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Monday, April 30, 2012

weekly rhythm

this picture has nothing to do with this post. except that it is adorable. HA.
So I have been trying, trying, trying, to get my little 'uns into more of a rhythm. Not a schedule mind you. Schedules are good, sometimes, but they are constraining, they feel monotonous. A weekly rhythm, on the other hand, is just a flow to life, just what we do, you know? It can be bent, or stretched a bit. See the difference?

I decided to do this over the winter and just this spring we are getting into the groove, enough that little man says, OH, can we do that on craft day? when he sees a cool project. For my kids, especially little man, this security, predictability, is a good thing. The names of the days of the week are so random for little ones, but having a thing we do each day gives more meaning, they can grasp it. You know?

[side note: i have a freaking MONSTER headache right now. bordering on migraine. YUCK. and for some reason my shift key on the left doesnt want to work. its really cramping my style.]

[Ok. lavender rice sock on my neck. better.]

A weekly rhythm is also really freeing for me. No pressure to craft every day. Each day has its key task, and that is all. Any more (which of course must happen) is bonus!

Here is what we do:

Monday=Wash Day. I was doing this anyway, and have for years. Monday is getting the house back in order after the weekend. I do all the laundry, (including putting it away, huge for me!) make sure the kitchen is totally clean, sweep the whole house, and wipe down the floors. Maybe a swipe or two at the bathroom, if I am feeling ambitious. I also do any hand laundry (woolens for baby). I do a lot of this on Friday too (I like to go into the weekend with a clean house) but its done, officially, on Mondays. I try to involve the kiddies in this. We all fold and put away laundry (which often ends up them throwing socks at each other while I do all the work, HA). They love to take squirt bottles to the floor, etc. Then maybe after our work is done we sit and have tea together, or popsicles outside (my children have decided its popsicle weather already, even though temps have now gone down again...)

Tuesday=Soup Day. This is definitely not a favorite. So far the kiddies have only been involved a bit, maybe chopping a carrot for stew one day. Okay, so its totally a cop out. But I can see it being better as the kids get older. Its also a nice low key thing. Crockpot. Veggies. Stock. Beans. Meat. Done. I may change up this day. We shall see.

Wednesday=Craft Day. This is not just the kids being crafty, but me too. Sewing projects, fun projects I make for them, etc. We try to do this by theme, according to season, etc.

Thursday=Baking Day. A favorite. I did several loaves of bread last week. This week I am thinking banana chocolate chip breakfast muffins.

Friday=Art Day. We do painting, coloring, etc. I want to get more into the story-telling wet-on-wet Waldorf-y painting. We have done this a few times. I should share some of the ideas on this. So sweet.

And there is our week. We usually do a few outings in here of course. This week we are going to grandma's farm on Tuesday (while soup cooks away in the crockpot) and then Wednesday for a play date. Thursday I am thinking the library. My kids really can do one or two outings a week. Last week we did too many and the kids were exhausted and crabby by the weekend. And then somedays we may get the urge for coloring or crafting whenever, of course, great. Bonus. You know?

Any of you do similiar rhythms with your week? Even without realizing it? Or very intentionally? Would love to hear your experiences.

And baby has now woken up in the Ergo. Crying mad. And my neck pack is cold. Monday. Wash Day. Lets do it. Ready set go. And go. GO MAMA GO.


Oh. Hey. So it is also, National Screen Free Week. I am going to do this. No kid tv. Or mama tv. (Gulp?!) And while disconnecting from the computer is impossible for me (obviously! ha.) I am going to try and offset it by having actual real adult conversations this week. Connecting with real people. I am actually going out for drinks with a friend tonight. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??? Also. I might cut back Facebook consumption. Anyone want to join me??
sisters. little miss is crabby about something. dont know what
they have so much fun together lately. its so sweet.

7 months old. can you believe it???

hi mom.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

a wooly bird for spring

little miss with her wool robin
So with the whole trying to have more rhythm thing, which I will write about later, Wednesday has become craft with kiddies day. It's nice to have one day where this is what we try to accomplish, not having the pressure to do it every day, you know? Because you know I could go crazy (would go) with the kiddies crafts.

In any case. Last week we made these adorable stuffed birds. I saw a few on pinterest that I liked but none of them had real instructions so I kinda...winged it...(ha ha ha! I had to, sorry.)

They were surprisingly easy.

I used bits of scrap sweater (always keep the scraps!) and made a bluebird and a robin. Then we found in some old bag some raffia (I think that is what that straw-ish stuff is called, right?) and made nests. Yesterday we rolled out bits of wool into eggs, with a wet felting technique.

Anyway. Here is how we did it, if you want to too.

the pieces. getting the right shapes was the trickiest
part of this project. the red is for his breast.
the two big pieces are his side. the piece on the top is the
top of his body. and the other pieces are his wings.
and a little bit of orange for a beak.

the sides and the top sewn together (just by hand) do you see
how the tail is formed from the top piece?

adding on his red breast

a better view.

his front view. before stuffing

after stuffing, before putting on wings

front view. kind of a hack job. but i was wearing baby, sleeping, standing
in the kitchen with the vent on to keep her asleep and two kids jumping
on me to finish....

the tail, sewn up. see how i let the tail piece fan out?

a finished birdie, with wings added.

happy kiddos.
the birds on our nature table.

a closer look at little man's bluebird

 Ok. So those are kinda crap directions. Sorry. But I swear it was pretty easy. Aside from the whole baby sleeping kids jumping thing. Eh. HA!

Here is a little verse we have been learning for spring.

Happy crafting!

What the wind told the grasses
and the grasses told the trees
and the trees told the bushes
and the bushes told the bees
and the bees told the robin
and the robin sang out clear
Spring is here!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

a fairy story for spring

our seeds have sprouted! very ... hapazardly. can you tell two little kiddies
were very excited to sprinkle seeds?? everywhere???
I have been trying to write this post for...all day...and it makes me so crabby when I cant blog in peace. FIVE MINUTES. SERIOUSLY! The children are upstairs fighting over a forgotten cement truck that was found in a box and is now both of their favoritest EVER toys. ("BUT I GOT IT FOR CHRISTMAS" yells little miss. "NO you didnt. Christmas was A THOUSAND YEARS AGO!" yells little man)

I walked away from that one.

And now baby dear is nursing to sleep in the wrap, having refused to nap in a bed like a normal baby. As she nurses she pinches me. HARD.

And in the washer next to me is a most icky pair of "soiled" (yes THAT kind of soiled) pants, courtsey of little miss. ("WHY?? WHY??" I say. "Because I dont want to," she incomprehensibly replies, over and over.)

Fun day huh?? Totally.

As opposed to my last I-AM-A-HOMESCHOOL-ROCKSTAR-MOM post.

And this is my life.

Yesterday, I was nosing around online and found my favoritest org in town is hiring. A position I would be qualified for. I kinda smiled, like huh, maybe someday. Today I am two seconds away from applying. (Dada would make a FABULOUS stay at home homeschooling dada, right??)

So, yes, anyway. A fairy story. HA.

The kiddies have really come to cherish our little story/poem/verse times, typically after lunch and before rest quiet time (huh, we didnt do rest today. Maybe the problem?) We do a few finger plays. (Think, Itsy bitsy spider) A few movement games. (Lets take big GIANT steps like a bear. Now tiny ones like a squirrel.) We say a few verses. Waldorf is big into memory, at an early age, and movement too. Connecting little minds to their limbs as they "grow into" their bodies. Memorizing is natural from the repitition, not that its a forced thing. And think of all your kids already can memorize anyway, why not nice little poems (think Mother Goose). If you are into all this here is an excellent resource to get you started. Look around throughout the site. So many fun old stories and poems, for all ages. Its gonna be huge in our homeschool next year.

The stories we have been choosing are from this site, mostly. Another big thing is not dumbing down stories for kids, sure age appropriate is important but mainly to prevent too much emotional content, not to simplify language.

Anyway. I plan on writing more later about our "homeschool" day. Key is rhythm. Peaceful rhythm. And I am kicking myself in the shins today for not achieving it. My favoritest (yes I have used that non-word three times in this post already, I am aware) is the parenting blog on my blog list. She homeschools in this style and has some lovely thoughtful useful ideas. Really what got me started.

Anyway. The story...

"Once upon a time, there was great sorrow among the fairy folk. Something had happened to the Fairy Queen, Titania. She had fallen asleep and would not wake up.

The winter had come, terribly cold and full of ice and snow. In the fairy wood, no fires were burning. The seed babies were safely tucked in their beds, deep under Mother Earth’s coverlet of leaves and moss. The gnomes and dwarves were working deep underground. The water sprites waited under their ice roof, which covered the crystal lake and bubbling brook.

Most of the fairy folk, those who tend the flower children in meadows and forests, were left to wander through the winter, seeking warmth and shelter. They sought these in the homes of mortals, hoping to rest beside the fires both in castle and in hovels. Where ever fairy stories were being told at night or where ever Christmas candles were burning, there they were allowed to rest awhile.

This winter, the Fairy Queen and her troupe had been wandering and wandering. The snow blew in great swirling clouds and Old King Winter laughed and crackled. Jack Frost had a jolly time pinching their noses and toes. Worst of all and sad to say, there were not enough resting places for the fairy troupe. Most of the stone castles were dark and deserted and had been so a long time. The houses, great or small, where real fairy stories were still being told were few and far between. And the Christmas Candles burned in but a few windows.

One very dark night, after Yuletide, but long before Spring was due, the Fairy Queen began to grow very sleepy, as mortals do when they begin to freeze. Not being a mortal, she could not die but she could not wake up either. All of the fairies tried to wake her up. They danced and fluttered around her and sang songs as loudly as they dared. At last, with the help of two white snow-hares they managed to bring the Queen back to the stone circle, which is their palace and dancing place. Without their Queen, the fairies were entirely without direction and purpose. Many also fell asleep and the ones who stayed awake were mournful and very miserable.

Lady Spring finally came back from her palace in the South. She chased old King Winter back to his ice palace in the frozen North. The ice melted and gentle rains fell. Seed babies began to awaken and the first flower children appeared. The fairies grew hopeful and hurried to bring Lady Spring to the bed of her sleeping sister. Lady Spring took Titania’s hands and breathed the promise of Spring over her. She sang her magic song of roses and butterflies, of newborn lambs and nightingales. Titania’s cheeks grew rosier and she seemed to breathe more fully than before. But alas! Her eyes would not open, nor would she speak!

Lady Spring grew sorrowful and this brought a tremendous Spring storm. She had to dry her eyes quickly so as not to bring on a flood. She took leave of Titania’s attendants, saying, “I must continue on to waken all of the seed babies. Guard your Queen well and wait for Summer.”

The fairies promised to do their best, but in truth, the seed babies and flower children were not taken care of as well as they should have been.

Day by day, the fairies could see the ascent of the Sun King on his fiery steed. He was still far away, just over the horizon. Little by little he came closer and the day began to grow longer than the night. Finally, it was Midsummer’s Eve and the Sun King reached the pinnacle of the sky. He was riding very high over the palace of the Fairy Queen. The fairies shouted and clamored, pranced and danced, trying to catch the Sun King’s attention. He was too high up to hear them, but he soon noticed that the Fairy Queen had not come to greet him on this, their meeting day.

The Sun King turned his steed toward the Earth and came as close as he could without harm. Of course, everything grew tremendously hot and the flower children took refuge under the broad leaved trees and bushes.

Still, Titania did not wake up. Here hands and feet were still icy, although her hair shone golden in the brilliant light. Then the Sun King took off his mantle of fire and climbed down from his sky horse. Without the fire mantle, he would not scorch anything or anyone. Still, he was almost too bright to look at! He came to the Fairy Queen’s couch and he bent down and kissed her. He took her hands in his and felt them grow warmer and warmer. She opened her eyes and drew a long breath. She arose with all of her sleeping companions.

What rejoicing there was! Such a shouting and singing! Each fairy nurse ran to find her poor neglected flower child.

Titania thanked the Sun King for bringing her back to life. She told him how dark and cold the winter had been. She wondered what to do the next time King Winter’s might was stronger than human love and light.

“Do not fear,” said the Sun King, “For the darkest winter has passed and Winter’s power will someday be totally overcome. Human beings will remember to light their fires again. The Christmas candles will burn brightly in many homes and around the hearths, real fairy stories will be told again. I myself will proclaim this from the skies. For the light of the world has come to birth in human hearts and this can never again be extinguished.”

Then the Sun King mounted his winged charger, put on his fire mantle and rode back to the summit of the sky. The fairy folk waved him on his journey with love and gratitude.

That Midsummer night, they held the most joyful festive there ever was in all of fairy land. And if the lights have not gone out, they are dancing still."
Saturday, April 21, 2012

in which i declare our homeschooling intentions

this my friends, is what i have been preoccupied with lately. :)

Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking.

Crazy lady. She has her "hands full" already and now, HOMESCHOOL?? Really?

Or perhaps.

Poor June. She is never gonna get out of the house/write that book/work/wear real clothes again.

Or perhaps.

What about the SOCIALIZATION??

Or maybe.

Dont you know that people go to school for years to dedicate their lives to teaching? Why can you do it any better?

First off.

I totally acknowledge all of this. I have in fact held off this post for weeks, months, not wanting to delve into all of this, but seeing as I have written about dilating cervixes on this blog, why should I hold back now, HA.

So. Here we go.

Ummm. Where do I start though?

I do have my hands full. Sure. (Full of baby goodness! Right?? HA.) But, here is the thing. I think home is the best place for my kids. With me. And dada. With a daily rhythm that breathes in and out. With baking and cooking and crafting. With as much outdoor play as we can manage. With some art and a bit of letters thrown in, maybe a little math. With little sweet stories, lots of imagination, talk of flowers that are alive in the sunshine, waking up with a kiss from each of their fairies. Brave knights and castles and kings and queens and quests. Tree forts and dirty knees (yes, even the baby) and hair that smells of sunshine and wind.

This is the childhood I want for my kids.

We applied to a few half day programs. We didnt get in. And really, really, my little man is not ready for a full day of activity away from home. He is academically at kindergarten, moving into first grade, with letters and finger math, and sounding out words, and nature studies, but he is still my little man. Gentle and sensitive, rambunctious and dramatic.

He needs us.

And little miss needs him too. All of us together, breathing in and out of our days as the unit we are.

This is not meant to knock public schools or the hard working teachers out there that work under such difficulty to give each and every kid a great start in life. I totally acknowledge that effort.

And someday sure we will do the whole classroom thing, in a proper school, with desks and such. I might even bake cookies for a fundraiser (or maybe dada will). And I will support the teachers and watch friendships flourish.

But for now. We will do this. We have already been doing it, quietly for a few months. I am thinking of now as kindergarten, and sometimes next year we will switch it up to more first grade stuff. But slowly, we are integrating it into our day. Being intentional about it.

And we have a move coming up, to who knows where within our city, or maybe even the country? Who knows, so there is that. And possibly details to the East Coast with dada's job, and maybe even, MAYBE a short stint in Hawaii, once again. We want to be able to take advantage of all of this. And "homeschool" allows us to.

No, its not for everyone, but I was homeschooled, and am around many homeschoolers. We have support, friends for little man to play with, a community around us, even a group of other moms to meet with to do a co-op. And you know me, I have been "pinning," researching and going nuts over resources, books, curriculum, etc. I am going at it, whole hog, as they say. A la Waldorf style, because it just rings true to me, and dada too.

So. There you have it.

And you lucky ones get to watch as it all unfolds, ha ha!
You are your child's first teacher - a great parenting/Waldorf basics resource
Joyful Movement and Kindergarten with your 3-6 yr old - Christopherus curriculum
Beyond the Rainbow Bridge - childhood from a Waldorf perspective
The Kingdom of Childhood - lectures by Rudolph Steiner, founder of the Waldorf edu. ideas
my book, where i am writing down all the little bits that inspire me
my book, in which i am collecting all the nice memory verses, stories
poems, etc. i have one for little man too for when we "start" in the fall

our little nature table, decked out for spring

the little woolen birds we made the other day, step by step post coming soon!
our little explorer

happy fat baby goodness

Thursday, April 19, 2012

a post about nothing really

One handed blogging....aaaaaaaaack!

Where is my dislike button? (Do you ever do this in your head? A 7am meeting announced, or you are out of coffee, etc and your brain goes "DISLIKE". I do this all the time. Also I will occasionally think to myself I need to "control F" to find my keys, cell phone, missing child, etc. My husband says I am very weird to have this go through my brain. Yes. I suppose. I am.)(Kidding on that last one. I have never lost a child...for that long anyway.)

I have no idea what this post is about really, in case you were wondering. Just that I havent been blogging regularly in awhile, and I should more. I actually have a huge backlog of things I want to write about...
=homemade nightgowns, for the girls. Really there is nothing quite as sweet as sisters in matching flannels nightgowns.
=the stack of Waldorf homeschool-y books that arrived yesterday. Oh yes, my bloggy friends, oh yes I am.
=our spring stories and verses, a favorite so far is Snow White and Rose Red. Does anyone else remember this one?
=our morning verses, and my book, where I am collecting all these goodies
=my crazy adventuring baby, who crawls from room to room screeching, giggling, and making a mess
=no TV days, and ideas to keep kids from whining about the evil monster
=dresses for the girls, made out of random fabrics and an old shirt of dada's

I need to get blogging! So what do I do? I sit here. Listening to "Music Together" CDs, bouncing baby on my knee, oohing and aaahing at big sister and brother's twirling and spinning. Pecking away, one key at a time.

I am gonna pledge to at least every other day blogging. Check back in! Hold me to it!

but i wanna sit on your lap!!

and i am so damn cute!

motherhood, a never ending PART-AY!!
I WANNA be in jail mom!

little miss is in the background, twirling

Monday, April 16, 2012

thought for the day.

a blue jay flew in front of me today
from tree to tree
crossing the road as i drove on my way

its blue and black a flash through the april snowflakes
against the grey sky


instead rejoicing in lilacs,
purpling the hillside

brisk air

leaves unfurling to trumpet out springs return,
triumphant over the grey dull winter endured


in new life. in lessons learned. in motherhood unfolding.
in dimpled pink babies knees, shakily, exploring the world.

in future. and all it holds. and life. forever new.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

fairy which we actually make a fairy garden

So, I was totally the little girl that LOVED fairies. Not Tinkerbell and Disney-fied fairy land but flower fairies, forest fairies, water fairies, from the old story books that the librarians would point me to, when they found out I could read Judy Blume at age 6 (Umm, how about a nice fairy story instead!)

Although - side note - one of these books traumatized me for a few years, it was about these girls who declared, in the 1900s, that fairies were real and took pictures (using fake fairies and their father's camera) and fooled a bunch of people. It totally freaked me out. The idea that they might be real. For some reason I associated this with our basement in our 100 year old house and got the shivers running down there to get some canned peaches for mom for years afterwards. THE FAIRIES ARE GONNA GET ME.

Firmly set in the imagination though, I love fairy worlds. Last year I really wanted to make a sweet little fairy garden, as I wrote about in this post, but my kids refused to be enthusiastic and while I am not above crafting things for my own sake this seemed a little above and beyond reasonable. (Its hilarious to me that that post, which I only wrote about maybe doing something, has received more hits on this blog than anything else...ha ha!)

So I waited.

This year, happily, they are quite into the idea. (YAY, my eight year old self yells...)

So. Here is what we did.

our supplies gathered:
flower seeds, stones bits of wool and fabric and pipe cleaners and wood beads
to make fairies, and paint for a small wooden top to a broken glass
container that looks just like a fairy table :)
 We made an "Easter garden" last Saturday, with crosses and a tomb and moss for grass, so we simply turned it into a garden for fairies. To make the Easter garden I dug out an old cardboard box, that was purchased with canning jars and conviently already wrapped in plastic lining. We filled the box with dirt and dug moss out of our yard (I figured our landlord wouldnt mind as it was killing the grass anyway!). Then we gathered pretty stones to make a walkway.
what the kids HAD been doing

oh a fairy garden? yea, we will do that!

just kidding, we want to paint instead.

fine, you can paint, but lets turn it into an educational thing (if
we are gonna do this homeschool thing, we are gonna DO IT)
"F" is for flower and fairies. the fairies come to kiss all
the flowers and wake them up for spring time!

little man doing his version...

To convert it to a fairy garden we went and collected tree branches, from the lilacs and other bushes outside. Then the kids went and gathered all their pretty bits and pieces, dollhouse tea sets, shiny rocks for "gnome treasure" and so on.

our garden, with twigs and such, and seeds planted.
 Once we planted seeds, and stuck twigs in, and rearranged rocks, we needed inhabitants for our garden. Fairy people. I happened to have little fake flowers to use as caps and wooden beads for heads, with the pipe cleaner as a body and bits of yarn wrapped around I was quickly able to make a little fairy man.

the wings are made from pieces of felted wool, cut into wind shapes

The following is a step by step:
insert pipe cleaner into wooden bead. a hat could easily be made by cutting out a
piece of felt into a flower shape with a hole for the end of the pipe cleaner to bend
through. we later glued hair underneath, out of bits of wool.

the pipe cleaner bent into a body shape.

wings, cut into shape

secured on the fairy with a strand of pink yarn, also wrapping it around the
body and arms.

ready to be dressed.

a felted piece of wool (i needle felted it) to secure
on as a skirt

the final product. a fairy! i needle felted it all in place, including the skirt and wings

fairies relaxing in the final garden, over a cup of tea, at their mushroom tea table
(painted by mama, DONT TOUCH!)

mr gnome was also invited to live in the garden. with some buried treasure.
(only little man knows where it is!)

Fun right? And we can keep changing it with the seasons, and adding more pieces as we go. I will post more pics once the flowers grow. YAY. My 8 year old self rejoices!

(oooooh just discovered this contest on The Magic Onion blog, totally entered. cross your fingers for us! )

so, our original garden got overwatered by some, um, enthustiastic, caretakers
and grew some rather icky mold.
here is our newest one, out in the sun where hopefully our plants will grow
(and drain properly)
little miss is still captivated!

we added a little bark house for the wee folk

marigold sprouts!

good night fairies!

our latest incarnation (mid-June)

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