Michaelmas at Sanderling Waldorf School: A Festival of Strength, Courage and Will

Today the kids’ school celebrated Michaelmas, the festival of strength, courage and will. The entire school (minus the nursery kids) performed a pageant in which Archangel Michael helped to subdue a fierce dragon, saving throngs of villagers from their demise.

Archangel Michael, protector from darkness and administrator of cosmic intelligence, serves as a symbol of the triumph of good over evil, of courage over cowardice. In times of chaos and uncertainty it is critical that we have the resolve to summon our strength and inner light so we can transform the darkness and be the beings of light we were created to be.

Transformation of darkness requires fearlessness and compassion. It requires accepting the shadow and subduing it—with love. Only light can conquer darkness. The songs and stories of St Michael nurture the inner light so that the children can go into the world ready to face all of their inner and outer dragons in a courageous and heart-centered way. 

At the end of the pageant the school gathered in the yard where the traditional dragon bread, baked by 1st grade moms, was waiting to be shared with the community. I am so grateful to be a part of this community. Happy Michaelmas, friends.

A birthday tradition I adopted from Pinterest + Jeffrey turns 8 1/2

Every year since they were three, I have interviewed Jeffrey and Chloe with the same twenty questions on their birthdays. It has been so much fun to see how their answers have changed over the years (or in some cases have stayed exactly the same!) This year I dropped the ball on Jeffrey bean’s eighth birthday interview. It was busy! There was a Disney trip, spring break, life, <insert other excuses here>. #momfail BUT, we went ahead and did his interview today, since today marks his half birthday. This is what he had to say. 🙂

This has been such a great tradition for us. (Those sleepless nights nursing my babies with my tablet in hand paid off. Thanks a ton, interwebs, and especially Pinterest!)

If you would like to adopt this tradition for your littles, you can use this list of questions, or get creative and use your own. The key is to ask the same questions each year. 🙂

This is what I ask them:

  1. What is your favorite color?
  2. What is your favorite toy?
  3. What is your favorite fruit?
  4. What is your favorite tv show?
  5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
  6. What is your favorite outfit?
  7. What is your favorite game?
  8. What is your favorite snack?
  9. What is your favorite animal?
  10. What is your favorite song?
  11. What is your favorite book?
  12. Who is your best friend?
  13. What is your favorite cereal?
  14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?
  15. What is your favorite drink?
  16. What is your favorite holiday?
  17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
  18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
  19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up?

For a printable version, right click and save this list, then print as a full page photo:

Feel free to “pin” or print this. I hope your family enjoys this tradition as much as we have. I’m definitely going to keep it alive as long as I can. Thanks for reading!  🙂 Until next time…

Autumn Chat ‘n Craft and musings on being part of Sanderling Waldorf School

When our family joined our local Waldorf school four years ago, one of the things that really attracted me was the deep sense of community, and the warm way in which we were not just welcomed with open arms, but genuinely embraced as though we had been there for years and years; it felt amazing.

Another thing that really drew me in was the way they appealed to my artsy side. To be a part of a Waldorf school is to be immersed in a world of reverence and beauty, a celebration of the natural world in all of its glory. Everything is deliberate, from the colors of the walls in each grade’s classroom, to the way that only certain materials are used in play.

We were a homeschooling family, but after attending a free puppet show the school put on for the community, we were sold. That probably sounds silly, but that one little puppet play—in all of its simplicity—suggested to me that this style of education was more than meets the eye. (Spoiler alert: it is.) On our walk back to the car, Jeffrey bean (who was 5 at the time) said, “Mommy, can I PLEASE go to school here in September?” The thought had actually occurred to me too.

When we looked into Waldorf, it was right in line with our values. Some of the philosophies were foreign to us (ie: holding off on learning to read, especially since Jeffrey started reading in his toddler years) but it all made sense and it just felt…right. I really can’t explain it. It just felt right in my gut. It was a more of a knowing.

Long story short, we ended up enrolling at Sanderling and haven’t looked back. When I was brand new Waldorf mom, I was invited to attend a parents’ group called Chat ‘n Craft where we got to learn the ways of Waldorf arts and crafts. This style of crafting using natural materials like sticks, acorn caps foraged from beneath the trees, naturally dyed silks and wools really appealed to me. It reminded me of a simpler time, like my childhood summer vacations when my mom would snuggle my sister and I and we would read the whole Little House in the Prairie box set and then takes naps.

After a year of attending as a guest, as I was asked by the veteran Chat ‘n Craft mama if I might be able to take over as the lead, to which I gave a nervous but enthusiastic “YES!” I have been carrying on the tradition at Sanderling Waldorf since, with the help of said veteran mama of course.

This morning we had our first Chat ‘n Craft meeting of the year, and it was sooo good to sit with fellow mamas and talk and vent and sew and needlefelt and share and laugh at our silly mistakes and just BE, in the present moment, together. So, so good.

We worked on sweet little autumn inspired treasures for a store we’ll open at an upcoming musical event with local children’s group Hullaballoo.

We needlefelted apples and sewed squashy little pumpkins. We made gnomes, each with its own personality. We embroidered leafy, woolen beds for sleepy nature sprite babies. We even made fairy dust necklaces. And it was glorious.

I am planning on sharing tutorials for some of the darling things we created this morning, but for now you can enjoy some photos. 🙂

Hand sewn harvest pumpkins
Sweet wooden peg babies with acorn caps, nestled in leafy woolen beds
I loooooove these needle felted apples!
And of course, we are Waldorf, so we have to have gnomes. 😉

Magical, right? Thanks so much for visiting with me while I rambled on about how much I love Waldorf education and arts and crafts and magic and gnomes. Sometimes I do that. 😉 Until next time my friends.

Toothfairy adventures

 

At 5 am my alarm went off and I rolled over and thought, “I don’t need to meditate right now. I’ll do it later.” So I re-set it for 6. At 6 I thought, “the kids are having oatmeal for breakfast today and that doesn’t take long to make. Another 15 won’t hurt.” So I re-set it for 6:15. I closed my eyes and as I was drifting back to sleep a sudden realization flashed into my awareness: OH CRAP, JEFFREY LOST A TOOTH YESTERDAY. Wide awake I jumped out of bed praying he was still asleep, searched frantically for a dollar, which I found (thank God!) and I snuck into his room, undetected. Phew. I got the dollar under his pillow but couldn’t locate the tooth. He stirred a little but didn’t wake.

I went downstairs and it dawned on me that, duh, he probably used the tooth fairy pillow I made him when he was 4. I went back up, found the tooth in the pillow and took it. He smiled in his sleep. To my bedroom I went. Then, overthinking things like I do, I thought “he’s going to wonder why the dollar isn’t in the tooth pillow.” So I pressed my luck and went back in. As I dug around under his pillow and located the dollar he opened his eyes and stared into my face in his dreamy little way. As quickly as I could I stuffed the dollar into the tooth pillow while kneeling over and giving him a good morning kiss on his forehead, trying to play it off like I was merely getting him up for school. At breakfast I wondered if he had noticed at all. Is it just me, or is he unusually quiet this morning? Was I not stealthy enough? Did I just kill the magic? 

Then on the drive to school I asked if something was up. “Are you ok, Jeffrey bean?” He smiled dreamily and said he was just thinking, but then there was a slight shift in his demeanor. I asked if he wanted to share and he said, “Well…I’ve been wondering…” My heart starts racing a bit… “…When I get my letter from Hogwarts, well, do you and Daddy have to apply first? Do you get to pick your school? Or do they just send me a letter? I really want to go to Hogwarts, but what if I get a letter from Durmstrang instead? What happens?” There was genuine concern on his sweet little face. And that’s when I realized the magic is still very much alive and I have nothing to worry about.

I’m really going to miss this age when it’s gone.