On any given day you are most likely to find us communing with the gnomes and the fairies Under The Old Oak Tree

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Still around...

It's been too long since I've posted on here yet again.  We've been BUSY!  Apple picking, fall festivals at our previous Waldorf school and our new school, making apple butter, trips to go visit friends, a trip to Williamsburg, trying to establish our autumn rhythm and in my case having one of the worst colds I can remember.  Of course, I've not managed to document most of this because my camera battery is dead and I haven't been able to locate my charger since our vacation out west ( I need to write more about that too, but not tonight).

Today was the fall festival at our new school.  It was a magical day for W and I.  It felt so good to be at the school, surrounded by such a beautiful, caring community, and engaged in lovely activities.  W got to make a bird feeder and a little sachet that he's keeping under his pillow.  He also dug for buried treasure, and played with a beautiful marble run.  We  watched a wonderful puppet play performed by his teacher.  He was also very excited because he was able to sit by her lovely assistant teacher during the performance.  His two favorite things though were a delightful children's musician who let W play the bongos while he sang (my boy LOVES drums) and shucking corn.  Seriously, my thumbs hurt because he wanted me to constantly be shucking the corn too.  We did this for hours at a time!  I wish I had my camera today.  He was just so happy and engaged in his work all day.  I'm thinking I need to be getting some of this corn so he can do this at home too.  His corn bin is getting sparse again and he clearly thinks this is a fantastic activity.

I'm also starting to think about Christmas.  I'd like to do all handmade again this year but I feel like I'm running terribly behind and I'm not totally sure what to do for everyone yet.  Most of my ideas seem to be for W and I'm working to balance them out between for his birthday and Christmas.  I did get one gift completed this week while I tried to rest and recover from this cold.  My mom the other day found a needle-felted nativity on Etsy and loved the idea so much she just could not stop talking about it.  Hint.  Hint.  So I set about starting one for her.  I have made the principal figures of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  I'm fairly pleased with how these have come out.  I plan on working on additional pieces to add to it in the coming years.  I had initially planned to make the large set all this year, but I would like to have time to make gifts for other people too.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Michaelmas!

Our family finally celebrated Michaelmas this evening.  Things have seemed a little unorganized and chaotic this year since we've had a couple of different illnesses floating around here the past few weeks.  I think our celebration was still quite lovely even if I never did find our wooden dragon for the nature table and  we ended up with blackberry crumble instead of pie due to time constraints.

It has been really fun celebrating with W this year though.  W and I have been singing Michaelmas songs and verses all week and at school W's teacher told us the most lovely Michaelmas story about a boy named George who picks apples and puts one on the family table for Michaelmas.  She has been doing a little puppet story of this for a few weeks now and W has loved it!  After his first class, we went to a thrift store and he found a basket "to pick apples like George".  We actually ended up with two such baskets and used them when we went apple picking as a family (more on that another time).  For our table setting this evening W chose one of the apples that we picked and polished it and put it on the table under our dragon candle.

W also decided that his St. George doll would be a good addition to our table decor, so George joined us for Michaelmas dinner  this year.  I thought it was quite fitting.  We also picked some wild asters today to put on the table.  We were hoping to find some actual Michaelmas daisies in our neighborhood, but had to settle for some small white and purple flowers instead.  They were still a lovely addition to the table.  Of course W and I also really enjoyed working together to roll and decorate our dragon candle for this year and make our annual dragon bread.  

One other Michaelmas preparation was to dye some golden playsilks with turmeric.  We did a trial run this week and will be making some more next week with friends, continuing our Michaelmas celebration for a little while.  Just before dinner, I presented W with one of the silks as a cape.  The other we place on our dining room table under the centerpiece.

You might have guessed that someone was getting a little tired and hungry at this point.

In the past I've written about our traditional Michaelmas meal of Cornish hens, carrots and onion stuffing.  As I mentioned before we also had dragon bread and blackberry crisp with the meal.  The blackberry crisp actually worked out pretty well since W is not partial to pie in general.

I've been trying to focus on some inner work as well this week...choosing my personal dragons to conquer and subdue this year.  One of the big ones is to work on my will and spend more time keeping my home up and less time on the computer.  I've been trying to work on it this week, limiting computer time during W's waking hours to quickly pulling up a recipe or project directions and trying to save the majority of my computer usage to in the morning before he wakes up, during nap time and after bedtime.  

Another of my personal dragons is being in the moment and working on maintaining my clam throughout the day; being a gentle, but authoritative (not authoritarian) presence as we go about our daily tasks and rhythm.  It's not always the easiest thing for me, but I when I am mindful about it, as I have tried to be this week, it is very successful.  I will say that W's teacher and her assistant set beautiful example of this and I have been paying very close attention to their interactions with him at school.  Watching them this week, something has clicked in my brain and I get it in a way I did not previously.  As long as I am mindful, and gently redirect (often physically turning him to something else) and use not just a more gentle tone, but fewer words as well, I am successful.  One day this week in particular, I attempted to not talk as much and especially not when W was getting into things that were not okay, physically redirecting first.  Sometimes it took a couple of times redirecting him to a toy or activity on the other side of the room, but we ended up having so many fewer power struggles and no yelling from either of us.  What a difference...but it requires being mindful and in the moment!  I guess you could say that my dragons this year are  really one dragon of being distracted by outside stuff that keeps me from being mindful and in the moment.  I think this is a big dragon for me to tackle this year, but oh, so needed.

Wishing you all light, courage and strength in this glorious autumn season.



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