Monday, February 17, 2014

love, simply

I remember Valentine's Day as a kid.  My mom would make a giant, frosted, heart-shaped cookie and present it on a plate.  My step-dad would bring me a single, red rose.  I always felt so special.  The cookie was good, but the rose....  That simple act, from a step-dad to a step-daughter, has stayed with me well beyond his death.
I had had a couple of Valentine's ideas floating around my skull the past few weeks.  I knew my husband would be out of town and I was mostly thinking of the kids.  I wanted to use the holiday as an excuse to give them something I've made, because I'm all about handmade shit.  First thought was to sew up those Waldorf doll kits I'd ordered ages ago.  Second thought was to (finally!) make them a similar felt fishing kit I'd sewed for my nephew years ago.  Then, I read this short article.  Plus, I ran out of time.  I decided to eliminate the material goods altogether and stick with good old-fashioned, simple, love.  

I feel like all my kids hear all day long is don't do this and don't do that.  I wanted to tell them all the good things; the things I love about them.  So I set my late-night knitting frenzy on hold, dug out my new watercolor crayons I'd received as a gift, and went to work.    
I know, I know.  If my kids were older you'd probably guess they made these cards.  But no, it was me, and that's not the point.  The card on the left is Hazel's, on the right Juniper's.  They caught and related to the symbolism instantly.  And they were so impressed that I made a Valentine for them.

Together, my husband and I listed little things we love about each of our kids, as it popped into our heads.  There are big things, "I love your imagination."  And little things, "I love what you do with glitter glue."
Juniper snuggled in my lap and we read hers together.  Afterward she said, "Oh, wow!  You love A LOT about me!"  There's something about writing it down that makes it more real and respectable for kids, like a rule or a law.  We thumbtacked her card above her bed.    
Later that morning, after heart-shaped pancakes, my husband left for the weekend and the kids and I went to a long overdue playdate with friends.  Referring to my husband being gone somewhat often, my friend said something like, "I don't know how you do it....  How do you do it?"  And I shrugged and said, "We just do."

But then I came home and opened the fridge and saw how I do it.  The night before, my man had made a mule-deer pot roast that simmered in the slow cooker all night.  And the night before that, he made a huge batch of deer stir-fry.  He knows how needy Hazel can be when she wakes from her afternoon nap, timed impeccably with dinner preparation.  He knows the evening meal is my weak point when I'm out-numbered two-to-one by young, demanding children.  I didn't cook all weekend.  He makes up for his absence in food, and that's how we do it.  Pure.  Simple.  Love.
^J's preschool project.^

But before he left, they all got together and made a Valentine for me:
I really, really like this.  I think this will be our new Valentine tradition.  Just another way to express gratitude and love.  

My favorites: "I love your nursing boobs," by Hazel.  And, "We love all the mom that you are."  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

got snow?

^Stopped by the farm today.  Thanking the cows, Petunia and Barbie, for our milk.^

:: Most likely, yes!  You do.  We are breathing easy here in western Wyoming.  We know how to drive in this stuff.  We rarely have a power outage (almost never, in fact).  Our schools never shut down.  For us a thick, downy blanket of snow makes us rest easy.  We relax.  Our anxieties dissolve.  Not just because so many livelihoods depend on the white fluff (that too), but because there is something comforting about it.  Whew.  Winter's here.  Our blanket.  No snow in winter is like going to bed on a zero degree night with an open window and a cotton sheet.  Brrrrrrr!  

:: Our Life in Snow.  A photo essay from the last 12 days.
Lovingly, my man plows out a run for the chickens.^ 
I'll admit: this is kind of a problem area.^
Random side-note: it seems all the adult sunglasses in our house have gone MIA.^