Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This is a a sculpture by North Carolina artist Patrick Dougherty made of 6000 pounds of spring prunings at the University of Minnesota's Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, MN. We took the kids out here for a family outing on Labor Day. The Arboretum is pretty pricey at $9 per grown up (free for kids 15 years and younger) but we spent 3 hours there and only saw a fraction of the gardens. There are incredible walkways and a massive hedge maze for adults and a smaller one for kids. There is also a "elvin" woodland playground for children and a three-mile hike/walk through all manner of trees and shrubs and prairieland. Fancy formal gardens including Japanese styles with waterfalls and rock outcroppings and English herb gardens enclosed with hedges like in the Secret Garden. So so beautiful. If the mosquitoes hadn't been so thick and our kids didn't need to go home for naps we could have happily stayed the rest of the day.


Thea Belle with Her Daddy


Lincoln the Terrible Wonderful Kid


Thea Belle's First Three Weeks

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Of Vas Deferens and Other Wondrous Things

Today is my first day on my own with all four children. It is a beautiful, clear, cool, and sunlit day. Brad will be home in 2 hours and all four children are sleeping. I am thinking...about house projects, and laundry that needs folding, and some pumpkin bars waiting to be made. Tonight is the second night of preschool soccer and I am hoping Dietrich will play with Atticus and the others. And that the mosquitoes aren't as thick on the playground as last week. I am thinking about drawing and portrait sewing and choosing a photo for Thea's baby announcements.

Today a thin envelope came in the mail for Brad from an Urologist's office. Do you know what that means? Yep. We scheduled an appointment for a vasectomy. Thea's tiny, warm body is curled up in my lap right now. She is so utterly sweet. Then I think about Atticus having some repentance/forgiveness struggles. And Dietrich's trouble with kindness toward Lincoln, especially when I leave the room. And Lincoln throwing everything (This morning I was hit in the eye by a large plastic container from 6 inches away)-- and how he climbs up on counters and the table and clears every shelf and cabinet he is able to reach/encounters; and is so so sad when the older boys push him out of block building games or pretend pirate episodes. And how Thea had to cry hysterically for 5 minutes (that felt like 30) so I could get Lincoln cleaned and down from his high chair and do a super-quick sweep up of a thousand cubic feet of food debris under the table so the ants wouldn't invade and eat us all.

And I want to have the energy to play with my children. Read to them. Create/make with them. Explore with them. Enjoy them. And I would just love to nurse Thea all the way to a year old without having my milk change from becoming pregnant or spending the last part of her first year deathly sick with pregnancy-sickness. And I would like to own a few cool clothes and a winter coat that actually buttons all the way down. And a glass of red wine is so so nice especially with a plate of red-sauce pasta.

I know that I am not made for mothering this many children -- not in my natural self -- my self that craves order and quiet and "space"; time to think and process and cringes at any kind of chaos -- externally and internally. BUT I know that every one of these children is so superlatively good -- the best (living) artwork I have ever been privileged and surprised to be part of bringing into existence. I will never be a part of anything so deep and high and satisfying as being the mother of these four humans. And so I also feel like I was made and prepared for this work, specifically for this work.

How do we know we are done having children? I don't know if I have a clear answer yet for that. But like many other things over the last 6 years, I am resting in my husband's leading, loving, protecting, decision. I am so thankful for a man like Brad who truly leads like a man. I need him. And I am continuously grateful and so happily surprised that he needs me.

There has been some crying. Crying for Thea being our last baby. Crying because this part of our kids lives is simultaneously too quick and can't go fast enough. Crying because I don't have enough time for each of them. Crying because I don't have enough time with Brad. Crying because I don't have enough time for anyone else around me that I care about and want to love better. Crying because I want them all to go away and I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it for as long as I want to do it. Crying because it is fall and that makes me want to write and draw and make things and move away or at least travel to far away places to see interesting things and meet interesting people or in the very least walk along in the coolness stopping to read interesting books (which is kind of like traveling to interesting places meeting new people (-:).

But no matter how much crying is bubbling under the surface here, I am home. Home where I need to be, where I want to be. There really is no where else I would rather be than here with my children and waiting for my best friend to come home to me at the end of each day. Satisfaction. Peace. Security. Adventure, yes, adventure. Thank you, God. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Apple Orchard with the Bergets!

photo: E.Berget

photo: E.Berget

photo: E.Berget

photo: E.Berget

photo: E.Berget

photo: E.Berget