digging in.

the day started early, as usual. kodiak woke us all up with his love for the mornings. i wish we could all wake up so hopeful and renewed as a new baby. they are in complete love with being alive. so refreshing. we had a quick breakfast and headed out to art class. the kids are really enjoying this new class. i have been so amazed at journey's attention span and asher's effort with drawing. good, good stuff they are exploring here. we trekked home and decided to plant some seeds because the outdoors were calling us. as soon as we stepped outside, we noticed the wind was rustling the dried leaves in our neighbors backyard. a big gust sent something swirling over the back of our fence. i am not kidding you...it was an abandoned planting pot of the plastic variety. how is that for a message from the universe? asher told me he wanted to use the pot that "the universe gave us" to plant his seeds. we thought it was a really cool gift. we planted some calendula and basil and some wild flowers. we are also going to try to grow a cotton plant after we visited a cotton field and harvested a couple of pods to bring home.
we aren't anticipating any low drops in temperature, but we are using the hot house that papa built us just because. :) he intended it to be our chicken coop but then we found out that our neighborhood doesn't allow backyard chickens. so many rules... but we like our hot house and i am hoping to start some tomato plants in there this weekend. any other ideas on what we should grow in there? i am really wanting to have a community garden planting party in my backyard for part of my 30th birthday celebration in April, so i am wanting to get some things started to transplant by then.
of course, the watering of the plants led to other things... this is a picture of asher's creation. a lake, a river, a delta, the ocean and a swamp. after talking a little bit about deltas, he wanted to go do some "research" on prehistoric animals that lived in deltas. googling videos on this eventually led us to some clips of "River Monster's Unhooked" which just so happens to be his favorite show ever, right now. in fact, since checking out a River Monster's Unhooked DVD from the library last week, this show has been a part of our daily rhythm. ;)
Journey loves to get muddy. She even likes to do it while wearing pearls.
We got washed up and took Asher to gymnastics, where he is having a blast and learning more about what his body is capable of doing. He is a total natural at the core strength type stuff. I love watching his skills increase and his confidence slowly creep forward in regards to accomplishing new tricks that he has put some effort into practicing. Before he started practice, I asked him if he wanted some water to drink. He said "no. i just swallow my spit. that is how i am able to survive long periods of time without water." cool. there were a couple of thoughts today that made me smile. on the way to gymnastics, journey saw a herd of cows moving in the same direction as they grazed. journey: "look! cows that are migrating!" asher: "uh, journ. those cows can't be migrating because, uh, there's a fence there." good thoughts at breakfast... asher: "mama, guess what? the earth is more than just where we live and it is more than just another planet. guess what else it is?" me: "what else?" asher (in passionate tone): "it is a big ball of LIFE". and then, while driving to gymnastics... asher: "mama, guess what?" me: "what my love"? asher: "the earth is always changing" me: "yes, it is!" asher: "and so is the ocean. and sometimes, they change at the same time." me: "mmmhmmm" then he went on to explain to me how islands are formed ( "like Hawaii") from volcanoes that erupt under the sea. asher: "do you know where i learned that from?" me: "nope, i'm not sure. where?" asher: "from ms. frizzle. she knows EVERYTHING!" journey: "but YOU don't know everything, mama". me: "nope! you got that right!" :) asher: "well a lot of people know a lot about a lot of different things, so those people probably actually helped make the film with ms. frizzle in it". ha! up next...we just might try our hand at film making. ;)


just be yourself.

i am doing a poor job of taking photos during our days. i forgot to take a picture of the "swamp" that they made in our backyard but it brought up some good conversations about habitats. :) we had a wonderful day at home (the first in a while) a couple of days ago...where we cleaned, played, practiced writing and then prepared for our book club the next morning by reading a Magic Treehouse book about Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii. I am beginning to understand a little bit better about how things are going to roll around here. I popped Kodiak in the Moby, stood in the middle of the room while i swayed him to sleep at the same time I read the book to Journey and Asher. Moments like this, though seemingly insignificant, bring about a great sense of accomplishment during these days of craze and adjustment. :) Yesterday we met with our home school group for a little book club activity. It was so nice because we met at the big park in our neighborhood. I love not having to drive because sweet Kodiak isn't a big fan of the seat. On our little walk there, Asher took note of our surroundings and stated "Isn't it just so beautiful, mama? See the mountains over there. We live right by mountains! Isn't that beautiful?". It was a great gathering. The kids discussed the book and one of the moms had planned out a wonderful lesson where they identified Italy on a globe and had print outs of where Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii were. They played a counting game using Roman Numerals and then they made some volcanoes that "erupted". We have some pumice stone in our backyard and so later that day we talked a little bit more about pumice and did floating tests with it. Asher came up with some questions from the book. One of them was "How did some people survive when the volcano erupted?" and the other was "What happened to the top of the mountain when it blew off?". He always gets really involved in stuff that he can connect to his interests. I love witnessing that. Later in the day, we made brownies to contribute to a dinner for homeless people in the area. Journey helped me out with measuring and stirring and licking the spatula, of course. She also wanted to "make [her] horses magical" by putting star stickers all over their bums. ;) Love this girl.
I never, ever know what is going to come out of Journey's mouth. She is completely uninhibited. She both amazes and astounds me. ;) The other day she came into the room singing a song that she made up. The words that she kept singing over and over and over again were, "Don't be ashamed! Just be yourself!". It was awesome. I never want to forget that moment. I hope she doesn't either.
Today I overheard Asher explaining the cycle of water to his younger cousin. His excitement and enthusiasm over this knowledge always makes me smile. He is such a passionate learner. These children. They take me to my widths and breaths. They teach me more than I could probably ever offer them. I am so honored and humbled by their existence in my life. There are many times where I can let myself get worried about various aspects of education. There are times where I don't feel like enough for my children. During this time of experimenting with what works best for everyone as we sort through emotions and adjustments, it is easy to wonder what messages are coming through. This is a good practice for me in paying attention and in aligning our approach with our values and convictions. I am choosing to take rest in knowing that they are learning exactly what they need. They are learning to trust themselves, to know themselves and to find faith in their beauty.



It just so happened that our computer was struck down with a nasty virus the day after I wrote my last post. So, it was a week of no computer. No e-mails. No facebook. No bloggity blogging. No googling random things that we are curious about. None of it. And it was a FULL week of adventures and planned outing and meet ups and parks and craziness. By the weekend, I was in desperate need of some down time...and a chance to check my e-mail. It was a big realization of how much we use our computer for connecting and communicating and making plans and getting information on what is taking place in the valley for people doing home education. and can we talk about that term? i always struggle with how to label what we do. i like to call it life learning, because right now, my children don't separate learning from life. the earth is our teacher, we teach each other, the community teaches us, people throughout our lives teach us, the world, essentially, is our classroom. we go through periods of staying close to home and we go through periods of venturing out as much as possible. we aren't following a set curriculum at this point and we are exploring how best to approach writing and reading for each individual. but mostly, we explore what we are interested in. we let those topics take us on a ride and we collect information and inspiration along the way. community has become a big thing for me for the past several years on this journey. we have established connections with various groups that practice unschooling, earth schooling, homeschooling, etc. right now, during this time of big transition...i am doing my best to maintain a steady and healthy rhythm with these three in my care. but really, this time is a lot more about survival than anything else. we are all adjusting and learning and then re-adjusting and making space for high emotions and strong love. this past week, i realized how deeply i was trying to keep my older two busy, busy, busy by scheduling way too much for our little family in the midst of still absorbing the dynamics of what it means to be out and about FULLY (because there is no other way for my children) with mama and three littles. my body, in so many different ways, is telling me to slow down...to build rhythm in our home, to pay attention to the important lessons of this experience. right now, the lessons are in sharing our lives with another human being. and discovering the power of being positive. and exploring our big feelings in an effective way. it is life stuff. important stuff. the kind of stuff that reminds me of how much emphasis i think there should be on building the emotional and mental health of our little ones in this society. the kind of stuff that shows me how much can be learned from having FUN and playing and exploring freely. i don't underestimate the value of these lessons we are learning during this time of high transition. i take notice, i honor and appreciate this time and i see the beauty in what we are learning without even knowing it. the rhythms will change, they always do and we will always do our best to follow their lead. Since that last post, we have filled up our days with rock climbing, a library visit, art classes, the first couple of gymnastics classes for Asher, the first dance class for Journey, a day of exploring at the Arboretum, a yummy meet up day at the train park with dear friends, a trip to a local Aquarium with our homeschooling group, Asher's adventure to go see a National Geographic Live show about the Mars' rovers...and the more typical ins and outs of daily livin', growin' and lovin' around here. Not to mention a couple of parties along the way. Life is full. We are always growing.



i've decided to give new life to this old blog. i have been twirling around the idea of documenting our days through life learning for quite some time now. it is a HUGE part of where my energy lies and i would really love to be able to look back at these years and be able to *see* some of the growth through pictures and words. i am currently a very negligent blogger and so, the very idea of adding another blog to my realm of things to keep track of is somewhat insane. but hey! that is the way we roll. i will be working on reviving this space little by little. ideally, i'd love to bring it up to date by doing one big post about what we have done for the past several months. but, who knows if that will happen. ;) the past year hasn't been one where blogging held great priority. and a LOT has happened within that time. a lot of learning, a lot of growing, a lot of hurt and healing, a lot of work, a lot of love, a lot of change...a move, a baby. a lot of adventure. hopefully, i will be determined enough to post a little something quite regularly. we'll see what comes of it all. right now, the intent is to have a place to record and build up a library of adventuring. my hopes are that it will serve as a place for the kids to practice writing as well. :) at the very least, i'd love to post some images of our adventures and the every day things that take place in our world that help us evolve. the photo above is one of those. it is starting to become a regular scene in this home. in the mornings, as often as possible, we lay out on the floor for a little yoga session. i gave the kids new mats for winter solstice this year. it is something that is proving to be a really wonderful thing in our rhythm, when it happens. although asher will try to convince everyone that he doesn't like yoga...his mama knows better. he will watch from afar, practicing the poses quietly by himself and then, still whining about it, will come participate. by the end of the session, i see him having FUN. or, at the very least, i see that he has reached a place of calm that he doesn't often visit. i sneak peaks at him throughout the session. sometimes i catch him smiling and other times i see him with eyes closed...at rest. this isn't a sight i behold often with him. and so i know, the resistance probably comes from feeling like when he practices yoga, he visits a space within that is kind of different...kind of peaceful...kind of new. i have been hoping to instill within him an understanding that this can be a tool when dealing with the very BIG emotions that he does. it can be something he uses when needing to work through all of that passion coursing through his being. alright, baby is howling. until next time...