I still think of this day as only belonging to MY mother, and although I've been a mom now almost eleven (11!!) years, I forget that my own children honor me on this day. Bless their hearts and bless their teachers for making me feel so special today. My nine-year-old built and painted the lovely birdhouse for me in class last week and my six-year-old made the felt stitched card in his art class and brought home a pansy his kindergarten teacher made sure to provide to each child to bring home. Dad made sure the boys brought me breakfast in bed. So sweet. All of it!
Still one of my favorite treasures. This locket that holds two pictures of my mom when she was a child belonged to my great grandmother.
Warm Blessings to all of you who are involved in mothering, I hope you had a relaxing and peaceful day. xx
We began the day with our traditional cupcake box surprise in the morning before school. Just a small token and a single candle to start off the day of celebration.
It was a crazy go-go-go kind of day and this boy of mine received so much loving and adoring attention I thought he would burst from all the love. But he didn't. He handled it all quite gracefully.
I was thankful to have caught Josie's post about about Busy-Day chocolate cake because that was about all the baking I had time for today. And Julen loves his cake chocolate! Boy, it was deeeee-licious!! And pretty too.
Six. Gulp. It's really starting to set in...my baby is not a baby anymore.
Time for healthier days. My boys were struck down this week with nasty fevers. It's as if the polar vortex just froze up their immunities and left them vulnerable. Fourteen kids absent from my fourth graders classroom, last I heard anyway. I wonder how his teacher likes having only eight in her room.
Nothing to do but wait it out, under piles of blankets or with a life long friend at your side.
I always think of these as the worst days of parenting. That feeling of helplessness. The worry. The wait. That frantic feeling that I can never do enough.
We play tag-team, Papa and I. He goes late to work, holds tight to the boys as long as he can until I can race home from the preschool to take my turn, leaving my teaching partner to end the day solo.
I remember, as a child, four or five years old. In my feverish state I heard my mother whisper to my father outside my bedroom door that I was "on fire". Such panic. I was sure my bed was engulfed in flames, yet the fever wouldn't allow me to open my eyes or even move a muscle. I have never forgotten that fear. So I'm careful when I talk about how hot their little bodies are, yet "on fire" seems appropriate to how much heat they are radiating.
While the worst of it seems to be over, they still have healing to do. The best thing I can do is crawl into bed with them, sing to them, let them know I am there. I busy my hands with a project and keep a watchful eye.
We are a two language two culture family which means we celebrate a blend of two different traditions during each holiday. It's still ingrained in me that once we ring in the New Year the seasonal festivities come to an end.
But each year as we ease into January, my boys can't wait for Three Kings Day. Yesterday, we attended the annual Reyes Magos party with the families from Spain like we've always done. Nothing has changed except all the children have grown so much since last year. The hot chocolate was thick and rich like pudding and the roscas de reyes bread used to soak up the chocolate was as sweet as ever.
The boys were anxious to get home to write their letters to Los Reyes, after which we set fire to so they were free for the Wise Men to find. (However, we couldn't bear to burn their precious letters so sneakily switched them out for some impostors).
Then the traditional plate of carrot (for the horse), hay (for the camel) and peanuts (for the elephant) were left next to a shoe of each boy. In the morning...presents!
The boys received some very fun games! Anyone ever played The Settler's of Catan? It came highly recommended (by the wise men, of course!) and we can't wait to play. We should have plenty of time tomorrow though...as of Friday our Governor made a statewide mandatory closing of all schools due to severe cold temperatures. Half of the U.S. will be affected tonight...we are looking at -28 degrees. Naturally, opening the preschool in the morning is out of the question. So pajama/game day it will be. Feliz dia de los tres reyes!! (if you celebrate). And for all my neighbors-stay warm tonight!!
I've been knitting and crocheting these chunky cowls like a madwoman over the past week. I have my Fourth Annual Holiday Fair at the preschool coming up December 6th and I wanted to be able to offer some hand knits at my table. They are so fun to make and by squeezing in a minute here and there I have been able to make one a day this past week. They are so squishy and cozy, if they sell, I may have to make more for the family.
In other news...I love that on my way out the door to the preschool this morning, my nine-year-old said with a heavy heart...I'm getting close to the end of this book and I'm so sad! I don't want it to end!! Haven't we all felt that way about a book? My boy who usually only feels this way about his Percy Jackson, Star Wars and Louis Sacher books. This just feels more special because The Story of Helen Keller was my book when I was a girl...and it is from this book about Helen Keller that I learned the alphabet in sign language. My boys are both fascinated with ASL. We have been learning new signs daily through watching the series Swithched at Birth on Netflix and by visiting the video dictionary at the web-site called Lifeprint. Our dinner conversation is a now mix of Spanish, English and ASL.
Yesterday was Powderhorn Park's seventh annual Empty Bowls fundraiser to end hunger. I am impressed that last year they raised more than $29,000. Information from the website...
Organized and carried out by a core group with the help of approximately 180 volunteers from the neighborhood this is an all-day event held on the first Friday in November each year. Local potters (including professionals, kids’ programs, and college departments) donate hand-made bowls, bread baked onsite and local volunteers cook soup. Neighbors come together, select a bowl, have a meal of soup and bread, and for this they make a donation.
My boys plus three of their friends and two of mine, trekked down to the park yesterday for some of the most delicious curried lentil and ginger squash soup I have had.
We started by watching the bread being baked on-site in a brick oven built just for the day.
Then the tough part...choosing a bowl to eat our soup from...that we would later get to take home.
These are the three bowls we went home with. I loved sharing why we chose the bowls we did. My nine-tear-old loved the inscription inside his which reads "from my hands to yours", Julen chose his because it's gold (his new favorite color) and I just loved the way mine felt in my hands...also I had picked up only four other bowls and each one was inscribed on the bottom with the same name...so I felt I was meant to take one of Lydia's bowls home with me.
What a wonderful event this was and a beautiful way to begin the season of gratitude and thankfulness.
Look for an Empty Bowls charity event in your neighborhood...or maybe start one of your own!
Last weekend a friend hosted a "slay the dragon, stuff a scarecrow" party in celebration of autumn and Michaelmas. It was the most fun I had in a long time. A big pot of chili, pumpkin pies, huge bowls of tart apples and freshly baked mounds of bread was on the menu. For the entertainment, the slaying of the dragon involved wacking at the cutest dragon pinata I have ever seen. The children used swords in place of a bat. For the pint-sized scarecrows, my friend gathered up old one-year-old clothes and with a hay bale that had been completely pulled apart, the children excitedly stuffed and made the most adorable scarecrows. Julen loves his so much I found he had taken it to bed with him.
At school we marked Michaelmas with our traditional Harvest Festival. I am very short on photos as I always find it distracts too much to be truly present with the children from behind the camera. I did get a few shots of the kids grinding the wheat berries to make the bread and the bottom photo was taken by a parent and sent to me.
Autumn has been glorious thus far and I dream of more of this perfect weather as we ease into the cooler months ahead.
I made my yearly trek out the the Minnesota State Fair today. Where I usually go it alone, today we were celebrating the start of Kindergarten for two sweet boys (both of whom I will miss desperately at my preschool!). So Julen, his BFF and his mamas and I braved the crazy late summer heat (98, feels like 107) and headed out to the great MN get-together.
It was fun to see the fair through someone elses eyes and not just go to the Fine Arts and Creative Arts buildings which is what I usually do. This year was going to be different, it was a celebration for the two boys starting their schooling journey tomorrow.
Still, I never miss the trash sculpture with garbage fished out of the Mississippi river. So many plastic bottles...
...and of course I always HAVE to see what the largest pumpkin weighed in at...881 pounds!
Today was Veterans Day and to celebrate them there was a nice parade, bandanas and a fly-over.
I hadn't been to see the butter sculptures since I was a little girl...I could never find them! But friend Margaret knew right where to go. The sculptor and the princess looked oddly out of place with their heavy coats on, freezing in the cooler while we were all melting outside.
This day was about the boys...they ate tons of junk, rode the rides until they were dizzy, bought eachother a gift in the International Bazaar, played in the arcade, laughed and ran around like crazy.
And then they hopped in the photo booth for a souvenir of their great last day of summer together.