Loco LL

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Simply Thankful

This year was our first year having Thanksgiving with just our immediate family. We usually travel to VA or IN to be with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Though we missed being with them this year, the simplicity of having Thanksgiving to ourselves brought us such joy and fulfillment, that we didn't even miss the big turkey (Chris fried chicken instead!). We went out to the Poconos for a whole week with a van full of games, art supplies, food, warm clothes and hiking boots. We only ate out one time at our favorite restaurant, where we always order their mussels in garlic sauce and soak our bread in every last drop of sauce- I am telling you, it is sooo good!
We had a day excursion at the Crayola Factory which was a definite highlight of the week (I highly recommend it). We spent about 4 hours doing different art projects, learning about how crayons are made, and then topped it off with visiting the canal museum on the 3rd floor. Alexa has really grown to love art, especially sculpture, so this was a special treat for her.
We went hiking in a few different free spots and saw a small waterfall (you had to pay to see the big ones-I find something terribly wrong about paying to see a waterfall!).
We finally pulled out Alexa's pottery wheel she got for her birthday and made some little pots to give as gifts for Christmas. At the end of the week, we were all wishing we could stay another week. I love that our family loves to be together. Not all families can say that, and that is simply something to be thankful for.
I'll post more pictures from our hiking later:)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fun times in Kentucky

I just returned from visiting friends in Lexington KY. It was Communality's 10 year reunion. Chris and I were there for the "ground diggings" of communality and it was so amazing to see folks there that I hadn't seen in nearly 10 years. It was just India and I that flew there, (thanks Kenneys). It was her first flight. She did ok, but I think it will be much easier when she has her own seat.

Hanging out with the Tatum and Kathe brought back some OLD times. I also saw the Trimbles, Lindles, and Klepacs. It was a weekend full of reunions.
Communality has been through a lot and grown in many ways over the years. There is still a big part of me that feels so at home there.
I especially loved meeting people that had come through communality since we had left there. They have become quite involved in the refugee community, so there were people from all over the world there.
But I mostly loved hanging out with the Kenney family. Good friends and good times. Great memories and even some great food:)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

a time to rest and play

I just returned from a long weekend in Richmond. I took Moriah, India, and Oskar. We played at the children's museum with our cousins, visited more cousins, aunts and uncles, and did a lot of hanging out in the great outdoors.

Moriah is learning about leaves and chlorophyll and has lots of questions. I remember very little from my earth science classes 20 years ago, so I tell her what I know and then head for the outdoors.
She soon gets distracted and wants to hunt for treasures...
So we go"deep into the forest" where I used to explore when I was her age. We find pieces of ancient china, and glass treasure, but our dig for lost dolls comes up unsuccessful...
But we do discover a magnolia tree that encompasses us like a hut, and we talk about what it would be like to live there...
And we end our hunt with a fun swing on the swingset.
I love hanging out with this girl. She is so unique, smart and ambitious.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hallow E'en

I love looking at the history of celebrations. I find it so fascinating how tradition gets added upon and changed over the years. The history of halloween goes back to Ireland where it was called Hallow E'en. I traveled to Ireland about 15 years ago, and was awed by the traditions, folklore, symbols and ceremonies. To think that what started before Christ in the small island of Ireland has now moved into this over commercialized "trick or treat" day... well, it is amazing. There are many symbols and ceremonies practiced today that were quite different when they started. Like the Christmas tree or the neck tie, they started off with meaning much different than what they mean today.
For me, and for millions of other Americans, Halloween means that kids get to dress up, have fun and eat lots of candy for one day of the year (well the candy lasts abotu 6 months in our house.)

When we were asked 7 years ago by some friends of ours in the suburbs if we would like to join them for trick or treating, we decided to bring this tradition into our family, just as it had been laid into our families growing up. I love my halloween memories, and I am pretty sure that my girls will always have fond memories of this yearly trek to the burbs where they get loaded down with candy and get to dress up in whatever they want to for one night.
It was the first time I got to go out with them to trick or treat. Usually I stay back with our friend to hand out candy while the men take the kids out. But I knew India would have fun going and I didn't want to slow the rest of the kids down. I thought I would do a few houses and we would be done, but she wanted to keep going. She learned how to say "Icker Eat" and loved putting both hands in the big bowls of candy to pick which one she wanted, (sometimes getting more than her share because she was so cute.) I had a blast with her. She loved all the other kids and seeing peoples dogs (she would yell, "BOY, BOY!")- and people couldn't understand why she was saying "boy." But she made for a cute pocahontas.
Alexa created her own black cat costume, complete with her black cat tattoo on her chest for everyone to see. Moriah made a darling little ballerina. And our friend's boys were jedis.
Today we celebrated the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos ("day of the dead"). If you know the tradition, you know it is not about being a scary day, but about remembering the dead. This morning at breakfast, we shared our memories of our grandparents, and Alexa and moriah shared the memories that they had of the ones they remembered. I think our culture would benefit greatly by this tradition. We are too quick to move on and forget when someone dies. I don't want my children to forget my Nana. She was an amazing person. And I wish that Alexa could have known my Mimi who loved to sew, because Alexa wants to learn to sew so badly. I hope that the stories that we share with them will stay with them and get passed on for generations to come.