Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winter at the nature nook

Finally sunshine. The little one goes to work fluffing snow, arranging pine cones, making sure the bird is warm and freeing the lamb from his collar and bell.

While we slept, soft snow fell on trees, animals and winter children.

The snow goes away, for now. A red pine cone takes the nest and a woolly lamb snuggles in winter girl's lap. The little one wanted to take winter girl's jacket off because the sun was out, but I said we had to wait until spring. (Because it is *felted* on!)

A cloud-nest gathers nearby.

Pine cones are dipped in snow, felted evergreens and stuffed trees are tucked into snow drifts.
I guess I love this play as much as the little one!

Winter bird finds the nest.
And the little one finds the egg!

Happy Sunny Winter's Day

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Season's Song

Warmth and brightness close the night and in the morning we wonder and wish and hope and try. Nighttime, we toss and turn and mumble about wanting, spill fragments of dreams into dark words. If only the warmth could stay forever and I could be blanketed in quilts and firelight. Moments so fleeting I tire trying to hold on. We speak, confused as if our bodies were not solid forms, just fluid and flowing. Now rain and fog, now snow melting. Distances stretch long. Carols once sung, now echo, the lyrics ordered and forever. Eating and full, we soak in a dark wine while dry needles fall to the floor. We chatter and laugh, then sit quietly, so close, we fall into each other and sleep our dream of fire and winter.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On the cold day

"I'm writing my name on the cold day" - Maia scratching into the frost on Julian's window.

Yesterday was the shortest and one of the coldest days of winter yet. Mai extended her nap and almost slept through dinner. Who could tell if it was day or night? The temp was in the negatives, so the dog walking and snow clearing was done with efficiency else the wind brought tears to the eyes. Getting us through are the celebrations coming soon, a few warm fires, visits from Grandpa and Nana, kid sleepovers and lots of indoor play. A few of my favorite things this last week included seeing Julian in a buttondown shirt and tie for winter chorus (second from left, top row), eating warm tapioca pudding out of the pot, listening to the Verve remixed Christmas, Hanna Andersson's winter sales on outerwear and underwear, Trader Joes peppermint joe-joes from St. Nick, the classic 1985 Live aid video of "Do they know it's Christmas," having a lap full of sewing projects, Jan Brett picture books, a reupholstered couch and a little drooling over the gorgeous Waldorf toys from Nova Natural . What I'm not particularly liking is Mai waiting to go potty until it is nearly a natural disaster and of course saying she does not have to go just minutes before. Any tips? It has been a long time since we last went through this phase. "Come pee with me, I'm lonely" is only occasionally working :).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I've got my love to keep me warm

Before the real snow fell

Daddy carry

The fireplace waiting

Stella is in over her head

Snow dog

Hip high

Weeping mulberries in a powdery bed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day - playing doctor

We've had a few runny noses this week, so it wasn't a bad thing that a foot or more of snow fell in the last few days. Today is officially a snow day, schools, universities, libraries, museums, whole villages closed while the final inches of thundersnow fall, blow and drift. Except the hospital never closes and John has a consult or two to attend to today. We've got a stock pile of winter books to read, lots of kid movies and a playdate scheduled for later in the day. I admit I am enjoying this, for now. The excitement of winter storms, the knee deep snow, watching the dog jump and bite and attack the snow, being snuggled in deep under warm blankets with no pressure to go anywhere or do anything but whatever becomes necessary. It isn't bad, for now. So we play doctor, build castles and read books and watch the white wind blow out of the frosty window.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Soapmaking - more clean fun

I found an old box of soap making supplies in the attic and thought it would be good day for an indoor activity as the arctic blast moved through Wisconsin. I used blocks of veggi based soap, chopped them into small bits and microwaved them in a glass measuring cup. Mai added good smelling oils and a few drops of color. She helped me pour the liquid soap into molds (some meant for soap, some meant for Jello).
I got many of the supplies at Micheals and some of the specialty molds and olis at Brambleberry soap making supplier.

Mai especially liked the car molds and decided not to give any of them away, at least for now!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow blowing, ice chopping and a very large pair of boots

Since we now have a corner lot, the snow blowing, shoveling and ice chopping had increased threefold, and since John works often late into the evening, I have taken on snow removal with an obsessive-compulsive attack plan. First, snow blowing, then shoveling, then salting, then chopping, then shoveling some more. It is quite good exercise, as long as you 'bend with the knees' and a rather good way to get out the week's worth of frustrations. Sure, my snow blowing handling is a bit wild (picture me chasing a smoking, revving snow blower down the block...), but I'll get that in time. It's when I hear on the news that the arctic blast is heading this way and am compelled to drop everything and finish clearing what is left of the melting ice in the driveway that I wonder if I am turning into John's father. He has been known to clear two or three walkways before the oatmeal water hits the pot. Maybe this is what home ownership does to folks who happen to be at home more than they are away.

As for the very large pair of boots, those belong to Julian, who now does not fit into an 7 or an 8, but now a 9. That is a men's size NINE. No more cute, bright colored, puffy boys boots. Now it is all big and clunky and twice the price.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Great Indoors, Part One of Many

I guess we have transitioned into winter living as evidenced by the increased indoor activities and messes that have appeared around the house this week. In one scene, Julian teaches Maia how to take play dough fun to a new level by plastering her cars to the dining room wall. Board games have also made a comeback for Maia. We dug out and played some cooperative games by Ravensburger like Snails Pace and Domino's, which are super gentle and fun, as well as our own version of Candy Land in which we disregard all rules entirely and go hopping along the squares munching all treats in sight. We play memory (another modified version) with all tiles facing up, taking turns picking one and having the other find the match.
And then there is some reading going on. Pictured also is Julian enjoying an Onion article with a headline that goes something like "Math Teacher Ruins Weekend with Senseless Homework" but probably not using quite such 'polite' words. John is reading Rick Riordan's fourth book in the Percy Jackson series aloud to Julian at night and both of us are enjoying reading John Birmingham picture books to Maia, along with the usual fare of Dora, George, Elmer, Froggy, Little Bear, Clifford, the pigeon and those darn talking cars. So we begin this snowy season.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Little bird, fly through my window

This little felted bird found a nice perch in a winter plant by the window. Mai has been so interested in what I am up to with my needles and thread and felt and fabric that I often find my creations in a shoe or a lunchbox along with a handful of poly fill, tangled thread strands and the dog's bone. This one was nestled snugly in her toy barn next to a few cows and a chicken in a stroller. I guess that explains who is responsible for the shiny gum wrapper and stuffed animals tucked into branches on our Christmas tree.

Friday, December 05, 2008

And the seasons they go round and round and the painted pony goes up and down

The ten inches of snow never fell, but we did get a nice 6 inches or so in two installments, with the next two snowfalls forecasted for this weekend. So December rolls winter in with no sort of hesitation. Hello white stuff: soft, fluffy, glistening, and cold, slippery and heavy. Julian doesn't seem to notice the cold on his walks to school. "Feels normal to me," he says, with his too short pants and almost too small tee shirt. He rejected last year's boots as "way too small" and walked to school in his tennis shoes. At least he wears gloves and his hooded jacket when he bikes through the snowy side streets. He has gone though a serious growth spurt in the last few months. Taller, thicker (which doesn't mean much for his skinny bones), sassier and more confident (do these two go hand in hand?). He needs and wants me less and less these days, and admonishes me for being too nosy and caring too much about the minutia of his daily assignments and grades. Independent bound, I guess, and that just great for me. Except when he doesn't do things my way, all the time (ha)! Maia too has scooted up the growth chart, given up her diapers and Nuks, gotten a short, (almost tangle-free) haircut and walks upstairs and downstairs without needing accompanying. I am still using most of my free time to finish up my last two projects for class (a book and a textile meal) and getting terribly distracted by the colorful wool roving that is calling out to be made in to felted fruit and cute little animals, faeries and dolls.