Welcome Spring & Fairy Ring!

Today, I took a long anticipated trip to a local nursery.  A friend of mine, who also happens to be in my parent/child class at Great Oak School, got me started on the idea of creating a fairy garden a few weeks ago.  I couldn’t shake the idea.  I had no business getting started on a fairy garden when I have a 3′ x8′ hole in my backyard that is supposed to be a vegetable garden. *ahem* Anyhow, I gave Oliver the choice of going to the park or going to look at plants.  He specifically said, “go look plants,”  so that’s what we did!

It’s unfortunate that I didn’t have my camera with me at the nursery.  Oliver was my right hand man.  He pulled the little red wagon for me and even thanked me when I put a plant in it!  That’s my kind of helper!  We meandered through the herbs, into a gift shop, through mazes of planted flowers and walkways.  We found some chickens, a very friendly kitty cat, a few beautiful horses, and even a big brown dog.  Ollie got his hands wet in the water features, picked out some beautiful little mushrooms, and sat on the counter to hand off my credit card when it was time to pay.  After all that hard work, he was rewarded with a packed snack of rice and guacamole.

After picking up Aidan from school and a failed attempt at nap time, I decided to take the boys outside and get to work.  Aidan decided he needed to wear his butterfly wings and bowler hat, so we waited until he had donned his chosen attire.

I decided on a tall cedar planter for the mint we had chosen.  I love the scent of mint and its varieties, so I purchased English mint (peppermint), apple mint, and chocolate mint.  I also added a bit of wintergreen mint that I already had on hand.  I like that these plants encourage the boys to interact with them.  They can see and touch the different textures.  They can smell the different fragrances and, of course, they can taste them.  I’d say mint is a great plant for children!  Be sure to pot it, as it can be invasive.

Once the mint plantings were done, we focused our efforts on our fairy garden.  I didn’t master purchasing everything on fairy scale, but I thought they might nestle their homes into some larger flowers anyhow.  We planted in a ‘fairy ring.’  I wanted to leave room for a possible fairy house and other fairy furnishings in the future.  Once that all gets sorted, I’d like to add some moss for a bit more enchanting look.  The mulch shall be pushed aside!  :)

Clockwise, starting from the mushrooms:  Peppermint Double Impatiens, ‘Songbird Bunting’ Columbine, Peppermint Double Impatiens, Variegated Lemon Thyme, Elfin Thyme x2, and another Variegated Lemon Thyme. Both of the thyme are fragrant.  The Elfin grows 1-3″ tall and the lemon thyme grows 6-8″ tall.  My low grower will be the moss.  Once we start building things for the fairies, I cherish the thought that the boys’ play will include the fragrance of thyme and that it could possibly spark a fond memory in years to come.  But, we will have to see.  I am not sure if this spot will suit the herbs.  This spot has partial sun, but not full.

Here is a closer look at the columbine:

It looked ‘fairy’ enough to me!  I like the clover looking leaves at the base and the fact that it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  This and the thyme prefer well drained soil, while the moss prefers wet, so we’ll just have to see!

And here is our glowing plant marker:

I’m not sure if I want to keep it, though.  I think it is charming and I love that it glows at night.  My consideration is with the marker part.  It looks a little distracting to me and I’m honestly not sure what I could possibly write on it that would be worthwhile.  I think I may exchange it for one without the label area underneath.  They were the same price and I used that as my reason to grab this one instead.  Silly me.

Let us dance and let us sing
Dancing in a merry ring
We’ll be fairies on the green
Sporting round the fairy queen

Like the seasons of the year
Round we circle in a sphere
I’ll be summer, you’ll be spring
Dancing in the fairy ring

Spring and Summer glide away
Autumn comes with trees so gay
Winter hand in hand with spring
Dancing in a fairy ring

Faster faster round we go
While our cheeks with roses glow
Free as birds upon the wing
Dancing in a fairy ring

–source unknown

Catching up

I haven’t had much time to update lately.  Spring is upon us in Houston and we have been living outdoors as much as possible before the summer hits!  I really think our Spring only lasts a matter of weeks – temps will be in the 90s any day now!

We had a lovely time at our school’s Spring Fair.  I helped to make two marionettes and several Indian headbands for our marionette show, “The Hidden One.”  It was my first time participating in a marionette show – creating and performing – and I really enjoyed it!

Between projects, I’ve been working on the boy’s spring vests.  Aidan’s is almost up to the armpits, so that means I’ll get to start on Ollie’s soon.

This past week has been our spring break from school and we’ve kept busy by meeting up with friends that we’ve been missing.  This week went by so incredibly fast!

Thanks for the swim gear & Mardi Gras beads, Nana!

Finally, we finally replaced our old (stolen) mountain bikes.  I’ve missed riding so much!  We’ve been mainly riding around on pavement, but finally got some dirt on our tires this weekend.  It was the boys’ first time on a trail and they did fairly well.  Most of all, it was fun watching them enjoy their bikes in the woods.  I walked to take the pics and help them, then went back later to ride on my own.  (yes!)

Happy trails!

Fort Play on a Stormy Day

Hopefully it will clear up so we can ride bikes this afternoon!

Rainbow Bridge Ceremony

Due to plenty of wonderful happenings in the school, we just got around to Aidan’s rainbow bridge ceremony this past week.  This is such a lovely, serene, and reverent event.  All the children are so incredibly attentive.  Quite a few know the story so well that I could hear them reciting it under their breath.

The ceremony begins with a puppet show of the story of the child up in heaven, choosing his parents, and then crossing the rainbow bridge down to Earth.  As Ms. Helen moves the spirit child over the rainbow bridge closer toward his family, sitting on the other side of the bridge, the room experiences a bit of the anticipation that the mother and father feel as they await their child during pregnancy (or the adoption process as the case may sometimes be).

When the spirit child has completed his journey over the rainbow bridge, Ms. Helen joins the family and birthday child at the birthday table.  In this case, the child was turning four so there were four candles on the table.  As they are lit one at a time, for each year, the mother or father tell a little bit about what was happening in their child’s life for that year.  Children love to watch the flames lit and hear about their birth and youngest years!  In the middle of the table is a small flower, a handmade gnome, and a geode as special birthday gifts from the teacher.

After all of that wonderful anticipation, the children sing the Waldorf birthday song and the traditional happy birthday song.  Then, the birthday child is finally able to blow out the candles and receive his gifts!

Our wonderful teacher’s assistant and some of the children looking on.

Here is a link to our wonderful school and a slide-show the director put together of her daughter’s ceremony.

Simple joys.

Today was an okay day.  It started with a cancellation of some things I was really looking forward to, because one of the boys got sick in the car on the way to school.  He recovered quickly and is fine now, btw.

Anyhow, I was in the kitchen preparing a snack for Ollie this afternoon when I heard his older brother singing.  It’s not uncommon for him to sing, but I noticed he was singing the folding song.  I looked over and he had started folding the dishtowels and washrags for me.  It was such a sweet surprise of a moment.  I thanked him and he said, “I love folding, Mom.”  I guess sometimes it pays off to not fold the laundry the minute it comes out of the dryer?  ;)

Such a simple little act really made my day.

Butterfly so high.

Butterfly so high.

Folding together,

Friends forever.*

*We learned this song from Ms. Helen at our school.  It’s such a sweet little song!  It’s extra lovely when they sing it while folding playsilks.  It’s repeated until the folding is done.


Little Pip's Acorn cap

Well, Little Ollie’s in this instance…

This photo series included for my mom.  He’s eating one of her firefighter cookies and sitting at the child sized picnic table that she and my step-dad gifted the boys. I told him to take a bite.  Can you see the boy energy in that one?  I eat cookie.  Rawr.

I’ve had this on the needles for a while.  It kept getting pushed aside for party planning and some books that I just couldn’t put down.  I was in no hurry, though.  I plan to knit one of these for each of the boys for them to wear next fall.  The knit design is a bit open and perfect for cooler autumn temps.

Something worth noting is that this hat is knit inside out!  It was like I was knitting up this secret surprise the whole time.  I would take a peak on the inside every now and then to see how it was shaping up.  When the decrease rows are reached is when the pattern calls for turning the hat right side out.  So fun!

As I was taking the photos, I realized that I had left off the acorn stem!  Ah well, maybe I’ll get around to adding one before autumn.  We’ll see.

The pattern calls for Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica or Malabrigo worsted.  I couldn’t find a color ‘acorny’ enough in the Malabrigo (in my LYS, anyhow)  and my eldest son claims the Manos is too itchy – he has a gnome hat knit from it.  After searching for a while, I finally found the just right, acorny perfection color, November Muse (VM280) in Dream in Color Classy.  It knits up a wee bit smaller gauge than the suggested yarns, so I went a needle size up.

Pattern link here.  Book reference here.  We love Elsa Beskow, too!


Still silly.

We started off your birthday morning with a babywearing meeting at the park.  Then off to lunch at zpizza.  Next up was a ‘surprise place,’ also known as the bike shop, to acquire a very special birthday bike, helmet, gloves, and a bell.  After a short ride, it was time for birthday nap followed by more riding.

Finally, we had birthday dinner and celebrated with candles and the birthday ring.  This year we added a butterfly.  Usually we do the birthday ring first thing in the morning, but it somehow waited this year.

Saturday was time for the birthday party.  Everyone was able to make it.  You were surrounded by your loving family and friends that you’ve had since you were an infant.  Your theme was inspired by the love and admiration you hold for your father.

This cake topper was the only souvenir we purchased during our trip to PA.  It was a surprise that we kept away from your eyes until your party day.  There’s a ’4′ on the firefighter’s helmet and water in his bucket.

Your Grandmou and I stayed up the night before the party, talking and decorating your cake and cupcakes.  She brought little person shaped cookies to resemble firefighters.  Everything was imbued with our love.

Firetruck fondant cupcake toppers were purchased from etsy.

Red pepper hummus, guacamole, red & yellow bell peppers, carrots, and veggie sticks.

You’ve seen your dad dressed up in his firefighter gear countless times before.  Nothing could have prepared me for the pure joy on your face and the delight in your squeals as he walked through the back yard gate, holding your birthday cake, in full bunker gear.  I regret that I missed the photo, but I did manage these two:

So proud of his dad!

Daddy’s big, gloved hands shielded your birthday candles from the wind that had threatened to continue blowing them out.  The cake is in a bit of disarray after a certain someone couldn’t resist a bit of vulnerable icing.

I wasn’t sure what the weather would bring.  The week before your birthday, we had temps dipping down into the 20′s.  This day however, the high was something like 77F!  One mention of the possibility of getting a bouncy house and that was all you could think about.  So, we did.  We managed to find one that had a firefighter theme, as well.  Nevermind that it seemed nearly as big as our house!

Your friends received ‘fire buckets’ for their favors.  We dyed 21″ square silks burnt orange and wrapped mini crayon rolls and a wooden firetruck magnet inside them.  We then put them into red buckets for the full effect.  See how they match your bucket-toting little firefighter?  Yeah, we planned that.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday and enjoyed being surrounded by family and friends for your party.  Above all else, I hope you know that you are loved.  I’m so proud to be your mama and I’m so glad that we get to take this journey together.  xoxo

When you were three years old...

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.

- Rabindranathe Tagore

…you constantly asked me, with the such a look that I could almost feel the pain and desire in your soul, “Mama, how can I grow up to be a butterfly?”

…you used your middle fingers to point to things – not to be funny, that’s just how you point!

…at seemingly random moments in the day, you’d run up and kiss me and run away before I could kiss you back.

…you would get the cutest smirk on your face as you had me lend you my ear for a secret.  “I love you, Mommy!”  Then, you’d giggle and run away until I called you back to return the same sentiments in the same manner.

…you became inspired by and proud of your dad when he became a volunteer firefighter.

…you had a really hard time deciding if you wanted a butterfly or a firefighter birthday party.

…one of your favorite foods was general tso’s tofu.  Another was chocolate peanut butter sandwiches shaped like dinosaurs.

…a favorite memory that you and your dad share was when you ventured off to Farmer Brown Little Skillet in San Francisco for waffles and chicken.  Dad had the chicken and you had a ginormous waffle.  You were both pleasantly surprised when they gave you a huge, red velvet cupcake for free!

…you learned to finger knit.

…your favorite story is the story of Oliver’s birth.  You love hearing about how you ate pumpkin pie with Grandmou and how you got to stay up very late to meet your new brother.  You were so excited and full of giggles.   You helped cut the umbilical cord with your dad.  You could hardly stop kissing and loving on baby Ollie.

…every time you found an exceptionally large branch on the ground, you deemed it your ‘dragon stick.’

…you started an activity without me by your side for the first time:  school.  You are thriving there and love your teachers and classmates.

We love you, Aidan!

When I have said my evening prayer,
And my clothes are folded on the chair,
And mother switches off the light,
I’ll still be 3 years old tonight.

But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I’ll be 4 years old.

4 kisses when I wake,
4 candles on my cake.

Happy Valentine's Day!

We celebrated our Valentine’s day over the weekend so that my husband could enjoy the day with us.  Sunday morning was spent out looking at bikes for a certain soon to be four year old.  After nap, the boys received their gifts from us.

Ollie very excited about something that was a mystery to him at that point.

We gifted the boys with some Mama K’s play clay, along with her mini ASL ‘I love you’ cookie cutters.  They also got a handmade gift from this mama, which is what you saw me dying up in the last post.

We were fortunate enough to have a gorgeous weekend,  with temps into the 70s!  I love how the boys’ butterfly wings look in the sunlight.

After the boys had their fill of flying, fluttering, and frolicking about in the sun, we headed inside to try out the play clay.  The essential oils in the clay makes it smell amazing and it’s really fun to work with.  Aidan favored the bergamont: for tension, and Oliver chose geranium: for balance.

I hope you are all having a wonderful Valentine’s day surrounded by those that you love.  We are thinking of our family and friends near and far, sending love and happy thoughts your way.  *mouah!

PS.  If you are interested in making butterfly wings yourself, the tutorial I used can be found here.