Wednesday, September 29, 2010



The autumn winds blow open the gate,
St. Michael for you we wait.
We follow you, show us the way,
With joy we greet this autumn day.
Good morning, good morning, good morning.
The silver rain, the shining sun,
the fields where scarlet poppies run,
the fallen leaves blow up and away,
with joy we greet this autumn day.
Good morning, good morning, good morning

Our Little Nature Nest

We had our first simple and joyful Michaelmas celebration at our home yesterday. I've struggled with how to celebrate this Fall festival as I don't feel as if the boys are entirely ready for the stories of slaying dragons and saints. So we altered the story of St Michael slaying the dragon to instead, Michael the Knight overcoming his fear of the dragon, making him his friend and asking the dragon to help others instead of scaring them. (A very Berkeley twist indeed). We also focused on the arrival of Autumn and the changing of the season.

We started with a nature walk to collect the Fall leaves for Autumn crowns


Michael the Knight making the dragon his friend
dragon and knight

and we made dragon bread for the first time... admittedly a very puffy dragon ;}

This was the first introduction to Michaelmas for the boys and as the years progress and as they are ready, we will let the story evolve into its truer meaning. For now though, as the winter months approach, I wish you all joy and peace as we strengthen our inner reserves and learn to overcome obstacles, whatever they may be, in the spirit of Michaelmas.

With love and light,

Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Rhythm


Oh my. When did life just get so complicated?! With Ivan's new (longer) work schedule and the start of the school year, our days have just become so crazed. Now, please don't get me wrong. I've come to love Matteo's school and his lovely, caring Kindergarten teacher. Nico's preschool and the wonderful community of families there have been a warm stop in the madness of drop-offs and pick-ups (and I am SO talking to you Liz, Sam, Naomi and Polly!)... but it's those things like keeping several schedules, making spreadsheets to plan meals and the endless lists that are driving me absolutely INSANE! What is mind boggling to me is that we don't do extracurriculars like sports or music lessons.... this is all just getting everyone fed, dressed, bathed and delivered to their appropriate locations on time! I've been finding myself running like a madwoman from the time I wake up to the time I collapse into bed at night. This is not the life I envisioned for myself or our family.

So I am taking a deep breath. Trying to slow down... and simplify

I am rereading my favorite parenting book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. I am absolutely evangelistic about this book! It's been a lifesaver and it makes me feel so at peace with its simple suggestions on how to take out the distractions that make for a chaotic homelife. I'm starting right now with trying to find a new rhythm for lives. Though the boys have their schools in the mornings and there is little I can do to change those schedules, I can create an environment in our home that is relaxed, warm and simple. A place that nourishes ALL of our souls. I was very inspired by how my friend Nicole organized her week and I decided to take it to the basics by having just a single thing for the day to focus on. One activity to structure our afternoon around.

On baking day last week, the boys enjoyed peeling and coring apples to make apple pie
matteo peels apples

On gardening day, Nico sang to our freshly planted broccoli :)

and of course there is always time for a little mudplay

or time for the big Kindergarten boy to play with his beloved trains
matteo relaxes

For me, I've stopped running errands after school. I've just turned off the computer in the afternoons so I can focus on being fully present with the boys. I just be with them.... and it's nice. I'm also learning to find small moments in the day, where amidst the bustle of movement, I can stop and fully experience where I am... when I am reading to the boys at drop off and I can smell their little boy hair as they sit on my lap... or the commiserating smile or hug from a fellow mom in the trenches... it's these moments of grace that take me off of the everspinning hamster wheel... and I am so grateful for them.

As we settle into this new rhythm, I know that we will all feel calmer and more nourished. I would love to hear more from you on how you develop rhythm in your homes, especially with kids in school. (as an aside- can I tell you, my homeschooling friends, I've more than just a *few* times considered homeschooling for the simple reason that I want to be able to NOT rush around... but that's another post for another time ;} )

Sending you much love and light!