Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This moment

I'm laying on a blanket on the floor reading while she plays with the contents of a birthday box. Mostly she's using her MegaBlocks dump truck driver to stomp down the tricky balloons she can't blow up. We are both extremely content and comfortable laying on our stomachs. Then she needs her nose wiped. I have to get up, walk to the table and come back with a tissue. In that short amount of time, my book has become the Balloon Stomper's platform and my bookmark has been pulled out and become storage for the Balloons In Waiting.

She calmly let me wipe her nose then resumes trying to blow up those damn balloons! I decide to grab my phone and type this post. She's now done with balloons, pushed the book back towards me and moved on to other things. Like tissue paper. And felt fairies.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sticker Commitment

We hoard stickers.

They call to us in shops but we never seem to know where to put them. Gone are the days of binders and locker displays. Now is about the bumpers. As you may have heard, I drive OLD cars. Thus putting stickers I love on them means the sticker is destined for the junkyard. Soon. Like using disposable diapers, I might as well just throw the money in the trash and save a few steps in the middle.

Then my male companion (aka husband) bought a '08 Mazda 3. We had procreated and couldn't fit tiny baby in big carrier into tiny backseat of our '96 Geo Metro. Hence the change of paradigm. This also meant: No More Sticker Commitment Issues!

Best part of the transition (possibly why I wanted to write about this): the Man didn't get over his sticker issues until he realized we were driving our Oklahoma-license-plate-adorned car into our homeland! How can we let everyone know we belong here?!? By adding the, Red Square Cafe, and Portland Timbers stickers which have been hiding in the Wife's purse of course!

So, naturally, as we drove into Oregon last July, along Hwy 26, we pulled off at a State Campground, walked through old growth forest, breathed deeply, and added stickers to our car!

Isn't that what you're supposed to do on holiday? ;)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Embracing My Inner Hippie

Today I embraced my Inner Hippie by starting a parsley vinegar. We go through a lot of fresh herbs. In the rare occasion that we don't use everything, we bundle and hang dry what's leftover. I recently learned that I can use the dried stems from this practice to make flavored vinegars for salads and cold relief. I'm still learning which herbs can aid in home remedies and recommend you double check anything I say/do with a credible source before trying it at you house. ( is a good start)
Anyway- today:
I took a bunch of dried parsley, removed the leaves and stored. Then passed the stems to Emagene to be broken into 1/2 inch pieces and placed in a recycled glass herb jar. Once that was finished, we covered the stems with pasteurized apple cider vinegar and sealed with a plastic lid since we didn't have a large enough cork stopper for this jar (and metal corrodes).
Now we wait a few weeks and viola! Parsley Vinegar! can't wait!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

To School or Not To School?

There's a lot of talk going around about unschooling, homeschooling, free schooling, and other terms, theories, and philosophies when it comes to schooling kids. Concerns about Socialization, sports, music, 'opportunities', testing, colleges, expenses, blah blah blah.

Sure, all this stuff is important to consider, being careful to keep your individual kid in mind and striving, as with all other issues, to determine what is best for the child, the parent, and the family.

Truth is, times have changed. Playgrounds are more 'safe', (where are the swings?) subject matter is 'easier' to grasp (or dumbed down so they don't have work hard), adults can't 'emotionally or physically' scar children (while I'm all for no knuckle bruising, swearing at your teacher shouldn't get the teacher in trouble).

I haven't settled yet on which 'method' to adopt when it comes to 'teaching' my child. she's already taught herself so much without me doing much more than modeling behavior and singing Old MacDonald.

Nonetheless, these issues are lingering in my mind's dark corners exactly for that reason; she has taught herself so much! She knows colors, animals, how to count on her fingers, play a guitar rhythmically, sing, interact with other beings, cut food, potty on the big toilet, put away her laundry, feed the dog, make cookies, flip pancakes, water plants, dress dolls and nurse them and take them potty, work puzzles, stack blocks, climb ladders, and so much more! She's not even 2 yet! At this rate she'll be captaining a submersible by the time she's 10!

All this is swimming in my brain and the mess leaves me pondering the following:

•Emagene will learn
•what she wants to learn will stick
• getting an alphabet puzzle may help her learn all her letters in a fun way
• I could probably handle teaching her until she's in 3rd grade as long as she continues to take music, dance, art or other weekly group activities
• I want to send her to an arts school or Montessori at that point
• I love and the idea behind never-at-home-schooling
• I may have to put myself on a schedule
• a garden is a must!
• its much easier to travel as she gets bigger. As long as we are smart, atypical tourists we could learn on the road from the real thing (if the world hasn't imploded and humanity calms back down).
• if schools don't exist in 10 years, I'll hire a tutor and take them with us on the road
• the way things are going, I'll probably end up in handcuffs or jail at least once for either adding to the delinquency of or neglecting my child,according to someone else's idea of how I should parent/instruct/live.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Epiphanies, Part 1

These happen a lot. Mostly as sound bites, so bare with me. I'll try to explain what I mean.

• Life is in a constant state of transition. You only notice it of you are resisting change.

We are transitioning from school to workforce, from a one bedroom to a 2, from no tv to way too much and back down again, from living in a big city to not, to having a thriving urban homestead, to being married, with kid, ...

• Having miso soup powder in the cupboard is the best thing ever!

In a pinch, Emagene will always consume miso. It's faster than macncheese (other favorite) and easier than packing up and heading to a drive thru. I nannied for a little guy while I was pregnant and his dad argued that making pasta took 10 minutes and sometimes they can't wait that long, so he takes the kid to mcd's. I still roll my eyes at this. I can easily have the Mac or miso ready in the time it takes to get e in the car!

• Not being on a schedule is freeing, but having a concept of how much time has passed can save a toddler melt down.

We've never been scheduled eaters. We eat when we're hungry. This is typically every 4 hours, but not set in stone. I believe no one can tell me when to be hungry so I am unable to tell my 2-year old when she should be ready to eat. That said, if she hasn't eaten in 4 hours, I probably should get something together before she showcases just how unbalanced her systems are.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Imbolc (fire in the belly)

2 weeks ago I stepped outside after a rainfall and heard noises reminiscent of a rain forest. No less than 150 blackbirds, robins and sparrows covered the yards on our block. All of them chirping, tweeting, trilling and any other noise a bird makes as they scoured for bugs and seeds.

2 days ago I heard the panicked scramblings of some rodent trying to escape or chase something under my kitchen cabinets. If it was escaping a snake, that's a fabulous sign that winter is ending and a scary tale of what's living under my house!

Today, Emagene and I spent time staring at all the daffodil and jonquil sprouts in our front yard.

Spring has sprung!

All that's waiting is the groundhogs affirmation and a sign from the Irish goddess, Brigid.

According to tradition, Brigid ('Breed') visits at Imbolc and brings blessings of fertility, creativity and knowledge, among other things. She is the power behind our desire to Spring Clean the gunk of the past (winter) out of our homes, selves and lives, bringing the light at the end of our cabin-fever-driven boredom/madness. She brings the lambs (Imbolc has been said to come from the Irish word 'oimelc' meaning 'ewe's milk' in reference to the birthing of lambs), poetry, and fresh starts. A cleansing of the home and hearth.

My favorite story that coincides with this point of seasonal transition is of Cailleach, the hag of winter. Should Imbolc be sunny and bright, she is out collecting firewood for the rest of winter. Should the day be gray, cold or stormy, she is sleeping for winter is about to end. Much easier for me to remember than how to interpret a groundhog's reaction to his shadow. Though if you see a snake or badger running around, you should know that means its getting pretty warm in their dens!

Anyway- This week we will be cleaning and looking for a new rental house, designing our garden plots and preparing to get our first chickens, we may even have a dance party in our living room and leave the garments we spent the winter in out on the lawn for Brigid to bless. Who knows?! I'm just going to see what the season has in store!

More Spring Anticipation

Saw this at the park on Sunday. Yes, those daffodils.

Crafts with Emagene

Recently, a friend gave me a bag of hand-me-downs. My favorite! There's always something that needs 'love.' this time it was a homedone tie-dye shirt. My girl and I were looking for fabric to redo our sofa pillows and happened upon an iron-on peace sign decal. I don't remember who its by, but with a little guidance, my 22-month old was able to apply the iron on. She now sports the ultimate on Hippie apparel.

PS: I found her broom at a second-hand shop on 15th near Harvard, in that strip of unmarked junk shops.