Thursday, February 28, 2013

Feb. 28, 2013 :: chores

Last day of February. Todd leaves in two weeks to start his new job in Kokomo. We made an offer on a house there today. Hopefully, the owners will give us a little time to sell here.

We are busy not being messy around here. We have the house in such a state now that a quick pass through of 15-20 minutes can have it presentable. Finishing up some last bit of sprucing and painting this weekend. Hoping the garden center has pansies soon.

I have to say, the family has stepped up to help keep the house in shape. It isn't perfect, but it is tidy most of the time. They are putting things away more, helping out without as much prompting (err...nagging). For the first time, it feels like we are beginning to work as a team on keeping the house livable. I am hoping, if nothing else, the long days of keeping the house show-able, will be enough to help us form some more useful habits for the long haul.

Looking forward to a slow weekend and a favorable answer from the sellers in Kokomo. Wishes to you for a restful weekend, too.


Feb. 27, 2013 :: grateful for a dreary day

It is a dreary day here in Georgetown. I don't mind rainy days, really. They inspire slow afternoons around here. For that, I am grateful.

Namaste (and slow afternoons) to you, too.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feb. 26, 2013 :: Lego Titanic

And we are still on the Titanic around here...

:: New documentary yesterday (snagged by Dad and Sis in the bargain bin at Walmart).
:: Lego Titanics today ( made so they break into two pieces as they sink).

The focus is amazing.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Feb. 25, 2013 :: haircut

This's hard to catch him on camera with a smile. He shares them freely in person, but rarely wants his photo taken. I just couldn't help sneaking a shot to show off his new hair cut.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Feb. 23, 2013 :: farewell

When you lose someone, they take a bigger place in your heart, not a smaller one. Everyday it grows, because you don't stop loving them.

~Adriana Trigiani, The Shoemaker's Wife


Friday, February 22, 2013

Feb. 22, 2013 :: waiting

Waiting. Waiting is difficult sometimes. The circumstances of the wait can make it easier or unbearable.

Right now, I am paralyzed in the wait for this move. It has set me to pondering why I am good at waiting on many days, yet sometimes it causes my whole life to stop.

I have been good at waiting for...
Pay day
A cake to bake
Summer vacation

I have been terrible at waiting for...
The kids to get up on Christmas morning
Others to make decisions
A call from an adoption agency
And this move

What makes them different. It is structure, timeline, a plan. I am better at making a life than waiting for a life.

I have always been a great rule breaker, but the key to breaking rules is having rules.
I have always been great at changing an itinerary, but there has to be an itinerary to change.
I am great at painting over mistakes, but a blank canvas provides little inspiration.

We waited six years to hold our first child. In that time, we spent most of our energy on waiting. We didn't travel much or spend Friday nights in bars or develop hobbies. We waited for a call from an agency. It felt as if we were stuck waiting. Luckily, we did not approach the wait for our second and third children in the same manner. We were busy with the first and we allowed some of the rest of our lives to begin too. We learned.

Now, I feel the sticky paralysis creeping in again. Can't move until we sell the house. Can't buy a house until we sell this house. Can't plan past the first the semester. Can't think about what to get rid of, what to pack, what we need because we don't know where we are going. Big house, small house, temporary rental?

I should be thrilled, really. I have no commitments except homeschool past May 3. None. Have I ever been so free and yet so tied down? I should be enjoying the lessened responsibility...upping my game in teaching my kids...watching for the happy signs of our last spring in the Bluegrass. It seems a date would do that for me, but I may not have that for awhile. Am I willing to waste this time?

Pondering a plan for waiting. Pondering a way to make a life out of this uncertainty. It is my life, after all, and I can choose it or wait/waste it.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feb. 20, 2013 :: circles

House hunting.
At times I think we would make more progress driving around in circles here.
Oh well...


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Feb. 19, 2013 :: patty

This is Patty. She is a year old and just like having a lively four year old around all the time. She is very good at entertaining herself. Never a dull moment. She can usually be found curled up with Reeves, bugging the stuffing out of our old dog, Vegas, or chewing on random items she found on the floor...Legos, Cheerios, socks, pencils, baseboard molding, toes. She is wild and thinks she is the alpha. I have news for her, but we are coming to an arrangement.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Feb. 18, 2013 :: taking a closer look

Just taking a closer look.
Literally and figuratively.
He and I, both.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Feb. 17, 2013 :: better to have loved and lost...

How much loss can a heart take?

My cousin writes so eloquently about grieving the loss of her brother. Today she shared her thoughts about the instinct to guard herself from further loss, specifically the notion that the more people we love the more loss we can potentially suffer. She is not of the mind that this is the her intention, just an observation.

When we found that our family would be moving this spring, my daughter's first instinct was to not allow her friendships to develop further because deeper relationships would bring more sorrow when she left. Being fairly new in our church, it would have benn easier to just stop building relationships with the folks there if we were to leave them so soon. Embree has since embraced her relationships even more than before, as have we, and begun soaking in every sweet moment.

When we met some of our dearest friends two years ago, the husband in the couple was already ill with cancer. There was a fleeting moment when I wanted to guard my heart from the inevitable pain of befriending these people. He passed away on Valentine's Day, and our hearts are broken. The pain, though, is not of regret, but for the end of a meaningful, loving relationship that we allowed to develop despite the path down which it was headed.

There would be no pain if there were no brothers, no girlfriends, no neighbors to lose. Allowing these connections invites pain, but these are the only means of finding love and meaning in our lives. Would I do it over? YES! As a wise man (my husband) once said, "It hurts because it was good."

Thanks, Rhonda, for reminding me.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Feb. 16, 2013 :: dinosaur flinger

Today's focus (or obsession)...catapult that flings dinosaurs. Whee!!!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Feb. 15, 2013 :: Mickey

Sometimes the people whom we've known for only a short amount of time have a bigger impact on us than those we've known forever. ~Maya Angelou

Namaste, dear Mickey

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Feb. 14, 2013 :: I Love Mountains Day

For several years, the kids and I have forgone traditional Valentine's celebrations to participate in I Love Mountains Day in Frankfort, KY. This is an annual protest march against mountain-top removal and for care of miners and residents of mountain communities living with the fall out of Mountain-top removal. We have marched as individual members of the larger crowd before and always mark this day for this cause in some way. This year, since joining the Unitarian Universalist Church, we marched with our church family. It is National Standing on the Side of Love Day. This is a UU organization that fights for those being oppressed. Today's march was not just about aesthetics of strip mining. It was about fighting for those who suffer because of the unintended consequences of this practice.

So, on this Valentine's Day, we are trying to participate in meaningful acts of love...STANDING ON THE SIDE OF LOVE and practicing our civil right to be speak and our human obligation to care for one another. Happy Day!!

Happy Birthday to my cousin Mike. Miss you.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Feb. 13, 2013 :: grace and gusto

How does a parent prepare themselves to send their children out into the world? We spend their childhood trying to prepare them to make wise choices, to try new things, to persevere in the face of adversity. How do we prepare ourselves for the moment when they take that first step?

I can't wait to see what my children choose to do with their lives. I can't wait to meet their partners. I can't wait to see what they create as adults, whether that is art, a home, a business, or a child. I can't wait because I look forward to being part of it in some way.

But...that doesn't stop my wondering. How do I plan for my own adaptation to these changes?

My oldest is beginning to take tentative steps into the world now. Each year will bring more. In four short years, she may be ready to fledge. I won't spend those four years fretting over the inevitable. I hope that our evolving relationship will prepare us both for that moment, not as an end, but as a celebration...a bon voyage, so to speak.

Being a parent is hard on the ego and the heart. Things don't stay the same, nor should they. It isn't my role to parent them forever. Someday, it will be my role to support and enjoy their parenting, or their career, or their hobby, not to direct or facilitate it. I hope I can live up to my desires to make that a smooth transition. As a good, good friend once reminded should go about life with grace and gusto. That is sound advice.

Grace and gusto in parenting. That sounds about right.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Feb. 12, 2013 :: a spot of spring

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. ~Hal Borland

Making a little spring of our own while we wait patiently for the real thing.

Here's hoping you find a tiny spot of spring somewhere today.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Feb 11, 2013 :: granny

This is my grandmother. She is 107. She gets younger everyday and she is amazing.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Feb. 10, 2013 :: jeans

I wore jeans today!

Big deal, right?
Well, for me, yes.

You see, I had a hysterectomy nearly two months ago. Before that, my condition was such that I had not worn jeans in a year. These jeans signify me getting my life back. I feel better than I have in years and this day is just a milestone in my progress, my recovery.

Happy Day!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Feb. 9, 2013 :: reflection

I have been reading a great deal about unschooling lately. I think I am all for unschooling if done properly. It is about making learning relevant and allowing a child to have say in when, what, and how he or she learns. It isn't about floundering about, which has been my fear. It actually sounds so much more labor intensive on my part than following a traditional curriculum. I am becoming more comfortable with the idea for that very reason.

I have always seen value in the concept. Now, I am beginning to see the structure that this classically trained teacher needs to offer the "UN" part of schooling in a manner which satisfies my need to keep records and check off boxes, and my kids' desire to follow their hearts' desires. I will likely post more on this topic as I ruminate on it in the future. The jury is still out as to whether I can come to a level of comfort that compliments or overcomes my training and experience, though I truly want that.

One important aspect of unschooling that I do agree with whole heatedly is reflection. After facilitating exposure to a topic, it is recommended that parents allow time for kids to reflect upon that exposure extensively before we try to assess their learning. Reflection time here is not just the ride home or the next day. Reflection time of a week, two weeks, or a month is normal protocol. It is suggested that kids will mull over the learning and formulate personal, relevant conclusions more easily than if we expose, then test or guide a discussion in a formal fashion.

I find this true, especially with our youngest, Brice, who tend to chew on what he learns for weeks, months, and even years, through play. Brice's "educational career" is still new and he has not learned to differentiate school from life like the older kids.

Recently, we visited the Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge, TN. In the month since the visit,
::he has asked to check out a documentary about the Titanic
::he asks questions or relays facts about the ship every day
::he has formulated alternative endings to the story
::he has drawn many pictures of the ship both before and after is sank.

This week, he took our Battleship game to the Farm, where he spent much of our visit floating the boats in water and recreating the wreckage, explaining in great detail to his cousins the breaking apart of the ship and the position on the ocean floor where each piece settled. On the trip home today, he tore holes in the side of a styrofoam to-go box and explained that he was trying to determine to size and shape of the hole that the iceberg left in the side of the Titanic.

He is certainly putting reflection into action. He may do more to convince me that unschooling is valuable, rigorous, and worthwhile than any research or other resource. We'll see.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Feb. 8, 2013 :: happiness shoes

A pile of shoes by the back door at the farm means...
Lots of kids
Lots of mud
Lots of fun

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Feb. 7, 2013 :: Emma

Brice loves his cousin, Emma. She is his favorite person. Period.

He has a rating system for love he has for all of us. Reeves, Embree and Daddy usually get somewhere between 0 and 10. I usually rank an 11. Emma? Emma is always 100.

Emma plays dinosaurs and Battleship and trains. Emma is patient and soft spoken with him, often leaving an activity with cousins her own age to play whatever Brice suggests. She is his special person...the person he asks for when he is upset...his soul sister. Sweet Emma.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Feb. 6, 2013 :: more than a pipedream

Everyone needs a theme song. My theme song changes according to the stage of my life, but Todd and I have had a pretty consistent theme song for at least a decade. It reminds us of our farm in the mountains of North Carolina and our hearts' desire to throw it all out the window and plant a little garden.

The painting sits over the fireplace at the farm as a reminder. Forget the part about the topless dance and the runaway draftee. Though maybe in a former life...

Blow up your T.V. throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus on your own ~Spanish Pipedream, by John Prine


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Feb. 5, 2013 :: on the market

We are on the market!

Well, it seems it has begun. We went live on today. We have painters coming for the next three days and housekeepers coming Monday and, with any luck, we'll begin welcoming perspective buyers Monday evening.

We decided to try for sale by owner until Todd begins at IUK in March. After that, we will list with an agent. I just couldn't imagine showing the house with three opinionated kids and two yappy dogs following us around. It will be enough of a task to keep it neat and tidy and gather us all up and out for the realtor. But, if we are very, VERY lucky, that won't be needed and we'll be all set to join Todd shortly.

If you know anyone who might be interested, let me know. Oh, and keep your fingers crossed for us, won't you?


Monday, February 4, 2013

Feb. 4, 2013 :: nostalgia

We all have special memories. Embree decided to sell all of her Littlest Pet Shop toys, 70 or so, plus various sets and accompaniments. This morning, I set them all up to photograph before putting them on a website to sell. When she walked in, all tall and grown up, she melted. My little girl was back for a few minutes, telling her brothers about her favorites, recounting the personalities of each. They are more than plastic toys to her. They are her childhood. Brice has spent a couple of hours this afternoon getting to know them, too. She changed her mind. I think they will join the ranks of the Playmobil, Thomas the Tank Engine, and Legos...future toys for my grandchildren. I am nostalgic too.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Feb. 3, 2013 :: vegas

This is Vegas.
She turns eleven this month. She is seven month older than Reeves in people years and six and one half years older than my dad in dog years. No year of blogs about family and home could be complete without her.

She's been with us since she was four months old and we are most certainly her people.

She has been dressed up, pulled along, manicured, and groomed by Embree all these years without complaint.

She paces when we pack suitcases and sneaks out the door and into the car if we aren't careful.

She used to run away to the neighbors house, but never leaves the house without us now.

She knows commands and does her best to mind them all.

She has so much hair, she has or follow the fence in the backyard to find her way around if she's due for a haircut.

She walks on three legs most of the time now, after years of dislocating her back hip.

She hardly goes outside and HATES the chihuahua. Yes, all caps...HATES.

She is a faithful friend and she makes our house a home.
Happy Birthday, Old Girl.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Feb. 2, 2013 :: cat nap

I catnap now and then, but I think while I nap, so it's not a waste of time.
Martha Stewart

It has been a long week. Who knew prepping a house for selling was such a chore? After hauling our yard sale leftovers to a friend's for her to sell later this spring, I turned around to what I hoped would be an emptier house. Well who knew emptier for us, three truck loads to be exact, was just enough to see the real work ahead? Whew. There were rooms to be put back together, trash to pack up, decisions to be made about personal items and whether they should be hidden away or stay. Too much. Who knew it would be too much?

I walked into the bedroom and spied our cat, Clementine, all snuggled in for her afternoon cat nap. I couldn't resist. I snuggled right in with her for a couple of hours. Afterward, the dirty dishes were manageable, the rooms came together, and the trash went to the bin. The work hasn't gone away, but my perspective is a little better. I think Clementine knows a thing or two about coping. Who knew?


Friday, February 1, 2013

Feb. 1, 2013 :: yard sale

It is 18 degrees on this afternoon before our only Saturday to have a yard sale. Tomorrow it is supposed to be 33 and snowing. We decided to move indoors into the front foyer and hall area. That limits the amount we can bring down from the attic. We could have ten yard sales and not get rid of all of the stuff in the attic. I doubt we will have too many patrons tomorrow.

Goodwill will be tired of seeing us pull up by the time this move is said and done. Boy, we have a lot of stuff. It's outrageous and embarrassing how much we have that we care so little for. I am hoping we can do better in the future. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on junk that will soon be cast aside, I hope we can use that money to help people in more meaningful ways than a donation to Goodwill. Oh well, it isn't our intention to be so glutinous. Let us set our intentions toward more useful goals.