etc. Time will tell! I hope to break down each component of our rhythm and talk about some overarching philosophies in future posts. I hope you'll follow along!

So that's it for today. Thanks for being here!

Grateful

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I could easily spend the rest of the evening (or the rest of my life, really) finding the right words to express the gratitude in my heart—for a present, supportive and loving family, for nourishing food on our table, for the gift of spending every hour of my life with people I love—but I am short on time in the most beautiful way I can imagine. I have a baby downstairs who needs nursing, children who need feeding, and a home that needs tending, so a simple Thank You will have to do. A thousand times, Thank You.

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I hope you all had a peaceful Thanksgiving with the ones you love.

It's Greta!

Oh, hello there! It's been a while. Quite a lot has happened since the last time I posted. First, let me introduce you to my beautiful baby daughter, Greta Rose! (Though, I'm betting many of you have met her over on Instagram already!) She is a happy, smiley little thing and we are all enjoying getting to know her. There is nothing like a brand new baby, is there? So cozy and sweet. I just love her.

Shortly after welcoming Greta into our not-so-little-anymore family, we began another new chapter. We started homeschooling this Fall and the girl gang (yes, I have a gang of them now) and I have spent most of our days outside, which has been wonderful. We're doing 'yoga' here... ;)

Thanks for checking in, friends! Wishing you a peaceful week.