Larkspur’s Eighth

Amidst the chaos of our sick week, we celebrated Larkspur’s eighth birthday.  Our plan was to celebrate a day early because her birthday fell on Ash Wednesday this year.  Her main celebration did indeed happen then, but ended up stretching into Wednesday as well because by Tuesday night, most of us were feeling too terrible to eat the banana pudding that Larkspur requested (I made a cornstarch thickened vanilla pudding and a store bought gluten free yellow cake mix which I baked and then broke into pieces.  I layered cake with pudding and sliced bananas and topped with meringue.)

It’s nearly impossible to surprise my kids with their birthday gifts.  We typically honor requests, especially with the older children, and they seem to always figure out anything that we plan to surprise them with.  But I did have a few surprises for Larkspur this year. Lark is my child who sets up little “houses” or “offices” all over the house, everywhere she goes.  (The umbrella and blankets at the beach in yesterday’s post were her doing.)  She is particularly fond of bags, art supplies, and paper.  When Stephinie announced that she had stocked her shop with new handmade bags for kids, I knew that Larkspur would love one.  I ordered one right away with her upcoming birthday in mind.  Then I started thinking of the bag, and wanting to give it a purpose.  The obvious answer was a small sketch book and a new set of our favorite colored pencils which I could tuck inside to make her a portable art bag.  I thought I remembered Stephinie mentioning wanting to offer sewn pencil or crayon cases at some point, so I asked her if she would be willing to make one to match the bag for Larkspur.  I was thrilled when she agreed and then sent me photos of the finished product a few days later.  It was absolutely perfect.  Larkspur tried to pretend that she wasn’t surprised by this gift, but I know she was, and she definitely loves it.  I find her in different spots all over the house with the bag next to her, pencils and sketch book open in front of her.  (Stephinie is carrying both crayon and pencil cases in her shop now.)

The last minute gift was a handmade loom that I asked Jonny to make after seeing a similar one on Amanda Soule’s blog.  He explained that it wouldn’t be perfect, because he doesn’t have all the right tools, but that he could make something useable.  I think it turned out really well and it only cost a few dollars to make!  I ordered hand dyed t-shirt yarn for weaving from this shop.  Now if we can just figure out how to use this thing!  The make your own version of that loom doesn’t come with instructions on how to use it.  We didn’t think about that…it is similar to a regular pot holder loom, but only has pegs running along two sides.  If you have one, and care to share instructions, we’d be thankful!

I’d say that the most remarkable part of Larkspur’s birthday this year is the fact that she wasn’t sick!  She was my first child to complain of a bit of a headache and a sore throat.  I gave her a dose of this popular remedy, and she never really got sick.  Jonny had the same experience.  The rest of us weren’t so lucky.  Thankfully, Larkspur seemed to have a wonderful day (well, two days!) despite all the sickness around her.

(Birthday shawl photos later this week!)


Suddenly struck with some deep need for structure and order, I’m rather obsessively writing out my daily and weekly to dos.  Of course I can’t be normal about it.  I’ve only just started writing things down over the past few days (who knows how long this will last) and already I feel a little nutsy when I don’t have my planner within reach.  It’s comforting to have it near, just in case I think of something else I need to write down.  I am having a hard time remembering things these days.  Yesterday for instance, standing in the parking lot at the grocery store, I forgot that I was holding a plastic grocery bag with a dirty diaper in it.  I’m afraid that I may have handed it along with a big wad of plastic bags to the kind grocery store employee who offered to carry my bags to the recycling bin.  I feel awfully terrible about that.  There’s a small chance that I actually threw it away myself on the way into that store, but I have no recollection of doing so.  I can’t seem to account for that diaper.  Of course a checklist wouldn’t have helped me in that situation.  A cup of coffee, maybe.

I wrote a handwritten letter last night, something I rarely do, and it really felt good.  I have bad thumbs and terrible scratchy handwriting these days, but hopefully it’s legible.

Larkspur proudly informed me that she had been working very hard in the laundry room and that she was running some loads.  I had left it a big mess the night before, in the midst of doing the girls’ laundry.  We’re behind on towels too, so you can’t really see the floor in there.  I haven’t yet taught Larkspur how to operate the machines, but she told me that she knows how already.  When I went in to see what she had been up to, I discovered a very tiny load of doll clothes running in the washer.  Everything else was as I left it.  Good thing I hadn’t gotten my hopes up too far.

Silas and I made play dough this week and added sweet orange and clove bud essential oils.  It smells amazing.  You should try it!  I was inspired by an expensive beeswax candle scented with the same in the crunchy (aka natural foods) section at the grocery store.  I’m going to try making my own.

Keats turns eleven today, so I will be busy preparing all his requested meals.  He missed violin last week so today he will have an hour long lesson today as well.  Any other child of mine would complain over a music lesson on his birthday, certainly a lesson twice as long as usual.  But not Keats.  I joked the other day that our solemn faced Job is going to grow up and paint his fingernails black, and my friend Eve chimed in, “And listen to The Cure.”  (For the record, I never painted my fingernails black, but I did listen to The Cure, dyed my hair purple, and wore combat boots as a teen.)  After that conversation, Jonny and I couldn’t stop singing The Cure’s Just Like Heaven. Keats happened to be in the room when we pulled it up on YouTube.  We were sure he would love it.  Nope.  Not impressed.  He much prefers his classical music.

We’ve been getting lots of snow flurries, and some are saying we are in for lots of snow later this week.  The anticipation of a big snow make me feel both excited and nervous.  Yes, I bought extra milk.