Leaf Pressing

One of the neatest things about Rowan is his enthusiasm for a project.  He loves to be given a task, the directions to complete the task, and then the space and encouragement to fulfill his duties.  

Yesterday he and I ran to the store to pick up a few things for my grandmother, and while we were there Rowan browsed the Halloween isle.  After exclaiming, “NORANGE!” for every single pumpkin he saw, a plastic machete caught his eye.  It was clearly intended to maim/kill/torture the victim of the wielder (how is this holiday, and I use that term loosely, for kids???).  Rowan held it in his hands, turned it over a few times, then held it up for me to see, with a huge grin on his face.  “Knife, Mama!  Cook!!  Please we cook, Mama?”  

Over-protective and VERY selective about the shows/music/people her child is exposed to, Mom: One 

Violent/corrupt/moral-less world: Zero 

After the knife incident, Rowan spotted some grotesque window stickers.  You know, the ones that attach to your windows using static cling?  He really wanted to bring them home and affix them to the glass door that leads from his play room to the back porch.  I was less than thrilled with the depiction of a youthful zombie with a pipe through its brain, so I opted out of the sticker purchase, and led him to the housewares isle.  We paid for a roll of wax paper, and headed home. 

After unloading our loot, I explained to Rowan that we were going to collect some leaves, press them, and then iron them between two sheets of wax paper.  After, we would cut them out, and tape them to the door.  I had him at “collect some leaves”, and he was out the door before I was finished with my shpeal. 

I gave him a handled Starbucks bag to collect leaves. You would have thought it was a Vera Wang, the way he strutted with that thing.

Rowan was extremely selective of the leaves he chose for this project. For every ten he picked up and examined, maybe one was good enough to earn the privilege of going into the bag.

A short break from collecting leaves was spent trying to catch a cloud. I swear he'll do it some day.

Flattening the leaf between two sheets of wax paper. It took us several tried to realize that there is really only wax on ONE side, and we were doing it upside down. Good thing we had lots of leaves!

"VERY hot, Moma. Handle touch ONLY!" Thanks Rowan. I'll keep that in mind.

Cutting out the pressed leaves. This is a difficult task, requiring many facial contortions.

Tape is a tricky sort of thing.

He kept telling it to, "Stay! Stay!" It didn't listen. I'm guessing it had something to do with the tape being on the wrong side.


"And this one here I collected from under Mom's car." Allow me to translate: "I spotted a leaf directly under Mom's car. I whined until she crawled under her car and got it for me."

Very satisfied with his job well done.

Yes, he worked tirelessly for the entire afternoon, but his efforts were not in vain.  He woke up this morning, walked over to the door, and after studying his handiwork, he proclaimed it, “cute!”  Then he skipped into the kitchen asking for pineapple.

Home is where the heart is.


I was born and raised in New England, under those huge, bright skies, with air so crisp, you could taste it.  I grew up saying things like, “wicked cool” and “New Hampsha.”  We had more months with snow, than without.  The one month out of the year that was actually hot, was so humid you couldn’t walk to your car without a towel to mop up the sweat.  The bugs were bad, the mountains beautiful.  It was a way of life, and I loved it.

In a few weeks I am going to get to return to my beloved home state for a much overdue visit.  I picked the best time to go-fall.  You’ve heard all the rumors about how amazing fall in New England is, right?  Every one of them are true. 

From the blazing colors of the foliage, to the smell of billions of apples in an orchard, to acres and acres of pumpkin patches, it’s no wonder fall is legendary in New England.  I’m going to get the thrill of sharing all that with my son, recall all the years I spent as a child crunching through the leaves, and get the joy of making new memories with people I care about.

Fall in West Virginia is nice too.  It’s  cool, and clean, and the leaves make a valiant effort to rival those in the north.  I hesitate to even make a comparison though, because there really is no topping New England.  Not to say we won’t enjoy the festivals and trick-or-treating.  We’ll drink hot cider and carve pumpkins.  It will be delightful.

I used to long to return to the southwest.   I still love it there.  I left a piece of myself in New Mexico, and every now and then I go visit it.  I hold the memories of my son being born there close, and will always carry them with me.

The longer I live on the eastern side of the country though, the more I realize my heart is still in New England.  It is engrained into every fiber of who I am, and there is no use fighting it. 

I am a New England girl, through and through.