This week you turned 6, and seem to have changed overnight. I hope I can always remember the way that you tell stories these days, with so much expression, and grown-up inflections. Your dad and I are often stealing glances at each other while you’re talking, with our looks saying ‘can you believe this girl? where did she come from? when did she grow into this precocious little thing?’ You crack us up with your voices and ways of telling stories.
You fiercely love, and I love that so much. Your main focus of that love is your big sister. While she was camping on your birthday, I think you said at least 50 times how much you wished she was home with us. When she got home, you dashed to her with so much excitement. You also love your friends, and have proven your loyalty time and time again this year. You hate injustice and are quick to point it out. Even though you were one of the youngest (maybe the youngest) in your class, you didn’t let anyone push you (or anyone else) around, and while this can get you in trouble in kindergarten, I think this will serve you well as you grow up.
Your imagination is unparalleled. You journey to Paperland, where you’re the queen. You always have your oohaahs and bears with you, even though some of them keep dying. You are always ready to suggest some imaginative game to play with your sister and friends. You make detailed plans and truly believe that you can make them happen.
You can be stubborn, but just because you know what you want, and you know when you want it, and that doesn’t always fit with the reality of your situation. For that I apologize, I wish we could always go at your pace and your comfort level. As you grow up, you’ll understand this and gain more flexibility and I’ll figure out ways to gain more patience.
As you turn 6, and get ready for 1st grade, I want you to know how impressed I am with you, how proud I am of you, and how excited I am to watch you grow up. Please keep sharing all the wonderful ways you see the world. Please keep running to me with hugs and kisses. Please keep asking for one more hug and kiss when I tuck you in, because you ‘forgot’ the first ones. Please keep imagining your unique worlds. Please keep wanting to hold my hand. Please keep loving fiercely. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
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.
How do you choose a favorite out of all the favorites? I mean, there are the oils that help elevate my mood, the oils that I turn to for support throughout the month, the oils that support my skin, my hair, my family. But there’s one oil that can do pretty much all those things, so I’d say it’s my favorite and it’s Frankincense.
I love how scents can totally take you back to a memory. When I first smelled Frankincense, it instantly reminded me of growing up at my church and smelling the incense on the Sundays when they would use the thurible (I just learned that this is the word for the incense burner that’s swung around on the chain) during the processional.
It also reminded me of all the old churches and cathedrals in Europe, where the centuries of burned incense have built up on the walls and pews and floors, connecting each pilgrim and visitor with its history. Every time I smell Frankincense, I remember Notre Dame in Paris, St. Paul’s in London, Aya Sofya in Istanbul, Santa Croce in Florence and I’m right back in those places, feeling the immense feelings of humanity and history and faith.
Frankincense can be used to help me feel grounded and peaceful. I use it every morning and I have been trying to say an affirmation as I smell it and apply it. The affirmation changes, as I’m trying to find the right one that fits. Here’s one that I found in the Book of Common Prayer that is meant for Evening Prayer, but works any time of day, really – “Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense, lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” I love that visual – that our prayers and intentions are lifted like the smoke rising from the thurible.
Frankincense is also amazing for other reasons. First of all, it is so great for supporting the skin, especially aging and dry skin. It has been used in medication for thousands of years – in fact it was mentioned in the oldest known medical records, the Ebers Papyrus from ancient Egypt. It also supports our body’s natural response to inflammation and is an incredible support to our immune systems. Just google it to find out more than I can say here. It’s amazing.
So, Frankincense supports my skin, my body, and my mind. What’s not to love?
This idea was born for a few reasons. The first one being that I want to get back to that place where I was always creating and always taking the time to sit down and write and always using my time with intention and focus. The second one being that I’m excited to do some more collaborative projects and I love working with Megan (we did a Christmas giveaway a couple years ago). The third reason is that Megan has been talking about her next music video for over a year, and I’m going to use this project to force her to release it.
So, for the month of August, I will be posting a new blog, and Megan will be posting a new vlog, every weekday. We have some fun things planned including our daughters’ birthdays, crafty projects, the moon totally blocking the sun, road trips, and so much more!
I’m excited to get back into the creative groove and start making things again. Aren’t y’all just so excited about this!?! Anyone? Hello….?
Today you’re five. Today is one of those thresholds. You are entering a whole new stage of life. Five is a big year. Five is kindergarten, loose teeth, reading, school buses, bikes with pedals, new friends, long days away from home, writing. Five is big.
Yesterday you were four and you were still a small little child. Today you are five and you look like a whole new girl to me. I have to be honest and say that my heart hurts a little bit when I look at you. You are a well-spoken, creative, brave soul. Not much of that little baby from five years ago remains. Your legs are long and strong. Your fingers are precise and careful. Your eyes are clear and focused. Your voice is loud and determined. You are five.
You are growing up quickly and it makes me miss my baby. But, Alma, I wouldn’t change it for anything. Those baby days are gone, but I’m so happy about five. I’m so excited to see all those things happen this year, but you will always be my baby.
My wishes for you this year:
You make new friends and keep the old
You are the kid in your class who welcomes everyone
You learn to read and enjoy it
You lose teeth with courage
You fall down and you get back up
You keep sitting in my lap and coming to me for comfort