for the love of learning

it has been so amazing to me to watch my children learn every new step and sound...every new discovery that prods them on to greater understanding. it is the way we learn...always. we find something interesting, we start to explore what it means to us, we take risks and try our hand at whatever it is we are hoping to grasp.
i am coming into my own understanding of growth and learning and new philosophy on teaching our young (or rather, guiding and facilitating...and learning FROM them). i am being drawn to different approaches and thoughts on learning, and i am really enjoying how much it is igniting this breath of adventure within my own self.
it is never too late to learn something new.
i see this because i get to witness the natural love of learning in my children.
from walking, to talking, to being totally submerged in a love for wanting to know MORE.
it is beautiful and so very contagious.
so i notice that when i learn best is when i am free to explore what i want to learn...what interests me and what brings satisfaction to my sense of wonder is what i am drawn to.
this just so happens to also be the case with our children.
the world is so full of opportunity to learn and my children are always helping me notice the small things all around us that really are truly BIG and full of information.
it is all at our fingertips.
and the second my children feel forced to learn something that hasn't naturally appeared in their world and minds...they shut down and resist with great effort.
so do i.
i learn when i need to learn.
we all do.
i keep discovering more. each shiny, new, wisdom-filled day leads me to greater learning.
sometimes i even remember what it was like to be a child.
i was really smart back then!
we're off to learn from the world around us through exploration and adventure!
i'll be back in this space early next week.
happy weekend to you!


what we know.

several weeks ago, i met up with a group of like minded mamas and there were speakers who shared with us the truth of this and that...the toxins in our environment and different ways in which we are exposing ourselves to harmful elements of our world. it was all very informative and enlightening and there were plausible steps offered that helped with the helpless feelings that come with knowing more than you want to know. but afterwards, i just wanted to run away into the forest with my children. and that isn't the first time that i have felt that way.
sometimes (ummm, mostly always) i want to recoil from the tv, and the video game culture that we are surrounded by. i want to sell all of our "things" and invest in a rigged up grease eating bus. i want to enjoy raw food and get off the grid. and for the most part, i know i have what it takes to do it...meaning i know that i wouldn't feel like i had to sacrifice much. instead, i think i would feel more alive and full and rich. because, to be honest, sometimes i just feel like i don't get it...this culture, this awkward play we keep inventing and taking part in. i want to live in a city where i don't *need* a car to get from here to there. i like buying my clothes second hand because they have stories. i enjoy words like used, thrifted, antique, old. i crave for the meaningful, the magical, the natural world. there is societal, consumerist stuff all around me...and sometimes i just want to see trees. some days, i buy chocolate doughnuts, when all i really want is something grown from the earth.
today i'm feeling that pull. that need for only the basics. that drive for simple and profound.
i am having a love affair with Henry David Thoreau these days. his words drifting into my soul and settling down for a stay.
there is so little that we need.
there is so much that we have.
and i look at these two light filled beauties in my care and i see how much they learn and see from this pattern all around us and i wonder how to escape it...and this is when i think of how much more WORLD is out there and how differently we all experience the earth's resources...and i want to really get it. i want to really know it and change it and love the complexity while fighting for simplicity.
now i am just blubbering along.
i really just came on here to talk about how much love i felt for my babies when i looked at these pictures.
and now i am thinking of how i hope they know what the trees whisper when the wind blows.


a week in the life...

or the life in a week.
depending on how you look at it.
"won't you come out to play?"

Life has been full.

pleasant. achy. lovely. hard.

I am in deep processing mode...accepting the fullness that living gives.

I have been quiet around here, and I may continue to be for a little while.

Tonight I kissed Asher's lips and whispered in his ear as I always do...

"Now go fly with your angels sweet boy."

He answered.

"I will mama. I will."

Something about that made my heart so much lighter.


let it be

There is something visiting me in the much awaited coolness of my mornings. Something is encouraging me to wrap a protective covering around my soul, shielding me from the hatred running rampant outside that sometimes seeps into my blood. I keep hearing these whispers that lead me to music that pours inspiration into every morsel of my being until I feel like I am going to explode all over my living room floor with love and funk and everything good. I want to watch movies that leave me breathless and wanting...where I see the world with new eyes. I ache to ingest fresh vegetables, warm and ripe from the sun...grown from hands I know. I long for my eyes to meet words upon pages that speak love soaked visions of peace and growth. I dare myself to take the challenges I am given, making my life more full, simple, mindful, loving, open, brave, creative, bright, joyful and juicy.
I see myself wrapped in clothes that bring me smiles. A bohemian fashion feast that offers up layers of thought...wandering in and around my mind like gypsies as they travel. No destination, just the journey itself beckoning me forward.
I am craving the kind of high that comes from being surrounded by goddesses of light and expression. Souls who radiate creative energy and tolerance and love. Beauties who offer exchange of the rarest form...high potency and life-filled calm. I want to be SURROUNDED and filled up and released from this bondage of fear I have felt for so long.
I dream at night of open forest with humble shelter offering home. Of picking wildflowers with wind-swept hair and sunlight shining down through breaks in branches. I see rivers of fresh water and people playing community in the most natural and pure of ways.
There is this bubble of greatness just waiting to be burst open and let free.
I am ready to dance around the world...if only from my living room.
I am ready to take on the critics.
I am ready to live freely from my heart.
I am ready to let go of what I "should" be.
I am ready to walk on dreams and climb with my convictions.
I am ready to open further.
Love harder.
Detach from what is harmful.
I keep moving forward and in doing so I let go of what doesn't offer life.
I sink into each moment...one by one...and I listen for lessons.
I look for the beauty in my environment.
I keep trying.
I open the doors and answer inspiration.
I know that life gets messy.
There is no right way.
My goal is to keep my heart real, and full, and pliable.
Let it be.


one thing

there is so much to be said for what i don't know.
about this world.
about my life.
there is so much that i haven't uncovered.
about my heart.
about my potential.
about my purpose.
there is so much that i am unsure of.
my future.
my passions.
my dreams.
but one thing that i KNOW.
one thing that i have DISCOVERED.
one thing that i am SURE of.
is this:
i am ever willing to explore.
I spend this love thursday in deep love for exploration...and in perfect peace (for today) with the questions.


i choose

So, for the past few weeks it seems Journey and her relationship with sleep have steepened into the "I don't want anything to do with you" period. She has always been a finicky sleeper, with nursing being one of the only things that will help bring her to slumber or tempt her there again. But as of late, sleep has been nearly non-existent for this little one. Both chilis have been working through a cold/cough for about week now and both seem to be a bit emotionally shaky through it all.
Last night, Journey slept.
Asher didn't.
Neither did Maxwell.
I know that someday I will again taste the sweetness of a full, uninterrupted 6 hours of sleep.
But it won't be today.
Today I will try and forage my way through a sleep deprived impatient pulse and I will choose kindness.
I will choose to understand their need to paint their bodies instead of the toilet paper roll binoculars we are making.
I will choose to learn from their wonder, curiosity and simplicity.

I will choose to offer safety and keep a gentle voice when I discover my four year old descending down from the tippy top tiny branch of a not-so-sturdy tree...with nothing on but a t-shirt and shoes. I will remember that indeed I was the one who encouraged him to go outside and do some birdwatching.

Today, I will choose to do my best to see the world through their eyes,

to hear it through their ears,

to feel it with their touch,

to taste and know and explore it with my whole self.


pets of all sorts

Our nature table seems to perpetually have some kind of creature taking up room here. We have jars with caterpillars, bug homes with lizards and some with "big red bugs"...of whom I am still unsure of what they are specifically...though they breed millions in our backyard.We have a general guideline that we only keep things captive for a short while so that we can observe them and learn from them...and then we politely let them free. I would rather just look closely at them in their natural habitat...but this child is a hands on learner. Very much so.Each morning, while visiting the garden, we usually come across something of interest. Last week, it was this praying mantis. It captured his heart right away.
Soon my little biology lover was bringing his new friend breakfast, lunch and dinner...knowing from his books that these insects are of the meat-eating variety. His fascination was hooked and he would stare in wonder at the trapping and digesting.
It was all too much for this mama who tries her very best (but ultimately fails) to live out and instill in her children a mantra of "cause no harm".
I know it is the great cycle of life, the web of living. I know it happens all around us. And, I am totally ok with a praying mantis ripping off the head of her cricket lunch one biteful at a time. Just do it outside...ok?
Needless to say, I was ready for this observation/learning period to be over with. And I will also admit that I gently nudged the end along...and encouraged interaction of a less aggressive form.
Birds flood our yard in the morning.
Lizards run across our fences.
Our outdoor compost pile is hosting many an organism.
Bugs love our weeds.
Our sweet dog Forrest still loves us as much as we him.
We are keeping catfish in a tank inside (have I mentioned this yet?).
Life is all around us.
So it was no surprise to me that this little guy found us the other night.
He was being given away. If he didn't find a home that evening, he was going to be headed to the animal shelter the next day.
Asher gave his heart away as soon as he saw him. He has been asking for a cat for months but I really didn't expect to get one.
He needed us.
On the way home, Asher told me that he didn't need a "grumpy" praying mantis anymore. He just wanted this cat.
So...this is Maxwell.
We are learning and loving (a little too much) and trying to give him peace.
He is making us very happy.
Especially Josh, who upon hearing that I was bringing home a kitten said..."You're KILLIN' me!".
He is now a huge fan.


apple dream

Our last produce basket came with a 3 lb bag of granny smith goodness. That also coincided with a weekly theme of apples running through our seasonal learning guide. So, we used what we had to experiment with some apple stamping art:
Of which quickly became imagined dinosaur footprints, of course.
Apple stamps, dinosaur footprints...art it what you make it. Journey and I used the rest to make up an apple crisp desert. The recipe we found in one of our library books. The smell of it baking was divine. The actual tasting of the apple crisp? Eh. 'Twas just fine. But the process is always what brings me the most happiness. Especially when little hands are helping along. The work pace is slower, the clean up much more hefty, but the substance of what is created is, well, worth it. All of this apple business has brought about a real hunger for some apple pickin' for this mama. Since we live in the desert, it isn't exactly apple pickin' time...although that is what we are hearing from the books we have been reading. I looked on the websites of local places I know of that grow apples. No luck. Their harvest won't be flourishing until spring. What I did find was the town of Wilcox which is nearly 3 hours away from us...which just so happens to have the ideal climate for growing apples. They are ready for picking and this place in particular looks awfully inviting, don't you think? Now if I could just find a car that works.... And a recipe that tastes just as lovely as it smells. Leave one if you have one (recipe that is...but I would probably accept a car as well.) ha!


new life.

The garden is planted! It has been an ongoing project but all the seeds were tucked snugly in their new bed this past weekend. It has been such a joint effort with my mom and dad giving me the motivation I needed to get things rolling. The weekend before last, they gave me a call, knowing my desire for a raised bed, saying they were bringing over the materials to build it up. Not only that, but they also brought me some of the most beautiful earth to lay in the bed. And the smell of that soil! Oh my heavens. 1/3 part sand, 1/3 part silt, and 1/3 part organic material (aka good old manure). I could have rolled in it all day long. Ha! Seriously, I know I was meant to live on a farm by the way I enjoy that smell. So earthy, so alive.
So, I stepped into full gear after their phone call...trying to rake every rock out of the designated garden area. With help from my mom, it got done. My dad built the bed and we hauled the soil from their truck to it's new home. Days later, I built a (very ammature type ) fence and I started planting the seeds...each one nestling in with the vision of what possibilities await us. It all got done because of the love and understanding from my dear parents who know how much it meant to me. I have much gratitude for that.
There is something very connective about even the "idea" of growing your own food. The same day that we were getting everything together, I got so much energy from it all that I started talking about the chicken coop I wanted to put in...and isn't there enough room for a couple of goats in our backyard??? My mind got away from me, but quickly returned as I began to understand the work that goes into each act of sustainability. A garden is pleasurable labor...but it takes commitment and I anticipate that there will be many great lessons learned from our relationship together.
Each day I have been sending out my hopes to the resting seeds. "Oh please, something grow!"
This morning my hopes met their intentions.
Two little radish sprouts peaking out from their nest.
Hello new growth!
There was something so renewing to me in seeing this life. I have been imagining them each resting, opening, pushing against resistance, moving forward in new growth and asserting their life in every way. I resonate with that and I am rooting for them through the journey, offering whatever gifts of love I can...water, encouragement, patience, space.
It was a joyful sighting this morning to see something surviving, thriving...living on!