Saturday, July 24, 2010

Growing-Up

My two oldest, Monkey and Rex-C, have just completed their first paying job outside of our home. They looked after four children while their mothers were busy but in the same room/area. It boggles my mind that they are big enough, old enough, responsible enough to have a babysitting gig. When did that happen?

The transition between child and adult is so gradual, sometimes painfully so, when they repeat the same childish mistakes over and over and over again. When they refuse to remember to do the chore you've told them every morning for a year to do. When they behave like children...wait...they are children. Aren't they?

I get lost trying to know when I should expect what, from whom, at what age. Just that sentence is confusing enough let alone thinking along thous lines. I pray often that they would grow-up...er...mature, and become more responsible. God always seems teach me through my experiences. Shouldn't my children learn through theirs? Do I expect God to just poof my kids with maturity? Look what happens....

To have a job for an hour and a half...is that my boy, who sometimes has trouble being kind to his brother, he is being kind and helpful to a younger boy. My boy who tends to get angry so easily; he is showing so much patience.

Well...Why not my boys? They have grown so much. Little by little they have become, if not men, at least young men. They help with their sister all of the time. Just today they fed her some banana so I could make lunch. They fold laundry, help make meals, shower daily and many other grown-up-ish tasks.

But what about their hearts? What about my heart? I think that is what it really comes down to. Is my heart ready? They will keep growing, hearts, minds, souls and bodies, given opportunity. But my heart? Will it continue to swell with joy while simultaneously breaking from letting go? Do I bandage my heart and step back, hold back (hold them back) to save the ache, or do I plunge in head first into this roll of mother to young men and relish every moment while my heart breaks...and grows.

What a ride. Don't forget to hang on!

Summer Learning

Summer Rocks! We've had so much rain that there has been very little time spent outside. So when the sun is shining you won't find us indoors. Boys need to run and run they will. It's better if we are outside.

Our home education never stops. (We been home schooling for 6 years and I still can't come up with a phrase that I feel comfortable with...home schooling...boring; home education...pretentious; child led learning...sounds like I've read to many books on the topic. The last might be the closest.) The best school for my boys is when they don't even know that they are learning at all.

Just being outside is a great teaching tool. They found snails (one with eggs on it's back,) leaches, minnows that they couldn't catch. Hills to run on, flowers to smell. Sticks to find, compare and chase each other with while I'm praying that everyone still has all their eyes at the end of the day. No pictures of that, I was busy not looking ; )

These are not all my children. The five on the right are mine and the two on the left belong over here.

(Just as a side note...I hope I get better at this format. Two hours I have spent on this, mostly trying to get it to look right, and I'm still not happy with it. Grrr. Typing this note has probably thrown everything haywire again...I'm past caring.)

So here we are...




Phys. Ed.




















Reading...









Science...









Drama...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Good Food...Good Soil



I love dirt!

To be a little more exact, I love microbes. Nematodes, protozoa, Bacteria, fungus, mycelium and many more fascinate me. One of my favorite books is Teaming with Microbes. I know way to much about compost, but I feel I must learn more. Seeing what was waste turn into something akin to gold (although different in colour) thrills me. There are composting worms in my home and I look at them everyday. Experimenting with compost/worms/bacteria/bokashi/fermenting is something I an passionate about.

People have looked at me strangely while picking-up bagged leaves out of back alleys.
We try not to throw away anything that can so easily be turned into compost. If you throw away compostibles (that you probably paid for, so your throwing away your money, you might even have to pay/bag for garbage pick-up) then buy fertilizer for your veggies...well it doesn't make sense to my distracted, yet highly compostible brain.

Don't misunderstand, compost is not fertilizer. It is food for your soil microbes. If you feed them, they will feed your veggies and your veggies will feed you. If you have ever had a tomato grown with compost and vine ripened...you know how much better they taste than even organic tomatoes from the store. Health soil grows health and yummy veggies.

One of the easiest ways of making compost is to just pile compostable things on the ground and keep it moist (not wet, not dry.) "Like a rung out sponge." is the general consensus. If it starts to stink add some dry fallen leaves, shredded cardboard or shredded paper. (I like leaves because they would otherwise go to the land fill. Cardboard and paper can be recycled.) In a year, under the top layer of stuff, you'll have compost. If you want it faster, stir it every 4 days-ish for 2 weeks-ish, then let it sit for 2-4 months-ish. (It's better if it sits...some say. Others say not. I can never seem to wait.)
You can also contain the pile with chicken wire or a bin made of pallets. Almost anything will work. Don't be fooled into thinking you need to buy something because you don't. Well, maybe a garden fork. Besides, it is fun to scrounge for stuff. One persons garbage, another persons treasure...and that.

GardenWeb has a forum called Soil, Compost and Mulch if you wish to learn more, not that I won't tell you more but probably not in a timely fashion. Use the search engine.

We found the book Compost Stew in our library. Very cute and good to help your children to get into composting. (Not that mine are all that into composting. They are some of the people I was talking about earlier.) If you know any other book about composting for children (or me!) please let me know.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Worth it!

After having my friend think through my excuses for not blogging... http://indietutes.blogspot.com/2010/07/worth-it.html I'm giving it another go. (Not that I gave it much of a go to begin with.) She is a wonderful friend, very creative, always there for you and one of the smartest, most interesting people I have ever met. (She is not a hippie, she tells me!) She says it's worth it.

Seeing pictures of my home and family on her blog helped me to see that I do a lot of stuff and others should know how to do these things, too. Easy and healthful. Fun and rewarding. Beautiful...or not. Sometimes I wish I could live in a 2D world, if only for a little while. Gain a bit of perspective.

Our moments, although not always chaotic, do seem to blend into one another. The moments become hours and the hours become days. Even the good stuff. All blending together to form a jumble of knotted yarn, like when you cannot find the end that's in the middle of the skein. You pull but you can not find the end...or is it the beginning? What is it I'm looking for? Wasn't I trying to make something beautiful with this mess?

Frustration begins because there is know time to look at life. At what has been accomplished. The house is a mess and the kids are fighting. The picture in your head of "family" just isn't jiving with what you see around you.

Oh, to take apart the day and visit each moment for what God intended it to be. To look and savour... to taste it and roll it around in our heads... to really understand what has taken place and learn from it.

Re-visit the day and what has been done. To take the time to really see the joyful smile your baby gives to you, because she loves you. To hear the excitement in your sons voice when he tells you something he's learned. To not be so concerned with what family should be and just praise God by loving, enjoying and truly living with the wonderful family He's given.

To re-visit life.

Maybe taking time to write will help to break up my moments. To pull from my skein a moment made beautiful just by really seeing it for what it was made for.

Now I just need to figure out all this computer stuff (be thankful for spell check,) hold my breath and click "publish post."