Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nature's Toys

Owen has always loved to collect, sort, categorize small objects.  For a while it was cars.  Then it was coins (this is actually still a favorite).  But over the summer he developed a real love for rocks.

Owen may even have a greater appreciation for the many colors, shapes, textures, and sizes that rocks come in, than his father...who happens to be a Geologist. 

He can spend hours hunting rocks.  Everywhere we go he has an eye looking out for the perfect specimen. Rocks seem to fill every space in our house. 

They fill empty shoe boxes, Tupperware containers, little cloth pouches, baskets, and even in his bed.  They're on my counters, tables and desks.  He even has his own rock identification book that he likes to browse when not playing with the real thing. 

Nature finding it's way into our house is nothing new.  There are often sticks, seeds, nuts, and once a pet slug, that frequent our home, but nothing quite as prolific as Owens rocks.  Recently after finding a sock filled with small rocks I made him pick his 5 favorite of all the rocks in his room and return the rest to the yard.  It took him nearly 20 minutes to decide on which ones he wanted to keep.  This has become a weekly routine (usually after recovering from the pain of stepping on a lone rock and the blast of resulting profanity) I help Owen picks his favorites and return the rest back to their waiting spot outside. 

Yesterday as I was making dinner I thought I heard Owen calling for me.  I made my way over to the bedroom door and realized that he wasn't talking to me.  He had 3 rocks, with he was using as toy people.  He had a whole story he was acting out with these three rocks.  They were talking to each other, riding bikes, and building a house.  It's not uncommon to find scenes like this around the house:

I look around the room our boys share, at the abundance of toys and games, and cant help but chuckle in realizing that the ones which seem to offer the most pleasure are not manufactured or purchased.  They don't make noise or move by themselves.  The ones that seem to make the best companions on a rainy fall day are those, like Owen's precious rocks, which open their imagination so large that their are no limits to what the game or story can offer.

Who knows what the next favorite will be, but today I reslish in simple statements like this:

"mom, feel this one" as he rubs it on my cheek "I love this smoothy shiny rock!"

Monday, September 6, 2010

What makes a home?

After having our house listed for the last two months, I'm more than relieved to have a sale pending.  When you work from home, have 3 children, a messy husband, a wild dog, and 4 chickens in the backyard, preparing your house for a showing on any given day feels like going into a surprise battle.  Even hiring a cleaning lady to come every other week didn't seem to make a dent.

Our pending sale will be brief, leaving us to find a suitable temporary replacement for the three months before our new home is ready.  If I thought selling the house was hard, I had no idea the challenges that would ensue in looking for a temporary substitute.  Who knew that dogs under 25 lbs. were more rent worthy than a dog over 25 lbs.?  Not I.  Also, finding someone willing to rent to us for a short 3 - 4 month lease has proved even more difficult.  And, it seems like whenever we find something perfect we're faced with another conundrum.  How will our Nanny get across the river to us by bike, how can we get the kids to school and back with without making people drive all over the city all day (one son is in full day and one in 1/2 day at two different schools), and how can we keep our kids from destroying someone's home, which has clearly proved impossible in our own?

I find myself pondering my irrational attachment to my belongings.  Id like to believe I'm not that materialistic and that I could live minimally if needed (but then again if that were true we probably wouldn't be seeking out a larger dwelling for our family).  So, as I think about what I could live without for 3 months and what I cannot, I'm surprised at how difficult a task it is.   Apparently my belongings ground me in a way which I didn't fully appreciate before.

And this house I was eager to move away from?  Well, I can't help but feel sad about leaving it.  We've lived in this home for 6 years, had 2 of our children here, said goodbye to our old dog, raised 2 broods of chicken, created new family traditions, adopted a new dog, and made many good friends. If this experience teaches us anything I suppose it will be that home is where we make it, where we can be together, and where we can make new memories.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Where did summer go?

I'm in denial. Despite all of the talk, emails, school parent gatherings, pre-school year picnics, home visits by teachers, and the early fall rain washing dust off my windows, I was still somewhat shocked to look at my calendar and realize that with school starting in less than a week, summer is coming to an end.  What an amazing summer it's been for our family.  We have been so busy this summer that I've hardly had time to reflect on all of our travels and adventures.  Here's the run-down of my top ten:

1. Celebrated little Maeve's 2nd birthday!


2. Explored DC with my sisters and Mom before attending a a conference for work

3.Frolicked in the sun

4. Worked Silpada style at the Old Time Fair in West Linn with good friend Erin

5. Biked in the Sunday Parkways

6. Attended the Silpada National Conference and had an amazing time!

7. Celebrated O's 4th Birthday

8. Traveled to Michigan and enjoyed time with our family

9. Put the house on the market and tried desperately to keep the plums picked up off the ground

9. Celebrated Sip 'N Silpada at the Blackbird Wine Shop

10. Jumped with joy at the arrival of the first egg from our 4 new hens

This afternoon Owen asked me "mom, where did summer go?"  I guess summer is on vacation I replied. 

Back to school, sports, indoor activities, rain, falling leaves, wool sweaters, wet days at the park...and hopefully a few more sunny ones.