Sunday, May 31, 2015


the letting-go of the froglets

Ah life. So much. A follow-up to having frog eggs...we had twenty-eight tadpoles hatch in late March, and returned seventeen of them to The Puddle in a mason jar via a really nice friend who lives down the road from The Puddle.  The rest got to live in a large aquarium with gravel and a big rock and fresh water and the regular feedings of frozen lettuce and spinach.  I found mixed recommendations regarding protein, but I will say that they seemed to grow well and big for the most part.  They started morphing into froglets 2 or 3 weeks ago (mid May) and we just released them yesterday: one as the cutest frog I have ever seen, and the rest in varying degrees of tadpolishness. Some had hind legs, some had both sets, and one had no legs yet.  I did not feel confident housing the wee frogs and making sure they got enough insect food, and I was daunted by the idea of having many of them in there hopping about and a little overwhelmed by the size of what I feared might be mosquito larvae, so back they went, with love and well-wishes from their supporters.  What I would do differently:  add more plants, not just the scraps I was able to skim from the nearby creek.  I worried that they didn't have enough oxygen, so I ended up spending long minutes blowing bubbles through a straw into their water. Really. I also had to realize that they were my project, which was actually fine.  When I left no one felt responsible for them, but on the other hand, they were in a spot where they were ogled and checked in on frequently and I think they brought some curiosity and joy into the mix.   I will miss them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

hearts cracking wide

I had forgotten what a different land new babyhood is.  

Time has a different viscosity.  It doesn't behave the way we think it should.  It slows down to the pace of a nursing baby and mama.  The day looks like a dance between nesting spots; follow the pillows, the blankets, the cloths, the diapers and see where we have all been with the newest little bird.  

I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveller's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. 
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

These days are all about the "broad margins".  What else is there to do, really, than to watch expression move across this baby's face, like the play of sun and clouds? Forced to put down everything else, to simply witness the unfolding of a human. Every day his gaze seeks a slightly wider sphere, and his peaceful watching lasts longer and longer.  His legs kick and stretch, his arms make gentle arcs through the air, and he practices his "inside smiles...(which are) a beautiful reflection of an inner feeling of rightness" (Dr. Sears, The Baby Book)  

This baby is having some serious feelings of rightness.

One Week! photo by Ben
I am blessed a thousand times over to have spent these few days with this family. My heart is cracked wide with the joy and sorrow of loving.

four days old

Friday, May 22, 2015

being family

Our spring has been busy: finishing, celebrating, visiting, living. Between the Spring Concert for Calliope, the women's choir Eliza and I sing with, and a trip up to New Jersey for me, we thought we'd squeeze in two days seeing two aunts, two uncles, a grampa, a great aunt, my cousins and my mom (shoo!) in Kentucky. 

It could not have been a more peaceful place to gather.

two tauruses in a pod

I jump at the chance to see my grampa, who is 97 years old, and his sister, who is 95.  Yes, I think it is amazing that we still get to have them in this space with us, and my kids have relationships with them that they won't forget.  Yes, family is about being connected even when you are separated by so many miles, and it is also about gathering whenever you can for as small a reason as sharing a few meals and hours on a porch...

...or for as big a reason as welcoming a baby.  Baby Lyle was born on Monday, on his own schedule, ahead of ours, and I'm catching up on four days of living, here in New Jersey with Lyle and his capable, calm, hilarious parents. Blessings abound.

*This post is number one thousand. I am astounded. Thank you for being here!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Quidditch. Yes, Quidditch.

I would make a terrible soccer mom. Hockey mom. Heck, I really don't make a great dance mom. But Quidditch? Once I got the lingo down, I could get behind some Quidditch.  Our community center recently hosted Rathacon, a crazy, costumed comics convention, and the day started with a Quidditch match.

Me: Wow, Quidditch? How are they going to do that? 
Eliza: Well, they use broom sticks! And all of the elements of a regular Quidditch game!
Me: Really? With the waffles and the bofflers and...
Eliza: Mom.
Me: ...and the quiddlers and the what-is-it, the sneak?
Eliza: Mom! Stop. Just...stop.
Me: ...what about - 
Eliza: MOM! STOP!

Well, it was awesome. With the, well, with all the important parts.  Eliza said when they were lined up at the broomsticks, she had to giggle at how all of them immediately put out their hands and issued the command "Up" and then shared some sheepish looks around.  It was worth a try.  Mostly it was hilarious watching a large group of intelligent humans running around straddling a stick.

In the striped shorts is our fearless friend, Ari

Tennis ball in a sock = snitch. Brilliant!

Their team - the Ravenpuffs or Huffleclaws, depending on who you asked - won! Yes. We are hoping this is the first game of many...