Monday, October 30, 2006

Fall Festival at Ironwood Farms

On October 21, there was a fall festival at Jenny's farm for Erda Gardens, the CSA that used field space at the farm this year. We all had a great time -- here are a few pix.

Dan & Scotty on the steam tractor Scotty's grandpa has at the farm.

The hayride and straw bale pile, spilling over with kids. And Chris, Jenny's husband.

Dan helping Gary drive the tractor, after the hayride.

Dan & Scotty cleaning up the haywagon at the end of the day.

last soccer game til spring

Dan's soccer team played their last game of the fall session this past Saturday. They'll pick up again in March, after a winter holiday break. This time, only three boys from Dan's team showed up to play, so all three boys played the entire game (4 quarters 5 minutes each). Gary says they played hard, too. Dan was so tired that he

crashed for a 3+ hour nap at 5:30, then woke up for a few hours and was back in bed by 10. He's okay with taking a break, but he did wear his soccer uniform from Sat's game until this morning when I talked him into regular clothes.

It looks like that was a pretty intense game!

Dan (he's #5) -- and teammates -- running for the ball.

Dan kicking the ball .

Andy pictures

Here are some pix from the past week or two -- Andy entertaining himself at Dan's soccer games. A whole new use for CDs! He is so multi-talented!

Upclose look at ladybug Andy found.

news, musings & gratitude

It's been a busy couple of weeks. Two weeks ago, we got news that Gary's employer will be closing the location where he works on December 15. We chose to embrace this as an opportunity. He'd been looking for a different job anyway, with a chance to upgrade his skills and licence to drive a bigger truck, for more money. The one obstacle had been how to get training (driving school) while still having an income. We talked about the options and threw that one out to the universe -- and now it looked like the universe had answered. The lay-off will come with a month's severance pay and the opportunity to cash out the small balance in his 401K. Since then, he's heard back from a company he'd talked to before the news, and hopes to start soon with them, tho he's keeping all his options open.

We had a great time at the Fall Festival at Jenny's farm last weekend. Gary drove the tractor for the hayride. He sent the photos to his folks on the subject line of 'driving a tractor-trailer' which prompted some concern from his Mom about him driving a semi truck.

Gary, Dan (in blue shirt) & Scotty (red shirt) on the hayride at the fall fest.

This morning, Gary copied me on an email he'd sent his parents about his job-change plans. His Mom had expressed some apprehension at his plans to drive bigger trucks. In the email, he writes "Mom, no need to be apprehensive about me driving a bigger truck-- it's what I want to do, in order to support my family. Pays better than I've been getting at OfficeMax. Even so, OfficeMax pays about the most for this kind of delivery work in the area. I didn't realize how much the desk work back east was eating me up in terms of stress. I was working myself sick. Yes, delivery work pays less, but cost of living is lower here, I'm happier with it, I get to drive, I get to see and do different stuff every day, and I love that my customers are happy to see me. It feeds my soul; not like at the Pentagon where the look on my customer's face as I came in every day said, "oh, it's you." Also, I can more directly see the results of my labors. Anyway, I'm a lot happier now than I was back then.... So don't worry about me, I'll be okay. Besides, Dan can't wait to see me driving a semi!! Funny story-- a few weeks ago I rented a truck because my regular one was in the shop. It was a smaller truck, and when Dan saw it he asked Sylvia after they dropped me off, "Mom, why did they make Dad drive that ugly little truck?"

I was touched to read this -- to be reminded again that the freedom of my life here with the boys each day is the result of Gary's commitment and desire to support our family. When I consider how I can 'support our family' I think about how we'll spend our days pursuing the boys' interests, having fun learning and finding joy along the way. I get to think about spending my days with the boys, and our friends -- which is what feeds my soul. Gary has managed to find a way to provide for our needs and feed his soul, but doesn't have the luxury of spending all his days with us. When I hear him speak about his days at a gov't job at the Pentagon -- I knew him then, we met working at the Pentagon (yes, impossible to believe I ever worked there if you know me today!). I remember how unhappy he was then. Not even in touch with himself enough to be able to identify the unhappiness that permeated his life. In retrospect, I can see how those days left him depleted -- unable to really find his path because all his non-work time was spent recovering from work, escaping the demands of his life then on his days off. He is a much happier man today and much more in touch with his joys and desires. I love that we're all so much happier, and living a life that feeds our souls, filling our days with joy and wonder. And I'm so very grateful that Gary's been such a generous partner along this path.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I've mentioned our oldest son, Will, on here a few times, but hadn't posted any pix, thinking I didn't have any recent ones on the computer.

I came across this one yesterday and wanted to post it here. Will lives across the river in town where he has bus access and can walk to work, in his own apartment. At 21 (and a half - he reminded me last week when I saw him) he's doing things I never did. He lives on his own, happily! I often joke 'no one's pregnant or in jail, so it's all good' when it's really so much more than that. He visits us every so often, spends the day, plays chess with Andy (who loves the time with Will) and just hangs out with Dan. The boys really enjoy having Will come by, and it's obvious he enjoys them too. Given how much older he is, it's so nice to see them enjoying each other.

At 21 (and a half), I was pregnant with Will, recently married (not a good marriage) and my life was, quite honestly, a mess. Then Will came along, and someone had to grow up and the parent. Turned out that someone was me. Will's presence in my life has brought such grace and wonder. It's not all been sweetness and light, but even the tough days were good ones because they all led us to where we are. Along the path of being his Mom, I found myself. He led us into homeschooling, and from that shift came wonderful blessing and joy.

Just thinking about my firstborn, how very much I love him, and how far we've both come in the last 21+ yrs.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Soccer season continues

Yes, more soccer photos. Dan loves to play soccer. He used to count off the days of the week by asking how many more to playgroup on Mondays; now he asks how many more days to Saturday, then says 'And I get to play soccer' when I tell him how far away Saturday is.

It's not a spectator sport without spectators, yanno!

Andy, who hasn't come out for a soccer game since the first one about 5 wks ago. Not sure what the baseball bat is about, but he brought his favorite lawn chair.

Two fans: $10... two grab bags: $4....

Enchanted children: Priceless

Early in our evening at the balloon glow, we did a little souvenir shopping. After browsing our way thru shops selling yarn marionettes, wind chimes, wood roses, and all manner of kitschy things, we ended up with two grab-bags, filled with candy (we later determined the candy had gotten wet sometime along its life) and two small fans with lights on the blades. Easily the best $14 we ever spent -- especially when you consider that the parking and balloon park admission were given to us by my Dad. Thanks, Grandpa Zayde!

Andy with his light-up fan. I think the boys were 'shaving' with their fans.

Dan, being hypnotized by his fan.

Dan, on the left, and Andy enjoying their fans.
Andy self-hypnotizing with his fan.

All that and fireworks, too!

It really was an amazing night for us all.

More special shapes balloons

Here are a few more balloons from Friday night.

Not a great shot, but one of Dan's favorite balloons -- the soccer ball.

The Wells Fargo Bank stagecoach balloon.

A pair of bumblebees

Arabelle the Cow, from Creamland Dairies 'the milk of New Mexico'

Balloon Glow

We had a wonderful time at the special shapes glowdeo on Friday night. After some browsing in gift shops and watching a street magic show, we settled in near this balloon, called Sunny Boy.

During a glowdeo, no balloons launch. They inflate, stay on the ground and fire the burners to show off their colors and shapes. It was perfect weather for a glowdeo -- just a bit cool, bright blue sky into dusk, no breeze, and we had an amazing time together. It was a wonderful end to a day spent thinking of my beloved, much-missed Aunt Susie -- full of happy kids and indulgences! (two of her favorite things)

The best part of a balloon glow is that it doesn't happen in the very early, very cold, very dark mornings like the mass ascensions. When I was a kid here in Albuquerque, balloon week always meant getting up at 4 am and heading out to volunteer on chase crews. Much as I love balloons and mornings, I just don't like to be cold! In recent years, they've added the evening events, making it much more enjoyable for us to get out and see the balloons.

Some daytime pictures taken by Gary.....

Fall is here!

Dan & Gary watching the perpetual marble mover at Explora.

Fall has started here, which for me means a big housecleaning and settling in to things like making cookies and green chile stew. Most of last week was spent at home, continuing to unpack and organize our home.

We finally got Dan settled into his room -- well, his toys, shelves and a mattress are settled into his room, making it more inviting as a play space and the living room look less like a drop-off site for used toys. He still sleeps with us, but he's spending more time in his room -- playing, building with legos or watching TV -- than before.

The last two Fridays, we've swapped hosting with another Mom, and her two sons -- same ages as Andy & Dan. We all hung out here last week, and at their home this past Friday. The boys have a great time together. The older two spend most of their time trading/dueling yugioh cards; the younger two spend their time exploring garages and backyards. It's really nice that both boys have a playmate when we get together.

Dan, exploring Conor's garage a few days ago.

We spent a recent afternoon at Explora, after a busride into town and some sightseeing in Old Town. Both boys signed up for the Lego lab, along with three other friends. We had signed up as soon as we arrived at the museum, then went off on other pursuits. Andy generally heads off on his own at Explora. At 2pm, when the group was gathering for Lego-lab, Andy was nowhere nearby. I found him over at new exhibit area, playing a song on some musical 'instrument' set up there. Along with him were two of the volunteers he knows well. After the first few minutes of the lab set-up, Andy decided that the allure of new sound exhibits was stronger than a lab assignment he'd done before and he left the lab. Dan and Conor were eager to stay and required help from an adult so Mindy & I stayed.

Dan at the Lego lab workshop. The goal is to build and program a robot to pick up 'space boulders' and to rescue an astronaut and help him escape before the next asteroid storm hits.

The boys sitting in front of the water fountain that commemorates the naming of the village of Albuquerque 300 yrs ago in Old Town.