Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ten Things I've Done You Probably Haven't - Meme

I saw this on Sandra Dodd's blog. She got it from here. He got it from here. I thought it would be fun.

My 10 Things:
1. I gave birth to all 4 of my children at home.
2. I directed my own professional belly dance troupe.
3. I got married at 19.
4. I started water skiing when I was 4.
5. I submitted my times to the US Olympic Women's Rowing Team.
6. I played on a dart team.
7. I named my last child the same name as my first dog: Ella
8. I became DEBT FREE at age 27.
9. I won the Regional Cross Country Championship my senior year of High School.
10. I got stuck in a canoe, in a swamp, with all 4 of my kids.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Sixteen years ago today I married the love of my life. I was really young, just 3 months shy of my 20th birthday. I am so different from that 19 year old. I have changed and grown so much. Thankfully, John and I changed and grew together. We have been through a lot of changes, and have had a lot of fun these past 16 years. The fun part is really important. We still have a lot of fun together, and we still make each other laugh. I am extremely thankful on this beautiful Spring day that I chose to spend my life with John.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Living Room

Our living room truly lives up to the name. We LIVE in this room. It's part of a great room that includes the kitchen, dining area, wood burning stove, and ginormous picture windows that stretch from the floor to the cathedral ceiling. We craft here, eat here, cook here, watch tv here, game here, fold laundry here,wrestle here, snuggle here, read get the picture. We love this space and truly spend the majority of our home life right here. Our new sofa was just delivered and I have to say we could not have picked a better piece of furniture for this much loved space. It's HUGE and soft and beautiful and we can all fit on it together! Yeah Us!!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Adding to the Menegerie

On Sunday, we drove to Atlanta to pick up the newest members of the Haworth Menagerie. After months of research, planning, emailing breeders, and finally ending up with fosters from a rescue, Ella got her rats. We decided on two, both females, because rats are very social and really need to live with more ratties. So Ella saved her money and we've been waiting for the breeder to let us know of a litter. The planned litters have not taken, so she told us of some rescue babies they just got in. We visited and played with many different rats before Ella decided on two babies: one white with ruby eyes and one brown. Then Alex decided he would really love to have one of the rats as well. The foster mommy let us know our cage would be more than adequate to house at least four rats, so lo and behold, we ended up with four. I have to admit, they are really cute! And let me tell you, this is coming from an adamant rodent dis- liker. I have always said, "NO RODENTS!" I let down my guard with the bunnies, and finally, the last frontier. I mean, you don't get any more rodenty than rats! I'm thinking this is all part of my stretching and growing and not saying "NO" unless it's really life or death.

Bringing Our Ratties Home

Our Rat's New Home- The Rat Skyscraper

Custard Peeking Out

Sassy Saying "Hi"

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pictures of My Pretties

The kids have been having so much fun together lately, I decided to put up a couple of pictures of them. Snippets rather than stories.

Max kept asking us to play Family Fun Game with him. For some reason, we were all a bit like, "maybe later". He coaxed us into it and as usual, we had a blast

Beautiful Sophie in her soft clothes

Our Valentine's Door

We spent a great deal of time hanging out in the parking lot before heading over to the Children's Discover Museum
Tailgating with Gillan and Jesse
Dinosaur dress up at the Discovery Museum
Alex with his big snowball
Ella as a bag lady

Soaking wet after a day of playing in the rain
Giving the bunnies a ride in the wagon
Max in our new trapeze-swing. I know it's a bit creepy...his body is completely rolled up in that little ball!
The kids giving Mom a massage...they each earned $1.

Robot Kids

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Day of Face Painting

Ella and I spent the entire day painting each other's faces. This was another one of those times I could have said 'no'. In fact, I almost did. I mean, come on, how reasonable is is to spend the better part of an hour painting a face only to wash it off 5 minutes later and start over? My grown up self was saying this was absolutely not reasonable! Reason to a 6 year old is an entirely different matter. I put that grumpy old grown up voice aside and happily, joyfully said 'sure'. So we painted a face, took some pictures, washed the paint off, and started again. Sure enough, against all grown up reason, it was loads of fun. I enjoyed it and let go of the idea that the paint needed to stay on the face as long as possible. Apparently, the paint only needs to stay on long enough to take a few pictures and show everyone how fabulous it looks. And guess what? All was okay, the world did not end, and my fear of "wasting the paint" was totally unfounded. There is an endless amount of face paint in the world, but only one chance to spend that day as we did.

Ella's Version of Mommy as a snake...I know, pretty scary!

I promised I would put her work as a makeup artist on the blog too...ahh, humility!
Mommy as a dalmation

She fixed my hair too. Did I mention this was my soft clothes day? What we won't do for our offspring! Mommy as the Ice Queen

A much more photogenic Ella as a dalmation

Ella as the Ice Queen

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Passion Flower

Last night I experienced the most incredible, beautiful, powerful dance performance ever! My friend Ann, who taught the creative movement class Max and I took, performed her powerful new work, Passion Flower. Ann is so amazing. I had never seen her perform, just knew her as a great and inspirational person, mom, friend. Her energy is contagious and I felt drawn to her even before we ever met. Over the past couple of years, I have been a bit disillusioned with dance as a performance. Most of the performances I have seen have lacked a connection...I almost can't put words to it, but they have just been missing something. I kept finding myself questioning why the dancers were performing. Was is just to show their incredible skill? I wanted something more. I wanted passion. I wanted the dance to be representational of something the artist had experienced. I wanted to see something other than the presentation of beautiful bodies in beautiful motion. It's not so much that I want the performance to make a statement, but to be connected to something personal and meaningful and powerful. The intent is so important to me. Ann's performance touched me like no other. I felt her power and pain and love. I just have goosebumps and feel so lucky and privileged that I got to witness this firsthand. It was everything dance and art can be...

Friday, March 7, 2008

A-B-C Tag

I was tagged by the fabulous Jesse. I also just realized that when I cut and pasted the rules from Jesse's blog, I didn't put MY info in some of the blanks...sorry Jesse! I just updated it all!

A - Available?: for talking...ANYTIME!
B-Best friend: John; But I do have a couple of very cool women who are very important to me
C-Cake or Pie?: I'm funny about my cakes. No ordinary cake will do. My favorite is the 4 layer dense chocolate cake with whipped cream and a hard chocolate layer in between that my mom always made for our birthdays.
D-Drink of choice: no question...COFFEE
E-Essential thing used everyday: coffee maker
F-Favorite color: red
G-Gummi bears or worms: bears
H-Hometown: born in Normal, IL but raised in San Antonio, TX; Colorado Springs, CO; and Augusta, GA.
I-Indulgence: chocolate...dark and thin
J-January or February: February...I Love Valentine's Day
K-Kids and names: Alex(aka Marvin); Sophie (aka Sophie-one-canobi), Max (aka Maxadoo), Ella(aka Ella-Bella)
L-Life: Too short to waste on NOT Having as Much Fun as Possible
M-Marriage date: March 21, 1992
N-Number of siblings: 4- 2 sisters, 2 brothers(identical twins)
O-Oranges or apples: pink ladies and Cripps Pink
P-Phobias: small closed in spaces that I cannot easily get out of
Q-Quote: Too many to pick a favorite, but I have always loved..."H.I., don't you come back here without a toddler" and "And this here's the TV. Two hours a day, either educational or football, so you don't ruin your appreciation of the finer things" both from Raising Arizona
R-Reason to smile: dancing and watching others dance
S-Season: Fall
T-Tag three people:Jessica, Dayna, Kelli
U-Unknown fact about me: I was so shy as a kid, I would cry when the teacher called on me, even though I knew the answer
V-Vegetable you don't like: I only don't like the way some vegetables are prepared, but I cannot think of any I don't like
W-Worst Habit: not being patient
X-Xrays you have had: knee, hip, ankle
Y-Your favorite food: oh my god, I don't think there is one favorite thing I like to eat. I love good cheese, fois gras pate, soup, salads, chocolate, home made baked goods like maple scones, etc. Yeah, way too much good stuff out there to pick just one!
Z-Zodiac: I'm on the cusp of Gemini and Cancer, but have been told I resemble a Gemini more

Thursday, March 6, 2008

High winds, big rains, sunny days

We had some huge storms move through here this week. The wind was incredible and the rain just kept coming! The fabulous fort withstood it all....right up to the very end. I could not believe it was still standing. Then it fell down. So, it's back to work to recreate it and have it ready for the now very warm and sunny days. Oh's going to get cold again. Bugger! That's okay. I like the cold lasting a bit longer. It means more time before the sweltering heat moves in.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Small Moments

Early on in my unschooling journey, I came across various accounts of other unschooler's lives that left me feeling like a failure, not only as an unschooler, but as a parent. Our lives looked NOTHING like what I was reading about, and it scared me. I started doubting myself and asking, "Should I be making the kids get more involved, do more things, have more concise and presentable passions that could be shown off as worthy endeavors? Are my kids not motivated enough to be good unschoolers? What can I do to make sure we have these big show-offy things as proof that unschooling works?" Over the years I have learned to just not read those things that feel like a report card, with gold stars and hints of outdoing one another, being bigger or better. I learned to trust we were living our life the only way that was authentic and meaningful to us. As a result, I don't want my portrayal of our life to be a list of achievements that would appear to earn us gold stars. I don't want anyone reading about our life to think the requisite list of fabulous activities, projects, etc. is what the majority of our life is truly about. It is not these accountable tasks that make this life, our life, so incredible. For the most part, our life is filled with small moments of living with each other, sharing a household amongst 6 people, asking questions, getting answers, having conversations, watching tv, playing video games, hanging out, cooking food, cleaning up, celebrating events, going shopping, getting haircuts, saying "I love you", asking forgiveness, giving apologies, driving to fun stuff, making plans, budgeting money, traveling, raising pets, discussing issues, talking about sex, talking about love, talking about our passions, dreaming of the future, work, reading, decorating, playing, trying to find ways to have everyone honored and getting what they want as much as humanly possible. These small moments are not as easy to write about. These small moments don't prove that unschooling will lead to fabulous endeavors the way big projects prove it. These small moments don't look like proof that ultimately unschoolers will get to all which is deemed worthy. These small moments will not earn us any gold stars, but they are what our life looks like. They are what make us so incredibly happy. The projects and big stuff are fun too, but they are a just a small token of the big picture.