a birthday boy

Four years ago I was noshing on blueberry crostata, waiting out intermittent contractions and the arrival of our incredibly sweet Jasper!  Oh my how time flies.  But, life without Jasper?  Did it ever exist?  He is just the most personable kind little soul.  And while he is a screamer, no doubt, we couldn’t love him more.  It’s entirely impossible.  Last night as we were falling off to sleep he whispered to me, “When my head tells my heart its time, and then it is morning, I will be four.”  I am not entirely sure what this means but its poetic and makes me smile and I want to remember it always.

I can’t wait to document todays events and try to post some pictures of his special day here.   I seem to have invited everyone I have seen the last 24 hours to eat cake in honor of our boy tonight.  So, with a borrowed sheet cake pan, and a lot of eggs and sugar I hope to please the neighborhood, and our little Jasper Ray too.  In the meantime, this is what we have been up to.  We made a hexagonal picnic table and then painted our bodies, driveway and the table too!  Our garden is tall and weedy and full of little delights to enjoy.  Summer is treating us so very well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Still standing

Oh my three months?  Could it be?  Why yes… that sounds perfectly correct.  Three months since I have last written on this blog that I have kept for seven years!  That is quite a feat I believe.  In a world where this is so much to try and see and do, I have chosen this space for seven amazing years.  I will continue I am sure, but at a rate that is much slower than I previously kept.  Either way, here is my life in a nutshell.  One nostril above water, a little sweaty, a little crazy and seriously surrounded by so much love from some amazing children, friends, friends children, family and an incredible husband.

adventure

I like to book these over night trips months in advance imagining how lovely they will be.  Picturing the adventure with rose-colored lenses, I seem to ignore the inevitable packing and unpacking which I loathe, or the actual driving in which I have no GPS, or the logistics of meal planning on the road.  But they must be good enough because I just keep planning them!  The truth is, it is always a welcome break from our typical days.  This past week we headed to Sturbridge Village for a home school day.  On the way down we stopped in Brattleboro and picked out CD’s and went to an awesome indoor playground.  Then we stayed in a hotel, which is usually the best part for these crazy kids.  The trip was topped off with a visit to see my parents and my brother and family!  And you know all that packing was worth it.  Especially when we came home to a spotless house, a very delicious pork supper, and freshly made beds.  Yes indeed it a perfect homecoming.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then home to snow, snow and more snow.  Then some ice, and slush and hail and freezing rain.  April can be so mean.  We took our bucket down and can at least enjoy springs sweet reward.  2.5 gallons of syrup and a quart of maple sugar! You will notice in the picture we were eating it at a rapid rate… the sugar is already long gone.  Not too bad!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

slow change

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor a brief moment in time it was almost spring.  We saw the wet earth and heard the sound of sweet sap pinging into metal.  We boiled and we splashed and I allowed myself to be hopeful.  Oh what a rookie move.  It is, after all, not even St. Patrick’s day, a day in which I have been told to allow that feeling of hope (and only the feeling mind you) to roll in and to start looking.

Ah, but though there may be feet of snow covering all I see, I know it is coming.  I have seen geese and robins.  I have heard the “Ko-ka-REEEEE!” of the red winged black bird.  I even saw green, fuzzy, mullein on a warm day.

We witnessed one of our favorite “home school lessons” for the second (non-human) time.  This calf was a boy, always a slightly disappointing moment, but beautiful none the less.  Yesterday we went back up to the barn to let the big boys roll their new toy cars through the hay loft and our awesome neighbor let Willow named a heifer calf.  He claimed it would be fun to tease her in ten years about her sweet little name choice as a one year old.  “Diya” is her name.  For those of you who don’t speak new englander baby  it translates to “here”.  But it also is the name of a tear dropped shaped candle holder used in Hindi celebrations.  Strangely we made them out of clay recently, so it all felt very full circle.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe snow has returned, twice over, as it has for most of New England.  All three boys are quite smitten over it quite honestly, so it’s not tearing at my soul (yet).  And of course more time by the woodstove waiting on bread to rise with a knitting project staring me down, as I wrangle a crazy one year old, is not a bad way to spend your day whatsoever.  I mean that smile…. those rosy cheeks… and dresses!  Oh yes, I will not pretend I am not completely in love with dressing up a little girl.  Becuase that would just be a downright lie.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor those of you who like captions, these dolls have just recieved a loving toddler bath only to be handled with the same painty hands. And above, Jasper is asking Willow, “Would you like surgery?” which Willow is enthusiastically lying down for while vigorously shaking her head yes.  Strange, strange babies.  I mean look at his facial expression.  Not a surgeon I would go to.  (CRAZY!!! but cute:)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaple muffins.  Always a luxurious use of the golden syrup.  But this time of year I give myself permission in order to use up last years batch and make room for the latest.  The bread is Julia’s white bread with a tablespoon of turmeric added in.  Such a great recipe.  All that butter makes it incredibly soft and smooth.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAh, babies in snow suits, I will miss the marshmallow look with all my heart.  That is guaranteed.

8.5

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeing the oldest of four has many perks I am sure, but having ample time with one parent (or both) is not one of them.  I have made a recent vow to weave this into our days more often.  A friend of mine, who is also the oldest of four, went on a date with her mom once a month rotating through the family weekly.  This is so appealing to me and has so much value.  Over the weekend I spent two luxurious hours on a stack of pillows tucked in the corner of the library with Rowan reading graphic novels, such as Binky the Space Cat, and Rapunzel’s Revenge.  We both left calmer, more content and most importantly, more connected.  It is so hard to find time to connect to each of these little beings we get to call “ours” on that level, and its something I crave more of.

The inspiration for doing so is pictured above.  Six months ago, almost exactly, we scurried through a sweet eight year old birthday.  There was a cake, there was playing at the lake, but really the promise of a candy store outing with his bestie was just that- a promise.  We couldn’t have predicted stomach viruses, holidays, and more stomach viruses keeping us from following through for an entire half a year.

But follow through we did.  I wish these photos could have captured the adorableness that was my Sunday.  These two hemmed and hawed in front of the glass case of colorful sugary, jeweled, candies and silky chocolates.  They giggled their way through the toy store splitting a package of glow in the dark stars.  Then they took turns in the changing room trying on outfits for their well choreographed Celtic dance that has been the center of their days lately.

Until of course Maple Syrup Time.   (Yes they are all capitalized.  It’s like that.)  So without further ado I am off to make sure the fire is properly stoked and no one needs helping hoisting heavy buckets- though I’m sure they don’t.  This operation has been running on the power of that 8.5 year old.  He is a determined soul.

And my favorite part of this half birthday celebration is that the timing worked perfectly for me to FINALLY finish his birthday sweater.  It is Bracken, by Annie Rowden knit with Brooklyn Tweed’s Quarry.  This kid was decked out in knitwear and enjoyed telling people his super power is knitting.  Oh my boy….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA