Thursday, October 30, 2014

magic in the fells

 IMG_0889Whenever I get together with Eva there’s magic.  Something about her awareness, her ability to soak in beauty and express joy makes Eva radiate magic.  I’ve never had a bad time with her.  Maybe it’s that we always plan to be together in our favorite, most beautiful places.  It’s so soul satisfying to be with someone who loves what you do.  Eva loves all that I love with 10 times more passion.  She just radiates light.

Anyway, so yesterday was forecasted to be beautiful.  Whenever I see an unusually beautiful day coming up I try to get together with Eva.  She was game to come down our way so that I could take her to my favorite spot in the Fells (a giant patch of conservation land near us where I often run).

This place was ablaze with autumn light and color.  We, both with our cameras in hand, drunk it all in. 

I’ll let the pictures try to share with you how beautiful the day was.   Too bad they can’t capture the warm fall breeze, the smell of fallen leaves, the crunch of them underfoot.  IMG_0866(of course, since we both love photography….there were a lot of pictures happening)IMG_0868 I love her little Skye.  She’s quite a bit younger than Hazel, but they love exploring together.  All of Eva’s kids are full of curiosity and childhood wonder.  She home schools them in the most full of life way you could imagine.  IMG_0880 Peter raced around those trails with his tongue hanging out like a happy dog.  Thankfully Eva’s boys were happy to race him…..I couldn’t keep up. IMG_0882 IMG_0886There were these florescent ferns, going out toward winter in a blaze of color.    IMG_0892 IMG_0897 IMG_0904 Lots of rock throwing and investigating.  IMG_0908 IMG_0914 IMG_0916 IMG_0920 IMG_0921 IMG_0924 I love how Eva’s shirt matched the ferns.    IMG_0932 IMG_0935 IMG_0936 IMG_0937 IMG_0941 And then we walked into the magical woods.  It’s like Narnia in there.  IMG_0944 IMG_0950 IMG_0963  IMG_0971 IMG_0980 IMG_0985 IMG_0990 IMG_1000 IMG_1005 IMG_1008

IMG_1013 Here’s Hazel’s I feel alive pose.  Maybe my most favorite shot of it ever. IMG_1014 IMG_1017 IMG_1025 IMG_1026 Eva and I sat here on the cushiony pine floor and talked about all kinds of ideas and new things as the kids made little lean to shelters.  They wanted to stay all day.  We all did……in a place like that you start to feel like time should just pause for a long time until you have time to inhale it all.   IMG_1042 IMG_1047 IMG_1050 IMG_1055 Hazel was up for taking pictures yesterday (which I’m always happy to take advantage of, since it doesn’t happen all the time).  Isn’t she getting so big?  IMG_1057 IMG_1059 And whenever I get the camera out for Peter he insists on whacking something or making some kind of tough guy face.  IMG_1060 IMG_1072 We had our little budding photographer Hazel take a picture of us before we headed back into the real world.  After being with Eva I’m always reminded that there’s beauty in slowing down and taking it all in, but there’s also beauty in the real world.  You just have to train your eyes to see it.  Check out her beautiful fine art photography here.  IMG_1079

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

7 decades of dad

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My dad turns 70 today.  To some that might seem a little old, but my dad makes 70 look young.  He’s got a good 30 years left in him.  (thank goodness….I’m not sure how the world would be without him).
And so, for family history sake, I’m going to write 70, yes 70! things that I love about my dad.  Because I really hit the jack pot.
  1. he loves me.  I've never doubted it. 
  2. he’s quirky.  maybe one of the most eccentric people on the planet.  he’s 100% him.  never trying to be anyone other than who he is at his core.
  3. he loves my mom.  I’ve never doubted it.
  4. he cries when he reads touching things aloud.  i inherited that from him.
  5. he’s a lover of nature and beauty.  he really loves it, drinks it all in.
  6. he’s the most devoted, deliberate father I could imagine.
  7. he likes country music, and usually tears up listening to it.
  8. he’s slow.  has taught me the beauty in slowness – the speed of going slow (though I can’t seem to get that one down) 
  9. he’s the most devoted, deliberate grandfather I could imagine.
  10. he loves Jesus and tries to be like him.
  11. he sees lots of potential in his kids, sometimes way more than is actually there, but that belief he has in us seems to propel us forward.
  12. he is visionary.  always creating, thinking big, solving problems, thinking beyond the norm.
  13. he’s a builder.  always working to build something good, lasting and strong. 
  14. he’s not bound by the things that seem to limit so many of us.  he doesn’t care what people think, he just forges ahead with what he believe is right.  and that’s almost always a good thing.
  15. he worked with my mom to build a solid family culture that brings me loads of joy.
  16. he has taught me to love the world.  to thirst to know it, to experience, to travel, to really grasp all parts of this mortal life.
  17. he’s taught me to question things, in faith.  to find out things for myself.
  18. he’s an excellent teacher, mostly just asks really good questions.
  19. he envisioned what Bear Lake would become for all of us and all of his grandkids and it has become that.  
  20. he is a spiritual creator.
  21. he flosses his teeth with paper sometimes
  22. he takes really good care of his body
  23. he’s a little bit crazy.
  24. he built a log cabin with his bare hands.
  25. he taught me to love horses.
  26. he taught me to love Indian food
  27. he taught me to eat sushi
  28. he’s teaching my kids all the secrets to life.
  29. he sees way more talent in me than i actually have.
  30. he actually got me an audition on Broadway once.
  31. in his mind I’m still destined to be a big time singer one day.
  32. he produced ValuesDriven
  33. he loves good movies
  34. he reads all the best books
  35. you can ALWAYS get him into a meaningful discussion
  36. he visits me wherever I live.
  37. he has always taken me on the best dates.
  38. since i’m his third daughter he calls me every third Sunday to do a phone “interview”
  39. he expects me to live up to my divine potential.
  40. he has given me some amazing fathers’ blessings.
  41. he has always treated me as an equal.
  42. he has always treated my mom as an equal.
  43. he’s a sucker for sunsets and autumn leaves
  44. he’s a notice-er
  45. he looks me right in the eye and doesn’t say anything, just looks intently into my soul, acknowledging who I am.
  46. if there’s a get together between any of his children he somehow always calls within the first 10 minutes.  it’s amazing.
  47. he’s a horrid speller like i am.
  48. he won’t back off something he truly believes.
  49. somehow he had the energy and drive and wisdom to parent us all differently, mostly in the ways we needed to be parented.
  50. his devotion to my mom is unwavering.
  51. he sent me flowers once for my birthday
  52. he has written me at least 100 love poems.
  53. he writes me real letters.  like the kind you receive in the mail.
  54. he is always up for a run.  it’s usually more of a walk/tennis shuffle/run….slow enough to really soak in the beauty around us.
  55. he loves jeff.  he respects him.  he has so gracefully stepped out of the place in my life that jeff stepped into.
  56. he weed whacks naked sometimes.
  57. he insisted i become scuba certified.
  58. growing up he prided our family on driving strange old clunkers.  he’s grown out of that, but, as the driver of an old clunker I’m happy he taught me to see beauty in them….to own them, drive them with pride.
  59. we had a little secret popping popcorn over the fire club when i was little.  i think it was one of the highlights of my childhood.
  60. he has told me every story he knows of his ancestors.  they are alive to me through his stories and pictures and words.
  61. he sometimes gets in spending moods and buys me little things.  this was huge growing up since i normally had to ‘buy’ everything myself.  as a dad he knew when to be generous and when to make me work for something.  it’s hard to find that balance.
  62. he sees my kids souls.  he lets them be who they are, and helps me to see who they are.
  63. he is unfalteringly devoted to helping strengthen families.  it is his life’s mission. 
  64. he unabashedly brags about his children and grandchildren
  65. he is unconventional in every part of his life….how he thinks, what he wears, how he lives, what he values. 
  66. he is (mostly) humble.  even with his larger than life personality he knows when it’s time to take a back seat and let others step up. 
  67. he has 700 ideas a day.  some of them die right away, but lots of them stick and he makes them into reality.
  68. he understands the purpose of life and has taught me what’s really important since the day i was born.
  69. he has taught me all the important things about my Heavenly Father.
  70. he loves more.
Thanks dad for being such a HUGE light in the world.  I love you deep to your good good core.
Here’s a few pictures of our leaf jump today in your honor:
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And (again for family history) here’s a video of old pictures of my dad in the prime of his daddying.   I love seeing him in action, in the same phases I’m going through.  it makes me love him even more.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hazel’s Book Themed Birthday Bash

Invitation created on Paperless Post. 

As promised, here are some photos from Hazel’s 10th birthday party.  We only do parties on even years, so Hazel had two years to debate and think and plan and set high expectations.  This seemed like a recipe for disaster, this girl has high hopes for things like birthday parties.  But, she planned pretty much all of it on her own and never second guessed any of her ideas or decisions.  This she did NOT inherit this ability from me! At the end of the day she was all smiles saying that it was the best birthday party ever (even though of course there were some glitches, and lots of imperfections).  She then asked me if I wanted to know her secret --- “you just have to lower your expectations and then you’re always happy.”  Old, wise soul. 

Anyway, the party was perfectly imperfect.  Mostly because she really did call the shots and was cool with me ratcheting some of her elaborate ideas down.   We had a good time pulling this off together.  Nothing was perfectly pinterest, but I’m realizing more and more how much kids don’t care about that.  They care about ownership, about having ideas and building on them.  They’re not trying to create something out of competition, but out of that creative spark that’s bursting out of them.  I hate it that part of that dies as we move away from childhood. 

Anyway, I’m digressing (are you noticing a theme here on my blog lately?  Letting kids take over, simplifying, taking a back seat parenting approach?  Where is this all coming from?  Maybe more on that later.)

Hazel’s chosen theme was books.  Of course this made me smile.  I love that she loves books and reading, that she is a little bookworm. 

She asked her friends to come dressed as a favorite character from a book.  She was Anne of Green Gables.  We had the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland there, Calvin and Hobbs, Hermione and some other folks I wasn’t as familiar with.   IMG_6299 IMG_6293Oh, and we had Ralph S. Mouse from the Mouse and the Motorcycle (not much resemblance, but Peter grasps any opportunity to look like a cool biker dude).  IMG_6300 As friends arrived we made this cool book art.  This is an addicting (and very aesthetically pleasing) thing to do with some down time.  The kids all got pretty creative.   We just used an old book from one of my Wellesley Women’s Studies classes and sliced it up with an x-acto knife.  IMG_6303 IMG_6307 The kids played some improve games where they had to introduce each other’s characters (in their own character).  And one where they had to act like their character might act in a certain setting or scenario while others watched to guess what the scenario/setting was.  As soon as you thought you knew the setting you could jump in and start doing what you thought your character might do in that situation.  It was pretty funny. IMG_6311  IMG_6316 IMG_6317 We had a Yankee book swap.  Great way to pass around some already read books. 

Jeff also lead a game where the kids had to guess which books certain passages came from.  I was off getting pizza, so no photos of this….but I heard it was a hit.  IMG_6322 And then the real hit….Hazel’s traditional piñata.  She’s had a piñata for every birthday party.  This book one she and I made out of an amazon box.  It was pretty darn strong and took some serious whacking to break open.  IMG_6327   IMG_6338  IMG_6345 IMG_6349 And then, of course, presents and cake.  I love the present opening part of parties.  I love seeing how excited the giver is to give and the birthday girl is to receive.  And I love that it gives them a chance to thank the giver in person.  IMG_6350 IMG_6351  We always play “Heavy Heavy Hang over” as we open gifts.  This is a British(?) tradition where the giver says a little rhyme:  Heavy Heavy Hangover thy poor head.  What do you wish with a bump on the head.  They then give the receiver a little bump with the gift and the birthday girl tells them one nice thing they wish for the giver.  Hazel’s default wish is that the giver will get a swimming pool in their back yard.  I just love that it slows things down a bit and helps the gift receiver to think a little about the giver before tearing into their loot.  IMG_6357 IMG_6361

And the girl always picks blondies over birthday cake. That’s as easy as it gets. IMG_6369

Even with all of her involvement, pulling that party off was exhausting.   But I’m pretty sure it was worth it, judging from the constant smile on her face. 

She’s already thinking about her 12th birthday party. 

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