Greetings fam-friends! The link below is to a video interview that Wendy McDonell of Compassionate Solutions did with me last week on the subject of using empathy in parenting. I hope you like it!
Wow what a week!! It feels like so much happened that we had two weeks in one! In no particular order — here’s the view from here:
1. As I mentioned last week, Autumn is going out with a flurry, transforming our local landscape into the seasonally appropriate “Winter Wonderland”. The river that runs through town, our daily retreat from the heat of Summer, all but stopped one day, frozen in its tracks. Of course, it really just appeared that way from the mounding sheets of snowy icebergs that collected, and like tectonic plates made a vast, rough continent of solid ice crusted over the river mantle. By Thanksgiving, the temperature had climbed enough to burn holes in the frozen surface, and the river reclaimed the rest. It was even green and sunny on Thanksgiving Day, now it’s white from ground to sky again… 2. Which is to say that it’s still freezing out there. And that is why these two, virtual strangers throughout the Summer, have been parked here for the last couple weeks, and are still in roughly the same spots now… Nimbus is more diplomatic about it than Frau. 3. Echo’s been working on some portraits. Here’s Mom up close. 4. Speaking of “up close”, here’s Natalie’s finger up close, with some little teeny Fairy Food donuts on it. She’s been in hyperdrive production mode for the last month. And this week has only been more of the same… She’s adding meals this year (below) on gorgeous fae-sized china like the one featured above. Mmmm Fettuccine Alfredo with garlic crostino… The meal menu is diverse to say the least… Though it reads a little like a Monty Python routine: “Chicken, peas, and cornbread”, “Chicken, peas, and egg”, “Chicken, egg, and bacon”, “Chicken and salad”… “Spam, spam, spam, spam…” Here’s the sweatshop, where Natalie’s tiny-handed minions make Fairy Food earrings… Not really! ;) This is actually the result of Xi and Echo’s begging Natalie to let them help her. Echo is assembling the best pairs, and Xi is turning them into ear-worthy accoutrements. And here’s Natalie laboring away at another new Fairy Food incarnation — Fairy Food Paintings! One of the current favorite Üuuuuuu’s And one of the current favorite Aaaaaaaah’s. 5. Echo and Xi with Lily and Hannah. The ladies were all out for a stroll together on this day — hot cocoas at the ready.Later, the foursome worked together on a fashion photo spread featuring some of Lily and Hannah’s favorite outfits.
6. Thanksgiving this year was a decidedly “scaled-down” affair, but lovely nevertheless. Echo, Natalie, and I hid out at home most of the day and only made a handful of our favorite dishes. We went for a stroll in the early afternoon — Echo was already in her fancy attire for dinner, I was in my Montana Mountain Man best. We got home and were feasting by 4:30. 7. After the Thanking, it snowed again, and Echo took the initiative to build her very first solo snow person, George. We all agreed that George had a winning smile. 8. Echo styled Mom’s hair and then wanted to take some photos — featuring only the hair.9. She then turned the camera on the current lego scene, below, which covers a significant portion of the living room floor. This castle wreckage was raised and razed innumerable times over the last couple weeks. Echo built a room for Nim the cat, a full-on defensive fortress, a family of robots, and a faery spa, among other things. 10. Here are some of Bella’s current art projects. On herself…including stripes, geometry, organic shapes, and (below) the names of some of her most profound influences.
And on the computer… (I can’t get over how much I love the Llamacorn, and “You can do the thing” — so good on so many levels!)11. We got out the Yule tree yesterday: cut from the basement forest, unfolded and set-up on the traditional spool table, and adorned with lights and just a smattering of ornaments (we saved more than half of the ornaments to do after Xi gets back this week). So our seasonal celebrations are officially kicked-off and well under way!
12. Last but by no means least — Natalie’s first Annapurna article is now (like our Yule tree) up and ready! So head on over and enjoy that at your earliest opportunity!
I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings, and that you’re enjoying all your own seasonal delights, too!
It’s been a fun and busy week around here. It seems like there’s a heckuva lot going on!
For starters, after an extremely mild early Autumn — I mean, we didn’t even get pounded by a blizzard on Halloween(!) — and extra boons from the garden all the way through October, Winter finally came to Missoula. Actually, Winter stole into town in the dead of night and gave us all a serious seasonal smackdown. We had cold driving rain, which turned slowly into chunky blobs of slush, then as the temperature continued to plummet tiny white crystal flakes were laid over the top in thick stacks. By the next day, the high was as low as the previous nights bottom temps, and the lows sunk into single digits. The so-called polar vortex hasn’t passed yet, and has kept temperatures in Montana and nearby states colder than Alaska — srsly brrrrrrrrr…
Not for the purpose of keeping warm, but alongside those efforts, Natalie has been up to her armpits in Fairy Food creation. Here’s some baguettes getting a nice toasty chalk-brushing on their way to the oven… Croissant and Campagne thrown in for free.
The next several shots are from the process of making a head of Romaine. Each of the colored shapes below is separately cut and laid and molded into the conglomerate lettuce leaf…
Then that thick leaf is mooshed and rolled into a tube… And when the ends are lopped off, the tube is a row of lettuce leaves waiting to be sliced… Thin lettuce leaves cut from the tube… And wrapped around the Romaine heart… Viola!And don’t forget the tiny cupcakes — glazed with sprinkles on top!
She’s one of only a dozen contributors, and though none of her pieces has been released as of this post, she’s been getting rave reviews from the editor and Carrie-Anne on everything she’s sent. The link below is to her profile on the site. Be on the look-out for her articles and images! http://www.annapurnaliving.com/natalie-christensen/
I’ve been doing some fun collaboration(s) as well. Ariadne Brill (you may remember her from the Community! page above) leading a bushel of other Positive Discipline coaches, mentors, and parent educators from around the world — including yours truly — has created a new PD-aligned quarterly parenting e-journal called COMPASS. Our inaugural issue has just come out and it looks beautiful (thanks Ariadne!!), and it’s stuffed with great ideas, advice, and information for gentle parents of all walks. Click on the image below to be taken to my sign-up page to receive your ¡free! copy. It’s a real gem and I’m proud to be a part of it!
And continuing with the theme of stellar collaborations…
In other news — Xi has been trying out a new online curriculum this week and is totally loving it and finding new heights of interesting things to explore. It covers all the subjects, and she says the tutorials are better than other ones she’s tried. The other thing is that it’s designed to carry her through the entire 6th grade, including all the various disciplines and requirements for the year. Plus, she’s so jazzed about it that she completed most of two weeks’ worth or work in just four days!
And the littlest one, that lightning bolt we call Echo…? Well, she is off to her first ever all-night sleep-over at her dear friend Salome’s house (she’s done two half-night sleep-overs there previously). Salome and her family are some of the ones who came and stayed with us in Santa Cruz last Winter; they’re the ones whose cute one-bedroom studio our whole family stuffed happily into while Gus was being remodeled; and we’ve been friends with them since Echo and Salome were 6-months old. Bonuses for Echo tonight include the younger sisters Olive (4) and Selah (1) who both think Echo is the cat’s meow, and a wholly different crowd for picking out a movie night selection.
So it turns out, Natalie and I are kidless for the whole evening. So… I’m already drunk! Just kidding!! :D We hardly know what to do with such a thing as a kidless evening! And we take such good care of ourselves so regularly that we probably aren’t even going to do anything different. Like Natalie says, “We like our nighttime routine so much it’ll be so nice to just get to do more of that…”. So I’m going to sign-off now and go be with her!
Hope you’re all healthy, busy as you want to be, and having just as much fun.
This week’s been kind of an odd one for us because I’m the only one home! We’re used to the coming and going of our older two girls as they flow back and forth between their two homes, but it’s fairly unusual for our micro-unit family to be split up for more than a few hours on any given day, and certainly strange to spend a whole week apart. But it does happen every now and again, and it’s always sort of weird.
For one thing, I feel as though a portion of body is turned off, or missing, or so numb to the touch that it may as well be gone. I don’t have my normal outlets (or inlets) for loving, so I feel like there’s a big part of the normally used part of me that is dormant, or distant, or (not to put too fine a point on it) utterly unsatisfied. Nevertheless, I’m making due, and have a few fun adventures of my own in the process.
Natalie and Echo are in Boulder, Colorado visiting some long-time friends. Echo is particularly happy to have some time with the little guy in the background below. That’s Noah and his mom Shanti. Me, although I’ve felt like a sail with no ship for the last several days, I’m making good use of the time doing things that I probably would have stayed home instead of, had the family been here. So, I got to go to a drum and journey gathering, I stayed out super late a couple of nights, went to karaoke, did the entire First Friday Art Walk, hung out with a number of my “we should really get together soon” friends, shook my booty to a popular local bar band, and went for a couple “before it’s frozen out” hikes, in addition to my more mundane daily tasks.
Below is a shot I took from a place I found and named “The Laughing Ravine” that carries the sounds of laughs and screams and shouts of joy from a playground (or two) down below all the way up the 1,000 foot hill and over. The ravine which is also a watershed for spring run-off, acted like a tributary, feeding the “Mirth Woods”, the mountain top, and the sky, above. I marveled at the power of such energy gliding up the side of the hill at least once or twice each day, 5 days a week, most weeks of the year…This view is from the top of Mount Sentinel over-looking the heart of the Five Valleys where Missoula nestles, getting ready for a long Winter’s nap. If you look closely, you can see a sliver of each of the two rivers at opposite ends of town.Xi is due back tonight, Natalie and Echo the day after. And while I wait for the “pins and needles! pins and needles!” to subside, and the feeling to come back into the sleeping parts of me, I’ll be cleaning, and wrapping up some last minute garden tasks before the snow and serious cold hit, possibly Monday. Please send Natalie and Echo safe driving mojo as they wend their way back, 13 hours, from Colorado!
And that’s the haps in our world at present. Hope you’re all enjoying your current opportunities, too!