23 November 2013

november's middle | portraits of the boys

so busy these days and for the million photos I seem to take every week, I can barely find one I am satisfied of my three so I have been avoiding posting their weekly portraits. However,  as I am aware that I will never quite be satisfied with anything I do these days I am posting them, none-the-less:

-hard to believe the oldest will be in high school next year.
-I caught my youngest playing with a simple boat he had made in class for the american holiday, Thanksgiving (note the boat's name "The Mayflower").
-and the middle, clutching his drink and trophy during his end of season celebration of flag football.

I can scarcely breathe when I think of December! hope this weekend is treating you well! xo

22 November 2013

friday | fodder+folly

follies of the week:
-creatively constructing excuses to stop my creativity
-mind-numbing, brain-scattering internet hum-drums
-not sticking to the plan
-letting November fly by
-avoiding things both big and small

fodder for the soul:
-my dog curled up on the couch next to me as I write
-waking up to a sweet cat cleaning my face
-holding hands with the youngest
-creativity despite my excuses to do otherwise
-the oldest sharing his experience at the museum of tolerance
-watching my middle work extra hard on the violin

provender for the days ahead:
-a very autumn-like weekend in Los Angeles
-getting things done!
-listening to the wind blow through the trees and rattle the eaves
-finding quiet moments to be still and thankful
This is a friday series called fodder+folly. You are welcome to write along if you want, just leave a comment with your blog address if you decide to write one and I will be sure to come say hello. Would love if you "wrote along!" xxoo

21 November 2013

twenty-one | november writes :: autumn glow

It is 4am here.  I find a quiet joy, here, in the darkness, as I sit upon my imaginary watch tower, looking over the slow rotation of earth and the turning of the seasons.  Right now, at this very moment, a drizzling, gurgling rain descends from the sky and I am grateful for every last drop.

There has been a significant drought here in the Southern California and at times it feels as if every single politician is ignoring it.

Oh scratch that.

It doesn't just feel like that, it is like that. When I head out to the hills and wander through the carved trails, I can't help but gasp at the choked and thirsty plant life. The dust blows in billowing trumpets and seems to clog the air with desperation and grief.  When we traveled up the coast to Morro Bay it was as apparent as ever: the parched hills and the dry grassy fields. There was a part of my soul that jumped for joy when, on our return trip home, we drove through Santa Barbara and things were green again! (though my heart knew it was only for human hands, the watering that they do, which made the houses on the hills surrounded by one of Mother Nature's finest colors.)

So with this rain, I embrace, and am ever grateful for, the cooling tide of autumn. The long lazy haze of earlier sunsets that take deep golden sighs before they dip into the ocean to rest. The nights are longer, stretching their dark, navy-purpled fingers for almost twelve hours a day. There is more time for the earth to soak up the rain, for the plants to rest, shielded in night's cloak from the sting of the burning sun.  I look forward to the soft winter glow as well. Here, in this climate, it blends ever so subtly with autumn before it gives way to spring time.

So I wait here, rising early, listening to the hope that falls from the sky, sipping my coffee and writing. I feel the quiet, content humming of the falling rain, and the radiant autumn glow that will follow.  It is a song full of wishing that sings within me: a pattering sound of hope on the walls of my heart.

excuse the rambling.
 joining in with amanda, write alm, and other fabulous folk
for november-prompt-a-day

20 November 2013

thirteen | november writes :: on my table

 Before I was married, before I ever lay eyes on my husband, before we were bound in matrimony and our lives entwined forever by the babies we made, I knew that a table would be central to the family life I hoped to create someday. In my often tired-of-the-rat-race daydreams, I wistfully imagined a long oak table, a sturdy remnant of a forgotten age, one that smelled of old wood, woven with trains of grain criss-crossed across the top; a farm table, a monastery table, long enough to seat 6 or 12 (or 20).

As I have always loved to cook, coupled with a deep desire to know humanity better, I knew very early on I would need a table to host the armies of folks I imagined traipsing in and out of my house, through summer harvests and breaking bread, through the holidays, sharing pies and jams and turkeys. Something to feed the small troop of boys I knew I would someday have.

Sometimes I imagine that The Table is an actual archetype, never imagined or thought of by Jung, but exists in the dreams of childbearing women across the world: the center, the hearth, the place where all is set aside and all are fed.

Despite my deep dreaming desire for the table of all tables to fill my farmhouse of a home, we instead have a medium-size table sold and bought, years ago, from a big box store. But it does its duty well. It is the place of writing and painting, of babies making messes, of boys older, working hard on thoughts and dreams and work. On any given day it holds several plants, a bowl or two of fruit and a pile of breadcrumbs and small milk-rings from glasses drunk.  And it fits, ever so perfectly, into our tiny urban homestead inside the vast metropolis in which we live.
excuse the rambling.
 joining in with amanda, write alm, and other fabulous folk
for november-prompt-a-day

18 November 2013

eighteen | november writes :: seeking solace

 i seek solace, there in nature, in my cup of coffee, in the dreams of pictures,

reading next to my children, quiet and still as we hide out in stories. 
excuse the rambling. joining in with write alm for november-prompt-a day. xxoo

12 November 2013

ten | november writes :: texture

there is something about the sweet soft smell of a newborn; his wispy hair and milky, creamy-like skin. i always felt that there was nothing quite like it.

for me the scent, the feel of the tiny wisps of hair on the head of a babe was the golden payment, the source of nourishment for my soul, the small counter act against the exhaustion that comes with being the mother of those tiny, fragile, yet ever so fierce, little things.

in those early sleep-deprived days, as i would nurse, i would cradle my baby's head and feel the peach fuzz wisps of hair on his head. and when the wee one would finally fall off the breast into a sleep induced drunken milk stupor, i would bring him up to lay on my chest, his head just under my chin,  and i too would fall asleep with the quiet sounds of his breath, and the soft, silken hair gently touching my face, letting me know that all was well in the world.

now they are all older, and i still kiss their heads, lay my cheek upon their mops of hair.  in these small moments when they allow such a thing, i can feel deep in my heart, that somewhere in there, through all the ways they have grown and are growing, is the tiny newborn that was at once so fierce and so fragile.

09 November 2013

eight | november writes :: find the language

she tries, and she tries and she tires from trying. she is in love with words and stories and is always searching for the right ones, but when she is in the grown-up world they always seem to come out at the wrong time, at the wrong moment.  so she loses herself in her stories and her pictures. she imagines that she is a princess in the woods. with a camera. looking for language to capture what her eyes see.

Someday she will be at the helm of her own ship, expressing her thoughts with concise precision, finding the proper expression for her stories, but for now she is content, playing second fiddle to her dreams, happy with her picture maker in hand and a story book of notes under her arm.

08 November 2013

seven | november writes :: gloaming

The sun sets quickly here in this small valley, tucked under the eaves of the mountains. Daylight doesn't last long. Legend has it that if you go out for a walk at dusk, you may be swallowed up with the sun into the hollows of the mountainside.

At night, safe in his bed, Isaac would wonder about that old saying. He knew it was just a legend, but sometimes as he listened to the wind rattle at the window pane and watched the shadowed tree branches bend outside his window, he wondered if it was true. And as he waited for sleep to close his eyes, he let his mind drift, thinking about where you would go, where you would walk for the remainder of days if you were blotted out, taken in at the gloaming of the setting sun.

excuse the rambling.
 joining in with write alm for november-prompt-a-day. 

07 November 2013

school ready | guest post :: FARM SCHOOL : part two

As promised, part two of Chey's lovely post on her oldest son's school, The Farm School:
The Farm School also places importance on this time of transition, when adolescents become independent contributing members of their community.  A time when they need to make their own mistakes as messy as it may seem.  For example - packing their lunches, picking out weather appropriate clothing, or keeping up with assignments. 

06 November 2013

outdoors in :: autumn, persimmons & regrets

Its persimmon season here. And as the days grow shorter, though no less cold, I try to reconstruct the season of Autumn for the boys here in our home. Our CSA brought us persimmons this week and I find something wonderful about them splayed out on the table next to a pomegranate and a pumpkin meant for pie.

05 November 2013

five | november writes :: autumn falling/tuesday's notes

It is autumn. In the dark of my bedroom, in the deepest part of my sleep, I dream and dream again about about the street of my childhood and the piles of leaves I plowed through in the dying rays of the day. The way the air, crisp and cold met your face when you stepped outside and how the leaves that fell from the trees where but an echo, a lyrical prelude to the snow that would soon fall from the sky.

Fall and Winter always held hands in Colorado, they were bedmates, sharing October, fighting over November as if they were children. Eventually Autumn would bow her head and give way to the gales of Winter's wind and the gallons of snow of December.  However, these two seasons differ in the day to day, they always seemed to love the dance, the exchange that November brought.

In the dark of my bedroom I remember last November as well. The dark wind that echoed down the hallows of my heart. Somewhere in the night, one year ago, my mother's body let go and she passed on. And though I don't wish that she held on longer, I so wish I could have been with her more before she left us.

So in the dark, in this Autumn of falling, I dream about the ways I fall and fail. And I dream about the struggle, the bedfellows that Winter and Fall are. I dream of my childhood and I dream of the childhood of my own boys. And I dream of the days when I will reconcile the Fall and Winter of my soul and let fall, into the passing of dreams my own failures.

And amidst these ashes, there we will find hope, a phoenix rising in glorious song, the sweet cantor bellowing from our soul.
 excuse the rambling.
 joining in with amanda and write alm for november-prompt-a-day. 
tomorrow's prompt is: regret(s) won't you join in?
 (I am also killing two birds with one stone and doubling up for my tuesday's notes)

04 November 2013

school ready| guest post::FARM SCHOOL | part one

I am so thrilled to have Chey from the blog the other side of the pond....and back bringing us a wonderful guest post about the Montessori school her oldest attends. I could only dream of such wonders for my oldest! Reading about this school is the perfect way to start off your week! (this post is so delightful and full of wonderful photos I am splitting it up between this Monday and this Thursday!) 
For the last three years I home schooled our 2 boys while we lived outside of the U.S. (they perviously attended Montessori school in Colorado).  We were very lucky in that they were able to return to Montessori, one in their old school and the oldest in a Montessori school that is K-12.  Our oldest is attending a very unique school that has the only curriculum like it in the country (we really are so lucky) - it is called the Farm School and is for years 12-15.

03 November 2013

three | november writes :: first thing I see

It is early morning and I have yet to open my eyes. I know it is dark outside as the light has not yet knocked on the doors of my eyelids. I keep my eyes shut tight so that I can better listen to the world slowly waking up. I listen to the deep sighs of those sharing the tent with me and as I listen to the wind blow through the trees, whistling slowly through the flaps of my ears, I can tell that each one of my companions are still asleep. For that I am grateful. I slowly open my eyes and the first thing I see is nothing. Just darkness. The sun has not peaked over the tops of the glaciered mountains around me. Though I can feel the sharp sting of the cold air around my face, I know that the earth remains slowly circling the sun as I can feel the heat of our star rising through the ground, torrents of sunbeams that will  cast everything in its golden glow in just a little while. My eyes slowly adjust to the dark, and as they do, I see the faint blue-gray light that first hints of the day to come. I quietly get out out of my sleeping bag and pull on my sweater. While grabbing my boots and other woolens, I ever so softly unzip the tent's door. I wince as the sound of the zipper seems to resound off the walls of our tent, as deep as a loud "hello!"echoes and bounces off a canyon wall. I turn my head to cast a furtive glance at my tent mates. Not one of them stirs. I sigh with relief as I climb out into the dark campsite, with the wind quickly biting at my cheeks and my mouth steaming out plumes of steam.

My feet tentatively feel the cold sharp needles and frosted dirt, and despite the frigid air, there is a part of me that longs to walk barefoot over to the cold campfire. I am briefly frozen in the indecision, then chose to throw logic to the wind that tickles my cheeks. I walk, feet stinging on the cold ground, my arms clumsily filled with my boots and layers of clothes to the fire pit. I sit on one of the logs as I pull on my boots, my hands shaking from the thrill of acting like a child as well as from the bitter cold.  Once dressed, I look up at the sky that will slowly turn a bright blue in just a bit. I can still see Orion's belt, and though the sky is still a deep navy, the last bits of the Milk Way have been swallowed up by the soon to be seen sun. It is her way of whispering that she is almost here, dancing just behind the mountain range.  I don't want more light just yet, I don't want the sun to come up and wake the others. I just want to be here, in the quiet, here sitting, here, with the ache of the cold wood finding its way into my skin.
a bit of fiction. excuse the rambling.
 joining in with amanda and write alm for november-prompt-a-day. 
tomorrow's prompt is: happiness is.....  won't you join in?

02 November 2013

two | november writes :: be present

part one
And all these things, all the ways that tie up my life and entwine me to those boys of mine, all of these things bring with them a weight of being. this weight I keep close like a stone in my pocket, holding my being close to the hearth, smoothed down between my calloused fingers, keeping me here in the waking and the walking.

part two
on being present. 
As a mama, its hard to not drift, your head in the clouds dreaming of restful nights. It is four in the morning. I am awake too early; too early to rise and too early to fall back asleep. I take deep breaths. Our cat lies close by, purring deeply, kneading the covers near my bare skin. There is a comfortable discomfort in this. Her purring and kneading, and all the while, at 4am, I want to escape the thoughts that crowd my mind: Will my middle learn how to read? Will my oldest fair well in school? Do they know I love them with all my might? I think of Maurice Sendak, and of Max, and his mother, and how the Wild Things on the island tell him, "we'll eat you up we love you so!" and I think of Max, how he said, "No!" And I think of my boys, and all things that I love about them and the small stone that sits at the base of my being that weighs me down. I think, "Am I the dark wild thing that loves them so, or am I the place where someone loves them best of all?" I want to be the light, the place where they feel safe, but I know I am also fierce and that maybe somedays they want to be fierce and wild with me, and somedays they want their dinner waiting for them, on the their bedside table, still hot. I think of all of these thoughts that keep me awake at 4am. Forcing me to be present with who I am and who I will no longer be. I think on being present, right here, right now, just for the moment.

part three
I am present. There is nothing so mundane, and joyful, and painful as being present. I was present during the birth of the boys, the way each one was born so different from the next. I was present when they wailed in the night, afraid and cold, away from the arms they know best. I was present when they stubbed their toes, and when they made their first friends; when they tell stories and first sing songs. I have been and am so VERY present.
                      And yet not.
I feel the weight of that stone in my pocket, rubbed smooth between my calloused fingers and I know that I have not always chosen to be present in the way I always need to be. So I close my eyes. It is 4:15 in the morning. My cat purrs and purrs. She climbs onto my side, kneading into my skin and my clothes. Her purr and the sharp nettled sting of her claws lulls me back to sleep. 
                                       for now anyway. for the present moment that is.
linking up with amanda and write alm. excuse the rambling. 

44 of 52 :: portraits of the boys

Oh those boys and their Halloween grins (though you can't see the oldest's face, I am just sure he is smiling as well). 

01 November 2013

one | november writes :: first

first born of a first born. born in a whitewashed blizzard deep in the dark of night. in the heart of december, from the cold paned windows I blew my first breath. there in the first buds of a life not yet lived, the mountains met me and somewhere across the winter white plains, they grabbed my heart. those mountains, purple bones in the setting sun, strung together my first sentence, held me up as i learned to first walk, dried my tears with their blankets of aspen, held my hand when i first felt fear. from them, i learned that there are gifts in this world that can be at once so beautiful and so cruel.  they stamped onto my skin something intangible.  made me into a lover of words, a keeper of memories, a mother of children; a desire to be all these things, melded together, holding together, the shape of this soul of mine.
        i rise at first light. in one hand i hold my coffee, swirling steam of the roasted beans; in my other hand i hold the bucket that fills heavy with these things: the books, the beans, the words, the oils, the camera capture, the boys, my children, my life.
                 the list goes on.
                                     yet, however the rivers run through the mountains of my heart, my children are always first, and i know they always will be. they sit upon the great divide, high above all else; they run their course, ever faster and stronger; and me, running along side of them, just for now; trying to hold onto the the knowledge that, one day, I will not always be their first. those first apron strings that once wrapped them up, will unfold and fly into the wind as a child's first lost balloon.

so i wake each day, walking a path that is a constant unknown, one that is always misshapen, cracked in the crooks of the road from the wheels of our travel and the bare boned love I have for them, that is always first.

linking up with amanda and write alm. excuse the rambling. 

friday | fodder + folly

follies of the week::
-ruminating on things that I can't change
-giving into the desire to crawl back into bed (for all the wrong reasons)
-letting the worries of the night negatively impact my thoughts during the day
-circling around and around and never settling on in
-grasping on too tightly (again)

fodder for the soul::
-writing a bit on something silly (found here)
-receiving a guest post for the school ready series from this lovely lady
(look for it next week! -it is fabulous!!)
-the first of November & semi-fall weather
-working on the oldest's Halloween costume
-a lovely Halloween with my merry men (photos tomorrow)

provender for the days ahead::
-reading aloud Wildwood to the boys
-reading this just for me
-November Prompt-A-Day with WriteAlm
(won't you join too? photography, journaling, sketching
and/or writing. I think there are treats, not tricks, for participating!)
-organizing crafts for the Holidays that will soon be upon us
-intentional quiet time

This is a friday series called fodder+folly. You are welcome to write along if you want, just leave a comment with your blog address if you decide to write one and I will be sure to come say hello. Would love if you "wrote along!"

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