Thursday, October 30, 2008


ruby, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

One year ago this week I had a miscarriage. I had been through one before, so I knew what was happening, and at my age it wasn't unexpected. I knew that this was my last pregnancy and tried to reassure myself that my family was truly complete with my two.

Two weeks later in the doctor's office the ultrasound showed a strong little heartbeat. One lost. One found.

I let the thought of a twin pass through me without grief because I am celebrating what I have.

seaside ruby

seaside ruby, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

We are back from our beach trip, worn out and sandy. Two days later there are still buckets of sea shells in the car. The outer banks of North Carolina are just too far from Appalachia to be sane with three littles, but we hadn't seen the sea this year. We needed some shrimp and some of that north carolina barbeque. We joined some mamas, a grandmother, and friends for a four day beach fest that included hounds, a parrot that takes baths in the kitchen and an ocean that was lapping at the foundations of the beach house. There were dolphins, sea birds eating tortillas, and lots of fun for the little people. I brought lots of art supplies, and the five kids created quite a stack of drawings and sunprints. The previous weekend's nor'easter had closed down the lower decks and the hot tub, my raison d'etre.

I drove home late monday night after bedtime, and thought that I was hallucinating on I-81 when it started snowing. That morning I'd been sitting in the sun watching pelicans and dolphins.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


cartwheel, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


3, originally uploaded by ellajohn.
This is the best of the christmas card photo shoot. I kind of love this one, but I'll try again soon. The light was amazing at five in the afternoon, but I couldn't get all three of them to even look at me at the same time.


sisters, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Monday, October 20, 2008

leaf man

leaf man, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

One of the few inconveniences of Ella's school is that there is no bus. It isn't even in our town, and we spend a lot of time in our car. The mister bought me a new car this summer, the Cabana, so that I didn't have to make so many trips between work, school, and home, and we do carpool with another family, but I still spend a lot of time out of the house with the two littlest. For the most part this is a good thing. We are seriously out and about, and the roundy roundy playground is John's number one. It is within minutes of school, nestled in a subdivision in which we do not live, but the orange bucket swing and the merry go round are his favorite places to be on a sunny fall day.

roundy roundy playground

roundy roundy playground, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

fall ruby

fall ruby, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

acorn head

acorn head, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

I've been making hats, and I think the acorn is my favorite.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


sunday, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

We went to a pumpkin patch that launched pumpkins out of a cannon. The kids were completely unimpressed, but daddy loved it. We got three pumpkins and lots of apples. Ella did some haystack climbing and caramel apple eating. John refused the sandbox style apple bins filled with corn, but was wide eyed for a hayride behind a big tractor.

allis challmers ride

allis challmers ride, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

pumpkin wasteland

pumpkin wasteland, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

john and the wolf pumpkin

john and the wolf pumpkin, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

wrestling with rudolf steiner

Ella's seventh birthday has come and gone practically without a post because I've been so busy. John has been away at a conference, and I've been limping around on a bad knee. For her seventh birthday I got her a Barbie doll, three Barbie dolls to be exact. She had been visiting a friend and playing Barbies about a month ago, and when she returned home she asked me if I liked her friend's mother. This particular mother is lovely and creative and artistic, and of course I said yes. Ella then says, "Well, she played with Barbies when she was little and you still think that she is a good person?" I don't judge good people on the plastic crap they played with as kids, and went out the next day and bought said plastic crap. I imagined Rudolf Steiner rolling in his grave.

I appreciate most of the basic elements of Waldorf education, and have tried to incorporate them into our home learning. For many years I've have given Ella all the opportunity in the world to expand her imagination and experience the splendor and simplicity of the outside world. She believes in the fairy world all around her, and loves to draw and paint and create. She loves books, stories, and words.

Now in the first grade, she isn't a strong reader. She loves to have books read to her, but she is finding the act of actually reading on her own somewhat difficult. It requires such patience. At the beginning of the school year she awakened to the notion that others in her class were actually far ahead of her in their abilities, and it was a somewhat rude awakening for her. Not so much that she is behind her grade level, but they are so very far ahead. In several subjects her class is grouped by ability, and she is in the lower groups. Am I worried? Not so much worried but wondering. I lose my bearings when she is subjected to various "methods" of evaluating her reading ability, checkmarks and lists of words to be mastered in certain grade levels.

Waldorf teaching would say that she is merely standing at the door at this moment. Seven. Time to begin.

Monday, October 13, 2008

october 9

october 9, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

She is seven. She has had a family dinner, a Granny visit, a Scottish festival, several cheese pizzas, new boots, all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and two cakes with candles.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

run, ella, run

run, ella, run, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


john, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Friday, October 03, 2008

i feel fall

mama, I wet

At four in the morning last night I hear a little voice from the next room.

"Mama, I wet."

I have to run downstairs to get a diaper for him. I stand him up, thankful that it is just his pajama bottoms that are wet, not the sheet. I put on the fresh diaper, lie him down, and he is instantly asleep as I pull up his comforter.

This morning as I'm changing him and putting him into his little red cords I realized that in the night I'd strapped him into one of Ruby's tiny diapers.

A few weeks ago I stopped talking about potty learning. John reached a point where he was saying things like, "I not very good at poops", and I backed away from the subject. Last night he ran into the bathroom and pooped on the potty all by himself saying, "I could do this every day!" Perhaps the end is in sight. Two in diapers is like being in the poop and pee chain gang.

I am using cloth diapers with Miss Ruby and any day now I'm going to wax poetic about it. I wish I had started this years ago.

Sometimes I just look at Ella and say, "Do you know how very happy I am that you know how to use the toilet?".

Thursday, October 02, 2008

ruby june

ruby june, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Ruby, I waited for you for a long time. I'm so happy you are here.

see, her head is just fine

2, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

i'll have the fruit plate

head on a plate, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

red footprint

John put his tiny converse all star footprint on his baby sister's forehead yesterday. He didn't do it in anger, more of an experiment. He says "I have an idea" about a hundred times a day. That idea was not a good one. The baby was lying between my legs, but I couldn't anticipate that little foot as I was trying to grab his whole body. Ruby was fine in a minute, but that red footprint made me so angry. And guilty. He is experimenting with new emotions and new ways to express himself. His vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds, and he can really explain himself. In three year old fashion. He recently pretended to be angry at TJ, and then burst into laughter and said, "Pretend". I have to remember that he is still so little. Last night he cried because he was afraid Ella was slipping down the bathtub drain.

I've been spending most of my time following Ella around asking her to clean up after her own myriad of projects. We have embraced an absolutely no television policy, and I am loving it. They are both more engaged, attentive, reading more books, making things, the list goes on. I'm tired of "managing" the television. It was pretty minimal and always PBS, but I was tired of doling it out. I'll admit I do miss the monkey dance on Word Girl.

bubble bubble

bubble bubble, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

bristol, virginia

bristol, virginia, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

ada fleetwood

ada fleetwood, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

This is my great grandmother, my mother's father's mother. While she was dying I was in the hospital parking lot listening to my father tell us stories from Bullfinch's Mythology.

I think that hers was my first funeral. My cousin tried to convince me that he could see her breathing as she lay in her coffin wearing a shade of lipstick that she had never worn before.