Monthly Archives: October 2010

Today’s gratitude list…

Today I’m grateful for…

1. This burst of unusual color in my yard. I have a crush on orange and pink bougainvillea.

2. Painting pumpkins! Which focuses my 3 year old for a good chunk of time AND we’ll get to carve the same pumpkin later this week.

3. We have clean running water. And a cozy warm home. And all that goes with that.

4. For photography. And for yoga. And for tea. And for the sanity check that any of these can bring me.

5. Meyer lemons on my teeny tiny dwarf lemon “tree”. (it comes up to my knee)

5. Halloween!

And lots more, like the stormy skies, the zinnias from farmers market, my husband cooking an incredible dinner, our good health, amazing friends, and my parents coming to visit this week.

Free range camping kids: AKA 3 moms, 5 kids and a campsite

Okay, this post is about 4 weeks late. But better late than never, right?

In early September Anja and I went camping with two other moms and their kids. We called it the 3 moms, 5 kids camping trip. And it was spectacular. Truly one of our best camping trips ever. Sharing the meals, sharing the kid coverage, and an ideal gang of kids in which to explore and play. Ages 3-7. And all sweet, considerate and intelligent kids.

Additionally, we lucked out with a natural sliding board IN our campsite. An ancient tipped redwood stump, smoothed by years of kid butts sliding down it, was the perfect play thing for the kids. They ran, biked, climbed, and on rare occasions sat down to draw or play with toy figures.

My biggest lesson of the weekend was a practice of free ranging the kids. We were at Memorial Park Campground, in San Mateo, only an hour from home. We were deep in the redwoods and felt miles away from it all, including being off the grid (iphone wise). It was the weekend after Labor Day, and although there were people around, it was a relatively quite campground (save for our posse of kids whooping it up).

Our kids would bike the loop of the campground together. Circling around our “block.” A few of the younger kids were on balance bikes, the older kids were on bicycles. And at first, they went as a group. But as the weekend wore on, there were times when some wanted to go and others didn’t. At one point Anja wanted to go by herself. (Brace yourself fellow parents and please reserve any judgement.) I paused for a moment, asked her what she would do if she saw a car on the “road” and after receiving the exact answer I was looking for, said yes. I allowed my 3.5 year old to go do the loop by herself. <gulp> I felt my heart strings tug as I watched her excitedly and confidently roll away from our campsite.

She returned full of pride and thrilled at the rush of independence and asked to do it again. After her second loop she came back, dropped her balance bike and joined the other kids in whatever game they were current up to. And something big had changed. For me and for Anja.  I’m still a little rocked, in a very positive way, by this experience.

And now, a few of my favorites from the weekend:

Julian (6) & Annapurna(5) on top, and Anja(3), Adrian(3) & Kenyon(7) stuffed into the top shelf of the raccoon pantry (amazingly).

Brothers

Buddies

Siblings

Stunning blue eyes, every single one of them.

The gang, on our last day. A little dirty…

and a lot silly.

Baking, 3 year old style.

Anja’s been really into cooking lately. She’s been enjoying hopping up on a chair and helping with whatever’s going on. Baking is a favorite project, for obvious reasons, the reward at the end is always delicious. One thing I love about cooking with her is that it encourages me to relax. It’s a powerful reminder that things do not need to be perfect. Measured exactly, beaten just so. Instead, a mess is made. The counters, floor and mixer show that they have been lovingly used. The aprons get dirty as do fingers and faces. A little more of this, a little less of that and things still turn out lovely.

(photos by Mira, except where noted, this photo by Jane Forbes)

Last night Anja donned an apron and helped Auntie Carolyn bake birthday cake for Mama and for Auntie Jane. She was so focused, and involved in the process.

(photo by Jane Forbes)

The hand held mixer was novel, and mesmerizing, as we have a kitchen aid at home:

And placing cake batter into tiny cupcakes was a sheer delight, thanks to Carolyn’s mellow style. Want to use your fingers? Sure, go for it! Hands on is the best.

Then, way past bedtime and absolutely worth staying up for, the official taste test.

(photo by Jane)

I do believe it passed with flying colors.

Imperfection. Morning style.

I love this image.

It’s not pretty. Certainly not the best shot of the Aunties or Anja, but I love the story that it tells. And the absolute love that comes through loud and clear on the tails of the imperfection. The framing of the tent window, versus the haze of the screen. First thing in the morning. Groggy eyes and messy hair, yet welcoming and cozy, imperfection and total open hearted love.

Because that’s what you have to be to invite (someone else’s) dirty 3 year old into your tent first thing in the morning. Into your bed for that matter. Absolute LOVE.

I welcome the lessons this image brought to me. I’ve been working with being accepting and peaceful with imperfection. And yet I’ve been paralyzed on blog posts. And it’s fear of not being good enough that keeps me, at a root level, from posting more than I do.  I lurk alot. I peruse other’s blogs, other’s pictures. But I don’t put mine out there.

Now I realize what I really want is to make and post the images that move me. And it doesn’t have to be technically or visually perfect. It just has to speak to my heart.

What speaks to your heart?