Saturday, December 31, 2011

 We were out in the woods for a while
yesterday.  The boys have a fort, and they wanted Grandpa and I to see it.  It is a magical place, where little boys imagine they are anywhere, and they can be anybody.  It is where the children want to play for a very long time.  It is the best place for them to play, unstructured, inhibited only by their own minds, and maybe sometimes, the weather.  It is a crazy maze of trees and vines, thick enough for the boys to climb on them and swing on them.

 A place where dreams and reality blur.  An earthly and heavenly place where boys talk to things only they can see.  Where trees and vines become buildings, ships, airplanes, castles, dragons, animals...
A place where they hardly notice the adults are there, but when they do notice us, they invite us into their world.  It is a place I can remember from my childhood.  I am just one step away from the magical land they live in.  My boys take me there, all I have to do is take their hand and follow them.

Monday, December 26, 2011

inside and out

There was not as much holiday baking as last year, when I made the fabulous Buche de Noel, cookies, crescent rolls, etc.  But, I did manage to squeak out a chocolate cake for our solstice celebration.  Atticus may have helped...

It was dark and beautiful.

Elias has been busy.  I don't think he left his room for two days, except to eat and use the bathroom. 

He created little animals and characters and even invented a game to play with them.

I surprised everyone on Christmas eve with some peppermint bark

And of course there was music


And I am dreaming of the summer garden.  So much work to do in the spring.  But, for now, I just observe my little piece of the world as winter unfolds.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


On the trip home, Elias and Chance slept together.  Chance needed a lot or extra attention, he was nervous.  So was Elias. It made a perfect match. The first night in out "new" home, Chance slept next to Elias.

 Although there were boxes to unpack, children also needed to be fed.  Of course, oranges became orange peel boats, complete with candles...
Never a dull moment.

Slowly, our house became a home.  The corners of the home being decorated with new lights, 

The kitchen
 For now, a rocking chair sits in the kitchen, and it is always being used.  
These dark days, it is nice to have lots of candles at hand, and the kitchen is so cozy.

New and old chairs for the children to sit in and read, or play card games.  Our rooms feel so big and the light so bright.  I like our home better now than I ever did.

New canisters in the kitchen, new thoughts about how to organize, organize, and organize some more.  No more baskets full of junk, no more things that do not have a place.
Pink lights because Wade and the boys think white is boring
And, because Christmas is almost upon us, before the last box has been unpacked, the lights had to go on the tree, and the fire lit...

And we can do that, because this is our home.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

4 days. keeping it in perspective and remembering what is calling us home

I woke up in a panic.  Must get it all done, I can't believe its Wednesday already.
Then I calmed down, I have three whole days to get it all done.  It is possible.

But I should get the oil changed.

And I should go hunt for some Christmas presents.

And Atticus needs a new coat, and the boys uniform pants.

But the house must get packed.

And there are still five people to feed and a dog to walk and dished to wash and children to clean.  Or dishes to clean and children to wash.

Then I calmed down and went to make breakfast.

Wade was panicing.  There is so much still to pack!
I assured him I have a plan.  And I do.  The non-essentials are all packed, today the coast and shoes we don't need for the next week, the clothes we don't need for the next week, all the laundry is to be done, some errands run.

Tomorrow, all the bedrooms finished, and the kitchen packed.  Tomorrow night through sunday we will be eating out.

That is my least favorite part, packing up the kitchen and not cooking good healthy food, but eating out and not really knowing what is in the food we are eating.

To keep things in perspective and remember what is calling us home;

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

5 days

5 days until we move.
I have lost the camera somewhere amid the boxes, but did manage to take a photo of this before I lost it;

Elias has been struggling to learn long division.  Yesterday he forgot his homework, but still wanted to do math, his "favorite subject".  So, he asked me to go over long division.  We tried this at the beginning of the  school year, and he struggled.  Last night, he got it.
And he wanted me to make up a lot of challenging problems.
When he woke up this morning, he started immediately, and did the problems all by himself.
Then Dash wanted to do some, and he is learning long multiplication.
So there they sat, in the dark, writing on the chalkboard doing long math problems, because they love it.
That's what's cool, they want to do it.  This is not worksheets and tests that they dread doing, but the challenging of figuring out problems.  Its like they felt their brains grow.

Now, as far as getting them to do their actual homework, the worksheets, that's not so easy.   This is when I see alternative education working for kids, the kind that lets them explore what they are excited and passionate about at that moment.  When you are not ready for a subject, but it says you are supposed to learn it on the schedule set by the department of Education, or the school administrator or even the teacher, it does not work.  No matter how hard you push, you just cant get a kid to understand a subject if they are not ready.   And if you miss that golden moment when kids are ready to learn the subject, then they may never get it.  You have to pay attention to the child.  Observe them, their interests.  This is what a Montessori teacher is supposed to do.  As long as the teacher can follow the child, this works.  Problem is, sometimes you get parents and administrators that want to push the child, they want to brag about how smart the child is, how advanced they are.  (If you are a Waldorf grades teacher, tell me, how does it work?)

Oh, should I be going on about education right now?  Am I using my blog to procrastinate? I guess maybe.  I guess I should clean up the breakfast dishes and take a nap, then get started.  There is a lot to do...

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Break From Packing

Back a few months ago, I bought 5 tickets to Mt.Vernon, the home of George Washington.  We hadn't  used them, and since we are moving next Saturday, it was use it or lose it time.
Atticus and I were raring to go, but Dash, Elias, and Wade were tired and wanted to stay home.
I was talked into postponing the trip from Saturday to Sunday, 
but when they still didn't want to go on Sunday, I got a little ticked, and threw a tantrum, 
and Wade jumped up and got everyone in the car.

Turned out, it was pretty cool.
They had christmas trees in the first building, and I like this one because it was decorated with
books.  Atticus pulled a feather off, and asked why there were feathers on the book tree.
Um, your guess is as good as mine.

The temperature was at freezing, and the children and I were cold.  It was warm in this tent though, where they were making chocolate!  We got to taste a chocolate stick.  It was like very dark chocolate with cocoa a powder coating.  ummmm. They told us how long it took the slaves to make chocolate, and then how it was used to make hot chocolate.  Martha Washington loved her morning hot chocolate.  BUT, they never gave it to children because it was too stimulating! All that caffein and sugar...

The day was beautiful, and so was the land.

The sun shone through the arches 

After touring the mansion, we went out back to see the view of the Potomac.  The boys were so happy to run around here, after standing an listening to all the talk about old stuff in the mansion.

We walked around the grounds, and they were just beautiful.
Lots of paths and secret little places.  I was moved to think about Washington and his family and the slaves that walked around these same parts.

This is where Washington had his fields of wheat and his garden.  Of course, the slaves probably tended it, not him.  He was passionate about the land though, and still they keep the crop rotation he created, and plough lots of fertilizer made from manure into the ground.  You can smell that they do that.  At the end of the field is a house where the wheat was separated from the shaft.

A long walk in the woods

Animals like sheep

A camel!

a hog

The mansion