Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Sandra Dodd got me really thinking and being aware about the joy and *shininess* of how we sleep yesterday when I was reading her page about Sleeping. If you haven't read that page, it's a good one.....Last night it was just Emma and Owen and I, Alex was at a friend's house and Kurt was working away from home. At dusk, they wanted to go to a park, so we went to the playground down the street, then they wanted to go swimming, so we ran back home and got our suits and went to the pool. Owen announced on the walk into the pool that he was going to jump off the diving board because he could swim now and he didn't want me to catch him. I got to watch the joy he got from that for about twenty minutes when the pool then closed for lightining, the water was perfect and the sun was down. Then they wanted to go to a store that was open at night.....choices were slim after 9pm around here, so we went to Wal-Mart at about 10pm. There were all these wonderful conversations between the two of them riding there and in the store and on the ride home. They planned what they wanted to do tomorrow. Emma told us some wonderful things about fairies and the stars and dragons. She asked me if I would help her learn to ride her bike on two wheels tomorrow and if we could build Fairy Houses. Owen wanted to make water balloons. When we got home, Daddy was here and they said they wanted to eat some cereal and snuggle with me and the baby. I really don't know when we all went to sleep, but I know it was after 1am....I remember Emma asking me if I was going to sleep in those clothes or, "are you going to get pajamafied?" she said. There was so much sharing and loving and laughing and learning that happened last night in our house after 9pm, and happens many other nights after 9pm or whatever time they might have been coaxed to bed. I have often thought in these hot days of summer, that I might thrive better if I stayed up all "night" and began my day in the afternoon, sometimes it is just too hot to function, let alone let yourself *shine*! After reading that sleeping page and having last night, I was thankful to have found this path of whole life unschooling that gives us these times together no matter what time of day they are--thank you to all the souls out there that led by your example and your sharing. Would Owen have shone on that diving board if he was going to bed at 9pm against his free will? Would Emma have asked me to help her ride her bike on two wheels tomorrow (and she did learn that today!!!! wow!) or would she have been lying lonely in her bed not sleepy at midnight and sad she was alone? I used to have trouble sleeping. I would lie awake even when tired and always needed to do something to go to sleep. I realized last night that most of my troubles sleeping started to shift when our lives shifted to living this way four years ago. Now I can fall asleep anywhere in the house like the sleeping photos from a few days ago. My mind isn't running with all the things I want to do and have to do and need to do and didn't get to do, and should do, etc. Letting go of time and expectations of time-along with many other things- has brought us so much peace! May you all find a time of year no matter what your philosophy of life to step outside the box of "sleep" with either yourself or your kids and see what else sleeping can be......there are too many kids and folks that go to sleep sad or lonely for no reason......I know because there were four years were I was a parent that sleep and going to sleep were something really different in our house than they are now! I'm even more ready for all those folks now that like to ask you when you have a new baby, "How is the baby sleeping?" What a silly question! Is there nothing more wonderful to know or enjoy about a newborn than how they are getting on with their schedule or how they are following the schedule you might give them? And if they are sleeping "well" that somehow makes them a "good" baby?!? We are hoping for another free soul that sleeps when they are tired and shines when they are not.......I like the father that says when asked when his kids go to bed, he replies, "About thirty minutes after they fall asleep." Perfect!

Monday, July 21, 2008


I finished the "mink hat" as we are calling it a couple of weeks ago. Here it is modeled on one of Emma's babies. I had a really bizarre dream that the baby was born as a mink, complete with eight nipples, in the dream this was normal, upon awakening it was a little unsettling....So the baby has become our "mink." I was so thrilled to create this! After learning to knit over the past year or so, this is the first thing I have made with stockinette stitch and that wasn't flat when completed, although I did not knit it in the round.....That is my next project, to knit something in the round, after I make the kids some bath mitts they requested. Emma wants to knit the baby a blanket, she has gotten really good at knit stitches, but I think she is going to start off trying to make a washcloth for the "mink." This item on the bottom was inspired from a book my friend Sarah had. In the end you will sew the knit coil around a cotton cord, secure it circular style as shown and it will create a round rug. It is with remnants or full skeins of various colors of 100% wool yarn, great use for extra/remaining yarn. I have been wanting to have something in the house that I could knit on when sitting around or that others that come over could knit on, and scarves aren't real big around here in North Alabama, so when I saw this I seized it as a long term knitting project that excited me. If I had the full picture I would post it here, but I don't! The one I am following--you slip/knit, slip/purl alternating with 20 sets about 20 yards of the coil and then finish it by sewing aroudn the cord and securing into a 33 to 36 inch rug...........so, yes, this is my 5 year knitting project, or that thing I finish when the mink is 20....:)
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gearing up for Learn Nothing Day

Summer is hard. We are gearing up for Learn Nothing Day on July 24th.......read more on the satire of this first annual unschooling holiday here. How do you think we are doing? Can you learn nothing when you are sleeping or isn't that when you make connections subconsiously that you just can' t help but learn from??!?!? If you think too much or any at all from these images, you might LEARN that some folks can sleep anywhere....I just left the room to take the dogs outside--came back and they were gone--off to dream and cement their learning! Owen, when you are older and see this, this was not abuse, this is where you freely chose to fall asleep this evening, I have four witnesses.....
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Cucumber Olympics

We had a surge of cucumbers in the garden. Quite a few of them were yellow and large, and after eating so many for two days we retired these to other more athletic uses. First we had a cucumber toss, a la javelin or discus, the athelets choice. Owen slung his catapult style with daddy via a shovel. We were going for distance and burst upon impact. Kurt's discus throw is somewhere in the state park.....Then Alex coined an event called the cucumber carving competition and we lit the three contestants up in the front yard. The aroma of roasting cucumber would make a revolutionary candle scent, it filled the front yard all evening......It was a nice end to our anniversary which was the weekend of the 1996 Olympics, and the still full looking moon this evening was also nice since it was the anniversary of the moon landing in 1969. Gluten Free fact we learned today--P.F. Chang's has a whole separate gluten free menu, wow!

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Chicks are Here!

Well, our vacations are done and the chicks arrived this morning (Friday the 18th--beautiful full orange moon this evening) at 7:30am when the post office called. Alex and I went down to pick them up right away. A friend of ours Karen and her son Brad and their Dad, took nine of them, and these six ladies will stay with us! They all still had their egg tooth, and the paperwork indicated that they hatched at 5am on Wednesday July 16th. They all appeared healthy and bigger than I expected. We inspected each one, introduced it to the water and put it under the warming light in the tabletop brooder we are using until we move them to their movable coop. This is the coop that we think we will be building over the next few weeks, they can go in it when they are about six weeks old--Catawba Coops plans. They knew exactly what to do with the water. The kids have named three of them, Speckles (by owen which is interesting because i am not sure if he knows they are going to look speckled as they are dominques), Lily (by Emma, she falls asleep with Emma holding her), and Flutter (by Alex because this one flies the most). The kids are fond of playing them music on the music box and bringing them grass clippings as well as any tiny bugs we find around the house and yard. They go beserk when you put an insect in the brooder! Kurt and I haven't named one yet, although Kurt is leaning towards Jerome for his name pick, I'm trying to get him to choose something a little more feminine :)--or maybe he suspects one of them is a rooster even though their markings are classic pullet. As of day four they are fine with being handled, not picking at each other and already growing mature feather buds on their wings and tails. Their fluff has started to fall of occasionally. Emma is telling me that she is going to miss when they are tiny like this after they grow, I told her I understood, that I missed when she was tiny sometimes, too.....We are sorry the incubating didn't work, but are thrilled to finally have the chicks here after being disappointed in April/May.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

High Falls

Here is Cot-A, the Io moth from camping. We went to High Falls on our way home. The water was not as high as the time we were here in winter, but still high enough to swim and jump. Saw a small rattlesnake on one of our hikes sunning near a bench. Alex and Kurt braved the cliffs and jumped into the base of the Falls for a while....Kurt said he hadn't felt that youthful since he was 16! I was kind of wishing that I could jump in, too!
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Buck's Pocket

After our trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway, we were inspired to get back to camping with everyone and to keep it simple!--it got too complicated for some reason about a year ago, and we stopped camping like we wanted to. As time permits we hope to take many one night camping adventures to spots nearby because we all love to explore and be outdoors. This time we went to Buck's Pocket. We had the campground to share with one other couple, until, ironically a school bus pulled up at 6:30pm with 30+ teenagers on board! While they added a little to the noise level, it was not the end of the world as we first thought as the bus rumbled in! The playground was nostalgic with the riding animals....Emma kept us all fascinated with an Io Moth that she found, named her "Cot-A". Cot-A spent all night with us in Emma's hands being sung to and talked to and asked to come back when she flew away. She also came home with us and lived the last of her days here in the house and yard. We learned that Cot-A had already mated, if she did, from her lack of flying behavior and that adult Io moths do not eat, they are at the end of their life cycle at the point Emma found her. By the time we got home, there is no doubt in our minds that Emma and Cot-A had some sort of communication going on, there is nothing else to explain the number of times she got Cot-A to come back by calling her or singing to her, or asking her to show herself........Alex carved us all some nice marshmallow roasting sticks. Owen experimented with burning all sorts of things in the fire with Kurt. While Alex and Emma giggled from their tent at 5:30am, it took Owen until almost 9am to wake up! Everyone left asking to camp again, soon!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Solar Cooking

Thank you to my friend Esther for the day of Solar Cooking and visiting. I enjoyed meeting one of your goats, Thistle. I love her brown silky coat, I can see why my mom would love to have a goat! We had a day today with the roamschool folks making solar cookers for hot dogs in the heat, having ice races, experimenting with "tan men" and sunscreen, and making ice coolers, and mainly just playing...... The ice cooler emma made with paper plates, tape and aluminum foil, still had ice when we left four hours later and it was a hot day! A plastic cup, a styrofoam cup, black paper, a napkin, saran wrap and foil were used for the solar cooker the kids used to "warm" their fully cooked hot dog.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

Kurt and Alex won second place in the parent/child raft races at the pool on the Fourth of July, Alex is on the green raft headed towards the end. Was a fun day of celebrating and visiting and eating. Saw our friends the Chris' for the last time today as they are headed to live in Erie, Pennsylvania tomorrow....we will miss them. This rat snake came out to watch the "flower power" fireworks Alex set off for us this evening. We are thankful for the freedoms we have to live and learn everyday!
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