Photography

Standard

IMG_4404-640px

IMG_4410-640px

This guest post is by my wonderful husband of over 10 years, Eric.

I fell in love with taking pictures when I was about 12 years old.  The feeling has not changed for me since then, although I have forgotten many times, only to be reminded by an amazing photograph or beautiful window light.  I forget much less often now that we have kids.  In fact, I have to keep myself from taking pictures sometimes so that I can be with them without a camera in the mix.  After all, I am here to live life with them, not just to document their childhood.

When I decide to take pictures of them, my favorite thing to do is to try to capture expressions that I think show their personality.  While I like to see pictures of my kids smiling for the camera, it is usually not what I am trying to make.  Have you considered what you are trying to do when you are taking pictures?  Are you making any pictures that you will want to look at in 10 years or are they just for right now?

Peace,

-Eric

Eve of 5

Standard

eve of 5

eve of 5 2

eve of 5 3

We picked up their Papa at the airport on the eve of Iliana’s 5th birthday.  They love their Papa.  Emerson was walking through the airport saying “paw paw”, “paw paw”, in his best pronunciation of Papa.  Iliana was overjoyed.  When we did eventually see him, and we were waiting for his bags, the two of them were doing handstands with one foot up in the air, then they’d turn their bodies a little, and make it a sideways stand.  Emerson pretty much doing what Iliana was doing.  Then they’d both look at their Dad and be like, “did you see that”.  Children express their happiness in such clear ways.

It’s been a whirlwind of trying to prepare for a little, birthday party that we’re having for Iliana on Saturday.  She invited 5 friends, since she’s turning 5.  This seems a nice way to keep it simple and manageable for her as a little person who will be the focus of the day.  One of her favorite guests is a little chihuahua named Chica.

Preparing for this party has been a lot, considering I hardly felt moved in, really.  A lot of my preparation has gone into making the house as comfortable as possible, so that when guests come on Saturday, we all have places to sit, there are dishes ready and available for the cake, (that there’s a platter for the cake!), and that it’s relatively clean.  All assumably easy tasks if you’ve been living in a home for awhile, and have had a birthday or two, but when you’re new, it takes a lot of forethought and planning.  We still haven’t moved all of our things from the house in Illinois, not that we’re moving everything, but the little things, like nice plates to eat cake on, nice silverware to eat said cake, tablecloths, candles, all those things are still in Illinois.  Luckily, as Eric’s arrival grew closer, I was texting him daily with items to bring, trying to remember exactly where they were in the house, and hoping they’d fit in his luggage.  He told me, as he was packing, he’d look at the clothes he wanted to bring, and the pile he’d made of my requests, and tell himself, no, I don’t really need that many shirts, then he’d pack one more item for us.  Pretty nice.

I still found myself yesterday making a trip to Michael’s to get some party items, decorations, crafts for a project to do together.  I stumbled upon this birthday post, which has me feeling like I want to make another trip to get a few more things.  You must check out the link, Posie Gets Cozy’s birthday for her two year old is absolutely darling!  Oh my!  That woman goes all out.  It’s fun to see a post for a two year old given that my Emerson is almost 20 months.  Fun to follow along someone close in age.

In the end all will go as it goes.  There will be ups and downs, happy moments and sad, excitement, disagreement, but hopefully, and most of all, love.  Love for a little girl turning 5.  The magic of birthdays.  The magic of growing up.  The magic of cakes, and friends, dogs, Papas, brothers, and hopefully Moms.  May the fairy of birthdays sprinkle a little dust on all of us here.

Happy Friday.

Kristin

Indian Summer

Standard

MamaEmersonHorse

spinart

firsticecreamcone

Hello!  We’ve been enjoying unseasonably hot weather, up until just the last few days, or rather, maybe since the beginning of this last week.  Boy, was it hot, dry, and all of a sudden, ice cream time again.  Emerson had his first cone with chocolate, coconut ice cream (Cow’s Gone Coconut, made in Longmont, new to us!).  It’s been so good, I bought another pint of it while grocery shopping on Wednesday.  I’m struck by, how at this age, 19 months, he wants to try everything!  He also wants to be just like his big sister.

We did some spin art outside during this hot spell.  That was fun.  We started cutting our own paper and tried India ink too.  The ink got a bit messy, so wouldn’t do that again, but it was fun to try.

Lastly, or firstly, as the photo order may suggest…Emerson had another pony ride.  He loves those ponies, the rides, watching them eat.  No fear.  Iliana took the photo, which I thought was pretty darn good.  Mine of her during her pony ride were no better.  She really captured something I think.  I was walking away and handed her my phone and said, take some photos.  This was her first and best one.  I love the big sky of Colorado, the open field and the red truck, and well of course, a Mama and her little guy on a pony.

These weeks have been so full.  I don’t know if it’s the little squirrel/creature in me that’s trying to make sure we’re all set for winter, stashing away, gathering, storing…Or if it’s trying to live out every last bit of summer around here.  Or fear of a dreadfully, cold winter like we had last year in Illinois.  Where we were stuck inside for days.  Okay, no more, no dwelling on that said winter.  Colorado winters are so different.  Yet, I do find myself trying to make sure we’re set up so we’re not just feeling the effects of cold weather all the time.  Fun things to do inside, rugs to cushion the floors of our new rental, socks, socks, socks, and well, turning the heat on.  It’s a bit easier to heat this place given it’s smaller size and windows/doors that let in the strong, sun warming rays around here.  Funny to write about the heat inside, in a post about the intensity of heat outside.

We have a little girl’s birthday coming up, a turning 5 birthday.  I myself can hardly believe we’ve had a child for 5 years now.  That seems so long and yet it’s been so quick, it seems like she was little just yesterday.  I’ve always heard everyone say that, and yet it’s true.  She’s so big now though.  She speaks so well,  does so much herself, that I forget sometimes how young 4, almost 5, still is.  Yes, she’s big, but also, still little.  If that makes any sense, as I write this at an ungodly hour, or godly, if you’re one to get up in the wee morning hours and do some puja (worship).

Happy Weekend!

Riding away

Standard

shoes

ridingaway

ridingtowardsmountains

ridingwithsunpeaking

Here’s my girl, riding away!  Such freedom, learning to ride a bike all by oneself!  Oh my!  Can you believe it?  She knows how to ride a bike, all by herself.  This was the first day that she really just took off.  She’s done it before, but she did it over and over and over again on this day.  Starting and stopping all by herself.  Even slightly falling and catching herself.  A baseball diamond is the perfect spot!  Round and round you go, nothing to stop you, a relatively soft surface in case you fall, and of course your family standing all around you, cheering, chasing, and helping.  And with the Boulder Flatirons as a back drop, how could you not feel happy?  And who needs shoes?  Hmmddiddydooo.  Not this girl.

(The color is very different amongst these photos as the evening that we did this, it went from cloudy and overcast and slightly cool, to very sunny and hot.  That’s Colorado for you!)

 

 

Books, Money, Hackschooling

Standard

littlefreelibrary

 

We’ve been coming across these Little Free Library boxes on so many of our walks.  This one is a few blocks west of us, and is one of my favorites.  I love how it’s painted and it’s always full, with adult, young child and even baby books.  Today we picked up Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow and Salt:  A World History by Mark Kurlansky.  We’ve been reading Who Took the Farmer’s Hat? by Joan Nodset and Vegetable Soup by Jeanne Modesitt, two others we picked up from this same little library.  It’s so fun to see Iliana open the door and find books she wants us to read.

I’ve been wanting to write about books for awhile, namely because of one in particular that I’m reading that I really like.  The Man Who Quit Money by Mark Sundeen, is very interesting and is all about a man named Daniel Suelo who, in 2000, gave away all of his money and now lives without it.  It’s a great read about how we are so tied to money, doing things for money, living our lives to get money, instead of living and choosing life based on other values, or what we truly want or need.  Which reminds me of a Ted talk called “Hackschooling Makes Me Happy” I watched yesterday, one Eric told me I had to see, about a 13 year old boy who is being homeschooled or “hackschooled” as he calls it.  He talks about how his goal is to be happy and to be healthy and he wonders what regular education would be like if this were the goal.  His mother took him out of mainstream schooling when he was 9 and he now creates his own education in very inventive and creative ways.  He’s happy and moving towards his goals.

The thing that strikes me about all of this:  little libraries, quitting money, and hackschooling, is the abundance of ways to live with less impact on the world and with taking advantage of things being offered around us and in our communities.  There is so much available, truly, all we need to do is slow down and be ready to receive.  When we go on walks around our neighborhood, there is always something to see, pick, and usually take home.  Books are one example.  Currently, fruit is another example, as the bounty of the trees around us is hugely prolific (and with some homes we’ve even gotten the chance to talk to the homeowner about the fruit and if it’s okay to pick it in their yard).  Meeting the homeowner has been another bonus as we’ve gotten to know more of our neighbors.  Going for walks has become quite an adventure, really.  We never know what we might come upon and who we might meet.

I find that if am totally focused on accomplishing, it somehow leaves me with little room to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak.  But when I slow down, take a walk in our neighborhood, or go to a new park, or even just hang out in our front yard and say hi to a neighbor, so much just comes to us then.  I’ve seen it happen over and over again since moving here.  It also helps that I have an extremely social almost 5 year old, who says hi to everything and everyone, regardless.

I wish for you a Friday of letting things just happen, of trusting that what you need will come to you, letting go of wants, and being open to just receiving.  This is what I’m hoping for too.  Happy Friday.

Blessings.

Transitions

Standard

communitygardens

communitygardensrailing

naropashrine

gaillardia1 weddingpine

intransition

Hey there!  We’ve been in transition around here, all the many transitions that come with moving, growing up, and the end of summer, oh the end of summer.  I feel slightly sad that summer is coming to an end.  It has been chilly here and rainy and I’ve started to think that’s it.  I am reminded though, that here in Colorado, this cool, rainy is never the end.  The sun always comes out and true to form, it will most likely be warm into November.  We are just in a bit of a cold spell.  It’s good, as it reminds us that fall and winter are coming and we best be storing up our food stocks, preparing for the cold, getting our indoors ready so that we may spend time inside in a comfortable way.  With that said, I’ve been continuing in my quest to set up our home, and get it ready. Trying to make it feel like a “home”.  We aren’t there yet, but slowly moving in that direction.

Photos above are from some of our adventures over the last few weeks:  a chance meeting with a garden center employee led us to the Hawthorne Community Gardens in North Boulder.  She gave us her plot number so that we could pick yellow raspberries, smell her chocolate mint, and pick seed heads.  Another chance adventure led us to Naropa, where we came upon a “Transition Shrine” – Dedicated to the members of the Naropa Community in honor of the many transitions we individually and collectively move through in our lives.  A Gaillardia flower and it’s nearby friend going to seed, of which I collected some to plant next year, seen on a walk around the neighborhood.  Lights and drinks from an outdoor wedding we attended in Lyons, Colorado last Friday.  Lastly, us, blurry, one of the few photos we got of the two of us together.  So much else going on that we almost always forget to snap a shot, but I like this one.  Even though it’s funky.  I feel it shows where we are at the moment and I like how the lights have all these lines going up.

I’d like to come to love transitions but I have to say I’m not there yet.  I feel some trepidation, wondering how things will go, a bit of resistance to change.  Yet, when I remind myself about the glory of it all, the possibility in each moment, and the wonder at how a day unfolds in ways I could not have imagined…I feel hopeful, optimistic, and curious.  Curious about how the little things add up to make a day, how the unexpected happens and ends up being just perfect, how amazing and beautiful it all is when I let go, stay mindful, and open my heart.  Ahhh, the heart, where it all lies.

weddingnight

 

A year ago

Standard

indiacottageporch

A year ago August, me, Iliana, Emerson and my mother-in-law, took a trip to India for 3 weeks.  It was a monumental trip as I hadn’t been to India since before being pregnant with Iliana, so always solo before, and this time I had my family with me.  I look at the above photo and I wonder about that time, and how much has changed since then.  It is so good, I feel, after doing a trip like that in which the point was to go deeper within, in the setting of an ashram, meditation practice and being with one’s teacher, to take stock a year later and look at what has happened.  Since then, my little boy is no longer so round in the face as he was at 5 (almost 6) months in the above photo.  My little girl has become taller, wiser, and sassier.  I have let my bangs grow out, wear glasses most of the time, and still look pretty drawn in the face due to nursing.  Yet, those are mostly outer observations.  I’d like to say that I have grown wiser, as I said of my daughter, but is that true?  I hope so.

We now live in Boulder, Colorado, something that took a little over a year to put in place.  We’re navigating the waters of a new school, unschooling, waldorf homeschooling, a charter waldorf school, and a more buddhist inspired early childhood school, trying to figure out what’s right, what fits, and what’s affordable (and what we can get into as school is about to start).  We’re settling into a new home, a new neighborhood, and truly a new town, even though I lived in Boulder many years ago, it feels very new in a way.  I spent years living on the outskirts in Longmont, CO, and being back in town, I find myself running into people I haven’t seen in 10-12 years, since I last worked and lived in Boulder.  And here I am now with two children in tow, a completely different experience of Boulder.

The time I spent in Illinois, since being in India, toughened me, in a good way.  I had to rely on myself and my practice much more than I’ve ever had to.  I felt really like a fish out of water, the people, the climate, the culture, challenged me so much.  I was quite isolated, which is still hard for me to talk about, as it brings up such sadness.  It was hard to have a newborn in a new house, new town, and in one of the coldest winters on record in Illinois.  All I could do was practice, practice, practice, by going within and trusting that I’d get through it.  At times, I did not think I would, and only now, being on the other side of it, can I say I did.

It’s not that being here in Boulder is easy, peasy, but things are different.  The abundance of people, people that I know and have known for long periods of time, running into people in restaurants, at school introductions, at meditation retreat centers, makes it so nice and so comforting to feel known.  My confidence level has risen just in the fact that I feel connected again.

I still struggle with my emotions, keeping steady instead of being at the whim of anger, desperation, fear, but I have developed a working way of moving through them.  I’m aware of the build up and if I can catch it, I can remind myself that it’s temporary, that it too will pass, and if I breathe, I can regain my composure, my balance, and my patience.  It’s so hard in the moment, but there’s such power in remaining calm.  I can feel it in the strength of my will afterwards.  It’s like building a muscle.  When I let loose with whatever emotion at the moment, it’s like a watershed and it all wants to come pouring out.  Which most of the time leaves me exhausted, kind of lost and ashamed.

As the summer is winding down, and cool evenings and mornings are becoming more and more common, I find myself being drawn outside more and more.  It feels so important to be connected to the soil, the plants, the air, the water, and the beings who inhabit such places when all of these come together.  The nature deities if you will.  I don’t know if I can say that to all you people out there, or if it will just sound weird.  The truth is though, you can feel the power of nature, of what it evokes, when everything is in harmony.  I think I’ll say I’m striving for harmony, for a kind of balance in my life, in which every aspect of my being is heard, nourished and replenished.  I hope I can give that to my children.  I hope I can help to create that in the world.

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya

Standard

stupa

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado.  Me and the children spent a day and a night up in the mountains at this special place.  From the pamphlet:  It is said that anyone who approaches a stupa with a pure heart and the intention to benefit others will receive its blessings.

sidearea

bronzealtar

bridge

And then, we drove home.  On our way back to Boulder, I read this bumper sticker:  What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

We walked around the neighborhood and though I worried I would somehow lose that special feeling, that feeling of going within, of being in a place where everyone was practicing being aware and present, I found myself still enchanted.  This is what we saw as we made our way back home after a long walk.

home

I’m so happy to be back in Colorado, to be home.  My teacher says, home is where your heart is, so really anywhere is home.  For me, I find my heart near to bursting here.  The smell of the mountains and the desert like vegetation, the piercing sun, the cool mountain air, bunnies, marmots, horses, and the energy of nature, it’s purity.  I want to swallow it into my lungs and keep breathing its deep, fullness.  The light, this wonderful light.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Standard

 

 

KCACOPoster.gif

photo from Barter Books website

So, I’m sure I’m just way behind the times and you’ve all heard about the story behind this poster.  At least you’ve seen this or forms of this poster all around if you shop or go on line much.  It speaks to my last couple years that I’m only now coming to this, years of moving a few times, having a baby, setting up homes, and very little sleep and very little time doing anything involving media.

In the search of items to populate our home…that sounds so funny, but in a sense true.  Actually, we’ve needed real things like furniture, beds, kitchen items, all because we’ve decided to move differently than most I guess.  Instead of hiring movers to just pack it all up, and lacking the time to do that ourselves (since moving from one state to another when they’re as far apart as Illinois to Colorado is extremely time consuming and financially draining), we decided to sell most things from the old house and mostly just start fresh in our new digs.  Now this sounds pretty great on paper, or in our way, over the phone, or maybe it doesn’t sound that great to any of you.  It sounded doable to us a month or so back as we tried to figure it all out and make this move work. And it is working out, just slowly, and not as easily as I’d hope, since taking two children to stores gets pretty tedious and challenging at times.

Last week, I saw a framed copy of this print in a kind of high end Boulder consignment shop.  I thought then that I wasn’t sure I wanted to read these words day in and day out in my own home, but having seen it here and there, at least over the past few days, has proven to be helpful.  This was it’s original intended use, to be a helpful, motivational slogan, when it was first created for the British during World War II (though it was never publicly displayed then).

I thought of this slogan today as I’ve felt my energy kind of draining, the rain coming down, and attempts to furnish this place at a bit of a standstill or worse, having bought a kitchen table that really isn’t working!  All will be well, but it is helpful to remember to “Keep Calm and Carry ON”, especially when I’m frustrated and lacking patience.  So, I might just find a spot for this framed slogan and I might not, but either way, I’ll remember it, and use it when I find myself struggling with all that life has to offer.  It really is true, that if you can keep calm, it’s much easier to carry on.

 

First week in Boulder

Standard

20140722-074305.jpg
20140721-233657.jpg
20140721-233737.jpg
Hi there! It’s been a busy week. There’s been a lot to see and do. Mostly, we’ve been outside, outside, outside. We took our first hike up the Mesa trail. Put our feet in the cold, cold water of the Boulder creek. Visited the farmer’s market.
Everyone has been pretty much exhausted at the end of the day. Isn’t that the nature of summer? The heat in the afternoons leaves me feeling lethargic and unable to do anything but just hang out. We’ve eaten a lot of watermelon, some pluots, blueberries and strawberries. It’s hard to figure out what to cook in the evenings, when all you want to do is cool off and rehydrate. Iliana has even started eating some lettuce!
I’ve been noticing where all the apple trees are and trying to avoid eating any from the store until apple season arrives. I think it would be good to give ourselves a break from so much apple. Peaches will be arriving by the bush load soon. They had sold out at the market.
What do you cook when it gets this hot, in the heat of the peak of summer?
What activities are you involved in?
Any tips for getting the most out of this special time?

20140722-001235.jpg