Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some people express themselves with words. Some through song. Some in painting, or photography, or sculpture.

My girl....she was born to dance.
Ever since she was very tiny, Astrid has felt the music. As soon as the first note hits, the song moves her, and she can't help but sway and spin and shimmy and shuffle.

This morning she found a CD with music that inspired her, tucked her CD player under her arm, and set out to turn the porch into a dance floor.

I grabbed my camera and snuck up to the back door and captured my beautiful little one lost in her world of motion and expression.

She sings at the top of her voice. And she feels every word she says.

Her heart is in it. She doesn't hold anything back.

She is focused, but free. Passionate, yet purposeful.

And the JOY! Oh, the joy in her eyes as she loses herself in the movement and the moment!

She doesn't care if anyone is watching. It doesn't matter what people think. She doesn't notice that her steps aren't perfect, her dress is too short, her hair is a mess, her words aren't quite right, or her rhythm is off.

What matters is that she is dancing.
She is happy.
She is lifting her hands, raising her voice, and opening her heart.

She. Inspires. Me.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The first two months of this year have been a blur. We moved out of our house the day after Christmas, got a contract on it a couple of weeks later and have spent almost all our free time since then moving our stuff, getting things repaired, repainting, managing the money situation, and doing everything else that it takes to sell a house. We have also found a builder for our new home on our land and we are so excited about it! We are set to close on our old house this Monday and will hopefully start building in about a month! The kids couldn't be more thrilled over the anticipation of running free, splashing in our creek every day, building clubhouses, hunting squirrels, planting a garden, growing fruit trees, raising chickens, and all the other adventures they have planned for our life in the country.

Now that everything is falling into place we have had time to slow down, take some deep breaths, and learn how to live in the every day normal again. It's easy to forget how much you enjoy the simple things when you are in the whirlwind of busy and complicated. Now, what was once mundane has a welcome freshness.

This week we had our first real snow day this winter. The kids were beginning to worry that their hats, gloves, and snow boots would go unused this year. So, just like all children, when they awoke Monday morning to a magical white blanket covering the ground, all thoughts of schoolwork and good intentions of finishing chores were quickly replaced by an unbridled enthusiasm to go get cold and wet! Last year, I remember feeling at least a little bit guilty that I didn't join them in their snowy adventures. I blamed it on having a baby whom I needed to stay with inside. This year, even though that baby still wanted to stay inside, as did her three year old brother, I decided that I was going to be the mom I always tell myself I'm going to be. I put on my sweatpants (I don't own any snow pants), some old leather boots (nope, no snow boots either), a pair of Justin's gloves, and my 12 year old long coat and stepped outside with a smile. You would have thought I had just arrived with a sackful of gifts the way my children's faces lit up at the sight of me ready to tackle the hills. "You're gonna play in the snow with us?!?" Asa exclaimed. "I sure am," I said. He grabbed my hand and practically pulled me down the steps, snagging his sled as we raced by it, and led me to the top of the hill. Over and over again we raced down the hill together, standing on the sled like it was a snowboard, laughing, tumbling, rolling in the snow until our cheeks were rosy red, my sweatpants were soaked through, and my toes threatened to fall off. We had so much fun! I didn't get any pictures of the day. For once, I was too busy living it to photograph it. But I did get a picture of the super yummy lemon lime snow slush we made after everyone had dried off and warmed up.
We spent the rest of the week catching up on schoolwork and just enjoying each other's company. Lately, my boys have really started taking this whole "brother" thing pretty seriously. Every night after bedtime Ethan stays up reading to Asa from his favorite book series. Little Ez tires to read with the big boys but always ends up falling asleep not long after the lights go out and the flashlights come on. I adore their whispers and big belly laughs as they experience the wonder of a mythical and silly world together. I can tell that they have both come to truly cherish that time. Something special that just the two of them share. Ethan is very much into Vikings right now. He dreams elaborate dreams of building Viking longships and longhouses. He has drawn up building plans, learned how to write using Runes, and is studying Norwegian history and language. I can hear him and Asa planning days of woodcutting, spear fishing, and living off the land. Oh, and fighting dragons. You can't forget the dragons.

Ezra gets his brother time too, though. He thinks he's so big and tough and he challenges Ethan to races down the hallway, where they push each other out of the way to see who can reach the boy's room and flip onto the bed first. Somehow, the races always end with a three year old victor and an eleven year old on the floor, happily lamenting his loss and performing antics just to hear his little brother giggle. Ezra is thrilled every time he "wins" and Ethan is happy to be making Ezra smile. I love those boys.

We did lots of art projects this week. I really enjoy watching the kids work on creating. Seeing their little minds turn and come up with new ideas of how to make each project their own. This is another one of those times that I am so grateful for the blessing of homeschooling. We have time to spend a day melting crayons with a blow dryer, just to watch the colors fall.

Time to make landscapes out of noodles, baby birds out of cracked eggs and pom poms, airplanes out of clothespins and popsicle sticks. Time to remember to water our flowers and the opportunity to be there when they open up in a beautiful display of color. We have time to read Little House on the Prairie and imagine ourselves as pioneers. We have time to invite friends to spend the day around a warm fire on a cold day, roasting hot dogs and charring marshmallows.

Time to sit together and read the scriptures, pray for people, and talk about ways we can serve God in our normal days. Sometimes it's exhausting, but this time with my children is so....sacred to me, and I am certain that I will never regret having them with me every day. My energy tank may be empty by the end of the day, but my heart is more than full.

of goofy faces...

silly antics....

imaginative games....

and cheesy grins...