Monday, June 23, 2014

photo scavenger hunt

My kids asked for a scavenger hunt one day.  With 7 1/2 years between the oldest and the youngest, it's exciting to find activities that they all can enjoy together and this was a decided success. Camille took the photos, Sylvia marked off the categories, and Ayla used the magnifying glass to look closely at things. They worked together to find the items.
 The instructions: Take a photo of something from each category. Bonus for more than one thing in 3 or more categories. Super bonus if you find 10 things in a single category. Be creative.

 ...and they're off.

Camille enjoyed helping me make collages for most of the categories. Some things fit into more than one category.

red and edible

that can fly
chicken and variety of insects

yellow and plastic
chair, laundry basket, gas can, shovel handle, sand toys, baseball bat, table leg, beach ball, broken bucket handle

that a faerie would enjoy
mushrooms, bark hideaway, moss, heart-shaped leaves, small flowers

that smells good
flowers, lavender, pine needles, pineapple weed, cocoa bean mulch

purple and round
clover, toy cement mixer, handles

taller than the house
( I love that they included Sylvia and Ayla in the picture for scale.)

 peace sign, vehicles, fence post, well pump, prying tool and nails


pine needles, thistle

with wheels
  wheel barrow, vehicles, trailer

a stone shaped like a heart

Friday, June 20, 2014

On a Wednesday

 We received an early morning call from the post office. "Your package has arrived." We hopped into the car and drove through the tail-end of a thunderstorm, rang the bell, went into the sorting room at the post office, and were handed a cheeping box of ducklings and goslings.  This was the only thing Camille wanted for her birthday present. Her birthday isn't for a month, but they'll be well grown and ready for outdoor roaming by then!
                                                      'Tufted Roman' goslings

 At her band lesson after summer school, Camille tried out baritone, tenor, and soprano saxophones (besides the alto she has at home).  She likes the soprano the best even though it takes a lot more air.

 They all played with friends at a flooded playground, which is apparently more fun than a dry one.

  Then, everyone came over to play and admire the new babies.

  Ayla's good friend was so excited to "pick eggs" from the chicken coop.

 After hours of wild outdoor romping, we had a quick dinner and went to Sylvia's ballet class.
Every day I find moments to be grateful for. Some days I have to look harder to feel that gratitude, but on this day it was so easy. I seriously love my life and the people that I get to share it with.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

rapid flow

If the flow of our unschooling life was a river journey, my favorite kind of days would be spent floating along at a gentle pace with a few swirls of excitement and occasional wild animal sightings. Lately, it's been more like a white water rapid journey and we're just trying to keep our heads above water. It's all been a swirl of good fun and excitedly chosen activities, but there hasn't been a lot of time for relaxing and processing. After a while, it tests our patience and abilities, but, ahhhh, what a ride!

Let's see, in the two weeks since I posted here last, we've had a trip into the city to meet friends at the zoo and visit another friend at her home. We took a fun ride on a 'Duck' on my birthday (the amphibious land/water vehicle kind of duck), followed by a trip to an old-fashioned candy store. Camille went to a multi-girl sleepover which included shooting bb guns and driving around on four wheelers. We had a sleepover at our house that included a midnight full-body-face-paint zombie attack. We had friends out for a visit with music playing, origami folding, and sandpit digging. Then summer school started. Since my girls don't attend school or do school-at-home, they love the chance to take some fun classes at the local public school and eat in the cafeteria for three weeks at the beginning of summer. Camille has a class where they write, act in, shoot, edit, and create a soundtrack for a movie in small groups, and an engineering class where they create a 6-foot-tall roller coaster for marbles out of simple supplies such as cardstock paper and tape.  Sylvia chose a class that's all about games (group, individual, indoor, and outdoor) and a cooking class where the kids, prep, cook, eat, and make recipe cards for 30 different foods over the course of three weeks. Summer school is in the mornings and our afternoons and evenings have included trips to the park with friends, multiple playdates (often with giant bubbles, sometimes with homemade play dough or poi for spinning), gardening, picnicking, planting seeds at a local pumpkin farm, saxophone lessons, ballet classes, a potluck and bridging ceremony with the Girl Scouts, chasing fireflies after dark, and strawberry picking and jam making. My parents visited on Father's Day weekend. We spent an afternoon at one of the largest waterparks in the world and then grilled out the next day. Plus, of course there's the usual cooking, cleaning, laundering, weeding, animal care, etc. Tomorrow, we wake up crazy-early to pick up baby geese and ducklings from the post office, followed by summer school, a saxophone lesson, friends over, and then ballet class after dinner. OK, I'd be pretty surprised if anyone actually read all of that.  I guess I just wanted to see it all written out in one spot and not keep wondering why I feel so tired :) .  I haven't even been bringing my camera with me everywhere.  It feels kind of weird. Alive, full of energy and new experiences, but at a somewhat unsustainable pace for us (especially the more introverted of us), but aah, the lazy days of summer are in front of us ... just a few more exhilarating rapids to navigate. Here we go.

I might not have captured every bit of it through my lens, but of course, it did not all go by without being documented :)

 family selfie on the Duck

Camille's birthday portraits of me: all of them, unedited :)
Hello, 37!

 Sylvia and Ayla especially enjoyed the splashdown as we drove into the river at the end of the road.

 giant bubbles at a friend's house

 spinning poi
 aerial silks

 sharing giant bubbles with more friends

 ...and play dough, too.

 mulching the garden

 planting seeds at a pumpkin farm with Girl Scouts

happy to be with my Pops on Father's Day

 the girls sharing Father's Day with their Papa and their Abuelo

 Ayla and her Gigi collecting eggs from the coop

 strawberry fields forever

honey-sweetened strawberry rhubarb jam

I think a lot of families sustain this kind of busyness on a regular basis.  We seem to thrive best when we have a good balance of excitement and social goodness as well as time for quiet reflection and individual pursuits, but that balance doesn't have to happen all in a week or two. I t balances out over the course of our seasons. For now, I'd best get some sleep.  Good night, y'all.  I hope you're enjoying this season in the way that suits you best!