Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Just Like Riding a Bike

    
 I finally got back on the trails today.

 It's time.

 Jess will soon be 8 months old and the baby weight has got to go!


 It's more than fitness I seek.

There are answers out there in the desert, there's peace, too. 

I left a piece of myself out there when I became pregnant with Marshall over three years ago.

 Now it's time to go out there and find it.

Incidentally, I ride a Santa Cruz Superlight...and her name is "Yes."

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Post with Practically No Foul Language


This may be what I get for saying that I refuse to give up on gardening, saying that I refuse to get discouraged... 

The other day, I went outside and cut some lettuce and picked a few beans. I trimmed my herb garden so it would grow full and not get leggy or go to seed too soon. There's a pretty little rosemary, a few thyme, cilantro, melissa, and some scented geraniums. The basil smelled rich and buttery, the chamomile like honeyed apples.
 

 The aromas of the fresh herbs lifted my spirits, I returned to the house with a lighter step. I felt thankful for my sweet little garden growing magical charms to change my mood. 




The very next day, this is what I found...


Holes a foot deep, plants thrown to the side or buried topside down. It looked like a rototiller had run across my herb garden, through the veggie patch and even torn up our grass.

For the next two nights, the damage got worse. The mystery creature(s) kept coming back. It was giving me the creeps because our yard is surrounded by block fence. I could not figure out what would do this amount of damage without a sound. It looked like a pack of dogs had run wild.

AZ Fish and Game said it was most likely coyotes. They love the manure in freshly planted gardens. 

Javelina (nasty, mean, hairy desert pigs) couldn't get over our wall. They are usually the culprits.

Bobcats are common.  I found evidence of pack rats. They had hoarded a bunch of mesquite pods in an old camp stove out there. 

I did a little searching and feel pretty confident now that it was skunks They were digging for grubs. I wish I could shoot the SOB's. I would stay up all night for the chance if I wasn't sure it would end BADLY. All I can think to do is add some fine wire mesh to the gate and drains to secure the perimeter. Know any tricks?

Last night the smell of skunk woke me up at 2am. I diffused essential oils and finally got back to sleep 4 hours later. I'm mad just thinking about it.

So, if I look on the bright side,  there are two good things. I have learned just how secure I will need to make my dream garden. With all the battles I have fought this summer, I know it will need to be caged completely. Birds, jack rabbits, coyotes, javelina, deer, bobcats, pack rats and ground squirrels are all looking for a meal. The other thing is, now I don't have to buy the expensive grub-killing soil amendment. 

Forget the bright side, I'm still mad.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dump Shopping

     We lived on very little money in New Hampshire. Most things we needed were created on the homestead or bartered for with neighbors. Cordwood was traded for gasoline to put in the car we rarely used. We went to a community center and traded clothes with other families. We made old things new. 
     Another thing we did is what I like to call "dump shopping." It is pretty self explanatory. It wasn't the sort of smelly dump that you might think of. I would have remembered a bad smell. What I do remember is enormous piles of stuff mixed in with sticks. maybe it was going to be burned. We crawled across the treacherous mounds of tangled trash and found treasures to take home.On one occasion, Walt found many pieces of a metal Erector Set, and I found a damaged dollhouse.
         I was too young to understand how this might have been perceived by the world. It was like going shopping, only I could actually HAVE anything I could find. 

     I have more to say about this, but the words aren't coming. Part of me, a big part, misses that freedom. Freedom from shame.  Freedom from societal pressures.  The freedom of a VERY simple life.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Bridge House

Through a tunnel of gold, rust, and red foliage I saw the Bridge House for the first time. Sitting on the right hand of the road, it was cradled by birch and sugar maple trees and surrounded by a thick stone wall of about three feet high. 

We entered the house from one of the ends that had been boarded up, and a door added. I think the other end had a window. Inside it was dark and hard to see. As my eyes adjusted, I could see there stretch a loft above and a rough wooden floor below. 

I sat on a creaky wooden chair in the kitchen spot with my mittens still on and spied the stone wall outside. I wasn't looking through a window. I was looking through the gaps in the weathered wooden boards that made the old covered bridge. I thought for sure I would freeze to death in this place. But like most homes in the area, the Bridge House was equipped with a wood burning stove that made everything toasty. It was very much like being in a barn-sans the animal smell. On days when the sky was clear and bright, the open slits allowed the sun to squeeze its blinding beams across the floor in a stripped pattern.

The creek may have been diverted, because the bridge no longer sat on water. But more than likely, the entire bridge had been moved by some historical landmark lover or an artsy, frugal hippy. Whoever spent the time to do such a thing has my gratitude. It was the sort of experience one reads of in fairy tales, and for several years, drawings of the Bridge House flowed from my hand. 

 

Crawling



                                                                     Jess is crawling! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thinking About My Freedom


I snipped this from an email...not sure of the author.

A veteran is  someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check Made payable to  'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my  life.' That is Honor, and there are way too many people in This country  who no longer understand it.'
 

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Heroes



This was pure Marshall, he just knew how to pose. When he first put on his suit, he stood in front of the mirror admiring his cape and his muscles. 


It took some doing, but I stuffed Jess into this costume. The boy is a tank!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Favorite Way to Pass the Time

Jess Valentine...6 months old.


Marshall Dempsey...2-1/2 years old.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Garden Update


 I put my heart into everything I do, 
but sometimes that is not a good idea. 

Gardens can break your heart!

Remember those beautiful grapes I planted? MMM HMMM...

Apparently there is a moth that likes grape leaves. It lays eggs on the back. When the eggs hatch, the babies ravage the plant and leave it looking like this...


I was told it is called the Skeletonizer Moth. I don't feel like spending the time to verify that because that is a darn good name for it.
The good news is,  all three plants are coming out of it. Whew.

Everything came up beautifully in the raised bed, only to be half eaten by who-knows-what. I now suspect cutworms, grubs and gigantic grasshoppers. 


My neighbor, "Q", gave me some cuttings from three cactus plants. This was part from generosity (he is extremely generous) and part from wanting to use one of his man toys (of which he has many).


 WARNING: Do Not Sneak Up on This Man!

 One can be eaten raw or cooked. I am letting them scab before I plant them, 
otherwise they may rot. 


More than once, I have heard recently that, in gardening,  one should not be so arrogant as to expect every seed to produce, and every plant to bear fruit, and that you will be the one to eat it. There are a lot of hungry things out there that compete with you. They work when you sleep, they munch when you turn your back...

I replanted the raised bed.
 Only four cucumbers survived, along with two rows of beans. Now it is planted with spinach, beets, carrots, lettuce and -maybe- peas. I say "maybe" because the day after I planted, it looked like a little mouse dug a tiny hole above each pea to retrieve it. 

I knew there were kangaroo mice out there, but I didn't want to kill them. Now I know I must. Not because of the peas, but because of this guy...

He saw me first.
I must have startled him, because he kept hissing and shaking his rattle.

The mice attract rattlesnakes. I don't get too freaked out about snakes. But now that I have little ones, I can't stand by and admire them in my yard. 

Every time I see another setback in my desert gardening efforts, I try to remember not to be arrogant. I try not to get discouraged or feel defeat. Hope is important. 
She that hopes...receives.

My SIL, Gabby, gave me a little card that sums it up:

"Gardening is a way of showing that you believe in tomorrow."  


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Flying Jack O Lantern

Walt and I had been at the  bass pond examining the work of the beavers that lived there. The pond was at the Cooley homestead, just up a winding dirt road on the property. It was late October, brown leaves crunched under foot. I was imagining my teeth aching from chewing the trees to make logs for a dam, glad not to be a beaver. Besides, I was a groundhog, and everybody knew it. (That's another story)
In just a few days it would be Halloween. 

We had been told the scariest story. I didn't really believe it, but I was a little worried. Thirty four years have passed now, so I don't remember really what I was told, but I do remember it was about the Flying Jack O Lantern. 

On Halloween night, it was said he flew through the air looking for... something. Was it his lost love? His body? Or was it children who weren't in bed? Whatever he was looking for, he searched from the flaming eyes of a fiery carved pumpkin.

Halloween came. I was a gypsy. This was an easy costume to assemble: one of mom's thin cotton tapestry skirts, a few bangles, bells and a red headscarf. Trick-or-treating was a bust. We walked far to get to houses only find no one there, or no one expected us. One house improvised and handed us each some dimes. We were grateful, because that is how we were raised.

Soon after we had gone to bed, there was a commotion. Mom hollered up to us, saying she thought she saw something out the window, and began thumping up the wooden stairs to our adjacent rooms. Suddenly a blazing face swept across the floor-to-ceiling window in my room! I was paralyzed with fright! 


Mom came running in and scooped me up. The Jack O Lantern swam in the blackness  back and forth in the windows in Walt's room. We all began running back and forth, screaming, half-laughing, and chasing it from room to room. 


After a few minutes of terror and excitement, the searching pumpkin head disappeared forever.

Anyone who has known me more than a year, knows that Halloween is my favorite holiday. I have no doubt that the Flying Jack O Lantern planted that seed! 

Kurt and I have enjoyed Halloween together these past 10 years....


2003 The Duke and Duchess of Death (my favorite)


2004


2005 Banshee and Tree from the forest.
Kurt is on stilts, his face is barely visible in the leaves.


2006

2007  Halloween, we carved pumpkins with Walt and his kids in West Virginia.


Kurt transformed Marshall's stroller into a coffin.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Banging Down the Bees



By the time we had spent a few months in New Hampshire, I had made peace with bees in general. It was explained that bees don't just ATTACK people unprovoked. Apparently, when my little friend from Florida wanted to show us how harmless her grandpa's bee hive was, and she flipped the lid off the top, that was called "provoking." 

There is still a vivid memory of mom's face with a look of terror as she flung open the door to see her two little ones screaming, being chased and stung by a swarm. She beat at her long, thick hair to kill the bees that tangled there as she rushed us inside. My brother and I shared a shivering, sniffling bath of baking soda as we examined our head-to-toe whelps.

At the Stone Farmhouse, old Bud Stone kept bees in his attic. I suppose it was as good a place as any to keep bees.  Their flight path was very high in the air, so there was not much contact with them. Plus, he could walk upstairs to easily harvest honey . I can recall a quart jar with a draining piece of honeycomb on the window sill in the kitchen, a bee suspended in the amber liquid. I waited as patiently as I could for a piece to chew on, enjoying the initial jolt of sweetness all the way to the soft, barely sweet, waxy gum. 

One day there was a lot of commotion. The adults had gone mad! Excited voices called everyone outside. They were under the attic window banging loudly on pots and pans. I couldn't imagine what it was all for at first, but then I felt the fat dark raindrops hitting my head. Bees were falling from the sky like rain. When they fell, they seemed disoriented and would roll around a little to get right again. The bees were confused and stumped...but that was the point. 

The banging kept them from organizing. A new queen had hatched and her followers were gathering in a nearby maple, wanting to form their own hive.  We banged and banged until a neighbor was able to come and remove the extra queen and provide a place for the bees to relocate.
 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gathering Mushrooms


 The drizzly rain softened the layers of fallen leaves, making the ground feel spongy and hollow. My chilly red nose was filled with the clean, refreshing  smell of rich black earth. Tromping around in the woods was high adventure. This day, we were looking for mushrooms around our New England homestead. We were not disappointed.  

High on the side of a sugar maple tree clung several large shell-shaped mushrooms. They looked like stair steps, perfect for a squirrel to use...if a squirrel needed steps. We pulled them down and examined them. One side was woody feeling and the other was soft. Mom showed me how to take a sharp twig and press it into the soft side to draw on it. We stood around making marks on the mushrooms until there was no drawing space left on them. These were not edible mushrooms, of course. I took some home to draw on later.

Further into our wooded walk we came upon a frilly log. It appeared frilly because it was covered with bright orange mushrooms.

 
These were called chicken mushrooms. 

Now, adults often think it is funny to tease a child with lies, so I was reluctant to believe this mushroom was really called a chicken mushroom.  Mom assured me it was so, and she always respectfully never teased. We put them in a sack and continued to explore.

Our final harvest was a mushroom that grew on another fallen mossy log. It was white and not as frilly as the chicken mushroom. It was an oyster mushroom.


On the way back from the walk I hadn't made my mind up to actually eat our harvest. This was like no other food I had ever eaten, or even seen. But mom knew me, and injected enthusiasm and adventure in the prospect of trying something new. I was primed and ready by the time we reached home.

We took our sack of chickens and oysters back to the farmhouse and spread them out on the enamel tabletop. A little time was spent brushing the mushrooms clean of rotted wood and slicing them to a uniform cooking size.

I loved helping to build the fires in the cast iron cook stove. It was a monster black beauty that heated quickly, but needed plenty of attention. There is a real art to cooking on one of these. We tossed the mushrooms in a hot black and buttered skillet where they sizzled and softened in no time.

If these mushrooms had not tasted better than anything I had eaten by the ripe old age of four, maybe I would have forgotten this experience. But they were delicious beyond description. I couldn't wait to go mushroom hunting again.

Sometimes I feel I should end every entry I make about our homesteading experience with three words..."Thank you, Mom."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Visiting Fiddler


Our New Hampshire homestead experience was rich with the everyday happenings that never happen anymore. This was the last time I experienced a true country lifestyle. 

We always entered the house at the side, through the kitchen door. I didn't know there was a front door, or even a front porch for a while, because it was never used.  The kitchen was small and had a big white sink next to a  hand pump to bring up the well water. This is not as easy as having modern indoor plumbing, but was much easier than having to lug buckets of water from an outside well.

 In the dining room, large windows with many panes stretched along one side of the house. The glass was old and appeared to have melted to the point where it was twice as thick at the bottom as the top. All the floors in the house were wooden, but I only distinctly remember the dining room floor. I spent a lot of time under the table in there, taking every advantage of being small and flexible. The old wooden floors were painted grey, and walking across them made the most satisfying clomping and creaking sounds. 

At night, for a brief time between sundown and bed time, our old farmhouse was lit with hurricane lamps placed here and there. We had no television or radio, or even electricity. We entertained ourselves and each other. This was the same for most people around those parts, so it was quite common for people to stop by unannounced. It was the country way.

One cold evening, before the snow, a man with a fiddle came to visit.

No one can tell me who the man was. This was the only visit I remember from him. He could have been a complete stranger who was passing through and saw our lights. Who would turn down the company of a man with a fiddle?

He was a nice man.  ( I say this because I believe I was a good judge of character at age four. With all the people coming and going from my life by then, I had more than the good and evil detector of youth, I also had a little experience.) 

The fiddler was a nice man. I watched with great anticipation as he took his fiddle from the case. He showed me the instrument and allowed me to pluck the strings as he tightened the hair of his bow. Somebody said something about cat guts that I didn't understand.  I was warned to be very careful! but I didn't need to be told this. This instrument came out of a velvet lined box, so of course I knew to be careful. 


I took my favorite spot under the table. I didn't want to push my luck and get sent to bed early because I was in the way. Through the legs of those standing around the room I saw the fiddler raise his bow.

Immediately my hands shot up to cover my ears when he started to play. It was pure reflex to the intensity of the sound that burst forth from the instrument. The sound filled the room. It bounced off the wooden floors and sagging glass windows and found me in my hiding spot.

After the initial shock was over, my ears adjusted, and I began to hear that the sound was actually the most delightful music. It must have been a jig. Jigs have a driving, irresistible beat that even the shyest people find they must force themselves to NOT clap.

 I watched in amazement as the adults who always seemed so stern, began to clap and tap their feet. After a "whoop" or two was let loose, I knew it was safe to come out from under the table. 
 
Quickly, the music took over and I began to DANCE! I didn't know how to dance, but the music taught me, right then, right there. I remember my shear delight looking down at my legs as I hopped rhythmically back and forth. The brown corduroy pants I wore swished and swiped while my hard shoes kept beat with the music  The adults clapped to the beat with smiling faces, making it all too irresistible. 

The visiting fiddler left sometime after I had gone to bed. Naturally, he hadn't come to see me, but I was forever changed by his jig.

Desert Highway


     We often travel to Phoenix "the back way."  We love this less-used highway because the desert scenery never disappoints. In the spring there is a profusion of wildflowers along with the many textures of cacti and desert trees. Here we stopped to give the boys a break from the three hour drive home from Grandma & Grandpa's house. 


Kurt holds a freshly diapered Jess.


Marshall tries not to look like coyote bait... 

and I enjoy another beautiful drink of the high desert. 


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Jane's Clean Dirt Floor


On our way to Jane's, we passed Barkley coming toward us. Barkley was the funniest animal I had ever seen. He was the neighbor's friendly Basset Hound. I could not suppress my giggles at his droopy eyes and drunken walk. He sat on the side of the road, clearly torn between following us and continuing his original direction. Once decided, he left us with the wag of his tail and a "Bar-Rooh!"
 

Outside of Jane's place was a fenced area containing animals. I watched with bossy disapproval as Walter teased a ram. Walter is my older brother and I usually disapproved of everything he did. The ram did what rams do and rammed the wire fence to try to get to Walter. This was terrifying to me. The fence kept stretching with each attack, but fortunately, it held. 

Jane was a friend of mom's. Her picture in my memory is a pleasant one. She wears a long heavy dark skirt and long brown hair passed her full hips. She is smiling, her chocolate colored eyes twinkle with warmth and kindness. She laughs easily. 

How old was the one room cabin that Jane lived in? It must have been one of the first homes in the quiet area of Warner, New Hampshire.  Herbs were hanging from the ceiling to dry and there was a cast iron wood stove where she did her cooking.  I can vaguely see a patchwork quilt on her rumply (probably feather) bed. It was quite dark, lit with only kerosene lamps, and had a dirt floor. Jane would sweep the floor. This took some explaining for my four-year-old self to understand. Apparently, the dirt compacts into an almost cement like surface, and it can be swept clean.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fieldstones and Chipmunks


A lot of time was spent in my childhood riding in the car, looking out the window. A slight bend or dip in the road would make my stomach feel sour with nausea. I hated car rides. Mom always told me to look to the farthest green I could see to help curb the sick feeling.

The view was a green blur driving in New Hampshire. Occasionally, the leaves would part enough for a glimpse of the thick stone walls outlining most properties in our area. These were old, old walls. I don't know who built them, but I was told they were stacked with the rocks plucked from the surrounding fields. The once jagged stones had been softened by the years and years of seasonal changes. Many were green with moss or spotted with lichens. 

I could always count on the chipmunks for a race. The sound of our old car would send them scurrying along the top of the walls until one would dart out of sight and another would appear. It was a relay race. Little striped twitchy competitors bolted into action. I have no doubt their noisy chattering was filled with boasts of victory.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gentle Jess


     I really wanted to name him Rowdy Valentine instead of Jess Valentine, but I am glad I didn't. This little guy is so mellow and gentle. His whole presence has a soothing effect on whoever is holding him. He's bright and engaging, too, but not in a rambunctious way at all. He lulls me with his peaceful power into hours of holding him as he sleeps. I don't get much done, and most times, I don't much mind.
     Since his birth, I find myself experiencing real moments of tranquility. I know it is a gift he carried into this life. 

Sweet Grass and Sick Hot Hay


A continuation of the post titled "Mercy"

  sweet grass...
    The grassy areas surrounding the farm were littered with (what I call) chamomile grass. When I walked my little bare feet in the fields, the smell of honey and apples would spring from the earth. This chamomile grass had a wonderful, soft feel, almost like a tiny, fuzzy succulent. I can't help but smile when I smell chamomile. (hey, that rhymes, if you pronounce it wrong!)

sick hot hay...
I grumpily skulked along side the wagon. All the adults were in the field with pitchforks in hand. A number of days before, the hay had been cut and left on the ground to dry. 

Today was the day it needed to be moved to the barn for storage. The sun was hot, the air was muggy, and our activity was sending the bugs flying angrily in the air and around my face. I couldn't have been more miserable!

I watched as the adults threw forkfuls of hay into the wagon, first filling the corners and then the middle. This enabled them to stack it very high before taking it back to the barn. There they would again use their forks to unload it. It was a time consuming process that was an eternity to my four year old self. 

I wondered why I was even there. It could have been because all hands were needed for the work, which left no one to look after me. It could have been to teach me my place in the world, to pluck out any seed of entitlement that might have begun to take root in my soul.
  
The smell made me feel sick. The sun baked the grass until the sweetness was overpowering. Its rays reflected off the dry grass, burning my eyes. I will never forget that day. 

For years and years, after leaving New Hampshire, I couldn't bear to look at a sunny field. It does sound silly, I know, but it is true. Riding in the car, passing a sunny field, would strike a chord of dread in me. My eyes would fervently search for the shade of a tree to counteract the effect.

 I am amazed that I live, and love living, in Arizona. The sun always shines. I think it has forgiven me for hating it all those years.

When I studied with The School of Natural Healing, working to become a Master Herbalist, I had a question answered that had been in the back of my mind since that hot hay day. We studied the chemical constituents of many herbs.

Coumarin was the answer. 

It is the constituent responsible for the sweet smell of freshly cut grasses.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Garden Planted

   
  We found another little space in our yard to plant a garden. 
 This is where I put the corn and pumpkins. 
I should have planted about 20 days ago, but I wasn't ready. 
We'll see how it turns out. 

I made a stone path down the center. 
This puts everything within a two foot reach.

Here is another bed against the house.
It will have more tomatoes, soon, and some peppers.


Our strawberries are very happy under the pine tree.

I am catching lots of runners to plant!


Here lies the raised bed that will grow us some green beans.

I went ahead and planted some cucumbers with them 
to see if they can get along.



The grapes like their new location.



Garden good news:
This is the biggest tomato I have ever grown in AZ!
 It is actual "tomato-sized!"

Too bad I dropped the biggest one on the floor and busted it 
before I could stow it for ripening!
ARGH!

I'm going to eat it anyway.





Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mercy


Mom moved us from southern Florida to New Hampshire when I was four years old. There she embarked on a dream of living a homestead lifestyle. The farm we lived on belonged to Mrs. Cooley and had been built in colonial times. We lived there about a year, but it was a short season packed with so much newness, that I swear I can remember almost everything.

There was a snake that slithered across the floor of my bedroom the day I moved in. It really scared me and gave mom a little start, too. Needless to say I was reluctant to spend the night or even set foot in the room. I don't know how long it took, but mom reasoned with me and I finally showed my bravery by sitting on the floor in front of the dresser where the snake had gone. The big help was learning there are no poisonous snakes in New England. Under the big step of the barn was a nest of snakes that I ended up befriending. I have not been afraid of snakes since.


I've decided to write a few paragraphs at a time about this period in New Hampshire. Only recently have I realized how tremendously that short time has impacted my life. It was a perfect set of experiences.

Hmm. It just occurred to me that it had to be spectacular.

This was the move that separated me from dad.

Perhaps God mercifully sent me this slow-motion set of magical events to distract me from the full force of loss that would have been too much for a little girl, had she been looking straight at it.

Here is a list of a few things I want to remember to write about:

The Two-Seater
Banging Down the Bees
Sweet Grass and Sick-Hot-Hay
Tapping Maples
The Glass Eye in the Mystery Room
The Visiting Fiddler
Beenut Milk
Flying Jack O Lantern
Dump Shopping
The Silver Box
Jane's Clean Dirt Floor
Fieldstones and Chipmunks

Friday, August 15, 2008

Building Blocks and Relationships


It has been a challenging few months.

Marshall is two.

When Jess was born I felt like I lost my best little friend. Marshall withdrew from me and seemed unhappy for a while. Knowing that this is normal didn't take the sting out of it. He and I had been inseparable for almost two years. I left him with other people less than a dozen times in those two years-no joke, so you can imagine our attachment.

His turning two has not been fun either. Again, knowing he is acting normal doesn't lessen the ever changing struggles and stresses of having a child this age.

Forget the "reality" shows that sensationalize hard jobs that people do! Let's see a crab fisherman keep his cool with a tired (because he refuses to nap), hungry (because he refuses to eat), screaming (because he's tired and hungry) toddler who just deliberately woke up the baby after trashing the kitchen you spent an hour cleaning and removing his diaper before releasing the trouser trout to swim on the newly shampooed carpet because company is coming.

But yesterday, I got a glimpse of something
WONDERFUL,
something MAGICAL!

I can see the day coming soon when we will play and learn and talk together. This thrills me! The magic is coming back to the mothering. It is new and different. It is easy to feel the magic with a newborn or a squishy goo-gooing baby, but to have it with a two year old takes work.

We have been playing blocks everyday for a week.

Each day he throws them less.

Each day he creates a little more.

Each day we fight a little less,

and each day a little more light shines on the future.


We are building together-ness.





where is everyone?