Sunday, May 24, 2009

a word in edgewise

At times it seems as if I inhabit two worlds, or rather many different worlds, simultaneously. There's the world of our family sleep over date with some of our favorite people in the world. We met two families at the now oh so incredible art and fresh market, under the bridge of all places, on the north bank of the St. John's River for run around and get out of the house time after almost a full week of rain rain rain. And many many many children inside for many many hours of many many days, straight. Oh glorious break in the rain, we thank you. Bricked in paths; grassy, landscaped parts; a stage with the river as a backdrop; room to run and jump and hide and seek; what more could three mamas, one partner, and six children ask?
Then home for creative free play with the tree house, silks, and music whilst the mamas knitted or cooked or kneaded or shopped or tended. Goat cheese so good Shazza said it was "cheese-gastic" or maybe she said she had a "cheese-gasm", I don't remember which, with bits of pineapple, grape, strawberry, basil or sun dried tomato for snacking upon during the rising of the pizza dough. Then a late dinner, tired children, yummy dessert, baths, stories and bedtime. Two mamas up talking until late in the evening, some switching of beds and comforting of little ones, and blessed sleep. It's a shame small children sometimes do not understand the joy of leisurely sleeping until 9am, or at least 8. Up and more stories, a pear and apple dutch oven pancake large enough for a legion, cafe con leche, sunlight and giggling children. Bliss. Absolute bliss I tell you. But I don't live there.

There is also the what-is-my-major-malfunction-that-I-cannot-keep-my-house-clean world, not my favorite. Saturday, before we left to meet our peeps, I wanted to white tornado the house, a la Jeanna, my sister the speed cleaner. Not so much. I'm just slow, and, well that is it. My goal was to have a (relatively) clean house to come home to after I picked Ethan up from the airport on Sunday, sans the five, yes five, loads of clean unfolded laundry that is "curing" (as Ethan says) and the oh... four or five more on the laundry room floor. I pretty much reached that goal, with much blood sweat and tears, on my part. Except of course for the laundry, I got about two loads put away and two off the floor. I don't model appropriate "pick-up-your-things-as-you-go" behavior to my children very well so why am I surprised that they have not yet honed that skill? Some mornings it takes me hours to get the kitchen cleaned, in between having coffee, feeding children, and getting the day started. Magdalena volunteered to do the kitchen and bathroom floors, sweep and mop, if I helped her fold her cloths. Sounded like a great deal to me, and she did a bang-up job to boot! That's one good thing. Anyway, so there's that world.

Then there's the world of me the AP group leader, a fairly well put-together mom who has strong values and is grounded in the world of attachment parenting; a mama who acts as a resource for parents; a mama who honestly shares her experiences in the world of parenting and supports other mamas and papas in finding their true north in responsive, non-violent parenting.

Another is the world of my family, me as daughter, sister, sister-in-law, step-daughter, cousin, niece. That world is what brought me to Florida, that is the world that has old baggage, new baggage, familiarity that is absolute comfort, surprising revelations, relationships that I have been in for 43 years, 18 years, almost four years, two years, and about six months. It is a world of deep, rich and abiding love. It is a world of imminent mortality because we are not so young, right, especially mum. It is a world of little regret, abundant forgiveness, and budding possibility that holds much of my heart in a constant embrace. I have a long and storied history of ambivalence about my family - they are the best family in the world; I want to fix and control them; I can't live without them; they make me crazy; ok, let's move back to the dessert; I will never leave them. Sigh.

My family, my husband, my children. That world alone can be as simple or complex as I make it, but it in itself has layers upon layers, worlds within worlds. I'm mama, lover, homemaker, wife, care-giver, teacher, creative force, heart of the family. Listen, I'm not saying it's all me, nope, not at all. We are each equally contributors to this family. But, we do have an old-school traditional marriage, me and my man, and it works for us. His AOR is work outside the home, the yard, and the maintenance of our fleet. haha. Mine is inside the home. The children are our AOR, but I'm the primary, so that is just the way it breaks down. This mama is the heart of the home, and I fall short and excel every day.

There's my homeschooling world, my social world, my roadtrip fetish that must be honored, little worlds of different circles of friends, my fellowship/spiritual community world.

They all exist, simultaneously, wrapped in and around each other, eeking out all over the place, connected, inter-connected, compartmentalized, just like life. Worlds within worlds, layers upon layers. I move through them and in them switching hats, picking up habits and sayings and behaviors, adapting, embracing, rejecting, detaching, enmeshing, shedding skin that doesn't fit, getting rigid here, more flexible there, keeping time by the beating of our hearts, pumping love in, pumping love out.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

my life as it stands, or, 40 photos and some words

How does one caption an entry that covers visits from out of town friends, a four mile hike on Talbot Island with the children, my brother's arrival from Germany (if you don't know about Tommy, you can read about him here: ), Easter,my mom's wedding...that's right, I said my mom's wedding. Freeeaaaaakkkyyyyyy, I know.
On to the life at hand. The entry is mostly backwards because I couldn't get the photos to do what I normally do to get them in order, and it's so long anyway that really, does it matter?

March 28
The tail end of the hike on Talbot Island. At this point the children were pretty cold and totally worn out, and Augustus and Frida make it look so sweet.
Magdalena and I taking a break, right when we got to the beach, after about three hours of hiking, before the children all got wet and naked. The post is on the very bottom of the blog, and I could not for the life of me get these photos down there.
April 26
Tommy's Birthday!
The day after the wedding, I was a bit on the groggy side. I woke up at 5:30am the day of the wedding, waaaaayyy to excited to sleep, and we stayed up late dancing and smoking cigars and celebrating, so Sunday I was a bit slow. But there was more to celebrate! Tommy's birthday, another cake to bake - a sunshine and oranges cake, I had 20 yolks just begging to be used in a cake, so this is the cake you bake after you make a white cake. And while the presentation may not have been perfect (I didn't know I needed three small cake pans, so what if one layer was square.) the cake was pretty darn yummy. Also on that day, Ethan's mama and her husband, Fran and John arrived. It was all rather perfect and lovely, sitting out on the Houston's porch, oaks arching overhead, looking out at the river. Really, a lovely ending to a humongous weekend.

April 25
The Wedding
I must say, this is one of my favorite photos, my mom looks so great! She looks so happy, she just got married, and she's celebrating with our family.
Maybe if I had been posting all along, like a real blogger, I would tell you the story of Emmett, but here? On the day of the wedding? Isn't this post long enough? Suffice it to say that we prayed that my mom would fall in love again, and she did. Head over heals. Like a teenager she was! And that, in itself, is a good thing.
Dance my brother! Dance my sister!

The Cake. Baked my first three tier wedding cake. It was a smashing success. Delicious and gorgeous. 'Nuff said.
Some of the family members, together with the bride and groom. I finally realized the day of the wedding that Emmett was going to officially be my step-father. How bizzar-o! I was a bit obnoxious about it all, I think I was in shock. I kept saying things to whoever was around, Hey, have you met my step-brother Patrick? or the same for his brother, Emmett, and the same again for Emmet that married my mom. There are actually five of them, three of them living. The youngest is the the fifth, and when referencing him in conversation, some just say "five", it helps with the confusion.
Going to chapel and we're ...

April 21
Nick and Tommy headed off to the Jacksonville Beach pier at about 5:30 in the morning to get some fishing in with the locals. One of Tommy's favorite things on the planet are pelicans, so imagine his joy when they got this close to one! Nick shot a video of Tommy feeding him. Those are some crazy birds.

April 20
Brothers golfing. Can I just say how much I love to use the plural of "brother", "brothers"? I have brothers. I mean, can you believe that I have brothers? One day Anthony brought Tommy over to my house and I was on the phone to someone and I said, well, I have to go, my brothers are coming over. Simple as you like, like, yeah, ya know I have brothersssssssssssss. Wow, it still boggles my mind. And that I have nieces and nephews. That are grown ups. That have children. Ok, that, well, that's just weird. But brothers, now that's something I can sink my teeth into.
Easter Sunday
Mom and her new man, now husband but then not quite, Emmett.

Easter and we gather.

March 30
Tommy and Luni arrive! I know, you've seen photos of them and read stories, but this is our first day on the beach together and it was a day of great joy and feasting!

April 26
The day after the wedding, while we were at Jeanna's for Tommy's bd party, Augustus just pooped out. And you know I cannot resist a sleeping photo of him, nope, just can't do it. Wouldn't be prudent. And who knew he would be Max again, in April?
April 19-24
Snowbirds unite! Our darling visitors from Vermont picked a perfect time to visit, not a cold snap or a cloud in site. Pictured below with Augustus is Redmond, a heavenly gorgeous 18-year-old who I used to nanny for when she was 2 1/2. Uhhh, yeah, right. Anyhoo, hopefully she'll pick JU as her school of choice and we will get to adopt her as our own. At least during the academic year. As you can see, Augustus is smitten, as was Magdalena, as was Frida. Who wouldn't be?

All in the family out at my favorite fish shack, the real name of which I can never remember.
Augustus as just a head.

Augustus loves to get buried in the sand, and Nick had a unique was of accomplishing it. Usually, we just lay him down and pile a bunch of sand up and over him, packing in on, and he'll stay buried for an unusually long time, he strangely loves it. Nick digs a hole, so the effect is straight from Jeremiah Johnson, and just as disturbing.

Magdalena, right before she busts out of the sand like super girl!
Pj telling stories to Magdalena and Augustus, and possibly eating a piece of coral.

Tommy and Luni spent a day with us, doing our Friday library gig. We spent the afternoon after the library in Friendship Park. Isn't that the best name for a park? And it is lovely, right there on the St. John's.

March 28
(the beginning of the post is on the bottom)
A bit more than halfway through the hike, and about three hours into it, we hit the beach and naked children ruled the day.

a perfect perch, and a funny face from Augustus
Our first snack break, less than a mile into the four mile hike.
This was at the very beginning of the hike, before we realized that with a toddler, two two-year-olds, a three-year-old, and a five-year-old, we were just going to have to Make Time, and not dawdle over interesting or educational stuff from our 32 week pregnant park ranger guide.
Just because.
Don't you have photos of when you were a child, in the bathtub with your siblings or cousins, doing this exact same thing? I do. My mom used to keep one taped to the inside of an often used cabinet in the kitchen of the house I grew up in. Keeps ya humble.

March 20-23
During the big roadtrip, Ethan would tell me, you're on lockdown for '09. And after 40 days and 7000 miles, could you blame him? Well, but then there's family, and graduations, and a four day weekend up to GA doncha know. Of course I snuck a visit with Lorie Jean and family in there, which was stellar as always. We got to attend five-year-old Haper's birthday party at Leapin' Lizards, and if you can imagine a warehouse filled with those blow-up bouncy houses and slides, then you can imagine Leapin' Lizards. And now imagine it with cake. And juice boxes. Let 'er rip baby! Of course my sweet Augustus got stuck at the top of a rather large, curvy slide and while I rescued him Magdalena manned the ladder with a full body check to anyone who tried to sneak past, saying, MY MOM IS GETTING MY BROTHER, HE'S SCREAMING, NOBODY GOES UP. She's loyal, that one, all big sister.
Sweet Ouni, named such by Magdalena who at almost two years old could not say "Courtney", graduated to become a full-fledged hair dresser, so we had a classic family party at her folks house. We drove out to see Zach's horses, where he keeps his horse and helps run the ranch. Nothing is as soft as a horse's velvet-y nose, and nothing is as sweet as colt breath.
a perfect Georgia day, a beautiful family, and love love love

March 1-6, 2009
First week in March and my dear friends come to visit sunny Florida from pretty darn cold and snowy and rainy North Carolina and but wouldn't you know, it was freezing while they were here. Ok, maybe not "freezing" by some peoples standards who live in Butte, but freezing for us and especially for the campers out at Hanna Park. But ya know, things have a funny way of working out. After two nights of being comfortable only fully dressed under layers of blankets, unable to get out of bed for the cold, Mark, Jessica, Ben and Maiya made the trip into town to hang out at our house, be warm, and play. We spent the day cooking, talking, and being warm. Warm enough for them to stay the night with us so they could be comfortable and well, ya know, clean. (showering in park showers in 45 degree weather is nobod'y's idea of fun, at least, nobody I know) I always have adored slumber parties.
A wonderful thing happens when there are eight people hanging out inside a nine hundred square foot house, you tend to get close, physically, metaphorically, emotionally. The cold snap gave me a rare and sweet gift, that of love and support for my darling LaShell's, and the gift of 24 hours together in a house with an entire family. It's not something we plan, but it is something we cherish.
hijinks ensue... Yoda, reincarnated as Maiya, the butterfly mentalist. Forward this photo to 10 people NOW and wait and see what happens!

A warm day inside Casita Rosa, and art abounds