Friday, May 25, 2012

time out for sunshine

we have been in a perpetual state of damp this month as the greenery is exploding all over our pretty state under the clouds and rain. though we love it's helping hands in bringing forth the leaves and flowers, the rain leaves us often trapped indoors twiddling our thumbs and praying for a break in the clouds.

a few days this week the sun graced us with it's shine and we stole away to take full advantage of it. packing a bag, not unlike the famous "everyday bag" from my childhood, we snatched up our sunscreen, pail & shovel, and my good camera, and headed for the ocean. my e, more native to our town than i, has brought us to a stretch of beach before and so i set course for this secluded spot. when we arrived, i parked the jeep and gathered our bags and buckets and my little beaz and headed down the foot path to the beach, delighted to see someone had replaced the washed out drop off with tire steps filled with stones for safe footing.

my wee wren was so excited to be at the 'oshan' that he dragged me along until i found a nice shaded spot under an outstretched patch of trees to lay our blanket. we loaded ourselves with sunscreen, i plopped a brimmed bucket hat on my excited boy, and he quickly made his way to the water's edge to toss stones into the lapping waves. over and over we walked the shore, picking up empty seashells, sea glass, little rocks, and the occasional vacant crab shell. we later found ourselves in the sand, making a poor attempt at a sand castle. i do know better, my father taught me well how to make a sandcastle and would have shaken his head disapprovingly at my breaking all of the rules. sandcastle building then turned into a game of burying our feet and escalated into c pretending to be either swimming or then napping in the sand. i paid little mind to the sand that encrusted him from head to toe, enjoying his giggles and fascination. there really is something magical that happens when children find sand or dirt. i can't explain it, but how can you mind shaking out the three pounds of sand when they had so much fun collecting it in their shoes and pants?

when beaz finally lay his head in the sand and said "night, mommy," i knew it was time to wrap up our fun for the day and head home. we returned for a windier go of it yesterday and found a massacre of crabs, big and small, all along the shore. beaz had great fun picking them up and dismantling them as i gagged over the stink of their not-yet-empty insides. i patiently removed them from his grasp each time, telling him we should return them to the ocean instead of tugging off their legs... i don't think there's any way, yet, to explain that pulling apart dead crabs is quite gross.

having a whole beach to ourselves on a sunny afternoon is my new favorite pastime. i am sure, as tourist season approaches, it will be less and less likely to find it secluded, but we will return as often as we can to wander the now familiar shores. we are ready for you, summer, whenever you arrive.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

naturalizing my modern world

okay. it's time to let you in on a little secret: i am very clearly wild-born. by this i don't mean i was raised by wolves, but more raised my the environment, state, and parents who believed in letting children be children, nature be nature, and stains, cuts, and bruises paint a picture of active minds and bodies.

the reason i state my 'wild-born'ness is that i have been slowly sculpting an image of naturalizing my lifestyle and that of my family. in a modern world, plastic dominates multiple industries, electronics replace imagination and the written word, and children sit more than run. i can't say i am not guilty of including all of these things in my life regularly, but i am inspired by a wind of change to better our choices to create an environment drawn from nature and not solely from industry. there are things we can't truly escape, and i am a realist. i am not looking to adapt myself into a waldorf lifestyle, an ideal i find hard to embrace and educationally agree very little with as a whole. if i was looking for to do away with modern society and the growth we've made as a nation, i would be more interested in being amish. but what i would like to do is wipe the slate clean and become more in touch with things that need no frills, bangs, pops, or whistles. i am beginning simply: plastic & non-stickware. no more tupperware, no more non-stick pans. glass storage containers & jars, stainless steel, copper, or cast iron pots and pans. if you have to ask why, then i recommend looking up the links to cancer and the toxins that can be released. it might make you rethink them, too.

we are also in the process of a true gardening project this year. our 6'x6' beds are built and we are planning our crops for planting. i hope to be successful in our endeavors in growing our own food, for i am looking to learn canning, pickling, preserving, and freezing foods. in line with that, i also have a real issue with the grocery store breads being full of preservatives and corn syrup and other nonsensical things that do not belong in our food, and do not get processed well by our bodies. i am looking forward to digging my hands into my own doughs and breads this year. i am trying to do away with most pre-packaged, over-processed, dyed, enriched, and falsified foods "healthy foods" as much as possible. i think certain things will be good for our wee wren to learn to appreciate and get involved in at a young age. i look forward to his help in the gardens, tiny shovels, buckets, and imagination in hand. i then look forward to teaching him how to turn our hard work into delicious eatables & edibles.

bigger and more distant longings include chickens, beehives, goats, a family cow, wool sheep, and pigs.. let's face it, i want a farm. a small, manageable, self-sustaining farm. i would like to get back to the roots of mankind and make butter, milk a cow, bottle honey, eat our own grass-fed meat, felt wool, and numerous other things. yes, this would likely qualify me as a hippy, except i do love my deodorant and i shave my armpits. but the idea of self-sustainability is something that's slowly taken hold over the past few years and i find that i am really tapping into that passion. in time, i would like to see some, if not all, of this come to fruition. of course, i will have to get e on board first... it could take a bit of pouting and stomping my feet.

i am not looking to live without electricity, plumbing, or netflix (oh, how i love a good movie!), but simplifying our waste and consumption, and finding a more traditional way of doing things sings loudly in my heart. it brings me back to childhood days of foraging in the woods, imagining i was laura in my favorite book series: little house on the prairie. i suppose the pioneer in me never truly left, and i see no reason not to embrace my inner wild-child as an adult. finding your passion is what makes life more appetizing, so we should all embrace it no matter what it happens to be.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

a case of the in betweens

with our little c now at seventeen months old, i find myself at a crossroads in toddlerdom. not quite old enough to do many of the things that would be easy to occupy our day with, and no longer so immobile as to have patience for many of the other things we used to do.. i find myself on a never-ending quest to satiate an appetite for learning at this age.

i have discovered quickly that my child has my busy-body genes and will only happily sit to any activity for an average span of ten to fifteen minutes before moving on to the next. being that most of his energy is spent trying to get mommy to hold him, read to him, entertain him, i really want to encourage and provide a sense of self-efficiency and imagination in him. i stumble a bit with this and find that it's not the simplest thing to instill in a child who has relied on mommy since day one for essential needs. that i am all-too available to him puts us both at a disadvantage at times, but i must continue to encourage his sense of self and confidence.

our child cannot be what he is not, therefore we must embrace who he is. knowing how busy his body and mind are, i am now set to task to find activities that engage both, while promoting his own exploration without holding my hand. so begins my own homework for this summer. let's see what grade i get when it's all said and done.