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! So...here we are...

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

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 fun...now 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. Must...remember...to...RELAX 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.
Posted by Picasa

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.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Measure twice...sew 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.

Posted by Picasa

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.