Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Adventures!

Before I get into our adventures, can I tell you--these last few days have been some of the absolute BEST in quite some time??  Seriously.  The Best.

I've been having a tough week or so--one day having a complete breakdown over the amount of housework that I can never seem to get done, and how can I ever even hope to break even with it and then to be an involved, happy and supportive mom and wife on top of it all??  While moping around the internet, I found a Yahoo group about unschooling and how to apply it to relationships.  I was emailing the group moderator back and forth and they mentioned that the only requirement was that we practice radical unschooling.  I thought, 'Seriously?  How much more radical can you get than unschooling in itself??'  Hahahahahaha, boy was I naive.  I was approved to be a member of the group and as I started reading, WOW. 

Radical unschoolers are pretty much "those people."  The ones who let their kids eat whatever they want, go to bed whenever they want, don't require their kids to do chores...sounds pretty crazy, huh?  How can you raise a decent kid in that environment, right?

Well, the more reading I did, the more clear it came--there is SO much more to it all than all of those things.  Yes, they allow all of these things but only through relationships built on vasts amount of love, respect, guidance, and understanding.

Now I'm not about ready to tell my kids that they don't have to brush their teeth if they don't want to, but in just a very short amount of time reading through some of the boards and what these people wrote--even more touching to me was actually how they wrote it.  There was such a feeling of respect and love that went into just their replies.  And not only with their children, but they are huge advocates for giving your spouse the same love, respect and understanding (which seems like common sense, but is oftentimes not so easy after everyone has had a long and full day).

Literally within 20 minutes of sitting my depressed self down to read these boards, my mood was completely altered.  Duh, it's NOT all about me.  Neither Russ nor the kids care if the dishes or done or that I have a pile of clean laundry on the bed, waiting to be folded--in fact, the kids prefer I NOT fold it as they love to use it to jump into on my bed.  So of course they're not going to notice that I actually did do the dishes or laundry and definitely not thank me for it.  I do the dishes and laundry for ME.  And that's okay, but what could I do in order to help make their lives a little better?

...And that leads me into our Weekend Adventures.

On Thursday night, Sam mentioned that he'd like to see a sunrise.  So Friday morning we were out the door at 6am, headed up to a mountain where I thought we could see it from.  Turns out, we couldn't see it so well.  But we sat and talked about how the colors change in the sky as the sun gets closer to rising.  And about the cows eating their breakfasts.  Brooklyn asked why we couldn't see the sun yet, so we got to talk about the size of the Earth and sun and shadows and rotation.  And we stopped at watched baby goats head-butting and jumping and bouncing all over the place for a good 20 minutes.  Then we stopped and watched as the sun finally came over the hill, and looked at how it illuminated the previously in-shadow valley.  And then we got doughnuts to seal the deal.

Friday afternoon Brooklyn gave her art presentation.  There were about 30 people there (the majority were under the age of 11), and Brooklyn was the last of 9 to deliver hers.  I was so nervous for her--I don't do super well with public speaking.  Over the course of the week, I'd tried my best to refrain from panicking her, "Did you finish your poster yet?  Do you know what you're going to say?  Shall we write it down?  Can we practice for the hundredth time?  Are you nervous?  ARE YOU?!"  That type of thing.

As we drove there, I finally did ask if she was nervous, and she beamed back at me in her black and white fancy dress and her white knee socks and black patent leather shoes (that she negotiated the price for and payed for with her own money), "Nope, I'm excited!"

She did so well.  No, she didn't have a laminated lap book.  Or a memorized speech that was better than anything even I could write.  But she was so confident, I was one proud momma.  She asked what people saw in her artwork and every kid raised their hand (multiple times because she kept asking, "And what ELSE do you see?" lol).  And every kid had a different answer.  At the end she asked for questions and they asked what medium it was, "Charcoal."  And who the artist was, "Me."  Yup, one proud momma.

After her presentation was over, the kids asked to go swimming (it was 73*!  Woot!).  So we ran home for some quick lunch (and milk volcanoes) before heading out.

We'd been to a creek for a playdate the day before, so we hurried home and got our swimming suits on.  It was so much fun--I mostly just sat on my blanket and read my book off and on while observing the kids (I'd played in the creek for over an hour the previous day and knew exactly how cold that water was!).  It was so interesting because they would both be very, very quiet for awhile and just walk up and down the stream, toss rocks, hunt for noisy frogs...and then they would both enter these different worlds--Brooklyn preferred to share her imagined world with me, but Sam has this stream of consciousness that is just amazing to listen to sometimes.

Brooklyn's imaginings went something like this:  "This is my little cabinet here where I store my rocks for when we need to throw them in the water, and these are my steps out of my house that is built up in these beautiful mountains.  They are steep steps to get down to the water where we fish, but it is worth it!  And do you smell that smell? (as she picks a weed)  That's the smell of home.  Mmmm...  I am so lucky to live in this beautiful place."

And Sam's went something like this, "Where is my knife?  Hmmm...oh here it is! (he picks up a rock)  Slit, slit, slit, I killed you fish.  You are my dinner.  (he throws his knife)  OH NO!  I lost my knife!!" and this would repeat over. And over. And over.  Occasionally he would take his "knife" alllll the way up the trail to where there was a tree full of blossoms and throw his rock at the blossoms to watch them fall.  He was pretty far away and I would get people who were walking by looking at me like I was crazy, but he was enthralled.

It is one of my favorite memories to date--the sun, the babble of the creek, the slight breeze, my kids doing their things...I thanked anything and everything for that magical moment.

When the sun had started setting (the kids noted that it was pretty neat that they got to see both a sunrise AND a sunset all in one day), and the shadows came out to play we headed home for a warm bath and some snuggling while watching Phineas and Ferb. 

Sam lay his head on my lap and asked me to scratch his back.  He was out cold in less than 3 minutes.  Life is good.

After dinner, we read, snuggled, and after we tucked the kids in, I gave Sam a glow stick to play with because I knew he probably wasn't tired yet.  That's what allowing your kid to go to bed whenever he wants means, I guess--helping them listen to their bodies.  Sam needed that back scratch and that nap, and sure, it was REALLY close to bedtime, and no, he didn't go to sleep right away.  But he was allowed to play quietly in his bed with his glow stick and he eventually passed out on his own.  Huh.  I guess this radical stuff isn't so crazy after all.


I woke up to the sound of a little boy out playing on the couch.  His helmet had literally fallen apart at the seams a couple of days ago, and he was playing with the shell of it.  The first thing he said when I came out was, "Mom, I think I need a new hewmet."  So we cruised Amazon and he found the perfect one.

Russ and Brooklyn made us scrambled eggs and hash browns.

Russ and the kids snuggled on the couch for some books and cartoons while I finally got caught up on blogging and got a quiet few moments to myself.

We eventually headed outside where Russ decided to dismantle our bench to paint it and fix it and work on the yard, the kids (and neighbor kids) decided to take the dismantled bench boards and make surfboards (that are hanging in our tree) out of them.  I settled on trying to get a bit more paint on the front of our house.

He has the yard looking so much better!!

Then the kids moved on to wanting to build a fort.  In the front yard.  With the kitchen chairs.  And pillows.  And cushions.  "Sure!  Do you need help?"  "NOPE!"  Then there was a request for peanut butter and jelly in the fort.

Then there was play dough and putty.  And Brooklyn constructed a wooden airplane and helicopter completely on her own (I was impressed--I couldn't even figure it out from the dang horrible instructions!).  Then there was a cotton ball fight...or two.  The neighbor kids were here all day, and after the first cotton ball fight she excused herself to go and take a bath.  Ha!  Totally my kid.

Sam and the neighbor kids played Operation! and then Brooklyn came out and asked to play a computer game.  The neighbor kids wanted to play too.  So she gave up her game for them and asked to play on the other computer.  They wanted to play with her on that computer too.  So I set things up for them on the other computer, and then Brook came back in and asked if she could watch a movie by herself.  Funny kid. 

The neighbors had to go home and we all snuggled up on the couch with some warm cookies and popcorn and watched Puss in Boots.

Then of course books and songs before bed.  And kisses.  And a glow stick.


I woke up thinking, "I'm just gonna go jump in the shower."  Hahahahahaha.  Silly me.

Sam said he wanted to cut some of the flowers we have in the kitchen (the ones bought at the farmer's market last weekend).  I said yes, so he climbed up onto the table and I expected him to chop every single flower head off, but snipped only two--"These are my favorite.  Tiger wiwwys."  He chose to string one up from the light in his room so he can look at it at night, and the other he chopped up so that he could look at it under the microscope.

We spent the morning looking at lots of stuff under the microscope--flower parts, mold, blood, brown water, fabric, etc.  The kids love it.  Then they found the catalogs that I ordered our slides and organs to dissect from and we spent a good 45 minutes perusing the catalog, the kids circling every single thing that they even remotely wanted. is the website, and they have all sorts of really neat stuff for pretty decent prices.

Later, I found Brooklyn (who was previously creating quite the commotion, but was suddenly silent for quite awhile...) sitting amidst an insane amount of mess, reading.  Love this girl.

Russ then headed outside to plant his sunflower babies, mow the grass, tend to the garden and the like.  The kids asked to paint some rocks...with spray paint.  Why not?  Then the neighbor kids joined us.  Then they wanted to paint with acrylics on paper.

Then Brooklyn asked about hearts again, so we pulled out an old anatomy and physiology textbook and sat and looked at pictures and discussed hearts and babies forming and all sorts of good stuff.  There was a photo of a cadaver and Brooklyn said, "I wish I could see a REAL dead person's insides."  I said, "Look, there's a photo right here."  "That's just a picture, Mom."  Oh, my bad.

I finally got in the shower and when I got out, was ambushed!!  Brooklyn had been waiting behind the door the entire time with a spray bottle of water!!  Needless to say, I'm not the only one that was soaked! Bwahahahah.

At lunch, we broke open a coconut.  Quite the ordeal, let me tell you.

After lunch (and Sam's 1 1/2 hour bath!!!!), Russ decided we should head out in search of some polliwogs.  We packed the kids' rain boots and butterfly nets and a tupperware for our new pets and set off to the creek.  The kids (and Russ) had a blast wading through the water and exploring.  There were no tadpoles found, but we did hear frogs.  And we did find lots of great throwing rocks--and of course sat and threw them all.  We were all freezing when we got home.  Russ and Brook snuggled in for some How It's Made while Sam and I went out and got dinner and a movie since we were all so pooped.

And then I finished off the day with a family chat on ooVoo, and attempted to watch a movie with Russ.  Attempted.  Apparently it was pretty good.  So was falling asleep at the end of this great day.

Life is so, so good.

1 comment:

  1. oh man. brooklyn and dead people. :) hilarious. i'm so glad she did so well!!! what a fun thing for her!

    your posts always make me want to be a better mom, trista. and at the same time, they make me tired. :) i've got to find something, though. my life feels way too out of control lately...

    i'm going to have to check out that website for science tools! how fun!!!!