Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I found this in my inbox today and thought I'd share it here. May everyone have a fulfilling 2009.

And remember...21 more days until the best President evah!!

December 31, 2008
New Year's Resolutions: The Two Lists
A Message from DailyOM Co-Founder Scott Blum

I was fortunate to spend time with an enigmatic man named Robert during a very special period of my life. Robert taught me many things during our days together, and this time of year reminds me of one particular interaction we had.

"Now that you are becoming more aware," Robert said, "you need to begin to set goals for yourself so you don't lose the momentum you have built."

"Like New Year's resolutions?" I asked.

"That's an interesting idea," he smirked. "Let's do that."

By then I was used to his cryptic responses, so I knew something was up because of the way his eyes sparkled as he let out an impish laugh.

"Tonight's assignment is to make two lists," Robert continued. "The first is a list of all the New Year's resolutions you WANT to keep, and the second is a list of all the New Year's resolutions you WILL keep. Write the WANT List first, and when you have exhausted all of your ideas, then write the second list on another sheet of paper."

That night I went home and spent several hours working on the two lists. The WANT List felt overwhelming at first, but after a while I got into writing all the things I had always wanted to do if the burdens of life hadn't gotten in the way. After nearly an hour, the list swelled to fill the entire page and contained nearly all of my ideas of an ideal life. The second list was much easier, and I was able to quickly commit ten practical resolutions that I felt would be both realistic and helpful.

The next day, I met Robert in front of the local food Co-op, where we seemed to have most of our enlightening conversations. "Tell me about your two lists," Robert said as the familiar smirk crept onto his face.

"The first list contains all the things I SHOULD do if I completely changed my life to be the person I always wanted to be. And the second list contains all the things I COULD do by accepting my current life, and taking realistic steps towards the life I want to lead."

"Let me see the second list," he said.

I handed him the second list, and without even looking at it, he ripped the paper into tiny pieces and threw it in the nearby garbage can. His disregard for the effort I had put into the list annoyed me at first, but after I calmed down I began to think about the first list in a different light. In my heart, I knew the second list was a cop out, and the first list was the only one that really mattered.

"And now, the first list." Robert bowed his head and held out both of his hands.

I purposefully handed him the first list and held his gaze for several seconds, waiting for him to begin reading the page. After an unusually long silence, he began to crumple the paper into a ball and once again tossed it into the can without looking at it.

"What did you do that for?!" I couldn't hide my anger any longer.

Robert began to speak in a quiet and assured voice. "What you SHOULD or COULD do with your life no longer matters. The only thing that matters, from this day forward, is what you MUST do."

He then drew a folded piece of paper from his back pocket and handed it to me.

I opened it carefully, and found a single word floating in the middle of the white page:


Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Big City Holiday

I do enjoy Christmas, but I am glad for the day after, when things can settle down freshly. While shopping and preparing for the holidays, my oldest went on a big adventure to New York City. He has two very generous and loving aunts (hubby's sisters) who live in Brooklyn, and they invited him to come visit for a couple of days. He and one of his aunts took the train to Boston from the bottom of our street, then the subway, then the Amtrak to NYC, travelling door-to-door without a car. This was his first journey away from home, and he was not nervous or frightened or worried... he seemed so ready. I realized after he walked out the door, that this was a benchmark moment for us as a family...for me as a mom. One of many more to come, but one that I really noticed. I felt a clear tug of letting go as he headed out the door with his bag and a smile, looking forward to his adventure. I was glad for him, and I knew he would be with people who loved him.

He loved the train ride, watching a movie, visiting the snack car,and watching a snowy New England whiz by the window.The snow fell on the way in to Penn Station, and they started with a snowball fight in the evening in Central Park.

They went to the Met and saw an exhibit on arms and armor. His aunt said he was fascinated and talked much about what he knew, and what he noticed. They ate at a Middle-Eastern restaurant, they watched High Noon and Rear Window. They went to Rockefeller Center and saw the big tree. He was not impressed when they cleared the famous ice rink there, so that a man could propose marriage; rather he was disappointed that they were not bringing out the Zamboni instead.
They took him to Times Square where he said he felt really small, and amazed by all the lights. He went to Greenwich Village to go to a gaming store he had looked up before he left. They went out for pancakes and pizza and bagels. They watched Elf. When we spoke on the phone I mentioned that I missed him. He said, "Well, I would miss you too, but I'm having too much fun!"
Some of the best pictures are from the NYC Transit Museum where you could pretend to drive a bus and run over your aunt...They took some very funny videos of each other trying to sell tokens and give directions from the pretend ticket booth. A snowstorm made travel difficult, so he stayed an extra day and they took him on the Staten Island Ferry, which turned out to be his favorite part. He was in awe of the Statue of Liberty, having seen so many pictures of it, and his aunt said he stared out the window quietly at it for a long time.

My first boy arrived home a couple of days before Christmas with lots of stories and funny moments and a gigantic hug for us all. In most of the photos he looks genuinely happy, reveling in the fun of exploring a new place away from home. I am glad that he felt secure enough to leave us, remembering the littler boy who never wanted to leave my side, even at the playground.

To sweeten the deal, my awesome mother-in-law very graciously took the other two boys overnight, leaving my husband and I with any empty house and a snowstorm outside...
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ramblings and a Christmas Meme

Today was a lazy day at home during a cold, rainy afternoon. We had planned to go to the YMCA for some open gym time, but the momentum wasn't there. We watched Wind in the Willows on DVD, layed about, and the boys played some pretend Star Wars games upstairs while I did some baking.

A few days ago I found a Lord of the Rings Monopoly game at a thrift store for $4 with all the pieces and cards intact. I felt like I struck gold! It was fun to lay it out on the table and have them find it there. After playing it through once by the rules, they brought out more toy figures and made up other games and stories with the board. My oldest was more patient than usual with my youngest while they played and while there were some tense moments, they did okay. I find that it is easier if I remain on the outskirts for support rather than playing, as they all tend to be very sensitive to my advancing at their expense in any way. The dynamic just doesn't work right now.

When the weather is cold and rainy, I sometimes get antsy for outdoor time, but it's early yet, and I find I am enjoying the slower pace of indoor time. The time for quiet and blankets. Movies, board games, baking, and the sound of three boys stomping through our house, using every inch of it. We are enjoying the lead-in time to Christmas, anticipating gifts, hiding surprises, and decorating. The boys love their advent calendars with the daily chocolates. We have paper snowflakes on the windows made by the middle boy and me.

This is a Christmas meme I found over at Frank's blog. Take it and run with it if you like.

1. Real tree or artificial? Real. I enjoy the ritual of picking out the tree at a local place with the kiddos. Many memories of my Yankee Dad fretting about how much water the tree was drinking or not, as an indication of how fresh it was and ultimately, the quality of the deal he got on the tree.

2. When do you put up the tree? Earlier and earlier it seems as the kids have gotten a bit older and its more fun to have it up.

3. When do you take down the tree? After New Year's. Our town has a bonfire of spent Christmas trees on the Epiphany (Jan.6th). I'll try to blog photos of it this year. Nice big blazing fire!!

4.Wrapping paper or gift bags? Mostly paper, but gift bags are very alluring. Pop it in and you're done. Santa uses different wraps than I do. I did use Trader Joe's re-usable bags last year for some gifts. They are festive and red.

5. When do you start Christmas shopping?I am always looking for cool things that the kids like. I have a hard time waiting to give them things that I get in August or September. I really can't wait that long. So, I start restraining myself and saving Christmas gifts in November.

6. Who is the hardest person to buy for? My husband and my Dad.

7. Easiest person to buy for? My Mom. She likes everything, and she likes to be surprised. It's like giving a gift to a little kid. As much as she gives, she is also a wonderful receiver.

8. Angel on top of the tree, or star? A pretty tin star.

9. What is the worst Christmas gift you ever got? Anti-wrinkle cream. Yes, really.

10. What is the best gift you received as a child? When I was very little, I got a baby doll that I loved and (s)mothered. I was also very fond of a pink velour sweatsuit I got when I was seven. A little older, and I remember tickets to an ice show that was magical and special to me.

11. What is your favorite food to eat at Christmas time? Church window cookies made by my MIL.

12. What do you want for Christmas this year?(Frank's answer, which I love): I want the Constitution back! I think I might even get it, starting after January 20th. I can never have enough warm, fuzzy socks either.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Prop 8 The Musical

I thought this was cute, funny, and to the point. Hay, if you are reading this, I think you'll love it.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Leaving the world wide open

I was just reading the list over at Always Learning, and there was a discussion about TV-watching that I just loved reading, not just because it espouses the value of TV, but because the voices of the unschooling moms are so full of respect, love, and connection with their families. I often visit this list to read the voices of Sandra Dodd, Pam Sorooshian, Joyce Fetterol, and others, because they inspire me and remind me about why we have chosen to unschool our kids. And they help me get better at it.
I am into my fifth year of unschooling, and I am still learning to consistently create and foster an environment for my boys that is free and full. I get anxious when I discover certain things they don't know; when gaps are revealed through conversation, I sometimes still, want to whip everybody into shape with some structure and lessons. However, I have gotten to a point where I can silently acknowledge that anxious feeling in myself, and not punish them for my insecurity. It is mine, and when I impose it on them, I end up damaging our trust and our flow of natural learning.
Just yesterday, we were sitting around the table for lunch and I was reading questions to them from a deck of quiz cards one of them got for a birthday. They were all science-based questions and one of them asked what the center of a hurricane was called. My youngest answered "The eye, the eye!! I remember from Tweety and Sylvester!!" Other answers came forth, and when asked how they knew, I was struck by the wide variety of sources for their answers. Visits with grandparents, trips to museums, conversations with friends, cooking, camping, stories, and yes...TV and video games...were all cited. There were things they didn't know, but there was no shame in their not knowing. Just an inquisitiveness and a sense of "Huh. I didn't know that."I still have to get a grip on myself sometimes, and remove my ego from their learning. I have come to appreciate not only their knowledge, but their freedom to not know; their ability to see information and connections everywhere, and to take in what interests them. They get to wonder about things and to explore many paths. The best part is that I get to be there too, and I am grateful for that.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Fill-In


1. Please feel free to discuss your differing ideas. I don't need people to always agree with me .
2. When I am near one of my sons' heads I can't help sniffing it occasionally.
3. My favorite thing to cook is a chicken pasta dish, loaded with veggies.
4. Joy with my kids is something I can't get enough of.
5. That's the thing I love most about November; the good excuse to stay in sweats and slippers all day due to the weather.
6. Stepping on a scale after weeks of exercising always makes me think to myself, what the heck?
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going out to listen to music, tomorrow my plans include puttering in the house and having friends over and Sunday, I want to go for a long walk!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Politics: Prop 8

I ran across this video today, and was quite moved. While feeling great gladness about the outcome of the Presidential election, I am stymied by the California vote on Prop 8. Living in Massachusetts, I can tell you that the legal right for gay people to marry has not resulted in the apocalypse of marriage in New England. In fact, it has not changed ANYTHING!!! Except...that more unrelated people who are in love and want to enjoy the legal benefits of marriage may do so. Simple. If any of my boys are gay, I am glad that they are from a state that recognizes their civil right to marry. I hope that in the future, their choices are not limited by state lines.

Thank you for this, Keith Olbermann. If only more of TV had this to offer...from either side, for that matter.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fever and a Friday fill-in

My youngest son experienced febrile seizures last night which is something I had never experienced before, and something I'd rather never see again. Febrile seizures happen when their is a sudden spike of a fever, and while frightening to witness, they are considered fairly harmless. My boy had been running a low-grade fever and experiencing headaches for a couple of days, but the fever really peaked last night to 103. Twitching, eye-rolling, moaning....scary.

Today...normal. Nothing. He wanted to go to the park and play. He's eaten and run around, talked with friends. Little kids' bodies are amazing.

And now for my Friday Fill-In:

1. My blueprint for success includes knowing yourself and what you love and taking it from there.
2. A Snickers Bar offered graciously from my son from his bottomless trick-or-treat bag was the last candy I ate.
3. The best facial moisturizer I've ever used is coconut oil.
4. Electing the new leader of the free world and knowing he's the right guy can be good therapy.
5. I'd like to tell you about how I lost twenty pounds...but I haven't...yet (see#2).
6. Being a decent and attentive listener is my strongest characteristic.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleeping, tomorrow my plans include going to a double-dutch demo and going to the Y (see#5) and Sunday, I want to drink coffee, play with my family, and maybe visit a friend!

Have you???

I lifted this from Debra over at From Skilled Hands.

Bold the things you’ve done and will admit to.

1. Started your own blog (obviously)
2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon (chuckle chuckle)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (well, maybe in kickball)

32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car(pickup truck actually)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life(heimliched my mom)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous(Larry Bird)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (three!)

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee


Methinks I need to travel more.

How about you?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


It's time to rejoice and shed tears of relief. The man who should be President has been elected and both the nation and the world will be a better place for it. Tell your children history has been made. Save the front page of your newspaper. Skip down the street and laugh with joy because a genuine force for peace and justice will soon be entering the White House. I have never been so proud to be an American as I am today. This is what we are all about. This is what was meant to be.
Hello, President-Elect Obama!!!! I hope you and your family enjoy picking out that new puppy!
I also hope that in eight years we also get to vote for her:

Well done, Michelle!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's Time!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Edge of An Era

He embodies what is best in our country. He speaks...and I believe. In him and in us. I am so excited to vote for him tomorrow. Wishing everyone a fulfilling election day.

Friday, October 31, 2008



1. My favorite food seasoning is hmmm..hard to pick one. Depends on the dish. I like oregano, curry, thyme...the list goes on.

2. My boys in the yard pretending is music to my ears.

3. Lucky is someone who gets to listen to her boys in the yard pretending almost every day.

4. Having a decent variety of Halloween treats available is something I take very seriously.

5. Many people worry too much about their kids eating candy, especially at Halloween.

6. Halloween candy was the last thing I bought at the store. (There's a theme here).

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to trick-or-treat joy, tomorrow my plans include watching my oldest play soccer and walking with a friend and Sunday, I want to clean out my garden and watch my youngest play soccer. LAST GAME!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Just Today

Just today we awoke to a gray sky and decided to stay home all day. We kissed Dad goodbye. My oldest was sniffly and stayed in bed to read. My other two boys and I snuggled on the couch and watched "Charlotte's Web." We talked about how sad the ending is, and that we almost cried, but then we didn't.

My youngest, heart full of good feeling from the movie, decided to make tea and a PBJ for his sniffly brother and he carried it up on a tray for him. Middle boy drew him a cheerful card and placed it on the tray.

I read to them, a book about chemical engineering for kids, and what they liked most about it was how the brother in the story let his sister do something all by herself even when he may have wanted to help her.

We moved on to more books and talked about gravity. "How come the people in Antarctica don't fall off when they fall?" "Could you run and leap from the top of the Earth and land further down on the sphere?" "Mom, I get what's three-dimensional, but what's something that's one-dimensional?"

They danced to Blues music. Middle boy practiced spell-casting in the backyard with his wand that he whittled and embellished on his own. They listened to a bit of The Iliad on CD, and we talked about how one wouldn't know how to pronounce some of the names unless you heard them first.

My oldest played a game on the computer where you can run a mock Congressional campaign. He lost the first election, then he won the second time by a landslide. We discussed the Presidential debate. We watched a math video someone loaned us, and they skipped around to different parts they found interesting.

We ate soup and grilled cheese. "How about Harry Potter?" "Let's watch The Sorcerer's Stone again!" So now they are cuddled up doing that. Later, my youngest will play soccer, but that's all I know. The day is unfolding, full of comfort, choices, and family.

"When the words appeared everyone said it was a miracle. But nobody pointed out that the web itself, is a miracle." E.B. White

Our days are not always this peaceful and agreeable, but the opportunity to live these days and enjoy them is because we unschool. The unschooling life enhances the richness of our relationships and experiences. The openness to new games, people, places, and the chance to explore the unknown is there because we unschool. The time to re-visit old favorites and to reflect on our development and on what comforts us; that time exists because we unschool. As a mom, I know to appreciate and enjoy these simple miracle of days because we unschool.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Other Mr. Rogers

When I was in college and graduate school, I was drawn to Carl Rogers' writings. His philosophy of client-centered therapy deeply resonated with me those many years ago and guided me toward my approach to helping relationships as a professional social worker. He was considered controversial in his time, even radical, because he shunned the scientific models of psychology which stressed the quantitative shaping of behavior through more external means rather than using the therapeutic relationship as a foundation for client-motivated change.

I had forgotten about him. Or I thought so. Until I came upon one of his books in the library the other day. On Becoming A Person was published in 1961, near the end of Carl Rogers' career as a psychologist. The book is a compilation of writings and talks that reveal his journey toward the person he had become.

I am awed by his grace and genuineness and have found renewed favor for his words. But what I found most remarkable were his perspectives on teaching and education. Chapter 13 is entitled "Personal Thoughts on Teaching and Learning." It is derived from a presentation he gave at Harvard in 1958 where he was requested to expand his ideas to the concept of "student-centered teaching." I will not go into too much detail, but wanted to share some of his thoughts here:

"It seems to me that anything that can be taught to another is relatively inconsequential, and has little or no significant influence on behavior."

"I have come to feel that the only learning which significantly influences behavior is self-discovered, self-appropriated learning."

"When I try to teach, as I do sometimes, I am appalled by the results, which seem a little more than inconsequential, because sometimes the teaching appears to succeed. When this happens I find that the results are damaging. It seems to cause the individual to distrust his own experience, and to stifle significant learning. Hence I have come to feel that the outcomes of teaching are either unimportant or hurtful.....This is frankly troubling."

"...I realize that I am only interested in being a learner, preferably learning things that matter, that have some significant influence on my own behavior."

He goes on to say expound on the implications of these thoughts:

"Such experience would imply that we would do away with teaching. People would get together if they wished to learn..We would do away with examinations. They measure only the inconsequential type of learning."

"We would do away with degrees...a degree marks an end or a conclusion of something, and a learner is only interested in the continuous process of learning."

And I am only scratching the surface.

This fascinates me. That I had not made the connection before about the type of professional I was. About the type of person I already was before I came to unschooling. The seeds of this thinking were planted long ago by Carl Rogers and by my own experience in school, in relationships, and as a professional. It comforts me to find how deeply the tenets of unschooling are rooted in my person, and that I was almost unwittingly drawn to this more radical, yet, to me, so sensible way of raising children.

If you have read this far and you are not yawning....thank you. Perhaps this is a bit too narrowly personal for blogging, but there you have it.

If you are interested in reading more excerpts from this book they are here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Still Six

He will go swimming no matter the temperature, then roll in the warm sand of the dunes. He plays on a soccer team, and loves to work on the pottery wheel at art class. He is a whiz at navigating through the computer world, and he loves to have control of the TV clicker. He still enjoys watching Curious George.

If he's mad at you, he lets you know. He hits and yells, then dissolves in a puddle of tears. He hugs hard. He collects rocks, sticks, pinecones, acorns, and often offers special ones as gifts to me. He kisses and squeezes his brothers goodnight every night. His lobster print boxers are his favorite underwear. He's trying to learn how to jump rope.

Every morning I wake to him snuggled up next to me, having crept under my covers during the night. He is warm and friendly, compassionate and sensitive. He likes to do science experiments and play on the Wii with his friends. He loves to build with his Legos making space ships with laser guns, then staging great battles between them.

He like to pull pranks on his family with rubber snakes, insects, and rodents. He owns a whoopie cushion and he uses it. When I have not hidden it. He loves to call his Dad at work just to say hello. He often describes himself as shy. He eats spaghetti with abandon, steamed clams, raw carrots, and huge bowls of ice cream.

On Saturday, he will turn seven. But today he is still deliciously six.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Fill-In

1. I enjoy being, doing, exploring with my kids, and I also enjoy time to be alone and ponder, create, and just be.

2. Sarah Palin?? VP?? Really?? McCain?? A change?? Huh?? is something I wonder about often lately.

3. In your heart, you knew the Presidential campaign would turn ugly.

4. Take Obama, add a little Biden and you end up with a REAL chance for change.

5. Life has gifted me with a healthy loving family and the freedom and time to spend my days with them.

6. Going to the beach is an instant vacation. Also, sipping wine at night and watching Daily Show clips on my computer.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to spending time with some homeschool moms, tomorrow my plans include my eldest son's soccer game and having my in-laws for dinner and Sunday, I want to plan my youngest son's 7th birthday and watch him play soccer.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Catch a Wave

The waves were breaking huge the other day after a storm had blown through and we hit the beach with our boogie boards. If you are reading this and don't know what a boogie board is, its like a long sturdy kickboard meant for laying on and riding the waves into shore. Once you start its hard to stop. This photo is from a much mellower day, and its blurry, but you get the idea.

Anyway, the thing I noticed about the wave-riders the other day, was the wide variety of ages and sizes of those who came in the water to play. Often its just the families with young kids and some teens splashing in the cold Atlantic, but the big waves proved too alluring to pass up for those who still had a playful spirit. It was heartening to see everyone catching their waves and smiling as they coasted into shore. Then, board in hand, they would head back out for more. The sound of the crashing waves was loud and constant, but then someone would catch a good one and a whooping holler would rise above the din. I couldn't help but smile, watching so many people spontaneously playing in the waves. It was a treat for the soul.

Not just a fad cause it's been going on so long (catch a wave, catch a wave)

All the surfers going strong
They said it wouldn't last too long
They'll eat their words with a fork and spoon
And watch 'em they'll hit the road and all be surfin' soon
And when they catch a wave they'll be sittin' on top of the world

~The Beach Boys

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Fill-in

1. When I'm sick I'm usually very sick. For some reason, I rarely get sick, but when I do it's a doozy.

2. When I take a walk, I think about how grateful I feel to have some time to myself. And sometimes I try to organize my thoughts, check in with myself if I've been feeling irritable or scattered. It's a time to recharge.

3. Money can't buy happiness but it can enhance the happiness that's already there.

4. Cotton makes me ummm, comfortable, I guess. Especially cotton flannel PJs in the winter and leather makes me feel bad for the cows. I don't own any leather clothing, but we do have a leather couch that's very comfy and doesn't make my allergy-prone son sneeze. And I love my leather clogs which are very comfy.

5. The strangest person/character I've had lewd thoughts about was ahhhummm...I'm not going to go there..

6. My favorite color these days is teal because it's always been my favorite color, and I'm not fickle about teal. My whole house is painted in teal.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to hanging out with my family, tomorrow my plans include going to a party with a bunch of people we camped with this summer and Sunday, I want to get ready to go camping again!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


The kids start school around here tomorrow, and I am feeling my annual tug of doubt in my head. Not in my heart, mind you. Just in my head. I worry that my kids will miss their friends or feel left out, or that after a summer filled with friends, I will be very boring. But after today, I feel better.

We released our first of four monarchs that we have raised from eggs, we had a great discussion about school and how glad they are that they don't have to go, then more about things they want to do in the coming weeks. Their list of things to do includes wheel-throwing pottery, buying a new game for the Wii, mountain-biking, apple-picking, and staying in pajamas. They asked for science experiments and trips to specific museums. They asked for laser tag, cooking, history lectures, and visits with their grandparents. All those things belong on the same list for them.

Our conversation reminded me of how their perception of what is productive or worthwhile is without boundaries. Everything in their life is fair game for learning, and they are only limited by their imagination of what is possible. Sometimes I still think of my old subject notebooks with their nice neat separations of five or six sections. They were very structured and comforting...and labelled. Our life - our learning - does not fit into those notebooks, and I can find that to be both wonderful and disconcerting at the same time. I have to continually tinker with my inner nagging school marm...but her voice is fading, and her bullying tactics don't work so well anymore.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Family-friendly Friday Fill-In

1. If I could travel back in time, I'd go to the days I gave birth to each of my boys...after the pain part. Those days were the happiest days of my life.

2. Give me a fresh garden tomato sandwich or give me homemade sangria. Really, either would do. Why do I have to choose?

3. I am listening to the dishwasher running and my husband snoring while he "watches" the baseball game.

4. Somewhere, someone is thinking boy, he sure is a loud snorer.

5. I'll always be glad that I married my husband. Well maybe not EVERY moment, but...overall. Really, really glad.

6. My idea of a good time includes doing just about anything with my family. It is not hard for me to have a good time. Usually.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to watching The Alamo with my oldest, tomorrow my plans include cleaning up the house and preparing some food for a party and Sunday, I want to have a lovely lunch here for my mom's birthday, then take everyone over to the local polo matches. We've lived here ten years and have never been!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beach Magic

Yesterday was a beautiful summer day here in New England. We had nothing on the schedule, the boys all slept in, and the afternoon was spread out before us. The beach seemed an obvious choice, so we suited up and gathered our things and, as usual, tried to solicit some friends to come along or meet us there. It is prime day camp season and most of the boys' friends are gone all day so it ended up being just the four of us.

I cannot remember the last time that just the four of us went to the beach together. These are the simple, unplanned moments that are easy to take for granted, but today I savored it. I watched them squeal when the big waves came in and I saw them look for each other after the waves passed by. They were smiling, laughing, and high-fiving each other. They built Sauron's Tower at the edge of the water and had sword fights with their whiffle ball bats up away from the crowds. We ate and talked and rested and swam together some more.

I loved having my boys to myself at the beach. I loved being together with them and watching them be with just each other. My oldest turns twelve next week and I wonder how much longer he will be content with this kind of a day. I know I could never get sick of it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Learn Nothing Day Disaster!!

It all started off with such promise. It was raining. We had been on vacation in Vermont for about ten days with family and we were all a bit quiet and restful. Conditions were perfect for learning absolutely nothing.

Then I opened my big mouth...."Is buffalo mozzarella made with buffalo milk?"

You see, the day before LND, we had been to a farmer's market where local goods are sold. I was drawn to a table where they were selling cheese and yogurt and had started chatting with the farmer. He told me that their products were made with buffalo milk right there in Vermont, then he got distracted and the kids all wanted their yogurts, so off we went. This is the setting for that fateful Learn Nothing Day disaster. My husband was under the impression that buffalo mozzarella was a term rather than an indication that buffalo milk was used. "Really?" I said, "I know he said that they used buffalo milk."

But maybe I misheard?

Was I having a Jessica Simpson moment?

Husband says:

"You can't milk a buffalo!!"

"Have you seen many buffalo roaming around since we got here? There's no way."

I had to find out. Learn Nothing Day, be damned!!

Here is what I found out from the website. If you click on the link, you may see for yourself:

Bufala di Vermont, based in South Woodstock, Vermont, is the site of the first water buffalo farmstead creamery in the United States and has the largest and the best quality milking herd of water buffalo in North America. Although water buffalo milk and its products have been consumed around the world for thousands of years, there are only three water dairies in the United States. All Bufala di Vermont products are made in Vermont and are 100% pure water buffalo. Water buffalo, or bufala, are a completely different species than North American buffalo, which are actually bison. One of the greatest differences between these two animals is that water buffalo are an excellent source of dairy, as well as meat. Water buffalo produce approximately 15% of the world's milk, primarily in Southeast Asia, South America and Italy. Italians have been using water buffalo for over 200 years where the meat and mozzarella are highly regarded delicacies.

Bufala di Vermont produces fresh and aged cheeses, yogurt, and specialty meats. All products are all natural and free of antibiotics, growth hormones and anything artificial.

AHA!! So we drove 20 minutes to visit the only dairy-based water buffalo herd in North America and we all got to pat them and meet the farmer and see the dairy operation. We were doomed.

SO, it was me....I ruined a perfectly good Learn Nothing Day for all of us. Except one of my boys reminded me that they were still boycotting it anyway, so it was okay with them.

Better luck next year, I guess.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Learn Nothing Day Boycott!!

My kids have decided to boycott Learn Nothing Day. They have decided that it sounds way too boring and they refuse to participate.

The other night while we were waiting for the beach fireworks to start, I finally sat down and the free-form chatter started.

My youngest started talking about odd and even numbers, and figuring out that in one had to add an odd and an even together to get another odd. The other two had fun trying to test the theory. Other discussions were as follows:

Why do we have fireworks again?
Which one of those songs is the national anthem?
If I jump up and down in the same place, do I ever land EXACTLY in the same place or is it always different?
Why do most stars have five points? Why not four or seven? Why do Jewish stars have six points?
Why can we hear that boat horn so clearly from so far away?

I reminded them that Learn Nothing Day was coming, and that we needed to practice, so shhh!!

They laughed. And that's when they decided to boycott it. And then we started talking about boycotts...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Night At the Museum

We enjoyed a multi-family sleepover at the Boston Museum of Science this past weekend. The theme of the newest exhibit is "Baseball As America." As we are such big baseball fans and love this museum, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to participate. We were assigned to the dinosaur area for our campsite, and we slept in the shadows of the T-Rex. She protected us all night, and we swear that we saw her move a few times.There was an awesome demonstration called "Home Run Science" and my youngest got chosen to go up front as an assistant. He is riding in a red wagon that is being pulled by the forces of wind and rotation. I learned so much from that scientist who had all kinds of giant gadgets to demonstrate physics. His joy and enthusiasm were contagious. Many "Aha!" moments for me. Good thing we squeezed it in before Learn Nothing Day!!

And here we are getting ready to crash for the night. They had us going until midnight before the lights went out. Throwing baseballs and measuring their speed, watching a 95mph fastball from behind a catcher's mask, perusing very cool artifacts and memorabilia...the other families were very cool, and everyone seemed to enjoy the unique magic of the museum after hours. It was a night to remember.
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Filling in the Blanks and random photos

Since I cannot seem to form very many sentences of my own lately, I have decided to resort to an old favorite, the Friday Fill-In. I kind of miss blogging, and maybe this will jumpstart me to a new beginning.

1. Birthdays are very fun celebrations at our house. Middle boy is celebrating his 1/2 birthday next weekend as he decided he would like a summer party. A Star Wars cake and laser tag party are in the works!

2. I can't decide which season is my favorite season because they each bring their own unique joys and celebrations. I love camping and beaching in the summer, the beauty and coolness of fall, winter snow, and the relief of spring.

3. I feel my best when my boys are happy and our whole family is together enjoying the outdoors. And when I am exercising and taking care of myself. And when I am sharing time with my mom. All those things make me feel relaxed.

4. A lovely fresh garden salad with egg and homemade dressing is my favorite food!

5. First impressions are maybe more important than they should be, but they are often telling.

6. The best piece of advice I ever received was to trust my own instincts as a mother. I got it from LaLeche League and it has resonated throughout my motherhood.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to a family sleepover at the Museum of Science in Boston, tomorrow my plans include more museum fun, exercise, and rest and Sunday, I want to garden and play at the beach!

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Unschooling Adams'

I found this perfect video bit over at Center Down Home today and wanted to plant it here as well. So funny. It's a little over 8 minutes long.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Fill-in

1. I love springtime in the woods, hearing peepers and spring bird songs!
2. Homemade bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches and home fries are foods I love to eat for breakfast.
3. It seems I'm always searching for something interesting to write about in my blog. Not much luck lately!
4. Snuggling my kids to sleep, then enjoying a bit of wine with my husband is a great way to end the day.
5. I think I see the sun!...whoops, come the rain clouds again!
6. Sunshine and warmth is what I've been craving lately.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to helping my son enjoy a sleepover with his friend, tomorrow my plans include going to see a play of Frog and Toad stories and Sunday, I want to sip my morning coffee and see what the day brings!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Fill-In #65

1. Some relationships are meant to happen exactly when they happen.
2. My kids performing their air band is the last concert I saw; it was loud, dynamic, and very local. (see previous post).
3. Spring should be savored.
4. Oh no! I forgot to send my kids to school!
5. I've recently started becoming enamored of our new Wii.
6. The sound of my kids laughing never fails to make me smile.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a movie with the kids on the couch, tomorrow my plans include attending a friend's 50th birthday party and Sunday, I want to have a big mug of coffee and then hike outside!