Though the weather has been on-again-off-again warm/cold, we've been spending a lot more time outside. They have started their spring garden at school, which has led to Esther's main subject of play lately - gardening. She will tell me the process of digging the hole, planting the seed, covering it up, watering, and then it grows (and then you eat it - YUM). Marci, E's teacher, says they haven't gone into that much detail, so I guess Esther just picked up from the few times we've discussed it. I hope that our next place has room and ability to put some plants in the ground. Container gardens are nice, but we look forward to a real garden. Here's a few pics of her enjoying the sun and the dirt! Here, she's working on building a 'bridge'. She then lets the rocks 'walk' on it.
"Oh, Zouga!" Our tailless tortoise-shell cat wanted to join in the photo shoot this day. She slipped into most every picture.
Esther's BFF, Finn, turned 3 this week and had his party yesterday. Esther had so much fun with him at his zoo party. They got a tour the zoo and watch some of the animals be fed. The reptile house was the highlight of the tour. They got one of the snakes out, but E didn't want to touch it. She's held a snake before, but I think the lack of a nap had caught up with her by that point. Pictures to recap the celebrations!
The Birthday Boy
Ring Around the Roses
Looking at the Bobcat tail
Looking at the bear, DJGobble, Gobble
Grasshopper Cake from The Grit...Delicious. A very special treat for E. We paid for a dearly with a huge meltdown over playing with Finn's new piano. It's not a party without tears, right?Finn's present: a felt art notebook
Though we don't really celebrate V-day to the commercialized max, it is always fun to do a heart-shaped craft and eat special treats. Esther and I made Valentines for her classmates this week. I recycled old construction paper into hearts, Esther glued tissue paper bits, and I wrote a sweet message on the back. E took them to school yesterday in her little purse and could hardly wait to pass them out. She was especially thrilled with the piece of organic chocolate a classmate gave her. She shared with Papa and I. This morning, Esther and I made a delicious apple streusal coffee cake. There was nothing healthy about it other than the apples, but it was totally worth it. Esther was bouncing up and down to have 'cake' for breakfast.
A good book on the coziest seat in the house! Sharing the family-love!
After two years of life, we finally planted Esther's tree last weekend. We first went back and forth on what kind of tree we wanted. We finally decided on a corkscrew willow. We then had the decision of where to plant it. We rent, so knew it would need a long-term home somewhere else. My parents have a large yard with plenty of tree-planting room (my Dad favors lawn over trees), so this was Esther's tree's destination. Then came timing. February is the best time of the year to plant trees, hence Arbor Day on the 21st. For whatever reason (brand new baby, grad school) we did not get the tree planted in the last 2 years. Finally, this was the time. One motivation was the very large container holding Esther's placenta in our freezer. That's right - a placenta in our freezer. Planting a tree with your child's placenta is a somewhat common ritual, though not as common in this country. Here is an article that describes a few rituals that evolve around using the placenta after birth. For our family, we wanted to plant a tree that would grow with Esther. A symbol of her life and growth through the years. The placenta nourished Esther while she was inside me and its nutrients will now help nourish her tree. I could go way deeper into it, but won't for those who will think I'm a whackadoo or would just be bored by the details. So, here we go with pictures...
Digging in the dirt. Notice E's orange shovel.
Covering the placenta with soil (deep enough to not attract coyotes) and placing the willow.
Esther checking our work to make sure we're doing it right (:
See the placenta container. Think of how much more food will fit in our freezer now! One of my friends said her husband opened their son's container once, thinking it was soup (Yuck!). Another friend said she still had both her son's placentas (age 4 and 2) and two others in her freezer (she is a doula and was keeping them for friends). I didn't feel so bad for our 2-year delay after those stories.
Naptime was quickly approaching, so I didn't get any posed pictures in front of the firmly planted tree. I will keep updates as both the tree and Esther grow.
And now, random cuties of our cutie!
Check out that outfit! She has started picking her clothes and I love it!
Exited about reading!
I mean really excited. So much, she had to pull almost all the books off her bookcase. I made her clean them up when she was finished.
Lastly, a reminder/request for prayer for our dear friend Samarah, who lost her husband, Russell, on January 1st. She is an amazing woman and inspires me every day to live a better life. Her strength and joy comes from her faith and spills out on everyone she touches. Please continue to pray for her and her children - continued healing, truth in all things, and happiness in the knowledge that her beloved is in peace. Thanks and much love to you and yours!
This is my new favorite children's book. I picked up 'Wild Child' and 'Winter Waits' by Lynn Plourde at the library this week. The artwork, by Greg Couch, is amazing! 'Wild Child' is the story of Mother Earth putting Autumn to sleep and preparing for Winter (who wakes up at the end of the story). 'Winter Waits' is the story of Father Time and Winter and their fun together. I have not read the Summer and Spring ones, but they are definitely on our library list for next week. I actually would love to buy the whole series. Sorry for no pictures of E, but I just had to share these beautiful books!
Anyone who knows me, knows I love to dance. I am thrilled to pass on this love to Esther. We often have dance parties, as you've seen in previous posts. Here are a couple of videos of her dancing. The 'shimmy' is pretty awesome. She scrunches up her shoulders and shakes her whole body, very awkwardly - Hilarious! She is a bit shy about dancing in front of the camera. As soon as I get it out, she shuts down the dance-machine. With a little encouragement, I managed to get a bit of it on tape.
This past weekend was unseasonably warm and we took advantage of it. We had another weekend of nothingness and enjoyed every minute of it. We spent the weekend cleaning and organizing (pre-preparation for the move), playing, cooking, and enjoying the sunshine. Esther played dress-up a lot, especially sporting her boots and other rain gear and mix-matching outfit. I've recently taken up hula-hooping. There is a whole dance-fitness movement right now. Ben bought me a hoop for my birthday last year and I have been playing around with it, but no real tricks. I took a class a few weeks ago and have another one this coming weekend. It is really fun! Here are a few pics of me hooping in the yard while Ben read and E played. The rest of the pics are just cuties of Esther playing - her Elmo slippers, Cheese-face, and wearing baby in my/her sling. She was in that sling many a waking and sleeping moments for the first year or so. I miss it...