Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Gardener's Spa, Junior Edition

At the beginning of the month I volunteered to teach a class on making skincare stuff. I had a small group of adults come to the Oakhurst Community Garden to learn how to make sugar scrub, body butter, lip balm and facial grains. I loved it. They were a really engaging group and it helped that there was a fridge full of wine left over from the Martins in the Garden event 2 weeks earlier. Joy took my class and decreed, as a member of the Garden's board, that it was a good idea for us to enjoy a glass of wine while we made our goodies. It went well, and I felt good about being able to give something to the garden, an organization I love. I never show up for garden clean-up days, so this is what I bring to the table. A few days after I taught the class one of the interns at the garden contacted me to say she'd heard it was a great class, and ask if I'd teach it to a bunch of middle school girls. I have to say, when I was a middle school girl, I was hard pressed to think of a segment of the population I liked less. However, now the thought of making this sugar scrub with a bunch of silly kids seemed so fun to me that I was undaunted by the fact that the class would have to be from 10AM - 12PM on a week day. Indeed, I took a personal day from work to do it.

Today I had seven girls, and much like having a second child is something shockingly more than having twice one, teaching 4 wine-drinking adults is to teaching seven 11 - 13-year-old girls as performing in a coffee shop to a few of your friends is to being the Blues Brothers in the redneck bar. I definitely had to break out my Stand By Your Man.

I made a few mistakes. First, kids are a lot like puppies. Can an entire bottle of essential oil be spilled? They will find a way. Is that a full bag of flax seeds for the facial grains? Yeah, not anymore, but the birds will be very happy. Does an 11-year-old know what "one drop" from a dropper is? No, she does not. Do middle school girls like the natural scents and textures of dried herbs? No, they do not. GAWD, no.

I did some stuff right, too. I chose to eliminate things that required melting. No body butter, no lip balm. Instead, we did sugar scrub and facial grains, but I moved out the melty things and moved in Fizzing Bath Bombs. Also, I brought finished examples of everything we were going to make, and showed them what the bath balls do when you drop them in water. That, friends, is my Stand By Your Man. They ate that up. Most importantly, I conducted the class outside. This may be have been the best decision I made...well...possibly ever.

All in all, it really was a lot of fun. Delightful group of kids, too. They seemed to have fun; the fact that they had scrubs and bath balls to bring home made them very happy. They plan to make and sell their wares at the Decatur Farmer's Market on Wednesday evenings. I'll have to stop by one week and see how it's going. And now, I need to attempt to get the myriad essential oil scents off me. I'm just covered.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Bed is NOT Too Big Without You

See how these wee children as sleeping ever so sweetly in the middle of this bed together? Isn't it adorable? Yeah, no it's not adorable. Those two decided at around 4AM today that they "were scared" and needed to crawl into bed with us. See the tiny spaces on the edges of the bed beside each girl? It was to those tiny slivers of mattress that Jeremiah and I clung, hanging partially off the bed, stubbornly refusing to admit defeat or to acquiesce to the dogs' demands to be let out until about 5:15. At that point, I finally slid entirely off the bed and was no longer able to pretend I could sleep under those conditions. But there the sisters Drueke snoozed, unperturbed by lights or noise, until we literally dragged them out of the bed at 6:30. Monsters.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

She Would Not Have Known, If It Weren't For Those Meddling Kids

Last night we were watching The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe with the girls. Kate received it for her birthday from the Miami Druekes (shout out, Miami!). I read the book to the girls a couple months ago and it was fun watching them anticipate what was about to happen. As the mighty battle is imminent, a scout griffin swoops in to give Peter the lay of the land.

"That's a griffin." Kate Informed us. This book was the girls' entree into fantasy, as a genre, so we were surprised she could so readily identify this mythical creature. The unicorns, yeah, I mean, if you have 2 "x" chromosomes, you enter this world familiar with the attributes of unicorns, but a griffin? I was feeling impressed with that school of hers.

"How do you know that?" I asked, wondering what they'd read in class. "Scooby Doo" she responded, definitively. "A griffin is half eagle, half lion", she explained. Cartoons. Is there nothing they can't teach us?

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Kate was so excited for her birthday that she got out of bed at 10PM, when I was writing last night's post. Then she got up and came into our room again at 3AM, and I had to walk her back upstairs and tuck her back in and then try for 45 minutes to get back to sleep. Then she was up for good at 5:5oAM. I thought I was tired last night, but that was really nothing compared to how I feel now. Today, I have officially been exhausted for seven straight years.

It was a fun day. We hide the girls' birthday presents all over the house and the birthday girl has to hunt them all down. They love it. So, at 6AM, even before there was coffee, we were following Kate around the house with a big trash bag as she discovered each gift, tore it open, threw the paper carelessly in her wake and carried on. Then we went out to breakfast with Margie, Steve, Joy and our friend Bob. Then, all us girls went to get our nails done. Then it was time to fill up the pool Gram & Gramps gave Kate for her first birthday (it's still going strong!), and frolic with a couple friends. Then there was pizza. Then there was cake. Per our usual, we invited more adults than children. The adults allowed the kids to swim while we stood around drinking beer and the mojitos Jeremiah made using mint from our garden. We'd check in on the kids from time to time; it seems they're actually pretty adept at not drowning.

Kate wanted a Scooby Doo themed birthday. Joy made her a Daphne outfit, which I regret not getting a better photo of, but perhaps I can add one later. I made a Scooby cake (The Mystery Machine). Most of the photos we took are of that because for the rest of the day, we all forgot to pick up the camera.

Below are all the monster High dolls she received today. She's decided she's into those now...guess we're finally really done with princesses. Whew. Can't wait to drag myself into work in the morning. I feel a little sorry for Kate, I always hate the morning after my birthday, when I wake up and realize it's just an ordinary day.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rite of Passage

Tomorrow, Kate will be seven years old. In many cultures, seven was traditionally considered the Age of Reason. More was expected of people at this age than in our own culture. At seven I rode my bike all over the place, all by myself. In fact, at 6 I did that. I did a fair amount of wandering in my neighborhood. I was a free range child, and so were all my friends. Free range children are somewhat scarce these days, it seems, but I think that's a shame. Kids need to go out and explore on their own, how else will they develop the confidence to strike out alone when we want them to? I feel strongly that if we can help our kids develop a sense of themselves as individuals in the world, they will fare better when we insist they behave as such. There's nothing magical about turning 18, it's just that it takes 18 years to train for it.

So, in an effort to really begin this foray into autonomy, today Kate walked by herself from our house to the coffee shop where her Aunt Jo Jo and Uncle Steve met her, and bought her an iced chai latte. She bought her own bagel. We'd trained for some time for this. A lot of my friends seem to think a child on her own in the city will most certainly be abducted by a stranger who will do unthinkable things to them. Sometimes that happens, but statistically speaking, that sort of event still rates as random, and I see no point in fretting over random. What good would do anyone? We've talked about not getting into cars with people, finding a trustworthy adult if you feel unsafe, that sort of thing, but mostly, I fear traffic. So, we've had a lot of practice dealing with traffic as pedestrians. We put Kate "in the lead" when we take walks as a family and she has to tell us when it's safe to cross streets, etc. She'd proven her knowledge of this topic to our satisfaction and so, today, away she set on her .3 of a mile adventure.

She made it to coffee shop in roughly 5 minutes. No matter, she still beamed when we followed suit and joined them there. She'd done it alone, and I could see her pride, her confidence being built and I feel that is worth celebrating. Next time - she'll go the .9 of a mile to Aunt Jo Jo and Uncle Steve's house.

Friday, June 03, 2011

The People Under the Stairs

Things have been eventful here, what with Jeremiah's birthday and a trip down to the Wild Animal Safari and the limb falling on our cable line and me misplacing the camera we used to document the fun parts of those happenings. It's around here somewhere, I'll find it. Meanwhile, they finished the stairs today! These new stairs are solid. We can run up and down them without feeling the treads bow beneath our feet. The treads are, in fact, firmly in contact with the risers and there are no alarming cracks running the length of any part of them. That is exciting to me. Also, they are beautiful. Here, enjoy some before and after photos (before is on the left, after on the right, unless Blogger does that thing it likes to do with my pictures) while I search further for the little camera...