Wednesday, June 29, 2011

One year ago today

And today:

I love to read birth stories and birthday stories and, truly, all kinds of love stories. But today I'm a bit wordless, a bit without the means to tell the story of the beautiful boy who turns one year old tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Salvador.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In the weeds

I've never waitressed.

I've nannied, written, worked retail, lent my voice to radio campaigns, slung burgers (for two weeks; don't ask), written some more, edited, sold houses and finally, most recently, I mommy. (Also? I make verbs where no action has gone before.)

So with that kind of resume it may take you by surprise to find I've never waited tables.

But I do so want to borrow a phrase I understand is a standard among wait staff. I'm in the weeds.

You may have noticed the lack of posting 'round these parts.

We're still here. Just laundry, weeding, watering and life getting in the way of bloglife. I hope you're all walking clear paths lined with lovely flowerbeds tended by, ahem, someone other than you....

In fact some days the weeds here are so tall I can't see the garden.

Who am I kidding? Not "some days." Every day.

I pulled weeds by hand for hours upon hours this past week and all I got was this t-shirt. No, no actually, all I got was that picture of the cat in the blackberry vines and the satisfaction of knowing my intended plantings will get more nutrients, more sun, more chance to fill my canning jars and freezer shelves.

On the upside, I just joined the Loyal Order of the Glamper. Life in the weeds is pretty good when I look up from the gritty, tangled mess of roots and notice those flowers and whatnot.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jet lag anyone?

Last weekend we walked across the lane to a little-known international airport.

A few dozen neighbors and family members joined us on our flight.

Head stewardess Madeleine announced that we needed to keep our trays and seats in the upright position because we were to expect a whilwind tour of what took the girls months to absorb and repackage into a travel brochure come to life.

Sweet friend Lyndsey set up her German souvenir shop while Grace, Sarah and Madeleine did the same for their respective countries of study: France, India and Mexico.

The Brementown Musicians performed.

Lady Liberty recited. Ghandi spoke too. Beethoven played. Geronimo was on hand to tell tales of war. Marcel Marceau performed a riveting mime.

A trip to the Palais de Fines Artes in Mexico City was a treat, where we witnessed some spirited dancing as well.

All the countries we visited had traditional dancing, even with some "tourist" participation. Papa and Grandma danced. Friends Cameron and Quinn and cousin Maiya danced and took part in a quirky French "fashion" show. The girls acted as tour guides and I have never enjoyed a trip around the world quite so much.

In India the snake charmer was a big hit while the air sitar played and Sarah shared some facts about ancient spice trading.

But the big hit of the day, not surprisingly, was the international food court.

The girls' and my favorite part of their end-of-year cultural program was the food, and more specifically, the desserts. Sopapillas (Mexican pillow pastries), gateau au chocolate (French chocolate cake), lassi (Indian sweet yogurt), chai tea, stollen (German braided bread with fruit and cardamom) and more exotic choices that I frankly can't spell weighed down the cafe tables while family and friends feasted after the performance.

There weren't very many leftovers.

But we were certainly left with fun memories.

I always say that the only thing I miss about traditional school is the chance to see my children perform in programs. I love the moments of stage nerves. I love the rehearsals and the messy prop creation. I love the camaraderie and the confidence gained. And now I know that just because we homeschool we needn't miss out.

(I also know those teachers at traditional schools are grossly underpaid and overworked when it comes to such events. Because people? I'm tired. And I'm now storing several lovingly transformed appliance boxes that somewhat resemble an elephant, an Austrian cottage inside and out, the Eiffel tower and some cactii. Sans prickles, thank goodness.)

Thanks for joining us! I hope to be all rested and returning to your regularly scheduled hodgepodge of farmgirl philosophy and crafty goodness very, very soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fun and games

We have family visiting this weekend.

We're celebrating dads and grandpas and father figures and love.

We are also celebrating the end of the Suite school year! The girls put on an amazing presentation complete with recitations, dances, musical instruments and five costume changes. I for one am exhausted. So the pictures will have to wait. Oh? And also? We finished priming the inside of the canned ham travel trailer. It's been a bigger project than I'd anticipated but it is so light and bright and cheerful sometimes I take my iced tea and a book out there and hide during afternoon rest.

Shhh... don't tell anyone.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garden of Weedin'

Sweet elderly gardeners everwhere have nothin' on me, I'm telling you. I am so totally tempted to find a gnome or a dozen and pop them in all around my yard between signs that read "Garden of Weedin'" and "Weeds. 5 Cents a Dozen. U-Pick."

On a related note, I have been a very, very good girl. Mr. Suite is exceedingly pleased because I have conquered my longstanding bad habit of leaving piles of weeds to die or dry or take root in pathways until he finally gets sick of the piles and comes along with the wheelbarrow. Bad, bad gardener me has now been officially replaced by the Toys R Us Kid me through the handy acquisition of that garage sale wagon pictured above. I pull it along behind me and fill it with weeds and then one of my actual kids takes the weeds to the chicken yard.

(My children, incidentally, do not dare write their "Rs" backward because their mother is neurotic about mentioning the inanity (and insanity) of that particular branding idiocy every single time we see the sign, or now, how-convenient-is-that, every time they pull my weed wagon. And, why, yes, I did just use multiple parenthetical statements much as a nesting doll, all the while criticizing advertising spelling. Brilliant.)

Ta da!

Cheap garden tool, happy husband, free chicken feed. It's a win-win-win!

How is your gardening season growing?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What to say about this? A party to end all parties.

There are times when I wish I could send y'all tickets to my little village just so you could see and feel and hear the goodness that is this place.

Any given day this community is buzzing with the business of agriculture and with the gentle tourism of cyclists and wine country sightseers. But this weekend the gravel in front of the school was crunching well past dark with the comings and goings of country folk out for a fine time.

The gym floor during the Spring Fling was a great spot for Sal to practice his steps.

The booths at the utterly charming homemade carnival were great spots for the girls to spend a few quarters.

The little red school on the hill celebrated what may be its last ever Spring Fling. My dear friend Jayme painted faces. I do love her. And so do my kids! (Don't tell the other face painter but my oldest girls were letting people cut them in line to ensure they were decorated by the talented and lovely J.)

The evening glowed.

A Louisiana fiddler played while the crocodiles danced. Little Laura, sans croc hat, was the belle of the ball. She must have danced with half the county, filling her dance card with patented three-year-old insistence and confidence.

Gracie and a slew of other cuties went fishing without state licenses. (Grace is painted as "the night sky." You can't see but there's a star on one cheek. Very cheeky. And dramatic. Just like the girl. Nevermind that it looks a bit like she's painted as a chimney sweep with five o'clock shadow. Our other great neighbor Kyle painted Grace's face and she loved it.)

Some brave children even held alligators and snakes and turtles, oh my. (Petting zoos in our neck of the woods apparently can't bring your standard miniature goats and flop-eared bunnies because most farm kids wake up early to feed their own fuzzy livestock.)

If you don't want to move to the country, if you shudder to think of the early rising and the crowing roosters and the nine months of mud and three of baked clay soil, if any of that seems too much, consider a true country fair at a tiny school in the middle of farm and ranch land. Come visit. I promise you'll be charmed. And I'll keep the reptiles at bay.