Sunday, May 31, 2009

Swing and Fish

Had a little family trip to the Eastside yesterday. Nothing too earth shattering.

Just a goofy boy on a swing.
And a goofy boy with slinky at the Hawthorne Fish House
And a scowly baby.
This is Akasha's most common face, with her eyebrows all knit up. I am always trying to get her to smile for pictures, but hey, this is more her.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Holding My Tongue

One of the hardest parenting lessons for me is learning to keep my mouth shut and just say less in general during challenging moments. There are so many times I need to back off - when I am angry, lectury or sometimes just jumping to conclusions. Sometimes it is about holding the space, but sometimes it is about listening and getting more information, even before validating, since sometimes I can guess what is going on incorrectly!

Today was one of those times I actually felt like I got it right! We were driving somewhere in the car, and Akasha was yelling, which really bothers Orion most of the time. All of a sudden, he says one of those phrases parents hate to hear. "I don't want a sister."

Ugh, of course a few "wrong" things popped into my mind, like oh God, he hates her and "You don't mean that," but I just paused and said, "Ah, you feel like you know like having a sister right now?" (Alert, even this can be dangerous I realized as it came out of my mouth. I have had this one backfire and received an angry, "I don't want a sister EVER!" But this time it was OK.)

"Yeah," he said.
So I said, "Hmmm, what do you think we should do about that?"
"Leave her with daddy."

Ah, so it was just about the noise, and maybe about wishing we could have alone time. I said I was sorry she makes so much noise in the car sometimes and asked if we should schedule some time with Daddy to go someplace with just us. He liked that idea. Mommy crisis averted. It wasn't the end of the world after all.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tie Dyed Drool Monster

Just some random cuteness taken on Zoe's lawn.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cruising Pirate and Some Oh So Sneezy Words

We dragged Ron out to the Pirate Park for the first time, and he thought it was pretty neat. While we were there, Akasha took her first cruising steps. She was holding on to the water feature with her feet in the sand, so I think it felt stable and easy for her. Won't be long now!

There were a couple older girls there already deeply involved in building some sand dams. It was interesting to watch what happened as sand can only hold water for so long. I noticed that the wall on the other side was beginning to crumble low down where the water was starting to sneak out. I called Orion over to look.

"Hey, check it out! The sand has gotten totally saturated, so now the water is starting to seep through and erode the wall!"

One of the girls, who looked about eight, paused and said, "What's with all the fancy words you're using? I'm allergic to fancy words!"

Huh! I thought I was just talking! But seriously, I couldn't help but think this girl is a product of the public school system, always trying to force vocabulary lists on kids. Or maybe a well meaning parent who makes an effort to use "fancy words" in a laden way, complete with definitions. I never once thought about the words I was using or hoped Orion would pick up some new vocab. I guess I have total trust he simply *will* learn words just from being in the world. He so often asks me what words mean as it is, and I hope I never spoil his sense of *wanting* to know by getting all teachy.

Aaaachoo! Bless you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Yard in Bloom!

I love the Pacific Northwest. Things just seem to keep exploding in bloom all around me.

This is the view out our front door right now.
Even Ron has noticed it! He says it is such an eye opener at 5am when he is leaving for work. What a perfect way to start the day! I have no idea what this tree is, but it rocks. I have never seen these kinds of hanging down sprays of flowers. They are so cool, and the bees LOVE it. The tree is just humming all day long. Here is a closer view of the flowers:
Should I mention again I am sad I don't have a macro lens?

Something blooming in the backyard in a couple places. Jessica thinks they are clematis.

Another cool flower. The whole plant reminded me of agapantha, but not sure what this is eithere!
Little tiny sweet things creeping along in a shady spot.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Life is Goooood 2009

Wow, I really didn't take many pictures this year, but I had a great time. I reconnected with friends I knew and did much better at meeting some new folks as well. Some of the talks were really great. I managed to get some good ideas for staying centered with sparkly kids, and maybe, just maybe, got some inspiration about it being OK to let my house stay messy. :) It was also really interesting realizing we are now one of those RU families compared to some others. How different we are now from just a couple years ago! Ron really enjoyed the Dads' Group again. Said there was alot of brutal honesty and great support for "newbies". I liked a creativity chat I went to. That is just the area I have been wanting to get back to and make some time for myself.

Here are a few of the photos I did manage to get!

Cute one of my friend Emily and her daughter.
Row and my Crocs which are now lost! Funny because Ron bought them at LIG 2 years ago, and now they were lost at this LIG.
Nametag munching.
Akasha looking like she is not too sure about melon.
The drum circle.
Akasha checking out some percussion.
And I do have a couple videos of the drum circle!

Orion and Ron were actually not there for much of it, so I don't really have any kid stories to tell. Even when he was there, he had a challenging time this year. He has had such a great time in the past, but there were alot of conflicts this year. Not really sure why - maybe just cumulative lack of sleep these past couple months. Maybe it was Lyla's therory about "alpha dog" boys clashing when they come together. But I do have one favorite memory of the whole weekend courtesy of Orion!

It was the last day when Ron was loading up the car. I was in the toy room with both kids when Orion said he wanted to go to the bathroom alone. It was all the way at the other end of the main hall, and he had his one piece skeleton suit on.... So off he went while I hung out near the door so I could keep one eye on the baby and one on the hallway. I was just wondering how long I would wait before checking on him when he came into view. Here comes my awesome boy, stark naked, running down the main hallway of The Red Lion, twirling his skeleton suit over his head. LMAO as they say! And couldn't have been a more appreciative crowd!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Sign for Milk

This week has just disappeared as I am getting ready for the Life is Good unschooling conference this weekend. But I wanted to make a quick mention about how Akasha is exploding with sign language. She has made a new sign for milk! OK, actually it is the age old sign - patting my chest. I just think it is funny because I keep showing her the sign for milk, and she just keeps patting me.

She has made up a couple other signs as well. The crazy thing is, she came up with the dog sign on her own without me ever showing it to her! The correct sign for dog that is. In her case, the patting isn't about calling the dog over, but about petting her. I kept saying, "Pat the dog," over and over when she first started grabbing her fur, and now she associates the patting motion with Kona!

The really cute sign she has developed is patting her head when she wants to lay down. I think it is because I stroke her head while she is falling asleep. And she recognizes so many words! Whether I say "sleepy", "lay down", or "go to bed", she responds with that sign.

She loves to sign potty as well. This seems great, because you would think it would help her communicate, but she just signs in all day long whenever she sees a potty. She also now recognizes doors that have the male and female symbols on them and will sign potty when we pass one! Unfortunately, she has never once signed potty on her own and had it actually mean she had to go LOL! I'm sure that will come in time.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

More on Legos...

There was an impromptu trip to the Lego store in my absence it seems. Something pretty cool was purchased:
Orion, however, didn't really see it as a building surface. He saw it as a game board! There were some very complicated rules involved that apparently Ron never did understand LOL. He just did as he was told. My favorite thing is that he has taken to putting the pirate jewels on the heads of some of the people. You can see them on the guys lined up on the left.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Jaunt to Roseburg

OK, well maybe a bit more than a jaunt, but a quick overnight trip anyway. La Leche League of Oregon had a get together to work on state business. Several of us stayed at a local hotel, so that means baby time central!
The funny thing about this picture is that they were all looking at me! Why? Because I was eating Chinese food of course. I was sharing with Akasha. Those other babies look hungry. Is that one in the middle signing "more"?

Later that night, a true first happened!
Look closely - she was not only unrolling, she was unrolling and shredding!
Next day at the meeting - Akasha practicing her squats.
Another bright and shiny smile!
"Hey Mom! Can I have the car?!"
"A few more years yet!"

The main reason I went was that a new leader I had sponsored just finished her application process, so we got the chance to have a candlelighting ceremony.
Akasha is staaaaring into the flame! A future leader? How cool would that be?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Some Extra Smiles

Just got to thinking I haven't captured many smiles lately, so I thought it was time for a little tickle play.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Unschooling Attitude

Whenever I see an example of something I really dig in a show, I like to make a note of it. Orion has been watching Imagination Movers off and on for awhile. It's a pretty cool show with great music, but something more struck me about it recently.

I get so tired of shows that try to teach lessons. Invariably, there will be some character displaying some "bad" behavior who learns something along the way. The only thing Orion ever learns from these shows is to imitate the bad behavior LOL! OK, I'm sure that is not entirely true, but these shows are still just really annoying for me.

In imagination Movers, there is usually some problem to solve. OK, fine idea, but that wasn't the aspect that got me thinking. There are a couple other characters that make regular appearances, namely Nina and her uncle Nitnots, who you can see in the brown suit above. Nitnots is boring, as boring as boring can be, and he likes everything around him to be boring. Now boring usually has a negative connotation, but not on this show. Nitnots is accepted for exactly who he is. In fact, there is a whole episode about wanting to throw a birthday party for him. But how?! Ah, a problem to solve! All the usual birthday stuff is out. He doesn't like anything colorful or loud. So they come up with the perfect boring "celebration" for him, and he is thrilled. The more I thought about this, the more touching it was to me. You just don't see alot of unconditional acceptance on TV for characters who are "out of the norm". It is a really refreshing approach.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What a Sight!

Ron pointed out how funny this looked and thought I should grab a shot.
Orion was watching something on Youtube, so Akasha had to join in and dance a little. :)

Or two sights.... Here is my silly boy at Dr. Julies office:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ron's Aha!

So I haven't mentioned sleep lately. Suffice it to say, we are still struggling. I only really worry when Orion has a night of 2 or 3 hours sleep. Thankfully, there have only been a handful of those, but his behavior is so fragile the next day, and I end up feeling really depressed thinking we can't go anywhere or be around people, so they are pretty draining for both of us when they happen.

On the other hand, some interesting parenting stuff has come out of this for Ron.

The average night has much more to do with Orion deciding if he wants to lay down with Ron when Ron is ready to collapse from exhaustion, and Orion always decides he does. Most nights go OK, and he settles into watching a movie while Ron puts in earplugs and passes out. However, something new has been happening recently - the "middle of the night wake up and ask for a movie phase".

I often mention one of Lyla's favorite mantras: "What you resist persists," and the events of the past few nights have highlighted just how true it is. A couple nights ago then again last night, this very thing happened. Ron said his first inclination was to tell him no or at least encourage him to lay back down as he was pretty sure he wasn't really fully awake, but he decided to surrender to the request instead. Every time so far, Orion has been back asleep within minutes! (Fingers crossed it keeps going this way!)

Ron was pretty excited to tell me about it and seemed to feel pretty proud of himself. He has definitely gone in and out of several flow phases with Orion (as I do daily LOL) and seems pretty in the current right now. I wish I could say the same for me when it comes to the sleep stuff. I am having alot of trouble finding any empathy or acceptance around the nights when he just barely sleeps. I really hope something we discover with our naturopath starts working soon.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

My friend Lyla had some interesting musings about Mother's day, mainly to do with how she didn't expect her kids to do special things for her just because it was some prescribed day, and about how she loves doing things for them every day.

So I thought it was funny when Orion had total resistance to the concept. In the morning we talked about what Mother's Day meant. Very jokingly and over the top I said, "It means you have to do whatever I want all day long and give me hugs and kisses whenever I ask!!!!" He just looked at me with a scowl and said no way. Guess his internal sense of doing what he feels is intact. Oh, and so is his counterwill LOL.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Chess Thinking and Lessons in Being a Good Guy

I had an interesting idea the other day regarding getting Orion to think about cause and effect. He seemed to really get chess, including the whole idea of thinking what will happen in the next move. So I started talking to him about "chess thinking". Simple idea - if you do a certain thing, what is likely to happen next. He seemed to like the idea and has mentioned it several times since. Now I just need to be careful not to "misuse" it. I have caught myself a couple times almost saying something like, "That wasn't very good chess thinking," but have pretty much managed to avoid that. It is a great concept for talking about in calm moments or using before certain things happen, but it would be perceived as very critical after the fact I am sure.

Then today there was a quite funny and interesting conversation between Ron and Orion. It started out as a sorting of good guys and bad guys, which usually precedes any pretend game. Ron was assigned the bad guy role, and then it went something like this:

(all these are talking in the voices of little Lego men)
R: But what if I don't want to be the bad guy?! I don't want to bad any more. Can you teach me how to be good? I need some lessons.
O: Well, OK, here are the rules of being a good guy.
R: Oh, you can teach me?! OK, thanks.
O: First off, you should pick up trash if you see it on the ground (LOL!)
Second, don't hit people with sticks.
R: What about if it is my sister, and she is taking my toys?! I hate that! (Little Lego guy jumping up and down.)
O: Oh, well just try and find another toy for her. Don't push her down.
R: Oh, I shouldn't push her over?! Oh!
O: No, no, she wouldn't like that! (Oh, he really does know!)
O: And don't drop heavy things on people.
(Ron breaks character here and explains the Golden Rule)
(Orion keeps giving lessons, but they all fall under the Golden Rule - don't kick people, don't drop things from branches on them (?), don't spit at people, don't chop trees down on top of people.... I am getting amused at this point but try not to show it.)

So glad he is an expert on being the good guy! :D

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Son is an Expert... finding new ways to make as much noise as possible.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Another Masterpiece


Ron: Tell me about this picture!
Orion: It's a guy on a motorbike!
Ron: What is that circle thing on his butt?
Orion: Oh, that's his lunch.

Ummmm, before or after he ate it? ROFL! I think I'll pass.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A True Radical Unschooling Moment

Something funny and interesting happened at Out of This World yesterday. I often get a coffee since they have this really cool coffee bar with do it yourself syrups and flavored creamers, but I decided not to this time. If I have paid for a coffee, I figure it is no big deal if Orion takes a few creamers, but I didn't feel right about taking several we weren't "due". So I went to the front and asked if I could give them a buck to cover some, and they were happy to. So I told him to go to town and was really curious to see what would happen.

Now I am totally on board with letting him monitor his food, but I still struggle sometimes with wondering what other people think. Even after paying for them, I wondered if the staff thought I was crazy as he scooped out a huge handful and carried them back to our table. Not to mention the weird looks I was getting from other parents. Not my unschooling friends that were there though! Orion proceeded to open one after another and down them like shots. I started wondering at some point if I should offer them more than $1.00! I pointed out what was going on to my friend Jessica, and she just gazed at him with the understanding way she has and said, "And look how happy he is." Yes, this is what it is all about.

So what was the consumption with me TOTALLY staying out of it? (OK, so I hauled the empties off to the trash a couple times to prevent the table looking entirely full of empty mini buckets). I think about 20 creamers. Not that much when you consider how small they are. At one point, he was putting a couple in his pocket to run around with LOL, then all of a sudden, he realized he had his fill. He took those out and even carried them back to the coffee bar along with the few full ones still on the table. All done. No struggles. Just joy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Water Temperature Experiment

Orion has been wanting to do this one from the book for awhile, and I finally got the set up together!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Apprentice Chef

Did some impromptu cooking today - a recipe for a sweet bread using coconut flour I have been wanting to try (will get on my cooking blog some day!) Here is Orion practicing his egg breaking.
I was in the background practicing my deep breathing and my eggshell picking out skills LOL. It's all good unless you are getting a little pressed for time.

Stirring up the batter.
And here is the little chef, learning at the feet of the master haha!
Akasha was happy to stand here pretty much the whole time. She loves being anywhere near her brother.

Later on, we went to Trader Joe's, and the minute we walked in the store, Akasha started signing "more"! LOL, she already recognizes the food store!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Crawling Around

I finally got some good footage of Akasha crawling around and pulling to standing as a bonus.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Musings on My Mama

I have an appointment with somebody to scan some of my old pictures soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to put something on this post. The picture below is cropped from the little altar of things we set up right after my mom passed over. A little crooked, but better than nothing.
Today marks the 1 year anniversary of my mother's passing. It came as a complete shock to me the morning I got the call, and of course I am still processing what it means to have her "gone". Ron asked me today if I was feeling sad, and I said I was very sad thinking about the relationship we *didn't* have. My mom and I didn't have a bad relationship, but we weren't super close either. I am also sad when I think about how much she was looking forward to her new granddaughter that she never got to meet.

So I am spending some time thinking about her today, and remembering what a fierce mama bear she could be. There is one story that stands out for me I always remember fondly. My parents had gone away somewhere for a short trip and left me with my grandma when I was in Middle School. I got sick and stayed home for a day, and my grandma wrote my note, but it wasn't considered valid as she was not my legal guardian, and they marked it down as a truancy. Lord help those office people when they got home. My mom stormed in there and tore the staff up. She was a Scorpio. It was a bad idea to get her mad.

The thing that has been most surprising to me is how much of a void I do feel although I didn't see her much in recent years. My dad is still alive, but he is quite elderly himself, and I wonder how long he will choose to stay in that big house where he is so lonely. When I think of him not being there, I realize there will be no more ability to ever "go home". Of course, that is not my true home, and was not even the home I grew up in, so why do I feel that? Maybe it is because I have moved so much as an adult. Or maybe it is because I have gone to stay there for short periods when I needed to a couple times. It is really that sense of having family you know you can count on if times got really rough. I have other extended family, and I suppose I could turn to them if in a severe crisis, but it would seem awkward probably.

So that part is really more about me than her I guess. Well, I guess anything I have to say is really about me. She was a great lady in many ways. She had a very sad childhood that I always wanted to learn more about, but she was reluctant to talk about it. I am sure it shaped so much of who she was as an adult. She was a woman who cared deeply about her family, and I am glad I grew up so close to her mother, who was like a matriarch for our extended family when I was younger.

I have been going through old pictures, and I am so sad that I never got more information from my mom about most of them. I am going to get them scanned and maybe send them to some others in my family who might know. Many people say something along the lines of, make those connections with loved ones in the moment, because you never know when that opportunity will be taken away from you. So, so true. But most of us never really learn these lessons until life beats you over the head with them.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Akasha's Favorite Thing

Video's don't get date stamped apparently, but I am thinking this must have been the same day as the tulips as she is wearing the same outfit.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tulip Festival

We made it to the tulip fields today. I really wasn't in the mood for going, but I am glad we did as there were a couple shots I wanted to get to have "matches" of ones from last year.

Here is my nutty boy in the parking lot.His skeleton suit just came in the mail. He has been talking about wanting one, so I ordered it from Amazon. Wonder how many days he will wear it LOL.

A boy and his shadow. Nice outfit, huh?
Yet another picture of Akasha in the Freehand.
Flying Boy!
Is it a bird, a plane, a flying skeleton?

Sliding Boy - he insisted Ron take lots of pictures of this.
Meanwhile, I sat on the grass with Akasha. She has been grouchy lately, so I barely got any smiles out of her today!
So serious!
She enjoyed the grass on her feet though!
Oh yeah, the tulips...
But this is my favorite for being such a random, strange face!
OK, so here was the picture of last year that got me thinking I want to take one holding the baby in the fields kindof right in front of my belly.
Somehow, I didn't end up with the affect I wanted because I was being impatient, but still a pretty cute picture.
This one is also from last year:
Now there are three peekers!
Akasha going for a bonk maybe?
The Duck Races! A favorite from last year was also loved this year.
Oh, the concentration!
Mandatory wooden shoe shots...

This picture makes me laugh! She does this face every once in awhile. Not sure what it is all about, but it is always funny.
Likewise mandatory heads stuck in holes.
Akasha was having none of it though. If you looks closely, you can see her little hand on the edge in the photo above, keeping her head from actually going in the whole. Below, brother tries to lure her out, but she can see him fine from there.
Then it was on to the straw piles. Akasha is fascinated.

And the straw fights.

Notice Akasha just sitting there. That is what she did through all that throwing. Just totally entranced by straw!

I love this one as the lady seems to be looking on and thinking, "What a terrible example these parents are setting for the other children!" Phft.
Dad had enough, so I had to take some for awhile. Yes, we were finding straw in the bed and everywhere else for days!
Not sure what this was about, but it's cute!
And one last rather disturbing shot where Ron told Orion to make a scary face. It scares me!