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!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A weekend tour

What do you get when you mix two brothers in their room , a rainy day, a favorite CD from the library, hours of free time, and a pair of sunglasses?

No...not a fight over the sunglasses.

No...not a fight about the volume of the CD player. fighting!!!

We got an awesome air concert. Rehearsed, performed, and performed again....and again.

There was the front man.

and the crooner

The crooner was also the drummer.

The front man really played to the fans.

..and he was the sound technician. Here he is re-starting the song on the CD player.

and, get your lighters is the grand finale.

It was easily the best concert I have ever been to. Front row seats, VIP snacks, and backstage passes. We got to hang out with the band all night, and we all totally slept in the next morning.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday thoughts

1. My son's soccer team winning last night after 15 straight losses is so exciting!
2. Strawberry fields will soon be here and offering summer's first sweetness.
3. Fresh strawberry shortcake with homemade whipped cream sounds like it would taste delicious!
4. Why does a long hike, camping, a day at the beach, a sweaty workout, or a glass of wine make me feel so good?!
5. The Grand Canyon is something I've always wanted to see.
6. It's sad when people become shut off to their feelings.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to starting a new book, tomorrow my plans include exercising and Easter Bunny prep and Sunday, I want to visit my parents and eat jelly beans!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

13 reasons why I love unschooling

1.I can stay home with my children and learn beside them.

2.My children get to make friends with a wide variety of people.

3.We get to cuddle in the morning and talk quietly before we start the day.

4.Despite periodic illness, my kids have perfect attendance records :).

5.I trust my children to learn what they need to know when they need to know it, so they never feel "behind."

6.No school bullies live here.

7.My children get to know me as a full person, not just as a mom.

8.The principles of unschooling have helped me to be a better wife, friend, and parent.

9.Because we unschool, my children do not view learning as a task that is separate from their life.
10.My boys get the opportunity to truly bond as brothers.

11.No cold, early morning, wet, snowy, shivery bus stop.

12.Museums, movies, beaches, parks...all are nearly empty, cheaper, and easy to explore when everyone else is in school.

13.I get to be with my kids every day, and I love watching them grow and change. I'm not missing anything.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Amazing speech

I think this is probably the best political speech given in my lifetime. The frank discussion of the status of race relations in the US is stunning and genuine. I really do believe in this man and his hope. I think his presence in the White House would be both powerful and healing, just like this speech. It is long, but it is worth it.

If you'd rather read it, there is a link below.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Learning from my boys

It seems like almost every day, my boys teach me how to be their mom. As they grow from littler boys into bigger boys, their boy-ness has become more apparent to me. I am with them every day, all day, and I am still having to breathe through their noise and roughness. They are not always noisy and rough, but it is a way that they communicate and move through space that is different from me. Not just as an adult, though that is part of it. It is their boy-ness. I grew up with two older brothers who wrestled with me and each other. I raced them and fought with them. I am not completely out of my element with boys. But I often need to check my expectations and leave them behind. I know there are also girls who are rambunctious and loud, but even these girls seem more balanced to me than my boys do. I recognize those girls as reflections of my own childhood in a way that I don't with my sons. So I have been trying to expand and grow rather than trying to change my boys. That was like trying to teach cats to swim.

Going to the grocery store is a frequent adventure. They want to help, but they also want to run down the aisles and coast on the cart, and see how fast they can go. They want to see how many different ways they can hang on to the cart while it goes. My littlest one likes to climb onto the bottom rack and "spy" the other shoppers. Twice...TWICE...we have tipped the cart full of groceries over in the store. Now, you may think this is crazy and wild. It is, I suppose, but its not done in a destructive or completely careless way. They are very kind to other shoppers, and careful of older people. They talk to babies who are riding, and they delight in making them laugh. They like to see if they can find the jam I want; low sugar, organic, 16oz., seedless (10 points), or if they can get the right oatmeal; old-fashioned, rolled, organic, stove-top, round canister (15 points).

I am tired after shopping, and I often prefer to go alone so I can go faster because I see grocery shopping as a chore. They see it as just another opportunity to play and learn. So it is better if I choose to make that shift when I am with them, and when I do, they show me the rich possibilities in an otherwise laborious task. Helping them take turns pushing the cart. Discussing the importance of weight distribution on the cart!! (Why did it fall over?) Noticing the patterns on the floor that are good for a game of walking challenges. Talking with them about why certain foods are on my list and others are not. Honoring their food choices and their desire to try new things (What's meusli?) They read labels and check prices of different sizes. They like to see if there are free samples, and they remind me to get things I would have forgotten, like the dried mango and the kind of bacon that Dad likes. They unload the cart, and my oldest likes to run my credit card through the machine and sign my name on the electronic screen.

Just the process of writing this is a reminder that I need to chill out more at the grocery store. And that's just one example. Museums, movies, visits with relatives, medical appointments...I can get anxious about how they are going to act, and ahead of time I often discuss etiquette for different settings. I worry too much, and sometimes forget to become a part of the process with them.. I get too caught up in preventing arguments and hoping they don't seem too wild and loud to everyone else.

It is probably a Buddhist saying, but I'm not sure. I don't remember where I first read it, but I come back to it frequently when I am feeling perplexed about my parenting skills:

Don't try to steer the river.

So, even though I feel that we are going through some whitewater rapids in our journey together, I need to remember to steer the boat (or occasionally the shopping cart as the case may be), but not the river of their boy-ness.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Unchooling Voices #13

The new issue of Unschooling Voices is now up over at PoMeyu. Check it out for some wondrous unschooling wisdom.

Feeling Grateful

I've been feeling a bit stuck about writing here lately. Lots goes on in our everyday that I could natter on about, but a recent tragedy at my husband's job has made it hard for me to do that. Just when I start to describe a day or a memory or a slice of unschooling discovery, it all suddenly seems so unimportant.

My husband works with young adults in one of the most crime-ridden, impoverished cities in this area. One of his young men was shot by another, and while one lies fighting for his life in a hospital, the other is running for his out in the world. The enormous gulf between our family life here and the lives of people in that city, just 18 miles away, is unfair. The many obstacles that need to be overcome on a daily basis in order to survive and to have a chance of escape are discouraging and depressing. I am sad for both of these young men. Sometimes it seems that despite any opportunity they may have to live a more fulfilling and successful life, and regardless of their courageous efforts to reach for those opportunitites, their fate is inevitably tied to their surrounding culture of poverty, criminal behavior, and violence. Their chances aren't good. I am sad, too, for my husband, who cares so much about these young people and who is hurting for them and their families. He lives part of his day in that world, and then comes home to us, and I can forget the reality of where he has been all day. Lately though...I just can't.

Last night we watched The Lord of the Rings - the Fellowship of the Ring as a family. My husband had never seen it before, but our son had been urging us all to watch it with him, so we did. There is that quote by Gandalf, addressing Frodo who is feeling distressed, frightened, and not altogether hopeful about what lies ahead. Frodo wishes it all away.

"So do I," says Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times.But that
is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the
time that is given us."

I think that what my husband does is very important, and as discouraging as his work can be, I think he knows it is right for him to do it. His time makes a positive difference in the lives of peole who don't have many choices about what to do with their time. It is a good fight.