At 9 am yesterday I decided that we all needed to go for a nature walk. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining and the air was fairly clear…a little humid, but not bad at all.
Whilst the attachlings played I gathered supplies into a backpack: a carafe of water, the ergo, camera, phone, keys, snacks, beach blanket. Then, and only then, I tell the children what I have planned. They tend to annoy me mightily if I tell them before I am ready. Yeah, I know, it’s a character-flaw I’m working on. ;D
Along the walk I took lots of photos of whatever caught their attention. The boys loved finding dew on leaves and pools of water all over. As it rained the night before, they got a chance to see how water collects before it is disbursed. And they got to see what a forest looks like after a good, soaking rain. Everything was heavy with new life. There’s a quality to the colors after a rain that is unequaled.
Whinnie was fascinated by the lychens and shelf mushrooms on fallen branches and trunks. The rain made these stand out more against their darkened/rain-soaked hosts too.
By request of Nic and Theo…a shot of them in the forest.
Remember the tadpoles/pollywogs from previous posts? Well, some of them are now toads. We found dozens of them near the lake. They are SOOO tiny. I took lots of photos, but being so small and jumpy, here’s the best one. Seriously, these guys are smaller than one of Nic’s fingernails…
And then we were at ‘the prize.’ The attachlings didn’t know this was our destination…but it was. This is the little brook that they stopped at last time, but we were too tired and too in need of getting home to stay. But for this trip, the brook was the whole point to being there.
But first a snack on the beach towel I brought along. Pears, apples, baby carrots and fresh water…yum. They didn’t complain at all at this ‘forced’ snack break. They were hot and tired from the walk. Yeah, Nic’s wearing my hat…they all wear my hat during these walks. Note to self: get everyone their own hat so I can keep mine on my head. ;D
And then, everybody in…
Nic found lots of things as he moved rocks around…fish eggs attached to a submerged rock, water gliders, a small water snake, and this…a small crayfish. If you look closely you can see it’s little beady eyes.
While they were exploring and enjoying this mountain-fed brook I was looking around and planning what I could bring along next time. Oh, and coveting these HUGE hostas growing wild nearby.
Mostly, though, I just watched the attachlings play and explore. (No, I didn’t bring along my knitting. I’m doing my first project with lace weight yarn and I didn’t want to try that *here* more on that another day, though.)
Most of the time all of the attachlings were deeply devoted to redirecting the water. They built dams with rocks, sticks and wet leaves. They watched the water levels rise in the areas they had cordoned off, and then watched the water find a to flow around it. They enjoyed ‘breaking’ the dam and watching the water cascade.
These are things that I’ve watched the boys do with water tables at childrens’ museums. This was WAY better.
They enjoyed how very cold the water was. Each of them would climb out of the brook and stand in the full sunshine to warm back up when needed. They enjoyed the freedom they had to really get in the water and explore.
I enjoyed the quiet. There was the babbling brook and the sound of children laughing. These are my two favorite sounds in the world, and I got to hear them at the same time.
I didn’t talk much. They didn’t need me to. They all listened to simple rules about how to play safely and sociably in the brook. I didn’t feel a need to talk about the water cycle and this brook’s part in it. I just sat and watched and oooo-d at their finds. And took pictures, of course.
Besides, the boys already know all about the water cycle. Theo tells me about it during rainy days. 😀 And Whinnie doesn’t need to know any of that yet.
My journey into Waldorf has made me more aware of the beauty and necessity of not turning everything into a ‘learning moment.’ Times like that, in the cold water of a mountain-fed brook, should just be experienced. No lessons are required. No words are required. There is the experience of the water and that is quite enough.
Eventually the spell needed to be broken. After almost 2 hours of water experimentation, it was time to head home to make lunch. No one objected. They were tired and hungry.
As we walked home the boys explored all along the way. They found a creek bed that had dried up and followed it until they found pools of water that needed investigation.
Wee Whinnie kept sitting down right in the middle of the path. Yeah, she was tired. She nearly cried from joy when I asked if she’d like to ride home in the ergo.
Once home, the children peeled off their wet clothes, put on dry clothes, washed their hands and prepared for lunch. Whilst we ate, thunder rumbled as the sky darkenend. We had made it home just before a pop up thunderstorm.
As they ate Nic and Theo discussed whether this storm would reck their dams. In their own ways and words they discussed the water cycle. I merely listened and enjoyed. This not talking as much thing is a peaceful way to live.
While I cleaned up from lunch the attachlings headed out on the deck to enjoy the puddles. And then it rained again. So they got wet, again.
Like I said: the theme of the day was WATER.
You’ve been *away* for almost a year…packed amongst fabrics and mementos of a life in Indiana.
Do you like your new home? Yes, I know, there’s no worktable for you yet…but there will be, eventually. For now, I’ll just give you this perch high up…where Theo fingers won’t violate your crevices.
Don’t worry, there’s still much you can do. There are curtains to be made…and costumes of all sorts to be created. But until I find the right sort fo worktable on craigslist…I’ll just have to move you to the kitchen table when we’re ready to create together.
See, we brought along friends…the ones you shared that packing box with for nearly a year. Oh there are wee prairie bonnets to make for Whinnie, and who knows what else from this pile. Don’t worry, we have plenty…this photo was taken before the other box was even opened. This table is now stacked three-times as high with various fabrics.
Yes, I know you’ve heard the rumors…I have taken up knitting lately. But I have not forsaken you. Knitting was my creativity outlet when I needed something compact and portable.
And let’s be frank, you and knitting will have to learn to co-exist. You now live in the ‘craft room’ not the ‘sewing room’ and that means sharing the space with knitting. Don’t worry, I’ll have a chat with the fabrics about being nicer to the yarns…
So, dear friend, I am delighted to have released you from your temporary exile. In the next few days I will get out the machine oil and make sure you are well lubricated. Then it will be time to make curtains and, with your irreplaceable help, make this house into a home.
We start our day (after breakfast) with a bit of reading from The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly.
The boys sit on either side of me on the couch and we look at the drawings together and read another small chapter. The adventures are gentle and lovely and imaginative.
After yesterday’s reading the boys wanted to draw pictures of Tiptoes and the other characters.
Later, after breakfast cleanup and some wiggle time, I brought the boys back to the living room for more reading. This time we read two of the picture books based on the Chronicles of Narnia. Nic and I read the entire collection last year, but Theo wasn’t interested at that time. But these picture books, with their fabulous illustrations, appeal to him.
Next, we turned to our day’s focus: sewing.
For months I’ve wanted to start the boys on this project, but couldn’t find muslin in any of the stores. Last week, though, it occurred to me that I didn’t need it. I had loads of scrap fleece in my sewing boxes. Duh!
I’ve been a cross-stitcher for decades. Over that time I’ve collected hundreds of different colors of embroidery floss. Yes, I said hundreds…like 400-500.
So with their fleece in a hoop and their chosen floss, they were ready to do some freehand embroidery.
This was a well-received project. They were eager, they listened, they created. In months to come, and at their request, I’ll teach them specific stitch techniques. For now, though, the fun of creating something so immediate and tactile was just perfect. And their finished pieces certainly reflect each of them perfectly:
BTW, that face that Theo is making above? He said he was trying to be a bunny rabbit. Why? No one knows, not even Theo. ;D
During the afternoon the boys played together on the computer, and played outside when the day warmed up. Whinnie napped, read books with me, played on the deck and played outside. It was a full day.
Me? I knitted when I could, and stitched my own pattern on the fleece, with Whinnie’s *help* and cooked and cleaned.
Last night’s dinner was frittata and made-from-scratch vanilla scones. That was my first time ever trying to make scones and they turned out great. The recipe I found was much like making drop biscuits, but with more sugar and butter. I made a double batch for this morning’s breakfast as well. And they were very well received.
So it was a successful day of creativity and reading and imagination. The rhythms are informing our days and sustaining us well. Today is knitting day for the boys. Theo is eager to do well at finger knitting. Nic wants to knit with needles but hasn’t found a store of patience within himself to stick with it yet.
Last photo here is of my fleece work yesterday. It’s a work in progress…I’ll add more to it next week during our sewing time. Eventually I imagine this will be put in Whinnie’s room…she loves balloons.
Actually the rain started around dusk on Monday…and then continued through much of Tuesday.
That made it the first day in many when we stayed inside the whole time.
The boys helped make a batch of cinnamon rolls. They were/are yummy. 😀
I organized the pantry (no, it wasn’t organize the pantry day per the spreadsheet…but it had to be done to accommodate the bulk order of grains and such received last week.) A well-stocked pantry is a beautiful thing. I know some women love their shoes…for me, it’s a pantry. 😀
We didn’t *do* much but the day felt overly-full. I think it’s because of the very, very full long weekend we had. All of us (myself and the attachlings) seemed to move in slower-motion, as if we hadn’t quite caught our breath from the busy times.
Today the rains seem to have passed. Maybe we’ll go out puddle-stomping sometime.
Besides that there’s knitting and reading and creating and cooking and cuddling all to be done. Lucky me. 😀
And much was accomplished.
Saturday and Monday Chris worked in the backyard to complete the project I elluded to last weekend. (photos to follow)
Saturday I went to the farmers’ market and brought home so many goodies that fed us through the weekend…with a few items left for this week. (photos to follow as well)
Sunday found us driving into Bethesda to pick up items from Chris’ office…items too large to bring home with him on the train. And although this was a long trek, we made if fun by stopping at the attachlings’ favorite park there.
Monday home all day. Working on cleaning and projects and having truly good food. And a visit to the farm, for more fun and truly good food.
Here’s a photo montage for you:
Here in the U.S. it is Memorial Day.
I don’t get into BBQ’s, cookouts or picnics.
I know that some communities have fireworks displays.
I don’t intend to do any of that today.
This is what Memorial Day is about:
Death and sacrifice.
I’m not a flag-waver. I’m not a person who wears her patriotism on her sleeve. But I am grateful.
Off to spend some time this morning with our farmer friend and family. Their son is newly stationed in Afghanistan. That is a way to spend Memorial Day.
(No, this last one is not mine. Someone emailed it to me recently and I found it irresistable.)
Recently a friend said to me, ‘I’m getting a waldorf-vibe from your blog lately.’ Teehee. That made me giggle. Waldorf-vibe? Nah, I’ve gone all Waldorf-goofy. 😀
Seriously, though. I’ve been casually looking towards a waldorf educational practice for about 3 years now. But always something led me a different direction.
As I’ve done lots of reading and digging in the last month, I realize now that I wasn’t ready for this before. I now see how deeply personal and spiritual this path can be.
Now, however, I am ready and have been doing my ‘inner work’ and preparations. I’m not done, of course, as this may well be one of those lifelong quests. But I am ready to embrace and plan for our coming year.
I come from a perspective of being thoroughly turned off by organized religion (which seems rather like an oxymoronic phrase to me most of the time 😉 My scars are still obvious.
But I am pulled to understanding how I can give my children a life of meaning and spiritual depth without embracing any specific religion.
Here then, at the intersection of these spiritual and educational paths I find The Festivals. The seasonal festivals celebrated within Waldorf Schools. These are an interesting mix of saints holidays and others with pagan origins.
This book came in the mail yesterday:
It is a large volume, and one recommended by Melisa Nielson, author of the books I’ve purchased for 4th and K grades for the boys.
This is quite the book! Within it are great explanations of each of the festivals, along with games, songs and recipes. Recipes…yum!
So we’ll start our year with Summer Solstice and go from there. As both of the boys are academically speaking beyond where they need to be, we’ll spend a good while just settling ourselves into these new rhythms, learning about/preparing for the festivals, developing stronger connections to family and earth, just remembering to bless the day and the people that we get to share it with…
Off soon to the farmers’ market, then home to work and knitting.
Today is a beautiful, sunny Friday. So we took Papa Chris to the train station this morning and have the van.
The homeschooling group I’ve been a part of via yahoo group meets for playtime on Fridays at a nearby park…so off we went.
The attachlings had such fun. Nic finally got to play with other homeschooling children his own age. Even in our Indiana homeschooling groups, that was hard to come by. Theo sometimes played with others, regardless of age or gender, and sometimes played alone. He’s still in that netherworld where he can happily play alone or socially. Whinnie played in the sandpit almost the whole time.
I met several new homeschooling parents…two of them dads. And two of the families, I discovered, live very close to us here.
So we’re home for a while, during the hot of the afternoon. I made the attachlings a snack and reminded all of them to drink water to make up for the hot playtime. And I made a batch of peanut-crispy bars. Oh, yum!
What I really want to be doing, though, is knitting. I ordered a set of circular needles for myself this week. I’ve been absolutely drooling over these for months, but felt it was an unnecessary indulgence. But I have a MIL present to create and I really wanted to use a specific yarn. And since I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks, it seemed the perfect time to get myself a present as well.
I guess that’s part of being more mature. Even though I want to let the children run amok and ignore their needs, the housework and the cooking, I shan’t. I will keep everything going and everyone well-cared-for.
There’s a three-day-weekend afterall. And with Papa Chris around, maybe I can get some knitting in afterall. 😀
I also received two of the books I ordered in preparation for this coming homeschooling year.
If you aren’t already familiar with the site, I highly recommend A Little GardenFlower for those who might be Waldorf-inclined.
I ordered her ebooks for 4th and Kindergarten and have really enjoyed getting familiar with them. It’s awesome that Melisa offers these products for such a budget-friendly cost.
We’ll start our new schoolyear in September, following the Waldorf schedule and integrating lots of Festival merriment and preparation. So I have several months to gather the resources we’ll need.
Off to read, knit and just be mama. 😀