The days stack on top of each other like opened presents pushed to the side of the Christmas tree. We're always moving on to the next one and I feel like I haven't been able to soak in all the lessons, all the beauty, all the wisdom and wonder of the days before. Today was a snow day; the best kind of day of all, isn't it? Lucy's school was closed, I was so relieved to read this morning, so I knew the day could proceed at a different pace than our usual weekdays. No shower for me, piling into our sloppy, haphazard snow clothes, bowls emptied of oatmeal stacked on the counter. Lucy spies little egg-shaped footprints in the snow and declares that a tomten has been visiting us. I shove the wooden dowl out of the shed door, open it and pull out the green sled. Jasper opts not to be in the jogger and walks with us the five or six blocks to the secret garden. We have gone out at the perfect moment - 9:30 am - when the snow is still pristine, fresh, perched perfectly on the branches, no slosh or sludge yet, just powdery snow crackling under our feet. The tomten has been all over the neighborhood, Lucy notices. Kids sled down an awesome just-right hill and go smashing into the blackberry brambles. Lucy steers herself perfectly over the bump where she flies into the air. Tessa, Lucy's friend, her one-yr-old brother Theo, and Beautiful momma Jennifer join us for some snowy fun. Tessa and Lucy get as far away from us as we'll let them to have their own adventure. Tessa comes home with us for a play date. We have tea, fruit, quesadillas, sandwich - warm and cold, but all very easy. Jasper finally has a nap; Lucy and I make a fire, move a big chair in front of it. Lucy suggests we turn skeins of yarn into balls to occupy ourselves. We end up with two half-finished balls with knotty skeins. At 5 pm I finally start dinner prep. Shepherd's Pie tonight - layers of roasted zucchini, sauteed spinach, very spiced up tempeh, and mashed potatos, with lots of butter dotted on top. Doesn't it seem the perfect end to a snowy day? We'll have to thank Grandmother Winter...
Considering the amount of time we spend together, it is really no surprise that Jasper and I are frequently on the same wavelength. This manifests differently at different times - sometimes he offers a pre-emptive strike when I have something in mind to do that he doesn't care to do. For example, I'll be planning a trip to the gym, and he offers out of the blue, Momma, I don't like to go to the gym; I like to go to Grandma Gloria's house. Sometimes he vocalizes a thought I just had. Yesterday, we were in the kitchen pleasantly discussing matters at hand, such as carrot peels. This is shortly after I did the "Ode To Rob" post on the blog. Jasper takes the conversation in a different direction as he says this, in monologue style (I wrote it down verbatim at the time since it seemed an appropriate addendum to yesterday's post):
"I love my daddy. My daddy is at work. I miss that guy. He will come back. He's dressed. Nice to meet you."
With that said, both Jasper and I got our druthers this morning since I went to the gym and he went to Grandma's house. He loves it there. I loved my Nia class. Nia is a conscious, fluid, led dance class where the moves are designed to lube up all your joints and also allow you to physically, creatively express and explore different feelings and ways of being through dance. Sometimes during class and always towards the end, Jennifer, the teacher, says "Audible exhales are very welcome here." And the room fills with the sound of breath going out. And I find it really is a nice thing to do occassionally -- just breath out, loudly. I feel my shoulders relax when I do it, I feel my breath become a little deeper and more satisfying, and I get a cool little vibration in my breastbone that reminds me that everything is connected to everything else. Try it - what do you think?
I love Rob's photography. Well, I just plain old love Rob. He's a great guy. Really an artist at heart. But also a very down-to-earth fellow who genuinely loves to work hard and help out any way he can. And an amazing Dad. Lucy and Jasper adore him. You should hear the hot air balloon stories he tells them most nights - usually at Jasper's request. The hot air balloon usually lands in our backyard and then the children and Rob go on an adventure - they have been all over as far as I can tell - from a friend's house across town to Africa. It was a brilliant move on his part - he can keep telling variations of the same story - so he doesn't have to wholly invent something every day, but there are plenty of riffs he can go on that keep it interesting.
And he loves those children so much. The love just radiates from him and colors his every moment with them - from the second Jasper and he head into the kitchen together to make breakfast all too early until the last goodnight kiss he gives Lucy after their bedtime story time. And don't get me started on the deep well of patience he draws on - you who have or have had or even have been around young children know what I'm talking about. I too often find I'm scraping the bottom of my patience barrel while Rob is sitting there with a huge bottomless vat.
And while I am on this Rob-a-thon, can I just add that he made the most heavenly soup on Sunday? That guy chopped and prepped for hours, cooked each ingredient to its just right perfection, and we were all rewarded for his efforts. The soup sang with flavor and vegan creaminess and every bite had a melange of soft enough, not too mushy deliciousness... I feel blessed and humbled to be sharing my life with him and to be sharing the job of parenting Lucy and Jasper together. It isn't always easy, but overall, it really works for me.
Last Saturday, we were all in the mini-van on our way to visit friends in Woodinville, about a half an hour from our house. Lucy had brought a small ball of beautiful green and blue yarn with her that she wanted to finger knit into a belt. She'd decided that she wanted to make a belt for her teenaged cousin Olivia, who lives in Alaska and who we'd visited last summer. Lucy remembered that Olivia had made a pink bracelet for her, plus she had just enjoyed spending time with Olivia. Lucy finished fingerknitting quite a nice sized belt for Olivia during the trips to and from Woodinville. Then the next day, with Rob's help, Lucy wrote Olivia a note and packaged up the belt for Olivia and mailed it off.
It was only just now that I vaguely remembered seeing in my desk calendar that Olivia's birthday was recently. I took a look and in fact Olivia's fourteenth birthday was last Saturday also, the very day Lucy made the belt for her. Lucy tells me she had no idea. But I am a magical thinker (I can't seem to help this...) and I think Lucy knew...
Lucy builds her fairy garden That pleases Jasper What do those eyes see? A New Year's Eve trip to the park. A joint family party, 5 yr old style.
Lucy enters the secret garden Little birds in our nest Tumbling down a rocky crag Fording a mighty river Uh, how did Dad's hat end up on Jasper's head?? Poor Dad, always losing his hats... We celebrate the new year with painted faces.