Thursday, January 22, 2015

In sickness and in health

This seems to be the winter of sickness for us. Most of us in the family had the flu for weeks in December, followed by both a nasty head cold and a nastier stomach bug this month. I have been holding back hair and rubbing sore backs. I have washed bedclothes and snuggled and reassured shivering and/or feverish little bodies, and sometimes noticed that they are not so little these days. Usually, one or two are sick and one or two are wanting attention and projects and food. We have watched a lot of Mythbusters and Zoo Diaries and Mysteries at the Museum in bed, listened to audio books and browsed heirloom seed catalogs extensively. We've sipped at homemade broth and herbal tea, used homeopathics, essential oils, and salves, and in between had bright days where we thought everyone had made it back to a healthy state.

When someone has been feeling well enough to be bored, we've busted out craft kits and projects and paints and games and short strolls on the property. I have snuck in some knitting and yoga here and there. I am exhausted. And yet, not to sound too Pollyanna-ish, but I am still so grateful for this chosen life of ours, where I can hold my child all night if she needs it and not worry about missing homework. We can pop out to look at snowflakes under a magnifying glass or a handheld microscope when the weather conditions are just so that they create complex, fluffy beauty (high humidity, just below freezing). We can inquire about anything that matters to us in the moment, from manuka honey to the science of earthquakes and architectural stability to social justice issues to giraffe births. We can soak up information without leaving the house, or indeed the bed if need be, or venture out for an impromptu adventure if we are up for it.

  up close with snowflakes

 making studded and braided leather bracelets

some of Ayla's beaded jewelry

  decorating a new orange stuffy 
(She loves all things orange.)

 browsing heirloom seed catalogs
(She gets nearly as excited about this as I do.)

sister snuggles

 bounty from the coop, including our very first goose egg

There's been a lot of talk of possibly getting a pet mousie around here.
And then there was a people-size mouse cage built with tunnels and hiding spots.
Meet Melody, Lavinia, and Elya Mousie.

When we have a lull in activity and inquiry, we can relax and watch shows like some of the "non-educational" favorites around here lately, Johnny TestOctonauts or Gilmore Girls to pass the time or play games on the computer, though I see learning happening all the time there too. One time, Camille wrote down all of the places and cultural references thrown out in dialogue on an episode of the Gilmore Girls, you know, just for fun. Then we looked each one up. I just found the list from season 2, episode 2, The Ins and Outs of Inns. Here it is:

Akron, OH; Billy Idol; Van Gogh; Jefferson's Monticello; child labor laws; "Chickie run down at the salt flats"; Paul Revere; California Gold Country; Keith Richards, circa 1969; Santa Barbara; John Birch Society; Star Trek; "violation of the prime directive"; "Beam me up, Scottie"; Siegfried and Roy; screenplay to Glitter; Sulu; tar and feathers; To Kill a Mockingbird; pariah; Holden Caulfield; Boise; Rembrandt; and chuppah

Besides watching James Dean be a badass on Youtube, looking for a picture of Billy Idol's scowling face, and browsing Google Maps, we ended up on websites to learn about Van Gogh, child labor laws, tarring and feathering, Monticello, and chuppahs, many of which led to more interests and connections. So, sick and tired or not, learning happens. Life happens. Love happens. When it was my turn to be laid up in bed, the girls took good care of each other and of me. It comes back around.


  1. We must be living the same winter. Throw a teething baby in there and you've just described our last 6 weeks.

  2. Oh no, Bethany! A teething baby, too? Wishing you all wellness and relief soon!!!

    1. Thanks! The last few days have been better. :) I hope your family is working its way to mending as well.

  3. I am sorry to hear that you have all been so unwell. I hope the sickness has all left now. You seem to have been doing lots of learning despite the bugs! We have an Octonaut fan here too, I like to think of it as educational she has learnt loads about sea life from watching it ;)


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