the first days

I’d like to say we have slowed time here; That we have managed to have a peaceful and calm week for our baby Jasper, but the truth is it has been quite eventful.  I won’t bore you with details, but between a fire in our garage-barn (that merited a 911 call), a scare swimming in the river, and a trip to the ER over a possible swallowed magnet (nothing in fact was swallowed at all) we are ready for a calmer finish to this week.  Sweet newborn smells and toddler kisses are our fuel, for we need something to go on because life does indeed continue to go on.  The world is still spinning, quite quickly in fact.

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This cool morning is a reminder that this is so.  Our wild and free boys are already outdoors battling the good fight, searching for worms and other discoveries, and with any hope beginning a day that will be without too much excitement.  I promise more newborn Jasper pictures are to come… 

what’s in a name

A name molds around you.

Each time I have stared into the soft black eyes of one of my new-born children, my tears dropping on their forehead, I feel intensely overwhelmed with love and joy and of course, great responsiblity.  The first of which is a big one.  To give them a name.  One that they can properly roll their shoulders into; dig their soft finger like toes firmly in the place surrounding the letters we give them.  A name.  A name they will become, or a name they already are, it always confuses me.  This time, with the luxury of a home birth, no pressure surrounding the feat, and no time give it anyways, except the black of the night and the blue of the dawn to look down at his pointed chin, his soft blistered lips, and his slender neck and fingers trying to discern.  So a few days have come and gone and finally, to the relief of our sweet, curious friends and family, and for our own sigh of accomplishment as well, we came up with a name fitting to such a treasure for our family.

The night before he was born, while reading to my big boys, up in our bed, the humidity of the night and the exhaustion of the day dripping off my shoulders, I felt the first contractions that clearly stretched around my lower back and into my stomach.  Once you have felt this pain, though it may disappear from your memory completely, when you feel it again it all comes back.  With a slight smile on my face, of what was most clearly in store, I tucked in my boys and headed downstairs.  A bellowing storm passed through tearing out the electricity in our house.  Lee and I sat in the dark, curious of how this labor would progress, curious about this little life inside.

At 3AM I called the midwife, unable to sleep any longer.  I took a shower.  I made a blueberry crostada.  One in which we all indulged in all day long.  One in which I nibbled on through out the next night as well.  One in which I picked the little purple-y, pastel, blue berries, the stars of the show, with my littlest boy safe and sound inside me only the day before.  When the sun came up I went for a walk.  I walked, and I walked, and I walked.  When Lee woke up he joined me.  We circled our house, we took the boys to our neighbors pond searching for green frogs, we made our way up and down the hill, through the pasture, and back around the house, again and again and again.  I couldn’t sit still.  I leaned on their shoulders, my voice growing louder as the sun grew higher.

Once, when coming out of the house, Lee noticed the smallest of creatures sitting on our doorstep;  A small fledgling, a male vireo, whose voice would grow to be one of the prettiest sounds in the summer forest.  It sat contentedly on our porch, not injured whatsoever.  It was clearly a fledgling who had lost its way and needed direction.  So, the four of us built a small nest inside a flower-pot, perched the delicate thing inside the grassy bed, and much to his parents delight, who were chipping all around our heads, wedged the pot in a tree and waited.  Eventually it flew on to a branch, its tiny claws instinctively clasping around it, and was greeted by his parents who urged him to fly on along by their side, which he did.

The day went on, labor was as it is, hard and intimidating and overwhelming.  My midwives, and my boys, and my husband labored right by my side, for what felt like an eternity and yet time was no longer in existence.  And finally, at 7:21 PM we welcomed our son to this world.

We whispered his name behind the dark of a new moon, trying it on for size.  The more we said out loud for the world, the more it seemed to swaddle his shoulders, and seep into his eyes.  He is our treasure, our sunlight, our fledgling, our beautiful song.

Jasper Ray Vireo Lawrence

Welcome to our family

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this view, and a recipe for blueberry butter

Turns out we picked the most beautiful place in the world to call home.  Early in the morning it is these sites that get me.

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Mid day, I can hardly bare to look, because what I see feels like make-believe.  

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And by the afternoon, those beautiful fields are giving us the most amazing foods to dine on.  (The ice cream in the making, is honey thyme and I have to thank my dad for that one!  He sent a weary pregnant woman an ice cream maker…  Isn’t he a stellar man??)

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Yesterday I processed about 10 cups of blueberries into blueberry butter.  It was simple and lovely and it tastes like blueberry pie in a jar.  You take the 10 cups of berries, mash them thoroughly, either with a ladle as I did, or in the food processor, probably more efficient….  Cook them on low for 3 hours or so, as low as your stove can go, stirring occasionally.  Add in two cups of sugar, a big dash of cinnamon, a fine grating of nutmeg, and the zest and juice of a lemon.  Continue to cook for one more hour, stirring every ten minutes or so.  Jar em up as you would jar anything.  Share with your neighbors, the gifts will come back ten fold, spread on some home-made toast with mascarpone, or my personal favorite, wait until a snowy day in february and take a big spoonful of summer.

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knitting at 39 weeks

Almost 39 weeks pregnant now, and I am more pregnant than I have ever been.  It doesn’t seem surprising to me though really, as I have felt a bit content lately, and always thought I would go the “distance” so to speak, this time around. With the weather turned down, just a bit, and the nights cool enough for covers, my spirits and energy have returned. In fact, I am taking advantage of the extra time I have to myself, and I have been waking up very early, much before everyone else for weeks now. A walk in the mist, a few rows of knitting, just me and my coffee and some wool, or a quick batch of bread have been my pleasure.  I know these days will soon meld into sleepy mornings, and not much “extra” will be accomplished, but for now I am taking advantage. Full advantage.

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These are both baby surprise sweaters, neither too girly nor masculine (in my opinion), and neither even close to a newborn size (we are having a summer baby after all). This is the perfect mindless sweater pattern if you ask me. I have knitted over a dozen, and I am never, ever disappointed.  I am promising myself to move on though for there are other limbs to cover on my three sweet children when the weather turns gray.

Here is to another morning to myself, one in which I started blueberry butter and walked in the garden with a cup of percolated coffee while plucking bolted lettuce for all our hens (That is right… NO MORE ROOSTERS! Whew… glad that is over with).  Because truth be told when noon time hits this energy of mine sputters out and I am grateful for two boys who like to play together outdoors, giving me much some much-needed rest.

PS- For all my friends and family please, please don’t ask me if I have had the baby yet.  It is driving me insane.  Sorry if this sounds rude of me to say, it very well might be.