Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Birthday celebrations, new experiences, fall beauty and changes at Tangly Woods...

A follow up newsflash: it is NOT raining and our girls are at their first official soccer practice. The season is underway...finally! And they are at soccer with just Terah and Jason. I am now home from work and looking forward to attempting to knock out this blog post before my napless almost 3 year old arrives home and demands my undivided attention. It seems that napless is becoming a more common state by the day so we'll enjoy those evenings where she is well rested but not expect them to come around as often as we might all like! There's no in between with her. She either doesn't nap or takes a 3-4 hour nap and sometimes has to be woken!

So back to this past weekend. It was a full and special one in many ways! My 40th birthday dawned with hot drinks with Jason and reading birthday greetings compiled by a close friends from friends and family near and far. So I started the day feeling loved and appreciated! A walk with another close friend (and Terah) was followed by omelets for breakfast made by Jason!
I also loved watching how the day started and then changed so drastically in a few hours. Here are three photos I took in about an hour's time that morning of our yard and the mountain:
It was around breakfast when the gifts and cards from Kali started coming my way. That girl blew me away! Over the course of my birthday, I received from Kali alone four birthday cards (one for each decade) that I will cherish FOREVER, organic fair trade yarn for knitting dishcloths, a fair trade dark chocolate bar, crystallized ginger, and two sets of coupons (4 each). She was so cute with the 40 theme, making all my cards 40 square inches with the last one being 1 x 40. She so clearly wanted this to be a special year for me and her words of love for me and of appreciation for the work I put into making others' birthdays special made all that work over the years feel 100% worth it.

Alida and Terah have some developmental milestones to hit yet where they can be more aware of how to make other people feel special and it is a bit of a shift for a 2 and 7 year old to remove themselves from the center of the universe. Those challenges aside, they added their own touches to the day, most notably with Terah singing, "Happy birthday dear Mommy, Happy birthday to Janelle" and their dance shows thought up to Alida, which turned into a family dance party. I looked over to see the sweetest moment happening between Terah and Alida as they prepared and happened to have my camera in hand. Score!

I was not able to avoid an afternoon office work stint while Terah napped but that was ok. I knew the following day was going to be a day off entirely... In the evening we got to celebrate Ivy's 2nd birthday with her and then came home and watched Akeelah and the Bee (which I had seen a number of times, which is my favorite way to watch a movie - no suspense left!). I still love that movie! It felt like a good end to the birthday with some good reminders thrown in there like this one from Our Greatest Fear by Marianne Williamson: "And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

On Saturday, Jason turned 42 and we spent the day at the Mountain Run Jam in Sedalia, VA - what a gorgeous place! Jason had met the organizers of the Jam 2 years in a row at the VABF conference and this year they invited him to do a workshop. Initially I was very ready to "wet blanket" the idea of us driving 2 hours on my birthday to camp all weekend with 3 kids, meaning I'd mostly like be on childcare while Jason networked. But I find that if I pause and allow my brain to shift into creative thinking mode, I can often come up with some good alternative ideas. This time was no exception and we found ourselves traveling to the Jam with good friends and NO kids, thanks to Emily gifting us childcare for the day for our bdays!!

I will not linger on the note that both to and fro we spent more time on the road than necessary - on the way there WAY MORE time! We got to talking, we didn't read the google map closely, and I'm not my dad who can sniff out about any destination even without directions. Therefore, we took a very circuitous route. But we were with good friends and their presence de-escalated (somewhat) the tension for me and Jason! I do actually really wish there was some easy "chill pill" that I could keep a ready supply of handy with me at all times!! Overall the day was a success - good conversations, good food, good connections, good workshop... It was also a VERY dog-friendly event, so I found myself very grateful I didn't have 2 kiddos hanging on me all day!

Home late on Saturday and up Sunday with more adventures in store for us! The girls and I headed to the Staunton train station in the afternoon to pick up Sara, who had taken the train cross country from Washington to apprentice at Tangly Woods this month. Some time ago I got a "cold email" from her noting that she had read something Jason had published in The Sun magazine, googled his name, found our blog, had been reading it off and on for a few years and was interested in knowing if we ever had folks come and apprentice with us. The short answer is that no we have not. But there's always a first right? I chuckled as I replied noting that she knew a lot more about us than us about her, but through email and zoom and hearing from folks that have worked with her closely, we mutually determined it sounded like a good fit! There were a few hiccups to the pick up due to Staunton swelling in number by over 10,000 for a Harry Potter event, leading to ALL the roads being blocked off including the ones that went to the train station. So the girls and I left our car at a convenience store and walked to the train station. Thankfully Sara was a light packer and due to our tardiness she even got to see a marriage proposal happen before her eyes before we walked back to the car and headed home.

We are looking forward to our next few weeks together. I anticipate it being be a positive exchange and good learning experience all around! I would say of our girls, Alida would most like to steal her to "apprentice" with her in game playing.

I'm really looking forward to being able to turn my attention a bit more to the homestead in the coming days. It's been a really full (ok, also stressful) work week that is wanting to take all my surplus hours and more! But I'm hoping the next few days at home may lend themselves to Jason and I getting a chance to get our heads around the fall harvests and cover cropping. It feels like all the rain and the warm weather now has me feeling a bit disoriented about the time of year. The "farewell summer" here is in full bloom right now and is reminding me that we have indeed said goodbye to summer even if today felt rather summer-like.

I'll end with a few other favorites from recent days. The monarchs this year...Wow! And our little corn picker. She gets a Wow too! She'll be 3 one week from tomorrow - ready or not!

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