Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

FL Pictures:

LEGOLAND! This is a new attraction in FL and the kids and I had a blast. While the minifigure above is a person in a costume, the lion below and all the other figures, etc. throughout the park are 100% Legos. Erin was very impressed. I liked the mini-cities they had and it was fun watching the girls figure out which moving things were Lego robots and whether or not they were using light sensors or direction programing, etc. Looks like Lego Club is working for them!

On our family version of Black Friday, we celebrate Buy Nothing Day...this year we went to the beach! And while we didn't hit the box stores or the malls, I will admit we did buy something: 5 ice cream cones at the end of the day.

Of course then there was actual Thanksgiving itself--lots of family, good food and (new to my kids, thanks to my brother) FOOTBALL! (I have few pictures of this as I am not really into it myself....) But I do have a good picture of a little swimmer taking a bit of a snack break!

Clearly, I have a lot to be thankful for!

Monday, November 14, 2011


So I've spent a chunk of time over the past few weeks putting together a new Unschooling group for our area. Today was our first meeting--a potluck lunch at our house. Megan met a new little girl, Rose, who is almost exactly her age (2ish weeks younger) and they played awesomely for several hours today. Before that, I had gotten up, showered, fed everyone, done two loads of laundry, put some dishes away, packed up a backpack for Evan to take with him when a friend of our offered to take him to the playground with some other 2-3yo this morning, prepared lunch for the potluck, took advantage of the time without the toddler to play a game of blockus with Megan before everyone came, helped Erin who was typing her report into Google Translator so she could turn it in in Latin (she likes to do things like this) other words, it was a typical morning.

The potluck was great, the kids played and played, we got some talking time in (between being interrupted by the kids!) and everything was fine. Everyone left, I was cleaning up, playing with Evan, doing more laundry, helping the kids with their math, building things with Legos, responding to a few emails...again, typical.

Chris, who had a dinner thing tonight, came home for one hour (one very short hour) so I could take a quick break before doing dinner and bedtime (my "break" was, of course, trying to get a sitter, answering phones and responding to one more email before managing to lie down quietly for 15 minutes). In that hour, he played a game of hide-and-go-seek with the kids. As he was leaving again, Megan burst into tears because she really, really didn't want Daddy to leave again. Why?? Because "Mommy is boring...."

Thanks, kid!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Heartbroken for her

So there is this woman who was in my prenatal yoga class. I think I've only seen her a few times (maybe twice) because I alternate between a Thursday evening class and a Saturday AM class, due to my constantly messed up schedule. Anyway, because of whatever reasons, I've only seen her a few times and spoken with her even less frequently than that.

Last week, her baby girl was born 8 weeks early...with a tumor on her liver...and little hope...she died less than 24 hours later. And now this mom, who I really don't know at all, is all I can think about.

She is home now, surrounded by family and friends as she makes her first, tentative steps on this path of grief that will last the rest of her life. Her milk is pouring forth for nobody, her stomach that last week was round and full of life is empty and sagging with nothing to show for it. Her friends are asking each other, "What can we do to help??" and there is no good answer. In my minds eye, I can see this woman curled up in fetal position on her floor or bed, sobbing in a way that few people can understand. Sobbing to the point of literally breaking in least that is what it feels like. I can picture all of this and I just wish there was something, anything, I could do to ease her pain. But it is her pain, and her family's pain, and she will carry it because she has no other option.

In a few weeks, I will call her up. I will tell her who I am and what I do and how I can help. I will give her resources and introduce her to others on this same path and I will assure her she is not alone. None of that will help, obviously, as none of it will bring back her little girl. None of it. And as I sit here typing, pushed back from the computer a bit to accommodate my own bulging belly, I am reminded of that dark hole I was in just 4.5 years ago and how long and hard my husband and I had to work to claw ourselves back into the light. We are here now, in the light of day, breathing in and out, raising our living children, enjoying the energy of living and working to trust that our new baby will be okay. Usually...but right now, today, I'm feeling heartbroken for the woman 4.5 years behind me on this path. Nothing is worse than the dark hole that is back there...nothing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yes, you can.

I find it amusing when people tell me, "I would love to homeschool, but I just couldn't! We would just fight all the time!" or "I could never make her do the work!" or something along those lines. I should also say I find it amusing how often I hear this comment. I never know what to say. Because the truth is there are days, plenty of days, when I think that very same thing. Really. But all the other days make up for it. All the other days of biking and skiing and gardening and hanging out with friends, going on trips, catching frogs, kayaking, playing in the mud, launching rockets...all these things I get to do with my kids because I homeschool. I truthfully can't imagine a time when I would have to squeeze in a trip to Fort Knox between schools and camps and life.

I was thinking about this today when I got this quote from the unschooling blog I subscribe to: When you know how you want to be, the next step is to make conscious decisions in a "getting warm" or "getting cold" kind of way. Not all steps will be forward, but if the majority of steps are in your chosen direction, there y'go!

The people who tell me they "wish" they could homeschool but "just can't" are missing out on that first step. The one where you look at how you want to be and just start walking in that direction. Give it a shot, make one change today and see where it gets you. I often tell parents who come to me for help that if you have to fight with your kids, it isn't worth it. Whatever point you are trying to get across is being lost in the struggle. Power struggles end when the one with the power gives up the struggle...and know what? I'm not always good at this. Just the other day, I got into a power struggle with Erin over something stupid. When did it end? When I gave up the power and took a deep breath. Think you can't "make" your child do work? Take a deep breath. Go for a bike ride instead. Try tomorrow or the next day or the next month or not at all...take a step towards being the parent you want to be. Get a little warmer each time. Yes, there will absolutely be times when you "get colder" on your journey. You will *gasp* yell at your kids and get annoyed by their fighting and the messy house and the often endless questions/comments/judgements from friends and family. But those times will begin to get few and far between and the resulting feelings of contentment and joy will permeate most of what you do together. It is pretty awesome to feel such peace with your kids and such joy from daily living.

We've been homeschooling for three years now so we are by no means experts at this, but we are experienced enough that newcomers ask us questions. My answer is always the same--I wouldn't trade it for anything, I tell them, and I can't give it up now, because I'm still just beginning the journey!