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After every exhilarating experience, is the period of being brought back down.  This week has been that for me.  I am working diligently to get my first class series on the way, but I am feeling the fatigue of all the mental and physical work that has gone on since the training.  I like hard work though, and I am so grateful.  A local chiropractor is hosting my first series, and I am so excited!  It is a blessing to me, and everything is coming together.  I can’t wait to be a “teacher” again!

Otherwise, we have our 5th big snow of the last two months.  I have to be honest here and say I am tired of that – beyond tired.  I had to get out in it yesterday and take myself to the doctor, which required a little hike to the vehicle.  Then, I had to drive 20 miles an hour, which is extremely hard for my wound up self to do.  John told me about 50 times to be careful and not rush.  I said that I wasn’t setting out to get myself hurt, but to go to the doctor.  We laughed.

So, it was no surprise to me that by the time I reached the doctor in the next county, that my blood pressure was a bit elevated, and I had the beginnings of a headache.  I have been having these headaches that radiate up the back of my head, and my neck constantly feels stiff.  The cold that I have been battling for nine days now hasn’t helped.  The doctor said they are tension headaches.  I’m not sure from where the tension is coming.  I wonder how much of that kind of thing is genetic.  If anyone has any ideas, please send them my way.  Yeah, I know, you’re thinking – a yogini having a problem with tension, that stuff must not really work.  I say, yeah, you’d think, but I’m still “practicing” and it is what relieves me most days.  It’s like magic.

The girls have decided that they don’t like snow.  Deladis is not happy at the large flakes falling today.  She said it’s too cold and she is ready for Spring.  Aren’t we all?  I’m pulling all the stops to keep them going through the days without too many meltdowns, but the last few have been harrowing.  Both of the girls have began their first period of tears shortly after waking the last two mornings.  Typically, I don’t have to think about that until the late afternoon.

Today, I pulled the rocking horse out of their bedroom, hoping to help them release some energy.

It helped for about 10 minutes.

Honestly, I don’t think any of us has too much energy left aside from the anxious kind.

This post seems like one big long whine.  I’m sorry.  I’m just tired.  I am also very grateful.  I am grateful for the ebb and flow of life, because there is no way we could last through any one period forever without becoming numb.  I am grateful for my two little girls and their leaps and bounds everyday.  I am grateful for a loving husband and best friend who takes taking care of us very seriously.  I am grateful that Spring is on the way and soon I won’t be blowing my nose a hundred times a day.  We will be planting a garden, playing on the back patio, and existing in Mother Nature beyond the 900 square feet of cabin.

There’s nothing like six or more inches of snow to give you a hankering for a treat from your childhood.  Here in the mountains a big snow provides an easy way to make an iced cream treat that is as good as it is cold.

Snow Cream

Snow cream is simply made given you trust the snow to be clean enough to consume.  The way I make it, all of the ingredients are estimated.  The important know how is the concept I suppose, then you can make it to your liking.

Start with melting a sweetener of your choice into some heavy cream or whole milk. (You can also use low fat milk, but I don’t think it would taste near as good or be very nutritious for you.  Treats should not be empty calories in my opinion, so go for the gusto!)  The sweetener we use is honey and/or maple syrup. (We use only unrefined/moderately refined sweeteners that hold plenty of nutrients such as iron or enzymes.)  Since our sweetener is already liquid it doesn’t require a lot of heat to completely mix with the milk.  Allow the milk mix to cool, and add a little vanilla… or a lot if you are like me and love strong flavors.  Next, gather your snow in a large stainless steel bowl or pot.  You will want to compact it a bit and gather a large amount.  Scoop from the top layer of snow only, being careful to not dig down too close to the ground.  At least 4 inches should be on the ground for making snow cream.  I was always told not to eat the first snow of the year as well.  Once back inside, slowly mix the milk soup into the snow stirring thoroughly, but with a gentle touch.  Keep mixing until it is to your desired consistency, then eat and enjoy!  The Haywoods certainly enjoyed their snow cream this year.

Or, you can do like I did as a kid wanting snow cream.  Take your favorite pancake syrup and a spoon outside, squeeze some into the snow, and chow down.  🙂

The contrast of snow and sky begs us outside.  Shelter ourselves no more and enjoy the Creator’s warmth in a world chilly with Winter’s finality and promise of renewal.

The Lynn Tree and Rock

We suit up.  How many more Winters will be spent in the midst of such glorious cuteness?

Icicle swords and dusts of snow.

It is impossible to reconcile the sky and earth.  Let them exist one for the other

The Confluence

Snow angels play for snow angels to create.

A groundhog sees its shadow.

Happy Groundhog Day / Candlemas

And mother always waits too long to start the walk home.

But a treat can be made that only Winter allows.

Come by tomorrow for the recipe for a favorite Winter mountain treat!

“Holed in” – This is a term used in these parts for a time when you have to stay put somewhere, usually at home, for a longer period of time than normal.  I’m assuming the term came from either underground coal mining or fox holes in the World Wars.  I can’t think of an older beginning, but “holed in” was exactly what we were this weekend.

From Friday evening to Sunday evening we were without power due to the big snow storm that hit our region.  For us, that also means without water as we have a well that runs on an electric pump.  Our one gas heater kept us warm enough, but the water situation got old.  Washing dishes with snow isn’t fun after a few meals of doing it.  So, when I realized it had been Wednesday since I had showered last and I learned my dad had all the amenities, we trekked out across the snow.  The four of us walked out of the holler as the truck wasn’t budging.  I borrowed our friend’s/neighbor’s wading boots and walked Ivy and myself across the water.  John and Deladis set out with our suitcase up the hill using the oddly placed bridge.

We made it to my dad’s (in the van which we park across the creek), got cleaned up, and John took me out to eat and finish some Christmas shopping for the niece and nephews while my dad and his wife watched the girls.  It was a much needed rest.  On the ride to the eating place, John and I both felt how tired we were.  You know how it is… you don’t feel how tired you are until you try to get out and go somewhere.  But, being out after five consecutive days of not leaving the holler, and going out with John made it super nice.  That is one thing John and I need more of – couple time.  I’m slowly working out what our needs are, and John and I have been talking quite a bit about how things should be for our lives to be balanced and whole.  I’m confident and hopeful.

The last time we were out was Wednesday night for Deladis’ first dance recital.  John’s mother has been helping us afford lessons for Deladis in tap, ballet, and jazz.  At first I thought it would be a good way for her to socialize with other little girls, but she turned out to be the only student in her age group this semester.  She has taken to dancing like it is a natural progression for her.  She has no problem being the only student, and looks forward to dance class days.  I have watched her develop her physical body in ways that she was a little behind other children her age since starting dance.  I’ve watched her grow stronger and enjoy physicality, which isn’t her preference of being.  Dance has helped balance her.

All of her grandparents, her great grandmother, her aunt and cousin, and John and I came to watch her dance.  We along with all the other parents and guests filled the room.  She practices behind a curtain with just her teacher watching, so I was a little nervous for her dancing in front of so many people.  I didn’t mention that to her though, and talked only about how fun it was going to be, and how much I was looking forward to finally seeing her dance.

She was ready to dance from the moment we walked into the room.

Getting her shoes on.

The oldest student is also in class by herself.  She is in high school and she danced first.  When it was Deladis’ time, she took the floor without hesitation.  My eyes teared over when hers met mine.  I could tell she was so pleased to share her talent with me.  We connected in that moment in that special way that hadn’t happened for a long time.  It felt perfect.

Looking to Mommy

Her music was “Away in the Manger”, and she was equipped with all the props.

At the end of the song, she gently placed her doll in the manger and pranced off the floor.  I couldn’t have been more proud.  I think her teacher was too.

After the next class performed, Deladis had another song – “We Need a Little Christmas” – where she showed us some of her tricks on the mat.

Eggroll

I will be trying my very best to keep her love of learning intact and her self confidence.  I see so many of my introverted ways in her, but she had the confidence to shine, and no one should ever put that light out.

We are taking a break from our homeschooling for the rest of the month.  We are all tired from the trying time we’ve had over the last little while.  I think a break will be what we need.  It is always good to reassess and take the time to just be what we are.  If I don’t get back here before the new year…. Happy Holidays to Everyone.  I wish you many happy days.

Be Blessed!

I still have to wait to tell my exciting news until the right time.  I can promise you however, (as someone has asked) that I am not pregnant.  Though that would be very exciting news indeed, it would send both mine and John’s parents into coronaries.  🙂  So, I shouldn’t be announcing that.  However, I don’t think we would mind all that much. 😉

Instead, I want to share with you some of our Christmas activities that we’ve been doing as part of our homeschooling.  I want this holiday to be a special one for my girls.  I have to be honest and say that coming from a family that experienced divorce, it was a difficult time for me as a child.  I wanted to be two places at once, and it was too much for a kid to feel.  As I mentioned before, John and I both still have a hard time being everywhere and doing everything we would like to be and do this season.  So, I want our own little family tradition to be sweet and simple.  Close knit.  Real.  Acknowledging all aspects of the season.

This year we are observing Advent for the very first time.  It is not commonly celebrated here, so I didn’t know all that much about how to do it up right.  When I went looking for books about Advent, I was asked if it was a foreign holiday.  I have managed to find enough information to adapt the holiday to our family and what we have on hand with the help of Festivals, Family, and Food by Diana Carey and Judy Large, and a great blog I am finding more and more helpful each time I visit it – The Parenting Passageway.

I made an Advent wreath from our grapevine wreath that we decorate seasonally, and some things we had around indoors and out.  It sits on our kitchen table.  The candles are lit at mealtimes.

Each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas we add more decoration to the wreath as we announce another part of the earth that is awaiting the birth of the Christ.

The first light of Advent is the light of stone-

Stones that live in crystals, seashells, and bones.

The second light of Advent is the light of plants-

Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breeze dance.

The third light of Advent is the light of beasts-

All await the birth, from the greatest to the least.

The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind-

The light of hope that we may learn to love and understand.

-I’ve seen this verse posted several places online without a source given.

I wanted to make an Advent calender, but I haven’t found the time.  Instead, we are using Christmas stickers on our everyday calender to mark off the days until the holiday, which we’ve marked with a manger scene.

I’m really enjoying this focus on the birth of Jesus that Advent brings.  So many times, we can get lost in the buying of gifts and attending parties that we can lose the sense of introspection that this season allows no matter our religious beliefs.  It is a time where we seek the warmth of what is inside of us, and I fear in so many ways we as an American people are having a trying time finding enough warmth to sustain ourselves – not because it isn’t there, but because we lose ourselves in what we think things should be like, rather than what they are.  I’m guilty of this myself, so maybe I am just projecting here.  I want my girls to have traditions they can remember fondly no matter the economic climate or what is going on in pop culture.  To add to the spirit of Advent, our Circle Time story has been the birth of Jesus.

We’ve also made ornaments and snowflakes from the Festivals, Family, and Food book.  The big tissue ball in the picture of the calender is one.

This is the smaller version for the tree.

Deladis loved making the snowflakes this week.  She was giddy.  Our theme for the last two weeks has been snow.  I love the focus on nature in Waldorf and acknowledging the important roles the seasons play in our lives – the role that Mother Earth plays.  Both of the girls have loved it, and I have watched them grow so much.  Ivy is now even trying to recite the poems and sing the songs in words.  Deladis told me for the first time she had a favorite part to the poem “Velvet Shoes” by Elinor Wylie – “We shall walk through the still town”.  They have especially enjoyed “Winter Morning” by Ogden Nash, but I can tell that Deladis’ favorite of all is

Dust of Snow

The way a crow

Shook down on me

The dust of snow

From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart

A change of mood

And saved some part

Of a day I had rued.

– Robert Frost

It is Mommy’s favorite too. 🙂

Christmas outfits from Mamaw Haywood

Ivy has been sick since Thursday night.  Fever and coughing.  I’m reluctant to call it the flu as no one else in our house has had those symptoms, but Ivy has been real poorly.  After sleepless nights keeping a check on the fever, it was amazing to wake up Saturday morning to see the ground covered in snow and huge chunky flakes falling from  the sky.  Both of the girls stood at our picture window mesmerized for the longest time.

Because Ivy is so sick, and we didn’t receive the best gravel job on the new road from the gas company, we decided it would be best to stay at my mother’s in case we needed to take Ivy to the ER.

The willow in Mom's yard and Lydia's (my step-dad's dog) doghouse. She's in there full of pups. Due Christmas Eve.

The wettness left from the rain we’ve had this last week caused the snow to lay in blankets over everything.  It was so beautiful.  I haven’t been able to shake my melancholy since my last post, and just seeing it filled me with a white peace for awhile.  There isn’t anything much more gorgeous than seeing a crown swooping from a white branch onto a ground covered in snow.

Maple in Mom's yard, planted when I was 12 or 13.  Just a stick then.

These hills are home in every season.  Home because they are real.  Life here is real.  It is these solitary moments – the in breath – that takes me through my days lately.

I want to thank all of you who left a comment of well wishes on my last post.  I appreciate it.  If you don’t mind, please pray for or send healing thoughts to my Ivy.  She’s so puny.  I will rise up… one day, I will.

Such is the way of the world

You can never know

Just where to put all your faith

And how will it grow?

Gonna rise up

Burning black holes in dark memories

Gonna rise up

Turning mistakes into gold

Such is the passage of time

Too fast to fold

Suddenly swallowed by signs

Lo and behold

Gonna rise up

Find my direction magnetically

Gonna rise up

Throw down my ace in the hole

-Eddie Veddar, “Rise” music from the motion picture Into the Wild

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About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

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