Saturday, December 22, 2007

What kind of coffee am I?

You Are a Plain Ole Cup of Joe
You Are a Plain Ole Cup of Joe
You Are a Plain Ole Cup of Joe

But don't think plain - instead think, uncomplicated
You're a low maintenance kind of girl... who can hang with the guys
Down to earth, easy going, and fun! Yup, that's you: the friend everyone invites.
And your dependable too. Both for a laugh and a sympathetic ear.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Some interesting quotes from Grace Paley

I just finished reading the book Just as I thought (well, honestly, I skimmed over the last 1/3, but I really enjoyed the first 2/3!), essays by Grace Paley. She was born in 1922 and died in 2007 after a battle with breast cancer. In addition to being a writer, she was a political activist.

I especially liked the following quotes:
I don't think the thing for me has been civil disobedience so much as the importance not asking permission. For instance, we had kids in our public school who had trouble reading or writing. A few of us just got together and said we'd better go ahead and help out. We suspected that the principal wouldn't want us around. So we simply went into the school and scattered ourselves among the teachers and began to work with the kids. It's true that three months later we were kicked out, but we got a lot done, and methods and forms were created so parents could come back and be useful. People will say to this day, "How did you women do that? Who did you talk to?" We didn't talk to anyone. We just did it. So I can't say it was civil disobedience. It was just an effort to make change by making change. We talk a lot about living in a free and democratic country but we're always asking permission to do very simple things.

[She was in jail as a result of attending a protest, and heard women singing and long song and wanted to write it down because she didn't think she cold memorize it, but she had no pen or paper.]
...Which is how I finally understood that I didn't lack pen and paper but my own memorizing mind. It had been given away with a hundred poems, called rote learning, old-fashioned, backward, an enemy of creative thinking, a great human gift disowned.
This second quote makes me think of all of the time I wasted learning "things" that someone else thought I should "know" -- and grateful for the things I've learned that have been useful, like music and sewing and writing. The first quote reminds me to be brave, and not give away my rights, I'm thinking especially as they pertain to my children and family.

Random photos from this fall and winter

For sharing Bret with the team for 12+ weeks, Sabine and Vivian got flowers at the Swimming and Diving team banquet (so did Carolyn). Sabine and Vivian also picked out their "special outfits" to look pretty at the dinner.

Chirstmas tree "hunting" photos. We got our permits from the Forest Service and went out with the Klomparens clan. We found a tree that had been cut, but left on the ground (so yeah, it's a little Charlie Brown-ish, but just right for us!).

Sabine getting ready for her second ice skating performance as a Snowflake in The Grinch on ice...pretty darn cute. And can you believe I put all those curls in her hair? It holds a curl about as well as mine does (or doesn't). Thank God for hairspray!
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

What's in a meme?

I found this meme over at ZenMomma's Garden.

Here's what you do: Type the answer to each question into a Google image search, and then pick an image from the first page of results. Here we go!

1. Age At Next Birthday: 38 – This cracks me up. She looks horrified – not how I feel about 38 – just the best picture on the first page. Upon further investigation, I found that it's page 38 of some document...phew!

2. Place I'd Like To Travel: someplace warm (it’s snowing right now)

3. Favorite Place: a library (ohhhhh, the possibilities!)

4. Favorite Object(s): books, my Taylor guitar

5. Favorite Food: butter (not by itself, but oh…it makes everything better...and don't even think about offering me margarine)

6. Favorite Animal: cat

Love the colors on the above picture, just couldn't resist the fairy eating cat, though...

7. Favorite Color(s): green – OK, this photo was at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Scary!

8. My Nickname(s): Little Grover, Puddles, Groovy

(so, that's not the Little Grover my high school friends were talking about, but I figured no one needed to see a picture of the muppet to get the idea)

9. Town I Was Born In: Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland

10. Bad Habit I Have: (where do I begin…) multitasking

That was fun! Tag! You’re it!

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

(Click on the title of this entry to view the list, from Secular Homeschooling Magazine) OK, so this is a little blunt. But dang it's funny. We don't get all of these questions, because Sabine's so young, but I've heard a lot of them...and would add a response to the question we have heard a lot, "So...just how long are you going to homeschool her?" I usually just say we're not worrying about later...just trying to enjoy it now...but I'm thinking there could be a better response. Suggestions?

Two of my favorites on the list are:
11. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.
17. Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.
Read and enjoy!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Cause and Effect (aka Water is Fun)

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Halloween party animals

We didn't really plan this, but here they are: Axel, Sabine, Birch and Vivian. Up until about a week before Halloween Sabine and Vivian were going to be Barbie Princesses (oh my!)...but the animal costumes (on loan from friend Kristin) were perfect for Trick-or-Treating on a frosty Wyoming night.
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Party time

The other night after Vivian was in bed we were hanging out with Sabine, who said, "It's Cisco's birthday" (this is a common refrain right now, it's always somebody's (usually her stuffed Lambie's) birthday around here!). She then went on to say "Cisco never gets his birthday." So Bret began drawing invitations (note the stubby tail) in black outline...Sabine had him color them in with orange, "...because if you color them in with black you won't see him."
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Sunday, November 4, 2007

What Sabine wears when gardening...

In her defense, she was actually waiting for her ride to a birthday party at the gymnastics studio...

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We love our pets

This is Cisco...don't worry...he's not actually hurt. But...he is the MOST PATIENT CAT EVER. Lets the girls wrap him in Ace bandages without slicing them with his claws (of which he is VERY capable, let me tell you...). But, for some reason, he puts up with all the LOVE from Sabine (and sometimes Vivian, when she can get in there!).

And this is Catalina, the amazing ELE-Dog. Our 5 year "temporary" chicken wire fence went away this fall when Bret buit our "real" fence this fall (with salvaged wood from when his office removed a fence from their property). Not sure where he got the idea, but he built a "peep hole" so Catalina could see out from the 6' fence, then had the idea to put a "design" around it...he asked Sabine what it should be...(we were thinking Elk, or something local...silly us!) and she said ELEPHANT! we are...

ps - yes, we also still have Magic (aka the black cat with a tail) but she is as hide-y as ever.
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The Unhurried Child

I was upstairs yesterday, watching Vivian play in the tub while Sabine was watching Word World. The phone rang, and it was my friend Nancy, saying she had just been to our house and had knocked, but gotten no answer so she left an article for me under the table on our porch.

It was from the magazine WonderTime (I've seen a few issues, and it's pretty mainstream, but it does have some interesting things in it, as well as some nice, easy recipes...). The article she left was entitled The Unhurried Child, by Catherine Newman. An excerpt I particularly liked:

When it comes to time, children and adults are like different species thrown together in a cruel zoological experiment: We hurry exhaustedly to and fro while our kids dawdle around with boundless energy. A child sitting on the floor with untied shoes, for example, might well exasperate his late and waiting grown-ups, but those moments unwind for him from an infinite spool. Little kids don't multitask, as you've surely noticed, and shoe-tying is rarely first on the agenda. "Children have a sort of strange, elastic relationship to time," is how Canadian journalist Carl Honoré explains it to me. "They have their own rhythm — and it's not at all like an adult rhythm. It kind of ebbs and flows. It defies the clock."

Honoré is not exactly speaking off the cuff here: In addition to being the father of two kids, 8 and 5, he's the author of In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed. In that book, Honoré describes a cultural epidemic of what he calls "time-sickness," the constant pressure to move faster, to get more done. With more and more kids overscheduled and "living like high-powered grown-ups," childhood — with time for play, imagination, and carefree idleness — may be its most heartbreaking casualty.

But how does going for a swim turn into an occasion for anxiety in the first place? I think of the German word Honoré taught me: freizeitstress, which translates as "free-time stress." Hurrying your kids through the playground, the weekend, the family vacation. We know this phenomenon all too well.
Rushing through things that are supposed to be when I stop and think about it...I'm guilty of this too...I think it has something to do with always wanting to be productive/active. and ENJOY!

You can read the whole article here. And thanks, Nancy, for the reminder.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fairy cooking

The inspiration (I have to admit, some of the recipes in this book are strange...just don't taste great, but it's good for ideas!)

One tube Marzipan (which Vivian loved eating...I think I remember my grandmother Mimi loved this stuff too...)

The result (penny on plate is to show scale). Sabine said we were getting ready for Halloween, hence the pumpkins. The other objects are snakes (well, duh!). Rattlers, to be exact. She said she wished Steve Irwin was alive so he could see them.
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Monday, October 15, 2007

Getting outside

This is how we get to the trailhead (1/2 mile or so from our house). Vivian in the lead on the Bobike seat, followed by mama, Sabine, and geriatric dog Catalina (she gets to walk once we get to the path, but it's too much for her to try to keep up with the bikes on the way there.) All I can say is good thing it's not too far to the trailhead, and that it's relatively flat!

"Mutt mits" double as nature collection bags for the girls.
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Measure once

Below are the cutrains I'm sewing for the Airstream (remember, it's a 1972, I had to go kinda Jetsons on it...). I found the fabirc here....groovy, baby! (Even better, it was on sale when I bought it...) I only had to rip out a couple of seams to get them to fit correctly...a lesson well learned, as I didn't ruin any fabric in the process. Now on to the two big curtains which are on the front of the trailer. They have a different attachment system (with curtain hooks) so I have to do a little thinking before sewing...

Note the TV stand that protrudes from the wall...very handy.

You can see the "temporary" curtains we used all summer (maroon fabric).

Some samples of Sabine's sewing...a felt mitten, and work on plastic "cross stitch" material.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Unschooling article

Just read this interesting article from Tulsa, which features a family with now mostly grown unschoolers, and a family with all the kids still at home. I particularly liked the following part [emphasis mine] where an associate professor of education says that kids don't naturally want to learn, and John Holt's views on that subject:
“I think it would be a wonderful way to be schooled,” says Dr. Diane Beals, associate professor of education at the University of Tulsa. “But it takes a great deal of thought and planning. It would work for kids who are curious and highly motivated, and parents who are highly motivated and have a deep understanding of the fields of knowledge they are trying to teach their children. But, there are a lot of kids who just naturally don’t want to learn anything academic. The basic assumption is that kids do want to learn. I don’t think you can say that about all kids everywhere.

John Holt believed that all children are hard wired to learn. “This idea that children won’t learn without outside reward or penalties…usually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” wrote Holt in his book, How Children Fail. “So many people have said to me, ‘If we didn’t make children do things, they wouldn’t do anything.’ Even worse, they say, ‘If I weren’t made to do things, I wouldn’t do anything.’ It is the creed of a slave. When people say that terrible thing about themselves, I say, ‘You may believe that, but I don’t believe it. You didn’t feel that way about yourself when you were little. Who taught you to feel that way?’ To a large degree, it was school.”

Monday, October 1, 2007

Reading is everywhere

We went to the swimming pool this afternoon to take a dip with Birch and Julie. We also got to see Bret coaching his diving girls.

We were having our snack in the lobby after swimming when Sabine started walking along the carpet in the middle of the room and sounding out the (6" or so tall) letters she saw:

Teton County/Jackson
Parks and Recreation

She asked what the words were, and I told her. She said them several times out loud to herself. When we got home, she asked me to write the words on her chalkboard.

No coercion, no lesson plan, just interest in the world around us.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Uncle Steve's Whirlwind Visit

Uncle Steve came in for a quick 3-day visit last week. He took us out to dinner for our anniversary (very nice!), and treated the girls to, among other things, ice cream. Vivian particularly enjoyed hers!

We took a hike to Ski Lake with Catalina - happy dog!

Vivian and Bret in the makeshift hut at Ski Lake.

Steve, Carolyn and Vivian (who slept for most of the uphill hike...on mama's was I sore on Sunday!) happy because it's downhill time.
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