Tuesday, May 7, 2013

All Good Things are Wild and Free

We spent Sunday afternoon at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.


Lately I've found myself longing for more time outdoors, more time among tall trees, more time breathing in air that has not been contaminated by cigarette smoke or car exhaust. I think I'm feeling more and more just how lucky we were to live in Colorado. It provided so many amazing opportunities to be in nature. It's not as easy to accomplish here in Southern Nevada, especially when it starts to heat up. Time spent outside has to be relatively short in the late spring through fall, to avoid heat exhaustion and dehydration, which is frustrating. Getting my family outside is something I feel strongly about. It's something I feel is important. But when it's 104 outside, it's just not going to happen. I've been meaning to drive out to Spring Mountain Ranch for several months, after reading about how beautiful it is, and how it's routinely 10-15° cooler there than in the valley. Sunday, being overcast and a relatively cool day even for the valley, seemed like the perfect day to check it out, so we hopped in the car and made the drive. It's about a half an hour drive from our house, and basically a straight shot, which was nice.

I brought my camera along, which I am still learning how to use, thinking it would be a good opportunity to get some practice in. The park did not disappoint. It was not the forest full of trees and flowers and ferns and moss and wildlife that I really really want, but it gave us clean fresh air, room to run, beautiful scenery, ducks and jack rabbits and a sweet cow, and that feeling of peace and clarity that only comes from being outdoors, in nature. We're already planning our next visit, this time with provisions to make it a day-long adventure.

I'll leave you with a few of the shots that I captured with my camera, and a question. Where do you go to get that "in nature" experience? Do you live somewhere that provides lots of opportunities? Or, like us, do you have to search it out?

















Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Return to Simplicity


If anyone has been following along with me, you've probably noticed a certain lack of posts over the last few months. It wasn't intentional. Things came up, illnesses took over, holidays dominated... life happened. 

And while all of that was going on, slowly, barely noticeably, the simplicity in our life drifted away. 

Bedtimes were hectic and stressful again, N's night terrors started making appearances once more, relationships were not as peaceful and loving as they once were, there didn't seem to be any time for important things like being outside, painting, reading, sitting quietly by candlelight with my two boys and just enjoying each other's company. And those things really are important.

The last straw for me, what finally made me realize what had happened, was our trip to Disneyland at the beginning of this month.

On King Triton's Carousel, at Disney California Adventure
I grew up in Southern California, and Disneyland has always been a big deal for me. I love it there. It's one of my happy places. N has been twice now. And, because we hadn't been since he was two, and because we are actually in a good place financially for the first time in a few years, I decided to go all out. In all the times I've been the the parks, I've never stayed in one of the on-site hotels, or done a character breakfast, or... or... so we did those things this time. And it was SO much fun. SO. MUCH. FUN. It was off season, so the crowds were (relatively) low, the weather was beautiful, and we didn't have a care in the world. I know some may find a place like Disneyland in stark contrast to the Waldorf way of living, and maybe that's true. It's definitely a character-centric place, and basically a way to advertise and market to us and get us to buy Disney 'stuff'. And we certainly spent more money than we usually do, but we had it to spend, and though we would have probably had just as much fun without all the extras (and, just to be clear, by extras I mean experiences, as we really didn't buy much in the way of things, save his mouse ears and a mug for me), I'm glad I was able to go all out just once. We had an entire week of just being together and having fun and reconnecting, and it made me realize just how much I was missing our peaceful life, and I hadn't even realized that it was gone. 

So when we got home, I decided that it was time to reorganize, re-prioritize, re-evaluate our home and lives. It was time to bring back things that had been missing. 

When we brought all of our things home from Colorado, we suddenly had a whole house full of things and some of the items that had become a big part of our lives while our things were in storage for those six months... somehow got pushed out.

The beautiful tree that was hanging in the dining room that N and I put leaves on for each season was taken down because it didn't fit once the furniture was in the room. I fully intended on putting it somewhere else, but it never happened. Our daily rhythm charts and morning and evening verses suffered the same fate.

For a while we continued even without the charts and verses hanging on the wall. We had them memorized, after all. But then N got sick. Really sick. So sick that D and I were starting to get worried. This happened over Christmas, which never really felt like Christmas because of it. And when he was finally well again, and without those reminders on our walls... we never started back up. We slipped back into old routines (or lack thereof), and it led to... not necessarily chaos (we're not chaotic people by any means), but... the lovely peaceful feeling that our home had once had was just not there anymore. Things felt rushed... tempers were a bit shorter... you know.

And N was suffering for it. His bedtimes, which used to be such a source of stress for all of us, but which had been so lovely for quite some time, were once again tortuous affairs, rife with crying and short tempers and sharp words and late nights and less sleep. In a word... they were awful. 

When I finally came to my senses, I knew that was the first thing that needed to change. Our relationship with N is the most important thing there is and, with many more of those bedtimes, it was going to start causing irreparable damage.

So I brought back the nighttime rhythm. Ahh... have I mentioned how much I love the Waldorf principle of rhythm? It really does make all the difference in the world. Within a few days of bring the rhythm back, of bedtime tea and candles and calm, our nights were 15000% better. And I can't believe that I ever let us let go of that.

Right now we're working on bringing back the morning and daytime rhythms. We're still figuring those out to see what will work best for us now, as things have changed a bit since we let the old rhythms go. We're working on simplifying our days so that there is time once again to get outside in nature, and spend time together that is not tempered by dishes that need washing, laundry that needs folding, TV that "needs" to be watched (why does it seems that that box sneaks in and takes right over when I'm not looking? If I could get rid of it, I think I would; D, however, is not there). I'm going to pull my paints out this week and make some new rhythm charts and make sure they get a place of honor somewhere in the house. Because apparently we need daily visual reminders.

The tree outside our sliding back door is blossoming; isn't it beautiful? To get us outside this week, we're going to see how many different kinds of blossoming trees we can identify.
So that's where we are today. And I have a question for anyone reading this. 

How do YOU simplify? I mean that in every sense of the word. Home, schedules, meals, everything. Please share!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's Birthday Time!


Birthdays were never all that special in our house, growing up. By that I don't mean to say that we didn't celebrate them; we did. We got to pick our birthday dinner most years, we had a cake and a couple of presents on the Sunday following our birthday, with any family that happened to be around. I can remember one actual birthday party with balloons and cake and decorations. It was my sixteenth birthday, and it was a surprise; mostly because it came two months after my actual birthday.  Mostly though, birthdays were only somewhat different than any other day. This was fine, we certainly didn't suffer because of it, and we always felt loved. 

I've always felt, though, that I wanted the birthdays of my children to be a bigger deal than that. I want their birthdays to really be a celebration. A time when the whole family makes an effort to show the birthday boy/girl how truly glad we are that they were born.


And so I have been waiting (perhaps not very patiently) until N was old enough to start really celebrating his birthday. The first few years he was just too little and really wouldn't have even known what was going on, so we just had cake and a few presents for him.

First Birthday, with a gift from one of his sets of Grandparents (those are Mommy-made jammies, by the way :) )
This year, however, he will be four, and is now old enough to really understand what's going on, and care about things like birthdays. Tomorrow (his day falls on Thanksgiving this year) will be his special day. We're driving about two hours away to spend the day at my parents' home, which is a pretty special thing in and of itself, as N adores his Grandma and Grandpa and Aunts and Uncles. Because of the trip, we'll be getting up fairly early. I plan on waking him up to the sounds of a few of his favorite songs (softly played, of course; I don't want it to be jarring by any means). Right now he's really enamored with Elizabeth Mitchell's songs. We have two of her CDs (Sunny Day and You Are My Little Bird), so I'll pop one of those in. When he wakes up he'll see the Birthday Crown, that I've been working on for the past few days, sitting on his pillow.


He'll also see a few balloons next to his bed. If you knew N, you'd know how cool he'll think this is :)

After our morning routine (see here for a breakdown of how our mornings generally go), breakfast will be his choice (the only provision being that it must include protein and fat; we don't want any sugar crashes later on). We'll then be on our way to Grandma's house. I've got a few surprises for him for the drive (a mini-coloring book and a new pack of Stockmar crayons, some of his favorite Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks, etc.).

When we get there, he'll have lots of time to play outside on my parents' large property; lots of time for swinging on the swing (which hangs from a large old deciduous tree with a face; something like this one), playing with the cat, exploring in the orchard, visiting all the puppies at the home of the neighbor who breeds them, and generally having a ton of fun (he never wants to leave to come back to our apartment; can you tell why?). 

Before we all dig into our Thanksgiving feast, we always go around the table and tell each other what we're most thankful for. This year, I'm asking that we make a second go around the table, where each person tells N something they love about him (it could be a personality trait, a memory, his curly hair, whatever). This is a tradition that I want to start for each family member's birthday dinner. I love the idea of that person hearing all of those wonderful things about themselves straight from the mouths of those who love them most. I almost want to record them, and then give them the recording after several years so they can play back all these wonderful loving little things and memories and lovely words whenever they need a little pick me up. Hmmm. That's something to think about!

After dinner is done, and before the pie is served, we'll sing Happy Birthday and let him blow out the candles on his cake (he has requested a puppy and kitty cake, and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do that yet, but I better figure it out soon, considering I need to have it done before we leave in the morning!), and open his presents (I've requested that people keep it simple; I don't want this to become all about the presents if I can at all help it). My Mom is crocheting him a pair of elf/gnome slippers that I know he's going to totally get a kick out of. D and I found the entire series of David the Gnome (a show that I just adore; if he's going to watch tv, I want it to be sweet shows like that) on DVD, so we got him that, which was a complete coincidence. Now he'll be able to wear his little gnome slippers and watch David the Gnome.

We'll have to leave for home relatively early in the evening because D has to work early the next morning, which I know will not be greeted with happiness; from him or anyone else. Usually we spend the weekend and the adults stay up late playing games and talking and laughing. I will miss that this year, and look forward to doing it at Christmastime. 

I have a brand new pair of cute little pajamas for him to change into when we get home. We'll read a new book that will be waiting for him on the bed with the new jammies, and end the day with our regular bedtime routine, punctuated with another round of the birthday song instead of our normal bedtime song.

My hope is that these birthday traditions will really be something he (and our other future children) remembers and cherishes, and perhaps even passes on to his own children.

How do you do birthdays in your home?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Celebration of STUFF.


Can you believe that we're half way through November already? I can't. We moved to Southern Nevada at the beginning of summer, and it seems like just a few weeks ago when, in reality, several months have passed. We've had new apartments, new friends, old friends, family visits, new beds, new rhythms to get used to, new weather to adjust to, a few birthdays (with one more coming up in about ten days for N; he's so excited he can hardly contain it), and more. 

And here we are in the middle of November. Have I mentioned that we left most all of our things in storage in Colorado when we moved? The move was so sudden, we just didn't have enough time to gather the money needed to bring it all with us, so in Colorado it stayed. And has stayed. We will finally be able to bring it all out here at the end of this month. D has a plane ticket purchased, the moving truck reserved, and a hotel room waiting for him half way back. We hope that his drive back through Vail will be uneventful (we had a rather not-very-fun experience driving through Vail in the winter back when we were first married, we're just hoping it's better than that at the very least), and that he will not encounter anything that will hold him up.

And then... oh, then we will have the most joyful celebration of STUFF we've ever had. 

We are not material people in the least. We try to keep our things simplified, and regularly purge and sell or donate things that are not being used. But, after six months of living with nothing more than the bare basics in the kitchen, a few camping chairs, and the king size bed that we bought when we got here, I am ready to have my things back. I am ready to see smiling faces look out at me from photo frames on the wall. I am ready to see my beautiful vintage French provincial style dresser that we use in place of an entertainment center. I am ready to have my dishes and baking pans and nice silverware in my kitchen again. I am ready for N to have his bed again (I could write a whole other post specifically about this if I wanted to; we love co-sleeping with him, but to not even have the option of him sleeping elsewhere has been a little rough). I am ready to have my bed in the bedroom (it is currently housed in our living room, since it is literally the only thing we have to sit on at the moment) and my nice, super comfy (covered in a slipcover that I dyed myself) sofa in the living room where it belongs. I am ready to have a place to hang my purse and our various hoodies and sweaters. I am ready to eat at a table and not on our bed.

I will not miss the camping chairs (that my parents loaned to us so we had some place for guests to sit) one bit. 


In other news, the weather has finally cooled down enough that we are outside regularly, which has been a welcome change. 

We went to a pumpkin patch near the end of October that had a small petting zoo; N was not sure what to think about the goats; I was a little relieved that I didn't have to find out whether his pet allergy extends to goats.
 It always seems that life goes better... smoother... when there is plenty of time spent outdoors. Have you found the same to be true for your family?

We love beanie weather:)

This fall has also found me spending a lot more time with my paints. It's becoming more and more an important part of me, which is a bit surprising to me, as I had never really even thought of painting before a few months ago. I picked it up simply so that I could teach N how, using the traditional wet-on-wet water color method. As I continued, though, I found myself really being drawn to it, and I really love it now.

Here are a few of the pieces I've been working on lately, in between my day job (mother, wife, teacher) and my side job (freelance graphic design). Nothing big, as I've just been kind of playing around, finding my style, learning different techniques, etc. 

Robot and Bird; I want to do a series of pieces using these two little friends

You'll have to excuse the lighting; all I have to photograph with right now is my cell phone and it, as you can tell , is less than ideal.

I used salt on this one; pretty neat effect, I think!

This little girl still needs to be painted, but I think she's going to be super cute

This was our dragon for Michaelmas that Sir George befriended (since N is still so young, he overcomes him by befriending him, rather than slaying him)



This is one reason I love the Waldorf way so so much. It has brought many wonderful things into our home and family, and my new love of painting is one of those things. It's been interesting, too, to see how N has suddenly wanted to start trying new artistic things as well. I think it's a wonderful thing for children to watch the adults in their life do things that they love.

I'm thinking I want to create a piece to hang in our living room before D brings all of our things back to us. It will be kind of like ceremonially joining our new life here in Nevada with all of our things from our old life in Colorado. It's a lovely thought.

Much Love,

K

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Autumn Equinox!


Are you doing something to celebrate the arrival of Autumn, today? Fall is my favorite season; it always has been. There's just something magical about this time of year. You've heard the term Magic Hour, referring to the first and last hours of sunlight, where it almost seems as though the air is laced with silver? That's how I feel about Autumn. I think it is the year's Magic Hour. The air just has a certain magical quality about it. It's almost palpable. 

It also brings with it some more of my favorite things: sweaters, beautifully colored falling leaves, hot cocoa and fresh pressed apple cider (not to mention the Fall drinks at Starbucks!), and a shift from the outer light of Spring and Summer to the inner light of Fall and Winter. It's a time of reflecting, a time of deep thoughts. A time of finding light within ourselves. A time for allowing that light to shine for others, a theme that repeats itself often throughout the two seasons. Think of all those who volunteer at homeless shelters and women's shelters during Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Salvation Army Santas on the street corner ringing their bells. The numerous Angel Trees you see at Christmastime. How many of you have ever adopted a family in need for the holidays and left anonymous gifts for them on their doorstep? Autumn and Winter are very much the seasons of giving, and I believe it's because we instinctively start to look inward during these seasons.

N will be four in November so, while he's still quite young, I think he's old enough to begin to understand some of this. We're starting today by celebrating the Autumn Equinox, using the lovely Ayla's guide, found HERE. She has broken down the story of Sir George (I like this better than referring to him as St. George, for various reasons that are too much to explain here) slaying the dragon (a story of looking inward for courage and strength in order to face our own dragons) into bite sized pieces for each day of the week between now (Autumn Equinox) and next weekend, culminating in the telling of the whole story all together for Michaelmas. She also has suggested activities to go with each portion of the story. Tonight I'll tell him about how the people of the land (I haven't quite decided where the story will be located) are busy harvesting  the crops that they've toiled over all spring and summer, and to celebrate the harvest, they have a big feast. To go along with it, after the story, N will help me make a stew full of fresh local veggies (we've been sick, so we weren't able to get to the farmer's market this week, but I'm going to make a run to Whole Foods, where they have a pretty large selection of local produce), and grass fed beef (plus a little pot with just veggies for me, the crazy vegetarian). While we're making the stew, we'll talk about where the vegetables and beef came from, how they're raised, how they're harvested, how they make it from seed and calf to our big pot simmering on the stove.

Tonight, after our bedtime routine, we'll read Giving Thanks, by Jonathan London. I had planned on reading a different book for this day, but the sickness that's going around our house prevented me from getting to the library and I think this one will work just fine (it's all about being thankful for animals and nature). We may read Apple Cider Making Days as well, simply because it's one of N's favorites right now and it shows how apples are harvested and made into cider, so it's pretty fitting as well.

So, what are you doing to celebrate Fall?

Much Love and Kindness,

K


*I had planned on doing an original water color painting to go along with each portion of the story, but again this debilitating monster of a cold has prevented that from happening (yet). Perhaps I'll find the energy to do it tomorrow. If I do, I'll update with the artwork.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Autumn Circle Time (Leaves and Halloween)

I think I've finally put together our Circle Time for Autumn or, more specifically, late September and October. It will remain mostly the same until December when we switch to Winter (which I've got to start on soon, if the amount of time it took me to come up with this one is any indication!), but I will trade out any Halloween related items for Thanksgiving items in November, and add a few celebration-specific items around Michaelmas, Martinmas, and any other holidays that I'm forgetting right at this moment. I'll post those changes when I make them.

I used several sources for putting the Circle together. Kristy, from the yahoo group Waldorf Home Educators, was a big help by sharing her own Circle, which I used for the framework. The rest was gleaned from various sources all over the internet. I wish I had noted where I found everything, but I didn't. Next time I will, not only because I want to give credit where credit is due, but because I want to be able to go back to those sources for more.

So here it is. Feel free to use it as is, or as a base for creating your own. If you post it anywhere (and please, do!), just be sure to link back to here.




Morning Circle:

Song:

(standing, join hands and walk in a cirlce)
Autumn is here and the world goes round
Autumn is here and the world goes round
Autumn is here and the world goes round
The world goes round and round and round.

(Hands are leaves fluttering to the ground)
Autumn is here and the leaves fall down
Autumn is here and the leaves fall down
Autumn is here and the leaves fall down
The leaves fall down upon the ground.
(repeat first verse)


Centering Verse:
(standing)
The Earth is firm beneath my feet
(bend down to touch the ground)
The Sun shines bright above
(hands reach up to the sky)
And here I stand so straight and strong
(step each foot into the ground)
All things to know and love.
(cross arms at chest)

Verse:
I can reach so high, I can touch the shy
I can reach so low, I can touch my toes
I can turn myself around and around
And sit down quietly on the ground

Short Story/Poem
(use red and yellow silks)
The North Wind came along one day,
So strong and full of fun.
He called the leaves down from the tree
And said, "Run children, run!"
They came in red or yellow dress,
In shaded green and brown,
And all the short October day
He chased them round the town.
They ran in crowds, they ran alone,
They hid behind the trees.
The North Wind laughed and found them there
And called, "No stopping, please!"
But when he saw them tired out
And huddled in a heap,
He softly sang, "Goodnight, my dears,
Now let's go to sleep."

Seasonal Fingerplay
Five little leaves so bright and gay (hold out hand, flutter outstretched fingers or use pressed leaves)
Were dancing about the tree one day (sway hand in rhythm overhead)
The wind came blowing through the town OOOO (put other hand to mouth and blow)
One little leaf came tumbling down (sway hand from side to side while folding appropriate finger towards palm, repeat entire verse 5-4-3-2-1-0)

Seasonal Fingerplay
Autumn leaves are floating down, (float hands and arms up and down)
They make a carpet on the ground. (move arms back and forth towards the ground)
Then swish! The wind comes whistling by (quickly "swish" hands back and forth in front of body)
And sends them dancing to the sky! ("dance" hands upward)
All the leaves are falling down, (flutter hands downward)
Orange, green, red, and brown. (continue moving hands downward)
If you listen, you will hear them say, (cup hands around ears)
"Wintertime is on its way." (whisper)

Seasonal Movement Silly Verse/Large Motor
I traveled far across the sea, I met a gnome and old was he
I said to him, "where do you live", And this is what the gnome told me
Come with me to jumping land, jumping land, jumping land
If you wish to live with me, follow me to jumping land
...running land
...stomping land
...skipping land
...tiptoe land
...running land
...hopping land
...crawling land
...sleeping land

Reflection Verse
Let us greet this day with kind words, calm voices, gentle hands and an open heart.

Stories for Late September/October:



Evening Circle: 

Fingerplay:
(seated)
Little light up in the sky
(holding up two fingers to the sky)
Twinkling to and fro
(flicker fingertips)
Sending me your little light
(flicker fingertips down to the top of the head)
In the day and in the night
(day-hands open with fingers wide/night- hands under head like sleeping)
Until I rise once more.
(Stand on word-rise)

Song (written by Katie Yeh, hand motions by yours truly)
(to the tune of I'm a Little Tea Pot)
I’m a little pumpkin, short and fat (put your arms out to your sides, curved around like you're a pumpkin)
I’m going to be a jack o lantern, how about that? (put your hands on your hips)
Just carve me out a mouth and nose and eyes (run your finger along your mouth, the point to your nose and eyes)
And light me up on Halloween night! (place your hands, tips of fingers touching the tips of your thumbs, near your cheekbones, then open up your hands and move them away from your face, as though you're illustrating light coming out of the jack o lantern)

Verse (to transition us to listening to the story)
An owl sat alone
(Sit down, and hold up one finger)
On the branch of a tree.
He was as quiet
(Hold finger to lips)
As quiet could be.
It was night
And his eyes were round like this.
(Make circles over eyes with thumbs and index fingers)
And when he looked around
Not a thing did he miss.
(Look from side to side)

Story
(Right now we're reading Little House in the Big Woods. I usually read one chapter each day, so I'm just moving that to evening time, here.)

Quiet Verse (to transition gently to our bedtime routine which starts with bath, so we'll do this as we walk to the bathroom)
Softly on his tip-tip-toes
(Your child's name) through the forest goes. Sh! Sh! Sh! (repeat)

And here are the books we have in our Autumn book basket right now, in case you need some ideas/inspiration:



Saturday, September 15, 2012

Autumn 2012 Plans

I've been busy lately. Busy because I have two littles to take care of. Busy because we've had quite a few guests as of late. Busy because money has been tight (thankfully a temporary thing), so I've been making more meals from absolute scratch.

Busy because we are starting our first year of Waldorf Preschool this month. I'm still working on creating our Circle Time for this month (two weeks in; ha!), so I think I'm just going to make it into the October Circle. I recently joined the Waldorf Home Educators yahoo group, and it has proven already to be an invaluable source of information, as has Pinterest. Oh, Pinterest. I really have to watch how much time I spend there, and when. I think, if I allowed myself, I could spend an entire day just perusing all of the Waldorf-y pins, which would kind of defeat the purpose of living a Waldorf style life. I try to limit myself to an hour or so during naptime or after N has fallen asleep at night.

Here are some of the things we've done to get ready for Autumn, so far.


We made our Seasonal Tree. This will stay here from now on (though I may make a new one when I can get a hold of some brown poster board as the closest I've found so far was find was a piece with gold on one side and silver on the other), changing with the seasons. Right now it has colorful leaves, acorns, and apples on it. There are a few pumpkins at the bottom, along with two cute little foxes, all dressed up for Fall. N's pince cone collection has taken up residence there, as well. The little table they sit on is going to be our Nature Table, but most of the items I want to put on it are still in storage in Colorado, so as of now it's just the pine cones.


I made a Season Calendar. I actually messed it up by painting the season ring, and then turning the paper without realizing it, so when I painted the tree, it was not lined up with the correct seasons. Oops. I fixed it (kind of) by painting the month sections in seasonally appropriate colors. So really, the red should have been Autumn, the blue should have been Winter, the green should have been Spring, and the yellow should have been summer. Oh well. I still like how it came out. On an unrelated note, I really need a better camera.


I changed our Rhythm Chart to one with seasonal colors, but I don't know if I'm going to keep it that way, as I really really like the rainbow chart. We'll see.



Now I just have to complete the Circle for October, and plan a few seasonal activities. I'll post the Circle when I have it finished (I'm hoping that will be tomorrow). I have started a Waldorf playgroup in our new area, after realizing that there was absolutely nothing like there here already, and I have around a dozen families interested right now. We'll be meeting up for the first time at the end of the month, and I'm hoping we'll be able to plan some really awesome activities for Autumn for the kids. I'm thinking a lovely Lantern Walk in November, and Advent Spiral in December, and things like that. I'm so excited about it!

The last thing I'm working on right now is putting together our play room (which is actually N's room, but it's a good size, and we only have two bedrooms, so it has to double as the playroom).  At this point, due to finances, it's all just planning and dreaming, but in a month or so I'll be able to start putting it together. I know it's going to be the perfect place for N and E, and any other littles that happen by to play. Just thinking about it makes me happy. 

Happy almost Autumn!