Jasper and I always wake before the sun. He sits on my knee while I light wee twigs on last nights coals. He pulls up a stool while I froth my milk good and bubbly for my morning’s latte, and we cuddle on the couch and read about Tractor Mac over and over, wood stove popping and blowing hot air, latte prying open my eyes and little toddler paws wrapped around me. Life is so sweet at that hour. When the sun begins to lift the nights curtain, galloping boys usually trot downstairs promptly plopping themselves at the table bellies grumbling loud enough to be heard from our cozy perch on the couch. Breakfast one and two are enjoyed thoroughly and the house is quickly booming with life.
I am beginning to find solace in the gift that is four children. My priorities can only be with them, it is mere survival. There is no crossing off of the to do list, unless it is in chunks that are manageable enough for many little hands to help with. And now, with nine long and short weeks behind us as a family of six, we are finally, finally settling into the rhythm of it all. And by that I mean, understanding that the only rhythm that is necessary to follow is that of the three meals and bedtime with a healthy dose of fresh air and a large chunk of messy crafting as well.
When we move slow like honey, the days taste that way too. We may fall short of perfection more often than not, but it is working. And that makes me smile.
I have been busy arranging snow clothes by the wood stove, sinking my hands in warm soapy water three times a day-minimum, putting the couch cushions back together (over and over), breaking up fights, teaching those around me to be patient even when I don’t feel so patient myself, feeding medium-sized humans, and nursing tiny ones… I am attempting to tame the beasts.
Oh but the gratitude. The gratitude is as thick as the foam on my homogenized milk latte. (Did you know you can’t froth raw milk? I didn’t until recently… but a little tiny container of store-bought, homogenized milk just for mama’s coffee or tea is quite a lovely treat of the late for ultimate frothy satisfaction.) That, along with walky talkies that stretch to our best friends house, giving away maple muffins to cheer up us Bernie mourning Vermonters on our hill, snow, little boys who are big enough to put on snow clothes and cross country skis without help (that my friends is a feat I have been waiting for), and of course the next few days with family and friends, are all making up for the tally of hours placing cushions back on the couch (tell me, why do I bother?) as well as the time spent coaxing two-year olds to let me change their diaper.
Sending love and peace to you and yours this holiday.
I leave you with a BLOG POST my friend honed in on that made the holiday feel that much sweeter to me…
Daylight savings… While a good portion of the parent in me screams in terror at this day, the part of me that I remember from long ago seems to open just a crack and soak it up. And in particular I am referring to the sun. The sun is good as gold this time of year. Our bodies crave it, knowing it’s still sinking lower and lower into the sky, spending less time with us every day. Up before five this morning, I am sure we will all be quite exhausted by the day’s end, but at least I got to see the sun rise against a jack frosted window pane and feel the wood stove warm my back while the warmth of that far away star gently heated my eyelids.
And of course there is this. The baby stretches and the toddler kisses, and the big brothers helping and being sweet. Thank goodness for cold cereal, when my brain is still too foggy to even muster up the simplest meals (and there is second breakfast to be had anyways).
And thank goodness for the sun.
Last week while at my parents house for a long weekend, we got to soak up the sun in a most cherished way. One very odd and very definitively last beach day. Half dressed up for the most communal of holidays, and half too nude for the internet (Not me! The two year old!), I captured this sweet photo that sums up, to me, the beauty of a big(ish) family. The attention that I don’t have to pass around to all four as often as I would like is made up double by the love they pass to one another.
And one last random note- crock pot chicken stock. Here is the link- Make it. Make it over and over again! Thank you Jesse!
It is so ingenious I cannot stop thinking about it. Oh I know, that is rather boring that my mind is stuck on stock. But ever since the days long ago that I rolled stock overnight on three burners of a restaurant kitchen stove and clocked in the next morning to the scent of a sage-y chicken tea that soothed the previous nights endeavors, I have wished for it. You can’t replicate that type of flavor without the beauty of time on your side.
A nice long simmer over fire, the weary eyes of a long night. These things are just good.
The first teeny nap not on mama merited something good. Something that made me feel like me. I am beginning to remember how good it feels to stretch my arms wide, to bend down and not struggle against the weight of a pregnant belly, to have a few minutes to fill my cup- the cup that is specifically set aside for making. I dyed this wool flannel late this summer when the solidago and asters and cosmos were flaunting around their beauty and now a little chunk of it is sitting atop Willows impossibly soft, sweet smelling head. A pilots cap; Sweet, quick and fun.
Our first baby (Mo Mo the cat), and our last two.
The first week solo is going better than I could have anticipated. No disasters (knocking on wood!), no public humiliation (you know the possibilities I am talking about… three boys gone mad in a grocery store and a screaming new-born… for instance?), not even any large sibling disputes! Little sleep, but that is nothing new, and lots of dishes and laundry but goodness, what else can you expect?
I would have to say the highlights have been the bigger boys independence and obsession with the wood shop. They are out there before breakfast and are “closing down the shop” after dark each day and its pretty cute. I am not entirely sure what they are doing out there but I am sure they are enjoying themselves. The littlest boy is so dear to the baby it melts me. Every morning when he realizes he is cuddled near a sweet little cherub he announces “OH! Hi cute baby! Pretty hair, awwwww!” and we giggle and smile with our eyes still sealed shut. And one other little thing that is topping the list of favorites this week, is dressing up my little girl Willow. Oh the frills and poofs and dresses and shoes. I am trying to be reasonable, and focus on cozy, but I promise you it is work because (wo)man, these clothes are cute.
Thank you Chris and Lauren for the amazing bin of clothes from Summer! I remember them all on her very well and these booties are amazing!