Saturday, September 29, 2007

A day in the life...

Here is what a recent day for us looked like:

The girls and I got up and ate breakfast. Baked oatmeal is a huge hit around here right now. Hannah mostly eats the fruit on top and Ains mostly eats the oatmeal. Then we went out and fed and watered the pigs, goats, horses, dogs, and cats.

When we came back in, I chopped up some stock veggies that I'd gotten at our last Farmer's Market and threw them in two stock pots. Hannah wanted to eat the "funky carrot" that I found.

I added water, vinegar, and animal parts - chicken to one pot and pork to another. After about an hour, Matt called and wanted to meet us at a park for lunch, so I started the broth cooking and we headed out to the park.

Matt and Hannah crawled around on the "pirate ship" climbing section for awhile while Ainsley and I ran around and played on the toy boat. Then we climbed up to the top of a long, bumpy slide and I went down with Ainsley to see how she'd like it. She adores the shorter slides and dislikes the tunnel slides that are longer, so this one wasn't a sure bet either way. She absolutely loved it.

I'd been trying to incorporate the sign 'more' into her sign-vocabulary but had had no luck until, with absolutely no prompting, after sending her down the slide once into Matt's arms, she frantically signed 'MORE'! so she went down the slide for at least 10 more minutes.

Matt left to go back to work and we left to go home. On our way, Hannah said she wasn't ready to go home yet, so we swung into a local thrift store. Hannah and Ainsley played for a bit and then we headed home. Surprisingly enough, I was the only one with 'finds'. Neither girl wanted anything.

My finds were pretty cool. $10 worth of stamps for $2. Don't know why they were donated, but I was happy to buy them. And a complete marble kit for $2. I checked before I bought it to make sure the marbles were in it since I don't have any marbles at home, but didn't check the rest of the pieces - I figured we could make do with even a few and at least Hannah would be excited about it. Turns out that the set was complete and the girls and I had an absolute blast for a few hours after we got home.

Matt brought a high-powered riding lawnmower home from work and the girls took turns helping him out. By the time we got done mowing the lawn, it was dark outside and we ate dinner, turned down the heat on the stock, and went to bed.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Addicted to the written word.

I'm coming to terms with the fact that I while I have young children I will never catch up with all of the reading that I want to do.

I have more books sitting on my 'to read' shelf than I ever have had on that shelf before. Mindful living, homesteading, unschooling, nutrition, small business, Buddhism, and probably more that I can't think of right now. I'd get up and check, but I've got a nursing baby on my lap, so I couldn't be bothered.

My Amazon wish list is long and getting longer by the day. I belong to several email lists and a few great boards that are always giving me new book referrals. When you choose the referrers well, you're rarely disappointed in the referral - I've only been disappointed once. It was a notable experience too. The book was Pronoia by Rob Brezsny. I took it to church with me when I attended with my husband to wrangle the kids so that he could pay attention and they could play in the nursery later. In the middle of Sacrament Meeting I snorted out loud and then handed the book to my husband to read about the author's "full body erection" - he was having sex with the sun, you see. I tried to read more, but got no farther than the author insisting that he hadn't been on drugs at the time.

Back to the topic of this post - my addiction. Add cookbooks to the list. I have three and a half shelves full of cookbooks.

And magazines. At this time I only have one magazine subscription and that is to the parenting magazine Mothering. I'm cancelling it this week because

A) I've been a subscriber for nearly four years and they are just recycling subjects. Great for new moms who need to learn about these options, not so exciting for those of us who have been subscribers for even two years. They cover so little about any subject past toddlerhood, that it's not worth the continued cost.

and B) They refuse to cover Elimination Communication, or Infant Potty Training. I'm told by the founder that it has nothing to do with advertising (over half of the advertisers in the magazine sell products related to cloth diapering). EC is a rapidly growing movement in the 'attachment' or 'natural' parenting community for many reasons and yet it is not covered by 'the Natural Parenting Magazine'.

So I'm cancelling the only magazine subscription I have and dreaming of the time when I'll feel that I can subscribe to others that I would like to subscribe to.

Unschooling magazines, a few parenting/living magazines, one spiritual magazine, a few working dog magazines, a few cooking magazines, a few homesteading magazines, and an organic producers magazine... oh, the dreams I dream. I can't justify to myself the cost of such subscriptions right now.

My husband and myself were doing our quarterly budget overview last night and I had to come face to face with how much money I'd spent on books in the last three months. It was daunting. I have not regretted a single one of those book purchases, all have been amazing books, but still ...

So I have committed to not buying a new book for a month. Don't laugh. That will be a very difficult challenge for me. My one comfort is that I appear to be passing on my obsession to the next generation.

I read to the girls about three hours a day at their request. At least thirty minutes before we even get out of bed now that it's cold in the morning and then sporadically throughout the day, whenever they ask. For Ainsley, especially, I'll stop what I'm doing - even if it's washing dishes - and sit down on the floor to read to her when she brings me a book.

As fall kicks into high gear and a long winter looms, I see many hours of reading ahead. I hope.

One of the last joys of summer.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

One year ago today...

Ainsley joined our family.

I can't believe it's been twelve months. Here's a collection of pictures from her life - her birth day and then one for each month. While I write this, Ains is sitting on my lap eating cake.

Happy Birthday little one!

These were extra but I just couldn't cut them...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Visiting family...

We recently made a trip back into Star Valley to help Matt's father farm and to attend a nephew's baby blessing.

The blessing went about as expected. The men all went up to the front to confer a priesthood blessing on the child while us wimmen-folk all sat in the audience with the children. Then I went to nursery with all of the Heiner children who are of age to attend nursery and prepared to babysit them for two hours, because of course we had to stay for the entire three hour block even though we were only there to witness a five minute blessing. Because DH's family is righteous like that.

Five minutes into nursery, when the kids had just transitioned into being in the play area, a family member comes barreling in and says that now we're all leaving because while the Heiners all want to stay, our SIL's family - most of whom are in that ward - are saying it's ridiculous to sit in church lessons for two more hours and that they're heading over to the house for a get-together and lunch. Fine by me. So now I have to transition the kids OUT of nursery which takes another five minutes because there are so many cool new toys in there.

After the lunch, Hannah was running around with her cousins when she stopped and threw up. I knelt beside her until she was done. She turned to me and said "Mommy, am I pegnant?" I told her that no, she wasn't pregnant, that she was probably just sick from too much sugary food and a lot of excitement. I haven't thrown up that much this pregnancy, but it's obviously been enough for her to notice.

On Monday, we tried to entertain the girls in the hot sun, and they ended up under the trampoline asking their very cool Aunt Jolynn to make up stories for them. The stories included farting geese and the girls loved them.

When the girls missed their daddies too much, we took them down to the field to see them. Most of the girls ended up in Matt's tractor. He called us an hour later asking us to come get three sleeping girls.

After the farming was done, we had a hot dog roast. Hannah figured out the fine line between just enough heat and too much heat and Ainsley had her first experience with a fire. She was fascinated, but cautious.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hannah can now open the large freezer by herself. Ainsley enjoys it when Hannah does this.

She's using a Twix bar as a spoon. Because I'm a responsible parent. A kid can never have too much sugar - if you don't think they're getting enough, give them sugar to use as a utensil.


I'm an idiot. Pregnancy makes me into an idiot. I cannot type, speak, or think coherently. Expect nothing brilliant out of this blog until after my baby is born. Give me about 18 years after the baby is born.

Until then, this is my home for noting what my children are learning without formal teaching and what we're doing in our lives. It is also where I will post links of blogs, essays, books, and other information I think is worth sharing.

What will they be learning and what do I think is worth sharing?

They will be learning about life, about animals, how to read, how to write, how to do math. They'll be learning about themselves, about others, about society, and in our house - about religion and the many different views people take of it. Right now their main interests are princesses (H), ponies (H), four-wheelers (A), gardening (H), laundry (A), machines (A), climbing (A), dancing (both), cooking (H), and eating (A).

I will be sharing what I'm learning also. One of the glorious side-effects, or maybe a necessary ingredient, of unschooling is that the parents show the children how to follow their interests by following their own interests. So I am currently interested in running our local Farmer's Market, putting my garden to rest for the winter, fixing my #*$(&# vaccuum cleaner, learning to ferment (my last batches of saurkraut and kimchi were fantastic successes!), traditional diet, positive parenting, and unschooling. Once winter sets in, I'll start planning next year's garden and animals, figuring out the logistics of starting a pasture-raised, organic turkey flock, knitting, gestating, and cooking lots of good food. Next year I would like to implement the 100-mile diet, so I'll be planning my garden around that.

I probably won't be sharing much of what my husband is interested in unless there's a great demand for favorite Simpsons quotes, so you'll see him only rarely on this blog.