Today is the first day of Autumn. Finally. I love this time of year, when the light is fading, shadows get longer, our leaves do their lovely swan-song-and-dance. It’s a time for fresh starts, nostalgia, dreaming, and turning inside – literally and metaphorically.
I’ve hinted at this a bit on the blog, but this summer was really hard, starting in the last couple weeks of school last year. Some really difficult and confusing things happened at the girls’ school, and I was dragged into it despite all my efforts to remain on the outside. I was betrayed by someone who I had previously trusted with my most important things. This person spread rumors of the worst kind about me, and was acting irrationally and incredibly unprofessionally. She not only betrayed me, but she also completely wrote my daughters out of her life, which, honestly was much harder to deal with. I spent the whole summer thinking about how to – and whether or not to – process it all on my blog. Although we’re doing everything we can to move on from the situation, it’s still on my mind, and still makes me angry and sad whenever I think about it. I guess I’m writing all of this down right now in order to move on with a fresh start, into Autumn. It’s hard because this person has played a big, fun role in some of our Autumn traditions, and I know I will feel her absence and her betrayal acutely during those things.
But, I’m all about fresh starts and moving on, so that’s what I’ll do now.
Here’s what I want to do this Autumn:
Pumpkin Patch with the playgroup
Pumpkin Patch with our friends
Hayrides. All of them.
Eat so many apples
Pumpkin brew fest
Eat as many Thanksgiving dinners as I can finagle my way into
Diffuse all the Autumn scents
Walk with friends
Write some letters
Listen to as much nostalgic and melancholy music as my soul can handle
We did pretty well this summer! I did better getting the Girl Tribe and Family Fun lists done than my own. There are some things we missed that surprise me – we never made ice cream?! That darn ice cream truck never came by our house. Another summer passed without making any tie dye. (We did actually hike, I just missed it when I was crossing things off).
We did a really good job with our daily schedule until our trips started in August, then everything got lost in the shuffle. Same with reading a new book everyday.
Other things, I realized, weren’t that great in the summer. Why go to the museums when it was so pretty outside? Other things were probably never going to happen – a family bath? That was Alma’s brilliant and silly idea.
Looking at the list of things I wanted to do for me, it’s pretty clear I just didn’t take much time for myself during the summer. And that’s okay, because I really did have a great time with my little girl tribe, and Jesse too, when he wasn’t working.
This was the last first day of preschool for our family. What a sweet time this has been. We loved the school Alma attended for three years, and where Harriet has been the last two years. Unfortunately, things changed and we felt the need to move Harriet to a new school for her last year.
Luckily we found a really sweet place just down the road from both our house and Alma’s elementary school. While it makes me really sad that they won’t be in the same place, it’s comforting to me that they’re just a block or two apart. Also, Alma didn’t have school today (they broke the kindergarten classes into two groups for the firsts and Alma only had to go yesterday), so it was extra special that she got to come to drop-off with us.
Alma has been talking all morning about how she misses Harriet. She even suggested that we just go pick her up two hours early. It makes me so excited for next year when they’ll have lunch and recess together at the elementary school.
Harriet was so excited to be at her new school. She got right to work tracing her name (that’s how they check in in the morning. I love that idea!), then exploring all the things she could play with.
I’m so proud of how flexible she is these days. I could have expected her to have a problem with the new school, new teachers, new friends, but she just rolled with it like the strong, brave girl she is. I’m so excited to see what this year of school will bring to our lovely little Harriet.
Remember when Alma was born? Or her first day of preschool? Yesterday, right? Well, here’s our little baby all ready for kindergarten.
How did this happen? I mean, I totally get it. She’s 5 1/2. She’s becoming such a big kid. She is generous and kind. She’s excited to learn how to read and how to do math. She loves making new friends more than anything. She’s totally ready for kindergarten.
Harriet, on the other hand, isn’t quite ready for Alma to be in kindergarten. She’s already asked when Alma’s coming home – twenty times or so. They have a special bond, for sure. I’m so excited for next year, when Harriet is in elementary school with Alma.
This morning we all walked Alma down to her bus stop. We had to wait for a while, but Alma never seemed nervous or worried. She did complain about her backpack being uncomfortable. Guess we should break it in a little bit.
Alma hopped right on the bus without a look back (until her bus driver told her to turn around for a photo). She is such a courageous, smart, friendly, and fun girl.
Harriet and I ended up driving to the school to meet her. I wanted to make sure it all made sense to her, and she asked if we could meet her there. Boy am I glad we did. We went to the cafeteria to get breakfast, and it was a madhouse. We ran into our friend, Kenton, who’s a 1st grader, but new to the school, and who looked a bit lost. We all headed to the (long) breakfast line and got some food. The cafeteria was loud and crowded, but some of Alma’s fun 5th grade friends came to make sure she was doing okay.
I got Alma connected with her teacher, and on her way to music class, then we headed out.
Now I’m just counting the hours and minutes until her bus drops her off. I’m just glad it’s an early release day so she’ll be home an hour earlier. I can’t wait to hear all about her day and who she played with and if they had outdoor recess and if she liked the lunch I packed her and and and everything everything everything!
Today was my first time being in the moon’s shadow. I say that because I’m now sure that it won’t be my last time.
I don’t know where to start this post. I could start by talking about the young adult novel I read years ago, where three kids witness a full solar eclipse – and how reading that book convinced me that I need to be in the path someday. Or I could start by talking about Harriet’s connection with the moon – and how realizing that this would be her birthday convinced me that we all needed to witness it. Or I could talk about how our house was in 99.6% totality and how I knew – I just knew that wouldn’t be enough. I could start with all the hype around how Oregon was going to be a madhouse and the traffic would make getting to totality impossible. I don’t know. I guess I’ll just tell the story of how we we ended up in the shadow of the moon for over a minute and a half.
A couple days before the eclipse, I mapped out how many different ways we could get from our home in Eugene, to totality in Corvallis. I figured it would be the best bet since there were so many roads in and out of Corvallis, and having gone to college there, we knew lots of the back roads that we could take. First contact was to start at 9:05am, and we left Eugene around 8. We figured we’d get as far north as we could, and just pull off into some farmer’s field if needed. I pictured traffic backing up through the small towns, and as we approached Corvallis. No such luck. We hit absolutely no traffic the whole way up. None.
As we drove up the highway, and entered the zone of totality, a great weight lifted. I was there. I knew I was in the path. The further north we drove, the better it would be, but if we stopped where we were, we’d at least get a few seconds of shadow. But further north we went. We saw people sitting along side country roads with telescopes set up, waiting. The more people we saw, the more the anticipation grew.
We parked by the football stadium, and walked to a field next to the dorm where we met. The moment we set out our blanket, a cheer broke out. First contact. We put on our glasses, and sure enough, a little bite had been taken out of the sun. Harriet was enthralled. She sat silently gazing. She would have watched the whole eclipse if we had let her, but I wanted her to rest her eyes. Even with the glasses on, I knew it was important to give our eyes a rest.
For the next hour or so, we checked the sun, chatted with other viewers, looked through pin-hole viewers, noticed that Jesse’s hat was a very effective pin-hole viewer, sending hundreds of little eclipsed suns all over his arms and face.
At 9:45 it got cold. The Californian next to me commented how how the cool breeze felt good. It took me a moment to realize it was more than just the breeze. The air had shifted. The light had shifted. It looked like twilight, but different. The shadows were crisper. The light was silver instead of gold. Our shadows were short instead of long. It was very strange and very awesome. The earth was changing and we could all sense it.
At 10:11, we all put our glasses on and I told the girls that we should just keep watching until totality. Cheers were going up all around as the sliver of the moon got smaller and smaller. The energy of the crowd made me so happy that we were experiencing it with hundreds of other people. It was a human experience and we all witnessed the world change for a moment, together.
The sun got smaller and smaller then it was gone. I heard Jesse say, “Look at it! Look at it!” and I took my glasses off. I can’t describe what I saw. What I saw was magic and huge and small and unreal and more perfect and real than anything I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I wanted to laugh, scream, cry, dance, and never stop seeing it. I wanted to see it everyday for the rest of my life. I wanted to burn the image into my mind and never forget it. I tore my eyes from the glowing moon to look around at the earth. It was dark and strange. I laughed out loud at the fact that it was as dark as night. Streetlights flicked on. Venus shone down at us. Everything glowed with a silver sheen.
It was the longest, and the shortest, minute and forty seconds of my life. I looked back to the moon, and saw that it was brightening. As I put my glasses back on, I saw a flash of the diamond ring effect. The crescent of the sun grew bigger and bigger.
As we packed up our things and left the field, I knew I was surrounded by hundreds of people who were changed, like I was. Harriet asked if we could do it again tomorrow. If only, my little luna girl, if only. I know that it was worth the risk of traffic. It was worth so much more than that. I know now that I would brave hours of travel and traffic to be in the moon’s shadow again After we ate lunch, I put my glasses back on and saw a sun that was back to normal. I knew that the moon was out there, somewhere, invisible to my eyes, but I knew it was there. That moon, that powerful, graceful moon, when I see it again in our sky it will never look the same. It will be the normal shape, normal size, it will wax and wane like it has forever, but to me, it will be forever changed.
I love this blurry photo of us for a few reasons. First, I’m in it with you and I think it’s important that I get in the shot too, sometimes. Second, just look at your sweet smile. We were camping here, and girl, do you love camping. You love exploring and running and playing and sleeping and swimming and building and s’mores.
This past year has been a doozy. You definitely followed the trend of three-year-olds being difficult and stubborn. You showed your opinion quite clearly, to say the least. You only wanted me to help you and cuddle you and read to you and carry you – dad just wouldn’t do. You wouldn’t eat anything that wasn’t exactly what you wanted. You wanted what you wanted and you wanted it when you wanted it. And it was hard. Three was hard.
Luckily, the last couple months of three, things started to change. You started to ask for daddy before me. You became more flexible and less frustrating. Thank you so much for that. Really, Harriet, thank you for that.
Right now you are so much fun. You are funny and creative. You fiercely love the people in your life. You have strong connections with people and are incredibly loyal. You have changed from being stubborn to being strong (it’s an important difference to note). I love to hear your opinions and your ideas. You are so brave and are always willing to try new things, usually with a bit of gentle encouragement. Last year you were scared to get your face wet, this year you’re swimming without your floaties and going down the big slide at the pool. Last year you wouldn’t try your balance bike, this year you’re almost ready for pedals.
Four years ago, you were born on a Blue Moon. Today, we will witness a full solar eclipse. The planets have aligned. I’ve always loved the moon, and since you were born four years ago, I’ve loved it even more with the connection between your birth and the moon. Today we will stand in the moon’s shadow. I think there is something to this, my girl. You are my little moon girl and you were born to do great, big things.
Next year we will be getting ready for kindergarten. But for today, and for this year, I want you to stay my little child, my baby. No need to rush things, my Hattie Girl. No need to stop sleeping in my arms. No need to stop asking for my help. Ne need to run too far or climb too high.
You are my girl and I love you to the moon and back a million times.
I use my oils daily, for sure. Some days more than others, some days less. Here’s what I did yesterday (meant to post this yesterday…. oops).
8:30 – I took a shower and washed my hair with my homemade shampoo. I just do an equal mix of coconut milk, castille soap, a splash of jojoba oil. Every time I wash my hair, I just put a drop or two of essential oils in a little bowl with a small amount of my shampoo. Today I used a drop of Rosemary and a drop of Lavender. They are both really good supports for the scalp and hair and I often use them. Sometimes I choose oils that will support my mood, rather than my scalp. Sometimes I choose ones that just smell good. I also use the shampoo as my body wash.
8:45 – My after-shower routine is pretty set. I always put diluted Thieves on my feet for immune support. Then I put a drop of Frankincense on the roof of my mouth to feel grounded and support basically all of my body’s systems (more about Frank here). Then I put on my face lotion with a drop of something added – usually Patchouli or more Frankincense. I also put some Progessence Plus Serum on my neck or forearms for amazing hormonal support.
9:30 – I started diffusing 3 drops of Grapefruit with 5 drops of Idaho Blue Spruce. Such a good combo. Megan got me into citrus/tree blends because they’re awesome.
11:00 – I added a drop of Lime Vitality (FDA approved for ingesting) to my water as I was making lunch for the girls.
11:30 – I used my roller bottle of Stress Away diluted with sweet almond oil.
1:45 – I switched it up in my diffuser and went with Christmas Spirit because it’s too hot and I’m ready for cozy smells and chilly air.
4:45 – Alma needed a little emotional support, so she put her Gentle Baby roller bottle on her belly.
8:35 – After a fun, sugary birthday party for Kylie, the girls totally needed help getting settled down for sleep, so I put some Palo Santo in their diffuser.
9:30 – I threw some Lavender in my diffuser, read for a bit and fell right asleep.
I use a lot of other Young Living products during the day (deodorant, laundry soap, cleaner, etc) but I only wrote down the actual oils I used. How do you use your oils? I’d love to get some more worked into my routine and am always looking for ideas!
So, I’ve never made playdough before. I’m basically a stay at home mom of two girls who love any sort of sensory play more than anything else. How can I not have made playdough? Well, I haven’t, okay? UNTIL TODAY! Megan and I had plans to do a different crafty project with the kids, but it didn’t work out. Luckily, Megan had everything on hand to make playdough, so we did.
Here’s a recipe I found a few places online. One thing I love about this one is that it doesn’t need to cook or use hot water, so the kids can actually help mix it all up. Also, like I said, Megan had all these things in her kitchen already.
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup cold water – bonus if you use hose water like we did
1 Tbs oil (we used fractionated coconut oil)
A few drops of essential oils (we used Peace and Calming, and Peace and Calming II)
Directions are pretty easy.
Mix flour and salt.
Add water and oil.
Knead well. Add more flour or water if needed.
Mix and knead until it comes together and is smooth, like playdough.
Add some Essential Oils. We picked Peace and Calming II for half the batch, hoping it would turn everything orange, and Peace and Calming, hoping it would turn bluish/green.
As you can see, the colors in the oils didn’t really color the playdough, but the smell certainly came through! These two three-year-olds played nicely with this playdough for close to an hour.
I think I’ll do this again. It was easy, quick, and the kids really had fun playing with it.
Megan will post a vlogposted a vlog of the kids playing with the playdough if you want to see more about this whole thing! Here’s a behind-the-scenes photo of Megan making the vlog.