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

6 days

There are five days left until the moving van comes.
Six days until we start our drive back to Tennessee.

Even though we all want this move
Even though we can't wait to be home
Even though we are returning to friends who can't wait to see us
and we can't wait to see them
Even though we are moving closer to family
Even though we are taking steps closer to our dreams
Even though I will return to my garden

Moving is still hard.

We are all having strong emotional reactions to this move.  
The children, each in his own way, is dealing with seeing their things packed away in boxes.
Nothing is where it used to be.  Everything is out, exposed, chaotic, disorganized.
We all want to move, but it is still emotional to pack up.

Elias is a nester, and he loves his "stuff" more than anyone in the family.
He spends hours in his room, with all his stuff set out around him.
Playing, building, imagining.
And, he is not liking this packing his stuff away.
He is getting angry, talking disrespectfully to me.
I grounded him for the first time.  
He has been naughty, and I have been hard on him.
Maybe too hard, considering.

Atticus cried when I told him the art table was not coming with us.
"It is too small, we need a new one, for a big boy." I said, hoping to comfort him.
"Can it have the same kind of drawers?" He asks, through tears.
What should I say?
I didn't expect him to start to cry,
to have this emotional connection to his table.
His little table.  Where he played almost every day since we have been here.
Where he made me play clay pancakes.
Memories are all tied up in "stuff".
Can we keep the memories, and lose the stuff?
It's hard.

Atticus and Dash pulled their tool box out to help with the pulling of nails and unscrewing of screws.
That brought them more joy and squeals of laughter than Wade and I expected.
There are some fun parts of moving too.
And going through stuff and getting clearing our is so so good.  It is crazy how much we have to get ride of after only 6 months of doing the same thing!
But, what do you do with clothes that don't really fit any child right now?  Will it ever fit Atticus and his skinny waist?  Is it worth keeping, with the hopes Atticus will be able to wear it someday?
Do you carry around clothes that someone gave you that are too big for the big boys?
That will take them years to grow into?
Where do you store this, and how?  What if when they fit into it, it is the wrong season? 

Dash has been working on a play with his class about Isis and Osiris.  They will be preforming it the 20 of Dec.  Dash asked if we could stay and move the 21st.  
Poor guy.  All I can do is be honest, and help them learn to handle these emotions.
Hopefully, this is the last move.  And, we will all be stronger because of it.
We had some really nice times here.  I love Washington DC.  
We will remember it fondly.