Creating an Urban Homestead

Posts tagged “family

You Ought to Be in Pictures


Picture Party – Images by Christine Prichard

We hosted a multiple photo session bonanza at The Okey Dokey Ranch last week. Foul weather forced us into the garage; we had hoped to do an outdoor shoot. But we managed to get some fun and unique images anyway. Flash was a wonderful assistant, right-hand man and post-production whiz. Marley and Avery even got into the spirit by entertaining young and old while we shot, and shot, and shot.

A big thank you to the families, and especially the children we photographed–you were the best!

I’m posting some of my favorites here. Don’t you just love the sepia and hand-colored versions?

Funds raised from this shoot were donated to Alabama Waldorf School.


Family

Avery: “Is Flash a part of our family now?”

Me: “What do you think?”

Avery: “Yes, he is.”


“Birth” Cast Shoot


Birth Cast – Images by Christine Prichard

Did a quick shoot of the cast of “Birth” at WorkPlay yesterday before rehearsal. The photos will be used to publicize director Elizabeth Hunter’s reading of the play, which will be performed at Alabama School of Fine Arts for one night only on January 30 at 7 pm. A talkback panel and reception will follow the show. Tickets are $20 in advance, available through the Alabama Birth Coalition website. Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $25. Funds raised from ticket sales will help ABC do its work to educate the public about birth choice and to help change laws in Alabama to make practicing midwifery in an out-of-hospital setting legal and safe.

As some of you may know, my daughter Marley was born at home in Birmingham just over eight years ago, and was attended by midwife Karen Brock. Because there is no vehicle for licensing CPM’s in Alabama, my health insurance did not cover the cost of Karen’s services, which by the way, were more attentive, caring, and comprehensive than any OB I’ve ever rubbed elbows with. (more…)


Morris Avenue shoot with Marley and Avery


Marley and Avery on Morris Avenue – Images by Christine Prichard

Marley, Avery, and I spent about an hour today on Morris Avenue and shot some photos. We had intended to go to Sloss Furnaces to shoot, but discovered at the gate that Sloss is closed on Mondays. After a few tears on Avery’s part, I vetoed Marley’s idea to go to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and headed downtown. (more…)


Life is But a Dream—or Maybe Just a Big Bowl of Soup

Nothing like the holidays to bring back memories of holidays past. Former lives within this life haunt me—so many moments and people that are now gone forever. They are real in my mind but elusive as a dream.

Life is so much more fluid than I ever knew. My mind keeps bumping into the people of the past as I cherish time spent with people of the present.

“Their souls are in the halls of my mind,” says Flash of his dearly departed. I know what he means. (more…)


No whining, Mr. Crabbedy

Call it blending of the minds, the synergy of creative forces, or just plain bad hearing, but Flash and I came up with a nearly perfect way to describe Avery’s less-than-charming side.

In a word: “crabbedy.”

As I was getting breakfast ready under a fog of Benadryl and lack of sleep, Avery asked me one of his standard morning questions: “Am I staying for nap today at school?” Unfortunately for him, the answer was “yes.” So I cringed, waiting for the whining, pleading, and stomping onslaught to begin.

“I HATE NAP!!!!!” Avery screamed, only the preamble to a verbal tirade that I endure on a daily basis. Why he does this, I’m not sure. It is rare, if ever, that I give into this type of behavior.

To be fair, I know nap time is hard for Avery. He rarely falls asleep anymore and is forced to lay on his cot for at least an hour while much of the rest of the class sleeps. This is very difficult for a boy of Avery’s energy level, and I feel for him. I’m amazed that they can even get him to lie down, really. (more…)


Patterns

So much has happened at The Okey Dokey Ranch in the past month, it is hard to know where to begin.

Suffice it to say, the long-awaited arrival of Flash has more or less taken place. He keeps saying things like “when I get here,” as if he hasn’t moved in yet.  (I don’t think he considers himself “here” until the house is arranged to his liking; we’re not there quite yet, I am told.) Yet it seems like he’s here to me.  Much of his stuff is here.  And he’s rearranged so much of our living space, I feel disoriented in my own home.  Yet grateful.  Things had gotten pretty chaotic around here.  And this guy has the perfect combination of obsession and organizational skills to tackle things like building shelving and rearranging furniture and CDs until things make more sense.  (more…)


Spontaneous Combustion

I’ve been thinking a lot about spontaneous combustion the last couple hours.

Like at 6:45 pm while standing in line at hideous Wal-Mart where I had to make a last minute run for pullups instead of starting dinner. (Hmmm, pissy bed in the morning or hot dinner the night before? Such are the daily guilt-inducing decisions every parent without a partner makes.)

With pink pull ups in hand (for some reason my oh-so-boy boy LOVES the color pink), Avery asks through tears why I wouldn’t ask anyone that worked there whether they sold Harry Potter glasses, even after we cruised through the toy department and saw nothing Potteresque.

Suddenly, in my mind’s eye, poof! There goes mom, a smoldering pile of ashes on the floor. Somehow that image was extremely satisfying. (more…)


Spirit phones and homegrown tomatoes

Sometimes malaise sneaks up on me, and other times it follows a more predictable path. As cliché as it might sound, today’s bout of blues definitely seems related to the fast-approaching 2nd anniversary of Mike’s death (Sept 13).

I’ve found no good way defend myself against the pain. It comes uninvited.

I am haunted by a past that is gone and a future that no longer exists. It began in the relative quiet of Labor Day after Flash, CC, and her kitten Casey departed from The Okey Dokey Ranch after spending a raucous and rainy but fun Saturday and Sunday here.

This afternoon, Marley went to Tannehill State Park with her friend Bella, which left me alone with Avery. The boy has been quite wild all weekend—a draining surprise after he acted disarmingly docile and charming Friday afternoon after school. By Monday afternoon I was, shall we say, finding it difficult to appreciate Avery being anywhere near me. I really just wanted to be alone with my thoughts. (more…)


Down under The Okey Dokey Ranch

If you want to fail miserably, try raising two children by yourself. It doesn’t take long to realize that no one is capable of succeeding at this endeavor. I somehow allow myself to forget this from time to time. Indeed, it’s probably how I remain sane.

But reality always returns, and it stings. Rediscovering life as a single parent is a trying and lonely affair–especially after a travel-induced period of giddy denial filled with grandparents and cousins who gladly watch your children while you chum with old friends.

But now we are home and it is back to reality again. Manning The Okey Dokey Ranch with the help of only a seven year old (no matter how precocious) and a five year old can get downright depressing in short order.

Although Marley started school two days after our return from Minnesota, Avery did not. So I had to bring him on all of my home renovating errands–a major drag for both of us.

Combine that with absolutely no freedom to exercise or adults to talk to and, voila! You have the perfect ingredients for a mental breakdown. I spend most of a sunny Saturday in bed crying.

But miraculously, Sunday was a glorious day, despite heavy rains.

Marley and I made a batch of muscadine jelly. I made a chicken dinner. And Flash stayed overnight, tipping the household vibe into positive territory.

The boys joust in the man cave.

The boys joust in the man cave.

He set up a “painting zone” in the basement, now under heavy construction (click here to see the vid of Flash doing his thing), which will eventually house his personal space and occasionally his daughter CC and along with them our newly-formed household.

The fabled blended family.

Anyway, Flash thought it would be fun for the kids to paint the floors and walls before he completed the rooms. So fun that he joined them. He started painting words on the walls and saying that he was “channeling,” which made me flash back to a time nearly two years ago when me, my mother and my dear friend Suzanne Kilpatrick painted similar words on the walls of the basement following Mike’s accidental death in the man-cave.

Suzanne felt that writing positive, loving words on the walls would help cleanse the space and help us heal. We did this, and about a month later, I knocked down the walls on which we wrote and painted the remaining walls blue. Suzanne also said she saw the corner of the basement eventually becoming the creative hub of the house.

I distinctly remember thinking “never.”

But now it is becoming just that. And somehow, Flash just knew it. So, on that rainy day, I joined him and the kids and painted a bit, too. And finally, things felt like a nice Sunday at home with my family.

Thanks, Flash. I love you more than you could know.

Marley paints the subfloorMarley paints the subfloor
Avery paints Flash's pants while Flash paints the basement wall.

Avery paints Flash's pants while Flash paints the basement wall.


Deathoughts

Five years ago, a young couple—friends of friends–died in a freak car accident while traveling to their 4th of July vacation spot in Asheville, NC.

Their three-year-old son lived. I remember being blood-curdlingly horrified by the story.

The woman had once been a teacher at The Redmont School, where Marley was attending preschool. That was the extent of our connection–two degrees of separation.

I worried for their son, bargained with fate to undo what had been done, obsessed about the unfairness of it all.

And finally, I spent several hours in bed, paralyzed with fear about what could befall my own children, seriously considering never taking my family out into the world in order to protect them. Then I realized that even at home, an airplane could fall from the sky and hit our house, or a meteorite could pulverize us anywhere on earth. The realization that I am not in control hit me hard that weekend. (more…)


Bio

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As recently as 2005, I was a gainfully-employed photojournalist making top-scale union wages, living with my husband Michael Prichard, 2 children, one dog, one cat, and several gardens in a 1950’s -era ranch house in Birmingham, Alabama.

We were vegetarian, but ate like royalty; Mike was a genius in the kitchen–ask anyone who ever dined with us.

Then I got laid off and started two businesses with Mike.

In 2007, we were on course to make more money doing media work and renovating houses than we ever did working for the man. Things were looking pretty peachy.

Then Mike electrocuted himself in the grow room (yes THAT kind of grow room), and I was thrust into the world of single parenthood in the blink of an eye. (more…)


Farewell, friends

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“I never thought this day would come,” said Marley, right. Her best friends Veronika and Yan packed up and moved to New York. Their family and ours along with other friends spent the morning in our kitchen packing food, eating, telling stories, while the kids watched a DVD together. Such a sad ending to a Mayberry-like relationship with our sweet neighbors Anton, Lena, Yan and Veronika. They were there during the worst time in my life and I’ll be forever grateful for their love and friendship over the past two years.

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Thanksgiving weekend

On this weekend, I want to again thank everyone for their love and support. We could not do this alone. We ate Thanksgiving dinner at my mom and stepdad’s house along with my aunt. It was nice and quiet.

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Space Cleansing

It’s been an intense weekend. Many social events, and also a more private happening. A cleansing of the “trauma energy” in the space in my basement where Mike died. (more…)


Busy times and a reminder about the an upcoming Mike Prichard memorial activity

Things are getting kind of busy this week.

Mike’s mom returned to New Mexico after being here for a week. We all enjoyed the visit and it was so helpful to have her here. Her husband Frank had been here the week before and also helped greatly with the kids. (more…)


A letter from Mike’s mom Dinny

My dear Michael,

You are a man of so many talents, there was little you couldn’t do–if you didn’t know how you just did it anyway.

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Sunday blues

I can already see that Sundays are going to be the worst day of the week; it was most often the day that all of us would be home together, working in the garden, cooking, listening to NPR. Yesterday was just like one of those days, except it was Mike’s mom with us from New Mexico instead of Mike. And that was great–she’s had a great time with the kids and vice versa. Mike and the kids and I have always appreciated and enjoyed her visits. (more…)


This week's gifts

I am blessed. In the past 7 days:

5-people (including me) brainstormed in my living room and set up a long-term meal and playdate schedule and more (“meals” to include drop off meals and shared meals at my house and at other people’s houses) (more…)


Haunting outing

Went to Art in Avondale Park today. Crisp blue sky, autumn chill in the air. My mom and father-in-law came and helped with the kids, who marched in the parade and did arts and crafts. Ran into many friends and acquaintences. (more…)


Shattered trust

I’ve always had this fear that something would happen to my children. I have often thought about how devastating it would be if one of them were killed. Same with my parents/other relatives/friends.
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Survived the weekend

This is going to be a short one, since I have about 5 more minutes of kid-free time. I am determined to get them bathed and in bed on time tonight and hopefully for the rest of the week. With any luck, we’ll even get to school once or twice on time. (more…)


Hello and thank you everyone

It’s Sunday noon and I’ve taken my first plunge into the bloggosphere. Not sure whether this is going to be an ideal format, but will check it out. Quite frankly, until last week, I wondered what all these people were doing on blogs anyway. Today, I see this as a tool with which to communicate and send back a small measure of the love that has been sent our way since Mike’s death. (more…)