Growing Flowers

catching babies, raising daughters in the high desert……

Tag: Thoughts

Rain in the Desert!

A sleepy day. A super late night and a baby girl. The house was quiet when I awoke – Kaya in theater camp, Treska at the Birth Center, Falko working….. I stayed in my jammies until 12, drank coffee and walked around looking at my flowers and garden.

I love my bed, I love my coffee, I love my jammies, I love my Miso (our dog). I love our home. I just felt full of insane gratitude – for sleep, really. It made me so happy. To sleep in.

After picking up Kaya and a friend, after chocolate covered coconut ice-cream popsicles – we settled in at home.

I made parsley pesto – rather fabulous, lunch and tea. And then it rained! It really poured for, probably 15 minutes! Of course, it is sunny now, again. But we sure did get that rainy feeling. I even videotaped it – it was pouring down the windows, making sounds on the roof. It even felt a tiny bit chilly – I closed the front door.

Heaven!

 

Ok – it’s here. (Oh – wait.)

Spring seems like it has finally arrived here in Taos. Unending gratitude for that!

So funny – this is the post that I began yesterday. I was going to talk about our beautiful walk with a friend and his new wife down to the secret river spot. It was warm. The girls were in the water. Barefoot. The sun was toasty and we had a reprieve from the wind for a few hours. My lips got chapped from the sun, actually.

I had already uploaded the above photo. I was going to post this picture:

I was going to write about the sudden changes we find in our lives. This was very much illustrated by a windy, rainy and “haily” walk on Pueblo land last week. Beautiful weather – the deep and dark clouds felt good. Fresh air was needed.

and now Spring.  Spring weather. This is Spring.

Until today…..May 1st brought this:

And really, you know what? This is Spring too.

How do You do it?

Getting ready for an out-of-town visitor is always a bit tricky! “When America Comes to Taos.” I actually started writing an entry entitled, ‘When LA comes to Taos’ this winter. When people from the rest of the world come here, I start to see my home, my life and everything with squeaky fresh eyes – and I LIKE what I see. But I know it looks different from the outside. I start to notice the muddy roads, the muddy tracks in my house.  I notice the little things that I like to overlook. Scuffs, scrapes and the sort. My
shoes! I notice that my outfits are one and the same. It’s true. I rotate just a few favorites.
So I got ready all day today. While cleaning and organizing, my littlest daughter said, “Oh you just want him to think your life is like your blog!!!!” Yikes! I thought my blog was like my life! So here is my disclaimer. Please note: My life might be a little muddier, messier, busier and more complicated than expected!
So I cooked today. I made a crock pot meal. My one and only crock pot meal that I love. I made it. I chopped and peeled and the house smelled yummy like coconut curry all day long!
I made my squash soup too. I like being home all day so I can do these things. I did 3 loads of laundry. Domestic stuff. I really enjoy the productivity! I can imagine deriving great satisfaction from running a household well. Well. I just do it in spurts over here. Spurts between births.  If I really did this all day every day, well I would be GOOD at it! Really.  I wonder, actually, how other people, with children, manage. How do people keep up with it all? Just yesterday my close friend said, as I expounded on the deep cleaning that I was in the midst of, “Gosh, you seem to do that a lot!” The implication was, where is all this stuff coming from? Why does it always need organizing? Why do you have to purge so often? I don’t know. I am hoping others have those answers. I do know that I am a bit compulsive when it comes to accumulation. I hate it. I won’t have it.  I get rid of things all the time. Boxes to the ‘Free-Box,’  a trip to Buffalo Exchange. (My rule being: if you want new clothes, get rid of old ones…..) And I am insane about letting things into the house. I don’t buy anything randomly. I avoid stores unless I have a purpose. Mostly.
And towards the end of the day I took a little walk into our future. A small hint is what this is…nothing more. I am still waiting for a one hundred percent confirmation before I divulge. But here is a peek…..

This is why I Blog!

These are the moments that I crave. For some reason I have been loving chopping vegetables. It’s the time I find myself stopping and thinking. There is just one simple focus. I try to still my mind, but it’s really almost impossible. So I think and think and think while chopping veggies and making soup. (Yes – the same soup I always make. Squash, coconut, curry – Um – yes – we did eat that two days ago. Nonetheless…..) I was actually thinking a bit about this blog. It’s been on my mind a bunch today, because suddenly a ton of people are reading it! Seriously. I don’t know how or why – but my “hits” have gone waaaaay up. (Many links from Germany and some from this stunningly presented, consciously written  and inspiring blog that I love!) It’s kind of exciting. It made me think about why I started this blog in the first place. I began this to document our homeschooling and farming journey for family. It was a way to show our family (near and far)  what homeschooling is all about. I wanted it to be a reassuring document – something I could look at feel a sense of accomplishment. I do. I can really see what we have done and what I would still like to do. I can see our shortcomings easily! Homeschooling is a big part of this blog – the main part maybe. We didn’t farm this year on the large-scale that Miranda Canyon Kinderfarm was – but I loved the documentation of Treska’s HUGE garden this year. (I talked about this shift in this blog post here.) So where is this blog going?

It’s a journal of sorts. A journal for myself, my family and anyone else who enjoys it. I’ve begun finding ways to talk about being a midwife here. I am very much enjoying this part of the reflection, because it is such a huge part of my identity. My family and midwifery are so completely interwoven that is difficult to separate. Treska was 5 when she attended her first birth with me! Kaya was nursing when I attended my first birth. (My let-down reflex happened at every first cry – soaking my pink scrubs.  I began apprenticing in a Leipzig women’s clinic – and they all wore scrubs!)

My challenge is to find a way to talk about birth and midwifery without telling any identifiable birth stories. I wish I could talk and write about birth as candid as I would like to! I would love to write about the insanity of the complications we sometimes address and deal with. I would love to describe the faces of the mamas as they first see their babies, I’d love to write about my own fears and anxieties that present, I’d love to write more. I am figuring out a way that I can write these stories and to give insight into this life here. I so love reading the blogs of other mamas, farmers, homeschoolers and midwives and especially the ones who give a true insight into their world.

I’d like to be as authentic as possible here. It’s hard. I do come home from births exhausted, weepy, and emotional. All birth is not joy – some women have a really, really hard time and gosh it is hard to support them. Sometimes. I do have hard parenting days, homeschooling ideas that have totally flopped and I have had some hard things to think about and move through this year (who doesn’t?) and I wonder how to document it all without just presenting the “sunny side.”  I want it to be real.

My kids read the blog and love it. Treska teases me a bunch whenever we’re having a sweet moment. This morning she narrated, “Lying on the bed, in the sun, talking to my daughter. Gosh, I love her!” It’s funny, we laughed. It’s true, and what I see and understand from this is this:  She is recognizing the sweet moments to savor that I see.

And that is why I blog! To document our sweet moments. To savor them!

The First Day of the New Year

I thank the universe that I am a midwife. It gives clarity and perspective to everything I do. It gives me a focus when there is chatter and chores, ER visits and lists of things to do.  To be a mom and a midwife is a gift above and beyond everything.  Happy New Year!  I will continue to focus on what is right in front of me and to focus on what I know has meaning. I will give everything I have, work hard internally and externally. I will love our mamas, my children, my family, my friends. I will be calm, open, accepting. I will slow down and put one foot in front of the other. This is what the first day of my New Year has shown me.

 

Being in the Present

I am finding more and more ways to be in the present. It is what I have been doing  this year and it saves me from all the thinking my mind wants to do. I’m trying to do this, I mean. I’ve noticed the active effort that I have been making. Some of it is working, and some of it is not. Even my choice of profession – my calling moves me in this direction. I am completely, one hundred percent present at every single birth I do. I had a beautiful Monday – full of births in the middle of big emotions. The births I attended brought me right back to where I needed to be: here and right in the moment. Thankfully. The beauty, the seriousness and joyousness reminded me of where I wanted to be. In the here and now. It’s a lofty desire, but birth accomplishes it for me.

Yoga has done this for me as well. I usually arrive at yoga class (sometimes late) with my mind spinning. It takes a few vinyasas for me to forget what I was thinking of. Sometimes I only forget briefly as I move through the positions, but often my mind is quiet until I leave the studio.

AND

I started skiing. I did! We live in a ski town! It is the steepest mountain in North America, it is truly stunning! Beautiful! I have never skied before now. I’ve been slowly gathering gear, I’ve been watching my girls ski since the third grade – six years now, but I have never put on downhill skis or boots myself.  My oldest is an insane skier (actually terrifies me) and my youngest loves it as well. They are growing up skiing, they are good at it and do it with joy. A close friend has been talking to me about skiing for more than a year now, I felt resistance to it due to the finances. It’s an expensive hobby – and I just didn’t know if I would be able to learn it at this late age! Finally, after much convincing, I gave in and took a “never ever” lesson – an all day lesson up at the ski valley and I learned! I worked hard, I rode the ski lift. It was stunningly beautiful up there. I watched Kaya scoot all around me, up and down and just everywhere with an ease and confidence that I am not sure I will ever attain. My second day was even better, but I was challenged to a run on the mountain – my first run away from the bunny hill. (Strawberry and Rugli) It did bring me to tears. It was hard and wonderful, but scary as well. I wasn’t too sure how I was going to get down – but I did. I finally did.

On the lift, towards the end of the day, I realized  that I hadn’t thought about anything the entire day. I had concentrated only on being in my body. I was present in a way I never usually can be. Like a birth, it took no effort to be fully aware of what was right in front of me. Skiing was, for me, like an all-day meditation. (A successful meditation.) My mind was focused, concentrated and only in the present. My body worked hard and I felt my muscles being challenged in a way they are not usually.

I am so happy to think I am finding these ways to truly be present and rewire my brain in this way. What are the benefits of being focused and “in the present?”

  • “Improved concentration. As you become able to focus on the present moment for longer periods of time, you find fewer distractions and you experience improved focus and concentration.
  • Improved effectiveness. One of the gifts of living in the present moment is that you become much more effective; you find yourself getting more things done in less time, effortlessly.
  • Increased relaxation. When you set your mind to focus on the present there is no room left for thoughts of worry about the future or regret about the past. In this way, you find yourself relaxing into whatever it is you are doing.
  • Direct-felt experience of reality. As you focus on the now, the stories in your head about what’s going on tend to fall away, and you start experiencing reality directly, without labels. You then stop thinking that something is “good” or “bad”, and start simply feeling.
  • Outmoded beliefs fall away. As you stop labeling what’s going on, beliefs that no longer serve you will come to the surface so that you can recognize them, and then they will fall away little by little.”
    excerpted from another blog……

 

One more thought. I love knitting and crocheting. Both of these crafts are mind quieters. The repetitive motions of the hands, that same focus on the stitches….. this is another way, for me, to still my mind and to be in the present. What do you do to find that stillness?

Homeschooling

Here we are again. We are beginning our new curriculum – (Oak Meadow of course!) Oh we have a lot to do. Tons. I wonder how it is in other households. Are there others out there that homeschool their teens? I am so curious. What is it like over here? What have we been up to? This will be one of my homeschool update blog entries. I like to keep track here of what we have been doing for future reference.  Both girls finished their curriculum from last year in its entirety. Done. They did really well and learned a ton. I did too. I love reading and learning about the subjects they are reading and learning.  We do lots of enhancement exercises as well. For example – Kaya studied Ancient Civilizations. This means she had lots of lessons on different world religions. We watched The Buddha and The Story of India (The entire 6 hours!) to go along with it. Documentaries are fun to use, but hard to find the time.

So what have we been up to?

  • math, math and more math with Kaya
  • Treska finished up her curriculum by doing her Physics. Wow. Hard stuff and good stuff.
  • Attended a Seed Savers Workshop in Dixon with guest speakers from Guatemala
  • As usual, incredible amounts of reading!
  • saving seeds from our own garden
  • ballet class 2-3 times a week
  • beginning piano again – practicing almost every day (Kaya)
  • Kaya has begun writing a book. A fantastic one at that!
  • Treska learned how to make pasta and has made some incredible dinners and lunches
  • Photography art opening of a friend
  • Kaya is taking a youth acting workshop once a week for 2 hours!
  • Kaya started an internship/volunteer opportunity for 2 hours each week at a Pet grooming and training center. (This entailed phone calls, writing a resume, follow-up for an interview and an interview! All done completely on her own!
  • Sewing class (for Kaya) once a week
  • along with their assigned curriculum each week they are both reading German books as well.
  • Math games on the computer
  • Treska does Yoga at least 2 times a week with me
  • Attended San Geronimo day at the Pueblo – Kaya researched it and wrote a paragraph about it.  She then presented it to the apprentices as we drove there.
  • Farmer’s Market every Saturday

Oh and I’m sure there has been so much more. I’m sure. Each time we start a new year of the curriculum I vow to be incredibly organized. I’ve figured out some great systems. We write our assignments on the white board in the kitchen.  This not only reminds them of their curriculum/homeschooling responsibilities it reminds me. Kaya loves it that way – she’s a methodical worker and loves lists. Treska uses her own system and keeps track with her notebooks, so her list on the white board is really best for me to remember exactly where she is.  I’m a bit compulsive and so while many people never finish their curriculum work and pick and choose what they feel to be most important, I feel like we absolutely have to do it all. I know that the school systems never finish each year. But we do. The kids are really learning a lot of things that they wouldn’t normally come across in their daily life.  One thing I really love is how much the girls already know.

It’s hard to find a book that Kaya hasn’t read. This means all  (yes ALL) of the assigned books have already been read by Kaya. Another example: This week Kaya has to memorize one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. She already has memorized one – so now she will memorize two. I’m not writing this here to brag about the girls – or try to convince you that we are academically superior – not at ALL. I just love reading these posts later when I wonder how we are doing (feeling a little desperate and maybe behind) and remembering and seeing what we have accomplished and why I LOVE homeschooling my girls. We have so many opportunities and I feel like their lives are full of real interactions with real people in real situations. My girls have many friends their own age and many, many friends in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and one really good friend in her 60s! This enables them to interact on so many different levels. They strive to emulate the people they see and admire. These aren’t usually their peers. They have more time to be in the world – yet they are still doing much book learning and spending time doing things their friends are doing. Treska even went to a homecoming football game!

And now the question of college begins. Treska has been researching different colleges and locations that she would like to attend and my job (hers too) is to determine what the requirements are in place  for homeschoolers. Many of the universities that she is interested in are in Europe. (She is passionate about learning languages!) We need to figure out exactly what the reciprocity of different diplomas are. What is possible and what needs to be done to comply. I love being so intimately involved in the girls’ education. I know what they know and what they don’t. I know what needs to get done and where they are strong and what their weaknesses are.

Anyhow!  It’s a bit of a ramble –  probably due to my quiet day at home. Usually I talk all day and have no desire to expound in the evening. Today, after spending the night at the Birth Center, being spoiled by Kaya, taking a long epsom salt bath with yummy essential oil, organizing the new curriculum, giving assignments, overseeing math work, listening and talking with my extremely chatty 15 year old (I love how she tells me everything! Feel honored too!) and cleaning my house – laundry and all, I feel ready to chat!  Our wood stove is burning – the first time this year, my girls are at ballet and I get to relax!

Should be sleeping…..

Oh goodness. I should be sleeping now, but I’m listening to Treska and Falko having such an amazing conversation. Full of insights, sharing thoughts, values, (I hope she’s cleaning up the kitchen while she’s talking….) they explore who they are in this world and who they want to be. I love listening to the conversations between these two. Proud of the values Treska displays. I’m proud of who this girl is becoming, who she is!   This is why I’m not sleeping. It’s been a whirlwind of a few days and my eyelids are heavy, but I think I’ll write for a minute to clear my mind.

My window is open in my room, a lovely feeling. A cool breeze on my bare feet. It has had to be closed for awhile due to prolific pollen from the glorious sage and chamisa blooming happily outside our doors!  I love looking at it – smelling it (when it is not blooming) and still not sad to see the bright yellow fade. It’s a desperate type of allergy. I’ve never sneezed this much in my life. I think it shocked Treska – but she learned how to say Gesundheit in Italian now – she needed new ways of blessing me. And I do need blessing!

It’s been a week of:

-art openings

-teenage girls and chocolate cream pie

-cheese fondue with 5000 pieces of baguette

-new haircuts

-yoga

-a baby boy with a big name

-heart to hearts

-back to back prenatals and “almost” births

-saying a sad goodbye to Bobbie – my partner Midwife (The girls and I helped her clean and pack for some time this morning. It was so good to feel helpful a bit. Quite a good thing for me too! (I was awake at a “birth that wasn’t” the night before) I would have been useless anywhere else!

-yeasty, buttery popcorn in bed (and I literally mean in bed – it will be crunchy sleeping tonight) while watching silly romance movie

-driver’s education classes every day for Treska!!!

-laundry

-jump rope contests with oneselves (Kaya)

-no time to stop, no time to think – perpetual forward motion!

-new homeschooling curriculum ordered! Excited to begin! (and finish)

-zucchini muffins made from 1/2 of the world’s largest zucchini (I found it hidden in Treska’s squash patch – we still haven’t had a frost this year!)

-cole slaw from our carrots and cabbage

Oh – perhaps that gives a small flavor of the week. I am looking forward to teaching a class tomorrow morning, interviewing a potential apprentice and hoping for that birth that I am hoping for. Yes – it’s circular. So I think I will pack up this laptop, slip under the covers, turn off the light and fall asleep to the voices in the living room.  Hoping the phone rings….

 

Multiple Musings

Today was a good, loud, busy day at home.  Kaya had her girlfriend C over, two other boys came over who are 11 and 7  and since I had made oatmeal-peanut butter cookies Rafa and Tono (our two toddler neighbor boys) came over to help us eat those – so it was a busy “whirlwindy” type of day today.  The kids played “Can’t Stop” which is an addition board game. Then they worked on art projects. I got out stacks of magazines, saved paper, glue, scissors and box tops and they all worked on making collages in the box tops. Kaya made this one:

dsc094791

Treska was here talking with much enthusiasm about the book she is reading right now by Grace Llewellyn called “The Teenage Liberation Handbook”  She loves it so much.  She just left to drive up to the farm that is at higher altitude than we are to get some watermelon seeds that apparently do very well in this high altitude and short growing season that we have here.  It has a very black peel and deep red, juicy interior.  We are excited to grow them. She went up with Marcy and Jenny squished in the back between two car seats and two toddlers.

We are in the planning states of our small farm that we are beginning this year. We already have the chickens and are anxiously awaiting our first eggs.  We are planting the 2 1/2 acre field behind our house with an abundance of food – so we are starting to think about seeds , CSAs, compost, and ploughing.  The kids made little paper mache seedling starter pots all day yesterday and Treska’s been collecting yogurt containers for  her own seedling business.  It’s exciting to think of everything beginning to thaw out, melt and little green sprouts popping up everywhere.  I feel so excited about this project and a little nervous about all the work as well.  I think if we just take one day at a time. Starter pots, soil, seeds, water, sprouts, plants, transplants, buds, flowers, fruit…. Little tiny steps with a big goal in mind.  It’s wonderful and incredibly rewarding watching the girls, especially Treska, becoming more and more involved with gardening.

We watched Treska become so immersed and successful in her garden last year. She spent her free time out there weeding and just watching.  Our neighbors would joke about seeing Treska in her garden just watching it grow. How could we send her back to school in this lovely August weather just as everything was blooming and beginning to produce?

It was such an organic decision to not send them back to school. I felt it in my gut – in my heart. I had never even thought about the possibility of homeschooling. Never questioned the institution…. I just knew that my children became my children again in the summers. They became alive, happier, relaxed, interested, curious, and energetic. It was the perfect decision. I am so happy having my children at home. They are learning immensely. Piano, dancing, baking and cooking, math, history, reading and writing now in German (they already speak it fluently), gardening, reading, arts and crafts, knitting and crocheting and socializing with friends make our days rich.

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