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

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Party and a Princess


I'm not a party kind of girl. I don't enjoy planning parties, I'm not a natural hostess, I don't send invitations, and I don't like being in big groups of people. I'm the weird one who doesn't look forward to baby showers, and dreads going to weddings. In fact, I find that just the thought of a party is way more stressful than it is exciting. Even if I've had a good time - which I honestly usually do - I come home drained, not energized.

But,

one of my most favorite things is experiencing anything that involves my children's happiness. And birthday parties in their honor make them EXTREMELY happy.

I do have to admit, Cracker Jax is a pretty cool place for kids to have a party. It was raining on Saturday so they weren't able to ride the go-carts or bumper boats (though it cleared up long enough to play mini-golf) - and he had some friends unable to make it at the last minute - but overall it was a great party, and I think everyone had a lot of fun. Spencer declared it one of his best birthday weekends ever, which makes it more than worthwhile.












And finally, today is Tegan's 2nd birthday. Everyone who knows me, or has read my blog for any length of time, knows Tegan's story. I've told it again and again, how we'd thought our family would be complete with the three boys, but that God placed it on my heart - STRONGLY, I might add - that there was still someone missing. And so we had one more... not to "try for a girl", but to have and meet and love whoever this missing family member turned out to be.








I feel a lot of things when I look at my little girl, as I do when I look at all my children, but far and away the strongest thing I feel is gratitude. I feel so incredibly thankful for her and what she's brought to our family. I truly couldn't imagine life without her.







Friday, February 19, 2010

Spencer is 13


13 of the best years of my life, right there.






Wednesday, February 17, 2010

John Holt Quotes for 2/17

Thanks to all my unschooling e-friends for continually sharing!

"It's not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It's a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life."

"Education... now seems to me perhaps the most authoritarian and dangerous of all the social inventions of mankind. It is the deepest foundation of the modern slave state, in which most people feel themselves to be nothing but producers, consumers, spectators, and fans, driven more and more, in all parts of their lives, by greed, envy, and fear. My concern is not to improve 'education' but to do away with it, to end the ugly and antihuman business of people-shaping and to allow and help people to shape themselves."

"True learning-learning that is permanent and useful,that leads to intelligent action and further learning, can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner"

"Standardized testing for children is the equivalent of a gardener pulling his plants up by the root to see if they are growing"

"The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners."

"All I am saying in this book can be summed up in two words: Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted."

"Education – compulsory schooling, compulsory learning – is a tyranny and a crime against the human mind and spirit. Let all those escape it who can, any way they can."






Saturday, February 13, 2010

Krispy Kreme and other adventures


Yes, I think it's ironic that I'm posting about a donut shop the same day I start a blog about nutrition, but nevertheless that's where we went on Thursday. We joined a big group of homeschoolers for a tour and sample, and it was pretty neat to see the inner workings of their production.

A couple interesting facts about Krispy Kreme:

1. Their donut machine (which we were under strict orders NOT to take pictures of) costs more than our house.

2. You need to be able to lift 50 pounds to work there

3. Employees get three free donuts a day. Yikes, I'm thinking about nutrition again....

The boys really enjoyed the tour. Tegan did not, but she did appreciate the donut at the end.



Krispy Kreme was one of three field trips we have scheduled for this month. Next week we're going on a tour of a crime lab, and the following week we're touring the Phoenix recycling center. Cool.

T-Ball and gymnastics are both in full swing now. Everett is still the easiest one to spot in both sports, as he's the one with the big grin on his face, waving to his parents every time he gets the chance.





Another Chapter

I started a new blog this morning, a blog devoted completely to nutrition and healthy living. It's a work in progress of course, and I will expand it as I go, but please check it out! I'm very excited to have another project that I'm passionate about.

Back in Balance

PS Regular blog coming soon...





Sunday, February 07, 2010

Cleaning the Earth

Our very favorite thing to do as a family is to go out into the desert... driving, hiking, geocaching, exploring. Even just breathing in the air and drinking in the scenery. There is something so rejuvenating about it, something that makes the soul sigh and the heart smile. We love the desert.

Yesterday found us joining several hundred other like-minded valley residents for the third annual clean-up of Four Peaks.

We filled trash bag after trash bag,

trailer after trailer.

We picked up, loaded, drove, and deposited.

We stayed for hot dogs, and we stayed for the raffle drawing. Spencer won two off-roading DVDs (a more perfect prize for him could not have been), work gloves, and a Tread Lightly t-shirt.


And Everett won a Tread Lightly sweatshirt, conveniently sized big enough to fit his mother. He was thrilled to get it, as the sun was covered in clouds by that time, and he'd started to complain of getting chilly.


At the risk of repeating a long-held cliche, there truly is nothing quite like the sense of purpose and camaraderie you feel when you're out in the earth, working with your hands, giving your time, and coming together for a common good. That there's what life's about.

Lest the day be too perfect though, there was just one minor "oops" with the trailer


...giving us a perfectly matched set.






Teens and Toddlers

We have two big birthdays coming up in a couple of weeks. On February 19th, Spencer will become on a teenager. Three days later, Tegan turns two.

I think it's interesting that we're reaching both these milestones within just a couple days of each other, as both ages live in infamy for their own particular set of negative stereotypes... the sullen, aloof, eye-rolling teenager; and the opinionated, tantrum-throwing "terrible twos." What a sad and demeaning way to view such cool ages!

I am enjoying spending time with Spencer as much as I ever have, possibly more than I ever have. While still loving his trucks, legos, and Nerf guns, his interests are also taking a decidedly more "grownup" turn. He's fascinated with medicine, with forensics, with science fiction. We watch doctor and detective shows together; we've had lengthy discussions about Haiti, the economy, and different religions. He's constantly learning about new cooking techniques, and is absorbing information from my nutrition classes right at my side. He is sweet, he's affectionate, and he never lets a day go by without telling me he loves me.

And Tegan: I can only wish for a fraction of her joy, her innocence, and her boundless energy. The world is so big and exciting to a two year old, and everything from from a pile of sand to a flower to a shiny - or not-so-shiny - rock is something to celebrate. Tegan reminds me that the world is beautiful. She loves to sing, dance, jump, and pretend. She is extremely verbal, and carries on the most incredibly intricate conversations from her unique two-year-old perspective. She is funny, and gets me laughing to the point of tears, and often. And CUTE??!! They simply don't come much cuter.

They're not perfect. Their brothers aren't perfect. And guess what,

their parents aren't perfect either.

But the way I see it, I can either shake my head and moan and complain about the inevitable difficult days, or I can celebrate their wonderfully complicated personalities, hearts, minds, and souls.... at every age.

I choose the celebrating.





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