Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holiday Prayer

Beyond the beliefs of any religion,
there is the truth of the human spirit.
Beyond the power of nations,
there is the power of the human heart.
Beyond the ordinary mind,
The power of wisdom, love, and
healing energy is at work in the universe.
When we can find peace within our hearts,
We contact these universal powers.
This is our only hope.

Tarthang Tulku

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The sixth member of the family.

Well, now that things are beginning to settle down for us and the winter holidays are kicking in, Im in a space where I am really wanting to get back to the basics of what matters to us. The heart of the matter, as noted in previous posts. I have really learned a lot about myself during this time of transition and construction. I had to really challenge a lot about how I do things and really push myself to keep going. It sounds silly I know, but it was really challenging for me to follow through with this many projects, to wake up and work hard all day until I passed out that night, for months on end, with weekends being the worst of them all. I dont mind hard work, but this was crazy. I realized that I can accomplish a lot in a day, and that I can really pull things together when I need to. I also learned that I have a lot of character issues to work on. I need to really not procrastinate so much (big surprise there) I need to stand up for myself better and let my thoughts and opinions be known. I also confirmed that I have painted WAY too many houses and that this needs to be my last!!! LOL

I think the most important thing that I realized is how tied I am to my home. Ironic when you know how much I have moved in my life (over 40 times). I love my home, no matter where it is or what it looks like. I love being home and fixing home up. I have a truly symbiotic relationship with my home. I figured this out when my home being in true chaos sent my brain into true chaos. I couldnt sleep, we couldnt eat right, we basically had to just dig in and work our tails off to get it done before we could ever even hope to get back to a feeling of equilibrium. I was grumpy, frustrated, emotional, and dancing on the edge of a breakdown on a few occasions. I know this sounds dramatic, but it is true. Having my house THAT torn apart was really very hard on me. The worst part was that I couldnt quit, or take a break from it. If we took a break it was just prolonging the time of chaos. I obviously couldnt jump up and say nevermind either. LOL

This is all a good thing, because now, more than ever, I can see how our home can be a wonderful and positive energy for us. Now that I know how it can effect us, I can make that effect a positive one. I can create that space where we will live our lives, build our memories and dream of our futures. I can create that supportive environment that really does nourish us and helps us to be the best we can be. My housework isnt just about cleaning, it is about supporting my family, their hearts, their moods, their strength and their confidence. It's not just chores, it is love.

The heart of the matter when it comes to my home is that it is the sixth member of this family, and it is the container for our lives. It is a living energy and while it can really destroy our moods and perspective, it can also support us in our dreams and our emotions. It is up to me. That is my job as a homemaker. Not to clean so that people can come over, but to create and support that sixth member of the family so it can in turn, support us.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Last week was wild. We started our week off with our visit to find Australian animals that live at our local zoo, followed Wednesday by a visit to the bosque with our Roots & Shoots group and topped off with ME's Pink Poodles in Paris birthday party. It was quite the week!!!

Im looking forward to getting back to normal this week. We had our Science Coop planning meeting and winter party today. It went well and it sort of kicked off our holiday season. We wont have Science again until after the new year. The break is nice although we miss our friends.

This week we will be getting back into the swing of life. Hopefully easing back into lessons and getting our house ready for the holidays. Decorating for all the winter festivities. Im really looking forward to all of it!!!!!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Australian Animals

Our little homeschool science coop wrapped up my unit on Australian Animals today with a trip to the zoo to discover all the wonderful Australian Natives we have living here. It was cold, really cold, but we had a great day. The kids did a wonderful job with drawing and writing in their Safari books and finding great animals. The cold winter-like days of December, January and February always seem to bring us such funny animal encounters when we go to the zoo. Today we had a snow leaopard literally get up on it's hind legs and wave his front paws at us as we waved to him, a kookaburra laughed hysterically along with the kids and one of the koalas was actually awake and the kids got to see him walking around and hop from one branch to another. It was a great day to visit the zoo.

I will admit I am also happy that my unit is now complete. We are a coop so each family does a unit and while it is a lot of fun, it is also a lot of work. I was lucky though and was able to use the framework for the African Animals unit I did last year and just revamped it with Australian animals instead. It is a fun unit which is really about the biomes of a particular continent. We learn about the biomes of that continent and then about the animals that call each one home. Australia was actually very interesting and has a very unique evolutionary history that explains why it has such wildly unique animals. I really enjoyed getting to learn so much more about it.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A day to exhale...

Well, today I was so incredibly unproductive that I can only say that it must have been a much needed exhale. Im bummed that I didnt accomplish much (anything), but boy it sort of felt good. :-)

GM and I had to work this morning at the museum. It was a nice and quiet morning, several families came in and GM was able to show them and hold two of his favorite snake friends. That is a successful morning as far as he is concerned. I was thrilled that we were able to take in some math and knock out quite a few lessons to get "caught-up". Math is really the only subject that I really feel is important to not mess with or jump around in. It is also my weakest subject, so this may all be due to some sort of lack of confidence on my part. Who knows? Either way, GM loves it and flew through lesson after lesson and we got excited to dig back into our regular lessons as soon as we can.

My husband has been working on replacing the mantle in our living room and our wonderful contractor is finishing the closets in our kid's rooms. So clearly we arent in a settled state quite yet, but this is like having tiny little projects going on compared to the previous few months.

I am excited to get to finish painting the kid's rooms and getting them settled into their new space. That is HUGE!! I have been feeling so guilty about how they have been having to live in chaos for so many weeks on end, and believe me, you can see it in their behavior. Unfortunately I just dont know how to make it better without just digging in and getting it done. Were almost there... really....

ME is having her birthday party next weekend and she is all excited about that! Pink Poodles in Paris is her theme. She went poodle crazy a couple months ago after getting one as a gift. She has officially gone "girly" on me and is all about pink, sparkles and puppy dogs. It is so funny.

Anyhow, I thought I would update as we continue our journey back to normal. :-)

Friday, December 01, 2006

My life has not been my own!

There just is no other way to describe it. My life has been nothing more than a long, long, long to-do list and the only way to regain control over it is to finish the list. I am having the hardest time with the whole thing. I feel like I set up my life to be really simple, uncomplicated and by all means not filled with to-do lists, yet here I am.

We have been under FULL construction for a few months now. It has really been very hard on all of us. Worth it? yes, it really will be; but WOW I didnt foresee the amount of chaos it would bring into our lives.

We are getting closer to normal everyday and especially lately. We have about 6 or 7 large in-house projects to complete and then the interior of the house will be settled. The yard and garage will take a bit longer. Im hoping by Christmas.

I really have missed getting to write in this way. I have barely seen my computer, much less gotten to sit and type on it. LOL

Anyway, we are getting closer and closer to normal and I am even hoping to get back to lessons on Monday. We really miss it and need it!!!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

We are still here!!!

We are still out here, alive and well! I promise. We just have been fully focussed on our lessons and the house construction and havent had a bit of time or energy for anything else. Even our local friends have been neglected in our frenzy to stay afloat right now.

So please keep checking back for updates coming soon. I just need to get through this time and then I will hopefully be back to my old chatty self. :-)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Day in the Life...

Today we really began our full lesson cycle. I thought I would post our day, just to share with those who are curious and of course the family and friends who are checking in from tie to time.

So today we...
  • got up had coffee (well, I did)
  • Tended the chickens
  • Made and ate gf pancakes
  • Cleaned up the kitchen and did our morning chores
  • went for a walk around the neighborhood
  • Did our yoga and movement activities for a start to our day
  • Wrote in our journals
  • GM did some math
  • GD and I read the first part of Little Falcon
  • GD read the first chapter of Mouse Tales
  • GM read another chapter of his third grade reader
  • We read How The Tewa's Found Their Way Home.
  • Went to the park
  • Went to the store for some new Good Books and a new Learning Candle
  • Went to the Farm for our veggies
  • Came home did our independent study work
  • Made dinner (grilled salmon and fresh salad)
  • Read GD the second half of Little Falcon

Tonight we will play a game and the kids will hear a story from Dad. Likely another Jataka tale. Then it is off to bed by 8pm. (Im hoping)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Another reason to support your local CSA

From Farmer Mopnte of Los Poblanos Organics

Contracting Network

I will remember this year (and when a farmer says year, we really mean growing season, fyi) for many reasons, but mainly just for two—the growing season and the expansion of a network.This year’s growing season has been the best that I have yet to see in NM. Granted it is only my 4th one here, but still it is a year that I have been waiting for since March 2003. We have had some good growing years up until now, but no amazing ones. And as I look at the contents of this weeks box, it is hard for me not to smile.For some reason or another the stars have just been in alignment this year for LPO. A large part of me knows that it is just Mother Nature cooperating with us with climactic conditions. But there still is that small part of my hubris that wants to claim that we might actually be learning something throughout our trials and tribulations. Shoot, the two are not mutually exclusive, so maybe both are happening. Hopefully so.Besides all the good that seems to be pouring in from the fields, our network is expanding. Well, maybe that sounds misleading. When I think of something expanding, I think of expanding ones distance. But we are actually shrinking our network’s distance, so maybe we are in essence contracting our network.We are attracting the eyes of more local growers as viable way for them to easily and effectively distribute their Organic produce. And by we, I really am referring to you, the members. I have very little to do with it, but it is through your support that allows us to move (eat) large amounts of produce, which entices local growers to team up.You see, as a mid scale grower (maybe 10-100 acres) you run into a marketing dilemma. And that is this, you are too big to effectively sell through Farmers’ Markets. Those markets alone cannot sustain the financial burden or move enough product for a farm that size.So that leaves the grower with having to wholesale their produce through what is called a clearing house. And many times, the clearing house will not sell it to the final consumer, but to a retailer or possibly yet to another wholesaler. What ends up happening (as we all know) is that there is then constant pressure for the grower to drop their prices. A very pride swallowing act for any grower to have to do. And a terrible cycle that needs to be relieved of its duties whenever possible. And through a tight local network of growers and ranchers, everyone wins.So why then is it different when LPO becomes the wholesaler, you might be asking? And it is a good question. The first important point to look at is that we are not a trucking company. We act merely as a distribution hub for local growers. They bring it to our cooler, we pack boxes right there, and then you get it that week. Simple and tight. It is almost a straight line from the farm to your casa...more or less. But you get the point.The other important factor to look at is the overhead issue. The larger the wholesaler, the larger the overhead, which in turns leads to increasing prices for consumers, and decreasing profits for the grower. There is Food Industry Economics 101 in one sentence. And I honestly do not know if our overhead could be any leaner than it is right now. Not without losing sanity.And being a grower I know how it feels to haggle with someone over price, so we do not do it. We ask the grower what price they would like to see, and 9 times out of 10 it is totally reasonable. For growers know that it is through that “reasonable” price where they can sell the most product. The free market is a beautiful thing at times, and actually can promote a win-win situation for all the parties involved. Very sweet.
Enjoy, Farmer Monte

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Success disguised as failure

Well, I have been working so hard to get to begin our lessons on Tuesday the 5th. I think I became fixated on it and lost sight of the fact that while I do need a good start date, I also need to remember to choose what is best for us and our family. The house has been ripped apart and I am working on getting it back together.

Initially I felt that if we didnt start on full blocks this Tuesday that I was starting off on the wrong foot and that I was already sort of failing. However, the truth of the matter is that because I am able to see what we need and address it, moving things around to set us up for the best possible beginning, I actually think this choice was a big success. I have kicked myself in the past for holding fast to a date or an outing because I felt we needed to do it, even though my heart told me it wasnt the best choice for us. Then it all goes woncky and I am like " I knew this wasnt a good choice for us, why didnt I listen". So this time, I listened.

We are doing some of our practice work, and our reading so we are getting in the flow, but we will not start our lessons full on until next week. I need these extra days to finish getting the house together and to allow myself the time I need to feel that I can fully turn my attention back to our lessons and our rhythm.

I have downsized a LOT of our things and the relief is enormous! I even donated a lot of our old linens. WOW that was hard. I dont know why, but it was really hard for me. I even woke up this morning thinking I had made a mistake, but I know it was the right thing to do. Wedding gift linens that dont fit our bed, old character sheets that the kids got as gifts and we never use, and the hardest, the cowboys linens from their first big boy beds. That one is still hurting me a bit. :-( In the end though, we have to really downsize. I CANT maintain all this and be successful in the things that matter to me, homeschooling, and creating a nice homelife for us. It is just TOO much! I really need to continue this and change my outlook on "things". I feel so much guilt in getting rid of things that have served us in our lives. I feel that I owe it to them to provide them with a nice home and keep and care for them. I know, Im crazy, but that REALLY is how I feel.

Anyway, we are all feeling good around here (except that Grey and Maggie have a stomach thing going on) and the mood is improving with each bag of donation and load of laundry. Im excited now for us to really get started next week. That is how I want to feel, not frantic and pressured!!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

In the groove again

Wow, the past few weeks have really been insane. Worth it, but really just overload, every day!!!! My goal was to get the inside of our house done (ish) by today so we could start our lessons. Here we are, and with the exception of putting some things back together and away, we made it! It has really been a race to the finish. I have been pretending in my mind that we are on an episode of Trading Spaces or one of those shows where you do a ton of projects in one day to meet the deadline. It sort of worked. :-)

So we are moving right along and really enjoying the results of everything. The lights in the kitchen are wonderful, I can finally see in here. The countertops rock and Im loving the new space they give me for things like baking and having my laptop near by with my coffee. I fel like it is my domestic headquarters now. LOL I can bake, clean, pay bills, have coffee and work from the heart of the house. I love it. We got the viga in and stained and it is wonderful. One thing I really insisted on was haveing a viga in our home. I just couldnt imagine living in New Mexico without one. A viga is basically a large column that is a tree without bark. They are beautiful and SO New Mexico. Due to the fact that our home will have more of a Northern New Mexico style , we had to use a square cut viga instead of a round one to go with that style. The round is more of a pueblo style, so it would have looked awkward and forced. So square it is, but I still love it!!!

Anyway, on to today and this week...

I am having my coffee and reviewing my plan for today until about 9am. Then we will start our day with a walk, well I will just list it...
  • Walk around the neighborhood
  • Begin lessons with our journal writing
  • While GM does math I will read "Little Falcon" to GD
  • Indep Reading
  • Play a game together
  • Lunch
  • Go to the Bosque for a nature exploration afternoon
  • Home
  • Quiet time
  • Practice Time (math work)
  • Free time
  • Make track molds from local animals
  • Dinner
  • Evening Rhythm

We arent doing a full lessons day today, because we do better easing into things a bit, but tomorrow will be better, with movement and the beginning of the Geo block.

I will write later to see how we did.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


That is the only way to describe our home right now. We have finished with the demo portion within our living space, but havent begun the rebuild portion, so it is a disaster around here. This weekend we will hopefully get a lot done! We need to..
  • Get the tile glue up off the entry way floor
  • Remove and re-lay the wood floors
  • Fix the drywall on the ceilings where we took out walls
  • Put in the new beam and wall topper (after staining)
  • Put the house back together after all this

I want us to start our lessons on Tuesday morning. Im nervous that we will still have too much chaos going on around here, but hopefully if we can meet these goals we will be okay and able to begin on track.

I wanted to update the blog, Im sorry I havent been writing much, but I literally havent had enough time in a day to do all the work I am neding to do. So unfortunately my blog has suffered.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Harvesting Peppers and Theatre

Our peppers are growing by leaps and bounds! Unfortunately all the rain will make them quite mild, but these beauties will be perfect for chili rellenos! Nice size and easy to stuff with whatever we want! Now to just get a working range before they loose their freshness. They are all organic, and lovely! Unfortunately an enormous squash bug infestation took out all of our pumpkins and cassava melons! Howver the watermelon is looking quite wonderful! I may open one up for snack later this morning.

As I have posted before attending live theatre productions is a major priority for our family and for the kids. I like to attend about one a month (on average). The Popejoy Hall Schooltime Series is a terrific way to get to take the children to a great live production for a good price. Many of the productions are also performed in the evening for a much larger price and a much longer presentation. The schooltime series is $4.00 per seat and the show runs usually for just an hour. Making it easy for the ME's in the bunch. I just ordered tickets for eight different productions which I felt would be fun for the kids. Now I need to look at their evening series and add in some of the full performances of things that are not offered during the day. I usually only take the boys to the full productions, only because they usually run about an hour before the intermission and then an additional 45 after that. It is just too much for ME. Although by this spring she may be ready.

In the context of the threads which are important to me, theatre is a really big one. I want the kids to not remember a time when they didnt attend live theatre productions and I want them to feel the energy of imagination and artistry that goes into bringing everything together for a full performance. They have loved some and not cared for others, and that is fine. Its about the experience of the moment and taking in what the performers are giving, right in that moment. It can be really inspirational and because it is live I feel it is a form of entertainment that touches them on a much different level than watching a stage performance which has been recorded. It is just important. Really important!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Thank goodness for erasers!!

Okay, I have been reading and planning and thinking and digesting for a bit now and I think Im on to something. My goal is to streamline our lessons to work in a way that we are covering multiple topics and covering many subjects at the same time. So having the boys doing different things is NOT streamline! In fact it is really a lot of juggling.

Obviously they will be doing different levels of lessons, but I can juggle that. Having them doing completely different topics however, not so easy.

So I have now got it down to a smooth way of working with both boys on their independent levels. My panic about having to really split things up has passed and I am back on track!

After a LOT of erasing!!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

First and Third dont go together

As easily as second and K/1. I have been planning to cover a lot of things with the boys together, but in really looking at it and in trying to determine what will be best for them, I now know I am going to have to really do a lot of different things with them. A lot together still, but there will be full lessons that are meant for GM and some that are for GD. GM is ready to really dig into a lot of grade three material and GD just isnt ready for it yet. He is so enthusiastic about his grade one materials and still has such a hunger for learning that I dont want to overwhelm or flood him with materials he just isnt ready to digest yet. I know that they guage this on their own and can take from it just what is right for them, but I also know that if consistently faced with material that is just undigestable, the child will close that door and lose some of their hunger.

I think I will try to do some seperate blocks with them (one on one) for the first few blocks of this year and if I see that GD is ready to participate (on his own level) with what GM is doing, then I will combine them for a few things. GM can certainly benefit from participating in some of GD's blocks, but at the same time he needs material that nourishes him right now. This is a big year for him and I want to really allow him to fully explore the materials he is developmentally ready for.

September 4th

Well, ironically when I backed out our schedule of blocks for this year and counted backwards from when I want us to be done, put in our breaks and such it turns out the best day for us to begin our lessons is September 4th. The day after Labor Day. I had to laugh at how it falls on the traditional first day of school for most. Although the kids in Albuquerque are ALREADY back to school. Unbelievable but nice too. Now the museum's are less crowded and the normal balance of kids being around the neighborhood during the day is restored.

Anyhow, that is the big change. I wanted to wait until October when the construction should be finished, but with so much to do in Third Grade and with GD now entering fully into First grade material I think I will want to get a full block done before the construction is done and then take a break to move the kids into their new spaces. Continue with the second block after that and wrap that up before Thanksgiving and ME's 4th birthday.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Joseph Austin

Well, after a long labor and forming process. Long mainly due to my anticipation and excitement, the countertops are poured and they are GORGEOUS!!! I told Joseph (the guy doing them for us) that I just cant believe that we get to have these beautiful things in OUR home, and it is so true, I cant believe they are ours to keep. :-)

I drew these countertops out over a year and half ago, while still living in VA but struggling with the decision to buy or not buy Manuel's childhood home. The kitchen was essential, as it is in most homes, but in this house it is literally the center of the home. So it had to really work for us. I have wanted concrete countertops for over 7 years now, but could never afford them. Some women love diamonds, I love things like this for my home. I wont set foot into a mall or a hair salon, or worse yet a nail salon!!! But boy, give me some concrete countertops and I am on top of the world!!! LOL

So anyway, here is the deal! Joseph totally rocked this job, he listened to what I wanted, and although unconventional, he was fully on board and really added a lot to the project. He suggested moving the faucet, and adding or stretching a curve here and there. He really took the time to hand smooth them and give me that handwork and sculpted look I wanted. His friend Dana came and helped him to hand pour and finish them (until 2am). It was so fascinating. They really are artists in what they do and I HIGHLY recommend contacting Joseph if you have any concrete needs in the Albuquerque area!!!

Joseph Austin 505-261-3683

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Great Peach Adventure!

Sometimes I forget the curiosity of a three year old child. How that is possible I dont know because ME is the most curious child I have met, and FAR more curious than her brothers EVER were!!!

So why was I surprised when yesterday her brother (GD) came walking down the hall telling me in a sad voice that ME had put his peach in the toilet. This was a brand new peach, he got about two bites out of it so far. Mind you these are the super yummy Colorado peaches that I had just picked up from the farm. So that makes it a double bummer.

I no sooner called out her name when I heard it....yep! She flushed the toilet!!! I ran.... peach was gone and the water level was rising!!!

Luckily I got to the back of the toilet in time to stop the water, but now what???

Lets just say that my husband is quite clever! He removed the toilet from the floor and used a shop vac to blow the peach out of the turning portion of the lower toilet parts. It didnt come flying out or anything but it did unlodge it enough to put a wire hanger down it and stab the peach, pulling it back out.

Thank goodness it wasnt in the plumbing!!!!

Small blessings....

Monday, August 07, 2006

Comments fixed...

Sorry, I got a few that were advertisements and I thought I made it so I needed to approve them, but apparently I broke it. LOL

Anyway it is back on and hopefully working now.

Self-Directed Play and Introspection

Another thread that is really important to us and will definitely be included in our Enki Web activity is the importance of self-directed play and it's roll in self regulation, calming, and introspection.

i grew up an only child and really had very long periods of time where I played alone and quietly. Lost in my imagination and my thoughts. I really feel that this was a great gift in my life. Of course i wished I had siblings etc, every kid does, until they have them. LOL But really I think the extent of my creativity, thoughtfulness and ability to gain wisdom from my experiences and those of others comes directly from this aspect of my childhood. Of course there are other factors, but this is one I CAN bring to my children. Their alone time is far more limited due to siblings, but I really want to mindfully create opportunities for them to just free play, explore and imagine.

I remember being a little girl and playing with my Barbies. I didn't just do their hair and make them talk about their clothes. This was elaborate imaginative play that I can STILL remember storylines from. I would make entire "movies" as I called them, some would last for a month or so, and others just an afternoon. I had to build the sets, create the characters, choose their voices and styles. It would often take days just to get set up for the actual play part. The blessing here is that my Mother would allow for me to keep these huge "sets" set up in my room, so I could build and build and explore something through to the end, allowing the river to run its full course.

In looking back at this type of play I can see how it helped me to really explore the limits of my own mind and to really create an inner dialog that would carry me through many of life's curves and bumps. I want to give this opportunity to my kids.

So how?

Well currently and for as long as I have had the children, we have allowed a great deal of free play, supplying the open ended toys that allow them to get lost in their little worlds and to not feel that they had a time limit on it. It has been regarded as part of their job, and respected as an essential part of their childhoods. However I can see how having the boys sharing a room can really break up their individual styles and sets them up to really not have their own inner dialog develop. They are playing together and bending and communicating with one another throughout. This is terrific in its own right, but not the goal for this particular thread. (It fits into another)

We are renovating the house and while the boys will likely still want to sleep together, they will have their own rooms and their own spaces to build, explore and play while flowing with their individual stream of consciousness. I know they have very different styles and appreciate their ability to meet in the middle, however they aren't fully exploring themselves with this right now. I really hope having their own space will help with this.

Also we will continue to allow for the time to play in this way to exist. Giving them a free day each week to really just get lost in themselves, as well as the quiet time each day to play in their rooms uninterrupted and open ended.

This gives us three lesson days a week, plus the one day of coop. Together we will have four days of "learning" in a format that is conventional, and then we will have this free day, likely it will be Friday. There is still practice on this day, but the mornings are free.

Right now most of our days are open ended like this, because we are on a break, but I want to be sure to include it into our week, and to recognize it as a priority in our plans and expectations for each week.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Folding in our afternoons

I have struggled with our afternoons and trying to bring in practice time and project times (baking, painting, or crafts). After our conference call today I was really thinking about how or why our afternoons are so unproductive.

I know part of it is that I get tired and so it is too easy to just not do anything but allow for a long amount of quiet time or self-directed play. But also it is because it isnt folded into our rhythm. Initially I thought I really needed to work on that this fall when we get our lessons rolling again, but now after thinking on it for the afternoon I believe that I will begin to fold this in beginning this week. Even if it is just something simple like some practice sheets, or a simple summer craft. I know our mornings are pretty solid, so it will be easier for me to add those in later.

I think this will help us to review some things from last year, and gear us up for the coming lessons this fall, help prevent burn out by folding it in slowly, as well as helping me to iron things out without feeling like I am messing things up if I dont have it all "together" from the get-go.

We have had a really nice break, taking it easy and allowing ourselves to unwind from all lesson style activities. I am looking forward to starting the boys on their practice work and having them brush up on their skills, gearing us up for this fall. It will be pretty easy to start, especially with all the practice activities that we now have from Enki.

So for now I will begin with practice time. We have a lot going on this week with the house renovations, so this will be a good starting point for us. I believe I will start them both off with math practice. We will do that this week and switch next week to writing/handwriting practice. I will also begin folding their reading time into things again. We have slacked off our daily reading over the past few weeks so I want to get back on that train and keep those skills strong.

While I think it is important for skill development and mastery, I really am more interested in the self-discipline and regulation that comes from having something of this nature become a part of their day, and assisting them in forming good habits.

As things come together with some of the in-house renovations, we will begin to bring in more crafts and painting. While GM does Origami quite a bit, and GD draws almost daily, I would love for them to get to explore areas that maybe they dont naturally feel drawn too.

The boys have spent the better part of the summer putting their skills to USE in our lives. Through baking, building, gardening, helping and exploring their daily lives. I love this style of learning and living and will certainly encourage it as much as possible. This practice time, as I mentioned, is about habits, regulation and discipline. Helping them to feel the confidence of mastery in a format that isnt necessarily natural to them. I can recognize the importance of this and want to support it via this afternoon practice time.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Slow and Patient Fall

I decided last Spring to have a really slow and mellow fall this year. IT is so easy to get caught up in all the opportunities and to lose sight of just being home. Mind you, I am the most home based person I know, I really resist leaving home, and it has to be something REALLY good to get us to go. But even still there are a lot of great things in the fall. Lots of festivals, fun class like opportunities and social plans.

So this fall we will not sign up for anything that will mess up us having at LEAST three cosectuative days a week at home. This doesnt include the occasional field trip to a farm or something, but nothing on a regular basis. We chose not to sign back up for Explora this fall, but may revisit that choice in the spring. The kids love it but it falls at a really hard time for us.

We need at least three consecutive days to do our lessons and get our rhythm really rolling. We rock when our rhythm is set and we are flowing through our days. I love that feeling!! I long for it right now with all this house chaos. I really am wanting this to be over, and it barely has begun. I really dont like feeling so torn between all these obligations. It is not how I like to live my life. I know a lot of people thrive on having a long list of to-dos and people say you get more done when your busy, but that only works for me for about a week. Then I crash and burn!!!

Take this Zookeeper thing this week. It is AWESOME!!! I love it, the kids love it and GM is thriving with it. BUT it is killing me at home! I am having a hard time with being up at 5:30 and getting everything together to entertain and feed the two little ones for three hours, and packing GM his snack (cant have the provided one) and being sure we have gas to get throught the 40 minute drive each way. It isnt terrible or anything, but I am TIRED when we get home. The fact that it has been raining everyday for two weeks might not be helping matters. LOL

Anyway, this reminds me, that right now during the "oh look at that" phase of homeschooling, we are opting for the "oh, home is great" perspective! Sticking close to home and enjoying the pace of life that we thrive in. As we roll with this and our rhythm is solid we can add in things that really inspire us. It will be a great way to spend the rest of 2006!!

Off our game

Well, while yesterday was a really great opportunity and a lot of fun for all the kids, it completely through us off our rhythm. The afternoon was basically a blob of inactivity and disequalibrium. The kids were tired, and more importantly, I was really tired too. So while they were being normal tired kids, I just didnt have the patience to handle it or redirect their energy in a positive way. GM and ME ended up in an arguement and the house ended up a mess.

I want to be able to take advantage of all these cool things, but they do take a toll on us at home. The option isnt to not do them, I already opt out of things that are semi-cool. What needs to happen is that I need to find some sort of a reserve of energy to be able to hold the energy in this house together, even when Im tired.

Im aiming for today to be better. I am passing on a park day we usually try to do, I think the animal park will be enough for us today. Then we will come home and try to swing into lunch and quiet time. I cant wait until the construction is done, when the kids have their own spaces, things like quiet time will be so much easier, and productive. Im sure GD and ME would likely nap if they were in their own space, and GM would play solitaire or play legos for a while.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Please DO feed the animals!

Well, I am quite happy and excited to report that the zookeeper day was really terrific. When we got there GM and his friend were both happy and looking forward to going. We joined the rest of the group (mainly older kids 10-12 yrs old) and the leaders in the overlook house. He wasnt shy, and didnt even look back to say goodbye. He was in with the group and ready to start the day.

The other Mom and I walked around with our younger kids and shared some snack etc.. They had a good time too. At one point we saw the boys walking along with some animal food off in the distance. they looked to be chatting and enjoying the day, although the food looked a bit heavy. :-)

After class GM was still really connected and even told me some things about class (usually conveying a story right after, or in direct reply to a question is hard). He even talked on the phone to his Dad and shared stories.

So, today he got to feed the raccoons, the deers, the wolves and he cleaned the glass partition in the javalina house. He said he even got to pet one. He played a game of charades (Oh, what I would have given to see that) and someone guessed what he was (a llama).

The ride home was a bit wild, but they earned it. It is a 3 hour class and they were ready to wind down.

Im really happy with today, and Im really looking forward to tommorow.

NOTE: We did do an Epsom Salt Bath before going this morning, GM even says it helps him to stay calm and centered.

Junior Zookeeper

This week GM will be participating in a program just outside of town where he will get to learn all about the care and support of local animals that have been rescued from one thing or another. There are bears, mountain lions, wolves, lots of birds, elk, and of course reptiles.

Im a little anxious about it, as it is his first things since the new diet changes that he will be doing without me standing near by to help center him.

I find it interesting to see how much more difficult it is for me to let go of this anxious feeling than it is for him. I wonder how many of us Mom's continue to think we are needed to help center our kids when they have actually matured, or had developmental breakthroughs. When really they are fine and we just have to start to feel comfortable with this new stage. I wonder a lot how much I assume about what he can and can not handle.

I guess today we will see. He has a friend who is going too, which could be a good thing, or not. It depends on how they are able to focus when together. They both are really playful when they are together, so this may be good for them. They both have a strong interest in the subject, and the entire thing is an outdoor program. Two big plusses on their side. :-)

I will update this afternoon!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Recent Pics...

We have EGGS!!!

What an exciting weekend we had!!! GM came running in the house cupping something in his hand like it was made of gold or something. He came in our room and opened his hands to reveal a beautiful little egg!

HURRAY!!!!!! We were all so excited!!! Since then we have gotten five more. We know that one of the Barred Rocks and one of the Rhode Island Red's are laying. Renji and Scarlet!!! Maybe others too, we arent sure, but today we witnessed those two trying to lay their eggs in the roosting boxes.

This is a really wonderful thing for GM. He has raised these twelve birds since they were a day old, and now after all the work, we are getting eggs. He is so proud. I am thinking of letting him sell the extras as a way to earn some money for himself. We dont do allowances and such, so this could be a good way for him to learn about responsibility and the rewards of seeing something through.

They are all organic birds, only fed organic feed or organic vegetable scraps. They have a large yard with a tree they love to roost in and a super nice coop that they enjoy very much. I'd say they are the happiest chickens Ive ever met! :-)

I know Im a nerd, but it just makes my heart so happy to think of hi going out each morning to gather that day's eggs for the family. Its just perfect.

What are we using??

I did get a comment on the last post asking what we use and/or the book we used as a guide, and a couple emails with the same questions.

The book has a site called It is very helpful to read through most of the info that may apply to your situation. Also there is a yahoo group you can join from that site and Karen (the author) will answer your questions directly. Also is very helpful and she is terrific about answering questions.

We currently are using AFP Peptizyde chewables, Zyme Prime chewables, and occasionally No-Fenol Chewables. These are the enzymes.

For yeast we are using GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) which I add into our smoothies and another dose in the afternoon for GM. In conjunction with that we are adding zinc to our smoothies to help boost the yeast/gut healing treatment. Magnesium will be next.

GM loves the taste of the enzymes, which is no small feat. He is very picky about food and texture etc, so the big concern about how to get it in them has not been an issue at all. They do make a powdered form which would be good in a smoothie or such, but the chewables are very portable and we can take them with us when we are out and about without any trouble or big t-do.

I hope this helps. :-)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

So, how are those enzymes going???

Well, initially I was a bit concerned that I may be doing things in the wrong order, not having his gut fully healed before beginning the enzymes. BUT, after contact from Karen, who wrote the book I am using, and Dana, from Dana's view, and a consult with a Naturopath, I am feeling really good about it. Better yet GM is feeling really good! Is it miraculous? Maybe, maybe not. It is hard to tell when we are only a week and a half into it. However, we have seen some wonderful awakenings in him, and I will joyfully take any little morsel I can get! Some examples are....

  • We went to the park yesterday and I didnt have to (not even once) guide him through a social situation that he didnt understand or calm him from an emotional breakdown. Something that is usually a very frequent need at open play situations. He participated in a ball game (on his own) meshed in with the kids and eventually even had them interested in his favorite pass-time (using a rock to widdle a stick to a point). I observed him just walking around talking with his other friend, not just running about in an aimless silly over stimulated manner.
  • At the farm yesterday he picked up and bit into a strawberry!!! Oh yeah, a real fruit that has a leaf on it and little seeds all over it. He says he didnt like it, but still he actually put it into his mouth, which was HUGE!!
  • He has noticed and pointed out a sunset, even commenting on its beauty and calling out certain details about it (how the rays come through the clouds).
  • He has expressed interest and confidence in wanting to do some wood carving. Confidence hasnt been too big around here lately, so hearing him say things like, I thik I can do that, and such is big.
  • He has been helpful around the house, voluntarily. Even stopping in mid play to help Dad bring in some bags from the car, or volunteering to go with Dad to the hardware store, and to help me do some measuring at the furniture store. Not something he usually wants to do.
  • He loves the enzymes, and takes them with enthusiasm. He gets them out of the fridge, gets them out of the bottle and eats them happily! He has taken on a (limited amount) of responsibility with taking them at the right time etc... (All self initiated)
  • He is complaining a LOT less, and is much less negative. His little sister is still driving him a little nuts, but NOTHING like before.
  • He is recognizing the change in himself and wants to feel good like this. Even requesting an Epsom Salt bath before going to Grandma's tonight, so he can have a "good night".
  • We arent doing our lessons right now (through the transition) but he is reading on his own more often (Ive caught him reading a book on Egyptology, and some magazines) and he is writing more on his own too, making notes in his notebook that he keeps in his Adventure Pack.
  • He has demonstrated more confidence with his social skills, talking to others with more confidence. He took his money to Farmer Monte and asked to get a bag of food for his chickens, and told him about how they laid two eggs already. Normally he would really clam up in this situation and I would have to step in to keep the other person for getting really uncomfortable.
  • He has developed more of a sense of humor, which is coming from a better ability to "get it" and make connections. He is finding humor in a lot more places now.
  • He is asking questions that are more relevant and positive in nature. "How can I do more with my day", "Can I help with ME and GD to keep them happy"....

Plus more, but this is an example of the many improvements we have seen since beginning with the AFP Peptizyde, Zyme Prime, and the No-Phenol. This is in conjunction with being gluten free for two months, and continuing, also drinking a smoothie which contains all organic fruit, soy yogurt, Flazx Seed Oil, zync, protein powder, GSE and the occasional spinach and carrots.

I believe the smoothies help a lot with getting his body the much needed nutrients it lacks, but until we began the enzymes we really only noticed the die off from the yeast and the detox. The enzymes made an immediate change and have really helped us with encouraging him to WANT to feel good, instead of WANTING to feel badly.

I will continue to post our progress, but right now I would put this on our list of therapy choices that have worked for GM, right along side of the sensory integration therapy he started at 15 months old, HUGE strides!!!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Well a new friend (thanks Kat) suggested that I create one space in our home that is really a retreat away from the chaos of construction. I was ignoring my room for last each day because I think I thought it was selfish to put the tiny amount of energy I had into something that wasnt a part of the mayhem. I hadnt been making our bed or keeping the toys out or even putting the laundry away in an orderly way. But when Kat mentioned that I realized I was doing it backwards, instead of thinking it was wrong of me to use that little energy I had left to do my own space, I realized that it was BECAUSE I wasnt creating that space to rejuvenate. So I did it! Yest I got rid of a bunch of stuff, took out a table in my room that seemed to be just a junk gatherer, washed all our linens, made our bed, dusted everything (the fan, the curtains, the windowsills and our baseboard heaters). It was GLORIOUS! Both my husband and I slept like we havent slept in weeks!!! My husband's last words last night before starting to snore were "wow I love these sheets". LOL

It is important to take that time to create atmospheres that feed our souls and help us find our center again. I know that, but I forgot! I was so caught up in the chaos that I lost site of the very reason we are even doing this renovation. We are trying to create a home that nourishes us. Obviously in that process I need to honor the objective, not just wait for it to begin once the house is done!

Thanks Kat for the reminder, and for helping me remember how important it is to feed myself first, so that I may feed everyone else appropriately!!!

Monday, July 24, 2006


After sorting through a tremendous amount of clothing today and getting rid of four trash bags full (to donate) I came to a revelation! Well, a revelation for me at least. :-)

The largest part of my housework struggles come from dishes and laundry, because they are never ending. However my other issue with laundry comes from the kids having to dig through their drawers to find things, I have tried to hang as much clothing as possible on hangers to keep this from happening, but not enough!

I really dont like to fold laundry. there are times when I am fully caught up, that I enjoy neatly folding our laundry and putting it into clean frewsh drawers, but I can count on one hand the amount of times THAT has happened!!! Plus I tend to fold all the laundry and put it on a dresser or something to "come back to" and of course it is on the floor, being walked on, and Im stuck washing it again!!!

So, with the exception of underclothing, swimsuits etc... We are going hanger only!!! It will be so much easier to get through those last two steps of doing laundry (folding and putting away) if all I have to do is put it on a hanger and hang it!!! Plus then we can see what we have easily, and the younger kids wont be pulling everything out to get to one shirt at the bottom of the pile.

Im so hapy about this, and the fact that I got rid of so much stuff!!! SIMPLIFYING!!! :-)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The nutrition thread...

Our family has really embraced the need to focus on our nutrition over the past year. This has been a long time coming because something in me was really dreading beginning to walk this path, probably because I knew it would have many steep hills, and long dry valleys. However I have somehow managed to surrender to it and embrace the need we have to really focus on nutrition and the relationship we have with our food. It wasnt an overnight thing, nor was it a "tomorrow we will start our new..." we slowly began making small changes by choice and seeing the results.

For us, food can be a very political and even a spiritual issue. More so every day. I really believe we do place a vote every time we pick up our forks. It is such an essential and basic need we all share, and how we choose to address this need can have very large impacts on the world we live in. Just look at the growth of organic foods, I actually saw a commercial (well the tail end of it) the other day for Wal-Mart Organics. I about fell on the floor. They arent starting to focus on that market because of their environmental consciousness, they are answering all those forks who call for organic foods to be on their tips.

Anyhow, so through pursuing our desire to really get rid of all the chemicals in our lives, and breath easier we have evolved into an almost completely organic family. From there we have chosen to also really think about the path our food takes to get to us. What is going on with the seasons, are we eating foods that have to come from the other side of the world just because it is off season?? How about supporting our local environment and supporting the river and the desert with its many water issues? How can we make choices that better support what we really care about, the "essential energy" of our food choices?

We started out by only shopping at the coop and occasionally at the larger stores in town when we needed something the coop didnt have. Then we began to wonder what it was that the coop didnt carry, and why? So we now shop mainly at the coop. Before we moved here I found out about Los Poblanos Organics, the local CSA. We joined right after arriving here in town. Best choice we ever made regarding our food. Now we can get our milk, eggs, veggies, fruit, beef, chicken, salmon and bread there if we so choose. All direct from the farmer and at wholesale prices. WooHoo! I also mentioned in an earlier thread our need to eat our foods without processing. We try to eat only whole foods and to buy just base ingredients. Making most everything from scratch. It calls for a baking day, but I love it and the kids love helping with it so...

Okay sorry, I get all excited about this now! Here is my list of essentials...
  • Responsible consumerism with our food choices, buying local, in season foods as direct from the farmer as possible. Moving up the teared system to the local coop before heading to the chain Whole Foods stores.
  • Eating Organic, including our meats, raising our own eggs, and making our foods from scratch.
  • Special diet issues; GM and my diet of being GF, and soon to be CF. Tying in enzymes and supplements to help him work toward his optimum functionality. (Which by the way, are working really well).

This has been a lot to undertake and probably the reason why it took me so long to embrace it. However I feel it is really the largest part of my roll as a Mother. To provide a healthy diet that really supports and nourishes my family, while making choices that support the environment. I really do feel good when I can do this for us.

The issue: Snacks and lazy days!!!!

You will win or lose this quest with snacks. It is hard to have a yummy snack on hands that is really going to always fit within the above essentials. I am really getting better at trying to keep snacks on hand that suit us, and bringing them with us on outings so we arent forced to buy something on location that really doesnt work for us.

Also lazy nights. We are really under renovations over here and trying to not just grab a burger isnt easy. Well it is easy for GM and I because we dont eat them, but it is hard for my husband and the other two kids. I am going to try to start making some meals and freezing them so that on those crazy or lazy days we can just pop something in the oven and still meet our goals, without the hard work.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Heart of the Matter

There is a section of one of the Enki guides that deals very much with getting to the heart of the matter. With Enki this is in relation to the various subjects. Why do people do circle, or movement, or math, or Language Arts??? Beth breaks it down to the "essential energy" of the matter and really helps to bring great clarity to the topic.

With the threads I was talking about the other day, this is what I am trying to accomplish. I want to really identify the essential energy of what i am doing in my life and for my family and through recognizing it, make the effort to honor and nurture it.

Is there an essential energy to housework?

Yes, I believe their certainly is. For me that energy is coming from a need to provide my family with a home environment that nurtures us and supports our efforts. I am trying to look at each room and figure out how can i make this space really support us. Is their too much stuff and it is overwhelming to be in? Do we need better seating or lighting for comfy snuggled reading, or a set of good chairs for the kids to sit at while doing their writing, or a sink that fits my stones in it so I can clean them properly? I want to be sure that the choices I make in our home will set us up for less frustration and more success in our tasks. Of course it is important to me for it to be a beautiful space. I am very visual and having balance and beauty around us is very important. I also spend a great eal of my life and the lives of our chilren within our home. This is our starting point and our ending point, and on most days. our entire point. :-) We play here, we relax here, we nurture ouselves when we are ill, we eat, we entertain, we LIVE here. So of course this should be a wonderful space. My mother is a wonder at making wonderful spaces from hardly anything, I was able to learn a lot growing up about how important it is to surround yourself with beauty, no matter where you are. She could turn an old apartment into what looked like a big house by just taking the time and adding into it her love and her energy. So Im not talking fancy, or costly, just lovely and a space you want to be in.
Another aspect of the essential energy of our home is tradition. The creation of ritual around our regular tasks and lives. It is important to me that the kids feel a sense of importance in the simplicity of our lives. That they view our home as a part of our family and the choices we make for it, as important and having an impact on their lives. Dinner is served here, on this holiday we...., the tooth fairy always leaves the gem here.... things of this nature. A reverance for the daily. It is my honest belief that a lot of people view the home as last in their lives, and often feel that the glory in life is found outside the home. While I agree that a lot of amazing success and glory can be found outside the home, it is also my belief that the ability to recognize it when it comes stems from having a respect and understanding of home as the foundation for our lives. We never make decisions about career that will negatively effect our homelife, and when things turn that way, we pull back and reorganize so that home and family are again number one. So anyway, Im getting off track here, but having a reverence from what some people may feel is mundane, or routine, helps to build a respect for the home as a foundation and an essential platrform for success and joy.

So, in thinking it through now, I feel I have three main points or that the "Essential Energy" of housework and homemaking are...

  • A means to nurture and support our family. Creating simplicity and a true usefulness with the choices we make for how to set our home up.
  • Surrounding ourselves with beauty to inspire and feed our souls.
  • Traditions and reverance. Creating a sense of importance in what we do within our home to allow us to honor this space as essential to our lives and our happiness.

So now to figure out how to get there!!!! Well, I really think the earlier thread regarding needing less will help us out in the simplicity and functionality of our home. We are trying to make choices to add things into our home that support the need for storage, for everything to have it's space, and to help with beauty and surrounding ourselves with inspiration. We are also trying to create spaces that support our needs for tradition or reverence. Although a slow process, it is coming along.

I need to harness this energy and use it when I am cleaning my house, remembering that I am not just doing chores, but I am moving within the energy of our home and supporting my family in a way that shows them love and helps us all feel nurtured and cared for.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Im inflicted!!!

Yes, it is true! I have a severe case of procrastination. If I had to list one thing about myself that I really dont like or enjoy, it would be my extreme procrastination. I do everything at the last moment, I cant even imagine doing it until right up against the deadline. Im like this with bills (hence the idiot account) with cleaning, and with going places, well with everything. When I think about how much easier and full my life would be if I just didnt put everything off until the last minute... Im floored.

See the problem with being a procrastinator isnt that you do everything in the last minute, heck I think sometimes I work best in a crunch, but it is the paralyzing effect on your brain and your ability to do anything. It isnt that "Oh yeah, I will deal with that tomorrow" it is constantly thinking about, dreading, dragging out chores or whatever until you are so exhausted by it you cant even face actually tackling the task at hand. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is really the truth.

Case in point; we moved all the boys stuff into ME's room (which she doesnt use) so we could take down two walls in our house, no biggie right??? Well, now that room is CHAOS, and I mean really insane. It has been this way since last Friday, the kids are bouncing off the walls because they dont have anywhere to unwind and feel at peace, I am beyond exhausted just from thinking about how I am going to make this whole thing work, and I am sitting here at my computer typing about it instead of going in there and just DOING IT and moving on with my life. I have had dreams about it, I have reached the point that even walking in there makes my blood pressure rise (I know this because when my blood pressure rises, my teeth hurt). UGH!!! I need help!

Oh I have tasted success, and I know the glory in just getting something checked off your list, believe me I have a LONG list, and I do accomplish a lot in a day, but things like this, things that somehow slip into that "crazy lady" part of my brain, just freeze me in my steps. I allow it to realy take over my life and then NOTHING gets done because I am in this strange mode of inability and exhaustion. I wonder if it is a nutrition thing having to do with energy sometimes, or if Im just a nut job??

However, I have now admitted I have a problem and I plan on taking it on, facing it and moving on with my life!!! I will get my iPod out, listen to Donna Simmons second grade lecture and move some tail. I have found that if I am listening to something on my ipod or talking on the phone (something I never do anymore) it entertains that weirdo part of my brain that freezes me up, and allows my body to just move through it until, BAM it's done. I guess it is a mental thing after all!!!

Please tell me other poeple (besides me, and a couple of ladies I know) are inflicted with this insanity!!!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Generation Renovation

No, we havent fallen off the planet, but we have been sucked into the renovation black hole. Im hoping to be spit out the other side some time this fall. Currently we are working on the renovations that are inside of the house we are living in. The addition is coming in a week or so, and lets just say chaos definitely creates chaos!

Projects this week...
  • meeting with the countertop guy and finalizing the design
  • electrician (dear friend Sal) fixing the electrical issues that come from ripping down two walls.
  • Also installing recessed lighting in the dining area
  • Meeting with the contractor and finalizing the design for the addition
  • Removing the front closet and the wall between the entryway and the hall.
  • Fixing all the floors from the wall removal
  • Removing the tile floor from the entry way.

So basically Im coming up for air here and there but my current obsession is with sucking up all the drywall dust that has taken over my ENTIRE world!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


UGH!! I was so annoyed the other day when writing about how I tend to give inanimate objects personalities because although I studied it in depth in college, I COULD not remember the word for it! ANTHROPOMORPHISM!!!!!!!!! Huge exhale, and relief. Dont you just hate it when you KNOW something, but your maternally stressed and starving brain cant remember the darn word!!! Unfortunately I wasnt the one who remembered it, I kept walking around the house trying to remember it, annoying my husband who then asked someone at work (with a well fed brain) and now, I have relief! Thank you Polly for helping those of us who have lost 2/3 of our vocabulary to childbirth.

Friday, July 14, 2006


This is a newsletter entry from Monte Skarsgard, our CSA farmer. I really enjoyed this entry and asked his permission to post it here on my blog to share with those who dont get the benefit of his weekly musings. Enjoy!!

A tragic thing happened to a close friend of ours recently. He and his wife were just relaxing outside and taking in the beautiful summer morning. The next thing you know, they were flying down the road to get their puppy to the vet. The puppy was struggling after having a seizure.Luckily, they got her to the vet on time and she was already coming out of her scary seizure when they arrived. The vet said that she would be fine, but wanted to keep her to run some tests to try and determine the cause of this episode.Later that afternoon, the vet called with the news. “All of her blood looks to be fine. She has no genetic problem. No sign of chronic seizures. But there was one thing in the tests that alarmed me. She has a high level of toxicity in her liver. Is she around a lot of fertilizers?” Gulp.It seems that in an effort to have the prettiest yard on the block, the dog inadvertently got sick from the use of a popular fertilizer, Miracle Gro. You know which one I am referring to...that fertilizer that looks like Kool Aid. Yes, that one.So why bring this up? Why highlight a family’s tragedy? Well, I truly think that we need to examine this and look at the implications that it has for all of us. And for our animals and children.Enter my low profile soap box. The Mini Cooper of soap boxes, if you will.To begin with, I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to sell Organic cut flowers and people routinely say, “who cares if they are Organic? It is not like you eat them??” That is usually accompanied with a weird look, by the way.The truth is, though, that we should all care about every aspect of our lifestyles being free from harmful chemicals, and not just remain vigilant about those that we eat. A toxin is a toxin whether we get it from our oranges, or from our bare feet as we run around in the grass. Our bodies do not differentiate. Never have and never will. And make no mistakes about it, we are under attack. There are chemicals all around us. Your neighbor has Chem(ical) Lawn come and blanket their yard. City employees stroll the medians with backpacks spraying Round-Up to kill weeds. And dryer pad companies use cute stuffed animals to mask the fact that you are coating your clothes with chemicals. It is a flat out assault.And so because of that, we must take control of what we can control. Gawd knows that there is enough out there that we cannot control.So here is what I am getting to. We are living in a great time in history. The same science that brought us the chemical revolution, the “Green Revolution,” has caught up with itself and is now questioning its efficacy. With that, Organic systems are starting to match the production levels of those (un)conventional growers. Furthermore, the veil of ignorance has been lifted on the harmful effects caused by these chemicals that were once thought to be benign. We as a nation know too much to sit idly back and claim that the intelligence was not available. Ignorance may at times be blissful, but it does not mean that we will never have to suffer the consequences of our actions. Or inactions as it may be.So here is my hope on this Independence Weekend. My hope is that we all may find the path to living a healthy lifestyle. Because in the end, a healthy community is just the mere sum of the health of its inhabitants. No special equations, just grade school arithmetic. Sum of the parts.Lastly, the great part is that as we construct a healthy community, more people will join us in the effort. Almost like the snowball being rolled from a hillside gathers momentum and mass. So keeping with that analogy, we will pretty soon become an unstoppable Organic snow man or snow woman. And that will be awesome!

Happy 4th fellow Patriots, Farmer Monte

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Screen time...

In the effort to need less, one addiction I have is for screen time. I am the only one in the family who really has to fight the urge to check my email, or watch last night's Daily Show. So my new thing is to try not to have any screen time between the hours from 9am to 9pm. That is not far from where we are now, accept for the computer. The laptop has made it very easy for me to check in on things here and there. I want to really see if I can improve my laundry and housekeeping skills if I can focus even a fraction of the energy I use "checking in". We'll see, but I think overall it will be a good thing.

The kids are easy, they dont crave screen time, except for GD, and with him it is a movie thing. He has ALWAYS been in love with movies. I swear the child will work in the movie or theatre industry some day. It is a passion for him. So he will have some movie time here and there, but it is not a MUST for him. the boys do get some computer time on one of the weekend days. They love to play Zoo Tycoon, or roller Coaster Tycoon. I dont mind that so much, it is fun, non-violent and I must say they sure do know a lot about what those animals require to survive. Is it within what I really want for them? No, but it isnt against it either.

So that is another way that I am trying to "need less".

Gathering all the threads...

As I mentioned on Monday I am feeling a bit like we have a lot of threads just sort of flying about in the air. Some are old and I can let them go, while others are continuous and need to be woven into our lives in a way that is meaningful and complete, and still others are relatively new. All together trying to gather them up and find how they best fit into this tapestry has become quite the preoccupation of mine. I am currently in a conversation with a few other families about how we are trying to gather our vision and priorities in a way that sets us up to be more mindful in our daily lives. It has been good for me to try to illuminate what it is I am doing and why, and to try to really search out areas where we can simplify things.

So as I am thinking on them I will post them here...
  • Need Less: This one is first because it flows throughout everything else. I am trying to have this in mind when making all other decisions. I am trying to really be mindful of what we buy and bring into our home as well as trying to clear out what is already here. I struggle with this because I definitely tend to assign personalities to inanimate objects, so parting with some things is really hard and I usually have to look the other way. This is especially true for anything that has served our family, to get rid of it feels so disrespectful. I know Im a crazy lady, but I really do feel guilty about even thinking about how I need a new car that is better for the environment. Our car has served us so well, never breaking down, keeping us comfortable, trecking us safely across country and back many many times. It isnt it's fault it is a gas guzzling car. I feel so guilty about using something up and then just releasing it. Oh God, Im probably going to be some crazy old lady surrounded by all this random stuff I cant part with because I feel too guilty. LOL

So in the interest of needing less here are my priorities, some things we already do, some we are working on, some we will always have to work on:

  • Clean out the STUFF!!! I want everything to have a place, and get rid of the concept of "junk drawers" or storage, with the exception of holiday regalia and baby clothes.
  • Buy base ingredient foods. Buy rice for rice and rice flour, buy cream for baking and making butter, buy peanuts for snacks and making peanut butter. I want to use less packaging and certainly less preservatives.
  • Toy simplification, get rid of the disposable toys (broken, poor quality) Keeping only the toys they play with regularly (stuffed animals, legos, playfood and board games)
  • Chemical free living (cleaners, yard, bathing, detergents, garden)
  • Downsize clothing collection (way too many clothes that dont fit us)
  • Work out our transportation issues for dh. Get a hybrid or E85 vehicle for him.
  • Ride our bikes more. If I can get my leg muscles up, I could bike to most places we love to go, however it will require my riding tandom with GM while pulling a bike trailer with ME and GD in it (180 lbs of kids). Sooo, Im working on it.
  • Use less electricity!!! Im bad at this, and need to really focus in on it. Improve our passive solar use.
  • Use less water!!! We do well with this, but can certainly improve.
  • Borrow and trade more, rather than buying. (tools etc..)

There are more, and as Im going through the house today, Im sure I will think of more. That is the point. I want to be mindful of these values, and then really set up priorities to support them.

Slowly I will gather the threads we want and cut loose the ones that are tying us up in knots. It is a long, ongoing process, but one that I really do want to be present within. Im trying...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


We had a really nice morning today. GM and ME and I spent a quiet, long morning outside. GM played in the chicken yard for over an hour before deciding to build a sandcastle tunnel on the playground. ME played with her little duck animal thing GD got her last night at our big Target outing. I watered the gardens, pulled some weeds and sat in the shade with my coffee enjoying watching them play so quietly. It was silent except for the birds. What a great way to wake up the day.

GD was sleeping in, he is growing right now and seems to be alternating with GM on the sleeping in thing. Yesterday GM slept until 9am and today GD slept until the same time. They go to bed at a good time, but the growing has them working hard in their sleep so they just need that extra time. I never wake them. I never have. I guess I should say that I am lucky not to have kids who if they sleep until 9am wont go to bed until 11pm. They still go to sleep at around 9pm, some days later, some days right at 9pm.

Anyhow, it was a nice morning, the kind of morning I would love to have each day. It is nice to get a glimpse of what Im after here and there. It helps me to keep moving forward with my efforts. I just loved sitting out there soaking in the time with the kids so engaged in their own things, the morning breeze blowing by and a great cup of coffee. Does it get any better than that??? It doesnt hurt that our garden is looking TERRIFIC right now. We have had some rains that have really encouraged a lot of abundance!!! In fact while sitting there watching the moment I kept thinking of that word... abundance... the garden, the kids, the breeze, the coffee, the sunshine, the quiet... it was an abundant morning.

Park time...

So yesterday was the first park day of the summer fro us. We chose to hang low on free, unstructured play until GM's detox process leveled off a bit, and boy am I glad we did. He had a really hard day. At first he was so happy to go and I was pleased with the balance in his anticipation (I didnt tell him until we were packing our lunches) he seemed happy to go, but not hyper about it. So that was one area of improvement.

He had a good time at first, just getting to say hi to his friends etc. But then he was having a really hard time integrating with the other kids. They were there before us and had a game of sorts going, including a couple kids he isnt too familiar with, and he felt like he was being ignored. He wasnt, but this is where his negative mindset take him. They dont like me anymore, they dont want me to play with them, they wish I wasnt here......

So finally after several attempts and a few tears, he made his way into the group and found a way to play with them. So this was good for a while, and he was laughing and enjoying the interaction for quite some time. There was the issue of the little kids, he struggles with little kids and doesnt seem to have an understanding of them being in a different stage than he is. He gets very frustrated with them, and confused when they throw sand at him, or break down his sand castle etc... It should be noted he is terrific with little kids on a general basis, it is the four year old range that confuses him. They seem tall, they talk, they seem to be "with him" and then the sand flies or someone stomps on his castle and he just breaks down. This happened a few times, and finally he just went into full melt down. Crying , went to the car to go home, wanted to leave so badly. It was so sad to see him so angry. He, of course wasnt able to just contain the particular incident, it had to snowball into how "all" little kids "hate" him, and how they wish he wasnt alive, and how they just want to hurt him..... Yeah, I know!!!

While I also wanted to take him home and snuggle him and help him to understand (yet again) that they are really still very much itty bitty kids, but in bigger kid bodies etc... I decided it was important for him to choose to stay. I wanted us to leave on a good note. I wanted to help him walk through the frustration and experience the turn around of events. Luckily, his friends (the kids in the 7-9 age range) were sad that he was so upset, and they came together and came to GM and asked if they could help him rebuild his castle, and that they wanted to help him feel better. They were empathetic, telling him, "yeah, that stinks when that happens, but...." It was beautiful! I was so happy for him. He was of course oblivious to this wonderful gesture and couldnt get off of how little kids were sent here to destroy his life, but I asked him to stop and breath for a moment and take notice of the blessing. Here are your friends, who love you, reaching out to you to support you and to help you to feel better. Enjoy that, and let them support you. Which he did! It was so great, they all started working on the castle, and laughing and having fun, even some of the little kids came to help. I was thrilled! Until his brother lept through the air right on top of it! Hey, it isnt a Lifetime Movie!!!!

He had a giant scream, and then all the kids started jumping on it, and encouraging him to do the same, even the Mom's were like, "Go, GM" he did it, he laughed and enjoyed it a bit. Although with a bit of grumpiness underneeath.

The real beauty moment was when we were driving home, I was talking with him in a very un-enki yet mother of an Autsitic child manner.... "Wow, GM isnt it wonderful when things seem so down and you realize that you have the love and support of your friends to help you get through it." He was like yeah, that really helped me. Then .... he said it.... "And when they are down I can help them feel better too." Oh yeah! Empathy!!!! Reciprocal relationship!!!! Connection!!!!

Do you hear the angels singing!!!! LOL I sure do!!!

Of course later in the day, he again began to wollow in the negativity of those darn "little kids". But it was brief and things mellowed out. However, in the full picture, although rough riding, the day brought some real growth and hopefully we will be able to move through more things like this.

I am so grateful for the children, who came together without adult coertion and decided that GM was important to them, and that they could help him. Talk about your blessings!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tuesday, continuing with Baby Steps

Okay, just a quick list to get my head straight for the day.

  • Garden, water, weed, and redirect more vines from the watermelon and pumpkins
  • Tend the animals
  • Check in with the Enki online group (during my coffee time)
  • Waffles for the kids, smoothies for GM and I
  • Pack a lunch for the park
  • Park time with friends
  • Pet shop to get pinkies for Oreo, and crickets for Phillup (yeah it spelled that way)
  • Pick up our veggies and milk from Los Poblanos
  • Home
  • Storytime (reread the story from yest afternoon)
  • Paint more of the wall in the yard
  • find the countertop guy's phone number
  • Bake gf cookies with GM
  • Date night with GD (dinner and target)
  • Read more of my Enki guides, also review doing the Enki Web activity
  • Check in with the Enki online group
  • Sleeeeeeeep. :-)

Okay so that is the rough outline. Im trying to be sure that I am touching on each of my priorities. No morning walk today, park instead, also no movement due to our several hours of outdoor time. I need a chart of a key system for making sure I am touching on each of the things I want to within each day. However as goofy as this is, it is working for me. LOL

Monday, July 10, 2006

Baby Steps...

Okay, so it is Monday morning and here I am on this darn computer! Anyway, it is my coffee time (a part of my rhythm I dont seem to miss very often).

So I am really having a hard time with juggling the many facets of my life right now, the kids, the house maintenance, the renovations, the garden, the baking, detoxing GM and myself, the cooking, the reading and research, the ......

I decided to try to track myself and my day for a week of trying to combine all these facets. Obviously the number one thing is the children, so I want to be certain that they arent falling through the cracks of all this other stuff I have going on. the other things will need some attention each day in order to move forward with the things I want to achieve this summer. So unfortunately for anyone who reads this, I will be logging my babysteps on my blog. It is a stange form of accountability, and it allows me to look back on it and see where I fell down, and most importantly how I got back up.

So for this morning (pre lunch)

  • Breakfast, start some bread to rise ME and I made some homemade gluten free waffles topped with the butter we made this weekend. She really enjoyed mixing the batter and watching for the green light on the waffle maker. It was fun to do with her, and she really did do a good job, she didnt slow me up at all. I also made a smoothie protein drink for GM and I, ME and GD are not big fans, but since they eat all the ingredients whole, I dont worry about it. They ate while I made some bread. One full loaf and three mini loaves which work really well for larger grilled panini style sandwiches.
  • Morning Walk Well, this was cut short because we took our dog and he was just too hard to keep with us while trying to sing our songs and do our movement. We did do a little balance walking on the curbs, and we found some nice plants to explore.
  • Get bread baking Done
  • Dishes I did this before our walk so I wouldnt come back to all those baking dishes, plus I had to do two dishwasher loads, since we didnt do them last night. On a side note, if you havent already, please investigate what dishwasher detergent you use, it can actually be the most toxic thing you use in your home, effecting what you eat and the air your breath. We use Seventh Generation, I love the green apple! It makes the whole kitchen smell YUMMY!!!
  • Call the countertop guy Im trying to find the magazine that has his number in it...
  • Start laundry from the weekend started!
  • Paint one of the portions of the wall in the yard (just too excited about that) Have the kids help Well I got a good stretch done with one coat. I really love the way the color is looking. It is SO much better than the grey concrete color it was before. I also covered the top of the kids playground with soe fabric i like better than that shocking blue color it was. It was really bothering me. The kids helped for all of eight minutes, so I only got to do a bit before having to come in and be sure they were being okay inside the house. I'll do more tomorrow.

Then we will come in for lunch....

  • Lunch time Buffalo hotdogs for ME and GD, GF Quesadilla for GM, hummus and gf crackers for me.
  • Storytime (another of our Jataka tale storybooks)
  • Get the kids started on a project unless they want to help me in ME's room
  • Quiet time (read more of my Enki foundations guide for the book study Im participating in)

From there Im not sure... More to come!

I made butter!

Okay, so Im a HUGE nerd, but I did it! I made two different kinds of butter this weekend. I was so giddy about it too, geez!!!!

Basically I took two little half pints of organic heavy cream and put it into the Vita Mixer and paddled and blended it until the whey pulled away and BAM, butter!!! So then I made one have a little bit of sea salt, and the other has local honey. Im so darn happy with it and how yummy it is. The kids were quite impressed with me. LOL I believe we will be adding this to our Sunday baking and kitchen time. It was just too fun. Also a bit cheaper than regular organic butter in the stores.

Now Im just waiting for those birds to start laying and WOOHOO we will be off and running!!!!

On a side note, I also made gluten free tortillas that were terrific, and some corn tortillas from corn I ground myself (in the Vita Mixer). Mmmmmmm

My husband was laughing and teasing that I could go back in time, I said only if I could take my Vita Mix with me!!!! :-)


Well it has been quite the eventful weekend. Unfortunately the one big thing we love to do each year fell through the cracks, but for good reason.

We were very busy on Friday getting the garage emptied out and finishing building and filling the shed. GM got to help Dad a lot on the building of the shed, and seemed to have a pretty good time with it. It was basically a big snap together sort of project, but with LEGO boy, it was a hit!!

Saturday we walked around the house and yard thinking out the details for all the renovations, how many plugs in here, will we continue the wood floors into the kids rooms, should we replace all the windows in the house, or just try to clean and reseal the ones that we have??? Also on Saturday we had our first contractor come out and talk with us about what we want. He is working up our bid, we had another (an old school friend of my husband's) come out on Sunday.

On another note a new yahoo group got rolling for Enki users. Im so happy to have this new support and a sense of community. I think it will really help me with some questions, or just feeling like others are in or have been in a similar space as I am. The group is private, and only for people who are Enki book owners, but that is good because we can really dredge through our questions and thoughts without feeling like we may be misrepresenting Enki to those who dont have it, or possibly coming up against some copyright issues. There is also a sense of comfort coming from the fact that we can name our kids names, or talk about the towns we live in etc without feeling strange or too open to those with different intentions.

Dh starts his new job today, this has been a big thing in our lives that I havent really been able to write about, but he was offered a position with a company that he was working for via another company. It is a great opportunity for him, and he is really excited about it, although the transition made him feel uneasy. He didnt want to hurt anyone's feelings where he was working or leave them feeling like he somehow hurt them. He really likes the guys he was working with and has a lot of respect for them, I think the thought of them being upset with him made him feel uneasy. But, in the end they totally understood that he couldnt pass it up, and have been great to him. So things feel better and he is definitely resting more comfortably.

So, what is going on this week...
  • Finish our blueprints for the house projects
  • Move the boys into ME's room so we can demo theirs for the new dining area
  • Paint the wall that is around our yard
  • Read each day, do our morning and evening rhythm
  • Tend the gardens (we got all the fall plants in this weekend)

Those are the big things, I will post more on the daily later.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Well, let me clarify...

I think I need to clarify my plans for this summer. We will continue our Enki throughout!!! However I will not be introducing new topics or lessons within a "lesson" format. So basically we will be continuing..

  • Morning rhythm
  • Yoga
  • Movement (continuing to add new songs and movements so we are in full gear by this fall)
  • REading summer nature stories at bedtime
  • Reading our Jataka tales as a family
  • Independent reading (GM from his Waldorf Reader, GD from the books of his choice)
  • We are doing a Cultural Art series this summer in Santa Fe. So this will be the craft portion for us right now, however it is a great program with tinwork, weaving, retablos etc.
  • Math will be via experience, mainly in cooking and construction but also in some family games.
  • Adventure Bags: We got each of the boys a nice canvas bag that hangs cross shoulder from Williamsburg a few years ago. GM calls it his Adventure bag, he keeps some paper for spontaneous Origami, some pencils and a nice mini sketch pad I got him. He takes it with us everywhere and will often stop and make notes. Im happy to see this spontaneous writing from him and will be letting that unfold naturally a bit this summer. I see the seed is there and growing, so I want to be certain not to smuther it out with too much formalization. GD writes continuously, so his seed is in full form and will be ready this fall for his first grade lessons on writing etc...
  • Watercolor painting. We will be beginning to explore wet on wet watercolor painting. GM loves to do this, and with the warm weather it is the perfect time to be outside on the porch painting.
  • Evening Rhythm

So I guess when I say we arent going to be doing lessons, what I mean is we wont be doing any formal "blocks" we will be using this time to explore, and experience. We will be mindful of our time and pulling our rhythm together. Along with all the other stuff I listed in the previous post, health, house, rhythm, garden etc....

Having the rest of the first Grade materials now available will be a terrific help to me with both the first AND the third grade planning. Being able to see the nuts and bolts of the daily process will help me to better form what I am planning for third grade. Im very excited about this coming year. I feel so much more prepared and I feel that taking the summer to re-read the Foundations Guides and reading through the books again and again will help me to really feel good this year, instead of feeling like I am barely a minute ahead of the kids with my planning. This will be a big relief. With the house stuff done too, I will be able to focus all of my being to the kids and what we are doing with our time together. I can hardly wait. I cant stand feeling like my focus is so divided. Getting the house stuff done, and spending the time with planning will hopefully really help to support me and my health. I feel that the areas that we fell behind on this year stemmed from my own exhaustion and burn out. So I am trying to be realistic and mindful of setting myself up in a good position for potential success.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Garden update

Well the garden is coming along pretty well. I love being out there pulling weeds, watering, and moving watermelon vines or cassava melon vines so that they grow inside the garden rather than in the paths. I really feel so good when Im out there. It is my meditation time. I can just focus on what is happening out there, and spend time with each plant, rather than thinking about all I have to do today, I can have some time just focussing on what is right in front of me. I love the clucking of the chikens and the smell of the moist soil. It is just such a wonderful time in our day. We have suffered some sad attacks this year. We lost several wonderful plants to cut-worm, and one of our Big Max pumpkin plants was under seige from squash bugs. GM realized how much the chickens love to eat them and now enjoys picking them off and feeding his birdsw with them. I cringed at first and thought it was a terrible idea, until they killed one of our plants, then I became a lot less concerned about how they go, just so long as it is chemical free, and effective. I cant do it, but he has no problem with it.

We have some wonderful super tall sunflowers growing out there right now, they are already much taller than I am, and still growing. A few of the shorter ones are starting to give us flowers, but most of them are still stretching for the sun. We have some terrific sugar baby watermelons, cassava melons and an abundance of basil which requires constant trimming. It is so much fun to see how much each thing grows in just a day.

This weekend we planted two varieties of carrots, some tomatillos and some lemon cucumbers. Over the next few days we will get our corn, more pumpkins, more sunflowers, beans, squash and more tomatoes.

The garden is all organic, we got our soil from Soilutions and built raised beds to help maintain the soil and depth. We are growing everything from seed, so when somthing dies it is so sad to see, plus the need to plant on a staggered schedule becomes even more important.

We do have a little hobby greenhouse, well technically it is a hot house (no artificial heat source). It is a six by six little house that sits out in the garden. Right now it is just TOO HOT to plant anything in there. I think I will get a sun cover for it so we can start getting some more summer use out of it. Mainly we hope to use it this winter to grow some letuuces and possibly see how long we can keep tomatoes going. It will be an experiment.

The girls are doing great! We enjoy them so much and love taking care of them. I water them each morning and GM is in charge of feeding them. They are lucky enough to get all organic feed from Los Poblanos and we only give them vegetable scraps from organic foods, and the occasional squash bug. :-) They have so much room to roam and play that so far, we havent had any pecking order issues. This was really important to me because Im weird and want happy birds, all of them. I know it is just their nature, but I figure if it is possible to have them all happy enough to not feel threatened, then yeeha!!! We also havent had to clip their wings. Another thing I just wasnt "feeling". We will have to build a larger (taller) fence to the one side because our neighbor has two German Shepards who may enjoy a chicken snack should one fly over the fence. They do have a great tree in their yard, and have recently taken to roosting in it. That just tickles me!!! So cute!!!!

We are building their nesting boxes right now from some great wood we found in the garage during the clean out. We could be getting eggs antime in the next few weeks! I can hardly wait!!! They will be so fresh and pure, and just perfect for our whole foods, fresh from scratch eating habits we are trying to accomplish.

Not only is this a terrific way for Mom to have some meditationesque time, and a wondeful way for us to support our eating habits, but it is a terrifc learning space as well. It isnt amazing to the kids that these great plants grow from seeds we started in little tiny pots, but that is good. My husband and I are more amazed because we grew up in the grocery store generation. The kids think it is cool, but are sort of like "yeah, of course that is how that grows". Precisely the way I want them to see it. So when in a store they can see something and relate to how it is actually grown, or raised, or baked. Having and tending a garden with some little chickens really nourishes our family on many important levels! We love it!!!