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Friday, June 28

Fatherhood Friday

Papa J loves Doodle Bug, this I know.  However, I wouldn't be fooling anyone if I said their relationship was smooth.  The step-father/step-son dynamic can be quite complex and we have just as many tumultuous nights around the dinner table as we do peaceful ones. 
, along came Baby E. 


Our baby girl is VERY attached to me.  She is "mama's girl".  Has been since birth.  She needs to hear me, touch me, be on me, sleep near me, sit by me... she has her hands curled in my hair every day and her head resting on my breast every night.

The same can not be said about Papa J.  Our baby was (and still is) a crash-course in patience for him.   There was a period where she would honestly scream if he so much as looked at her.  He could hold her without incidence only if he stood directly beside me and she could see me.  And even that only lasted five minutes.

Almost every idea he had about what it meant to be a dad seemed to fly out the window.  I noticed that there was even a shift in how he approached Doodle Bug.

His fuse was longer, his words softer.  I caught him offering to play video games with Doodle Bug (my partner is a video game perfectionist, so this is RARE).  It was as if he appreciated the company of a child that wanted him around.  

But, bless his heart, Papa J kept trying to bond with Baby E.

He couldn't sit with her, he couldn't calm her, he couldn't bathe her... he could barely change a diaper without her releasing red-faced screams.  This, combined with the strains in his relationship with Doodle Bug, began to make him doubt his ability to be a good parent.  Late at night, he would whisper his sad lament across the pillows to me, "She hates her daddy." 

My darling Papa J was in a funk.

And then, on Father's Day, as if she knew how important it was to him, it happened.

All day long, she reached for him, sat with him, slept on him.  Mom was dirt... daddy was all the rage!

Did she finally understand that he was taller and there was more to see from his shoulder?  Did she discover that chewing on his fingers was more soothing to her gums?  Did all those nights of sleeping beside him help her to accept his scent and heartbeat in addition to my own?


It could also be that he made her laugh.  If you can make a girl laugh, she'll love you forever.

And now she just can't get enough of him.

Wednesday, June 26

Midsummer - A Week In Pictures

Midsummer celebrations In the House of Mama Stacey involved a weekend stay at a cabin followed by a weekend honoring of the super moon with swimming, feasting, and bonfires.

Jan, our ritual leader for the weekend.
Beautiful views along the nature paths near the cabin.

We left our painted stones out to soak up the energy of the summer sun.

Painting stones was the craft of choice during our weekend retreat.

Mama Stacey and Baby E enjoying a blanket in the shade.

Beautiful Baby E

Baby feet!

Brother and sister sitting outside of the cabin.

Papa J making dinner over the fire.

THIS is how you roast marshmallows... especially when the bag is 2 years expired!

And over the week, Mama Stacey discovered Instagram.

Making "sunburst corn" for our Midsummer feast.

Doodle Bug's 'eye of Ra' solstice day face-paint.

Fireworks are Doodle Bug's favorite part of full moon nights.

Big fire!

Baby E stylin' in her new solstice dress.

Papa J playing with kids in the pool, enjoying the summer heat.

Friday, June 21

Egypt Makes Everything Cooler

Doodle Bug is a Pagan child for sure, but he's a 10 year old boy before anything else.  As cool as I try to make sabbats, sometimes they just don't stand a chance against an Incredible Spiderman marathon on Netflix or playing Transformers with Grandma.

So, in my hunt to get Doodle Bug excited for Midsummer, I came across this guy:

This super-falconized Horus is just as hulky and cool as any of the other superheroes in Doodle Bug's life.  I began to look into Egyptian lore for possibilities for a Midsummer celebration... and Horus is definitely the guy.

Sky God!
Lord of the Sun!

Eye of Horus by Sherrie Larch
[img source: Fine Art America]

Horus, the falcon-headed god, embodied all of the sky and everything in it.  His right eye was said to be the sun and his left eye, the moon.  The 'wedjat', sometimes known as the Eye of Horus, is a long standing symbol of the sun and a strong talisman for protection. 

We will be making amulets and talismans today as our sabbat craft.  I have dug out a bunch of gold beads and clay for him to work with and I have a feeling that Doodle Bug's art today will involve scarabs, scrolls, pyramids, and Ankhs.

If you think this might be a cool project for your child as well, check these simple instructions out:

Egyptian Amulets made from air-dry dough.
[img source: Art Club Blog]

Egyptian gods and proverbs will feature in our family ritual today.

Doodle Bug jumped on the Egyptian band wagon and wanted a Wedjat for solstice today, so I obliged as well as a tired mommy with a wriggling baby on her hip could.


Tuesday, June 18

Sticks & Stones: Taking a Summer Hike

There are any number of reasons to take a walk with your children.  Some do it for exercise and fresh air, some do it to explore, some do it because they're hot and the forest trail is shady.  In the House of Mama Stacey, we do it because Baby E is crabby and Doodle Bug is bored.  (Aren't boy's constantly bored???)

As we walked this past weekend, I was reminded of all the fun a boy can have with things he collects in the woods.

Papa J always shakes his head when we walk because he doesn't understand why Doodle Bug is always putting rocks in his pockets, picking dandelions, or hunting out fallen tree branches.  My partner is a video game guy.  He's known for dragging extension cords out the window just so he can still have his computer and surround sound while he's forced to sit outside.  He's just now (in his 20s) beginning to appreciate being outdoors without something electric in hand.  He'll understand the rocks one day.


One of our favorite guests to taking camping is Sonja.  She's a crone lady who wears leopard-print everything and so much jewelry that she jingles when she walks.  She wanders the creek shores and gravel paths gathering pebbles all day long.  She then sits by the fire at night with a bottle of glue and assembles her pebbles into fantastic creatures... turtles, coiled snakes, foxes.  They are small yet magnificent.  Mama Stacey doesn't have the patience for that, but in our house we do like to paint.

After collecting as many "cool" rocks as your child desires, have them scrub them clean.  Lay them in the sun to dry.  Give them brushes and acrylic paints and see what happens.  If they need a spark to get their creativity going, try these:

Owls, by Lori-Lee Thomas
[img source: Belle Isle Art]

Leaves and Curls
[img source: Little Elephants]

Inspirational Messages by Chrissie Grace
[img source: In His Grace]


Funky shaped short sticks, long wispy twigs, thick fallen branches.  Magnets for kids, am I right?  Totem poles, swords, walking sticks, wands, wizarding staffs... that's what they really are.

We paint these too, although the stick must be relatively dry and clean to turn out well.  Check out this awesome totem sticks for inspiration.

Painting totem poles by Donni & Teddy
[img source: Magic Onion]

Sssss... Snakes!
[img source: Creative Jewish Mom]

Wands and scepters are fun to make too.  To make them, decorate sticks or branches with string, random beads, sequins, ribbon, sea shells, leather cord, wrapped crystals... anything you can find that will tie or stick really.

Faerie Wand by Heather Fontenot
[img source: Rhythm of the Home]

Or try these wands witha  few more standard ingredients.
[img source: Paint Cut Paste]

Long, thick branches can br transformed into walking sticks in much the same manner.  Wrapping portions with colorful yarn or embroidery floss is fun.  Older children may even enjoy carving runes or images into the branch.  Help your tween use a wood burner.  [Remember that it's best not to varnish or otherwise seal a walking stick until it has been dry, or "aged" for a year.]

Walking Stick by Meredith
[img source: Heather Sanders]

If they have a flair for Native American symbols, your child could make a stick (walking or otherwise) which tells a story.  Use the images below or make up your own!

These projects are fun to repeat each year when the weather is nice.  Your family may enjoy making this part of your summer solstice celebration.

By the way, here's a nice little article on how to take a woodsy-walk with an infant: "Take a Hike with Baby" at Green Parent (UK).

Sunday, June 9

The Busy Baby Bumble

"Why Mama Stacey, are you alright?  You haven't posted anything in almost two weeks!"

Yes my friends, I am still kicking... but I rarely do anything other than tend to Baby E.  She is a high-maintenance baby and currently screams bloody murder if anyone other than myself holds her.  It makes blogging, amongst other things, almost impossible at the moment.

So, you'd like some time to blog?  or fold laundry?  I don't think so.  And what is this "shower" that you speak of?