Tuesday, May 14, 2013

four days in the life

 We met with a wonderful group of unschoolers for a Spring Fling gathering at a county park.  There was a treasure hunt and a potluck and plenty of time to socialize for the kids and adults alike.

 This is a sampling of the treasures that were found.  There were felted soaps, and painted wooden peg people, mini notebooks, origami creations, necklaces, bubbles, chalk, and more.  So much loving effort went into creating many of these treasures.  I'm grateful to know a community of unschoolers!
The homemade mini notebooks inspired Camille and Sylvia to collaboratively create a mini comic.  Wherein, a princess rescues a prince from a dragon, they marry, and all of the bridesmaids carry swords.

We have been looking for an affordable used vehicle to replace our old one that died.  We drove out after the Spring Fling to take a look at a station wagon that seemed to fit our criteria.  The body isn't perfect, but it runs great and the mileage isn't too high.  It also happens to be purple.  Lavender, actually.  We're the proud new owners.  Who doesn't want a lavender station wagon?


 Mother's Day was lovely and simple.  I had a bagel and coffee in bed.  My husband cleaned the bathroom.  He took the girls to a home improvement store for a load of drywall (for installing a ceiling).  They brought me home basil and pink calla lilies.  I transplanted tomato seedlings, admired the pear blossoms, and picked nettles.  I ate chocolate.  I chatted with my mama and mother-in-law on the phone.  We grilled salmon and had asparagus with it.
 Expectations and commercialism be darned.  I don't need Mother's Day to be a production.  I am honored to live this life and lucky to share it with these good people.


We went to a homeschool book club/discussion with a couple of families from our homeschool co-op.  The book was The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo.  Camille had finished the book but I hadn't, so she read the last couple of chapters aloud to me while I drove to the organic farm where the book club was being hosted.  We laughed aloud and marveled at the characters, but she thought that it ended too quickly.  We enjoyed visiting with the other families.  Each person participating (children and adults), read a question about the book aloud and gave their opinion on it, and anyone else who wanted to add anything chimed in after them. Since I have never required that my children answer essay questions or quizzes or write book reports after reading something, we have only discussed books in the most organic of ways.  I didn't know how Camille would feel about answering discussion questions (she sometimes panics when she feels put on the spot), but it flowed quite naturally, and it was fun to hear the kids' take on things.

Here's my favorite passage of the book.  You can get the feeling of it even if you don't know the specific circumstances.

"Could it be?" said Leo.

"Yes," said Peter.  He did not look up at the ceiling.  He kept his eyes on Leo Matienne.  "What if?" he said to the policeman.

"Why not?" said Leo back to him.  He smiled.

"Enough," said Gloria.

"No," said Leo Matienne, "not enough.  Never enough.  We must ask ourselves these questions as often as we dare.  How will the world change if we do not question it?"

"The world cannot be changed," said Gloria.  "The world is what the world is and has forever been."

"No," said Leo Matienne softly, "I will not believe that.  For here is Peter standing before us, asking us to make it something different."

I love that.

You might know that we love to check out the parks and wild areas in every small town that we drive through.  This one, on our way home from book club, was no exception.  It had the customary slides and swings and playground equipment, but the girls mostly wanted to play by the river and admire the cows across the way.

 Always on the lookout for wild edibles, Camille topped her gluten-free cracker with dandelion greens and petals and violet flowers.
 Sylvia, not a fan of the crackers, rolled her flowers up in a dandelion leaf for snacking.
 Ayla preferred her flowers straight up.
Every country road shows signs of springtime, and we stop often to admire them.

We did our usual Tuesday-in-town.  This time to run errands, register our lavender station wagon, go to a homeschool class at the nature center, and play with friends.  We had extra time before class so we stopped at a cafe for gelato.  Yum!  However, after eating, Ayla screamed at the top of her lungs because Sylvia wasn't immediately sharing a toy that she wanted.  OK.  Apologize, rush everyone out and on to the next thing.  "Mama, I'm so tired."
She napped for two hours in my arms while her sisters were in class.  Aaah, that's better.
Yup.  We went to the park.  This time with friends.  There were goslings to admire, and castles to climb, and snacks to eat.
On the way home, a rainbow.

I almost wrote that I never tire of this life, but that's not true.  I do sometimes.  Sometimes, I'm very tired.  But we seem to be building a life where the little things bring us back time and again.  There are so many things to be grateful for, so many little things to see the beauty in.  

It's more true that time and again I forget that I'm living my dream life.  And time and again I am reminded.  Camille searches for a rainbow opposite the sun until she finds one and points it out to us all.  Sylvia rejoices loudly and messily in a muddy creek.  I enjoy a well-timed laugh with a friend.  Ayla delights in picking dandelion after dandelion, sampling the purplest violets.  My husband points to the silhouette of two young deer outlined against the fading sunset.

Every time that I forget, the joy in remembering washes over me again.


  1. I love your days- just living and having a grand time. The rainbow is awesome.

  2. I was wondering how nap time happened in you long adventures. My little guy gets very cranky when he's tired (like yesterday when we were out exploring and picnicking. We stepped into the nature center and he was DONE). We can't do much else besides call it a day. :)

    You would have loved to come with us I'm sure. Just after eating I realized I lost my phone and we had to re-walk the mile long path to find it with no luck, then search every other place we'd been. When we got home, my husband called to tell us that someone found it. Did I mention that it started thundering and lightning on our second walk. Umm...that's going with the flow right?

    It reminded me somehow of the day your car died and you went home and ate tacoes! We had spaghetti!

  3. Hi Bethany! I feel you. My girls have usually been pretty portable nappers, in the car, in a sling, on a lap. (One time recently, my sweet friend sung Ayla to sleep while I held her.)

    This time, she had HAD it, though. She was crying loudly, and walking with her in my arms wasn't helping the way it usually does. She started wailing for 'chi chi' (what she calls nursing), even though she's has been mostly weaned for months, and I hadn't nursed her in public for longer than that. Anyway, that day I tucked her up in my shirt and nursed her. She fell asleep pretty much on contact.

    Even though she's three, I still keep a sling in the van, to snuggle her close to me and block out some of the world when she needs it. That works more often than not.

    Mmmm, spaghetti! Sometimes that's just the thing at the end of a looong day :)

    1. My sling is in the hall closet, but I hardly use it any more. My little guy nearly breaks my back when I put him in it. He's the same age as Ayla, but VERY solid. :)

      Thanks so much for sharing your family with us!


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