Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Sun is Rising

It is 5am. I am sitting on the floor in front of the reingnited fire. Owain is squirreling around on his faux sheep skin rug smiling and laughing. Life is grand.

My day normally starts this way. Lately I am having to roll him back over onto the rug. He lasts about an hour and then needs a nap. Right now there is just too much excitement and need to giggle and flail arms and legs, perhaps throwing in a high E (highest on the piano) for joy.

Every day Owain is growing and changing. He can see farther and focuses longer on your face, or the fan. He giggles, smiles and interacts with faces and people. There's not a better sound and sight then my son cackling with his mouth wide open, legs kicking and his two tiny hands pressed together bouncing off his chest. Much like his father he does not like being still, enjoys going on walks, and lets loose loud, high pitched squeals of joy. Oh, and his farts stink.

Charis is a beautiful mom: spiritual, nuturing and beautiful. Owain and I are blessed to have such an awesome force in our lives.

The rest of life has been great too. My saxophone playing opportunities are a gift. I played a sextet gig a week ago. After leaving Portland and hearing the Alan Jones and Mel Brown sextets, I wanted to try and replicate the big, swinging sound. Tenor, trumpet and alto upfront creates a sound that makes me smile. What a treat to hear that sound and make it at the same time. Plus, we played seven songs I wrote. I am evolving weekly in my writing ability. Basically I have the vision (or sound dream) of a more orchestrated jazz group. In my tunes, I want all six players to have a written part and no part to be the same - heavily influenced by Dave Holland and Alan Jones. I also want tunes that are more complex than head, solos, head. I am starting to get there, and excited about the attempts and alterations made to my tunes. The big band I play in is performing monthly. I like about 70% of the tunes and it is great practice for my reading and chops and a blast to watch people swing dancing sometimes just five feet in front of me.

School is fun and struggle. I am constantly trying to figure out how to create and sustain community. I teach the same class subject 5 times a day and have over 120 students. What do I do? My professional development goals for this school year is to focus on four students. I wrote down their names and a goal I have in relation to them. I do not know if I can do anything more than that. This year is a little better because I see the students I had last year in the halls and before and after school. Those tiny meetings are the highlights of my teaching day.

With little sunlight left after school and all things dead, I am not able to do much of anything on the farm. This is the biggest struggle for me. It is difficult to not be more involved and active. I know this is just a phase in my life and it will change. Besides, I only get so many hours of "awake" time with Owain, and I want to enjoy it while I can.

We were blessed by our many visitors. Family is always fun to have around. Watching them I learn more how to be a better father. Having some of Portland here was also a treat. Matt stimulates my mind with thoughts and questions and models great parenting. Amy and Corrie loved on Owain and gave me rest and rejuvenation.

Corrie asked me how my life has changed. I am more joyful: his giggles and smiles are priceless. I am more still: I can actually handle not being busy. Owain as a sack of potatoes on my shoulder is a perfect hug. I am more rounded and whole; I feel complete; I am confident and assured in everything I am doing and being. I am astounded - Owain came from Charis and I, and he will grow up to be a man.

Speaking of Owain becoming a man, before we know it he'll be drinking PBR and (once he passes hunter safety) hunting deer. The neighbors are getting ready!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Jay's Big Night

My talented hubby played the gig of his life on Saturday night to an enthusiastic crowd of 180 (!) at the Mabel Tainter Theater in Menomonie. He and five other musicians played two sets of five tunes, seven of which were originals by Jay! People *LOVED* it, including Owain, who cooed and giggled and watched with interest from the back (Ellis was taken with the drums). The Cedarleaf Clan and other friends from the cities showed up en masse, along with several of Jay's co-teachers and my midwives, who were all thrilled. I'm so proud of Jay and all that he has accomplished with his music since he's moved here. He's a creative force to be reckoned with!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Owain @ 3 months

The three month mark finds Owain's grandmas representin' with a strawberry hat made by Grandma Jeannine and a visit with Grandma Lynda, who can get him really laughing, just like she does the rest of us! Owain is still feeding the horses with me every morning and is now teething (early - God help us), rolling over like a madman, squealing, enjoying the johnny jump-up and blowing raspberries, and continues on his crazy sleep schedule (7 p.m. - 11:3o p.m., midnight - 3 a.m. and 3:30 - 4:30 or 5 a.m on a good night!) At least he wakes up cheerful and ready to greet the day loudly and with a great flailing of limbs ... who needs sleep, right?

Monday, November 13, 2006

And a few more...

As you can see, we had a great time with the Jackson ladies, who promptly charmed our boys and spoiled our pets rotten. Everyone was sad to see them go early this morning, leaving us with broken hearts, loads of snacks and fake tattoos.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Guess who came to visit!

Corrie Poppins and Grandma Amy are here! Good times, LOADS of amazing snacks, great catching up with two of our favorite people. Ellis and Owain have both taken to Cor and Amy like they've known them forever...especially when Amy does her Grover voice and Corrie blows raspberry kisses. The farm has become vacation haven since they arrived yesterday and we don't want them to ever leave.

p.s. it snowed yesterday - a very special midwest welcome for the Jackson gals.

Friday, November 03, 2006

oh, let the sunshine in!

It was finally sunny today! And the wind didn't blow us over! And it was above 20 degrees! All the exclamation points indicate the excitement Charis and I felt, finally being able to get outside with the boys...all of us feeling a little cabin feverish and crabby. Chris (and Ellis for a while) worked on projects outside - another welcome diversion. So, even though both Ellis and Owain are whining this very moment, I can promise the outdoor activity and crisp, fresh air did us all some good.

So, there were a handful more photos I couldn't resist posting. First, Ellis in his puppy dog costume on Halloween. We were in the cities for the festivities and the grandmas were especially happy about that - very fun - Ellis LOVED visiting great grandma Cedarleaf at the Covenant Village...he was really fascinated with all the cool walkers the folks there were "playing with" in the dining hall. Next thing we know, he'll be begging for a walker for Christmas.

A few other photos from life at the farm and in the city - just some favorites from this past month. I love the shot of Charis reading to Owain and Ellis - this is happening almost daily now as Owain comes to love "Peek A Moo" as much as Ellis does. More to come!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

White Noise

Lately I've been thinking we should rename our place White Noise Farm because lawdy there's a lot of humming going on around here. With an air purifier/fan in our room and Ellis' room and a humidifier upstairs and downstairs, we're kind of drowning in the buzz. I have to say, I miss the quiet and the coyote packs, but for now it allows us the sleep we so richly deserve. In fact, if you come to visit, we'll offer you some white noise for your room too. You may give us a look, but you will be thanking us come 5 the next morning when the farm boys jolt to life.

Speaking of the offspring, I have to say that even though some of the other mamas out there may dispute it, I'm pretty sure I got the best one. Pret-ty, pret-ty pret-ty sure. I mean, when they were handing out the brightest, shiniest, freakishly large, melon-headed, chubby-cheeked kids, I must have been first in line. Owain is such a sparkly character. He's a giggler and a grinner and a screecher and a flailer of limbs. He crabs half-heartedly when he's tired and nine times out of ten as soon as I put him in bed he drifts off without complaint. He loves chandeliers, fans and light fixtures - pretty much anything that's attached to the ceiling. He loves the horses and the cats, and isn't afraid of much. He enjoys being worn on mama and dad, but in front and face out ONLY, please. He's a regular hoot!

That said, !wow! mothering is a serious marathon! I had no idea until it happened to me. It's great fun, but when I sleep, it's the sleep of the dead. And days whip by, which is surprising considering all that I don't get done. Time flies when you have a little person hanging from your boob, I suppose. It's been a blast to have Ellis around and to watch the interest quickly grow between the boys. I'm predicting they're going to be enjoying plenty of mischief around these parts in no time flat.

Okay, over and out for now. It's almost 8 and my bed calls!

Love and a steaming mug of spiced cider to all!