"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Monday, August 31, 2009


I read this on Facebook this morning, and found it timely and appropriate for this time of year, when everyone is sending their 5 year olds off to school. The "experts" will tell you that kids need school to learn to separate, that they need it to become independent. Just yesterday, I was watching The Doctors with Spencer, and the OB/Gyn was talking about how important it was for kids to learn to separate at a young age (of course this was in the context of extended breastfeeding, another post altogether) Clearly not an advocate of attachment parenting!

I still remember Spencer's speech therapist extolling the virtues of separation to me when he cried. She told me that it was good for him to separate from me, and that as his mom I just needed to "be strong" and let him go. He was barely three at the time. It's little wonder that that relationship ended, badly, a few months later.

I accept and in fact welcome the fact that my children are temporarily dependent on me, to varying degrees. This stage is so short and so precious! I am enjoying having them close, and being attached to them. I am likewise enjoying watching them gain their independence in their own time in their own way.

Independence is important, no doubt. But trying to force it? What's the price? It should - and will - come naturally and gradually - if you let it.

"It is the nature of the child to be dependent, and it is the nature of dependence to be outgrown. Begrudging dependency because it is not independence is like begrudging winter because it is not yet spring. Dependency blossoms into independence in its own time." Peggy O'Mara

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Birthdays and Baseball

Paxton turned 9 on Friday. One would think that after four kids and 12 years of birthdays, that it wouldn't catch me so off guard each time. With the speed with which time is passing, it seems like I should fully expect to be waking up tomorrow to find them all grown and married with families of their own. Well he's not quite grown and he's not quite married, but Paxton - like the others - is definitely growing up!

We celebrated for two days (three if you include the fact that he's now playing his new Wii game) On Friday I bought him the computer game, Spore, that he's been waiting months for. His choice for his birthday dinner was shrimp scampi, and even I enjoyed it, sans the shrimp. How I had three boys who are so enamored with seafood is beyond me! :)

Yesterday, we had Mom, Dad, Sandi and Mitch and the kids, and Paxton's friend over for cake and ice cream, followed by a Diamondbacks game. We took the train in, which made it even more of an event. We ate (and ate and ate and ate), we cheered, we thoroughly enjoyed getting to watch the Diamondbacks WIN this time! 2 home runs, a couple of triples, an all-around exciting game. A very cool game to go to for a birthday celebration.

I don't know if it was the game, the excitement, or the jumbo sized Icees, but all the kids (minus Tegan, who was passed out cold in Mike's arms) were in super high gear as we made our way home. They raced each other on the sidewalk, jumped up and down on the curb, and played and laughed their way through the train ride back to the station. It was a good night. And it was a giddy and exhausted 9 year old who happily went to bed at 10, and slept for twelve hours straight.

Happy Birthday Pak!

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Spinning :: out of control

  2. Impasse :: my life at the moment

  3. Gravy :: mashed potatoes

  4. You are :: a lone reed

  5. September :: new tv season

  6. Divulge :: secrets

  7. Training :: work

  8. Crap! :: Holy

  9. Results :: positive

  10. Shutting down :: giving up

Want to play? Luna Nuna

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Maker and the Clay

Last week Everett pulled out their little pottery wheel. It was on a shelf in the toy room, one of many things unearthed as we worked on getting the rooms sorted and ready to switch. The clay that was in the box was a year old, and subsequently rock-hard, so we picked up a refill on Friday. All three boys spent the afternoon up to their elbows in clay. These are a few of their creations.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And the littlest bed fit just right....

This past weekend we got Tegan her first bed, the latest step in the ongoing Great Room Swap. Mike set it up last night, and Tegan is utterly thrilled. While she most likely won't be sleeping in it for a good long while, (she's very content sleeping next to Mom) Everett is happy to keep it warm for her until she's ready. In the meantime, she keeps disappearing into the room to climb on and off, on and off, all with a proud, happy smile on her face.

Christian Parenting

I feel like I haven't really been a sparkling example of motherhood lately. I've been too impatient, too quick to answer, too slow to listen. I want to blame it on lack of sleep, as anyone who has ever dealt with chronic insomnia will tell you that it makes you feel a little... well, crazy. But I know that's no excuse. I can do better.

For all the lengthy writing I could do on the subject, my parenting philosophy is really very, very simple. I want to be the kind of parent that I imagine Jesus would be.


No where in that description - or in any biblical description of Jesus - is a man who would hit (or spank or swat or switch) He would not hurt a child in any way. Which is exactly the reason I have never, nor will I ever, follow any of the tenets of so many of the "Christian" parenting books and methods that not just condone, but ENCOURAGE hitting. Michael and Debi Pearl - or just The Pearls as they're widely known - wrote the book To Train Up a Child. This book is one of the saddest things I have ever read. James Dobson is another popular Christian writer (who, it should be noted, refers to children by demeaning names such as tyrant, dictator, terrors, brat, bratty, rebel, tornados) that espouses the use of objects to hit and whip children into "obedience." This is supposed to be Christian?

I'm not a bible scholar by any means, but I do read it, usually daily. I've read it from beginning to end several times. Not once have I read a single scripture that leads me to believe that God would want me to hit - or shame, belittle, or otherwise hurt - my children. The day I do is the day I stop reading it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

In his book Walden (one of my all-time favorites), Henry David Thoreau says, "Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplify, simplify, simplify!" With Thoreau in mind, along with my recent and nearly overwhelming sense of being suffocated by stuff, I have been slowly and systematically re-making my house and my life.

Ten years ago, we moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, and faced a long interim with a job but no housing. We eventually found and purchased a house, but of course the time between finding and closing was considerable. We stayed with my sister for awhile, stayed with my parents for awhile, and stayed at a campground for awhile. I've been thinking a lot about that tiny little camper we lived in... just us and a 2 year old Spencer. It was an undeniably stressful time (living in a state of limbo is a difficult thing to do), but it's a time I'm remembering with increasing nostalgia.

It was just so simple. Mike would go off to work in the morning, and I'd have the day to spend with my boy. The camper just had the bare necessities, so it would take 20 seconds to have things clean and ready for the next day. We'd head outside as soon as we ate breakfast, and walk down to the playground. We'd draw in the sand, go down the slide, dawdle by the edge of the road and collect pine cones. We'd make a daily adventure out of going to the post office to get our mail. We'd make a campfire at night, and ate dinner on our laps.

We weren't bombarded with phone calls and emails, with rooms and rooms of toys and books and old broken things that no one can even identify anymore. We washed our dishes by hand and never had to deal with a dishwasher that malfunctioned more often than it should.

We lived.

Life is good now, but it is so different from the way it was that I hardly recognize that young family in my mind. It's been clouded with details. And surely this house, SO crowded with all these unnecessary things can't belong to those same people?? I don't want to live in a campground again - although I admit to some sincere fantasies about moving us all to a log cabin in the middle of nowhere - but I want to have that feeling again. I want to simplify.

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.”

Monday, August 10, 2009

Spelunking we will go

Actually, spelunking we have gone!

On Saturday morning, we had 93 geocache finds to our credit. By the end of the day, we had over a hundred, and had logged the experience of exploring a nearly mile-long, pitch black, underground cave, created more than half a million years ago from flowing lava.

We had wanted to go to the lava tube ever since we heard about it, and thought it was a fitting way to to celebrate our 100th find. The cave was in the middle of the woods, just a short little walk from where we parked.

One minute we were in the woods, and the next we were at what looked like a big rock foundation.

The cave was cool, damp, and dark. We could smell it before we even entered... a sort of earthy, dirty smell that I actually didn't find at all unpleasant. The climb down was slow going while carrying a 25 pound toddler, but once it leveled off I was able to wear her (and she even walked herself in some of the less rocky areas)

The darkness and stillness of the cave was not like anything I'd ever experienced. Complete and total silence that you could feel in your soul, and taste in your stomach. There were a lot of people sharing the tunnel with us that day, but when we were alone on a bend we'd shut off our headlights for a second to appreciate the blackness. I didn't know how the kids would like that, but they kept asking for more! It took us around an hour to make it to the end, where a few members of our party explored some of the tiny crevices...

We took our time heading back, and stopped to appreciate the swirls and splashdowns created by the lava so long ago.

We were tired and sore from the trek (Hello thigh muscles, nice to feel you!!) but we all agreed it was well worth it, and is a trip we're looking forward to repeating in the future.

And because life is about stopping to smell the roses, or in our case, stopping to spot the wildlife, I'd be remiss not to mention that we were lucky enough to see a bobcat in the wild on the way there. We pulled over, but not in time to get a picture. We did however, snap some pictures of the bulls we passed on the way out. :)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Animal School

This is why I homeschool...


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