Sunday, March 31, 2013

Risen Indeed

Eggs were dyed, hunted, and turned into frittatas.  
Candy was hidden, found, and eaten in scores.
And in a few short hours food will be roasted, sauteed, and devoured. 

And imbedded into each and every moment, there was joy.
A joy that comes from the soul.
A joy that we get to experience because He is risen.
My savior is risen.
He is risen indeed.
Happy Easter. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Why I Homeschool: Part 3

Because it's all about family.

And family doesn't just mean blood; it means the people who love you.
I homeschool my kids because I want the majority of their day to be spent with family, the people who love them, the people who they love.
I want Sena and Gus to sit together with their oma learning about ancient civilizations, and I want my dad to read them kid's versions of The Iliad and The Odyssey. I want their father to help them make lemon powered batteries, and I want to take them on nature walks. We love these kids, and these kids love us, and that's who I want them to spend the day with.
It melts my heart watching these two work together, elbow to elbow, 
identifying houseplants or learning about famous artists or doing their math. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Making Changes

I love New Years for the promises it holds, for the sense that you can make changes, do better, be better, live better, live more. It is exciting and inspiring, and it is full of possibility. But I don't want to let that desire for self-improvement remain relegated to a cold month in winter. I want it to flow through every season; I want it to  influence the whole year, begging me to work at being a better me, the best me.

This spring, I want to think about the changes I want to make for a healthier, happier me.  And so today I am saying good bye to one of my guilty pleasures (and I don’t use the word guilty lightly. I actually feel a tremendous amount of guilt about it.) I know it is terrible for me; I know it is terrible for the environment. I know it’s a bad example, especially for Gus who is constantly trying to sneak and steal a sip. Today I say good bye to diet soda.  I say good bye to the chemicals I’m pumping my body full of, and I say good bye to the plastic waste I contribute to every, stinkin’ day. I mean, why am I going to spend so much money trying to buy local, pastured meat and GMO free produce, and then fill my body with aspartame? It makes no sense. I make no sense!

So see this soda, this one right here, sitting right next to my journal full of resolutions and hopes and dreams and goals and wants and wishes, well this here soda, I'm hoping it's my last.

 I’m excited for this season, a spring full of small changes. I’m hoping this is just the first in a series of small, manageable new habits.

Are there any goals you have for spring? 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Raising a Wildman

On Sunday, while enjoying a lovingly prepared brunch, talking with old college friends in a spectacular old home, I watched as my sweet, charming Gus attacked his best friend, like seriously attacked him. It was sort of awful. Gus jumped on top his friend, pinned him to the ground, then got up and kicked him! As I watched through the window, the whole scene played before me in slow motion. It was crazy; what the hell was Gus doing?
After passing Arlo off to the closest adult, I ran outside to find out what happened. The kids were play wrestling and my little wild man took it too far, way too far, and I haven't been able to get the scene out of my head for days now.
Being a mama is hard, but being a mama of boys is even harder for me because I don't really get them. At least I think I don't get them. Maybe I just don't get Gus. I understand where Sena is coming from most of the time. Sure, I don't always like her behavior, but I understand it. I don't always understand Gus.
Gus's little incident happened in front of  a few adults, and none of them seemed as disturbed as I was. Almost all the witnesses were men, men I have known for a long time, men who are not at all violent, men  I have never seen get in fights or posture or even act aggressive. And all of these men seemed to think  it was normal, what boys do. They weren't saying that it was acceptable, but inevitable, a part of growing up. It wasn't a reflection of my bad parenting or a sign of some latent violent tendencies in my blonde boy. It was a part of being a kid and figuring things out.
Gus is full of so much. He is full of goodness and kindness. He is full of spunk and charm. He is full of big words, prayers, and compliments. And he is full of so much energy and some of that energy is bound to come spewing out in unacceptable directions, and we're going to have to figure out how to raise that boy, how to raise him above those wildman tendencies, how to raise him to his greatest possible potential.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Snow

It's spring. The ospreys have come back to claim their nest, and purple buds are trying to reveal themselves. I'm getting so very sick of the Steve Madden boots I've worn almost everyday since Arlo has been born, and I'm itching for sandals and cook-outs and Friday Night Farmer's Market. But instead, we got a snow day. We got a muddy snowman and a pathetic attempt at sledding.

We'll take the snow when we can get it, though I prefer it in the winter.

Monday, March 25, 2013

This Weekend We

It was the perfect kind of brunch, the kind that seems to appear in independent movies with very little conflict and enormous amounts of beautiful light. And maybe the whole thing felt extra romantic to me because I had my first beautiful baby when I was twenty, and I've never lived in a city, so lazy weekend brunches have never factored prominently into my social calendar. 
This brunch, in a beautiful old embassy, with its egg/ Natty Boh hunt (a St. Mary's College of MD tradition), it was something special and I couldn't have been happier to be there. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why I Homeschool: Part 2

Because I want my kids to be weird and nerdy and sheltered

Social interaction, or the lack thereof, is usually most folk's biggest concern with homeschooling. Homeschooled kids are weird and nerdy and sheltered, they say. The sad truth is, they aren't all weird and nerdy and sheltered, but I want my kids to be.

I want my kids to be weird. I want them to like doing weird things, trying weird food, going to weird places, wearing weird clothes because weird is the opposite of boring. It is the opposite of ordinary. It is the opposite of afraid, and so I want my kids to be weird.

And I want my kids to be nerdy. I want them to love learning stuff and to get so into it that it's pretty geeky. I want them to love reading books and to get excited by solving problems. I want them to research things that they are interested in and to spend time in the black hole of obsession from time to time. I want them to enjoy having their brain and to value thinking and questioning and analyzing.

And, finally, I want my kids to be sheltered. I want them to be sheltered from meanness and hate. I want them to be sheltered from name calling and peer pressure and feelings of inadequacy. I want them to be sheltered from small people and small ideas.  Yes, they will have to face those things one day, but I don't want those things to form them, to mold them. I want them to face those things once they are strong enough to fight them and change them, and I will shelter them until they are ready.

I sure love these weird, nerdy, sheltered people of mine.

Read Part 1 here

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Who I Want To Be

I want to be a person full of joy and happiness.
I want to engage in the world around me.
I want to talk to new people, make new friends, try new things, go new places.
I want to always be paying attention.
I want to ask the right questions and learn from the right people.
I want to be always reading and learning, researching my new obsession.
I want to read books that I might not have picked out on my own.
I want to listen to music that wouldn't show up on my Pandora station.
I want to have parties for the rest of my life. Parties where I've made new recipes, mixed up a new cocktail  and invited a new person into the mix.
I want to say yes to invitations, even the inconvenient ones or the ones I don't think will be much fun.
I want to walk into their people's homes and try their new drinks and explore the nooks and crannies of their homes.
I want to peak into their closets and their bookshelves and maybe even their medicine cabinets.
I want to go watch people, the way they move and dress and dance and shop.
I want to look into their shopping carts and see what they are ordering.
I want to play new games with my kids and try new projects.
I want to take them on a road trip without a destination.
And I want to write it all down, and snap a quick picture.

2013 has left me breathlessly happy, and so today, even while I feel a little sad, a little out of sorts, I'm just thinking about my mission, my Personal Legend, and I'm embracing this feeling and feeling certain that it won't last long.

* between the Personal Legend reference and this post's quote , you might be able to guess what novel I'm teaching right now.

Monday, March 18, 2013

This Weekend We

This weekend we hung close to home, watching movies and baking cakes, wearing lots of green and eating corned beef and cabbage. We only ventured as far as a few houses down for a surprise party complete with the best deviled eggs I have ever experienced.  There were no long car rides, no great adventures. An effortless weekend nearly perfect in its simplicity. Sena, who loves to weave celebrations into the everyday, made a shamrock and declared our dinner a party.

We ended the weekend piled together in my parent's living room, watching Life of Pi. Arlo just might be a film critic. He cooed and smiled at that screen til he wore himself out. That tiger managed to excite my mellow boy more than anything else he has experienced in his first three months.

We got the cake recipe from here and the icing from here. I'm trying to clean up my eating, move towards a Paleo diet.  I want to try to tweak this recipe the next time, but Sena has declared it is perfect. While this cake might not be the pinnacle of healthy eating, it is a step in the right direction. And since Sena is in a constant search to find cake worthy occasions, a healthier cake round these parts is certainly in order.