Saturday, March 30, 2013

As fate would have it, today was the first day for running barefoot outside and this night will find our windows open. We went to the river for a cookout. It was fabulous. 
When the phone company (or whoever is responsible for such decisions) increased the numbers required to place a call from 7 to 10, I reprogrammed our phone so most of our contact numbers could be auto-dialed. (Please, who has time to dial 3 extra numbers? Wait, what does "dialing" even mean?) I spent about an hour learning how to program our phone and inputting numbers. That day, because I discovered such a thing was possible, I also added special ring tones in a completely random way. Which is not a secret code. When the phone rings, I do not know who is calling by the sound of the tone. That would require study, which I would never do. Or it would require the phone to ring a lot, which it almost never does. I loathe the phone to ring. I love my people. But I dislike anything which disturbs solitude. Most of our business is conducted through nice quiet civilized email. Half the time, our ringer is off. Though if a child from another family is here, or if my children are out, I make sure to turn the ringer on.

Learning to program my phone turned out to be equivalent to learning algebra. It took some time and effort. I know I can do it. I have no recollection of exactly how. So when the phone rang about 11 p.m. on a Sunday night a couple of weeks ago, I came up out of a sound sleep fairly certain our home was being attacked by an ice cream truck. And the family that was calling will always be easily identified in our home, now, as ice cream truckers.

Our family spends most of our social time with other homeschooling families, most of whom have practiced something called Attachment Parenting. I've mentioned this before, including that I very much regret not having heard of Attachment Parenting before I had babies. If I could do it all over again, I would do it that way. Our family arrived at an attachment orientation rather late, but in an organic and determined way. As far as I can tell, attachment creates feelings of belonging, security, self confidence, connection, love and more love. It turns out, flatly against everything society implies as parents are expected to put their babies into daycare and preschool, not to mention Head Start and regular elementary, attachment is a healthy and natural instinct.

My daughter's bff was sleeping over when the phone rang at 11 that night. Her little brother, who is about 8, wanted to say goodnight to her. He left a message, as it took us a few extra moments to get clear that our house was not being attacked by an ice cream truck, and we only needed to answer our phone. Dear bff called her brother back and we did not discover the message he'd left until a day or two later. In his very very sweet and sincere little voice he simply said, "This is me. I just wanted to say goodnight to my sister. Good night. I love you."

I may never erase it. Imagine such a world where siblings love each other so much and feelings are shared so openly. That is what attachment parenting creates.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I did not write this, nor did I create this image. But I love it!
She's taking the bad out of the word attachment. She does not know any other way to be. How do you tell a tree not to clutch the earth? She had never bought the divide between matter & spirit. Matter matters to her. She has nothing to renounce.

Her god does not live in heaven. Her spirituality is earthy, not lofty. It is succulent, not sanitised. It is rooted, not run away.

Her cords of attachment touch everything. Through them she's right now giving love transfusions to all that is gasping for life. You can see she is busy.

She could be down on her knees in the mud planting bulbs, or at her laptop doing a tele-summit. Each is transmitting the exact same thing.

She's the Preistess of the Doorless Temple.
I'm sure I've blogged this before. Dear Val even has a name for it, though I can't remember her term. If I looked back I bet March and August would be good places to begin my search. It seems to happen in early spring and late summer (in the south.) These are the seasons of homeschool worry. When children get janglerangy, feeling trapped by weather, and their parents are beset with doubt. Tasks become a slog---dish, vacuum, laundry again?!  There is a whole lot more sleeping and reading going on and life takes on a dingy hue. "Is there more to life than laundry and vacuuming" becomes a sentiment intertwined with "Is my children's education duller than dishwater?"

Which is all resolved the first day you can run without shoes and nights find the windows open. Warmth magically relieves doubt. Air shimmers again with possibility, sparkle returns. That time is nearly here.

Nearly here is not the same thing as here, which is where we are. Now, being the current time. (Thank you Ram Dass.) I've basically forced myself and the kids to shiver-walk outside daily for at least a mile. That helps. Dear girl is finding solace in her closet--so much to sort, organize, and recombine. Dear boy, perhaps weary of a book a day, began Texas by Michener. Which may hold him a week. This would be a great time to enact a play, take on a VLPP (very large painting project), or plan that tiny house made of pallets I've always wanted to (see the kids) make.

Its also helpful to look more closely, to see through the hazy dullness. Yes, casually sitting around identifying the birds flying through your yard actually does count as life science. Conversations after seeing "Lincoln" do matter. Spending dedicated hours covering all your coat hangers to improve their functionality and aesthetic qualities is industrious as well as stimulating to the geo-spatial awareness part of your brain. And if you've spent the last forty-eleven-jangle-hours reading, taking a break to hurl a large ball through a high hoop is plain good for your soul.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Meanwhile, in other rooms, other Portals. Apparently "the cake is a lie." I can't be in the same room while games like this are on. It has nothing to do with judgment or snootiness. I actually get carsick.
 Cold lingering winter night's sleep over with your bestie and a beastie, what could be more cheerful?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thanks to Melissa Frey for these awesome pictures!
 Suiting up.
Climbing Up.
 Going for it!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The kids participated in a Ropes Course today. It was six hours long with thirty minutes for lunch. They were both nervous to go and had a great time. Dear Girl said they had to climb a 22 foot pole and stand on the top, on a 10 inch rotating disk. Then they had to jump off, reaching to tag a rope on the way back to earth. What did that feel like? "It felt like a leap of faith...I did it twice." 

 Tired hungry kids getting picked up.
Dear boy got home and decided to mow the lawn. No one asked him to. He just felt like it. :o)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Go read Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail. By Jay Erskine Leutze

Don't read it because I said so, because I grew up with Jay, because I've been in that very cabin and on that bald, nor because I've carried a buckeye nearly my whole life. Read it because it is one of the most important books written this century.

"In 1999 thirteen states had asked the EPA to clarify their authority to regulate automobile emissions. The states were alarmed when, under the new Bush administration, the EPA signaled that it had no such authority. When Massachusetts sued to force the agency to regulate pollution--the founding mission of the agency--the agency argued in court that it should be free not to regulate pollution. It was crazy. ...It was hard to look at."

Monday, March 18, 2013

The cow forum is the most interesting place on the internet, to me. Check out this little testimony:

"It’s only been 17 or so years ago that I thought “organic” was a way for people to charge more for the same thing. Then I was diagnosed with MS, chronic, progressive MS. The forecast for my future was – wheel chair bound in 5 years, probably dead in 10. Not much of a forecast. After my initial few days of wallowing, it dawned on me that MS just did not mesh with my character. I know that sounds funny, but after having worked with people and their diseases for 10 years already, I had come to realize that the disease usually matched the person. It’s too hard to explain for the point of this writing, but that was my conclusion – MS did not fit." 

You can read the whole thing here. I'll skip to the end. Diagnosed by MRI with MS, she heals herself completely by doing her best to eliminate all man-made chemicals from her life. She goes 100% organic and starts drinking raw milk. She takes up Reiki and stuff like that. After 17 years, she has no symptoms of disease at all. But the lesion in her brain that was thought to cause her symptoms is still there. In fact, it is bigger now than it was when she was diagnosed. According to a recent MRI, she should be catatonic.

What catches my eye about this story is not the organic revelation, the move to a farm, nor the raw milk. What snags me is her conclusion that disease matches personality and MS simply was not a good fit for her. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quiet on the blog almost always connotes busyness at home.

Last night I watched my children dancing with joy and abandon. These days, its my very favorite thing to see. I can't explain what it does to me---something akin to the satisfaction of feeding a hungry toddler good food. I see them dancing and feel as though all is right in the world and we're going to be okay.

This week they have a scheduled pizza social with the local homeschooling teens Monday night, yard work at Grandmother's house on Tuesday, Ropes Course on Wednesday, homeschooling park day on Thursday, and Friday is always for cleaning up in preparation for the weekend. We'll be super busy this week obviously.

But these past two weeks the busyness hasn't been so obvious. I'm very busy thinking. And I'm busy watching. I'm seeing kids doing a whole lot of reading, taking more responsibility for house cleaning, and easing into a new, more adult, rhythm. They sleep late, stay up late. I'm up early and go to bed early. We're splitting here in a gentle new way. They have almost the equivalent of half a day on their own while I sleep. Very strange and new, mundane and inevitable.

One theme keeps repeating: coercion is not nearly as powerful as choice, especially when it comes to education. What they choose may be far simpler, but runs far deeper than forced learning.

Both kids now have their own bank account and get a small monthly deposit from our family account.

I bought a basketball goal and Dear Boy set it up on his own. It was actually a tough job and took him three days. I was very proud of him when he finished and good lessons were learned---not the least of which: how to decipher instructive English written as a second language.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The milking did not happen. This farmer free milks in a pasture! Which IS AWESOME. I'm deeply respectful. But his cow was deeply disdainful. There was absolutely no way she was going to let me, a total stranger, walk up and milk her. She barely let him, just because I was there. So, that ain't happening.

However, he will need help with goats after they wean their kids, and I may help him halter break his heifer. So, I still have a great milk resource. And the possibility of work later. Fair enough.

All that non work on the farm allowed me to stitch away yesterday like a maniacal beast. I finished one puppy and may add another. So curious, the affect embroidery has upon my soul. If its too serious, I don't care for it. If its too modern, I don't care for it. If its too K-ountry, I don't care for it. But there is a certain retro look I find deeply comforting and especially appropriate for babies. We apples never fall too far from our original trees, no matter what we pierce or dye or skip, eh?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Uh oh, I've discovered iron on heat transfer embroidery patterns. Remember embroidered pillow cases and baby blankets of yore? What happened to those? It turns out, they are alive and well in the embroidery isle at Hobby Lobby. I was seized by intense nostalgia when I found them last night and even carried around a set of kitty and lace pillowcases to work for my daughter, while I shopped. But, nostalgia eventually caved to standards. 70% polyester 30% cotton pillow cases? just ain't happening.

Then, in a shadowy remote corner buried under some latch-hook paraphernalia, I found Iron On Heat Transfer Designs! Ta Da! They are so kitchy and retro and AWESOME! At a buck fifty each, I bought two and a yard of flannel. I can't wait to get started. The dryer is running (from pre washing the fabric of course---always pre wash!) This afternoon I get to stitch.

This morning, I'm off to milk a cow. First cow I've milked in over a year... Ooops, I may not have enough hand strength left to hold up an embroidery hoop by this afternoon. The challenges of domesticity, it never stops, I tell you. Remember this kind of thing? I chose a puppy theme.

Friday, March 1, 2013

My son's facebook status for today:

Just learned how to balance chemical equations. And then enjoyed practicing. SCIENCE!!

I love unschool.