Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Flashbacks

I have been slacking in the blogging department, so I am going to do a highlight recap. Caylee started her first day of kindergarten. She loves it there, but a month later we decided to move her. It was a lot of hard thinking, but the tuition was a lot, the driving was 2 hours a day and we would not be able to continue it into first grade. She was also getting tired 3 days in a row. We found a half home/half school program in Vancouver that is with the school district. It has been good for her and she enjoys science class. She is a sweetheart who is always helping. She adores her brothers, and is always being a little mother playing with them. She also loves playing make believe, and does that all day long over toys. She keeps begging us for a sister, though that might not happen lol! Her fave right now is Tinkerbell. She is tender heart who gets quiet and nervous in new situations, but she is a firecracker who is flexing her big girl independence. Logan was able to start preschool down the road. He was more than excited to have his special time with new friends. He is full of energy, loves to ride his bike, and play with other boys at the park. He is a bowl in a china cabinet figuring out his new 3 year old independence and energy, and he is full of heart taking lately to babies And his favorites are Spider-Man and cars. It used to be trains, but sadly that is fading out :( Ian is busy walking/running all around. It has given him a new independent which has translated to climbing. He is his fathers child when it comes to being a daredevil. He now climbs onto our bed, the couch, the dining table. Hejaz such a sense of humor, and is a sweet heart. He is always helping out bringing me the broom and playing nicely with his siblings. He adores his daddy, and his latest words are hi, sisi, thank you, dada and mama. Dad is busy working to support the family, and keep food on the table. He is a new tea drinker who loves tattoos. Mom is busy loving her family, and enjoying every moment. I love tea as well, and hanging with my sis and new friend Sally.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Claude Monet's Waterlillies

Generally I am not an art gallery person. I went to the local art museum once about 10 years ago and remember being bored. I was confused as to how some of the paintings even ended up in that prestigious place. Heck, my daughter could have probably hung a painting there. I find her abstracts intriguing.

Aside from my rocky museum past I decided that it was time to give it another go. I was surely more mature at the ripe age of 31 now that I had traded in the late night bar scene for quiet nights with tea on the couch. I made it my mission to get back to the museum to see what it was all about.

The other day they were having a free admission evening, and I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to take the gamble with my husband in tow. We dropped the kids at grandma's and took the journey downtown. We about an hour to cover about 5 floors.

Now, I studied art in elementary school when I was younger, but I don't remember a lick of it. What I do remember was slide projector being brought into the classroom, and the lights being dimmed. The teacher would click through each painting by pushing a button on her corded remote. She would stop at each one and explain the details of why they were important followed by a mandatory review assignment. This forced learning probably resulted in my distaste for the subject.

Back to the museum...each floor was labeled a different period, and since I didn't recall their significance I was left to label the floors as I saw them. I quickly realized which areas had an abstract theme, or a blurry theme, or a literal theme. Some pieces bored me, some confused me and some made me stop. I was particularly intrigued with the dates the paintings were originated. When most people die they are quickly forgotten aside from genealogy records kept by family. A lot of these paintings were made by people who had long since passed, and yet they were still on display to inspire the present generation. I wanted to touch a couple of them, and got as close as I could to one in order to really see the raised brush strokes. Those brush strokes were literally created and handled by the artist who had died in the 1800s or earlier. Could anything I do in my short life last longer than me?

The only fact of art that I had remembered from school was famous names, and at one point I realized that some of the displayed artwork was from those famous artists; Van Gogh, Ansel Adams, Picasso. I couldn't help but loudly declare to my husband much to his embarrassment, "That is a Picasso! He is a famous painter!"

At one point I stopped in front of a large painting called Waterlilies by Claude Monet. It resonated with me to the point that I later went home to do further research. This is when I learned that Claude Monet had made a series of about 250 waterlily paintings towards the end of his life depicting the pond in his backyard. I also was intrigued to learn that he helped to start what is known as the Impressionist Movement. All of the artists prior to him only painted life events with strong lines and realistic pictures. He was one of the first to paint nature by using blending and contrasting brush strokes. No one else in my house cared to hear about my new found information, but I was excited to learn more about this painting that I had seen before me the night before. I was able to understand the significance of the Impressionist movement, and waterlily painting.

I also learned that art is many things. I saw artwork that confused me, made me angry, sad, happy and inspired. It is the ability to draw emotion out of its observer, and the emotion is not the same for each person.

Below is a picture of the Claude Monet's The Waterlilies.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sweats and sunshine.

Yep, it's that kind of day. I seriously got dressed, started my day and then at about 11 am gave up and put on my sweats. They just feel more comfortable, and frankly I am exhausted. As moms we never really have down days. Even on a Sunday we are cooking and cleaning for the gang. We live in a small house, so with 5 people a beautiful room can look like a tornado in 5 minutes. I can't stand the kitchen covered in dishes, but for this moment gave up. I am sitting underneath a tree in the backyard with a sweater unpurposefully and awkwardly tied around my neck typing on my iPhone. Maybe I have lost my mind, or maybe I have no other opportunity to get away since we have no babysitters or money to whisk my husband away on a beach getaway. For now this is my getaway. For a moment in between commotion from the kids I layed in the sun in my backyard with my sweater over my face, and I visioned I was sitting beside some distant tropical beach. Where is my piƱa colada? I am pretty sure I will get it together today and clean the house, make dinner and get changed before the husband gets hom, but for now it is sweats and sunshine.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Taking the Tattoo Plunge

Well, I did it. I jumped in with both feet and got a tattoo. A large one at that. It is a shoulder sleeve on my left arm. I was raised in a conservative Christian family, and am one of the few who is not with the particular denomination anymore. This last year or so has been a year of self discovery. I have been working to figure out my true self, and not be ashamed of it. I guess just giving myself permission to do that. I used to never want a tattoo on my arm, because it blares stigma and closing job opportunities. That changed about a year ago. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and a tattoo there would be liberating as I owned my identity. This is me, take it or leave it. It is a waterfall and forest scene that symbolizes my life. I am a water sign as a cancer, and have always been drawn to the water and it's calming effects. The water through the waterfall and rocks symbolizes life and how it is always moving even if over rocks and waterfalls. One of my favorite parts is a lady of the forest that sits beside the waterfall as a guardian observer. It is just the outline now with color to come. Below is a before and after of my arm.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I'm Bored!

The boredom blues hit our house this morning. Reading a book staved them off for a bit, and then my 3 year old was growing restless. I decided to pull out my new handy book, and wanted to share it. I stumbled upon it at a thrift store the other month, and thought I would give it a whirl. I am not organized, and do not have large gobs of science kits and supplies lying around. If it takes more than a few minutes to put together I lose interest. This is probably a weakness that I need to strengthen, but it is what it is. That is why I was skeptical to buy another project book that would probably get thrown by the wayside. I am excited to say that this book is a breakthrough lol! It is called, "The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions 2." Here is a link for it on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/The-Ultimate-Book-Kid-Concoctions/dp/0966108817 There is a whole series of these books, and they use ingredients that are in your kitchen. Two that we have done are super soap dough and coffee dough. Coffee dough is made up of 1 cup coffee grounds, 1 cup flour, 1 cup salt and 1 cup water. The super soap dough is 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 tbs liquid soap and water.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flying high and running fast

Life is passing this momma by so fast. They always tell you that your kids will grow fast, and it of course is right. My oldest baby is 5 years old and experimenting with er independence while my youngest baby just took his first steps. I am excited for them, but also sad.

My real momma moment came today at the fair. My 5 year old daughter wanted to ride the ferris wheel. It was her major goal of the summer. I was excited because I always loved the ferris wheel and hadn't been on it for maybe 15 years. We loaded into the seat, and I was dumbfounded to not find a 5 point race car style harness strapping my baby in. It was the simple old school metal bar that didn't even reach her waist. I an iously insisted on holding her arm the entire ride as I looked over the side to see the world below. She insisted that I did not need to hold her and actually got quite frustrated at one point. I told her that as a mom I needed to for me. She then informed me to not be scared and that when she is a mom she won't be scared with her kids. Yeah right to that one lol!

I do not apologize for my holding her arm because it really was high with a flimsy bar, but It did teach me that our roles are constantly evolving, and slowly I am learning to let go of my hold in their lives. They are still quite young, so I have a lot to learn. Balancing the desire for them to be strong and independent, but doing my job to keep them safe.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Swallows and Dragonflies

Tonight was a good night. I love little moments that life surprises you with. My husband is an owner of a roofing company, and is in charge of job completion and labor. With it being summer he puts in long weeks and hours. Tomorrow will be his first day off in 3 weeks. We are planning on going to the local fair. Today after he got home from work and scarfed down his dinner tired and hungry he agreed to go with us to take the kids bike riding. The kids and I were ancy to get out, and I was ecstatic to have him with us. My 3 year old son is really into riding his bike, and is getting too fast for my legs. I found a middle school track down the road that is perfect. The gates are closed for summer, but we walk through the pedestrian opening. The track is in the back behind a hill with nothing all around. I was sitting on the track enjoying the night summer air, and noticed a ton of dragonflies and swallows darting all around me. I realized that they were catching their evening meal of bugs. My husband didn't seem phased, and continued on with his interests, but I couldn't take my eyes off them. The birds were amazing, and I had never seen dragonflies eat like that by zipping all around with the birds. The kids weren't as excited either, but did find their first grasshoppers. My daughter followed one all around for a bit until it's camo did it's job. We left as the evening sun on the track was replaced by setting shade. It made me remember that the beauty and wonder of life cannot be predetermined and planned. It is often found in the most unexpected moments. I also learned that everyone finds their amazement in life in different things.

It's a gardeners life for me!

I am not classified as what would be called a green thumb. My non-plant nurturing skills even resulted in my mom giving me a cactus for my office when I used to work, because it should be a pretty fail safe specimen. It did stay alive for about a year or so, and then sorry to say it eventually died. Despite the odds I have always had the desire to have a garden, and learn more about landscaping. We live on a quarter acre, which used to house a fruit orchard. We are one of the last remaining lots with fruit trees, and though they are on their last leg they still produce fruit. We have apple trees, pear trees and cherry trees. One year I picked some cherries, and made a couple of pies from scratch. I was so proud of myself, but after hand pitting a bucket of cherries I haven't done it again since. Well, this year was a fresh start, and I decided to give it a go. I found the spot in the back and began tearing up the grass. I enlisted my husband for help to till out the ground. He did it, but knowing my previous lack of follow through figured it would not get watered and quickly die out. I was determined. We fenced it for protection from curious kids and wandering dogs, planted the seeds in the ground, watered and waited. After many weeks of seed gestation, Eureka! It has been so exciting to see how foods that I have always bought in the store grow. I had no idea that most plants flower first and then the vegetable grows off of it. When I found my first green bean the kids and I were jumping up and down shrieking for joy! My husband was surprised, though did not share in my level of enthusiasm which is okay. I have learned a lot about what to do the same and different for next year. This year our peas and radishes did not make it due to bugs and other stuff. We did grow green beans, zucchini, lettuce, carrots and gourds. The gourds were kind of a waste of space but fun. I also planted flowers in the garden, and I would put them in their own area next time.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Waldorf Way

It's been awhile since the last post. I guess you could say that we have been busy living life and sorting through its adventures. In the spring I put my oldest daughter into a Waldorf style Pre-K. The walls of the classroom are covered in wooden toys, rocks and dolls with no faces. There is an aversion to television and radio, and in its place is imagination and instruments. When I walked into the room, and met the teacher I knew it was the place for her. The teacher who is from Germany connected with us instantly. They knit, do yoga, drink tea...a school right up my alley! Lol! It has been a learning process for me. I have typically been conscious of screen time, but find that I could be doing a lot better at it. Heck! I still haven't been able to cut it out completely. There are those nights once or twice a week where a movie, popcorn and blanket are in order. I have also, with the help of the teacher, been able to pinpoint that She is extra sensitive to different factors such as tv, sugar and external stimuli. In a typical school setting she would probably be diagnosed eventually with mild ADHD or being hyper. They don't eat a lot of sugar, but when she does she is hard to control. I can see that she isn't able to stay in her right mind. This has led to changing situations before they start by regular quiet time and lots of outdoor time. I am not entirely sold if the program will be good for my son, because he is pretty independent. I think Montessori would suit him better, but since I don't have the money or sanity to put the kids in different schools it will probably lead to free schooling for the both of them. This Picture is of the kids at the May Day festival the school had.
Here is her class dancing around the maypole.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My 14 hour workday

I am sighing in relief right now after putting the kids to bed. It turned out to be 14 hours of fun and craziness. The baby woke up at 5:30 am, and then my other two kids decided to join us. I tried my hardest to motivate them to go back to bed, but it was to no avail. Shortly after there was a poop emergency with with one of my kids. I was running with him to the bathroom only to find my oldest trying to plunge the overflowed toilet with water all over the floor.

Today is MLK Jr day. I thought it might be cool to share a website that I had found with some YouTube linked videos about him and the civil rights movement on it. They heard the book, "Martin's Big Words," and talked about Rosa Parks on the bus. My daughter was interested for a little while, and then got sidetracked. She has a friend named Ella from Liberia and was sad to hear that she wouldn't have been able to be friends with her.

It snowed a couple of flakes today, but not enough to stick. On our way home from doing errands we decided to go find some snow. We pulled over in a logging area, and had a snowball fight. I insisted that we didn't leave until I built a snowman. It wasn't too impressive, because it was made in 5 minutes but I loved it. I hope to do some sledding soon.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Donuts and Snow!

We got a couple of sparatic flakes of snow today. It went away before we could even get excited about it. I am really craving some good snow. It has been a couple of years. The kids were pretty ancy today. I decided to try my luck at making homemade donuts. This is something I have never done, and I don't have a proper fryer. I enlisted the help of the kids, so that they could focus their energies on something. The dough tasted fabulous, but the donuts were a work in progress. The oils kept varying in temperature because it was being cooked on the stove. This made the donuts either burn with the insides not cooked, or undercooked while soaking in Crisco. For every one semi decent donut I burnt like 3 of them. I was cooking them one at a time, and was getting really hot. I decided to bake the remaining dough into donuts type shapes, and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on them. They turned out a little better, but were more like a biscuit since I baked them on a cookie sheet and not a donut sheet.

All in all the kids had fun, and it was worth a try. I probably won't try it again without a donut tray though.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Finding My Spark

Lately I feel as if I am finding my old self by my rejuvenating old interests. This blog has helped me to tap into my old passion of writing. I used to write all of the time, and was involved with my jr high and high school newspapers. I have been finding time to read after the kids go to bed. My favorites are reading in a hot bath, or I turn off the tv and relax with the sound of a fountain in the background. I am currently reading, "How Children Learn," by John Holt.

Today I went for a run, which I need to do a lot more. It was hard to get my butt out the door, but once I did I was happy. There is something about running outside in the cool air through the puddles, while testing your own strength. I also played my violin for a moment amongst jumping kids and a crying baby. At my sister's wedding last weekend I ran into my old symphony stand partner. She was a long time friend of the groom's. She told me that the symphony was super short on 2nd violins, and ended up dropping off some sheet music for an upcoming concert. I am super rusty, but excited to take a crack at it.

My husband seems to he tapping into his inner talents as well. He spends a ton of time playing strategy games on his phone, and in result has become really savvy with electronics. I told him as long as he doesn't remove his tattoos, and start parting his hair to the side lol!

My son had his first soccer practice this morning. It was super early at 9 am, which is really early for us. I was skeptical that he was going to be able to han the entire hour, but he did excellent and had lots of fun. He didn't drink any of his water, and didn't fall asleep until bedtime.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Thursday!

I love being a mom even though it is tiring, crazy and unpredictable. All three kids have runny noses right now, and since we spent the last 3 days outside I figured we should scale back to the indoors for a bit. I need to get rid of the colds too, because My son has his first soccer class Saturday morning. I could tell he needed something to get out his energy this morning. He found a soft baseball bat, and was hitting toys to watch them bounce. I spread out a blanket with toys, and told himto have at it. It lasted about 5 seconds.

I decided to set the kids up with play doh. Our old stuff had seen better days, so I made some green play doh with a recipe.

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour

The kids ended up playing with it for over and hour. It totally wiped them out, and it wiped me out cleaning up the mess afterwards. What is a mom to do when her kids don't nap anymore? Today was one of those days I just needed ten minutes to myself. I ended up making myself a French vanilla latte, while reading them books. One of our books on animals in the desert got us to talking about scuba diving and ocean conservation. Pretty opposite for sure. I pulled up the computer, and we fell in love with two YouTube videos called, "Children and the Ocean" Pts 1 & 2.

http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/watch?v=ZatBqPG2RL0

It was super inspiring and amazing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cats in the Prideland

This week has been pretty fun in regards to going out and exploring, though my house has suffered for it. I promise I clean every day, but with a small house and 5 people it quickly goes back to chaos after the task is completed.

On Monday we got an invite to go to the park with a friend and have lunch. It wasn't raining, but pretty cold so we ventured off into the January air to let the kids burn off their energy. The fun stuff happened yesterday at the zoo. I saw that it was a discount day for the zoo, and it surprisingly wasn't raining again, so we decided to go late in the afternoon. I usually hate the parking lot, because they cram like 5 attractions worth of vehicles into this little lot, but yesterday it was pretty dead. We walked around to look at the animals, but had to keep a pretty good pace because it was cold and the baby could lose it at any moment. I decided last night that we should take them again when it is warmer and we have more time and let the kids venture where they want to go, because Caylee didn't have a chance to see half the information booths that she had wanted to.

We did get to see the cats, and it was worth the entire trip. The cougar was sitting on a rock on the rock wall, and then hopped down to walk right past the window. It was pretty impressive, but especially since we had lived in cougar country a year ago, and my husband had a close encounter with one at night. It was crazy to see up close what had probably been stalking us when we lived up there during that short time. I had been happy to move back to the city! My favorite exhibit is the lions. They just built this new lion exhibit where the lions can come right up to the glass. Standing face to face with a lion is pretty ridiculous, and that is definitely what ended up happening yesterday. It makes me wonder if the glass is just a sad tease to the cats with possible prey on the other side. This link takes you to the encounter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAmOL0qpcZA

Hello Out There!

I am a mom to three young kids. We are a free learning family, and I am excited to share our experiences and antics during this awesome life! What is a free learner you might ask? That is a question I ask myself daily as I navigate through parenting. It can be a lot of things to a lot of people. For me it has become learning through living and experiencing. I would consider it the same as unschooling in regards to the fact of not having a set curriculum to adhere to. My kids are young, and though they are not in grade school I have been diligently researching the upcoming kindergarten options for my four year old for the last 3 years. After many prayers for guidance, books and websites(which I am still pouring through) I felt compelled to let my kids natural curiousity and zest for learning lead the way in their future. It has also led me to evaluate and begin to pursue my long lost interests that have been sitting by the wayside. Thanks for listening! My husband and our son on a hike.
My boy and and I!
Yet another picture of Him
Our little Guy!
Miss Daughter
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