Sunday, December 18, 2016

No hope of catching up...

Close to 3 weeks have passed since I put up a short post with Terah videos noting the many things I had to catch up on: Thanksgiving trip, moving the garden shed, and Kali's duck adventures (which I won't say much on other than the fact that she lost yet another duck to a hawk, but Jason came upon the scene in time for us to at least enjoy a duck soup out of it, and that I was impressed with Kali's ability to navigate these tough parts of raising animals!). Those things all seem like ancient history with more recent adventures to Pump it Up, a Christmas pageant, donut frying and my family Christmas celebration (which officially ended just moments ago). 

Oh where to start! I guess I'll just dive in, because more is on the horizon with a winter carbon party tomorrow and more holiday gatherings over the next two weeks! And I'll just note here that I'm definitely taking the "scrapbooking approach" on this particular post and not a more reflective one. As we wind our way through many celebratory gatherings, I feel a gratitude for the relationships fed in those times and for the community we are nurtured by. I also feel a lot of heaviness right now as I reflect on recent conversations with others around power, privilege, oppression, identity, and trauma. There may be more opportunities for reflecting on those things, as these are clearly not challenges that will be overcome anytime soon and things I need to continually live and wrestle with. As I was debriefing with Jason the other evening, I appreciated his suggestion that maybe a question I can ask others to help me think through is "how can I best contribute to the cause of justice?" We'll leave it at that for today. On to scrapbooking...
As much as I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the diversity of ages and stages under our roof and how to be present to each of our girls in the ways that are most beneficial, I have many moment where my heart does a little flip flop (in a good way) when I see this very sweet trio!

Terah is almost always content if she can find someone to accompany her to the front walk - bubble blowing and chalk drawing are two of her favorite activities in that location.

We enjoyed several days over Thanksgiving at the Benner home place in PA. Highlights for me included a handful of nappy walks in which I was accompanied by different conglomerations of family members. I was grateful for the rich connections and conversations I enjoyed in those time (it's amazing how having a sleeping baby on me enables my full attention to go to the conversation and I can actually think to finish my sentences)!

Terah's highlight was definitely swinging and sliding times! We all enjoyed the annual Sing for your Supper event at Aunt Ruth's, and I felt particularly grateful for the time dedicated to remember Grandma Matson, as I was not able to be present at her memorial service.
Right after returning from our Thanksgiving trip it was time to clean out the garden shed in order to prepare for moving it to a more central location among the gardens. Jason took the lead on this project (like is often the case these days this meant he did more or less all the work associated with the project and I kept all of us fed and kiddos cared for). 

Last look at the site with the shed in place. Future location of a basketball court!

There it goes! Jason was a tad envious of this guy's trailer...There was a reason it cost $200/hour for them to do this job!

Getting it situated in the new spot. It's all loaded up and, from what I'm hearing, working well!
Speaking of gardens, we have been enjoying spinach thinnings. Winter spinach is so sweet and tender. We'll be through it soon and on to the greens in the freezer, but for now enjoying spinach salads!  Jason also harvested the first carrots before mulching them heavily this week. He also brought in some daikon radishes, which are now fermenting with purple cabbage, garlic, carrots and ginger.
Recently, the girls and I had a pretty atypical day. While sorting papers, I had found a few unused summer library reading program coupons. We never use them all, but there was one for a free admission into Pump it Up and one for a hand dipped milkshake from Which Wich. These two were attractive to both girls so I offered to find a time for them to redeem them before they expired. And, of course, when I'm headed to the far ends of Harrisonburg, I want to make the trip "worthwhile." So we headed out together after Terah's morning nap for some fun, and a bunch of errands. I will admit that I wasn't exactly looking forward to the time at Pump it Up, since my only frame of reference for that destination spot was a few birthday parties Kali had gone too that I didn't enjoy very much. My was this different. We more or less had the whole place to ourselves as it was a weekday with school in session. There wasn't a staff person in the room with us until closing time. It wasn't loud and the girls could do their favorite things over and over again. Terah loved it, and I will admit that the big slides even gave me a bit of a rush. One time all four of us went down the slide together and I got a brush burn on my elbow. Alida got one also and we were comparing injuries. By the end of our time, she had forgotten about hers and mine was still smarting. Now, days later, hers is gone and mine is still sore and not all that close to being fully healed. I'm always amazed by little people and how quickly they heal! I was also amazed by our little people in how fun they made a long list of stops. Terah's still not "patient" in the car, but getting better and, while she was very ready for a nap when we got home, she did great and was even thrilled with her straw (minus the hand dipped milkshake). She also enjoys riding in shopping carts, which is the ONLY way to take her around a store if you don't want her pulling off everything on the shelves.

I'm amazed by each of our girls in different ways on different days. The other day I went to Jason and told him how I feel like I'm trying to mother a daughter more intelligent than myself. Kali inspires me many times a day. On this particular day she wanted to send a donation to the Wildlife Center of Virginia. But before sealing up the envelope she wanted to add a note about an error she had seen in a recent publication. The note is pictured here and definitely caused one of those lovely "heart bursting" moments. I have so much to learn from her and am glad that at 13 she is decades ahead of me in her connection with and knowledge of the natural world.

Both our gals enjoyed taking part in Shalom's Christmas pageant this year, as part of the group of animals. They each got to pick an animal and neither Jason nor I had much to do with their costumes (other than affixing Alida's spots on Sunday morning as fast as we could so we could get out the door in time). Kali chose to be a blue jay and Alida wanted to be a snow leopard - I believe that Kali was thinking of Grandpa Myers with her choice and Alida of Grandma Myers who loves snow. I was impressed once again with their creativity and imagination as they pulled together costumes from what we had on hand. I should be sure not to forget to mention that Jason was also in the pageant - one of the most handsome trees I've ever seen. Later in the day we cut our Christmas tree and after Terah woke from her afternoon nap she helped us decorate it (she was not without clothing for the entire time decorating, but she was kind of cute that way)!
This past week was our long anticipated "donut drop in" - a small thank you to those that helped with our pig adventures and a great excuse to make donuts fried in lard! We made a double batch of dough with regular mashed potatoes and a double batch with mashed sweet potatoes - they were not as different as I thought they would be but it seemed most agreed that the ones with sweet potatoes were a bit smoother. There were plenty to go around and they were eaten with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar, and either with hands or no hands off strings. A great combination of fun and deliciousness! But the best part of the evening for both Jason and I was soaking in a gathering with neighbors. Fruit Farm Lane and Keezletown feel like home to us, and spending time with those that also call (or have called) this area home is fulfilling in a way that often feels unique to those types of get togethers. 
Ivy didn't get to enjoy any donuts (first hand anyway), but she added a good dose of cuteness to the evening!
And now to the present: we just said goodbye to my family after a short but sweet time together as a family over the past 24 hours. We enjoyed game playing, ping pong and soccer matches, an Ethiopian dinner, choosing animals to purchase for Heifer Project Int'l, a birthday celebration for my nephew, playing pin the carrot nose on the snowman, watching a slideshow of pictures from past Christmases, writing some silly stories together, reading books that Grandma made for each grandchild, enjoying Terah's antics and making a very small dent in catching up after a long time apart.
I'm not necessarily looking forward to the remainder of today but I'll work on my attitude and make the best of it. It is hard to imagine we won't have a bit of a crash around here, with a variety of factors at play (Terah has a cold which makes her sleep horrible and means her mother is in a rather sleep deprived state; our middle gal has consumed a large portion of her diet in carbs and sugar and we often see the impacts of that; and we've just enjoyed about 10 days with Mom and Dad occupying their in-law quarters and adding so much to our days together here). So we'll see! For now I'll go try to get our bed cleared of laundry for when the opportunity to sleep comes around! 

And to end, I'll share one thing I'm very thankful for that only other lactating mothers are likely to appreciate to the same extent. A few days back I felt a clogged duct starting and was immediately anxious about how that would play out over our weekend of hosting our holiday gathering. I started using hot compresses and trying to encourage Terah to nurse, but she was losing interest as that side was not giving up much milk. Saturday morning I was feeling rather discouraged and was texting a close friend who is also an herbalist. One of her suggestions with shredded raw potatoes - we have those! It was not an hour after I did two rounds of raw potatoes on the clogged side that was tender and hot to touch that it started to loosen up and has been on the right track ever since. I'm so very relieved!

Ok, for those that have no interest in that topic, here's one of my favorite sweet pictures from the last few days. These two are quite the pair. While I am not necessarily in agreement with my dad to "freeze her at this stage," there are numerous sweet moments with this little gal! 

No comments:

Post a Comment